11 Best Automatic Pet Feeders for Cats & Dogs

automatic pet feeder

123RF (Alexander Kharchenko)

If work or play make it so you can’t be home at a consistent time to feed your dog or cat, an automatic pet feeder might be a good choice for you. Pets like a reliable schedule and will be less stressed in general if they can count on one, and tech-savvy pet owners know that a little technology can go a long way. For both weight control and schedule maintenance, learn more about the best automatic pet feeders on the market below.

Which automatic pet feeder is best?

PetSafe Smart Feed Wi-Fi Enabled Automatic Dog and Cat Feeder Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Smartphone programmable
  • 1/8 cup to 4 cup portions
  • Slow feed mode
Price: $99.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
WOPET SmartFeeder Automatic Pet Dog and Cat Feeder Amazon Customer Reviews
  • HD video and two-way audio
  • Up to 6 meals a day, up to 39 portions
  • Two portion size wheels included
Price: $169.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
SureFeed Microchip Connect Pet Feeder with Hub Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Opens only for pet with corresponding microchip
  • Companion app and wifi connectivity
  • Integrated scale weighs food in the dish
Price: $253.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
PETKIT Automatic Smart Feed Pet Food Dispenser Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Wifi, smartphone, and Alexa enabled
  • Up to 10 feedings between 1/5th and 4 cups
  • Sleek look with color options
Price: $139.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
HoneyGuaridan A36 Automatic Pet Feeder Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Infrared anti-jam mechanism
  • Up to six meals per day with up to 80 portions
  • Voice recorder for meal time call
Price: $65.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Wireless pet tags feed automatically
  • Alerts for bad feeding habits
  • Up to 24 meals per day
Price: $199.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Variable portion control
  • Up to four meals per day
  • Battery or adapter powered
Price: $79.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Five meals of up to 3/4 pound of food
  • Interior ice packs keep food fresh
  • Works for wet or dry food
Price: $44.69 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Crown Majestic Platinum Series Dog and Cat Automatic Pet Feeder Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Inexpensive
  • Integrated water dispenser
  • Easy to program
Price: $64.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Aspen Pet Lebistro Programmable Cat and Dog Feeder Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Inexpensive
  • Large hopper capacity
  • Good for pets of various sizes
Price: $69.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Petmate Replendish Pet Feeder Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Very inexpensive
  • Multiple color and size options
  • Requires no programming nor power
Price: $60.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. PetSafe Smart Feed Wi-Fi Enabled Automatic Dog and Cat Feeder

    Pros:
    • Smartphone programmable with up to 12 meals a day
    • 1/8 cup to 4 cup portions
    • Slow feed mode disperses portions over the course of 15 minutes
    Cons:
    • Some units experience jams depending on food used
    • Wifi connectivity can be spotty if your network isn't robust enough
    • No alerts to remind you to refill hopper

    Just like our favorite pet cameras, this automatic pet feeder is app-enabled, which allows you to ensure your dog or cat is fed both in the event that you’re out of the house when you don’t mean to be and even if you haven’t set up the feeding program yet.

    The hopper on this feeder holds 24 cups of food, which will last around a month, depending on the feeding cycle you select. Your options range between 1/8 of cup to 4 cups at a frequency of up to 12 times per day, but you can also initiate a feeding any time you need it. A slow feed option meters out each feeding slowly to act as a slow feeder bowl and reduce gulping.

    The stainless bowl is removable and dishwasher safe, as are the lid, hopper, and bowl holder. It uses a PetSafe’s power adapter, but you can install four D cell batteries as a backup in the event that power goes out or your wifi drops to allow it to continue with the last program.

    PetSafe offer a variety of automatic feeders, including one similar to this without the wifi and smartphone connectivity called the Simply Feed. For simple daily schedules, consider the Digital Two Meal Automatic Feeder, which also comes in a cheaper analog version and five-meal or six-meal versions.

  2. 2. WOPET SmartFeeder Automatic Pet Dog and Cat Feeder

    Pros:
    • HD video and two-way audio with recording capability
    • Up to 6 meals a day, up to 39 portions
    • Two portion size wheels included to tailor to your pet size
    Cons:
    • "HD" camera is only 720p
    • Not the best build quality
    • Notification only alerts you when food is gone, not low

    Even more similar to a pet camera, this automated pet feeder is indeed a camera with wifi-enabled two-way audio. In addition to setting up the feeding program, you can use this device to check in on your pets and even record their antics or feeding behaviors – or simply use the audio to call them to their meal.

