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Automatic pet feeders are a handy device for dog and cat owners. In their simplest form, these feeders are containers with a timer you can set to make sure your pup or kitty gets kibbles at 6 p.m. sharp. Higher-end models may include programming portion sizes, adjusting dispensing schedules with an app, and automatically ordering more food when your supply is low. The best pet feeders will give you peace of mind that your four-legged pal won’t go hungry if you run late on your evening commute.

How we chose the best automatic pet feeders

Here at PopSci, we’ve got many pet parents with regular vet visits, pet insurance, and care from a pet sitter when we’re out of town. When we evaluate pet products, we value the overall experience of our furry friends over convenience for humans.

Programming: If you’re on the go and need something to ensure your pet gets fed at the correct times each day, the feeder’s programming needs to be top-notch. We looked for systems with LCD screens or apps that allow you to program multiple meal times so you only have to worry about it once, then feel safe and secure knowing your pet will be fed on schedule.

Portion control: Recent data from the Pet Obesity Prevention Society shows that 59% of dogs and 61% of cats are overweight or obese. We selected pet feeders that allow users to control portion sizes, though it’s important to check with your vet about using an automated feeder if your pet has health issues.

Accuracy: Another thing to remember with automatic pet feeders is the accuracy of the meal portion. If you’re helping your pet drop some pounds, you must ensure each meal is the right size. The feeders chosen in this article should be accurate once you’ve set and scheduled one.

Size/capacity: Whether you’re going to be out for a few hours (a busy day with back-to-back meetings) or a few days (a weekend trip away), you need to know that your automatic pet feeder will be able to hold the correct amount of food for that time frame. Some feeders only handle up to five meals, while others can hold many more. You must consider this to know how often you’ll need to refill the machine.

Brands: Even with our budget pick, we stuck to top brands sold at major pet retailers that consumers rated highly.

Extra features: We looked at higher-end models with interactive features like voice recordings and smartphone connectivity, but these features aren’t necessary for every pet parent. Keep in mind that automatic feeders are a complement to regular pet care and should never replace a pet sitter.

The best automatic pet feeders: Reviews & Recommendations

Always check with your vet to ensure an automated feeder is right for your pet’s diet, age, activity level, and other factors. Once given the all-clear, pick a feeder from our choices below that balances your pet’s personality with your lifestyle (and maybe snag a treat-tossing pet camera so you can keep an eye on how things are going and augment mealtime with the occasional tasty reward).

Best overall: PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed



Why it made the cut: Besides ample storage and pet-friendly materials, we like the slow food mode option for pups and kitties who tend to snarf their meals in seconds.


  • Capacity: 24 cups
  • Type of food: Dry or semi-moist
  • WiFi-enabled: No


  • Slow feed mode
  • Optional meal splitter
  • Battery-powered with optional AC adapter


  • Cannot be controlled remotely

Unlike a gravity feeder, which will keep food flowing as long as your pet’s bowl has space (to the detriment of your pet’s health), the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed uses a conveyor belt system to give you greater control over portion size. With a capacity of up to 24 cups and the option to program up to 12 meals a day, this model can meet the needs of a wide variety of dogs and cats.

The food bowl is stainless steel, and all parts that come into contact with food are free of BPA (bisphenol A). If you purchase the optional splitter, this feeder can dispense into two separate bowls so your pets can share mealtime without competing for their dinner. And once they’re done, you can help your dog get active with the best interactive pet toys.

Best smart: Petlibro Automatic Cat Feeder



Why it made the cut: Smart-home pet parents can control this feeder with their smartphone without losing the option to manually press the feed button on the machine for an impromptu meal.


  • Capacity: 4L or 6L (about 17 or 25 cups)
  • Type of food: Dry
  • WiFi-enabled: Yes


  • Backup battery power (batteries not included)
  • Pet can hear your voice when food is dispensed
  • Can program wide range of portions


  • WiFi connectivity can be unreliable

The Petlibro WiFi Automatic Cat Feeder comes in two sizes suitable for both cats and small to medium-sized dogs. The biggest advantage of this smart feeder over other digital feeders is the ability to program a feeding schedule and trigger a one-time meal from within the Petlibro app (available on Android and iOS). You can even record a 10-second clip of your voice to play when the food is dispensed. 

Pet parents will also value the stainless steel bowl to protect dogs and cats from acne caused by eating from plastic containers. Note that, like many connected appliances, you must connect with your home WiFi’s 2.4 GHz band, not 5 GHz.

Best for dogs: WOPET 7L Automatic Feeder



Why it made the cut: The WOPET allows you to program feeding your dog up to 5 meals per day with just a click.


