What's the best automatic pet kibble feeder for 2021?
November 22, 2021 8:04 AM   Subscribe

My arfpets kibble feeder lasted 3 years...which isn't terrible but I'd like one to last longer. Per their customer service there is no repair program either. I just need it to dispense 1-2 meals a day, plug-in with battery back up preferred. Absolutely do NOT want it to connect wifi or alexa or anything like that. I am willing to spend up to $200 for something that's durable, dependable and can be repaired.
posted by genmonster to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Edited to add: I'd be looking for one that holds many days' worth of food, not one that has to be refilled every week!
posted by genmonster at 8:07 AM on November 22, 2021

Do you need measured doses or would a gravity feeder work?
posted by bbqturtle at 8:35 AM on November 22, 2021

The site is a bit old school, but one of these is on my list for whenever our current feeder breaks. It's slightly DIY in that you have to use a lamp timer (or similar) to trigger it because it simply dispenses whenever power is applied. You'd have to add a battery (maybe a cheap computer UPS?) but this is about as simple and foolproof as it gets.

https://superfeederstore.com/cat-feeder-csf-3-only-with-stand-and-bowl/, lot of other options on the site as well

Looks like they can add in a timer now as well: https://superfeederstore.com/automatic-pet-feeder-csf-3-rtu-ready-to-use-stand-bowl-analog-timer/
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:20 AM on November 22, 2021

I have to put two major caveats recommendation. One, depending on the type of kibble, it is prone to jamming and will display "F 02" and refuse to dispense anything. At a minimum it should beep to alert you, but it does nothing. So I wouldn't really trust it if I were going away for a week. Most of the time it goes weeks or months without jamming. Two, as you might have gathered from the agressively unhelpful error message, it has a very primitive user interface. Like, if your VCR was blinking "12:00" for the majority of the 90s, you will not be able to figure out how to set this thing. I am the tech support for my extended family, even operating systems that I have never used, and I have to pull out the manual every. single. time.

Otherwise I'm very happy with it. If you read the reviews some people say that their cats are a bit too crafty and can stick their arms in but we have never had that problem. It runs great on a set of 4 NiMH batteries for at least a month or two, definitely no app b.s.
posted by wnissen at 10:26 AM on November 22, 2021

I don't know about repairable, but we've had this feeder for just about two years and it seems pretty darn indestructible. The menu/setup process is pretty annoying and overly complex IMO but once you get beyond that it's worked well for us. Edited to add that the power adapter is bought separately, here if you want it.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 2:12 PM on November 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

Our Blitz Automatic Dog Feeder is one of the best purchases I have ever made, in any category of household products. Sadly, it looks like they no longer make them, or at least I'm not finding them at mainstream sources. If I ever have to replace ours, I'll be searching eBay and the like until I find one (and will happily pay a premium). Googling does turn up some similar-looking products under different names.

The "automatic" is misleading - it's gravity-based (and therefore only works if all your animals will refrain from overeating). That means no electric/electronic parts to wear out.

I think I got it around 2013? We've had it forever, still works like new. It's a (metaphorical) tank (if tanks were made of heavy-duty plastic). Holds *almost* an entire 30-lb bag of kibble. Love-love-love this feeder; it's truly set-and-forget.
posted by commander_fancypants at 3:23 PM on November 22, 2021

I have an Aspen Pet feeder that I bought secondhand, and my cat has been kicking the hell out of it for two years so far with no actual damage. It requires 3 D batteries, but they last a long time, like nine months with 2 x quarter-cup feedings a day (the batteries last about six months after the low battery light comes on, the display will become dim when it's really time to change them).

I removed the bowl and put the feeder on a placemat because the bowl-kicking was the noisiest part of Herself trying to get the 1-2 extra kibbles she can retrieve through hard work and persistence.
posted by momus_window at 3:48 PM on November 22, 2021

We’ve had the same PetSafe feeder that wuzandfuzz linked, above, and can echo their recommendation. We’ve been using it for our cats for close to five years and it’s rock solid. It holds a couple of weeks of food, so it’s mostly set and forget. The only downside is that programming is a pain, we have to look up the right combination of button presses in the manual each time. But I don’t think that’s a huge deal. Otherwise, it’s a solid device.
posted by dorothy hawk at 8:43 PM on November 22, 2021

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