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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 7 of the best cat water fountains on the market today
- We spent a few weeks testing the cat water fountains on several cats
- 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.
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.
- Carbon filter to keep water tasting and smelling fresh
- Made from easy-to-clean, hygienic stainless steel
- Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
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 crystals 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 only have to refill your cat’s water fountain 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 Five Cat Water Fountains On The Market
Before testing out our seven 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.
- The best cat water fountains are 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 made from robust materials, well-designed, and which 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 it can be. 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. Because they’re non-porous and less likely to capture bacteria, stainless steel and ceramic are 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 to extend the life of your water dispenser without the need for replacement filters.
- The best water fountains are 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 seven 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 seven water fountains were the Petkit Eversweet 2, Catit Flower Fountain, Petlibro Automatic Pet Fountain, Pioneer Pet Raindrop, 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 two minutes and thirty seconds to assemble, fill, and start. The Cat Mate had the quickest assembly at one minute and forty-four 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 the bowl of each. 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 pre-filter 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.
Replacement costs break down as follows:
- Petkit Eversweet 2 – $40 a year in normal mode and $13.59 in smart mode
- Catit Flower Fountain – $31 – $62 per year
- Petlibro Fountain – $49.96 – $99.93 per year
- Pioneer Pet Raindrop Fountain – $26.97 – $53.94 per year
- PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum – $9.33 – $18.66 per year
- NPET Automatic Fountain – $12.99 – $19.49 per year
- Cat Mate Water Fountain – $38.85 – $77.70 per year
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 7 Picks Reviewed
Now that we’ve gone over the testing process, let’s discuss the merits of each water fountain individually.
#1 Overall Best: Petkit Eversweet 2 Review
The Petkit Eversweet 2 is more expensive than most small water fountains, but its smart features aim to make it a cost-efficient long-term investment. When in Smart Mode, the unit uses a light sensor to determine whether it’s day or night. When the Eversweet decides that it’s nighttime, it reduces the water frequency. By slowing down during low-demand times of day, the Petkit Eversweet 2 manages to cut back on energy consumption, pump wear, and filter usage.
In conjunction with the Petkit Eversweet 2’s three-level filtration system, this energy management system allows the filters to last longer than those in most water fountains. If used in Smart Mode, you’ll have to replace the carbon filter once every three months. Most water fountains recommend filter replacement once every two to four weeks.
This boxy 68-ounce water fountain packs a lot of features into a small body and, provided that you don’t have several cats or dogs guzzling water, it should be large enough to keep your fur family hydrated for a week or more between refills.
With indicator lights letting you know when the water is low and when it’s time to change the filter, this is a helpful little device that makes water fountain management easy. When it’s time to wash the Petkit Eversweet 2, it’s easy to pull apart the nested components and pop the plastic parts into the dishwasher.
What We Liked:
- Features three filters for superior longevity and water freshness
- Easy to disassemble and clean in the sink or dishwasher
- Indicator lights tell you when the water is low and when it’s time to change the filter
- The attractive, boxy design fits into a modern decor scheme
- Large capacity reservoir
What We Didn’t Like:
- Doesn’t have any adjustable flow control or varied flow functionality
- Small capacity may not be enough for every home
#2 Runner-Up: Catit Flower Fountain Review
The fountain’s easy assembly, whimsical design, and low price have made the Catit Flower Fountain a perennial favorite among cat guardians.
The water fountain has a generous 100-ounce water capacity and is easy to assemble. After you fill the bottom bucket with water, insert the filter disk and waterfall attachments, then start it up. Depending on how you adjust the center flower, the fountain can create free-falling streams, gentle bubbles, or calm streams.
Though it’s not noiseless, the Catit Flower Fountain is a quiet unit. The motor produces a faint, almost imperceptible hum.
By virtue of its plastic construction, the fountain isn’t as hygienic as a ceramic or stainless-steel unit. Though it’s easy to disassemble and easy to clean by hand, Catit doesn’t say the fountain is dishwasher-safe. Many customers, however, say they’ve successfully cleaned it in a dishwasher.
According to some customer reviews, the filter has a tendency to get dirty fast. The carbon filter is seated right under the waterfall top, exposing it to any debris and hair that drops in. With no prefilter to catch large particles, everything goes straight to the activated carbon filter.
During our hair test, the Catit fountain was the only one to catch hair on the carbon filter. Though it’s the cheapest fountain on the list, its exposed carbon filter needs to be replaced frequently, adding up to at least $30 in annual filter replacements.
The water fountain isn’t the sturdiest on the market, so it’s not the best option for particularly rowdy homes. The top of the fountain sits on top of the water reservoir without anything holding it in place. This means that if you have dogs or active cats, they can easily topple the fountain or knock off the top in the heat of playtime.
