Friday, July 12, 2013

Best Pet Water Fountain - Drinkwell 360 Stainless

First off, we are a very demanding household when it comes to pet products. We have 4 cats that will put any product through a full stress test. If you're a pet owner, you probably know that most cats and dogs LOVE drinking water out of a continuous stream. Whether it be a kitchen faucet, bathroom sink, tub, etc. Doesn't matter, as long as the water is flowing the pets want in on the action!

Continuous flow fountains are a great solution for keeping those furry family members entertained and hydrated! As the description says: drinking plenty of water is as essential for your pet’s health as it is for your own. By providing a constant stream of falling water, the fountain makes drinking more attractive and fun for your pet, as well as more convenient for you. No longer will your pet have to slurp stagnant water from a traditional bowl.

We've used pet water fountains for at least the last 6 years and could never go back to a traditional water bowl. They absolutely love the constantly running water and it works out very well in that we typically only have to clean or refill the water once a week.

We have read hundreds of individual reviews, watched numerous YouTube videos of other pet owners demonstrating particular fountains and we recently made a change in our preferred go-to choice when it comes to pet fountains. I thought I'd share the results of our labor in case you are in the market for a pet fountain as well.

For the past 6 years or so we have utilized the Drinkwell Platinum and it has been an excellent product. It is a workhorse and although I did replace the last one after about 3 years because it was starting to show it's age, it was still working fine. Their customer support is excellent as well. I had a water reservoir that was cracked in shipping when I bought the 2nd one and I sent them an email and they immediately sent out a new one with no questions asked.

Drinkwell Platinum

Our existing Drinkwell Platinum is also about 3 years old and the submersible pump was on the fritz after we returned from a recent trip out of town and I think the pet sitter tried to fix it and made matters worse. No biggie, I still had the pump from the first one, put that in and we were off and running, however after 3 years the plastic parts that make up the fountain start to collect more dirt and grime in crevices and it takes considerably more time and effort to get things clean. I was also due for some of the Drinkwell Platinum Filters, so instead of ordering those right away, I decided to shop around and see if there were other newer options out there that I wouldn't have to spend as much effort cleaning.

Catit Original on the left, Large New Design on the right

I came across two popular models that I wasn't familiar with, both with the name Catit. There is the Hagen Catit Original and Catit Large New Design. Those appear to be popular and they are specifically for cats, which is fine for us. They get a lot of good reviews, but after watching this Catit Original video and this one for the Catit Large, quickly realized those would not be for us. Our cats would end up playing with both of those just as the cats in the video and we'd be mopping up water all day. They may be great products for some, but not for us.

The one we ended up deciding on was the Drinkwell 360 Stainless Steel pictured above. Since it's from the same maker as our original fountain, we had no concerns about quality. I was very excited (yes happy cats and less work excite me) to see that there is a stainless steel fountain out there with great reviews. I've had it running for a few weeks now and it has been wonderful! All of the cats warmed right up to it and they even experimented with all the ways they could drink from it. They drank from the stream directly, drank from the cone that the water falls down onto and also drank from the bowl part down below and it was a huge success and no splashing!

On the old fountain, one of the cats would stick his paw in the water and scoop it onto his paw, getting cat hair, litter or whatever else was on his paw into the water. I'd usually have to spot clean the water at least once a week, sometimes more and then do a full cleaning once a week or if I was lucky, I could go a week and a half. So far with the new one I've gone 2 weeks and have not seen him put his paw in the water and I have not had to do any anything other than pour some more water into the fountain. So it is successful on all fronts. And the bottom bowl is very large so you could easily use this fountain for any size dog as well.

The fountain comes with several different flow pieces to suit your needs. You can set it up for between 1 and 5 separate streams. I decided to go with 2 streams, one on each side and so far so good. They don't typically drink at the same time and for the location where we put it in the kitchen, two works out perfectly, but you can go nuts and have 5 streams and turn it into your own personal Zen fountain experience if you'd like!

I read a ton of reviews and many people recommended getting the separate 'forever filter' with 6 month supply of carbon instead of using the factory filters when it comes time to replace them and I ended up ordering that up front as well. It will cost a bit more initially, but it will quickly pay for itself. I used that one instead of the one that came with it the fountain and it works great.

It's been 2 weeks since I got it and although it did not need any cleaning at all so far, I just finished going through and timing myself from start to finish on one full cleaning and without rushing it literally took me 1 minute and 47 seconds! It took about 30 seconds more to fill a pitcher up with water to fill the bowl because I use the filtered water from the fridge door and that is slow. That was really impressive and it requires almost no effort. Unhook the 3 plastic clips holding the center cone down, take the cone off, dump the water, wipe with a paper towel, clip the center cone back on and filler up!

The most important factors for me were ease of cleaning, no splashing messes and of course the approval from our furry family members. Another bonus is that it also looks very cool and is much quieter than our last one as well. I highly recommend the Drinkwell 360 Stainless Steel and 'forever filter' with 6 month supply of carbon. The Drinkwell Platinum is still a close 2nd and a good choice if you you don't mind the extra time to clean it and want to save a few $$. But don't take my word for it, see for yourself how our boys love it! All of them except camera shy Monkey made an appearance.

Update:  I just cleaned it for the second time because I felt weird not cleaning it every week like the Drinkwell Platinum and again it was still SO much quicker and easier.  It's a pleasure to clean it.  One thing to note, if you have hard water like we do in Florida, with no water softener, the stainless steel cone in the middle will get water spots if you have have it setup for 2 spouts like we do.  However, it's not a big deal and I read about that ahead of time.  If you have it setup for 4 or 5 spouts that probably won't be much of an issue because you'll have water constantly flowing down the whole cone. 

Poker drinking from the stream
Sage in mid-slurp
Stinky drinking from the bowl, which is huge
My name is Poker and I approve this fountain!


Anonymous said...

how often do you need to refill the water bowl? I'm looking for something that can last a long weekend without needing to be refilled.

Chris said...

My short answer is that a long weekend shouldn't be a problem at all. With our 4 cats, I could go probably a full week without having to refill it if needed. I usually top it off after 3 days just out of habit, not necessity.

Since it has a 1 gallon reservoir, you could easily test it out before hand. Get a gallon jug and use only that to fill your pet's regular water dish on a normal weekend. If you still have water left in the jug at the end of the 3-4 days, you should be good. Hope that helps!

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bernedoodle melbourne said...

Most pet water fountains use electric motors, therefore some of them may be pretty loud. When there is a lot of commotion surrounding their food and water, timid animals may become scared or agitated and stop drinking. It's a good idea to seek for quieter solutions if you or your pet tend to be sensitive to mechanical noises.

Wayne S said...

Interesting thoughts.

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