The unit features a wireless IR remote controlled receiving system that allows you to program the feeder or trigger feedings with a remote range of 32-39 ft without barriers. You can remotely program portion sizes and feeding frequency so you don’t need to squat to push buttons on the panel in order to program the unit.
TopPets PF-21B accepts kibble size from 1/4” up to 1/2” in diameter and it comes with two blades for small and big kibble sizes.
A built-in microphone allows you to record a personal message up to 8 seconds calling your pet to eat. This message will play 3 times.
The feeder works with 4 “D” size battery or AC plug with optional DC Power adapter (included). The unit is able to work in conjunction with both, AC power adapter and batteries as backup so if a power outage occurs, the feeder’s source of power gets automatically transferred to the battery. This switching does not affect the dispensing or the feeding schedule. AC adapters for different countries are available as well.
- Large hopper capacity of 45 cups
- Customizable meal sizes from ¼ cup up to 2 ½ cups (1-12 portions) per meal
- Suitable kibble size 1/4” to 1/2” diameter
- Wireless infrared remote control (remote range approx. 32-39 ft without barriers)
- It can be programmed to dispense from 1 up to 5 times per day
- Programmable feeding frequency
- Easy to read memory LCD screen with built-in clock
- With smart sensor to prevent the dish from getting overloaded
- Lock on lid prevents mischievous pets from trying to open the feeder
- Built-in microphone, speaker and low battery indicator
- Personalized voice message to call your pet to eat, up to 8 sec., it replays 3 times.
- Power source 4-D batteries (not included) and AC plug with DC power adapter, included.
- Transparent hopper allows to see food level at a glance
- Removable food hopper and dish for cleaning
- Alarm sounds when feeding schedule expires
- Input rated voltage: AC120V +- 10% 60Hz / AC240 +- 10% 50Hz
- Dimensions:16.5″x9.5″x14.5″ ( L x W x H )
- Weight: 7 lbs
- Feeder’s material: ABS
HOW IT WORKS
The dispensing mechanism of TopPets PF-21B consists of a rotating wheel/spinner with rubber fins to make the food drop into the food dish. The unit comes with 2 different wheel sizes, for small and big kibble sizes (Measurements of kibble are in centimeters).
The feeder comes with the wheel for small kibble installed and you can replace it for the big one if you use a bigger kibble. The small kibble wheel is suitable for cats and small dogs.
The unit works with both batteries and AC plug, allowing the feeder to continue operating in case of power outage, without loosing the programming. The same if you turn off the feeder, you won’t lose the settings. You can turn off the feeder by pushing the ON/OFF switch on the side of the unit.
The feeder comes with wireless infrared remote control that allows you to program the settings or trigger a feed at present time without changing the feeding schedule.
You can see the instructions how to program this feeder here (last image on the bottom).
HOW TO PROGRAM IT
You need to program feeding times and amount of food to be dispensed (all meals will have the same portion).
The LCD panel will show you a default of 124, being 1 the first feeding and the 24 the default time (military time).
To program the first meal you confirm the number one and then the 24 will start blinking and you need to set the time you want the meal to be dispensed, for example 08 is 8 am. This first meal programmed will look like “108” (meal number 1 at 8 am). If you want to set the second feed at 10 am, it will look like “210” (meal number 2, at 10 am), etc. up to 5 meals. If you want to feed only 2 times a day, you leave the rest 3 in default time (324, 424, 524).
After setting up feeding times you need to program the portion that will be dispensed every time, from ¼ cup to 2 ½ cup.
- Hopper lid with locking system to prevent cats from trying to open the lid
- Removable hopper and food dish for easy cleaning
- Paw-proof chute makes it difficult for cats trying to get extra food
- Adjustable feeding times and portion sizes
- Voice recording calling your pet to eat
- It comes with 2 food wheels/spinners to adapt the feeder to the kibble size
- It works with batteries and AC adapter, separately or in conjunction as backup
- Clear easy to read LCD screen with memory to retain the programming
- Remote control allows you to program the unit and also trigger feedings at present time
- Good hopper capacity of 45 cups dry food
- Reliable digital timer
- The food drops to the left side of the dish. It may be not good if feeding two cats.
- Loud beep that precedes the recorded voice may scare some cats.
- Some people may not like the recording playing 3 times (recording or “beep” can’t be silenced)
- The food close to the dispensing area gets dropped, and the around food not near it sits in its spot, creating a pit in the middle of the hopper so you see a hopper with food, but no food gets dispensed (shaking the feeder helps to keep the food even to keep dispensing).
- The minimum dispensing of 1/4 is more like approx. 3/8 cup food if using cat kibble; too much food for a cat that eats 3 times a day
- Lack of detailed instructions makes it difficult to program (e.g. portions 1-12 don’t indicate food amount)
- The feeder has a screw mechanism that occasionally gets jammed (it needs to be cleared manually if this happens)
- Hopper needs to be emptied to change batteries
- It does not dispense individual portion sizes for each meal
- Sound of voice recording does not have good quality
- If you don’t want to hear the “beep” or voice recording, you can take it apart and disconnect the speaker.
- You can cover part of the chute to dispense less food if you need it.
TopPets PF-21B is an improvement over the previous version TopPets Large Automatic Pet Feeder. The new design has a different dispensing mechanism, a smaller minimum portion, adjustable spinner to suit the kibble size, memory that retains programming if turned off, location of batteries and locking lid.
TopPets has a reliable timer which you appreciate when it comes to automatic feeders of this price range. The feeder has a protective locking system and a pet-proof chute as well, stopping cats from trying to steal food from the chute.
Some points to consider about this unit:
- The feeder has some issues that have been described by customers in reviews, such as the mechanism jamming and stopping from dispensing food. The jamming occurs occasionally but it could happen anytime, making this unit suitable for pet owners that stay home or if you use feeder within 8-10 hours a day or so. I would not suggest using this unit to go out on vacations or used on get away weekends. The unit needs to be shaken every few days to keep the food level as well.
- The minimum amount of food is large considering the food intake for a cat and specially if you feed your cat 2 or 3 times a day. The food portions and the large capacity of the hopper makes the feeder more suitable for two cats and dogs.
All in all, this is not the best automatic cat feeder on the market but if you are looking for an automatic pet feeder in the range of $55-$60 with a reliable timer, you can give this unit a try but only:
- To feed two cats (you may need to adapt the chute to spread the food both sides on the dish)
- To be used within 8-10 hours
- If you are willing to check on the feeder
x I would not suggest this unit:
- To feed only one cat (unless you feed your cat once a day)
- To leave the feeder unattended on weekends or during vacations
- If you want a built-to-last unit
- If you don’t want a dispensing mechanism subject to possible jamming