Whether you have outdoor cats or are looking after a colony of stray and feral cats, you know how important it is to provide your cats with water. But if you also live in a cold part of the world, you’re going to be running into the problem of the water freezing and your cats losing access to this all-important resource. This is where heated water bowls come in handy.
If this is your first heated bowl and you’re not sure where to start or even if you’re replacing one, we created reviews of the 10 best heated water bowls for cats. These should help take some of the guesswork out of the process, and you should find the right heated bowl that will work for your needs.
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The 10 Best Heated Water Bowls for Cats
1. Petleso Heated Water Bowl — Best Overall
|Size:||9.45 x 3.34 inches|
The best overall heated water bowl for cats in cold weather is the Petleso Heated Water Bowl. It’s made with durable BPA-free plastic and has a 5.4-foot stainless-steel cord that will resist biting. It keeps the water temperature between 77°F and 95°F (25–35°C), and there’s an on/off switch and indicator light that will let you know at a glance that it’s turned on. It has anti-skid pads on the bottom and is well-priced.
There are only a few flaws with this bowl. For one, it doesn’t turn itself off like other heated bowls when it’s warm outside or if there isn’t any water left in the bowl. Plus, some cats might not love drinking the warm water.
2. K&H Pet Products Thermal-Bowl — Best Value
|Size:||11.5 x 4 inches|
The best heated bowl for cats for the money is the K&H Pet Products Thermal-Bowl. Not only is this bowl a great price, but it also has a steel-wrapped 5.5-foot cord, so it’s sturdy and bite-proof. This bowl doesn’t really heat the water but keeps it from freezing over. It is low-energy usage at 25 watts and has been MET certified.
The main disadvantage is that the heat is concentrated in the bottom rather than the sides of the bowl, so on frigid days, the top of the water might freeze.
3. K&H Pet Products Thermo-Kitty Café — Premium Choice
|Material:||Stainless-steel and plastic|
|Capacity:||12 and 24 ounces|
|Size:||8.5 x 14 x 3 inches|
|Color:||Black and silver|
The best premium choice for a heated water bowl is the K&H Pet Products Thermo-Kitty Café. This is the only bowl on our list that is specifically for cats, so it’s a smaller size and can hold both food and water. It has two stainless-steel bowls of different sizes (one holds 12 ounces and the other 24) and a steel-wrapped cord that measures 5.5 feet. Both bowls are easy to remove from the base and to clean by hand or in the dishwasher. It is also MET certified.
However, it is rather expensive, and it tends to keep the water at too warm a temperature if it isn’t freezing outside.
4. Farm Innovators Heated Pet Bowl
|Size:||12 x 4.75 inches|
The Farm Innovators Heated Pet Bowl is well priced and has a steel-wrapped cord to prevent chewing. This bowl is thermostatically controlled and should turn on when it is about 35°F (about 2°C) and turns off at 45°F (7°C). It’s made with durable plastic and is easy to clean, and it uses 60 watts of power.
Unfortunately, the cord is only 4.6 feet, and it’s quite large if you only have one or two cats. Some bowls also tend to stop working after just a few winters.
5. Namsan Heated Pet Bowl
|Size:||11 x 5 inches|
Namsan’s Heated Pet Bowl is a plastic BPA-free bowl that keeps the water temperature set between 77°F and 95°F (25–35°C). The cord is chew-resistant and steel-wrapped and is about 5.5 feet long. It has an off/on switch and a red-light indicator that lets you know when it’s on. It has several foam pads on the bottom to help stop it from slipping.
It does tend to keep the water a bit too warm for drinking, and it’s also quite big for cats. It also doesn’t turn off automatically and might slowly burn the bottom of the bowl if there’s no water.
6. Petfactors Heated Pet Bowl
|Size:||10 x 4 inches|
|Color:||Green camouflage, blue leaf, pink polka dots|
The Petfactors Heated Pet Bowl has an off/on switch and a red-light indicator, so you know that it’s on at a glance. It comes in three colors/patterns: green camouflage, blue leaves, and pink polka dots. It keeps the temperature of the water between 97°F and 109°F (36°C–42°C) and has a chew-resistant cord that is 5.5 feet long. It also has the safety feature of an automatic turn-off or standby switch when there’s no water in the bowl, so you can keep it running continuously.
However, it does keep the water warm, which might be too warm for some pets, but this also causes the water to evaporate more quickly. Also, the interior of the bowl is a little rough in texture, which can lead to the growth of algae and bacteria.
