Chicken breeders know that in warm and mild weather, chickens are fine with their water being placed in chicken water feeders, but it’s a different story in colder weather.
If you’re away for a short period, the best thing you can do for your chickens is invested in a proper chicken water heater, so they’ll have flowing water when they need it.
Chickens will get ill if you do not keep them appropriately hydrated – that is precisely what will happen if their water has frozen over so badly that they just can’t peck through it to drink.
So, let’s jump right into the best chicken water heaters to help you keep your chickens happy and healthy.
Best chicken water heater reviews
K&H Pet Products Thermo-Poultry Waterer
This Thermo-Poultry Waterer is a pricier option from K&H Pet Products but a favorite with chicken breeders everywhere. It is thermostatically controlled, so the chickens’ water will remain ice-free in even the coldest weather.
Thermo Poultry Waterer Features
This is a gravity-type drinker that has a jug and a bottom tray where the chickens’ water is dispensed. It is made of very sturdy plastic that is BPA free and features a comfortable handle making it easy to carry around and limiting spills.
With this product, you can expect the water filter ring to easily remove dirt and objects from the trough, keeping things cleaner for longer.
Thanks to its shape, roosting won’t occur, and the spill-proof cap helps prevent wasting of water.
The Thermo-Poultry Waterer comes with a sturdy cord, so you won’t have to worry about it splitting or not working within the first few months or years.
Thermo Poultry Waterer Pros
- Easy to use
- No water gets wasted
- No roosting
- Removable screen
The waterer is 2.5 gallons and is super easy to fill. It comes with a removable screen in the water well that makes it very easy to clean out straw, feathers, and shavings.
Thermo Poultry Waterer Cons
- Won’t stay upright for filling
Some users of this waterer have reported a bio-film forming that is impossible to remove, even with regular cleaning. The container can be tricky to wash because of the size of its opening.
Harris Farms Heated Poultry Drinker Base
This is one of the more trusted waterers on the market that isn’t going to cost you an arm and a leg.
It will regulate the temperature of your water, making sure there is no freezing that will result in your chickens getting dehydrated.
Harris Farms Heated Poultry Drinker Base Features
You will get warm water even in the coldest winters with the Harris Farms Heated Poultry Drinker Base because its thermostat works really well.
You’ll be able to warm large amounts of water, so it’s a good buy for chicken breeders with larger flocks.
Harris Farms offer a drinker base that has 125W power, and it can be used with either plastic or metal drinkers alike. However, it is not recommended for use with plastic as it can warm up water very effectively, but this could cause issues with plastic drinkers.
It makes keeping your chickens watered much easier. With this guy, the water gets raised a few inches off the coop, keeping debris out of it.
Ease of use is great with this heater – you just plug it in and voila! The thermostat is one of its greatest features.
Not only does it work really well, but it is also built to prevent overheating so you won’t be left with hot water that your poor chickens can’t enjoy.
Harris Farms Heated Poultry Drinker Base Pros
- Simple usage
- Effective seal against cold
This waterer will keep the water thawed even when it gets really cold outside. Its bottom is covered, so you won’t have to stress about it getting wet and damaged.
It also uses a float that will keep it sealed in really cold weather.
Harris Farms Heated Poultry Drinker Base Cons
- Buggy thermostat
- Cheaper plastic
The thermostat can become an issue – it can malfunction and keep the water warmer than it should. Users have reported that it doesn’t always turn off. The plastic it is made of is considered inferior.
Farm Innovators Heated Base For Metal Poultry Founts
This is a mid-range product that is affordable and effective – considered the best of both worlds. It will prevent your chicken’s water from freezing down to 10 degrees Fahrenheit and comes with 125W power.
Farm Innovators Heated Base For Metal Poultry Founts Features
You will be hard-pressed to find a heater that is easier to use than this one. You simply have to plug it in, fill it with water, and that’s it – job done on your side.
This is also a very versatile product – you can use it for any animal, really. It can basically be seen as a water bowl for animals with a built-in heater for outside use of any pets.
This heated base is thermostatically controlled and will only start operating when the temperatures drop to below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
The bottom is sealed off, so there is no way that critters like mice can make their way in and start chewing away.
The cord is nicely protected with hardy material, which means animals will not be able to chew through it and cause all kinds of chaos.
Mice tend to be a big problem for chicken breeders who have to use things like water heaters, but with this product, you will not have to worry about those poultry pests creating problems for you.
The thermostatic control that the Farm Innovators heater comes with means your water will be thawed, but it will not be reaching boiling temperatures.
