Which smart pet feeder is best?
Most pets are creatures of habit, which means consistency is key. This extends to things like walking schedules, training and mealtimes. Of course, for people, life doesn’t always allow for that.
Many things can interfere with feeding your pets at the same time every day. Thankfully, technology has given us the answer: smart pet feeders. These dispense food and allow you to schedule mealtimes for your pets.
Some models, such as the Petlibro Automatic Cat Feeder for Two Cats allow you to record audio that plays when the machine dispenses food.
What to know before you buy a smart pet feeder
Before purchasing any smart pet feeder, check to make sure it’s compatible with the type of food you give to your pet. Many models are only intended for use with dry kibble. There are also restrictions on the size of the kibble they can accept.
Most smart pet feeders are designed to be easy to set up, even for those who describe themselves as technologically challenged. While every model has its own unique steps, they generally involve downloading an app to your mobile device and connecting the feeder to your home’s Wi-Fi network. Afterward, you go through the various options, selecting the portion size and feeding schedule, and then filling the storage container with your dog or cat food.
What to look for in a quality smart pet feeder
Smart pet feeders allow you to choose from several meal settings to customize the feeding to your pet’s needs. Depending on the model, you can choose from anywhere from three to 15 meals per day. You can also adjust the portion size.
While it doesn’t make much difference in day-to-day operation, the storage capacity dictates how often you’ll need to refill the feeder. Models with larger storage capacities can go longer before needing to be refilled. However, you’ll also need to consider your space constraints.
The last thing you want is to forget to refill the storage container and leave your pet without food for the day. Some models feature a low-food indicator to reduce the chances of this happening. This may be a notification sent via the associated app or simply a small indicator light on the feeder itself.
Some smart pet feeders have a camera that lets you check in on your pet whenever you feel the need. It’s best to choose a model with a wide field of view so there’s a better chance your pet will be in the frame when you check in.
Voice communication can mean different things depending on the model. On some models, this means you can record a certain amount of messages that it plays at set times throughout the day, generally before or during meals. More advanced models support real-time voice communication, so you can speak to them whenever you want.
Most smart pet feeders connect to wall power via a standard two- or three-prong plug or a USB charger. Ideally, any model you pick should also have a battery backup. This way, your pet still gets fed even if there’s a power outage.
How much you can expect to spend on a smart pet feeder
Smart pet feeders start at around $50. The most advanced models can cost up to $200.
Smart pet feeder FAQ
Can smart pet feeders be used for cats and dogs?
A. Smart pet feeders can technically be used for any animal as long as the portion sizes and the size of the bowl are large enough for your pet.
Can I use a smart pet feeder if I have multiple pets?
A. You can use a smart pet feeder with multiple pets. However, unless you have a separate one for each pet and they’re trained not to eat out of the other’s bowls, there’s nothing to stop one pet from eating both meals.
What’s the best smart pet feeder to buy?
Top smart pet feeder
What you need to know: The Petlibro smart feeder is an excellent option that offers an adjustable meal splitter for two cats.
What you’ll love: The granary-style automatic feeder has a desiccant bag, sealing strip and patented rotor, ensuring that kibble is always fresh. It has a programming feature where it can dispense up to six meals per day at up to 50 portions per meal. You can also record a 10-second voice message to play when it’s feeding time.
What you should consider: It doesn’t have a built-in camera.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top smart pet feeder for the money
What you need to know: This affordable smart pet feeder allows anyone to feed their furry family member up to six times throughout the day.
What you’ll love: The dispenser has an 18-cup capacity, and you can control the dispensing portions, time, and feeding log and trigger a manual feed through the Wi-Fi-connected mobile app.
What you should consider: The dispenser isn’t see-through, so you can’t see how much kibble is left.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: The PetSafe Smart Feeder allows you to feed two animals at once — each in their own bowl — thanks to the inclusion of a split spout and small divider wall.
What you’ll love: You can connect it to Amazon Echo devices for voice control of manual feedings. It provides notifications on your phone when the food is running low.
What you should consider: The bowls aren’t attached to the feeder, which means unruly pets can knock them out of the way, resulting in food dispensing all over the floor.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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