    The generous hopper can hold about six pounds of food, which is metered out using one of two included portion control wheels to match the size of your pet. Each meal can dispense between one and 39 portions, with four portions being about half a cup of food.

    Like the PetSafe, this can be powered with the included adapter or three D cell batteries. Also like the PetSafe, WOPET offers a number of related options, including the LCD-based 6 Meal Pet Feeder, a four meal version with color options, and one that looks like a cat, for some reason.

  3. 3. SureFeed Microchip Connect Pet Feeder with Hub

    Pros:
    • Opens only for pet with corresponding microchip
    • Companion app and wifi connectivity to monitor pet's eating habits
    • Integrated scale weighs food in the dish
    Cons:
    • Does not portion and set meal schedules
    • Expensive for what it is
    • Must be run on C cell batteries

    While most automated feeders look to solve the issue of delivering meals and controlling portion sizes when you’re not there, this one solves a different problem. This feeder scans your pet’s microchip and opens only for that pet.

    This can solve the problem of fighting at mealtime, as well as ensuring that the right pets get the right food. For example, if you want to feed diet cat food to one but not the other, you can put it in this to keep it safe. Or, conversely, if you set out only diet food for free-feed but want your pet to occasionally have a wet food meal or a full-calorie dry food, you could fill this at that time and the corresponding pet will be able to open it.

    This version integrates with an included wifi hub, which relays information about how much your pet is eating and when via scales integrated into the base. You can use this information to diagnose potential unnoticed health issues or track their diet.

    You can buy a second Connect dish so that each can be programmed with a specific pet – good for small dogs and cats living in the same house, for example – to expand functionality. There’s also a cheaper standard version which omits any wifi and smartphone integration and simply locks food up until the right pet approaches.

    You’ll still have to fill this for basically every meal, but a neoprene liner means you can load it with wet food and they can eat at their own pace while the food stays fresh. This comes with a three year warranty in case of any issues and can be used with Avid Secure and FDXA/B microchip numbers. Note that there is no option to power this from the wall; you’ll need C cell batteries to run these.

  4. 4. Petkit Automatic Smart Feed Pet Food Dispenser

    Pros:
    • Wifi, smartphone, and Alexa enabled
    • Up to 10 feedings between 1/5th and 4 cups
    • Sleek look with color options
    Cons:
    • Can be slow to connect to wifi
    • App could be better
    • Customer service is lacking

    If you’re looking for an option that fits into a modern home design a bit better, you might consider this offering from Petkit. Most of the other options both on this list and available on the market look very much like a utilitarian, even ugly pet device, while this looks like a router or a speaker.

    This is a wifi, app-controlled unit allowing you to schedule up to 10 meals a day between one and 20 portions and 1/5 of a cup up to four cups. The hopper holds six pounds of food, which should be enough for about a week in most cases. There are both a low level and an empty alert, unlike some other options which only alert you when totally empty. It’s also controllable with Alexa, if you prefer.

    Like other options, there’s a battery backup in case of power outages.

  5. 5. HoneyGuaridan A36 Automatic Pet Feeder

    Pros:
    • Up to six meals per day with finite portion control
    • Infrared light monitors dish to prevent spills and blockages
    • Voice recorder for meal time call
    Cons:
    • No wifi or smartphone capability
    • For larger pets, you may need to use more meals for one feeding to avoid jamming
    • Controls not very intuitive

    Combining a few features from the options above at a lower price, this HoneyGuardian unit also throws in a few extras. The first is an infrared light meant to detect food in the dish to prevent spills and jamming should a pet miss a meal. You can also record a voice greeting to invite your pet to come eat. 

    The screen shows six locks that correspond to each of the six programmable meals, which can be set between one to 80 portions of 1/16 of a cup. The bowl holds three cups at a time and the logo on the front will light up in red when full.

    The storage capacity is a bit more limited at 13 cups, and they specify that the kibble size should not be larger than 0.6 inches in order to avoid jamming. Other than that, though, you can use just about any shape.

    One thing to note that eluded some users: the clock uses 24 hour time and can’t be changed, so keep this in mind when programming. This uses a USB-type DC power adapter or four D batteries which will last about a month. The dish, dish holder, and hopper are all dishwasher safe.

    If you have two pets, you can extend the function of this with a two-way splitter made just for this. They also make an automatic pet water fountain.

