I have had a Drinkwell Pet Fountain for my two cats for about a year. This is one of the early models that had finally come down on price for me to try. It is not the most positive review. To be fair, the newer models may be different, I do not know. (Model number coming soon). I am just dropping a quick review in case you are thinking of getting one. I would insert a picture but the thing is in the trash and I am too irritated to drag it out.
Note: I am reviewing this based on its use for cats. Using this fountain for small dogs may be a little different as far as frequency of cleaning, etc. But it might still give you something to consider.
- Cats loved it. Even my more shy cat loved it. I do think that one also drank more, at least at first.
- Holds a decent amount of water. I did use this indoors.
- You do not really need to buy the extra filters for the cats. They do not get as much crud in there as a dog would. The maintenance this fountain needs takes care of fur that gets trapped.
- Plastic. Many cats are sensitive to plastic. One of mine is.
- Plastic breaks easy and this one seemed to get more brittle with time.
- I also kept a ceramic bowl available. The fountain grew bacteria (that slime) quicker. I wonder if it due to more pores in the plastic?
- You need to clean it a lot to keep the bacteria down. All pet bowls should. But this one is not user friendly for cleaning.
- The biggest problem for cleaning is the way the motor is installed. You need to remove the motor to submerge the base in soapy water. The motor is placed in a way that you have to hook a finger in a tight spot and try to use leverage to twist the motor up. You need small fingers and the small space does not allow you to get the proper leverage. Even with lubrication, it is difficult to get that stupid thing out. I edited out the curse words I wanted to use to describe this portion. ;)
- The plastic did become more brittle and finally cracked while trying to get the motor out. I tried being careful to avoid this, but it still happened. It is now useless.
- You have to buy additional brushes to give it a good cleaning. The thing is expensive enough.
- You do have to be near a plug. I did not find this a big deal but I just wanted to remind you.
- If you use the carbon filters, you must remember to change them after awhile or they will make the water bad.
The other thing to keep in mind with any fountain, you have to keep adding water. Below a certain level, you will hear the motor grinding away in protest. This can damage the fountain. Something to consider. You can get an additional reservoir so it holds more water, but you have to clean this thing often enough that I am not sure how much that would be worth it. At least adding water every day makes you check the condition of the fountain for the health of your pets.
I will eventually get anther fountain, either a different model if it addresses some of these problems, or just a different brand. I also have enough accessories from fish keeping to build one of my own. I am not sure I have the time. If I do, I will post it. :)
Anyone out there have a fountain they love that is also budget friendly? (No retail people trying to sell, please.)