The Best Automatic Feeder for Cats and Small Dogs: Reviews by Wirecutter

Our also great pick for best automatic pet feeder, the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder.
Photo: Michael Hession

Also great

PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder

Dispenser feeders are great if you have a pet that doesn’t need strict portion control, and if you like the idea of filling the dispenser only every few weeks. The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder is the best set-and-forget dispenser feeder we found, though it still has major drawbacks. It’s easy to program (although slightly more difficult than our main pick, the PetSafe 5-Meal Automatic Pet Feeder) and harder to tip over than most of the feeders we looked at. This model’s hopper holds more kibble than most, up to 24 cups, and since it’s translucent, you can easily see how much is left. It keeps semi-moist food from spoiling for longer than the competition, too. It also comes with a stainless steel bowl, so it’s less likely to trap bacteria that could cause chin acne. Yet like all dispenser-style automatic feeders we tested, it often dispensed too much food, sometimes overshooting by ¼ cup to 1½ cups. The food hopper doesn’t have an airtight seal, so a determined pet could break in, and if you want to plug it into the wall rather than run it solely on batteries, you have to buy a separate power adapter (or the feeder model packaged with the adapter for about $13 more).

The Healthy Pet Simply Feed’s packaging says it’s designed for cats and small or medium dogs, but PetSafe told us any size dog could use it. However, it’s not great for huge dogs or multiples—we found that programming a 4-cup feeding (the maximum amount) dispensed 5¼ cups of kibble, clogging the dispenser chute (and, of course, overfeeding the pet). At 9 by 19 by 12½ inches, the Healthy Pet Simply Feed has a similar footprint to the PetSafe 5-Meal Automatic Pet Feeder but is much taller.

The control panel is located on the front top, where it’s easy to access; several other machines we tested had theirs on the side or under a panel. The Healthy Pet Simply Feed also has a pause button, quick-start preprogrammed kibble measurements for a cat or dog, and the ability to program up to 12 feedings per day, more meals than most of the feeders we tested were capable of handling. It has a slow-feed mode that’ll dispense each serving of kibble over a 15-minute period to help prevent pets from eating too much too fast. You’ll also find a manual-feed option that immediately dispenses the next scheduled meal; it’s a handy feature, but you can use it only once per scheduled meal cycle, unless you go into the setup menu, which resets the counter.

This model was one of three feeders we tested that were designed to dispense semi-moist food (the PetSafe Smart Feed and the Gempet Automatic Pet Feeder were the other two), but since it didn’t make an airtight seal, it didn’t keep things perfectly fresh. We left Purina Moist & Meaty in the hopper for 24 hours and checked on its consistency every few hours, and although most of the pieces in the hopper remained pliant (like Play-Doh), those near the top dried out a little.

The Healthy Pet Simply Feed can handle a wider variety of kibble sizes than most hopper machines we tested. While it easily poured kibble less than ½ inch in diameter into the bowl, it jammed while dispensing our larger test kibbles, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Oral Care (1 by ¾ inches) and Merrick Backcountry Raw Infused (⅜ by ⅞ inches).

Like the Petnet SmartFeeder and PetSafe Smart Feed, the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed comes with a stainless steel bowl. The bowl, the bowl holder, the hopper lid, and the hopper are dishwasher safe, while the conveyor requires hand washing.

Every dispenser feeder we tested, including the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed, was inaccurate. This system’s hopper funnels food onto the conveyor by volume. How much food it loads onto the conveyor basket varies depending on the kibble’s shape, size, and bulk density. Typically, it more accurately measured smaller and rounder kibble pieces than it did larger or tubular pieces. Likewise, on smaller measurements of kibble, like ¼ cup, it was more accurate than on larger measurements.

Programmed feeding (cups) Actual amount dispensed (cups)
¼ ¼

The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed had trouble accurately dispensing even the smallest of kibble shapes and sizes—in this case, Meow Mix Original.

Typically priced at $130, the Healthy Pet Simply Feed is the second-most expensive model we tested, behind the PetSafe Smart Feed (usually $180), and marginally ahead of the Petnet SmartFeeder (typically $120). The other dispenser-style feeders, without app connectivity, averaged $75.

The PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed uses four D-cell alkaline batteries, which should last about a year. The screen features a low-power indicator so pet owners can quickly track the battery life. And a power adapter is available for $13 on Amazon, Chewy, or PetSafe’s site.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *