The 3 Best Birdbath Deicers that Won’t Harm the Birds

Inside: The 3 best birdbath deicers to keep the birdbath water liquid so wild birds have water to drink and bathe in – all winter long! Learn the key requirements to pay attention to when choosing a birdbath deicer.

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Baby, it’s cold outside! During the winter it’s cold, and everything’s frozen – including your birdbath!

Since wild birds still need to drink and bathe during winter, you can help them by providing a supply of unfrozen water in your birdbath by using a birdbath deicer

There are a lot of options for birdbath deicers so it can be confusing and overwhelming to choose one. Fret not! I reviewed and rated 9 birdbath deicers. One rose to the top to earn the distinction of “The Best Birdbath Deicer Overall” and two runners-up were rated highly as well.

To understand why these three birdbath deicers made my top 3 “best”, you first need to understand what features to pay attention to.

If you just want to get right to it — here are the 3 best birdbath deicers available:

The 3 Best Birdbath Deicers

Best Birdbath Deicer Overall

API Birdbath Deicer #300

Best Birdbath Deicer for Value

K&H Pet Products Ice Eliminator

Best Birdbath Deicer for Warranty

API Birdbath Deicer #BDT250


I’ve been a backyard birder for over 20 years and had thousands of birds visit over that time. I like to install my birdbath deicer in early December to ensure it’s in place before the freezing temperatures hit. It’s another way I like to help the birds and (selfishly) get a glimpse of them up close.

My expertise combined with the insight of hundreds of experienced backyard birder friends across the US means you can trust my recommendations.

What is a Birdbath Deicer?

A birdbath deicer’s primary function is to prevent the water in a birdbath from freezing so birds can drink from and bathe in it during freezing cold weather.

Ones that are worth it contain a built-in thermostat controller that automatically turns on the unit when the water reaches 32 F so the water doesn’t freeze.

This automation also prevents the water from becoming hot and harming the birds and keeps your electric bill from exploding out of control.

A thermostatically-controlled birdbath costs mere pennies a day to run.

Why should I consider a birdbath Deicer?

If you’re wondering what the benefits of a birdbath deicer are or why you should consider buying one, you’re not alone.

During times of extreme below freezing temperature, a deicer may help wild birds survive the winter but generally speaking, wild birds are perfectly adapted to finding their own water during this time.

They do this by melting snow in their mouths, drinking from dripping icicles, or finding a moving stream or river. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology states “birds have several physiological mechanisms for conserving water“.

That said, the birds benefit from a birdbath deicer by finding water more easily so they spend less energy flying around looking for it.

Their lives are not dependent on us but energy conservation is really important to wild birds especially in winter.

The true benefit of a birdbath deicer is for us to attract the birds to our yard and enjoy them year-round.

Birdbath deicers also make an ideal gift for the bird lover on your list.

What about Heated Birdbaths?

Heated birdbaths and birdbath de-icers are similar in that they both accomplish the same goal – melt ice and/or prevent the icing of water. 

The difference is heated birdbaths are the birdbath and heating unit built into one whereas birdbath de-icers are just the heating unit that is laid inside the birdbath bowl, or basin. 

If you already have a birdbath you like and use throughout the winter, a birdbath deicer is a great option. It’ll save you money and does the job as well as a heated birdbath.

It’s also a matter of personal preference. In my opinion, heated birdbaths provide a more aesthetically pleasing experience as the cord is either tucked inside the pedestal or out the bottom of the ground/mountable type, rather than draped up and over the basin, which is the case for birdbath deicers.

On the other hand, if everything’s covered with snow, it probably doesn’t matter.

If you’d like to explore heated birdbaths, check out my article The 3 Best Heated Birdbaths for Winter.


What to Look for When Buying a Birdbath Deicer

There are a lot of options available. After cutting through the endless list of features and specifications, I arrived at a shortlist of key requirements to focus on when buying a birdbath deicer. 

The key requirements are:

  1. Safe & Effective
  2. Easy to Clean
  3. Rust Resistant

1. Safe & Effective

When you buy a birdbath deicer you want it to be safe for the birds. That’s why I recommend purchasing one that is specifically designed for and intended to be used with a birdbath.

