The best cat water fountains provide fresh running water for a week or more, employ smart filtration systems, don’t have a lot of fiddly parts, and are a cinch to clean.
How We Tested:
- We purchased 8 of the best cat water fountains on the market today
- We spent a few weeks testing the cat water fountains on several cats
- We tested several features, including ease of assembly and filtration
- We did not receive these products in exchange for a favorable review. They were purchased with our own money
After hours of research and hands-on testing, we’ve chosen the Petkit Eversweet 2 as the overall best cat water fountain you can buy. With helpful indicator lights, dishwasher-safe construction, quiet operation, and a three-level filtration system, the Petkit Eversweet 2 is a smart, efficient fountain.
But it’s not the best option for everyone. We bought and tested eight water fountains and identified where each one’s strengths and weaknesses lie. Whether you’re focused on budget, need a stainless-steel fountain to fight acne, or have both dogs and cats in the home, there’s something here for you.
Top Picks Explained
Quick Look At Our Top Picks for Best Cat Water Fountains
In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
- Generous 2.5L water tank is detachable for easy refill
- Rechargeable lithium-ion battery for cord-free function
- Dual water modes, continuous or motion-activated
- Features a carbon filter to keep the water tasting and smelling fresh
- Made from easy to clean, hygienic stainless steel
- Elegant ceramic design
But it’s not the best option for everyone. We bought and tested five water fountains and identified where each one’s strengths and weaknesses lie. Whether you’re focused on budget, need a stainless-steel fountain to fight acne, or have both dogs and cats in the home, there’s something here for you.
Why Buy a Cat Water Fountain?
It can be a struggle to keep cats hydrated—dry diets and a low thirst drive combine to make cats under-hydrated and prone to urinary tract stones and other complications of inadequate water intake. When you add on the fact that many cats view their water bowls as dirty, stagnant puddles, chronic dehydration becomes almost inevitable.
Water fountains are a strong solution to the feline dehydration problem.
They oxygenate the water, making it taste fresher than water in a bowl and encouraging your cat to drink more. Secondly, they make life easier for you. Instead of refilling the bowl once a day, you’ll have to refill your cat’s water fountain only once every week or two.
What a fantastic little machine, right? A water fountain keeps your cat’s water cleaner, encourages him to drink more, and cuts back on the amount of time you spend cleaning and filling a water bowl. But pet water fountains aren’t going to work for every cat.
Signs that your cat might appreciate a pet water fountain include drinking water from the toilet or bathroom faucet and playing with streams of fresh water.
Remember, also, that pet water fountains pack the most punch for cats who eat dry food. Cats on a strictly canned or otherwise high-moisture diet may get all—or almost all—the fresh water they need from their food. But a little extra hydration never hurt anyone!
Here’s How We Chose the Top Eight Cat Water Fountains on the Market
Before testing out our eight recommendations, we spent hours researching cat water fountains, establishing what they do, why you might want one, and what separates bad fountains from good ones. In the end, we found several qualities that are essential to the best cat fountains on the market today.
- They’re sturdy and long-lasting. Your cat shouldn’t be able to knock over the fountain and spill water on the floor. Nor should the fountain be made from flimsy materials that break after a couple of months. We looked for water fountains that were well-designed, made from robust materials, and could withstand a few bumps without toppling, keeping water level at a solid rate.
- They’re easy to disassemble for cleaning. You’ll want to wash your cat’s water fountain once every couple of weeks. The best ones make this chore as easy as possible. We looked for fountains that had relatively simple designs, didn’t have a lot of parts that could accumulate dirt, and were easy to break down when it’s time to clean. Ideally, they’re dishwasher-safe so you can pop them into the dishwasher and know you’re getting a complete clean.
- They’re made from hygienic materials. Stainless steel and ceramic are non-porous and less likely to capture bacteria, making them the cleanest materials for water fountains. Other materials—namely plastic—may collect bacteria, promote chin acne, and might need to be cleaned more frequently.
- They have a good carbon filter and prefilter. All high-quality water fountains contain a carbon filter, which captures odors and small particles. Most also feature a prefilter, which captures larger debris before it can reach the carbon foam filter and a submersible pump. By protecting the filter and pump, prefilters help extend the life of your water dispenser without the need for replacement filters.
- They’re quiet and unobtrusive. We looked for water fountains with a reputation for quiet operation and good water supply without a lot of motor noise.
Based on these criteria, we narrowed down our options to eight water fountains that consistently received great customer reviews, were reasonably priced, and had sturdy, reliable designs. We selected the fountains independently with no input from the companies that sell them.
