The All New Feeder-Robot Review 2020: Best Automatic Pet Feeder?
Feeder-Robot. It’s a new automated pet feeder that’s out. Hmm. Sounds high-tech, right? And impressive.
I’m assuming you’re a pet owner, and if you are like me, you might be thinking that the idea is nice but wondering if you do need this extra gadget in your home.
We used the product and listed down everything we experienced with it. But before we get to the Feeder-Robot review, let’s go over what an automated pet feeder is first and what its pros and cons are.
If you then decide that it’s a necessity in your household, then we hope our review below will help you with your purchasing decision.
The Feeder-Robot: At a Glance
- WiFi-enabled pet feeder that can be connected through the unit control it comes with or the AutoPets Connect app
- Features an anti-jamming technology
- Detects food backup
- Contains a tamper-resistant lid
- Plastics are BPA-free
- Has a backup battery (good for 24 hours) in case product goes offline
- The power cord is chew-resistant
- Can handle dry to semi-moist kibbles
- Made for dogs and cats
- Dispenses up to 1 cup of food per interval (up to 8 times a day if connecting through app)
- Includes one plastic bowl and one stainless bowl
- App is available for both iOS and Android
- Dimensions are 15”(H)x12.5”(D)x13”(W)
- 110 Volt AC
- Weighs 9 lbs.
- Comes in black or white options, clear or smoke plastic tints, and glass or stainless steel bowls
About the Company
Feeder-Robot comes from AutoPets, the same company that brought us the Litter-Robot, a highly-effective and excellently-rated self-cleaning litter box. The brand, which is headquartered in Michigan, is focused on bringing pet owners brilliant, functional, and super efficient solutions to problems in pet care that most of us face.
Every product that comes out of Litter Robot is the result of the ingenuity and genius of their engineers, robotics specialists, and the numerous people, dogs, and cats that help with their research and development.
The company champions sustainability and giving back to the community. It has a partner program with animal rescues and non-profit shelters to help these save funds and earn extra money.
Automated Pet Feeders: Pros, Cons, and Everything About Them
Automatic pet feeders are described as innovative food dispensers that are programmed to feed your pets pre portioned meals at intervals that you desire. Models differ in maximum dispensed serving size, programmable feedings per day, type of food dispensed (dry, wet, or both), power type (battery-powered or plug in), and size.
These benefits below are universal across most auto pet feeders.
1. Keeps routines regular.
Pets like having a little order in their lives, and a regular routine helps to alleviate any anxiety in them. With an automated food dispenser, your little fur buddy will get his food on time no matter how busy you may be that you’ve lost track of time.
2. No wake up calls.
You ever feel like just lying down and not getting up until very late during the weekend? As a pet owner, you know that you really can’t when there’s a disapproving feline that’s waiting for his human servant to feed him.
With an automated pet feeder, you can get more shut eye without the risk of an annoyed kitty pouncing on your body to show his displeasure at this tardiness.
3. Change of plans? Okay.
You can’t account for everything that’s going to happen. You could be stuck in heavy traffic, your flight may be delayed, or your work requires you to put in an unforeseen overtime. Any sudden change of plans can throw off your schedule and your pet’s feeding to go with it.
An automated pet feeder will help you in these situations and reduce anxiety on your behalf that your pet can’t have his meal until you’re home.
4. The food is fresher.
Kibbles don’t spoil easily, but they can get softer or stale the more time they are out there exposed to the air and lying on your kitty’s bowl. With an automatic food dispenser, they get fresh food every time.
The food can be in smaller portions given at different times of the day, so you’re assured that your cat is only given as much food as he can eat with the risk of leftovers being reduced greatly.
5. It will save you a bit of time.
This comes especially handy with cats who are on strict portion control. Every meal has to be measured exactly to make sure they don’t gain a lot of weight. With a pre-programmed pet feeder, you just need to input the measurement once, and it will dole the right amount of food every time.
6. It will help your cats with weight management.
Did you know that about half of cats in the US are overweight? This weight issue brings a host of other issues, such as high blood pressure, reduced life expectancy, and more.
You can help your cat battle obesity through an auto pet feeder because the product allows you to program the exact measurement that your cat needs for his every meal.
Plus, you know that look your pet gives you when he just wants more? Yep, this product will save you from giving in to that soul-crushing stare that guilts you into adding a little more food to his bowl.
There also cons to getting pet feeders. The following DON’T (we have to emphasize this) apply to all pet feeders, but these are some potential problems that you may come across if you’re not careful with the feeder you buy.
1. Works only with dry food.
Many pet feeders work only on dry food. If your cat is exclusively fed with wet food, you may have a hard time finding one that will be able to dispense his meals properly.