Deicers intended for other purposes such as horse/cow troughs or ponds are intentionally larger and more powerful as they need to handle larger quantities of water.

A birdbath requires significantly less water thus less powerful and smaller. A larger deicer may be too large and/or powerful for tiny birds.

Let’s not experiment with the wild birds .. play it safe. Instead of trying to retrofit a deicer intended for another purpose, stick with what is proven and intended for our wild feathered friends.

Note: Every birdbath deicer I reviewed is intended specifically for birdbaths.

So what is “safe and effective”?

In order for the deicer to be safe, it should have a built-in thermostat enabling it to automatically turn off once the ice has melted.

In fact, the thermostat is non-negotiable – the deicer must have it to protect the birds. Otherwise, the water will continue to heat to extreme temperatures and harm the birds when bathing or drinking.

Note: Every birdbath deicer I reviewed and recommend has a built-in thermostat.

In order for the deicer to be effective, it needs to have sufficient power to do its job of keeping the water from freezing up. Effective birdbath deicers come in power ranges from 44W to 150W.

Note: Every birdbath deicer I reviewed and recommend has sufficient power to do the job.

2. Easy to Clean

If you know anything about me, you know I’m a huge proponent of responsible backyard birding.

It’s our responsibility to provide a safe environment for wild birds while they’re in our yard. This means providing fresh food and water and cleaning the bird feeders and birdbaths regularly.

When selecting a birdbath deicer make sure it’s easy to clean. That means being able to withstand being wiped down with a diluted bleach/water solution.

3. Rust Resistant

Rust can be toxic to birds so look for a birdbath deicer that isn’t prone to rust.

Plus, leaving ugly rust marks in your birdbath can be … well, ugly.

Look for deicers fully enclosed in aluminum, stainless steel, or plastic as they don’t rust.

Optional Requirements for a Birdbath Deicer

Each birdbath deicer comes with a set of features and specifications. Some of them are key requirements you should pay attention to when choosing one, which we discussed above, but some are optional.

Optional features might be important to you or your circumstance but are not universally key for everyone. If they are important to you, add them to your list of things to consider. Here they are:

  • Size: Birdbaths come in a variety of sizes. If you have an unsusually large, small, deep, or shallow birdbath make sure the deicer you choose will fit and be fully submerged when water added.
  • Aesthetics: If the color of the birdbath deicer is important to you there are several options to consider. While most are white/ivory in color, other models are available in a choice of colors.
  • Warranty: Some people don’t buy anything without a warranty while others aren’t concerned. Check the product listing for a warranty if it’s important to you.
  • Made in USA: If this is important to you, some deicers are Made in America

What to Avoid when Buying a Birdbath Deicer

Avoid any deicer that is not thermostatically controlled due to the following concerns:

  • All of the water can dry up if additional water isn’t added in time and likely burn out the deicer unit.
  • The water can become too hot causing potential harm to the birds.
  • The birdbath deicer can significantly raise your electric bill since the unit runs all the time.
  • The birdbath deicer may overheat and short circuit destroying the birdbath and/or deicer or cause a fire.

Avoid deicers with elements prone to rust, that are not enclosed.

  • Many of the deicers I reviewed are made primarily with rust-resistant material but customers still reported instances of rusting. This is likely due to a screw/washer used to construct the unit was not rust-resistant.

How I Reviewed the Birdbath Deicers

I reviewed 10 birdbath deicers.

  • Each of them has a thermostat built-in. As I mentioned earlier, a thermostat is a non-negotiable requirement every deicer must have to protect and keep our wild birds safe.
  • Each of them prevents icing of the water when temperature is below freezing. In other words, they all do the job. Some better than others.
  • They all have cords that are too short. You will need to use an extension cord regardless of which birdbath you choose.
  • I include 9 reviews because 1 of the deicers is identical to another model, but a different brand name and costs more, so I omitted it.

Using a 5 point system, I awarded between 0 and 5 points for each of the 4 key requirements.

