Best Heated Birdbaths Tested: 4 Top Picks to Attract More Birds this Winter

Author: Tammy Poppie
Updated:
Reviewed by:
Family of bluebirds enjoying a heated birdbath in winter. Photo by Julie Atkinson

This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

Best Heated Birdbaths Tested: 4 Top Picks to Attract More Birds this Winter

Author: Tammy Poppie
Updated:
Reviewed by:
Family of bluebirds enjoying a heated birdbath in winter. Photo by Julie Atkinson

This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

I verified the best heated birdbaths by testing them in my yard. That way you can ignore the hype & hearsay and focus on which products are proven to do the job.

1

Songbird Essentials heated birdbath in winter

BEST OVERALL

Songbird Essentials

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2

API 970 heated birdbath in winter

BEST WITH STAND

API 970

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3

heated birdbath on a deck rail with snow around it

BEST DECK MOUNTED

API 650

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4

API 400 heated birdbath in winter

BEST BUDGET-FRIENDLY

API 400

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Songbird Essentials heated birdbath in winter

BEST OVERALL

Songbird Essentials

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API 970 heated birdbath in winter

BEST W/STAND

API 970

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heated birdbath on a deck rail with snow around it

BEST DECK MOUNTED

API 650

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API 400 heated birdbath in winter

BEST BUDGET-FRIENDLY

API 400

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There are a lot of options for heated birdbaths so it can be confusing and overwhelming to choose one. Instead of trusting online reviews from folks I don’t know, I decided to test out four different ones in my own yard.

Why trust me? I’ve been a backyard birder since 1999 and had thousands of birds visit over that time. I like to install my birdbath in November 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.

Songbird Essentials

BEST OVERALL

Songbird Essentials heated birdbath in winter
Songbird Essentials heated birdbath in Tammy’s yard.
Key RequirementRating
Safe & Effective5
Durable Construction5
Easy to Clean5
Easy to Assemble4
Warranty5
Company5
OVERALL RATING4.8

PROS

  • Assembly is needed but results in a sturdy birdbath, with clear, detailed instructions included.
  • Good value considering the base is made of cedar.
  • Heavy to withstand winter winds.
  • Easy to clean.
  • The heating element and cord are neatly hidden inside the pedestal, keeping electrical parts out of sight.
  • Songbird Essentials is a reputable company that’s been in the backyard birding industry for years.

CONS

  • Some assembly is required so you won’t be able to put it out for the birds right away.
  • A little pricier than other options.

Installation Photos

Below are photos from installing the Songbird Essentials in my yard.

Songbird essentials heated birdbath being assembled
Songbird essentials heated birdbath being assembled
The cord is hidden within the pedestal.
Songbird essentials heated birdbath fully assembled

API 970

API 970 heated birdbath in winter
API 970 heated birdbath in Tammy’s yard.
Key RequirementRating
Safe & Effective5
Durable Construction4
Easy to Clean4
Easy to Assemble4
Warranty5
Company5
OVERALL RATING4.5

PROS

  • Basin with a textured surface, gradual slope, and perching rim so wild birds can safely use it.
  • Affordable pedestal option.
  • Large 20″ basin so larger birds are welcome.
  • Video installation instructions are available on the manufacturer’s website but it was easy to assemble.
  • 1 Year Warranty

CONS

  • The metal stand tends to disassemble when lifting or moving it (This does not happen while birds are using it).
  • The basin is large making it a challenge to clean (may not fit in most sinks).
  • The electrical is not concealed so you see a rather unsightly cord (The birds don’t care!).
  • API is a top manufacturer of water-thawing products for animal drinking and bathing.
  • 1 Year Warranty

Installation Photos

heated birdbath being assembled
Parts and pieces to assemble the API 970 heated birdbath in my yard.
heated birdbath being assembled
Assembling the API 970 in my yard.
heated birdbath being assembled
Assembling the API 970 in my yard.
heated birdbath being assembled
Fully assembled API 970 in my yard.