Farm Innovators Heated Base For Metal Poultry Founts Pros
- Comes highly recommended by chicken feeders
- Works great in even the coldest weather
You will not have to worry about the temperatures with this product – it starts working as soon as it is needed. It is a trusted heated base that is considered a great buy for its price and how well it works.
Farm Innovators Heated Base For Metal Poultry Founts Cons
- Can be used with double-wall metal water founts only
- Users have reported the product shocking them as well as the chickens
- Can get dirty easier than other products
Thanks to its design, this product is only suitable for use with double-wall metal founts. It is recommended that you don’t use it with an extension cord.
This can be an issue for people who do not have power in their chicken coops. It is a great product, but the small capacity means you’ll have to refill it often if you have more chickens.
For a very small coop, this might not be such a big deal, though.
Little Giant 125 Watt Water Heater Base
This is another mid-range product that is designed to function well with double-walled founts as well as other metal water containers.
This is perfect for use outside as long as it’s sheltered.
Little Giant 125 Watt Water Heater Base Features
This product is made in the United States. The Little Giant is pretty versatile. You’re not limited to the heating of chickens’ water. You’ll be able to heat water for ducks and other birds as well, and even that of other animals.
It will only turn on when it is needed. When it’s cold enough for the water to require heating and it won’t use a lot of power.
The safety of this product has to be mentioned, as it is considered very safe. Be sure to keep it out of the way, though. But you won’t have any issues of bedding straw catching fire or anything drastic like that. It works really well and can last for many seasons with no rust or other problems to worry about.
Little Giant 125 Watt Water Heater Base Pros
- Easy to use
- Effective in keeping water at mild temperatures
- Saves on power
The Little Giant can be used with a water can of up to 8 gallons without any problems or issues.
This product comes from a line of trusted water heater products, and this particular model is actually considered one of the best of the best.
Little Giant 125 Watt Water Heater Base Cons
- Can get problematic with the ground fault circuit interrupter
It can cause problems such as the ground fault circuit interrupter tripping, even without the use of extension cords.
API Pail and Birdbath De-icer with Guard
The API De-icer is a submersible product that is great for birdbaths, pails, pans, and buckets alike. With it, you’ll get a handy 6-foot cord as well as a cord chew protector and stainless steel guard.
API Pail and Birdbath De-icer with Guard Features
Like many of the water heaters on this list, this de-icer is a versatile product. You’re not limited to using it only to warm the water of a chicken flock.
You’ll even be able to heat the water in any birdbaths you may have on your property.
It is a very sturdy product that you can expect to heat your water for many seasons to come without fail. If you’re looking for a durable water heater for your coop, this is your guy.
This is a really easy-to-use heater. You can plug it in and forget about it until you need to unplug it for spring.
It’s not a high-maintenance product and a great buy.
API Pail and Birdbath De-icer with Guard Pros
- You get a 6-foot cord included
- Can de-ice up to 15 gallons
- Heavy-duty heater
This product has a built-in thermostat that will de-ice your chickens’ water quite nicely. You won’t have to worry about them not having drinking water.
You also get an adjustable clamp that you can use to attach the product to your water container.
API Pail and Birdbath De-icer with Guard Cons
- Several bad reviews
Users have complained that the product is not as effective as it promises to be and that the cord splits.
Chicken Water Heater Buyer’s Guide
It is imperative that you know exactly what you’re getting into when buying a chicken water heater, so you’ll end up with the best product and not be left disappointed with something that doesn’t do what you expected and hoped for.
Of course, everyone’s needs are not the same, and what you’ll end up buying depends on just what it is you want the chicken water heater to accomplish, and in what environment you expect it to do so.
Here we’ll look at a basic list of things that most chicken breeders will need to look at before investing their money in a product.
Easy-to-Fill Chicken Water Heater
This is likely one of the biggest things for people who use water heaters for their chickens. It may seem like a simple thing, but if a product gets it wrong, it will mess things up royally.
You’ll want to keep the chickens’ water fresh, so filling should be easy and hassle-free.
Easy-to-Clean Chicken Water Heater
Another important factor that, if not easy, can screw things up. It can even move people not to buy a product if they can’t find out if it is easy to clean or a complete pain in the behind.
Keeping your chickens’ water clean is important for their health.
What is a Chicken Water Heater Made From
What kind of material is the chicken water heater made from? It’s important to know so you’ll know what to expect.
Metals will be corroded by apple cider vinegar, which many chicken feeders add to their flock’s water to reduce their pH levels, combat ingested bacteria, and many other health benefits.
Plastic is, in general, considered the best material.
Chicken Water Heater Waste
You’ll want minimum waste when it comes to your chicken water heater – this will make or break a product in many cases.
Chicken Water Heater Thermostat controls
Some chicken water heaters come with thermostats that kick in as soon as the temperatures drop below a certain level.
