Smart pet water bowls and fountains are getting more and more popular and for good reason. Just like we humans have to drink water to feel our best, so do our furry friends. But with so many choices out there, how do you decide which one is right for you? Read ahead! We’ll break down types of fountains, tips for picking one out, plus a great list of our favorite products of 2022.
Note of Warning 6/14/2022: With record heat across the US, make sure your pets have plenty of drinking water. They can quickly run out and with this heat, it might quickly cause them harm.
Changing out your pet’s water multiple times a day is tedious labor of love, but a smart pet fountain can help save you time. The consistent flow and filtration will let them have a clean drink any time they need it. Not only that, but pet fountains can increase the amount of water your pet drinks each day. This is especially important for cats who primarily eat dry food, but dogs run the risk of dehydration, too. Have you ever caught your cat drinking out of the bathtub faucet or the sink? Maybe your dog is ecstatic when the garden hose is on. Make that joy part of their daily routine with a fountain that works 24/7 to provide them with clean, fresh water.
Benefits of smart pet water fountains
Let’s begin by talking about what makes a fountain “smart.” While app-controlled water fountains are slowly coming onto the market, they have been doing so at a slower pace than smart pet feeders. Part of the reason for this is while you need to portion control your pet’s food, you want to have clean water available to your pets all of the time. Measuring out water doesn’t take into account evaporation or if your pet decides to have a little fun splashing around rather than drinking. So what does make a smart pet fountain smart? These fountains have filtration systems that supply clean, flowing drinking water continuously. There is usually a sponge filter near the motor as well as a charcoal filter. Not only that, most models have an automatic shutoff if the water goes too low, creating a safe product. These smart fountains are superior technologically of course, but also anything that keeps your pet hydrated is the wiser choice for their long-term health.
What kind of smart pet fountain do I need?
There are several different factors when deciding what type of fountain you want to get for your pet. Large dogs or multiple pets will need a fountain with a larger capacity. Anything used outdoors needs to be specifically created for outdoor conditions. If you want to have your smart fountain in an office or bedroom, lookout for something that mentions a quiet motor so that it will not be distracting. Concerned about power outages? Choose a model that has a basin, so even if the water ceases to flow, your pet will still have access to drinkable water. Other than that, smart pet fountains look nice and there are so many fun ones available not. You can go with stainless steel to match appliances, color coordinate with your throw pillows, or go sophisticated with ceramic. Fountains range from around $20 to $100 plus, so there’s something for every budget.
While you usually don’t have to maintain them multiple times a day, pet fountains do require some maintenance. At least once a week, and possibly more, you will need to dump the fountain out, rinse thoroughly with water, and either rinse or change the filter. If you don’t do this, the inside of the bowl will develop a slimy feel and your cat or dog will not want to drink from it. Most pets shed a bit (or a lot!) and it’s inevitable that the hair will end up in the bowl. If left too long, this can clog the filter. Where you put the fountain matters as well. If possible, keep the fountain out of direct sunlight. Not only will the sun evaporate the water, but it can also encourage algae growth. Most fountains require a minimum water level, so you will want to refill or top off regularly. How often you need to do so will depend on how fast your pets drink and how many are sharing the fountain. It’s best to check water levels daily or every other day just to be safe. With minimal care, your fountain will function for a long while.
The Very Best Smart Pet Water Fountains and Dishes of 2022
Classic: Catit Senses 2.0 Drinking Fountain
The Catit fountain is pretty iconic as far as smart pet drinking options go. The cheerful green bowl and adjustable daisy are easily identifiable as a great option for animal hydration. Indeed, this little fountain has over 20,000 five star ratings, truly making it a fan favorite. Since it is so popular, it is easy to find replacement filters, mats, and other matching accessories. It is easy to use and operate, plus your pet can access it from any side due to its circular design. If you’re suffering from analysis paralysis, this is an easy choice that is sure to please. And, if you like things to match, there is a complementary feeder that also provides entertainment for your cat.
- Filters are easy to find and there are plenty of matching accessories
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Water flow and spouts are adjustable
Other Classic Smart Fountains
Veken Pet Fountain with Mat has everything you need to set up a pet watering station. Holding 2.5 liters of water (84 oz) and made from BPA-free material, this fountain will meet your needs without being expensive or fussy.
PETLIBRO has a single spout design and an oval shape that is pleasing to the eye. There are flowing and bubbling options to keep things interesting for your pet, plus the special filter covers more space to ensure optimal water purity.
eufy Cat Water Fountain with Advanced 5-Stage Water Filtration System is simple but gets the job done. If your pet is skittish, there is less bubbling and flow to this fountain, but it still keeps the freshwater coming.
You might like: Our favorite smart pet toys of 2021
Multi-Tiered: PetSafe Drinkwell Multi-Tier Pet Fountain
Drinkwell is a brand you’re going to see featured on this list several times. They understand what pets and pet parents alike want from a smart pet drinking fountain. This nice-looking fountain works for all sorts of decors, and the dual levels gives your pet some variety. It’s also great if you have multiple pets that want to drink water at the same time. Your pet can also choose the most comfortable level, causing less neck and joint strain, making it ideal for senior pets.
