If you’ve ever wondered if there’s an easy way of ensuring your horse always has water – the answer is yes! An automatic waterer is a brilliant invention that will keep the trough topped up with fresh, clean H2O. As soon as your horse takes a drink, fresh water is dispensed to replace it.
But if you’re thinking of investing in one of these clever gadgets, how do you know which one to choose?
That’s where we come in! We’ve searched out the eight best automatic waterers on the market. And we’re going to share their pros and cons to help you make the perfect choice.
Little Giant’s Trough-O-Matic uses a simple float mechanism to determine when the water needs to be topped up.
It’s made of black plastic, thick and sturdy enough to withstand the elements. Little Giant also make another version with aluminum housing.
The inlet connects up to a standard 0.75-inch hose, so it’s easy to set up. Just attach it to whatever you’re using to hold the water. The pump is powerful enough to circulate up to 245 gallons an hour. And it will handle water pressure of anything between 20 and 50 psi.
One thing to bear in mind is that the hose comes straight out of the top of the unit. That position can cause it to kink and reduce the water flow. Adding a 90 degree adapter will give you better results, but you’ll need to buy that separately.
And note that over time the rubber seal inside the unit may wear out. When that happens, the water won’t shut off properly – and it’s difficult to find a replacement. But this is an inexpensive gadget, so replacing the whole thing isn’t too much of a headache.
Easy to set up
Powerful enough to circulate up to 245 gallons an hour
Will work with water pressure of between 20 and 50 psi
The position of the hose is liable to cause it to kink – a 90-degree adapter is a wise investment
Lucky Farm’s kit comes with five components – a water bowl, pipe, 0.5-inch float valve, adapter and mounting screws. It costs about twice as much as the Trough-O-Matic – but it’s still an inexpensive purchase. And with this one, you won’t need a separate water trough or bucket.
The bowl is designed to be mounted on the wall at the appropriate height for your horse. Just drill a couple of holes and use the 304 steel expansion screws included to secure it in place.
The bowl has a nice, wide opening, so it’s easy for your horse to access the water.
Note, though, that once installed, there’s no way to completely empty the bowl to clean it. Fortunately, the stainless steel construction means it’s easy to do, even with water inside. A wipe around the basin will usually be all you’ll need to get rid of any dirt or algae.
The float mechanism is simple yet effective. When the water level drops, the float will automatically trigger more water. Note though that you will need reasonable water pressure for this to work properly. A gravity feed probably won’t be sufficient.
No need for a separate water trough
The wide bowl provides easy access for your horse
Simple yet effective float mechanism keeps the water topped up
Once installed, there’s no way to empty the bowl for cleaning
This automatic waterer from Rabbitnipples.com is constructed of 201 stainless steel. It uses a similar design to the one from Lucky Farm, with a simple float mechanism to maintain the water level.
The water inlet here is a ½-inch MIP, which can be attached to any garden hose or flexible piping.
The float can be connected to either the left- or right-hand side of the water bowl. And it will work with water pressure of anywhere between 1 and 50 psi. Note, though, that it can become brittle in very cold weather.
The bowl has two holes at the back, allowing you to mount it on a wall. In this case, though, you’ll need to provide the fixings yourself. Lag screws or U-bolts will do the job perfectly.
Installation isn’t as easy as it could be – you’ll need to buy some extras yourself to get everything set up. As well as the screws, you’ll need a Y-connector to connect up the water hose, and a length of faucet supply line.
How much faucet supply line you’ll need will depend on your set-up. If you’re going to be using a garden hose to run the water, you’ll just need a small section. That will act as a bridge between the faucet and the hose, and prevent any leaks.
Works with water pressure between 1 and 50 psi
Tough and attractive construction from 201 stainless steel
The float can be connected to either side of the water bowl
Set-up requires you to buy various extra pieces
The float will become brittle in cold temperatures.
This model from MACGOAL is another stainless steel waterer which uses a float to monitor the water level. Here, though, you’ll get all the bits and pieces you require for installation.
In addition to the water bowl and float, the package includes mounting screws, 32 inches of braided steel hose, a brass connector and four rubber gaskets. The only extra you may need here is some plumber’s tape. Winding this around the threads will help to prevent leaks.
This is another model that’s designed to be mounted to the wall. Two holes at the back of the bowl allow it to be screwed in place. And in this case, the bowl also features a drain, so it’s easy to empty out the water for cleaning.
One thing to note, though, is that the edges of some bowls are a little sharp. Check that out before you install the waterer. If necessary, you may need to file them down to prevent any injury to your horse as it drinks.