  • Capacity: 6 liters (25 cups)
  • Type of food: Dry
  • WiFi-enabled? Yes


  • Dual-battery system ensures no power cuts get in the way of mealtime
  • Auto voice broadcasts can be played at each mealtime
  • App control gives you peace of mind knowing you’ve correctly scheduled meals and portions


  • Does not work with wet pet food
  • A bit pricier than other options

The WOPET 7L Automatic Feeder is ideal for dog owners glued to their smartphones. The feeder hooks up to a free app (compatible with iOS and Android) that allows you to customize mealtimes, portion sizes, and voice notes. You can schedule up to 15 meals daily, which is perfect for helping to slow down those fast eaters!

If you want your dog to hear your voice while you’re away, you can record a voice message to be played each time a feeding is dispensed or simply throughout the day when you want to say hello. The transparent and easily detachable container is perfect for letting you know when it’s time to refill and makes for easy cleaning. This feeder also works for cats. 

While the feeder rings in at a bit more than competitive products, it’s a worthwhile investment for you and your pet.

Best for cats: Cat Mate C100

Cat Mate


Why it made the cut: You can’t get any simpler than this bowl and timer mechanism, but for some pet parents, it’s all you need to get invaluable extra snooze time.


  • Capacity: 14 ounces (a little less than 2 cups)
  • Type of food: Dry
  • WiFi-enabled: No


  • Inexpensive
  • Compact
  • Easy to clean


  • Cats may figure out how to open it
  • Cats may still demand food a half hour later

With four other compelling choices on our list, it may seem surprising that we included the Cat Mate C100, a low-capacity analog feeder without any bells or whistles. However, this minimalist marvel may just help solve one of the biggest problems cat owners face: caterwauling, scratching, pawing, and other mayhem at five, or four, or three—in the morning. Every morning.

If your cat is reasonable enough all other hours of the day and you aren’t interested in investing in an automated pet feeder for heavy use, this device just might allow you the extra sleep you crave. Remember that this model, unlike the Cat Mate C200 below, does not come with an ice pack, so it should not be filled with perishable wet food and left overnight.

Best for portion control: PetSafe 6-Meal Programmable Pet Food Dispenser



Why it made the cut: Unlike conveyor-belt style feeders, this six-compartment rotating feeder ensures your pet gets exactly what they require to help them stay healthy.


  • Capacity: 6 cups
  • Type of food: Dry or semi-moist
  • WiFi-enabled: No


  • Get portions right every time
  • Easy to see if compartments need refilling
  • Dishwasher safe parts


  • Bowl is plastic

If your cat or dog has an illness that requires careful monitoring of food intake or is on a vet-recommended weight loss protocol, portion control is essential. However, pet feeders that allow programmable portion control may vary in accuracy when using conveyor-belt mechanisms to divide and dispense food. They also may have limited options for choosing portion size. The PetSafe 6 Meal Programmable Pet Food Dispenser addresses this problem by using a digital timer to rotate individual pre-filled compartments and release food from each according to your choice of schedule.

There are only six compartments, but you can program the feeder to empty more than one at a given time. This means you’ll need to calculate how much your pet usually eats during the period in which you want to use the feeder and how many compartments are required per meal. Then, factor in whether you want to reserve a compartment or two for treats. Just keep in mind that each compartment can only hold up to a cup of dry or semi-moist pet food.

The digital clock on the LCD screen is a nice touch if you’re hanging around to witness the feeder do its magic, but your pet’s internal clock is likely all they need to get them to show up at the appointed time.

Best for multiple pets: WellToBe Pet Feeder Food Dispenser



Why it made the cut: We love that the splitter is wide enough to feed two separate bowls and is also removable in case you only have to feed one pet at a time.


  • Capacity: 13 cups
  • Type of food: Dry
  • WiFi-enabled: No


  • Perfect for those with more than one pet
  • Dual power supply ensures power outages don’t affect meal times
  • Non-slip foot pad ensures the feeder doesn’t move around
  • Silicone seal prevents pets from stealing food


  • Can be problematic if pets don’t respect each other’s bowls
  • Voice recording is a requisite to dispensing food

If you’re a multiple pet parent and don’t want to buy more than one automatic feeder, the WellToBe Pet Feeder Food Dispenser is the perfect solution. This automatic pet feeder comes with a two-way splitter and stainless-steel food bowls. It can divide meals equally and feed your pets simultaneously.

The feeder can program up to six meals a day, has an anti-clog mechanism thanks to built-in infrared sensor alerts, and has removable food containers and bowls perfect for easy clean-up. Plus, this feeder is quite affordable as opposed to buying two separate one-pet feeders.

Best design: Faroro 7L Automatic Feeder



Why it made the cut: We love how this feeder offers essentially all the same features as other products on the market but comes in a gorgeous white-and-black casing you won’t want to hide.


  • Capacity: 7 liters (30 cups)
  • Type of food: Wet and dry
  • WiFi-enabled: No


  • Easy-to-set built-in timer helps you create the right feeding schedule
  • Works for dry and wet food
  • Includes voice recording feature


  • Not ideal for multiple pet feedings

The Faroro 7L Automatic Feeder is the perfect option if you appreciate good design. The feeder’s simple white lines and transparent top lid will keep your space looking clean while also ensuring that food stays fresh and secure.

