Smart Pet Feeders can be a wonderful peace of mind to make sure your friendly fur-buddy is getting their food at the right time. But how exactly do they work?
What is a Smart Pet Feeder? A Smart Pet Feeder is a device that automatically feeds your pet depending on the schedule you set it to. They are WiFi-compatible and may be controlled via
Features will vary depending on which feeder you decide to get. If you also have existing smart devices, you may wonder which one is compatible. Which one is the best cheapest feeder? Which one is the best most expensive feeder? Which one works with WiFi and which one doesn’t?
Keep reading to find out. Be sure to do your research before investing money to find out what to look for in a smart pet feeder.
P.S, cute picture of my dog at the bottom of the article 🙂
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Why Get a Smart Pet Feeder?
Getting a smart pet feeder can be really convenient for when life takes over. We know life can be busy, things can pop up and force you to be away from home. Emergencies happen.
Be prepared and enjoy these benefits:
- Portion Control Your Pets Food – Are you overfeeding your pet? This is a common mistake that most owners make when they first acquire a pet. Always feed your pet the same amount each time and put them on a diet. Give your pet the best health possible.
- Routine Scheduled Feed Times – Does your pet need to be fed early in the morning when you are still asleep? Or maybe you work odd hours? Feed your pet at the same time, multiple times a day, every day.
- Remote Feeding – Feed while you’re away, busy at work or with other events. Perhaps you are working late or on vacation, and don’t want to burden friends and family with feeding them exact sizes.
- Smart Compatibility (Alexa, Google, Nest, etc.) – Do you want to tell Alexa to feed your pets? There are new generations of smart devices that have more smart compatibility.
- Back Up Battery – (Features vary) Worried that your pet won’t get fed in case the power goes out? There are battery
back upsavailable in case this happens.
- WiFi Connectivity and App Control – (Features vary) Want to be able to feed your pet from away home with a press of a button? Smart pet feeders can connect to your WiFi and alert you on an app when your pet was fed, how much, and if the hopper is running low.
- Voice Recording Messages – (Features vary) Want to play a recorded message each time you feed your furry friend? Smart pet feeders may come with this function so your pet can hear your voice each time it’s meal time!
- Camera Monitoring – Do you want to keep an eye on your pet while you’re at home. Many smart pet feeders have a camera so you can monitor them as they eat. Great for new pups or checking on your pet.
As you can see, there are tons of benefits of getting a smart pet feeder. It can really come in handy when you are away from home for long periods of time.
Also great for portion controlling how much your pet eats.
What to Look for in a Smart Pet Feeder?
Smart Pet Feeders can be expensive. You’ll want to make sure you pay attention to detail on what features and specifications it comes with.
It would be unfortunate if you were expecting your smart feeder to be accessed from an App on your Smartphone, only to find out it can only be configured on the device.
- Number of Meals You Can Schedule – Do you want to feed your pet 2 times a day or 5 times a day? Making sure you know how many meals you can schedule a day is important.
- Amount of Food That Can Be Dispensed – Do you have a large pet or many pets that you need to feed? The minimum amount of food is dispensing may be too little or too much. Maybe you only want to feed your pet 1/8th of a cup and it dispenses a minimum of
1/4thof a cup. Check beforehand!
- Alerts – Do you care to know when your pet is fed? What about when the hopper is low on food and you need to refill it? Or when you are entirely out of food? Phone alerts can be very helpful in these situations.
- Camera Included? – Maybe you don’t need a camera because you’ll already be home while the automatic feeder goes off, but just need something to help you portion control. A camera might not be needed.
- Quality – Material – Do you care if the material is cheap plastic? Or do you want something higher quality and don’t mind spending the extra money for one.
- Amount of Food it can Hold – You probably don’t want to refill the hopper multiple times. Do you have a big dog that needs a lot of food during each meal? Do you have multiple pets so you need it to dispense more food?
- Customer Support – If your expensive smart feeder breaks, you need a good and responsive customer service agent ready to help you. There are companies with great products and terrible support. Keep an eye out for those.
- Easy Configuration – You don’t want to spend 20 minutes figuring out how to convert measurements for how much food to portion out. You don’t want to struggle
settingthe schedule and gettingstuck. Get a smart feeder that is easy to set up and running quickly.
As you can see, there is a lot to digest here. But it’s important because you are spending your hard earned money. You want the best of the best without breaking the bank.
How Much Do Smart Pet Feeders Cost?
I would like to consider myself frugal, so determining how much money I can save on daily purchases is always at the top of my mind. First, lets cover how much smart pet feeders can cost.
How much do smart pet feeders’ cost? Generally smart pet feeders’ prices go from $50 – $300.
That is a big gap. It’s because the more expensive options come with fancier features like a built-in camera and WiFi connectivity.
Usually the cheaper ones have less features or are only small animal/cat feeders since it can store less amounts of food. It’s why they can sell the product for less. They can also not come with other bells and whistles like camera monitoring or an app to control your device.