- Lets your pet pick the height from which they drink from
- Open basins are great for dogs or cats
- Allows for water consumption even if the power goes out since the basin holds water no matter what
Other multi-tiered fountains
Veken Automatic Pet Fountain also features a two-tiered design. This fountain comes in multiple colors and holds 100 oz. of water, so you won’t have to worry about changing the water too often.
Wonder Creature Pet Fountain combines two-tiered with the pet-attracting daisy spout that adds cuteness to pet supplies. The gentle glowing blue light is soothing and the duel filtration helps keep water fresh.
Stainless Steel: ORSDA Stainless Steel Cat Water Fountain
Stainless steel fixtures and appliances are a design staple in stylish homes, so why not pick your pet’s fountain to match? The ORSDA stainless steel fountain looks great and offers your pet clean drinking water as well. Made from food-grade 304 stainless steel, this fountain is built to last. Plus, it comes with a mat and cleaning tools, so maintenance is a breeze.
- Comes with mat and cleaning tools
- Dishwasher safe
- The design prevents spillage and tipping
Other Stainless Steel Smart Water Fountains
FEIAA Stainless Steel Cat Water Fountain is functional and adorable. The sprout spout combined with sleek stainless steel is a great addition to your home, and the quiet filter is cost and energy-efficient.
OYES Stainless Steel Fountain boasts durability and ease of use. Since it utilizes a USB cable, you have alternate means of running it in a pinch, rather than relying on an adaptor.
Clear: NPET Automatic Water Fountain
The one potential downside to smart pet water fountains is keeping them clean. Since they’re generally low maintenance thanks to motors and filters, it can be easy to forget to check for debris. This fountain solves that problem by having a completely transparent bowl. Not only is that useful for purity purposes, but it also looks cool, too! Pets love drinking from faucets, whether the bathroom sink or an outdoor spigot. NPET got the memo and used the faucet design to lure your cat or dog into better drinking habits.
- Faucet design is attractive to animals
- A clear bowl allows you to be able to tell if there’s any debris
- Sponge and carbon filter for maximum filtration
Another clear smart pet fountain
Icefei Cat Water Fountain combines several desirable features (clear basin, large capacity, flower topper) to make this an enjoyable fountain to look at. The flower topper is even made from clear, food-safe materials.
Ceramic: PetSafe Drinkwell Pagoda Fountain for Cats and Dogs
Plenty of people have ornamental fountains in their homes, and this one does one better by being functional as well. PetSafe designed this fountain to look more like an art piece than a pet supply. If you’re looking for a water dish for your bedroom or office that will also add to the ambiance, this is the fountain for you. Created from porcelain, it not only looks good but is sturdy as well. Of course, it comes with all of the perks a smart water fountain offers, like safer drinking water. Plus, the dual flowing spout is ideal for multiple pets.
- Ceramic is a great aesthetic and sanitary choice
- Dual flow stream oxygenates the water
- Low voltage motor makes it quiet and great for bedroom or office
More Ceramic Smart Pet Fountains
iPettie Tritone has the good looks that come with ceramic, and the round basin holds plenty of water. Another plus is that the round shape allows your pet to approach the bowl from all sides.
Cutest: Catit PIXI Cat Drinking Fountain
Sure, “cutest” is subjective, but this fountain is definitely our pick for the title. The adorable style is functional, as the nose is actually a window so that you can track water levels. Since it’s from Catit, you know you’re getting a quality product. Extra features like anti-overflow, triple action filters, and a 2.5 L reservoir sweeten the deal as well.
- Durable, quiet motor
- Multiple colors to choose from
- Triple filtration system and multiple drinking modes
Another cute fountain
PetSafe Drinkwell Butterfly Fountain has a butterfly instead of the standard daisy design, giving it a sense of whimsy. The butterfly topper is removable, making it usable in multiple ways.
Best for Big Dogs: PetSafe Drinkwell 2 Gallon Capacity
Big dogs require big drinking vessels, and PetSafe makes this happen. With a two-gallon capacity (a whopping 256 oz.!) this fountain delivers. Even pets that drink a lot will most likely have multiple days of use before you’ll need to refill. This highly-rated fountain has pet parents raving about their dog’s increased water consumption. It’s also low maintenance and durable, perfect for busy folks.
- 256 oz. capacity
- Easy to clean
- Good for large or giant breeds, like Great Danes
More large capacity pet fountains
PetSafe Drinkwell Indoor/Outdoor is weather-resistant, and its large size, as well as a higher price, may not be a good fit for some. However, if you need to have multiple gallons and indoor/outdoor accessibility, this is a great choice.
If you’re looking for a full smart feeder with voice control plus a matching water fountain, this set has everything you need. This fountain has a 1L capacity, making it perfect for smaller spaces. Timed food dispensing and voice messages for your pet are great for people who are away most of the day.