Our top eight water fountains were the Petkit Eversweet 2, Catit Flower Fountain, Petlibro Automatic Pet Fountain, Pioneer Pet Raindrop, Tronssein Battery Operated Cat Water Fountain, PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum, NPET 101-ounce Automatic Pet Fountain, and Cat Mate Fountain.
After The Fountains Arrived, I Subjected Them To A Series Of Tests
Ease Of Assembly
I ran a timer while assembling the water fountains, tracking how long it took to get each one up and running. In addition to tracking the assembly time, I took note of how many parts were involved and the clarity of the assembly instructions.
On average, the water fountains took 2 minutes and 30 seconds to assemble, fill, and start. The Cat Mate had the quickest assembly at 1 minute and 44 seconds, while the PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum took over seven minutes to set up the water flow settings—it took a couple of splashy trips to fill the reservoir and bowl.
After they were assembled, I tested the water fountains’ particle filtration ability, dropping pinches of cat hair into each bowl. After letting them run overnight, I checked to see how much of the hair had been captured in the filters and how much reached the main filter.
The Petkit Eversweeet 2, PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum, and Cat Mate all performed decently in this test, capturing almost all of the hair in the prefilter before it could reach the carbon filter.
Since the Catit Flower cat water dispenser doesn’t have a prefilter, the hair eventually stuck to the carbon filter. Both the Petlibro and the NPET fountains are designed with an enclosed reservoir, so the water flows through the filter after passing through the spout and the water tray. This negates the need for a prefilter but does mean that particles may collect more quickly on the filter.
The Pioneer Pet Raindrop was the outlier in this test. After running all night, the fountain looked the same as it did at the beginning of the test—the hair was still floating in the drinking bowl.
In addition to testing the fountains’ ability to capture hair, I tested their carbon filters by dropping peppermint extract into the clean water and waiting for the filters to neutralize the taste and odor. All of the water fountains performed well in this test, eliminating the mint taste and smell within a few hours.
All of our water fountains cost between $25 and $48, but their maintenance costs varied widely based on the prices of their respective filters.
Our test was limited to a few days, and I wasn’t able to experience filter replacement and operating costs over time, so I did a little research to determine how much it would cost to maintain each water fountain over time.
Most carbon filters need to be replaced once a month, adding up to typical annual costs between $9.33 and $40. The outlier here was the Petlibro Capsule Fountain, which comes with a recommendation for changing the filter every two weeks, though you could probably get away with doing it once a month.
Surprisingly, our most expensive option—the PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum—would likely be the most economical over time.
Yearly replacement costs break down as follows:
- Petkit Eversweet 2 – $40 in normal mode and $13.59 in smart mode
- Catit Flower Fountain – $31 to $62
- Petlibro Fountain – $49.96 to $99.93
- Pioneer Pet Raindrop Fountain – $26.97 to $53.94
- PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum – $9.33 to $18.66
- NPET Automatic Fountain – $12.99 to $19.49
- Cat Mate Water Fountain – $38.85 to $77.70
How often you need to buy a new carbon filter varies based on the quality of the prefilter. So, a unit with a poorly-designed or nonexistent prefilter may translate to more frequent filter replacement.
I ran each of the fountains one by one, taking note of their noise output. I listened for a motor hum and any splashing sounds. The sound of the Eversweet 2, NPET, and Cat Mate fountains was almost imperceptible, while the Catit and Pioneer Pet fountains both hummed faintly as they ran. Though still quiet, the PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum was the loudest of the bunch, producing a distinct hum that you could hear from across the room. It was also the only water fountain with noticeable water noise.
I enlisted the help of my two cats, Wessie and Forest, to evaluate the appeal of the water fountains. The cats showed some curiosity—Wessie seemed particularly interested in the Petkit Eversweet 2 and gave it a cautious nose-bonk—but neither of them took a sip during the duration of the test. Both of these cats eat a high-moisture diet and seldom drink tap water anyway, so this shouldn’t count against the water fountains.
Ease Of Cleaning
After running them for a couple of days, I broke down each of the water fountains and, if possible, put them into the dishwasher. I took note of how easy it was to take apart each fountain and how well each one fit into the dishwasher. If there were any parts that weren’t dishwasher-safe, I took note of how easy it was to handle and clean them by hand.
Best Cat Water Fountains: Our Top 8 Picks Reviewed
Now that we’ve gone over the testing process, let’s discuss the merits of each water fountain individually.