2. They aren’t stable or entirely safe.
Some pet feeders are flimsy and will tip over with a little bit of nudging from a big pet. You’d want to look for a product that has a wider base that can handle a pet putting paws up on it as he looks for a way to open the top (and get more food in the process).
A not-so-secured lid can also be easily opened by a determined cat, so better look for one with a pet-proof cover.
3. They jam.
Automatic pet feeders can jam, leading to improper food dispensing. Always pick one with an anti-jamming technology to make sure your pet is not missing out on meals or having to go with little.
My Feeder-Robot Review
I have two cats, and they are both, um, chunky. This is probably the result of putting a lot of food in their bowls as I and my partner both work and we want to make sure our cats have enough food in case we arrive home late.
I’ve heard that an automatic pet feeder can help with weight management — something we both have trouble with because our cats know how to give that “kitty look” — so I wanted to give it a try.
Since I’ve heard so many good things about the Litter-Robot and this product comes from the same team, I decided to give it a try.
I was highly excited on the day of delivery. I unpacked the box, read through the manual, washed the bowls, and quickly set it up. (I didn't download the app yet at this time but programmed the Feeder-Robot through the control unit.)
My curious cats were sauntering over to give it a sniff and a once-over, and I told them that’s for their food. I think they understood the word “food” because their ears perked up a bit. (I didn’t tell them it was to help them lose weight.)
Anyway, when the time came for the food, I was happy to note that it dispensed the correct measurement that I programmed it to. Take a look at our short video below.
I was able to feed my pets four times in smaller portions that day. You can feed them more times if you schedule the feeding through the app, which was easy enough to understand and use and which I downloaded and installed later.
I’ve used both dry and semi-moist food since then, and I haven’t had a problem with jamming yet. There was a time that I accidentally tripped over the cord, making the Robot-Feeder go offline.
I had intended to test the backup battery eventually, but this was as good a time as any. No worries, though. My feeding sked and portions were saved and the unit continued dispensing at the correct time until I put the plug in again.
About the App
I thought the app should have its own mention as well. It’s downloadable for iOS 10.0 and up Apple devices and 8.0 and greater for Android devices.
The app allows you to track multiple Feeder-Robots and integrate the Litter-Robot into the interface to make using the brand’s products easier and more seamless. However, I thought just one Feeder-Robot should be enough for a couple of felines, so I didn’t buy an additional unit.
The app will let you see in a handy graph the average number of cups per day that has been served and measure that against the total served in a week/month. With it, you can schedule the precise hour and minute of feedings and the volume of food to serve (this is done in increments of ¼ cup).
It will also let you pre-program different food servings for different days.
The Verdict: Worth It or No?
My partner and I are often busy at work. We love our cats and hate to leave them so much during the day, but our way of feeding them has been making them go, well, fat. (Just look at the pic above!) The Feeder-Robot has been a big help in reducing a bit of weight from their stubby bodies.
It’s also not often that we go on vacations, but when we do go on short ones (an overnight trip) this feeder reduces a lot of anxiety on our behalf that our cats may be going hungry or have already eaten through most of their food. (Note that we only recommend this for short trips. You’d still want to leave your cats with a pet sitter/friend/family for longer vacations.)
So on usefulness and functionality, yes, it is so worth it. It has helped my cats lose some weight (not all, but we’re getting there), and it has helped us enjoy our vacations without worrying too much about our cats back home. The design gets plus points too. We chose the black option and it looks so sleek in our home.
How about the cons, you might ask. Well, the thing about a pet feeder when you have multiple cats is that you really can’t manage the portions as well as if you only had one.
One cat may decide to eat so much more than his share and leave the other ones with very little. Fortunately, my cats may not be eating the exact volume of their share of food, but they don’t go overboard. So it’s a win for me.
The price can be a bit prohibitive, but we carefully weighed our options and decided the amount is worth it for our peace of mind and the sake of our pets. It will also save us money (cost of short-term pet sitters) in the long run.
Purchasing The Feeder-Robot
To purchase the Feeder-Robot, I went to their website. I was given a choice of going for a black or white unit. You can also choose the hopper color — either clear or smoke.
The unit comes with two bowls that are plastic and stainless steel, but you can upgrade this to a dishwasher-safe glass bowl for a minimal amount.
Each unit comes with a standard 18-month warranty, but you can extend this to 3 years by adding $30. I went with this option because if I was springing hundreds of dollars at the Feeder-Robot, I might as well get as much out of it as long as I possibly can.
You can download the app guide and user manual from their site, but it’s pretty easy to set up even if you don’t refer to those.