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Lifewire / Sandra Stafford
Programmable meal size
Clear lid to see food level
Optional battery backup
Battery life indicator
Can struggle with large food
Limited to dry food only
Does not include stainless steel bowl
The Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeder has an intuitive design and large capacity that will make your life easier from the minute you plug it in.
Keeping your pet cared for while juggling long work hours and a busy social life can be difficult. Automatic cat and dog feeders can alleviate some of that stress so you can spend your time loving your pet, knowing their most basic needs are met. The Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeder is an attractive-looking pet feeder that simplifies your life right out of the box. It includes a stylish design, large capacity, and some thoughtful considerations such as a light-up clock. We tested the feeder with our pets to see if these features are worth the price over other pet feeders.
The Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeder is sleek and attractive as far as pet feeders go, with a satin white plastic body that doesn’t show smudges or dust. The lid is clear with a magnetic lock to keep pets out of the 18-cup capacity feeder, a blue light-up display, and buttons that respond to a light touch. With a small footprint of 11.8 by 9.7 inches, we had no problem finding a place to tuck this feeder out of the way.
The whole idea of an automatic pet feeder is convenience and peace of mind. You can use your Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeder immediately by plugging the DC Power cable in. If you want a battery backup, which is a good idea before going out of town, then you can add three D-cell batteries whenever it’s convenient.
The Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeder could not have been easier to set up. It comes with a power cord, so you can use the machine immediately out of the box. After plugging it in and turning the power button underneath to the “ON” position, use the set button and the arrows to select the time. They respond to a light touch, and they beep as you use them.
After setting the time, you can set the meal times and portion amounts. A portion is 1/8 of a cup. The machine comes with three meal times automatically, but they can be easily removed by setting the portion to zero.
The hopper can hold weeks worth of food for a small pet, and even last several feedings for larger pets.
With all of that set up, you might want to record a call to play for your pet at mealtime. Simply press and hold the Record button. A red light will indicate that it is recording. Release it when you’re finished, and listen to the message by pressing Play. Even with as many meals and settings as we used, we didn’t need to consult a manual at all.
At the bottom of the 18-cup feeder is a rotating carousel that allows 1/8 of a cup into each chamber. Up to ten of these portions can be given per meal. This, combined with the large capacity, makes it a good choice for small- and medium-sized pets. We tested it with food for a small cat and for a large dog, and while the pet feeder managed with the kitty food, it really struggled with the dog food pellets that were an inch across.
When it managed to dispense them, the machine was audibly struggling to turn. Forcing the carousel to turn even with large pieces of food getting in the way might cause the motor to wear out a little faster, and we already think the motor was struggling a bit under the weight of the pet food.
While we don’t have a lot of confidence in the Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeder with large pet food, it’s still a great choice for cats in this price range.
One of the most important features for any pet feeder is that hungry pets cannot get into it. If you wanted your pets to have constant access to food, you could save a lot of money by getting a gravity feeder. Unfortunately, on that front, the Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeders isn’t completely trustworthy. We had a problem with a persistent cat reaching up into the feeder and turning the carousel just enough to drop a little extra food. This can be dangerous to kitty paws, so pets should be supervised and discouraged from trying to break into the machine so they don’t develop this habit.
The Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeder comes with a pre-recorded message, but we were never able to figure out what it was saying even after several times listening to it repeatedly. This made us worry about the audio quality, but our own message was clear enough. Only when using a really soft, high-pitched voice, as we instinctively do with our pets, did we have any issues with the quality. It isn’t great, but there was no question about what we were saying. The animals will associate the sound with being fed regardless, so clarity isn’t of primary importance. Pets with typical hearing should have no problem hearing the machine. It was loud enough to wake us from the next room and to send our cat racing across the bed.
One of the biggest complaints we had when testing the Arf Pets Feeder was the noise. Food is dispensed in small 1/8 cups servings, so it can take 15 to 20 seconds to dispense a full cup depending on how much it’s struggling with your food. If you're not home, this won't bother you. We used it with a small cat who only needed a single 1/8 cup serving for weight control, but if we were using it to feed a larger pet, listening to it struggle to dispense large food for several servings would have been annoying.
One of the biggest complaints we had when testing the Arf Pets Feeder was the noise.
The Arf Pets Feeder has a reasonably large capacity, greater than most others in its price point. The hopper can hold weeks worth of food for a small pet, and even last several feedings for larger pets. We don't love this feeder for large pets as we mentioned before; the carousel design at the bottom doesn't handle large food well. But if you have a pet who eats small food, you can go a while between filling.
At $90-$100 ($89.99 MSRP), this feeder is well priced considering its capacity and the fun addition of a voice recorder. It's a good choice for small pets at this price, but with the unreliability of this feeder with large pets, we think a more expensive feeder is a better choice.
The PetSafe Six Meal Feeder is a strong contender in this price range. For pets who need large servings of food, or whose food is large pellets, we definitely recommend the PetSafe feeder instead. If a voice recorder is a must for you, or if you want to go weeks without refilling without breaking the bank, the Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeder is still a good choice.
A good choice for small pets.
While we don’t have a lot of confidence in the Arf Pets Automatic Pet Feeder with large pet food, it’s still a great choice for cats in this price range. With a large capacity hopper and the battery backup, it’s a pet feeder that promises peace of mind when you leave your pet alone.