Infrared detection prevents food from sticking and spilling, and an easy-to-operate timer that runs on a 24-hour schedule allows you to keep your pet on a known routine. You can schedule one to four meals daily and even alternate between wet and dry food if you’d like.

The feeder features a dual power supply, has a voice recording feature that enables you to play a 10-second message up to three times throughout a feeding and is reasonably priced.

Best budget: Cat Mate C200

Cat Mate


Why it made the cut: We think this affordable timed feeder is a good value pick because it comes with an ice pack to help keep wet food at cool temperatures.


  • Capacity: 14 ounces (1.75 cups)
  • Type of food: Dry or wet
  • WiFi-enabled: No


  • Low price point
  • Can be used with wet food
  • Removable bowls


  • Analog mechanism
  • Ticking sound

Many pet parents prefer to feed their cats and dogs wet food or a mixture of both wet and dry. However, most pet feeders are designed for dry food since wet food can be messy and often requires refrigeration. The Cat Mate C200 is an affordable solution for people who want to experience the convenience of an automated feeder without compromising on the food they’ve selected for their furry friend.

We make no bones about it—this feeder is a low-tech device with two compartments that spring open when their respective manually set timers go off. It comes with an ice pack that fits underneath the compartments (buy a second one to have at the ready for swapping), and depending on the temperature in your home, it can keep wet food cold for hours.

This is not a feeder you’ll want to use every day. The bowls are plastic, and the feeder only has the capacity for two meals. However, it’s a great way to ensure anxious or finicky pets get their wet food as planned if you have to step out unexpectedly for a few hours. Each timer can be set at an interval of up to 48 hours ahead, so if you are using dry food, you can dispense kibbles over a longer period. Just make sure someone is still checking on your pet regularly to ensure that they receive cuddles, playtime, trips outdoors to do their business, and/or a fresh litter box.

Things to consider when buying an automatic pet feeder

Put yourself in your pet’s shoes (or rain booties or kitten mittens) to find the right pet feeder for their temperament, habits, and overall well-being.


If your dog is extra gregarious or your cat extra crafty, look for sturdy and secure pet feeders that won’t yield a bonanza of kibble when your pet knocks it over or gnaws at the container. If your pet is skittish, look for quieter models and consider whether models that play a recording of your voice at feeding time will scare or soothe.

Portion size

Check the specifications on the feeder you are considering to ensure it can support the portion size you want to dispense. Keep in mind that some machines allow you to choose multiple portions per meal, so if the maximum portion size is smaller than your pet requires, you can do a little math to see if the feeder will dispense enough portions at a time to fulfill their needs.


Your pet may have good manners, but they likely aren’t going to be up to human standards. Look for feeders that can easily be taken apart for regular cleaning, and if you have a dishwasher, make sure that materials are dishwasher-safe.


Q: Are automatic pet feeders worth it?

The answer is a resounding yes. Automatic feeders can make your life much easier and give you peace of mind. By pre-scheduling meals and portions, you’ll rest assured that your pet will be fed on time. You won’t have to rush home to make mealtime, and you may even sleep in on the weekends.

Q: Can I save money on a pet sitter if I buy a pet feeder?

No, automatic pet feeders do not replace pet sitters. Your dog still has to go outside regularly, your cat’s litter box needs frequent changes, and both domesticated dogs and cats require play, petting, and human companionship to thrive. Plus, pet sitters have expert knowledge of pet habits—and the habits of your pet, in particular—and can notice if your furry pal might need to go to the vet or if an automated feeder has malfunctioned or needs refilling.

Q: Are automatic feeders good for cats?

Automatic feeders with portion control can be good for maintaining a cat’s preferred routine if it includes middle-of-the-night feedings or hastening a meal when you are unexpectedly delayed in returning home. However, whether or not an automated feeder is good for your individual cat depends on their overall health and personality traits.

Q: Can you put wet food in an automatic feeder?

Most automatic feeders are designed for dry food (sometimes called kibble), but some models can dispense wet food. Keep in mind that wet food is more perishable, so you’ll have to refill the feeder more frequently and pay careful attention to cleaning. Many pet parents feel strongly that wet food is healthier for dogs and cats for many reasons, including hydration, so be sure to check with your vet before choosing an automatic feeder.

Q: How long do automatic feeders last?

The feeders should last as long as the batteries, typically a few months. Many feeders these days have dual power supplies, so if you hook up a power adapter to your feeder, you won’t have to worry about it running out.

Final thoughts on the best automatic pet feeders

For cat and dog owners who want to keep their pets on a regular meal schedule of dry food, the PetSafe Healthy Pet offers convenience and ample storage. Technology can never replace the bonding experience of setting a tasty meal in front of your beloved furry friend and receiving a tail wag or a contented purr in return. However, purchasing one of the best automatic pet feeders can make your time apart a little more comfortable for everyone.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.