Best Budget Friendly Smart Pet Feeders
Our favorite budget-friendly option would be the Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeder Food Dispenser. It hits the key points of a good smart pet feeder. It gets the job done and it’s on the low end of the price point.
- Automatically dispenses food at scheduled times – Dispense and feed your pet at 8:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 6:00 PM every day. Hassle free!
Portioncontrol available – Want to make sure you’re not overfeeding your cat (or dog)? Use the portion option to make sure they are eating the correct amount.
- Magnetic Lock Lid – Many owners have mentioned how this stays locked even when their cats try to claw their way to hit. A lot of other pet feeder owners complain that their pets can get into their feeders container. The Arf is not one of them!
- Records personal voice messages for meal time up to 10 seconds long – Have the ability to play your voice each time it’s time to eat for your fur friend!
- Back up Battery option available – This is great for power outages. When you are away on an emergency and your power goes out – the Arf backs you up with the batteries you put in. This is optional because you can power it by having it plugged in.
It’s been under $100 for most of the time it’s been on sale, but check online for accurate pricing. We suspect its been under $100 the whole time but another seller may have sold it for more than $100 which cause the spike to go up temporarily.
There were a handful of improvements we wish the Arf had. But being at this price point, its understandable.
- No camera included – A camera would be nice to check on our pets but it’s not necessary. It would be nice to have though.
- No WiFi Connectivity or App to control – Everything must be configured on the device so it takes some programming beforehand. We wish it had an app to connect to so we could set everything up from our phones (like everything else).
- No Alexa or Smart Compatibility – We wish this was Alexa compatible at the least, but it isn’t. Not a deal breaker, but good to note for those who desire it.
- Small portions meant for smaller animals – This is in the “Small Animals” category on Amazon. If you have a larger dog or multiple pets to feed, you may be wary of this.
- Programming time in Military time – This isn’t a deal breaker, but more of an annoyance. Having to remember that 13:00 is 1:00 PM can be a nuisance. But it still works and does the job.
Along with the advantages, here are the Specs of the Arf:
- 1-10 Portions per Meal
- Portion is 24ml
- Capacity: 1.14 gallon
The 24ml amount can catch people off guard, but it’s also 24 grams. I’m not sure why the manufacturer described it in “ml” as if to describe it measuring liquids.
The Problem WiFi Presents
The biggest takeaway for me is that it doesn’t have an app or WiFi connectivity capabilities.
This may also be one other factor to not have to worry about though.
With WiFi, there can be
- Feeder cannot connect to WiFi / connectivity issues
- Smartphone loses internet service
- Internet service goes down
As you can see, with WiFi there can be opportunity for more headaches to arise. Many other smart feeders I have read and researched, owners have also complained of WiFi issues.
Budget Friendly Feeder – Runner Up
The runner up for the budget-friendly option would be the WO Pet Feeder
- Big 7L Capacity or 20 Cups of Food – Great for big dogs or multiple pets
- 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon (as of 3/28/2019) – 4.4!
Yesyou read that right. That is a monster rating on Amazon. The biggest online seller in the world.
- Record custom messages up to 10 seconds long
Getting 4 stars and above on Amazon with over 300 reviews is not an easy task. The WO Pet Feeder does
- Instructions for changing the hopper for smaller foods to bigger foods are confusing
- Customer Service is unresponsive
- Portion Sizes difficult to figure out
- Instructions seem like they are not written by native US writers
- Support reaching out to reviewers to remove negative reviews
I am a big believer that any
The Cheapest Alternative:
If you want the cheapest pet feeder available, check out the smaller WO Pet Automatic Cat/Pet Feeder. It is the cheapest one on the market that will get the job done.
This is primarily for cats or small dogs. So if you own a big dog, this isn’t the one for you.
ange Smart Pet Feeders
If you have a little more available funds, you can get more features.
Our favorite Mid-range feeder we recommend is the
It hits all the points you want in a smart pet feeder, but these are the high light
HD Camera and Mic – (Woo!!) This is built into your feeder and lets you check on if your pet is okay and eating. Talk to
Alexa Compatible – There are not a lot of smart feeders on the market that are Alexa compatible today. It is rare to find one. And a good one at that. The JEMPET hits all these bullets by letting you say “Alexa, Feed My Pet!”
Sleek Design and Good Material – There are cheaper alternatives that are made of cheap plastic. The JEMPET is not one of those products. This is well designed and the food trays feel like good quality.
App is user friendly – One thing I hate is when a product has an App that goes along with it, but the App sucks. This is not the case with JEMPET. The app is very intuitive, user friendly, and easy to use. +1 brownie points.
- 12 Meals
- 5g/.17oz Per Portion
- 2.7L Storage Capacity
We didn’t really have too many downsides for the
- Expensive for a ‘Mid Range’ option
- Smaller Amount of Food to Hold (2.7L)
- Does not work with Google Home
If you need to put in wet food, check out their other pet feeder, the
Mid-Range Feeder – Runner up
Our runner up for the Mid-range feeder is the
- No Camera – If you need to keep an eye on a puppy, or perhaps want to visually check on your pet, you can’t with the
- No Mic – No way to communicate
toyour pet while at work.