Make sure that the product with this feature is trusted because if it malfunctions, it won’t thaw your chickens’ water, and chickens will dehydrate.
Chicken Water Heater Electric cord
You will generally get an electrical cord included with your product but don’t expect it to be very long.
There are exceptions, but in most cases, you will not get a cord that is longer than 4 feet.
Maintenance for your Water Heater
This is yet another significant factor to keep in mind when you go out to buy a water heater (or buy one online).
If you are not prepared to keep maintenance at the top of your list of chores, you might want to consider not buying a water heater.
That will mean you’ll have to get rid of ice manually, so this really shouldn’t even be an issue. A waterer of any kind that isn’t maintained well will cause problems.
The water will be stagnant, meaning gross slimy residue will form, and all sorts of bacteria and algae will start growing. This will result in your chickens refusing to drink the water (good on them).
So before you buy a water heater, be sure to check how often you’ll need to change the water with the product and how easy or difficult that will be to do. That is usually easy to guess just by looking at the design of the product.
Below is a short video that will help you keep or maintain your chicken water heaters going during the winter:
Related Content: Water Your Backyard Chickens: Watering Systems And Ideas!
Best Chicken Water Heater FAQs
Are chicken water heaters heavy on electricity usage?
If you’re using an old model, then yes, it will use silly amounts of electricity. However, modern products are made to be energy-efficient, so it shouldn’t be a problem when you buy a new water heater.
Why use a water heater for chickens?
If chickens go without water for too long, they will get sick, as is the possibility with any animal. Dehydration is never a good thing.
When temperatures plummet, water starts to freeze. Chickens aren’t completely stupid (some breeders will argue they’re not stupid at all!), and if their water has a layer of ice, they will peck through it.
However, when it gets colder, they won’t be able to peck the thicker layers, and they’ll have no water to drink.
With the heater, this problem is solved as it will keep the water flowing all through winter.
Will I still have to break the ice in my coop?
With a properly functioning water heater, you won’t have to head back and forth to keep checking that the chickens’ water isn’t iced. That’s the point of using one.
That’s also why you should make sure you buy a good product. If your heater isn’t working, you’ll have wasted money and will still need to break the ice manually.
How much water do chickens need generally?
Chickens may look like they don’t require a lot of water because they’ll take a sip and move on, but most of them need up to a liter of water every day to maintain stable health.
Depending on how many chickens you have in your coop, you’ll have to provide liters of freshwater for your chickens.
Where should I place the water feeder?
You will have to keep the water supply close to the chickens, so it is within easy reach for them. They like to take small sips, move away, and peck at the ground and return for another sip.
Whether you place them on the ground or suspend them depends on the design of the water feeder. Keep in mind that a chick won’t reach a raised feeder.
Best Chicken Water Heater Review
Now you know what you need to look for when buying the best chicken water heater. You’ve also been informed of some of the products that are available and what makes them great.
Our pick for the best chicken water feeder is the Harris Farms Heated Poultry Drinker Base.
It is trusted by chicken breeders and isn’t quite as expensive as many other products that won’t even be as effective.
With this product, you can expect water that is nicely regulated and won’t be surprised by frozen water when you check on your chickens.
It comes with 125W power and is good to use with either plastic or metal drinkers – the choice is yours.
The bottom is covered and won’t get damaged or wet. Harris Farms offer a drinker base that has 125W power, and it can be used with either plastic or metal drinkers alike.
It makes keeping your chickens watered much easier. With this guy, the water gets raised a few inches off the coop, keeping debris out of it.
It is more expensive, but the only complaint about it is that it can be difficult to keep upright for refilling.
If you can solve that problem, and won’t mind spending a few bucks more than average, this could be the water heater for you.
It is straightforward to use; you won’t be wasting any water with it during use or filling; there is no way for the chickens to try and roost on it, and thanks to its removable screen, it’s easy to keep the chickens’ water nice and clean.
The best chicken water heater for you really depends on the unique needs of you and your chickens.
Once you’ve determined what exactly you need and what it is that your flock needs, you’ll be able to find the perfect product. Just be sure to keep in mind all of the things mentioned in the buyer’s guide, so you won’t miss something and end up wanting to kick yourself.
For the most part, picking a water heater for your chicken coop is simple. Remember to look for a product that has a maintenance level that you’re comfortable with.
Most heaters are pretty simple when it comes to maintenance. Then take into consideration how big your water feeder is if you’re not buying a feeder with a built-in heater.
Also remember that cleaning can be a hassle for all of us, so check out how the product is cleaned and how often it will need to be cleaned. In the end, choose whatever will work for you and your chickens or other animals you’ll want to give running water.