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The best automatic pet feeders you can buy

The best automatic pet feeders can feed your furry friends if you commute to work, are on vacation, or want to make your pet sitter's life easier.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer and  Rebecca Isaacs, Staff Writer
Reviewed by Kayla Solino
Petlibro Automatic | Best automatic pet feeder overall
White pet feeder with dry pet food in its bowl
Petlibro Automatic
Best automatic pet feeder overall
View now View at Amazon
Petlibro Polar Wet Food Automatic Feeder | Best automatic pet feeder for wet food
Overhead shot of an automatic pet food feeder with wet food in it and and orange cat
Petlibro Polar Wet Food Automatic Feeder
Best automatic pet feeder for wet food
View now View at Amazon
DoHonest Automatic Feeder | Best automatic pet feeder with a camera
White pet feeder with dry pet food in its bowl and a dog with its tongue out on the floor next to it
DoHonest Automatic Feeder
Best automatic pet feeder with a camera
View now View at Amazon
Petlibro Automatic Feeder for Two | Best automatic pet feeder for multiple pets
Black automatic pet feeder with two separate bowls attached to it
Petlibro Automatic Feeder for Two
Best automatic pet feeder for multiple pets
View now View at Chewy
SureFlap SureFeed Microchip Automatic Pet Feeder | Best automatic pet feeder for special diets
White pet feeder with dry pet food in its bowl
SureFlap SureFeed Microchip Automatic Pet Feeder
Best automatic pet feeder for special diets
View now View at Chewy

Whether your dog's extra pounds have turned into a health hazard or you just keep forgetting to fill the cat's food bowl, it's time to invest in an automatic pet feeder to keep your fur babies happy and healthy. Smart feeders help pet owners and pets keep track of when feeding time occurs as well as how much food gets added to their dishes.

Also: The best pet cameras

Automatic feeders can make sure that your pet gets precisely the allotted amount of food they're supposed to eat daily. Many of the best automatic pet feeders come with smart features, like Wi-Fi connectivity, and some can even handle feeding Fido for over a week before a refill is needed (and if you forget, don't worry -- they will let you know). 

Also: Everything you need for a smart pet setup

What is the best automatic pet feeder right now?

Our pick for the best automatic pet feeder is the Petlibro Automatic. We combed through other options on the market, taking into account smart features like Wi-Fi connectivity, number of feeding times, and portion sizes, to find the best ones for all kinds of pet parents.

The best automatic pet feeders of 2024

Pros & Cons
  • 2-inch deep stainless steel food tray
  • Physical buttons to program feeding times
  • Not Wi-Fi friendly
  • Tray may be too small for multiple pets
More Details

This Petlibro Automatic is the best automatic cat feeder, but it's designed for both cats and small-to-medium-sized dogs. It comes with a 2-inch deep stainless steel food tray for when you need to wash out the bowl, but it helps keep kibble in the bowl and, most importantly, not in the surrounding area.

You'll be able to read the time in clear numbers on the screen and program the pet feeder with the physical buttons front and center. The pet feeder can dish out up to nine different portions of food from one to four times per day. 

In the event of a power outage, the feeder can use three D-cell alkaline batteries to keep the food going until power is restored. If you have more than one furry friend, it comes in two sizes: 4L and 6L.

Verified Amazon customers praise that the feeder is easy to set up and use, and that the device lasts years of use.

Petlibro Automatic features: 2-inch deep stainless steel food dish | Backup battery option for power outages (batteries not included) | Two food tank options depending on household size

Pros & Cons
  • Keeps wet food fresh for up to 3 days
  • Customize feeding schedule on app
  • Easy to clean
  • Very large
  • Needs to be connected to Wi-Fi
More Details

It's hard to keep wet food fresh in an automatic feeder, and while most other brands on the market use ice packs to do so, Petlibro's Polar Wet Food Automatic Feeder utilizes semiconductor cooling technology that acts like a refrigerator to keep wet food fresh and cold for up to three days. 

Review: My cat Norbert gives this automatic wet food feeder two paws up

I was able to go hands-on with this device and after trying it out with my cat, Norbert, for a week, I rest easier knowing he won't be waiting up for us to get home for his wet food dinner. For more extended weekend getaways, this will be a lifesaver for us to ensure his feeding schedule remains the same. 

You can set up a feeding schedule on the accompanying Petlibro app, but you can even make sure your pet ate its food thanks to the Anti-Pinch infrared lid sensor, which tracks how long your pet was eating at the device, ensuring it doesn't close on your furry friend mid-feed. However, you can also customize how long the food compartment stays open (up to 30 minutes) if your pet is a slow eater or a grazer. 