- No Alexa – We are big fans of smart compatibility, and for spending this much money, we were hoping we could pair it with our Alexa devices.
However, there are still advantages PETKIT brings to the table that other feeders do not have. A few examples of the most important benefits were:
- Very Large Food Holder – 5.9L. Great for big dogs or multiple pets.
- Auto Feeder Never Gets Stuck – If you’ve never had your pet feeder get stuck, it can be very frustrating.
- Double Fresh Lock Design – Keep your pets food fresh!
Coming home to your pet not being fed is very unsettling. You expect this to work flawlessly.
Best Big-Ticket Smart Pet Feeder
Our Best Big Ticket Smart Pet Feeder we recommend is the Petnet SmartFeeder (2nd generation).
It has everything we love in a device, Alexa compatibility,
- Easy to Setup and Configure – We don’t want to spend 30 minutes trying to figure out and assemble this bad boy. Petnet did a great job designing this.
- Locking Lid is reliable – Pet-Proof
self lockinglid is great. It’s also dishwasher safe.
- Alexa Compatible – This is rare. Great for home automation folks.
- Google Assistant Compatible – Another rarity. Great to tell Google to feed your pet.
- Nest Camera Compatible – If you want a camera to hook up and is compatible, the Nest is a reliable camera. It has always been a good camera brand. This is also optional since it doesn’t come with one.
- Removable Bowl – This is so convenient. It seems simple, but comes in handy.
The design reminds me of Apple/Iphones. Clean white design that is simple but good looking.
Appis Terrible – It is obvious they did not spend enough money or attention when they designed the software with users in mind. Very glitchy and slow.
- Support is unreliable and takes long to respond – We need customer service that will respond soon, not after 5-7 days.
- Cannot Disable Button to Manually Feed – There is a big nice button to manually feed your pet. Unfortunately, you can’t disable it. Once your pet has figured it out, it’s game over.
I still love my Petnet but it’s not perfect.
If you really want that Alexa compatibility though, this is still the way to go. Not many smart pet feeders offer this feature, so it’s still a rarity.
Big Ticket Feeder – Runner Up
If cost isn’t a factor in the equation of purchasing a pet feeder, it opens all the doors up to what is available to you. Our runner up for the Big-Ticket option is the PetSafe Smart Feeder. This thing is a BEAST and does everything.
- WiFi and Smartphone App Access
- Slow Feed Option – Dispenses food slowly over 15 minutes to prevent fast eaters from Gulping and Vomiting
- Removable stainless steel bowl
- Splitter Bowl Product Available
Pet Safe is a big name brand and it comes jam packed with a ton of features. We love that it has an app you can use to configure how much and when to feed your pet.
Our favorite feature is actually the unique Slow Feed option that many feeders don’t have.
- No Alexa (Yet) – We expect after spending this much money, that it would be Alexa compatible. Customer Service has mentioned that this in the works, but there is no timeline for the next generation.
- Expensive – You could be paying 2x the amount for a
budget friendlyfeeder. Ouch.
- Only Works When Your WiFi Does – As with all smart pet feeders that are WiFi reliant, this can be an issue.
- 7 Most recent reviews on Amazon are all 1-Star – Take everything with a grain of salt. Although this has 4.0 out of 5 stars (as of 3/28/19), the most recent reviews were terrible. That is a bit suspicious and may deter me.
- No Camera – This is a lot of money to not include a camera.
As you can see, every feeder has its flaws. Pet Safe still comes out with great quality feeders and pet products, but they fall short in some categories. I would still recommend
- Program up to 12 Meals
- Portions are 1/8 cups to 4 cups
- Capacity holds 24 cups total
- Bowl holds up to 5 cups
It’s important to note that the bowl can hold up to 5 cups of food! This is great for big dogs or multiple pets.
Can Smart Pet Feeders use Batteries? Yes, nearly all smart pet feeders have a battery back up option. Normally they use D size batteries and need 3 to 4 to operate.
How Are Smart Pet Feeders Powered? Normally, they are powered by plugging them into a wall. Additionally, they can use batteries to operate.
Do Smart Pet Feeders make a lot of noise? Sometimes, it depends on which one you purchase. Some can be quiet or loud.
Are Smart Pet Feeders for Dogs and Cats? Yes, both can work for dogs and cats. Just be mindful that some are meant for cats and small dogs. If you have a large dog, you may want to pay attention to the amount that can be dispensed and how much food it holds.
Summary & Best Overall Pick
As you can see, there are a ton of smart pet feeders to choose from. We had our original list at over 15 smart pet feeders but have downsized it to a list of 6 good selections to choose from.
Hopefully, splitting it up by different price points and high light features help you pick the best smart feeder for you. Not every feeder has WiFi capability, built-in camera or mic.
If I could go back in time and re-purchase another Smart Pet Feeder, it would definitely be the
Pick whichever one suits your needs the best.
If you have any questions or comments, drop a note below. Thanks for reading.