Kit contains everything needed for installation
Designed to be wall-mounted
Drain at the bottom means it’s easy to empty and clean
The edges of the bowl can be sharp. Check before use to avoid injury to your horse.
We’ve heard of some cases of leaks – adding plumber’s tape around the threads will help.
Little Giant’s FW16MTL is another wall-mountable waterer. This one is made of plastic, and it comes in a choice of three colors. The black is the least expensive. You’ll pay about a third more if you want a blue or red one.
It holds 4 gallons at a time, so it’s a good choice for horses. And it uses the familiar float mechanism to keep the water level constant.
It will connect straight up to a standard 0.75-inch hose, making installation straightforward. Expect the whole process to take around 15 minutes. You’ll also get 30 inches of hose with a female hose attachment as part of the package.
There’s no drain with this one, though. And because it’s fairly deep, that makes it difficult to clean thoroughly. We’ve seen customers who’ve come up with their own DIY drains using a threaded bulkhead and bathroom plug.
One other thing to be aware of is that the hose connector here is plastic. It’s a good idea to replace it with a metal one for greater durability.
Nice and deep, making it perfect for horses
30 inches of hose included in the package
There’s no drain in the bottom
The hose connector included in the package is plastic rather than metal.
The number 77 from Little Giant uses a clever design to dispense water whenever the horse pushes on a paddle at the back of the bowl. Horses quickly figure out how to use it, ensuring they can access fresh water on demand.
This is a very robust waterer, made of cast iron coated in non-toxic epoxy so it won’t rust. The push paddle that activates the pump is made of heavy gauge stainless steel.
Because the valve is non-siphoning, there’s no risk of the water freezing. But note that this is another case where there’s no drain at the bottom. And the cast iron construction means it will be difficult to cut a hole yourself.
Over time, parts can malfunction. We’ve heard of cases where the spring beneath the paddle has broken. The good news there is that it can be easily replaced. The plastic section containing the spring is available separately – check out local feed stores.
Robust cast iron construction
Coated in non-toxic epoxy to prevent rusting
The non-siphoning valve means the water won’t freeze
No drain in the bottom
May develop defects over time, although some parts can be replaced.
This automatic waterer from HiCamer is another wall-mounted design. In this case the bowl is made of 304 stainless steel. The edges are folded and polished, so there’s nothing sharp to risk cutting your horse.
This waterer comes with not one, but two floats. They tend to get brittle in cold weather, so a spare is a useful thing to have. The bowl has a capacity of half a gallon.
This waterer comes with a one-year limited warranty. And customer support is available over email 24 hours a day.
This is another waterer that doesn’t have a drain at the bottom. The bowl is quite shallow though, so cleaning it is still pretty easy.
While the bowl is very well constructed, however, the plumbing isn’t quite up to the same standard. The parts are plastic, and they become cross-threaded fairly easily. It’s a good idea to invest in some plumbing tape to get a secure seal.
High quality bowl made of 304 stainless steel with smooth edges
Spare float included in the package
Comes with a one-year limited warranty and 24-hour customer support via email
No drain at the bottom – although this is less of a problem with a shallow bowl
If you don’t mind splashing some serious cash on your automatic waterer, consider the Omni Fount 2. This is made in the USA by Ritchie, and it’s a serious investment.
Here you get a double side trough that’s fully insulated and heated. It’s a great option if you live somewhere there’s a risk of the water freezing. But it will cost you more than 40 times as much as the Trough-O-Matic attachment from Little Giant.
For the money, you’ll get a large access panel that allows you to get to the electrical components. The heating elements sit directly beneath the water, so it’s efficient in its use of power. And the walls are coated with polyurethane foam with an R insulation factor of 7 per inch.
The fast refill valve makes this suitable for use with large numbers of horses or cattle. Ritchie recommend it for use with up to 40 animals. And the edges are rounded, so there’s nothing sharp to cause an injury.
Everything you need to connect the unit to your water and power lines is included in the package. And the product comes with a 10-year warranty. So while it’s expensive upfront, the lifetime costs are more reasonable.
The only niggle we’ve come across with this one is the access panel. We’ve heard from one customer who experienced issues with the catch that holds it in place falling off.
Prevents water from freezing, no matter how cold the weather
Energy efficient design and insulation
Fast refill makes it suitable for use with up to 40 horses
We’ve heard of one case where the catch holding the access panel in place kept falling off
It’s very expensive – although it is designed to last for years.