One Reddit user noted that the feeder saves them from having to get up early to feed their cat, and that it does well keeping the wet food (even specialized wet food) cool. 

Petlibro Polar Wet Food Automatic Feeder features: Holds 220ml of wet food | Semiconductor cooling technology keeps wet food fresh for up to 3 days | Accompanying app 

Pros & Cons
  • Easy setup and cleaning
  • Built-in camera
  • 5GHz and 2.4GHz Wi-Fi compatibility
  • Not suitable for larger kibble
  • No color night vision
More Details

Want to up your game with a built-in camera for your pet feeder? Whether you want to be able to call them over when it's dinner time or watch to make sure your fur baby eats their meals, the DoHonest automatic pet feeder will let you check in on the camera from anywhere using your Android or iOS device.

The desiccant on the inside of this smart feeder's lid helps keep food fresh to make pet parents' lives easier, knowing their fur baby remains a happy and healthy pet. 

If your pets are used to hearing your voice at mealtimes, you can record your own voice messages and set custom feeding calls to summon them while the feeder dispenses the kibble. With a large, 8L capacity food tank, this feeder can keep your cats or dogs happy for a few days.

Verified Amazon customers praised the camera on this feeder, especially noting the night vision it provides. 

DoHonest Automatic Feeder features: 8 L food tank | 1080p camera with night vision and two-way audio | Wi-Fi app control

Pros & Cons
  • Touchscreen for programming feedings
  • Black plastic design to hide dirt marks
  • Adjustable food splitter
  • Larger kibbles may not fit
  • No Wi-Fi-enabled features
More Details

With a 5L capacity and two stainless steel food bowls, this Petlibro automatic pet feeder can feed two cats at the same time (provided they want to share, of course). The black design is great at hiding dirt from messy mouths.

Set one to six meals per day, including up to 50 portions per meal with 20 ml for each portion. If you want to manually reward your cat, you can press a manual feeding button on the touchscreen to dole out an extra portion. Like the Wopet, it features a 10-second audio call to alert your cats that it's time to eat. 

As a personal user of this cat feeder, one of the features I really enjoy is the adjustable feeding splitter to allow for different amounts of kibble to flow into each of the two bowls. The splitter will allow the portions to flow into the food bowl depending on your cats' needs. You can also opt for the single bowl model, too.

Overall, 94% of Best Buy customers who purchased this feeder would recommend it to other pet parents, giving it an average rating of 4.8 out of 5.

Petlibro Automatic Feeder for Two features: Two stainless steel food bowls | Up to 50 portions per meal | 10-second audio call for pets

Pros & Cons
  • Microchip-compatible feeding
  • Easy to program and operate
  • Easy to clean
  • Not designed for larger breeds
  • Geared toward cats
  • Expensive
More Details

So you've got two different pets with two different diets; the good news is that with the SureFlap SureFeed automatic pet feeder, you can use their microchips to allow certain furry friends to feast when they're hungry. All 9 (Avid Secure), 10 (FDXA), and 15 (FDXB) chips are compatible with the automatic pet feeder.

It uses a plastic covering to ensure that only the pet(s) that you want eating from the food tray will be able to eat from it. The cover lid opens when pets get close and shuts when your designated pet walks away. This makes it easier to control who's eating where and when. To further keep pets out, a neoprene lip seals any food into an airtight space to keep wet food moist and dry food safe. The bowl can hold up to 13.5 fluid ounces of cat food, so you don't have to constantly refill the bowl. It also operates on batteries for ease-of-use.

One Reddit user praised the feeder saying, "I'd recommend it to anyone with cats on opposite ends of the food motivation scale (or one cat with a special diet)."

SureFlap SureFeed Microchip Automatic Pet Feeder features: Microchip-based signals | Airtight neoprene lid | Battery-operated (batteries not included)

What is the best automatic pet feeder?

Our pick for the best automatic feeder is the Petlibro Automatic Feeder for cats and small or medium dogs. Its easy-to-understand LCD screen tells you exactly when meal portions will dispense and how many portion sizes will be included with each meal. 

It's also easy to program and easy to clean, and it can hold enough kibble that you won't have to worry about your furry friends for some time. It also features a deep stainless steel bowl to make sure the kibble stays in the bowl and not all over your floors.

Best automatic pet feedersZDNET's takePriceSuitable forTank capacityConnectivityExtra features
Petlibro AutomaticBest overall$70Cats and dogs up to 44 lbs4L or 6L-LCD screen, battery backup, 10-second voice recordings
Petlibro PolarBest for wet food$1301 cat220 mlWi-Fi and an appAnti-Pinch infrared lid sensor, semiconductor cooling technology
DoHonestBest with camera$130Cats and dogs8L2.4GHz & 5GHz Wi-FiBuilt-in camera, large capacity, battery backup, 10-second voice recording
Petlibro for twoBest for multiple pets$76Two cats and/or dogs5L-Meal splitter, battery backup, 10-second voice recording
SureFlap SureFeedBest for special diets$228Cats and small dogs0.4L-Airtight lid, only opens for compatible microchips

Which is the right automatic pet feeder for you?