  6. 6. Wireless Whiskers AutoDiet Pet Feeder

    Pros:
    • Wireless pet tags automatically feed the right amount for up to eight pets
    • Alerts for when a pet eats less than 65 percent of allowance
    • Up to 24 meals per day
    Cons:
    • A dedicated cat or dog will be able to break in
    • Sensors sometimes don’t recognize tags
    • Tricky menu interface

    While this option doesn’t have any smartphone compatibility, it uses a novel approach to solve some issues with other feeders. Where others use a mechanism of some kind to deliver the food, this one is based around a simple plastic hopper.

    The tech comes in with automatic doors that open and close based on the presence of wireless tags your pet wears. Each tag has its own profile set to deliver a measured amount of food before the doors close again. You can have up to eight tags programmed into each unit so every pet gets a specific meal plan.

    Two tags are included, and more can be purchased from the manufacturer’s website. The company recommends this for pets up to 18 inches tall, in part because the tags won’t trigger if the animal is too tall. Some reviewers note that putting the feeder on something helped to improve the response from the feeder.

    Like the other options, this can be run off the wall or with battery backup.

    VideoVideo related to wireless whiskers autodiet pet feeder2018-10-27T18:31:56-04:00

  7. 7. Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeder

    Pros:
    • Record a ten second meal alert to call your pet to come eat
    • Choose one to ten portions up to four times per day
    • Can use batteries or included adapter (batteries will act as backup for power outages)
    Cons:
    • No smartphone integration
    • Portion size is fixed at 24mL
    • Some quality control issues

    This newly-updated feeder combines a few simple features for a relatively inexpensive option. It uses a set portion size (24 mL) with the meal size determined by how many portions you program it to feed, from one to ten.

    This can be done for up to four meals per day. You can record yourself calling your pet to come eat, which will play at each meal time.

    The hopper holds about 18 cups of food and is sealed shut with a magnetic strip. An alarm will sound when the hopper needs to be refilled. The dish is large enough to work for a good size dog, too.

    This is a relatively basic option that has proven quite popular.

  8. 8. Cat Mate C500 Automatic Pet Feeder

    Pros:
    • Five meals of up to 3/4 of a pound of food
    • Interior ice packs keep food fresh
    • Clear, easy to understand LCD screen
    Cons:
    • Battery operated only (though lasts up to a year)
    • Only holds five meals worth
    • No smartphone integration

    Sometimes the simplest answer is best. This cheap and cheerful option still provides a couple of upgrades over its PetSafe competition. Ice packs fitted under the five-compartment bowl help to keep food fresh for longer, which means those weekend trips won’t mean your cat misses out on wet food.

    The lid and bowl are both dishwasher safe, and wash of the compartments holds three quarters of a pound of food. The LCD screen clearly displays the current time and the programmed meal times and is much simpler than some of the other options to program.

    Alternatiely, Cat Mate also make a more conventional automatic feeder for dry food, as well.

  9. 9. Crown Majestic Platinum Series Dog and Cat Automatic Pet Feeder

    Pros:
    • Inexpensive
    • Integrated water dispenser
    • Easy to program
    Cons:
    • Despite name, not majestic to look at
    • Construction could be better
    • No camera, wifi, or smartphone integration

    If you want an option that also supplies them with fresh water, you might consider this option. A simple gravity-fed water bottle is integrated into this automatic pet feeder so both are always ready to go.

    Otherwise, this is a fairly standard affair, using an LCD screen and simple button interface for programming. You can feed up to four meals a day with portion sizes of 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, or one cup of food. The hopper holds 4.4 pounds, so you should get a decent amount of time out of a fill up.

    This is powered by the included adapter or four AA batteries. It’s not much to look at, but the price is lower than a lot of similar options.

  10. 10. Aspen Pet Lebistro Programmable Cat and Dog Feeder

    Pros:
    • Inexpensive
    • Large hopper capacity
    • Good for pets of various sizes
    Cons:
    • Can only be programmed for up to three meals
    • No wifi, smartphone, or camera integration
    • Can be manipulated by pets to dispsense even when it isn't mealtime

    One of the simplest options on this list, this model focuses on volume. Available in both 18-cup and 30-cup hopper sizes, this can be set and forget for a good number of days before you have to do anything with it.