7. K&H Pet Products Stainless Steel Thermal-Bowl
|Size:||13 x 3.5 inches|
K&H Pet Product’s Stainless-Steel Thermal-Bowl keeps the water from freezing but doesn’t seem to make it too warm for drinking. It’s made with stainless steel, so it’s sanitary and easy to clean and has a 5.5-foot cord that is chew-resistant due to being steel wrapped. It is MET certified and is a sturdy bowl that isn’t easy to tip over.
However, if your cat is a chewer, the steel wrap doesn’t cover the cord all the way to the bowl, so it can still get chewed up a little. Plus, if it’s particularly cold out, it might not be able to prevent the water from freezing over entirely.
8. Allied Plastic Heated Pet Bowl
|Size:||10.5 x 4.25 inches|
Allied’s Plastic Heated Pet Bowl is a good size for cats and is built to not tip over and has a 5.5-foot steel-wrapped cord to prevent chewing. It will keep the water from freezing over but doesn’t make it too warm to drink. It’s durable and quite easy to clean.
One of the problems with this bowl is that while it’s a great size for cats, it’s too small if you’re taking care of multiple cats. The water will also freeze a little easier due to the small size.
9. K&H Pet Products Slate Gray Thermal-Bowl
|Size:||10.5 x 3 inches|
The K&H Pet Products Thermal-Bowl is made with BPA-free plastic and has a 5.5-foot steel-wrapped cord. It is MET certified, so it’s sturdy and safe. It only heats the water mildly, so the water should still be cool enough to drink, and it should be safe if it runs while there’s no water (it’s only 12 watts). It’s also sturdy and not easily tipped over, and it’s well-priced.
Several of the flaws include that it is one of the smaller ones, which will work if you only have one or two cats, but this bowl might be too small if you’re looking after multiple. It also might not be able to keep the water thawed in frigid weather.
10. Farm Innovators 1 Quart Heated Pet Bowl
|Size:||7.75 x 4.5 inches|
The Farm Innovators Heated Pet Bowl has a 5-foot cord wrapped in steel and is made with durable plastic. It’s a good size for cats, and it has an internal thermostat that turns on when it’s cold enough to freeze water so it can remain plugged in. It’s also quite sturdy and not easy to tip over.
However, it’s a little pricey, and it doesn’t always work reliably. Sometimes it works, but you might find that there are days that it doesn’t. This might also be related to how cold it is.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Heated Water Bowl for Cats
Before you settle on a heated bowl, look at our buyer’s guide. We go over a few important bits of information for you to think about before making your final decision.
How much water the bowl holds is dependent on what you want to use it for. If you’re providing water for anything that comes into your backyard (feral cats, squirrels, birds), you’ll want to opt for a large-capacity bowl, but if it’s just for a few cats, the small sizes are best. Always double-check the size listed, and don’t go by the photos provided on the product page.
Also, keep in mind that the larger the bowl, the longer it takes for the water to freeze, and you don’t have to fill it quite as frequently — although you should still clean it often, of course.
Not too many bowls have this feature, but it is a nice one. This way, you don’t have to constantly plug it in and unplug it when the weather is unpredictable. The bowl will work only when the temperature is cold enough to freeze the water. That said, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to get in there and clean it and refresh the water frequently, anyway, so don’t let this be a make-or-break factor.
The temperature that the bowl can get to depends on the wattage. The higher the wattage, the higher the temperature that the bowl can create. Some bowls are not designed to warm the water but just prevent it from freezing, while others will actually keep the water warm. Then you have to decide if your cats will drink the water regardless of how warm or cold it is.
Where you place the bowl will make a big difference in how it works. Your best bet is to keep it in a more sheltered area, particularly out of the wind. This is even more important if you have a lower wattage bowl, as it won’t be able to “keep up” with the elements.
The Petleso Heated Water Bowl is the best overall. It keeps the water temperature at a high enough level and should be effective at keeping the ice away. The K&H Pet Products Thermal-Bowl is not only a great price, but it’s also effective at warming the water up just enough. Finally, the K&H Pet Products Thermo-Kitty Café is the only bowl on our list that is specifically made for cats and has two removable stainless-steel bowls.
We hope that our reviews have helped guide you in your decision for a heated water bowl. It’s an amazing thing to help keep animals healthy and thriving over the difficult winter months.
Featured Image Credit: Amazon