Best Heated Chicken Waterer

We’ve been through a half a dozen different options over the years, so let’s take a look at what we think is the best heated chicken waterer.

Why do I need a heated chicken waterer?

If you live anywhere that the daytime temps drop below freezing on the regular, you very likely already have a heated waterer in place.

Here in Minnesota, if we didn’t heat the chicken water we would have to replace it at least twice a day. This is a chore I am not up for.

You certainly could use an open bowl of some kind, but again, that would freeze over quickly and would also get full of chicken gunk pretty quick. That is why an enclosed, heated water option works best.

How long does a heated chicken waterer last?

I think that depends on how much you use it. We haven’t had a waterer that has survived more than one season. Keep in mind that we have our heated water plugged in for 5-6 months continuously.

If you live in a somewhat warmer climate you might get away with only plugging the water in at night. Or possibly having it plugged in for 2-3 months. That might extend the life of the waterer.

farm chickens rough and tumble farmhouse

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What is the best heated chicken waterer?

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons for several heated chicken waterers we have tried as well as our pick for the best one.

Nipple System

nipple waterer rough and tumble farmhouse

Alright so let’s all take a minute to chuckle about how much I’m going to use the word “nipple” here. Out of your system? Me either. I’m going to laugh the whole time I type this.


  • Solidly built – Sturdy plastic and the nipples aren’t flimsy
  • Metal Handle – Plastic ones tend to break
  • Hangable– This waterer is designed to hang so you don’t get gunk in the water tray.
  • Fills from the top – You don’t need to unhook it or flip it upside down. Just take the cover off and fill it up.


  • Small Capacity – It only fits 2 gallons of water
  • Chickens Drink Less- The University of Edinburgh reports chickens drink 30% less water with the nipple system
  • Potentially jammed nipples– I’m not saying this from experience, but having used spigot/nipple waterers for hogs in the past they have gotten jammed somehow or even frozen open at times and water drains everywhere.
  • Chickens might not use it – Even when it was the sole water source, our chickens point blank refused to use it. They skittered off to the barn and drank from our cow trough instead.


This one is on Amazon for $48. I think we paid about the same locally

Final Thoughts

If your chickens like it and you don’t have a lot of birds draining it every day (or you don’t have far to haul water) this might be a good match for you.

Poultry Fountain

best heated chicken waterer rough and tumble farmhouse

We have two separate models of this. One has a rounded top, the other is flat. One has a metal handle, one has plastic. Get a better look at them in the video below.


  • 3 Gallon Capacity
  • Metal Handle Model – Solid which allows for carrying it or hanging it.
  • Flat Top Model- Easy to fill when it is flipped upside down
  • Works in summer too- If it stops heating properly it still works fine as a waterer in warm weather.
  • Locking Tray- The tray turns one direction to lock it closed, and another direction to allow the flow of water.


  • Round Top Model – The rounded top is a serious pain to fill as it won’t stand upright on its own.
  • Plastic Handle Model- Flimsy and will break eventually. Can’t hang the waterer by it.
  • Locking Tray – This is also a con because it can be hard to tell if you have unlocked the tray or not.
  • Trays a pain to put on – Not every time, but just when you are in a rush or it is cold, the trays can be putsy to fit on just right.


On Amazon this waterer (the flat top) is available for $54.00. Your local Fleet Supply store likley has it for at least ten bucks cheaper.

Final Thoughts

These aren’t a terrible option (the flat ones anyway) and they have been our go-to for the last few years. We just planned to buy a new one each year so we have a whole room in our chicken coop that is practically a waterer graveyard.

Quick tip: If you get the model with the plastic handle, fill it, put the tray on, then carry it upside down by the tray so the handle doesn’t break.

Heated Base

heated chicken base rough and tumble farmhouse

We started using this heated system for our chickens this winter and so far it is our favorite option.


  • Works with any waterer- Metal or plastic up to at least three gallons
  • Has a 2 year warranty – That might be specific just to this model.
  • Easy to clean– It’s a smooth simple surface so you can easily clean it.
  • Elevated- It is a few inches high so it helps to keep the waterer elevated away from bedding.


  • Requires a waterer component– This is just the heated base, so you need the vessel to actually hold the water to set on top.
  • Metal ones sometimes can only use metal- If you have a plastic waterer, some metal heated bases only work with metal waterers so be sure to check.
  • Can’t hang it– This base sits on the ground and can’t (or simply shouldn’t) be strung up.


On Amazon this heated base runs $50. I think ours locally was maybe five bucks cheaper.

Final Thoughts

We really like this option. If you have extra waterers laying around or even have a smaller sized chicken waterer you use in the summer, you can just pop it on this base.

Which heated chicken waterer is the best?

For us we are really liking the heated base. Rather than continuing to buy plastic waterers that die after a year and pile up in the coop, we can now use those old ones by putting them on the base.

Additionally, this particular brand has a two year warranty. Basically we are guaranteed that it will last us at least two years or it will be replaced. Already that’s better than our other waterers.

Do you have a heated chicken water set up that works great? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

For more chicken content check out my other chicken related posts!

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