    The dish is large enough for most animals and portion sizes can be adjusted between 1/4 cup and three cups per meal, up to three meals a day. The hopper twists closed to keep things fresh. Both the hopper and the dish can be removed for cleaning, but are not dishwasher safe.

    These come in the pictured black, as well as a nickel finish in 18 cup or 30 cup size.

    They’re not foolproof, as cats can reach up the chute and get food to fall out and some dogs have had success rattling the hopper to get a few pieces to fall out. Still, if your pet doesn’t do either of those things, this is a relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use option.

  11. 11. Petmate Replendish Pet Feeder

    Pros:
    • Very inexpensive
    • Multiple color and size options
    • Requires no programming nor power
    Cons:
    • Will not work for pets with no restraint
    • Not dishwasher safe
    • No advanced features whatsoever

    If “automatic” to you means simply providing food on demand for your pet, you can save a lot of money by going with something as easy and obvious as a gravity feeder. These options from Petmate are made with Microban to inhibit growth of bacteria.

    Operation is as easy as filling it up with your choice of food. There are four sizes available – 2, 5, 10, and 18 pounds – in various colors depending on which size you need: Pearl Blue, Peacock Blue, Silver Gray, Mason Silver, and White.

    These aren’t dishwasher safe, but they’re very easy to clean by hand. There’s a matching waterer to go with it, as well.

    If you prefer, you could go with the Pet Cafe version and matching waterer, or the Mason jar styled waterer. Alternatively, if you want even more volume, you could get a Pet Lodge Little Giant Chow Hound, which holds 25 pounds of food and works in a similar way.

    Naturally, this does not portion meals, so it won’t work if your pet has no impluse control or needs to lose weight. This is a convenience for you more than anything and works well with trustworthy grazers.

What Is an Automatic Pet Feeder?

As the name implies, an automatic pet feeder or pet food dispenser is any device that makes food available to your pet without your intervention every meal time. This reduces stress for both owner and pet by ensuring a reliable feeding schedule no matter what happens in the course of a day.

These feeders take two primary forms: 1. Gravity dispensers like the Petmate Replendish, which constantly keep a food dish full by allowing food to fall from the hopper as needed. These are great for pets who don't overeat and can naturally eat until full and go about their day.

They are not good for pets who are overweight and need to have their meals portioned specifically. For that, you need to consider 2. Electric automatic pet feeders, like the PetSafe Smart Feed. These types break down into a further two sub-categories - smart feeders and timer-based feeders.

Smart automatic feeders are wifi enabled, sending information about your pet's meals to your smartphone and allowing you to initiate a feeding whenever needed. You can set up and modify the schedule remotely, and some even allow for two-way audio and camera feeds so you can check on your pet like you would with a pet camera.

Timer feeders simply allow you to set the clock on the unit itself and then tell it how much to feed at what times of day. These have no smart integration and aren't particularly advanced, but they do portion food effectively and tend to be cheaper.

Both types usually have a hopper so you can put multiple days worth of food in at once. This is good for convenience and for vacations or business trips.

Typically speaking, these are best used for dry dog food or dry cat food, though some models allow you to use wet pet food, as well.

How Does an Automatic Pet Feeder Work?

Electric models generally feature a hopper full of food which is metered by a portioning wheel that turns at the alloted time and drops food into the dish. Some models have more than one wheel so you can adjust for the size of the kibble, while virtually all of them allow you to specify how many portions to feed per meal.

The simple ones work just like an outlet timer or an alarm clock, actuating the feeder wheel at the specified time. The vast majority of these are for dry food, but models like the Cat Mate C500 use a rotating dish that reveals a new compartment at the specified time. In the case of that style, you still need to measure when you fill each compartment, but feedings are still timed appropriately.

If you set the portion size quite small and opt for a model with many feeding time slots available in a day - some only have three or four for normal meals, but some have more - you can also use these as a slow feed dog bowl. Your dog can only eat what's dispensed, so having the machine slow them down can also be useful.

Of course, the main attraction for these is for helping your cat to lose weight. Portion control can be difficult when attempting to help your cat get in shape, but you can take your mind off the struggle by setting up one of these devices and adhering to the programmed schedule.

It should be noted that these aren't a substitute for spending time with your pets. Much like pet cameras and self cleaning litter boxes, these machines aren't infallible, and at the end of the day, don't stimulate or take care of pets as well as you do. Still, if you're anxious and have an unpredictable schedule, this can make life easier for both of you.

See also:

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