My Review Point System

0 = Very Poor
1 = Poor
3 = Good
4 = Great
5 = Exceptional

Heated Birdbath Key Requirements

  1. Safe & Effective
  2. Easy to Clean
  3. Rust Resistent

Birdbath Deicer Reviews

#1 API Birdbath Deicer #300

Best Birdbath Deicer with the Best Warranty

Key RequirementRating
Safe & Effective5
Easy to Clean4
Rust Resistant4
OVERALL RATING4.3

PROS

  • Smallest deicer available so can be used in the majority of birdbaths – from the smallest to largest.
  • Made from aluminum which won’t rust.
  • Height is less than 1″ – able to be fully submerged in most birdbaths.
  • Anti-rub cord to keep wildlife safe and device to keep working longer.
  • Specifically made for birdbaths so deisgned with birds in mind.
  • One year warranty

CONS

  • Deicer is very light and may require a heavy object on top (rock of brick) so it doesn’t flop out.
Optional Requirements Worth Noting
  • 1-Year Warranty
  • Made in USA

#2 K&H Pet Products Ice Eliminator

Best Birdbath Deicer for Value

Key RequirementRating
Safe & Effective4
Easy to Clean4
Rust Resistant4
OVERALL RATING4.00

PROS

  • Made from aluminum encased in enamel coated which so won’t rust.
  • Height is 1″ – able to be fully submerged in most birdbaths.
  • Specifically made for birdbaths.

CONS

  • Deicer is very light and may require a heavy object on top (rock of brick) so it doesn’t flop out.
Optional Requirements Worth Noting
  • 1-Year Warranty
  • Made in USA

#3 API Birdbath Deicer #BDT250

Best Birdbath Deicer for Warranty

Key RequirementRating
Safe & Effective4
Easy to Clean4
Rust Resistant4
OVERALL RATING4.00

PROS

  • Made from aluminum which won’t rust.
  • Height is 1″ – able to be fully submerged in most birdbaths.
  • Specifically made for birdbaths.

CONS

  • There are slightly less expensive options.
Optional Requirements Worth Noting
  • 3-Year Warranty
  • Made in USA

The remaining deicers did not make my top 3 list but some may be worthy of consideration. Please review my notes carefully to help with your decision.

#4 GESAIL Birdbath Heater

Key RequirementRating
Safe & Effective3.5 (effectiveness not yet proven as it’s a new model)
Easy to Clean4
Rust Resistant4
OVERALL RATING3.8

PROS

  • Made from aluminum and enclosed in enamal which won’t rust.
  • Height is a mere .6″ which makes it the best model to be fully submerged in all birdbaths.
  • Specifically made for birdbaths.

CONS

  • New model hasn’t had time to be fully proven.
  • Light deicer may require a heavy object, such as a rock of brick, on it to prevent flopping out.
Optional Requirements Worth Noting
  • N/A

#5 API (Allied Precision Industries) Deicer #250D

Key RequirementRating
Safe & Effective
Easy to Clean
Rust Resistant
OVERALL RATING

PROS

  • Height is a mere .8″ which makes it one of the best models for all birdbaths as it’s able to be fully submerged.
  • Anti-chew cord so wildlife is further protected.
  • Includes clamp to hold in place so doesn’t flop out of the birdbath.

CONS

  • Marketed as deicer for “bucket or birdbath” so not specifically designed for birdbaths.
  • Some report the nut & screw (outside the unit) rusted within first season of use.
Optional Requirements Worth Noting
  • 3-Year Warranty
  • Made in USA

#6 Farm Innovators Deicer #C50

Key RequirementRating
Safe & Effective3
Easy to Clean4
Rust Resistant3
OVERALL RATING3.3

PROS

  • Made from aluminum which won’t rust. However, see CONS >>

CONS

  • Some reports of rusting.
Optional Requirements Worth Noting
  • 3-Year Warranty
  • Made in USA

#7 Farm Innovators Heated Rock Birdbath Deicer #HR75

Key RequirementRating
Safe & Effective3
Easy to Clean4
Rust Resistant3
OVERALL RATING3.3

PROS

  • Decorative – resembles a flat rock so looks natural.
  • Constructed of aluminum with a decorative colored finish so won’t rust. However, refer to CONS >>