- Feeder is programmable
- Great for small spaces
- Easy to install and maintain
Another All-in-one option
PetFun Double Dog & Cat Bowl is an all-in-one food and watering station that comes attached. This water dish is gravity-controlled, so it doesn’t require electricity in order to work. If you’re looking for something simple, this is a great go-to.
Outdoor Pet Fountain: Trio Gato Paw Activated Water Dispenser
This fountain is a departure from the other fountains on our list, but combining playtime and hydration is a very good thing. This fountain is “paw activated” so you’re never wasting water. Connection is easy, and what’s even easier is there is absolutely no bowl to clean. This model is probably not suitable for cats, but it might be humorous to give it a try.
- No bowl to clean
- Easy to connect to the water source
- Paw activated for less waste
Another Outdoor Fountain
BARHOMO Automatic Outdoor Smart Fountain also connects directly to a water source. There are no filters to worry about, and there are sensors to automatically refill as well as stop overflowing.
Smart cat water fountains are created to be energy efficient, and their small motors should not put any strain on your energy bill. Still, it may seem wasteful to have an appliance running 24/7, whether your pet is using it or not. The brand iPettie has come up with a solution to this issue with their motion detector-equipped smart pet fountain. The fountain will run for 60 minutes after being activated. Otherwise, it will be on standby. Your pet still gets clean water on demand, but your electricity is saved in the off-time.
- Motion detector allows the fountain to only run when in use
- 6-stage purification system for advanced water treatment
- The nutrition compartment for electrolyte tabs or medicine is easy to access
Another Motion Detector Smart Fountain
The Battery Operated Cat Water Fountain by Kastty also employs motion detection to stop the machine from endlessly running. This model also has lights that turn on as water is dispensed, giving a nice visual when the fountain is in use. You can choose from USB or battery operation for this device.
Why You Can Trust Ideaing
Since 2013, we have been providing objective insight through our reviews and recommendations. Many hours are spent researching, analyzing, and testing products. After our extensive research on the top smart pet water fountains on the market, these ones are our favorites. If you choose to purchase through our link, we may earn a small commission.
~Frequently Asked Questions~
Q. Why should I get a pet fountain?
A: Pet fountains encourage your pet to drink more water. Flowing, filtered water is attractive to your pets and stays fresher than standing water in a bowl. It’s worth mentioning as well that plenty of the fountains are cute and will enhance your living space. The soft, ambient noise of flowing water is an added bonus.
Q. Can fountains be used for cats or dogs?
A: Most fountains can be used for either cats or dogs. Smaller fountains are often advertised for cats, but will work for small dogs as well. Fountains that have a spout, which is often flower-shaped, may not work as well for dogs. If you want a fountain for a big dog, it’s best to choose something with a large holding capacity and a flat basin. Smaller parts will just get in the way or even pose a choking hazard.
Q. Will any filter work in my cat fountain?
A: No. Fountains come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. While many fountains are round and use similar filters, there are still different sizes and models. Usually, your fountain will come with a few replacement filters. Filters can last anywhere from a week to months, depending on multiple factors. When purchasing, it’s a good idea to look into what type of filters the fountain takes. Then, you can look up the cost and availability of the filters so you can have backups.
Q. Do vets recommend pet water fountains?
Yes. Although a smart water fountain isn’t mandatory, hydration of course is. Access to clean drinking water is extremely important to your pet’s well-being. Running water is enticing to animals, especially cats, and anything that can help them drink more water is a great thing. Of course, it’s important to note that smart pet fountains cannot clean to treat or prevent any diseases. When in doubt, always check with your pet’s vet. With that said, a smart pet fountain is usually a good choice that will not cause harm if used correctly.
Q. Are cat fountains safe?
A: Definitely, as long as they’re used correctly! Fountains made for pets are safe as long as you follow manufacturer guidelines and general common sense. If you want to use your fountain outdoors, make sure to choose one that is created specifically to be weather resistant. Clean your fountain regularly. How often depends upon factors like where you have the fountain if it’s hot or humid, possible insects, and the number of animals drinking from it. A fountain shared by multiple pets will likely get dirty faster, and water levels will also need to be replenished. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning. Most fountains should not be cleaned with harsh detergents, as they will leave a residue. If your fountain gets that unfortunate slimy feel to it, you may try a diluted vinegar solution and then plenty of rinsing. If this does happen, it’s wise to start washing it out more often as well.
Pet fountains are a great addition to your pet care. Making sure your furry friend stays in the best of health requires hydration, and access to fresh water is a must. Why not sweeten the deal with flowing water? Your pet won’t be able to resist. Having a good pet fountain can make your life easier since you won’t have to worry about refilling a bowl several times a day. Everyone wins!
Have you chosen a pet fountain yet? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Note, this article was originally posted on October 21, 2021. We maintain and update the article to keep the most relevant and best products for your consideration. Last updated June 14, 2022.