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API 650

BEST DECK-MOUNTED

heated birdbath on a deck rail with snow around it
API 650 heated birdbath in Tammy’s yard.
Key RequirementRating
Safe & Effective5
Durable Construction5
Easy to Clean4.5
Easy to Assemble4
Warranty5
Company5
OVERALL RATING4.8

PROS

  • Basin with a textured surface, gradual slope, and perching rim so wild birds can safely use it.
  • Large 20″ basin so larger birds are welcome.
  • The mounting bracket features a hinge to tilt water out making it easy to refresh.
  • API is a top manufacturer of water-thawing products for animal drinking and bathing.
  • 1 Year Warranty

CONS

  • Deck rails less than 4″ wide may require an additional shim for stability.
  • The basin is large making it a challenge to clean (may not fit in most sinks).

Installation Photos

Below are photos from installing the API 650 in my yard.

API deck mounted birdbath being installed on a deck rail
Note the shims inserted for a tighter fit.
API 650 deck mounted birdbath tilted
Easy tilt to refresh water.
API deck mounted birdbath mounted on a deck rail

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API 400

API 400 heated birdbath in winter
API 400 heated birdbath in Tammy’s yard.
Key RequirementRating
Safe & Effective3
Durable Construction3
Easy to Clean3
Easy to Assemble4
Warranty5
Company5
OVERALL RATING3.8

PROS

  • Affordable pedestal option.
  • Easy assembly, only 7 parts.

CONS

  • Basin does not have texture or gradual slope so birds may not use it. You can add rocks to resolve this deficit.
  • The metal stand tends to disassemble when lifting or moving it (This does not happen while birds are using it).
  • The electrical is not concealed so you see a rather unsightly cord. (Note: The birds don’t care!)
  • API is a top manufacturer of water-thawing products for animal drinking and bathing.
  • 1 Year Warranty

Installation Photos

Below are photos from installing the API 400 in my yard.

heated birdbath being assembled
Parts and pieces to assemble the API 400 heated birdbath in my yard.
heated birdbath being assembled
Assembled API 400 heated birdbath in my yard.

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Types of Heated Birdbaths

There are two main types of heated birdbaths:

  1. Heated Birdbath with Pedestal/Stand
  2. Ground/Deck Mount

There is nothing inherently better or worse between the types of heated birdbaths. As long as it meets the key requirements, which we’ll discuss shortly, either type is a fine choice.

A heated birdbath with a pedestal comes in two styles: the pedestal style, where the basin and base are one piece, and the stand style, where the basin sits on a separate pedestal base, typically made of three metal poles.

A ground or deck mount birdbath lacks a pedestal or stand. It either sits directly on the ground or attaches to a deck rail using a metal holder and brackets. In areas with significant snowfall, avoid ground types as they can get buried in snow.

Heated Birdbath With Pedestal

Songbird Essentials brand heated birdbath in pedestal

Heated Birdbath Stand

API heated birdbath model 970

Heated Birdbath Ground/Deck Mount Type

Allied Precision brand heated birdbath mounted to a deck rail

Buying Guide

pie chart showing the 6 key factors for determining the best heated birdbaths

Key Factors to Consider

After cutting through the endless list of features and specifications, I arrived at a shortlist of key factors to focus on when buying a heated birdbath. 

  1. Safe & Effective
  2. Durable 
  3. Easy to Clean
  4. Easy to Assemble
  5. Warranty
  6. Company

1. Safe & Effective

When you buy a heated birdbath you want it to be safe for the birds.

It should have a built-in thermostat enabling it to automatically turn off once the ice has melted. Otherwise, the water will continue to heat to extreme temperatures and harm the birds when bathing or drinking.

For the heated birdbath to be effective, it needs to have sufficient power to do its job of keeping the water from freezing up. Heated birdbaths come in power ranges from 50W to 150W.

The bowl should have an appropriate depth. Birds only need up to a couple of inches of water to drink. Since birds vary in size, a sloping bowl is ideal for the smaller birds so they can comfortably hop from the shallow to the deeper areas without fear of drowning, and works for larger birds who may choose to drop right into the deep.

