Wednesday April 17th 2024

Drinkwell Pet Fountain – Works well but lots of maintenance

drinkwellI had a Drinkwell Pet Fountain for many years and it was great. I used it with two cats and a dog. All of the animals liked the fountain and drank from it regularly. Ultimately the maintenance got to be too much of a hassle for me and I wound up going back to a regular water bowl with my pets.

What is it?

The Drinkwell fountain is a a water bowl for pets that is constantly filtering the water. The fountain sucks water in from the bowl, runs it through the filter and then pours it back into the bowl from the top. The water is filtered through a replaceable carbon insert. In the back of the fountain is a built-in 50 ounce reservoir. When the bowl is running low on water you open the reservoir and pour more water into the back. Unlike other models, the classic models reservoir does not detach so you have to bring the water to the fountain. The fountain runs on electricity and plugs into your standard two pronged socket. When plugged in the fountain is constantly running – it does not have an off switch. It does have a dial to control how much water flows through at a time, from a trickle to a small stream.

How do the pets react

While this fountain was used both by my cats and dogs I really made this purchase for the cats. My cats love drinking from a stream of water and would sit in the kitchen sink every day licking the faucet waiting for fresh water. When I introduced this fountain they stopped trying to drink from the faucet and instead were happy to drink from the clean stream of water in the fountain. My dogs were not as picky about their water source and I’m not sure they cared whether their water came from this fountain or an old leftover takeout container.

Care and Maintenance

The fountain does need attention and maintenance. The reservoir is not very big and when water starts to run low it makes a horrible noise as the filter sucks in air. You need to be vigilant about keeping the water topped off or you will need to get out of bed in the middle of the night to put an end to the horrid noises it makes when running low. Cleaning the fountain can be another hassle. Pets have fur on their faces and they stick their furry faces into the bowl every day. Of course, fur gets into the bowl and then gets sucked into the filter eventually blocking the water. This will result in the horrible air suck noise. In addition, like any freestanding water left out the plastic bowl gets that sticky mildew-filth on it. It also gets inside the reservoir and builds up with the fur that is back there. As a result every month or two you need to take this whole fountain apart and give it a thorough cleaning. The upshot to that is that all of the pieces – except the motor – are dishwasher safe. You also need to replace the carbon filters when cleaning the fountain. They are about $10 for a 3 pack.


In the end I determined that having to regularly disassemble the fountain for cleaning was too much hassle for me. Now I simply put down cheap plastic bowls of water and toss them in the dishwasher when they start to look slimy. I would still recommend this product to someone who is struggling to get their pets to drink from a regular pet bowl. The running water is attractive to animals and especially to cats. However, if your pet is fine to drink from a regular bowl you should save the $50 for something else.


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