Coin Operated Water Vending Machine

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What is Coin operated water vending machine?

Coin operated water vending machines and units are the new thing on the block. These are similar to a coin operated telephones where in you can insert a coin and water gets dispensed for that amount. Typically you get 20 Litre water filled for just Rs 5 and in some places it is as low as Rs 2. You can see them popping out almost in every city, town and even in villages.

We did an assessment on why are they low priced and the logic behind such vending machines. Also we did a comparison of quality factors to be considered while you choose for a coin operated vending machine or a ready to drink packaged drinking water Cans which you get home delivered for Rs 45+.

Who owns coin operated water vending machines?

First let us understand who operates these coin operated water vending machines. In India, across states, every MP and MLA get  funds allotted for building public infrastructure or public utilities that can create impact and help bottom of the pyramid population. Open tenders are invited to build these coin operated water vending machines housed in a small constructed setup across cities, towns and villages. The bidder will need to build, operate and own with a contract period of 5 years and more. Typically these vending machines house a 500 LPH (Litres Per Hour) to 1000 LPH capacity RO filtration machine and equipment. The price of coin operated vending machine setup cost about INR 10,00,000 to INR 12,00,000 depending on water filtering capacity.

Coin Operated RO Water Vending Unit

What is the need for coin operated vending machines?

Water being one of the most essential public utility has so far been available as tap water and supplied to individual homes, commercial buildings through underground pipe connections. Due its very nature of supply mechanism through underground pipes the tap water is mostly considered unfit for direct consumption, especially for drinking purposes.

To make tap water fit for drinking and cooking purpose it had to be filtered. With the invention of portable RO purification system in compact cabinets paved the way for RO filters that could fit in home, office and even restaurants. RO filtration process is one of the most trusted and widely used filtering mechanism across domestic and industrial applications. You can check here to read more on RO water purification method used for packaged drinking water manufacturing.

However as the demand for RO filters surged, the prices shot up and it was no longer affordable for lower and middle income groups. In rural areas people walk several kilometers to get drinking water from well or lakes as there are no tap water supply just like urban and town areas. This triggered an opportunity to make safe drinking water accessible and affordable to the rural and as well for urban population who cannot afford to buy an expensive RO water filter. Coin operated vending machines were setup near a water source and it would dispense 20 litres of purified water at a low cost of INR 2 to INR 5.

You can click here to know on best RO water filter price and how you can buy one for your requirement.

Why is packaged drinking water expensive compared to coin operated vending machines?

If you want to know what is packaged drinking water then you can click here to read more on how it is manufactured and processed.

Packaged drinking water is a commercial venture and is strictly quality controlled and licensed by a government agency Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). In order to operate a packaged drinking water plant the manufacturer need to obtain an ISI license. Water filtered out of this plant will be tested for permissible Ph, TDS, Bromite levels along with various other parameters that make it fit for drinking purposes. This license is valid for 1 year and to be renewed every year upon passing the water testing process, plant inspection and the quality process followed as per BIS standards. If the water testing or any standards mentioned as per BIS are not followed then the license could be banned and not allowed to manufacture until it adheres to BIS quality standards. This makes it strict that every 20 Litre Water Can manufacturer need to invest and adhere to quality process. For example the Water Cans need to be pre-washed in hot water before filling and refilling, it need to be capped and sealed for every refilling. Followed by this the logistics cost to deliver the Cans from manufacturing plant to distributor to supplier to consumer door step adds up the cost and makes it expensive when compared to non-regulated and no quality assured coin operated vending machines pricing.

Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturing Video Link:

There is no washing of water Cans when consumers bring it for refilling. These Cans cannot be washed at homes as they need a different washing and rinsing machine. Also the Ph, TDS or Bromate levels are not measured and controlled by any regulatory or authority for coin operated vending machines. So these are prone to quality degradation over the time and can impact on consumers health. This could be one more factor for cheaper price as there is no quality assurance.

Key differences we found for Packaged Drinking Water and Coin Operated Vending Machine:

Packaged Drinking Water Coin Operated Vending Machine
Regulated By Bureau Of Indian Standards (BIS) & ISI Licensed Not regulated by BIS and Non ISI Marked
Water Quality test report send to BIS every month/year No Quality Assurance certification or testing from external agency or government
Cans Pre-washed and rinsed with hot water No Can washing before filling
Automated filling and packaging in controlled environment Filling tap is exposed to dust, contamination and handled by multiple consumers
Value for money INR 45 – INR 85 Cheap price INR 2 – INR 5

Different types of Packaged Drinking Water Brand and Price:

BRAND DESCRIPTION PRICE RANGE (Excluding Delivery Charges)


Mineral Water (added minerals) INR 70 to INR 80
AquaSure RO Filtered & Mineral Water (added minerals) INR 60 to INR 70
Kingfisher Mineral Water (added minerals) INR 65 to INR 75
Gravels Premium RO Filtered & Mineral Water INR 30 to INR 50
Other Local Brands RO Filtered Water INR 30


Its purely a choice of price over quality when it comes to buying purified water from cheaper coin operated vending machine. But if you can afford and need a trusted water source ready to drink with quality assurance, government regulated and standardized then we recommend choosing quality over price – packaged drinking water.

Do not compromise on health at any cost!