Best Automatic Dog Waterer

Posted July 27, 2013 by Heath Dieckert in Dog Gear
nelson stainless steel automatic dog waterer

The Best Automatic Dog Waterer is the Nelson Automatic Dog Waterer – Model 1200B.

After extensive online research, interviews with several veterinarians, and ultimately buying different models and testing them, the best Automatic Dog Waterer is hands down the Nelson Automatic Dog Waterer Model 1200B.

Why are you guys reviewing a professional grade automatic dog waterer?

Well…we love our dogs.  In between adventures, three dogs live at my house in Texas.  Dogs require constant access to a fresh, clean water supply. says:

“As a rule of thumb, dogs should drink approximately one ounce of water per pound of bodyweight each day.”

This can increase pretty dramatically if the dog is exercising or exposed to the elements.  With my dogs weighing in between 50 and 70 lbs and being pretty active, that means I need more than 6 liters of fresh water per day for my three dogs to keep them happy and healthy.  This also ignores evaporation and spillage both of which occur in large quantities at my house.  My dogs are very inquisitive, and will often knock over or chew up a poorly designed traditional water bucket or bowl.  I needed a way to make sure they had clean, fresh water during those sad moments when I can’t be playing frisbee or fetch with them.

Thus began my search for an automatic dog waterer.

Recommendation Criteria:

  • Constant Water Supply

  • Minimal complexity

  • Difficult for the dogs to knock over

  • Easy to Install

  • Durable

  • Reliable

  • Easy to clean

  • Cost (can’t be plated in gold)

Constant Water Supply

Many automatic dog waterers depend on a water “reservoir” for their water supply (either a detachable jug or a water compartment). When the reservoir runs dry, so does the waterer. I don’t see much difference between refilling the reservoir and refilling a bowl.  If I’m paying for a dog waterer, I don’t want to have to fill anything up!  The Nelson 1200B waterer hooks into an existing faucet or water line. They never run dry, and you won’t have to worry about checking water levels or filling water reservoirs.

Minimal Complexity / Ease of repair

As a general rule, the more moving parts something has, the more things can go wrong.  In the Nelson automatic dog waterer there is one moving part; the float and valve assembly.  The float actuated valve automatically replenishes the water as the dogs drink.  The float valve component is designed for a long service life, and in the event of a failure, however unlikely, all parts of the Nelson 1200B can be ordered directly from Nelson Manufacturing.  Simple hand tools are used for installation and, if needed, for repair.

Almost impossible for your dog to knock over or spill

This dog waterer is SOLID.  Once installed and with the bowl locked in place it isn’t going anywhere.  It is designed to be securely attached to a wall or post that keeps it off-the-ground. Dogs can’t move or tip over the elevated dog bowl which minimizes waste and mess.  My only fear with the Nelson 1200B is that if it’s hit with a weighty object it could cause damage to the wall that it’s bolted to.

Ease of Installation

The Nelson Automatic Dog Waterer comes with clear instructions that show you how to mount to a wall or pipe with one of two pre-drilled metal brackets.  Water is automatically fed to the Nelson 1200B via a provided 12 inch hose which can be installed on either the left or right side of the bowl to make installation at your home or kennel simple.  A standard outdoor spigot can be connected to the provided hose. If you need a longer hose, a standard garden hose will work, or if your dog chews hoses, you can try a metal washing machine line with a female to male adapter which you can buy at your local home improvement store.


I’ve used this model for over a year and it’s proven to be absolutely reliable.  It is constructed of high grade, heavy gauge 304 stainless steel (the same used in restaurant kitchen equipment), and is extremely durable.  It won’t crack, chip, or rust and is one of those materials that will probably last at least the lifetime of your pet if not your lifetime.  The float is made of food grade plastic and when installed has a heavy metal guard that protects it from damage by dogs or debris. The valve that controls water flow is made from brass and is designed to last many years.  All components are designed to be replaceable.  This unit is a far cry from all the plastic waters I’ve tested and is superior in design and usage to the all metal units we tested.

Easy to Clean

It’s important to keep your dog’s water bowl free of algae and other contaminants. Unlike most waterers, which are a solid unit and difficult to clean, Nelson’s waterers consist of two separate units: the stainless steel bowl and the main assembly. When it’s time for cleaning, simply detach the bowl from the main assembly, clean, and re-attach.  The locking mechanism is extremely well designed and cannot be knocked loose accidentally.  It can be locked and unlocked by hand with no tools.  The bowl can be removed in under 2 seconds once you have the knack for it.  The bowl is dishwasher safe, but also cleans easily by hand (which is the way we do it).


The exterior dimensions are 10″L x 8″W x 4″H  and the water bowl is 6″L x 7″W x 4″H.  This allows even the largest dogs to drink easily out of the bowl.


The Nelson Automatic Dog Waterer costs $139.  Compared to other dog waterers that’s not cheap. The plastic units you can get in the local pet store range anywhere from $12 to $90 depending on their complexity and function.  That said, for the quality, function, design, and peace of mind this unit gives me when I can’t be with my dogs, I might pay twice as much.  This thing is a tank and I know it won’t let me down and put my dogs at risk in the Texas heat.



The Nelson 1200B Automatic Dog Waterer beats the competition.  It is the most reliable way to ensure your dogs have clean fresh water to drink.  It’s easy to install, reliable, unspillable, chew proof, and compared to what I’ve spent on other throw away solutions over the years, promises to be a great value.


Nelson stainless steel automatic dog waterer stock image


Rated 4.7 / 5 star at Gun Dog Supply

About the Author

Heath Dieckert

Heath is a an adventurer, father, rock climber, and adventure gear fanatic. As you can probably tell from this site, he's not much of a blogger or writer. Most of the time he can be found at the local or distant crag grunting his way up a relatively easy route using as little form and as much upper body strength as possible.


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