What We Liked:
- Large water capacity allows you to refill less often
- Adjustable flow cap allows you to create varied drinking experiences for your cat
- Cute, colorful design makes it a fun addition to your home
- At just over $26, this fountain is a good value for the money
- Popular and well-loved by cat guardians
What We Didn’t Like:
- Not the sturdiest water fountain on the market
- Doesn’t have the most robust filtration system
- Made from plastic, not stainless-steel or ceramic
#3 Quietest Fountain: Petlibro Capsule Automatic Pet Fountain
While many cats enjoy drinking fresh water, the sound of a pet fountain can be alarming. The Petlibro Capsule Automatic Pet Water Fountain is one of the quietest models we’ve tested. In fact, the Petlibro features a special patented valve that quiets the fountain’s noise right at the start. It also integrates noise-insulated tubing for added noise dampening.
In addition to running silently, the Petlibro offers strong filtration to keep the water smelling and tasting fresh. With the fountain’s stacking design, water flows through the filter after being pumped into the drinking basin, so pet hair and other debris gets trapped in the filter tray before being cycled back through the reservoir.
In terms of setup and maintenance, the Petlibro is very easy to set up and its unique design makes it easy to refill without having to completely disassemble it. You simply remove the filter tray and water tray then you can carry the unit to the sink to refill.
The biggest downside with the Petlibro is the cost of maintenance. Petlibro recommends replacing the filter every two weeks, though you may be able to make it last for 3 or 4 weeks in a single-cat household. You can purchase replacement filters in a 4-pack for about $16 which puts your annual maintenance costs near $100 if you follow through with two-week replacements.
Though the Petlibro is one of the more expensive options we’ve reviewed, we love how easy it is to set up and maintain. The transparent tank makes it easy to monitor the water level and we appreciate its quiet performance as well.
What We Liked:
- Translucent tank, easy to monitor water level
- Built-in noise-insulation tubes reduces operation noise
- Two drinking modes: bubbles or flowing stream
- Easy to clean, rounded corners don’t accumulate bacteria
What We Didn’t Like:
- Replacing filters every 2 weeks can be expensive
- May not be ideally sized for multi-pet households
#4 Best Stainless-Steel Fountain: Pioneer Pet Raindrop Stainless Steel Pet Drinking Fountain Review
When hygiene is a priority, stainless steel water fountains like this one are your best option. Compared to plastic, stainless steel is less likely to collect bacteria and other contaminants. When it gets scummy, the fountain is a cinch to disassemble and safe to pop into the dishwasher, making cleaning almost completely effortless for cat owners.
Compared to the white or gray plastic of the other fountains on this list, the Pioneer Pet Raindrop tends to show dirt more easily. After just hours of use, I noticed smudges and smears on the high-gloss surface.
This elegant, low-slung water fountain has two drinking areas—a freshly-aerated pool and a bubbling river. It’s one of the smallest fountains on the list, carrying 60 ounces of water. This is plenty enough for one cat, but if you’d like a larger fountain, consider Pioneer Pet’s 96-ounce raindrop fountain.
Of the fountains on this list, the Pioneer Pet Raindrop is one of the most streamlined and easiest to assemble. The carbon filter and pump are built into a single compact unit that sits on the floor of the fountain. Suction cups hold the unit to the bottom and help to ensure that the pump lines up with the top of the fountain.
The Pioneer Raindrop fountain is a no-fuss, no-frills option but what it lacks in style it makes up for in hygiene and ease of use. It’s the kind of water fountain you can clean quickly and it stays cleaner longer than other fountains because it’s made from hygienic materials.
What We Liked:
- Features a carbon filter to keep the water tasting and smelling fresh
- Made from easy to clean, hygienic stainless steel
- Elegant ceramic design
What We Didn’t Like:
- Lacks adjustable flow control
- Shows dirt quickly
- Does not have an isolated pump system
#5 Best for Multi-Pet Homes: PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum Review
This one is a classic: it has over 8,500 reviews on Amazon and is consistently ranked as one of the best water fountains you can buy.
The water fountain has a huge 168 oz water capacity, allowing you to use it for long periods of time without refilling with a good amount of water. It’s a good option for multi-cat households in which multiple animals share a single water fountain.
It scores points with its adjustable flow control and the appeal of free-flowing water. Cats who love to drink from a running tap will appreciate the free-falling stream and others will prefer to drink from the lower basin. The water fountain features a prefilter to capture large particles and a carbon filter to remove unwanted tastes and odors from the water.
This water fountain is made from BPA-free plastic – less hygienic than its stainless steel or ceramic counterparts. It’s safe to wash it in the dishwasher on the top shelf. While its dishwasher-safe design makes it easy to clean in theory, the unit’s oddly-shaped large parts are a little bit tricky to pull apart and may not fit well in your dishwasher.