Though we consider the Petlibro to be the best automatic pet feeder overall due to its features that make for wide compatibility with different pet owners, the right automatic feeder for your needs may be different.

The best automatic feeders for your pets will largely depend on the kind of pet you have, whether you have a dog or a cat, how many meals you'd like to store in them, and your pet's eating habits. It's also worth considering what extra features are important to you, like a camera, voice recording capabilities, or extra bowls.

Another aspect to keep in mind is how much space you have to devote to an automatic feeder, especially as the sizes vary widely from more compact options like the Wopet to the much larger Petlibro options.

Choose this automatic pet feeder...If you want...
Petlibro AutomaticA large kibble storage tray that can last a long time between refills but still keeps the dry food fresh for your pet. It also lets you record your voice for up to ten seconds, giving a new meaning to a dinner bell.
Petlibro PolarAn automatic pet feeder that can keep wet food fresh. It has three different meal compartments and keeps food fresh for up to three days.
DoHonestTo be able to watch and talk to your pets via the built-in camera. It can also send you real-time notifications to your mobile device for any motion detected near the feeder, so you know when your cat finally decides to finish his food.
Petlibro for twoTo feed multiple cats or dogs that enjoy eating together. This device also works to feed large dogs that wouldn't typically use an automatic feeder as there's more space for kibble with two bowls.
SureFlap SureFeedTo feed a pet with special dietary restrictions. The neoprene lid ensures freshness and restricts access to other pets that you want to keep from accessing any special or prescription food.

Factors to consider when choosing an automatic pet feeder

Before you make the switch to an automatic pet feeder, there are a few things to consider:

Capacity: Each pet feeder holds a certain amount of food, so look at what different capacities would hold more or less food (meaning you have to refill with food either more frequent or less frequent). 

Pet type: Different pet types require different kinds of food bowls. For example, cats prefer a shallow bowl that allows them to eat the bottom without bending their whiskers. On the other hand, some dogs prefer an elevated food bowl, especially if the dog is bigger or has joint issues. 

Features: Consider special features in automatic pet feeders like Wi-Fi connectivity, accompanying apps, cameras, touchscreens, and more. 

Price: Automatic pet feeders will greatly range in price, depending on the factors above. The low price range is around $50-$60, while the higher-end price range sits around $130-$230.

How did we choose these automatic pet feeders?

At ZDNET, we love our pets, so when choosing the best automatic pet feeders, who only recommend products we would use with our own fur babies. For products we have tested, we pay attention to if our pet(s) liked the device, if it lived up to its claims, and if it was easy for the pet to use. 

For products we have not gone hands-on with, we look at customer reviews (both good and bad) as well as competitor analysis to make our final picks. 

What should you look for in a pet feeder?

It depends on your needs. Do you want one with Wi-Fi so you can check on your cats' food levels while you're out of town for the weekend? Or perhaps you want one that just dispenses kibble?

In general, you should take into consideration the size of the kibble tank. After all, the larger the tank, the longer the food will last. One of the most important features, however, is the kibble sizing. You want to make sure the pet feeder you choose can fit the size of your chosen kibble.

Other factors to consider are how many times you want to feed your pet during the day. If they require small, frequent meals, then more feedings built into the software is best. However, if they don't require a lot of feedings, one that operates more than four times per day may not be the best choice for you.

How do you set up an automatic pet feeder?

It depends on the pet feeder you purchase. Each automatic pet feeder comes with instructions in either a pamphlet or a guide book. Be sure to read through the instructions very carefully. 

If you're still unsure how to set it up after reading the instructions, you can also google how to set up the automatic feeder of your choice.

What is the purpose of an automatic pet feeder?

An automatic feeder ensures that your fur baby gets fed at regularly-timed intervals. Say, for example, you have a small dog that gets fed at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily, but you're delayed by that missed commuter train. An automatic feeder can make sure that your dog still gets his dinner.

It works the same way if you decide to go on a weekend trip. While we don't recommend leaving your pet unchecked, if your trip gets delayed, you can focus on getting home safely while knowing your cat has food, water, and a litter box while you're away.

Are there any alternative automatic pet feeders worth considering?

Yes; we linked a few below that are definitely worth considering for your pets.

View at AmazonView at AmazonView at Amazon
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