Today we’re going to look at another entry into the “non-plastic cat drinking fountain” category: The Pioneer Pet Raindrop Stainless Steel Drinking Fountain!
There are a ton of reasons why you should consider getting your cat a fountain. For a recap of those reasons, check, out our iPettie Tritone Ceramic Pet Drinking Fountain Review.
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Filtration: Charcoal
- Pump Voltage: 12V
- Cable Length: 70.8 in.
- Size Options: 2
- Capacity: 60 oz.
- Dimensions: 4.25 in. H x 9.75 in. W x 11.75 in. L
- Weight: 1.7 lbs (empty weight)
- Capacity: 96 oz.
- Dimensions: 4.75 in. H x 10.5 in. W x 12 in. L
- Weight: 2.7 lbs (empty weight)
The Pioneer Pet Raindrop Stainless Steel Drinking Fountain was developed by Pioneer Pets. Pioneer Pets is headquartered in Cedarburg, WI, and they produce a number of different cat products, including drinking fountains, toys, feeders, and other cat miscellany. In addition to selling cat products, Pioneer Pet also operates Cats International, a non-profit, educational cat organization.
The fountain is made up of five primary components:
- Top Bowl
- Bottom Bowl
- Pump Housing
- Charcoal Filter
Both the pump and filter are contained in the pump housing. The bottom bowl acts as a reservoir. The pump sits in the bottom bowl, and the top bowl is placed on top of it. The pump pushes water up from the bottom bowl and allows it to spill over an opening in the top bowl. Water passes down a ramp on the top bowl and returns to the bottom bowl for recirculation.
The fountain, pump, and all other pieces of equipment that come with the fountain have a one-year warranty.
There isn’t much to operation of the Pioneer Pet Raindrop Stainless Steel Drinking Fountain. You can see a copy of the instruction manual that comes with the fountain here.
Once the fountain is up and running, it does not require that much maintenance. It’s important to make sure that you keep the bowl filled. If you let the water level run too low, the pump will start to struggle, making noise and potentially causing damage to the motor.
Pump noise can also be minimized if you clean the pump regularly. Pulling off any hair or other material that has collected inside the pump and on the impeller will extend its life significantly.
The manufacturer recommends cleaning the pump 1 – 3 times per month, depending on how many cats are using the fountain. Cleaning the pump involves the following steps:
- Unplug the pump
- Snap the cover plate off and remove the stator (the round plastic piece that goes over the impeller).
- Remove the impeller (it has three blades, like a propeller)
- Rinse the pump pieces and the pump cavity, pulling out any debris
- Reassemble and return to service
Unfortunately, the pump used for both the 60 oz and 96 oz. models is a bit undersized. The pump operates quietly at first, but it quickly loses suction as the impeller clogs with hair and debris. Once its capacity is reduced, the pump has to work harder to move the same amount of water. When it does this, it gets louder. It also causes more wear and tear on the pump motor, meaning that you’ll have to replace it sooner. The pump’s lifespan can be extended if you are sure to maintain the recommended cleaning schedule.
Check out this video to see how to perform maintenance on the pump:
The manufacturer recommends that you replace the filter every 2-4 weeks. As a result, you may need to purchase replacement filters occasionally.
Over time, the fountain pump will gradually lose effectiveness until eventually it stops working. If this happens within a year after you bought the pump, you should check to see if the manufacturer to see if you can get a free replacement pump since it may still be under warranty. If the pump breaks over a year after you bought the fountain, you are going to need to purchase a replacement pump.
You can also purchase a cleaning kit to make cleaning the fountain a little easier. The cleaning kit includes a brush with two different size heads, as well as a foam pad for cleaning corners.
One of the distinguishing features of the Pioneer Pet Raindrop fountain is its unique shape. The fountain has a unique “raindrop” shape that is not found in other fountains on the market.
The fountain’s shape gives your cat the option of drinking from the moving stream of water flowing down the top bowl ramp or the bottom bowl reservoir. One feature that the Pioneer Pet Raindrop Fountain does not have is a free falling stream of water for your cat to drink from. While a free falling stream of water may be a nice option for your cat, it is not essential.
A drawback of the Pioneer Pet Raindrop Fountain’s unique shape is that it’s only accessible to one cat at a time. Circular fountains that provide 360° access allow for multiple cats (and potentially dogs or other animals) to drink simultaneously. The Pioneer Pet Raindrop fountain is designed to provide water for one cat at a time, which shouldn’t be a problem if you only have one cat.
As of October 2018, approximate prices of the Pioneer Pet Raindrop Fountain are as follows:
- 60 oz.: $36
- 96 oz.: $76
For the time being, the 60 oz. is a better value. However, one of the primary customer suggestions for improvements to this model was an increased capacity. Pioneer Pet responded by producing the 96 oz. model. This model has not been available for as long as the 60 oz. version. As a result, it’s still priced quite a bit higher since it is the newest model.
For a one-cat household, the 60 oz. model should be sufficient. You’ll need to replace the water more frequently, but this will give you an incentive to get in there and clean the pump more frequently too. This will extend the overall lifespan of the pump, saving you money.
If you have more than one cat, it’s probably a good idea to go with the 96 oz. model. Otherwise you’ll be refilling the bowl a lot more frequently.
Most mid-range cat drinking fountains on Amazon cost about $30-50. This puts the 60 oz. Pioneer Pet Raindrop Fountain at a very competitive price point, especially considering that the vast majority of cat drinking fountains available on Amazon are made of plastic.
Quality & Durability
Stainless steel is very strong. As a result, the Pioneer Pet Raindrop Fountain is very strong. Having a stainless steel fountain means that you’re less likely to break the fountain if you drop it during cleaning.
The pump is a bit weaker than it should be, resulting in weaker flow than some cats may like. You can extend the lifetime of the pump by cleaning it regularly, adhering to the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning frequency of 1-3 times per month.
The lifespan of the pump and the charcoal filter by filling the fountain with filtered water. You will still end up accumulating cat hair in the pump over time though.
Since the fountain is made of stainless steel, it is much easier to clean off any scale that may form on the fountain body. Scale is very difficult to remove from plastic, but it can be cleaned off of stainless steel fairly easily using white vinegar. Just make sure to avoid using vinegar on the pump, and rinse the bowl very well before returning it to service after cleaning with vinegar.
The fountain is also dishwasher safe, which makes it easy to clean on a routine basis. You don’t have to worry about the fountain warping or melting in the dishwasher like you may need to with a plastic fountain.
- Cats prefer circulating water to stagnant water, encouraging healthy drinking habits
- Constructed of stainless steel, making it easy to clean and maintain
- Unique shape and stylish design
- Dishwasher safe
- Leak free
- Easy assembly
- Multiple size options (60 oz. or 96 oz.)
- No free-falling water option for your cat
- Top piece disconnects too easily
- Pump is undersized and can become noisy if not properly maintained
Based on our evaluation, the Pioneer Pet Raindrop Stainless Steel Drinking Fountain earns an 8.9 / 10.0. This is definitely a great stainless steel fountain option that your cat will love. It’s easy to clean and maintain, plus the stainless steel makes it much more durable than a plastic fountain. Plus, you get to choose from two size options: 60 oz. or 96 oz. Check them out on Amazon!