Another drawback of this water fountain is its construction and appearance. It feels cheap as soon as you pull it out of the box, with loosely-fastened parts that rattle with every touch. For a water fountain that costs almost $50, we’d prefer sturdier plastic, better construction, and more attractive design.
This PetSafe fountain is also one of the loudest we’ve reviewed. Not only did the motor have a noticeable hum, but the water made noise as it splashed into the bowl.
While the PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum is one of the pricier options we’ve reviewed, it may actually be more economical than other fountains over time. I was able to find a pack of 12 replacement filters for just $9.33 – ideally, that equates to about a year of maintenance for under $10.
What We Liked:
- Appealing free-falling water stream
- Large water capacity (168 ounces)
- Dual filtration system to keep water fresh and the pump running smoothly
- Adjustable flow control
What We Didn’t Like:
- Plastic construction feels and looks cheap
- The shape of the parts makes handling, filling, and cleaning a minor challenge
- Doesn’t come with a replaceable carbon filter
#6 Most Versatile Fountain: NPET 101-Ounce Automatic Pet Fountain Review
This automatic pet fountain from NPET is remarkably similar to the Petkit Eversweet 2 in form and the Petlibro Capsule fountain in function. It features a square shape with a 101-ounce reservoir and all the parts are stacked together into a compact unit.
The NPET fountain is made from transparent, BPA-free plastic. Because it is clear, you can easily monitor the water level and check the water quality as well. This is a fairly low-tech option that doesn’t come with any indicator lights, but you don’t really need them.
While this pet fountain is fairly simple in design, it does offer one unique feature which sets it apart from the others on this list – it comes with three different flow modes. Choose from a standard waterfall, a bubbling fountain, or a three-way leaf design that produces separate streams. With all of these options, you can customize the NPET fountain according to your cat’s preferences.
In terms of setup and maintenance, the NPET fountain took a little longer to put together, but only because the pictures in the manual were very small and a little difficult to decipher. The unit was up and running in a little over 3 minutes and, once it was, it was incredibly easy to refill – you just pop the to piece off and refill it in the sink.
One thing worth mentioning with this fountain is the filter. It is made from ion exchange resin and activated carbon. The carbon filter is paired with high-density cotton which performs the function of a pre-filter. Like the Petlibro, the NPET filters water after it passes through the drinking bowl.
Overall, the NPET fountain is a versatile, moderately sized option that works reliably and is very easy to clean. Plus, you only need to replace the filters every two months and they are fairly inexpensive.
What We Liked:
- Choose from 3 different flow modes
- Generous 101-ounce reservoir
- Transparent, easy to monitor the water level
- Simple to disassemble and easy to clean
- Carbon filtration system, lasts for 2 months
What We Didn’t Like:
- May not be ideal for multi-pet homes
- Plastic materials aren’t as durable or hygienic as stainless steel
- Setup can be a little confusing the first time
#7 Budget Option: Cat Mate Pet Fountain Review
This ultra-quiet water fountain is one of the most affordable choices on this list and an all-around good option for budget pet owners. It’s the only water fountain on this list with a 3-year warranty, giving you peace of mind in case something goes wrong years down the road.
It’s made from BPA-free plastic but doesn’t have the robust feel of the Eversweet 2 or the Catit Flower Fountain. Instead, the plastic is lightweight and slightly flexible.
It has a compact square design with several different levels and drinking stations. Water cascades down from the top bowl into a second level, then tumbles down a ramp into the bottom basin. The ramp reduces splashing and reduces water noise. Speaking of noise, this is one of the quietest water fountains we’ve tried. The motor produces a faint, almost imperceptible, hum, while the water makes barely a sound.
The Cat Mate fountain has a carbon filter to minimize odors, plus a prefilter that captures larger debris. In our hair test, the Cat Mate’s prefilter worked extremely well, collecting the cat hair before it could reach the carbon filter and pump inside.
Of the water fountains on this list, the Cat Mate is the easiest to assemble and break down. In our tests, it took just one minute and thirty seconds to get the Cat Mate set up and running. With just two plastic parts and almost effortless disassembly, this water fountain is a breeze to break down and wash. It’s dishwasher-safe and its moderately-sized square pieces fit easily in the dishwasher.
With a 70-ounce water capacity, this fountain is on the smaller side, but it’s large enough to satisfy the needs of most cat-only households.
What We Liked:
- Carbon filter eliminates odors and bad tastes
- Adjustable water flow
- Multiple drinking areas for a varied experience
- Extremely easy to set up, disassemble, and clean
- Safe to clean in the dishwasher
- Has a longer warranty than the other products on this list
What We Didn’t Like:
- May not have a large enough water capacity for every home