CONS

  • Very thick (3″) so won’t be fully submerged in many style birdbaths.
  • Some report rusting.
Optional Requirements Worth Noting
  • 3-Year Warranty
  • Made in U SA

#8 GESAIL Deicer #05-742G

Key RequirementRating
Safe & Effective2
Easy to Clean4
Rust Resistant4
OVERALL RATING3.3

PROS

  • Offered in 3 different colors.
  • Made from aluminum and enclosed in enamel which won’t rust. However, see CONS >>

CONS

  • 2″ thick so won’t be fully submerged in many style birdbaths.
  • Some report rusting.
  • Doesn’t work in subzero temps
Optional Requirements Worth Noting
  • N/A

#9 Farm Innovators Deicer #B9

Key RequirementRating
Safe & Effective3
Easy to Clean0
Rust Resistant4
OVERALL RATING2.3

PROS

  • Aluminum material won’t rust.
  • Thin size enables it to be used in a very shallow birdbath.

CONS

  • Thin, aluminum-foil like material not condusive to cleaning.
  • Some report stopped working soon after using.
Optional Requirements Worth Noting
  • 1-Year Warranty
  • Made in USA

Tips for Using a Birdbath Deicer

Where to Place the Birdbath w/Deicer

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology recommends placing the birdbath near branches so the birds can perch and preen following their bath. Nearby trees or shrubbery also affords an escape zone for birds if a predator happens along.

Also, placing it in a sunny location will help reduce electricity costs.

Choose the Right Extension Cord

The electrical cord for ALL birdbath deicers is notoriously short. That’s why I didn’t include cord length as a requirement. In other words, there is no birdbath deicer available with an appropriate length cord – they’re all too short.

So, you should plan to use an extension cord regardless of the type or model you choose. I recommend an extension cord designed for outdoor use and waterproof. 

The Cornel Lab of Ornithology also recommends plugging your deicer into a ground-fault interrupted circuit to eliminate the chance of electric shock.

The length of an extension cord is obviously dependent on the distance between your electric source and the location of the birdbath – which will vary greatly from one person to the next. 

Here are a few options:

25′ Outdoor Extension Cord

50′ Outdoor Extension Cord

Refresh the water everyday

Anywhere birds congregate is an ideal environment for diseases such as House Finch Eye Disease, Avian Pox, or Salmonellosis to spread. To mitigate this risk, provide fresh water in the birdbath each day.

To be clear, don’t just “top off” the water each day. Pour out leftover water in the birdbath and add fresh water.

Clean the birdbath & Deicer every two weeks

The CDC recommends cleaning your feeders and birdbaths every other week. Clean more often if you see a buildup of bird poop or other visible debris. 

How to Clean A Birdbath Deicer

Cleaning a birdbath deicer should be done in conjunction with cleaning the birdbath itself. Here are the steps:

  1. Unplug the birdbath deicer.
  2. Wearing gloves, scrub bird droppings and dirt off the birdbath and deicer with a brush designated for this purpose.
  3. Scrub birdbath and deicer with dish soap and water with a brush designated for this purpose.
  4. Soak birdbath in a 1:9 water & bleach solution for 10 or more minutes (e.g. .25 cup bleach with 4.25 cups water). You can wipe the deicer with the water/bleach solution.
  5. Pour out the bleach solution and rinse the birdbath and deicer 3 times. One more time for good measure. There should not be any remnants of bleach.
  6. Remove and throw away gloves. 
  7. Refill the birdbath with fresh water, plug in the deicer.

Next Steps

There are quite a few birdbath deicer choices available today. Decide which optional features are important to you and pay strict attention to the essential features including safety & effectiveness, ease of cleaning, and rust resistance.

I hope this article provides you with the information you need to comfortably choose and purchase a birdbath deicer.

There’s no limit to the enjoyment wild birds bring in your yard – especially in winter. With a birdbath and melted water in your yard, you’ll be blessed with more birds and different varieties this year.

Happy Birding!

Photo of author

Tammy Poppie

More than 20 years ago, Tammy put her first bird feeder outside her kitchen window. Since then she learned how to attract wild birds to her back yard (and repel others). In her free time, she can be found in nature kayaking, hiking, and biking always hoping to see a bird in the wild.