BEST PET FOUNTAIN
This page is one of a series of educational pages from ThirstyCat Fountains, meant to provide objective information to help inform potential pet fountain buyers about major brands of pet fountains. We provide a detailed analysis you won’t find elsewhere of specific brands, as well as videos done by the owners of the respective fountains, taken from Youtube. Our intent is to arm you with the information you need to make an educated purchase before you buy.
An educated customer is the best customer. Whether you choose a pet fountain from us (thirstycatfountains.com) or buy some other brand, this article will give you the information you need to make an educated decision. Each pet fountain has been objectively evaluated according to the following criteria:
- Materials (of what the fountain is made)
- Design (how water is delivered and how complex are the inner workings)
- Durability (fountain and pump)
- Capacity (how much water the fountain holds)
- Price (initial cost and long term cost)
THE FOUNTAINS WE REVIEWED
DRINKWELL PAGODA PET FOUNTAIN
First up is the Drinkwell Pagoda pet fountain. As for MATERIALS this is made mostly of ceramic. You will see in the video that a soft plastic piece is necessary to fit over the top of the cord channel to hold the cord in place, and the filter housings are of plastic. This may or not be an issue with BPA and chin acne.
The DESIGN of this pet fountain is quite nice in several respects. It delivers two streams, has an upper basin and a lower basin from which cats can drink. There isn’t much room for the cats head in the main bowl so any cat who drinks from there is going to have his whiskers crimped. Because it is rectangular in design it has eight corners which will need thorough cleaning with a brush, which being of ceramic, shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Other than those few attributes this is a well thought out and pleasing pet fountain.
DURABILITY – Ceramic construction of the PetSafe Drinkwell Ceramic Pagoda Pet Fountain enhances the unit’s durability. Ceramic does not deteriorate as plastic will, cannot be destroyed by (most) pets and it is not sensitive to light. Owners say that the pump is reliable, but replacement pumps are readily available should the need arise. As long as the fountain is cleaned regularly and kept filled, wear and tear is minimal.
The CAPACITY of this pet fountain is 8.75 cups – neither too much nor too little. (If the capacity is too high the water may not be changed often enough and if too little needs refilling too often.)
The PRICE of the Drinkwell Pagoda fountain is about $90. The foam filter, which should be replaced about every five weeks will cost about $2 each and the charcoal filters should be replaced every 2 weeks and cost about $2 ea. So, over the coarse of the first year the Drinkwell Pagoda fountain will cost you about $145 and about $55/year thereafter. Over a five year period after purchase you will spend an additional $275 for a total cost including purchase and five years of use of $565.
DRINKWELL ORIGINAL – DRINKWELL PLATINUM PET FOUNTAIN
Below is the Drinkwell Original pet fountain which is nearly identical to the Drinkwell Platinum. According to veterinarians plastic is the least desirable material for a fountain. Lets look at its construction and design and see how that affects both you and your cats.
MATERIALS: As stated, this pet fountain is entirely of plastic. Not every cat is prone to chin acne so plastic by
itself might not be a problem for your cats. Being all of plastic, it will scratch and bacteria will grow in those scratches and that can cause chin acne and other diseases so very thorough cleaning regularly is required as well as regular cleaning with bleach.
The DESIGN of this pet fountain also contributes to the difficulty of cleaning as there are so many nooks and crevices that have to be scrubbed with brushes. Drinkwell sells a set of three brushes for this process for $9.99. Every couple of weeks or so you should use bleach or something similar to get rid of the bacteria build-up. The fountain does produce a nice stream and the basin is wide enough for your pets to drink from.
DURABILITY – Not particularly durable, depending on usage and your pets. It is important to keep the pump clean, which will help it to last longer before replacement.
CAPACITY for this fountain is up to 21 cups, which for a household with several to numerous pets is an advantage. For fewer pets this can be a disadvantage as the water may not be refreshed or the fountain cleaned often enough.
PRICE for this pet fountain is $45. The replacement filters are about $3 and need to be replaced about every three weeks so the cost for the first year will be about $100 and about $55/year thereafter or $275 over a five year period after purchase for a total cost including purchase and five years of use of $320.
MATERIALS: The Pioneer Raindrop Pet Fountain is made of lightweight stainless steel so will not scratch and cause chin acne. The stainless steel construction is dishwasher safe.
The DESIGN of the Raindrop pet fountain gives a running stream of water from which your pets can drink but not a free-falling stream for those cats who love a tap or falling water source so is not good for longhair cats who will get their fur wet from drinking either from the running stream or from the bowl.
DURABILITY is good. Be sure to keep it clean and clean the pump so that it lasts as well.
The CAPACITY of this fountain is 7.5 cups – adequate for most single small pet households.
PRICE of the Raindrop pet fountain is about $45 and a larger model is about $60. The filter should be replaced about every 3 weeks – about $2.5 ea. So the immediate cost is $45. Over the first year the cost will be about $88 and about $45/year plus shipping thereafter. Over a five year period you will spend an additional $225 for a total cost including purchase and five years of use of $270.
PETMATE DELUXE FRESH FLOW PET FOUNTAIN
MATERIALS for the Petmate Deluxe Fresh Flow are 100% plastic.
The DESIGN is such that a slide of water fills the ample bowl. There is a reservoir which attaches to the side of the fountain.
DURABILITY – According to BestReviews, users of this Pet Fountain have durability issues. They say: “If the pump works too hard, it tends to fail. Therefore, scrupulous cleaning is necessary to maintain it.” Even with good cleaning habits, however, users still report it doesn’t last as long as other pet fountains because it is prone to becoming clogged with pet hair and food particles.” Apart from that, the fountain is made entirely of plastic, which is not known for its durability.
CAPACITY – 13.5 cup capacity is ample for several pets yet not too much for a single cat.
PRICE – About $40. Filters cost about $3. Some people say they replace the filter every time they clean the fountain, others say they change it about every two weeks. First year cost then when replacing the filter every two weeks is about $120 and about $78/year thereafter. Over five years you will spend an additional $390 for a total cost including purchase and five years of use of $430.
THIRSTYCAT PET FOUNTAINS
MATERIALS – 100% ceramic with in-house, food safe glazes.
DESIGN – ThirstyCats has many designs from elaborate three tiers to sculpture fountains to simple bubble-ups as shown in the video below. There are designs for every breed type as well as all temperaments. For example there are tall bubble-up designs for long hair cats who want a quiet fountain and there are many designs with streams for those who like to drink from a faucet. They can have this variety because each fountain is handmade, with many designs suited to many different pets, including larger dogs.
DURABILITY – Extremely durable – many owners testify to having had their Thirstycat pet fountain for ten years and more.
PRICE – Prices vary from around $100 to $180 or more. The foam filter which comes with the fountain lasts 2 years and can be purchased for about $9. ThirstyCats offer a carbon filter that lasts 6 months, available for about $10. So, if you purchase a medium priced fountain for $130 and you add a carbon filter which you replace once, your first year cost will be $150. Your total cost including purchase and five years of use of will be $230.
So which is the best pet fountain for you? That will depend on what is most important to you. If short term cost is more important than long term then the Petmate Deluxe or the Raindrop might be the best pet fountain choices. If length of service and long term cost are important you can’t go wrong with the Thirstycat fountain and that will be the best pet fountain for you. It is also the most attractive cat fountain you can buy, if that is important to you. If you have taken the time to watch the videos you should have a pretty good idea of what is the best cat water fountain for your household among these choices.