An automatic pet feeder is an electric-powered contraption that releases precise portions of food to your pet at pre-programmed times throughout the day.
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As its name suggests, an automatic pet feeder is an electric-powered contraption that releases precise portions of food to your pet at pre-programmed times throughout the day.
Xiaomi sent me their new Smart Pet Food Feeder to test and review for a week. This was my first experience using an automatic pet feeder, so I won’t be able to compare this with other past products. But, if this is the first time you’re considering in investing into one of these products, then this is the article for you!
I have learned that an automatic feeder is a must-have for any pet parent that needs to keep their pet fed while they’re away. No matter if it’s just while you’re at work on the daily, during short periods of travel, or even to ensure your pet sticks to its specific-vet-required diet.
I cannot deny the sweet relief I felt as I slept in last weekend without having my cat meowing incessantly at my bedroom door to be fed and instead knowing my cat will be getting her breakfast on time with minimal effort from my end.
My first impression of the Xiaomi Smart Pet Food Feeder when it arrived on my doorstep was its simplicity. I pulled the reasonably sized white feeding tower out of its box, and was surprised to find just two more items inside – a large square bowl, and a power cord.
Size and Capacity
The sleek and straightforward designed feeder takes up just 31 x 18cm of floor space once you’ve attached the large stainless steel square bowl to the main feeder tower. In fact, most of the feeder’s entire footprint is taken up by the large shallow feeding bowl – which I was extremely happy to find.
Bowls with a wide shallow design are great for cats and medium-sized dogs such as Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Beagles, and Corgis as they allow pets to reach all the way into the base of the bowl comfortably without putting pressure on sensitive whiskers or throats.
On top of that, a magnetic strip is used to attach the food bowl to the feeding tower. I thought that was a nice little detail that made the setup that much simpler while giving the entire product a premium and sleek feel.
In terms of capacity, the Xiaomi Smart Pet Food Feeder can store up to 1.8kg of dry food, which totals up to at least 20 days’ worth of meals, depending on how often and how much you feed your pet on a daily basis, as well as the size of your kibble.
Speaking of kibble size, Xiaomi Smart Pet Feeder states that it can only dispense oval-shaped kibble with the diameter between 5 – 12mm. I tested the feeder using two different-sized kibbles I had on hand, and I faced no issues with either.
I appreciated that this product had all the basic features you’d expect to find with an automatic feeder.
It uses a power adapter with a chew-resistant cable which plugs directly into your wall power socket and a battery back up option (it uses four AA batteries which are not included) to ensure that feeding programs run continuously even during power outages.
You can schedule an unlimited number of automated meal times per day, which can be customised down to each minute of the hour and with the ability to control how much portions to serve each time (the feeder can dispense portions as small as 5g and as much as 150g of kibble each time).
The feeder uses a large stainless steel feeding bowl, which is the recommended material for pet food bowls due to its durability and cleanliness (did you know plastic food bowls can result in cat acne?).
Also included is a desiccant slot and one desiccant cartridge to keep your pet’s kibble dry. The product manual requires changing the desiccant cartridge every month – which I have to admit felt like a chore. Thankfully, these desiccant cartridges can be purchased at your preferred Xiaomi e-commerce platform.
The Xiaomi Smart Pet Feeder isn’t called Smart for nothing though. This product not only needs to be connected to your home Wi-Fi, but it is also completely programmed and controlled via an app on your phone.
Ease of use and effectivity
It took me approximately 45 minutes to set up and program the feeder.
This included time spent connecting the feeder to my home Wi-Fi (it insists on only using a 2.4G Wi-Fi signal), installing the Xiaomi Home app, setting up the app and scheduling in meal times and setting up an extension cord (my cat’s current setup didn’t have an available power socket nearby and the power adapter cable is only about a 30cm long),
I was relieved to find that despite being a Xiaomi Smart product using the Xiaomi Home app, it operated seamlessly on my Apple iPhone and is available on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. The app was surprisingly simple to use but detailed enough to personalise it exactly to your pet’s needs.
Besides notifying you whenever food gets dispensed, the app will also remind you to refill the reservoir when food levels are low. The feeder detects this using a built-in sensor (I was notified to refill the reservoir when there was about 175g of kibble left which was the same as 7 meals for my cat).
The feeder itself has a manually dispense button and LED indicators that let you know if the feeder is connected to your Wi-Fi, when food is about to be dispensed and when food levels are low.
In-app features also include a child safety lock option, a food compartment cleaning guide (in case you misplace the hard copy book manual), and a countdown to how many days until you need to change the desiccant cartridge.
That being said, there are no other controls on the feeder itself. Everything needs to be programmed and controlled via the app.
I’ve listed out most of the things I like about this product, though there are some downsides worth mentioning as well.
There is no viewing window on the feeder itself to gauge how much food is left inside. Instead, the product uses a sensor on the inside which then sends a reminder to you via the app, making the entire feeder fully dependent on the Xiaomi Home app.
Besides that, the feeder only supports dry food and will run the same schedule every day, meaning you can’t schedule different feeding times for different days or feed your pet wet food using this feeder. Thankfully, you can continuously re-program feeding schedules to your heart’s content through the app.
The need to use a desiccant cartridge feels like a chore to me. While completely understandable in our humid and warm country, this isn’t something I’m looking forward to doing every month (don’t we all just prefer a set-up-and-forget system?).
Keeping in mind that this is the first ever automatic feeder I’ve tried, I give the Xiaomi Smart Pet Feeder a solid 7/10 rating.
At the end of the day, the Xiaomi Smart Pet Feeder is made up of reliable components that slotted together intuitively and performed flawlessly for the entire week I had to test it. The phone app and notifications provided me the peace of mind I needed, knowing my pet was fed on time, every day.
Purchase your very own Xiaomi Smart Pet Feeder at RM459 on Shopee.
Starving forensic investigator turned writer cause she couldn't find a job. Used to search for killers now searches for killer stories.