Offer a perch-friendly bowl. In most cases, the birds are visiting the birdbath to drink. They will perch on the edge of the rim, bend over and drink. Contoured rims are ideal for perching.

2. Durable Construction

Avoid concrete, stone, or glass. As Birds and Blooms point out, these materials can crack if the water freezes.

When the wicked winds blow you want a heated birdbath that will stay put so pay attention to its stability.

  • If it’s a pedestal-style heated birdbath the base should be heavy and/or include ground stakes.
  • If it’s a mounted style, it should include mounting brackets to secure it in place.
  • If it’s ground-style, look for one made of heavy materials.

3. Easy to Clean

Proper cleaning of a birdbath entails scrubbing with a 1:9 bleach/water solution. For this reason, you should avoid porous materials such as wood.

Think about where you intend to clean the basin. Since you likely need to clean it in the house where there’s warm, running water, ensure the size will fit in the sink you plan to use. Many utility sinks are large and deep making them ideal for this purpose.

When selecting a heated birdbath make sure the basin part is easy to clean. Plastic materials are ideal for ease of cleaning.

4. Easy to Assemble

Nobody wants to spend hours assembling a heated birdbath. Unless it’s a single piece, it should come with clear instructions.

For complicated installations, detailed and clear instructions should accompany the birdbath. Bonus points if a video or step-by-step illustrations are included.

5. Warranty

Some heated birdbaths can exceed $100. To safeguard your investment, seek a robust warranty. Ensure any heated birdbath you purchase for over $100 comes with a minimum 1-year warranty.

6. Company

Quite a few brands have set the bar high in the heated birdbath market, sticking around for decades because they’ve mastered the mix: high-quality products, fresh innovations, and the kind of customer service that makes you feel like old friends.

Here are just a few examples of reputable brands in the heated birdbath market (in alphabetical order):

  • API (Allied Precision Industries)
  • Farm Innovators
  • JCS Wildlife
  • Songbird Essentials

To avoid your purchase ending up on the garbage heap, skip the generic or white-labeled products.

Pro tip: Skip products where deceptive marketing techniques are used such as birds photoshopped into the product images.


How I Review

Using a 5-point system, I awarded between 0 and 5 points for each of the 6 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. Durable Construction
  3. Easy to Clean
  4. Easy to Assemble
  5. Warranty
  6. Company

Tips for Using a Heated Birdbath

Where to Place the Heated Birdbath

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 heated birdbaths is notoriously short. That’s why I didn’t include cord length as a requirement. In other words, there is no heated winter birdbath 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 heater into a ground-fault interrupted circuit to eliminate the chance of electric shock.

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

Here are a few options:

Refresh the water every day

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 heated birdbath each day.

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

Pro tip: I fill my heated birdbaths with ice instead of water. It’s easier to fill without splashing water all over. In addition, this confirms the heater is still working.

Clean the heated birdbath 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. 

Brush snow off

heated birdbath covered with snow

Following snowfalls be sure to brush snow off the edge of the birdbath so birds can easily perch on it.

Eliminate the Buildup of Mineral Deposits

If the birdbath develops a coating of mineral deposits from the water, you can dissolve them by soaking them in a vinegar/water solution. After cleaning it, place a 1:9 ratio of vinegar in the bowl and allow it to soak for about 10 minutes. Empty, wipe out the inside with a paper towel, and rinse several times before adding fresh water.

Summertime

There’s no reason why you can’t leave the heated birdbath in your garden for the summer. Just be sure to unplug it.


Frequently Asked Questions

Does a Heated birdbath use a lot of electricity?

Heated birdbaths that are thermostatically controlled do not use a lot of electricity. The thermostat feature allows the heater to turn on only when needed (e.g. when the air temperature is 32 F or lower and turns off when not needed.

How do you keep a birdbath from freezing?

If you have an existing birdbath and want to use it during times of freezing temperatures (i.e. Winter) you can add a deicer to it. Alternatively, you can purchase a heated birdbath that prevents the water from freezing.


Conclusion

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

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

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

If you’d like me to test a different heated birdbath, let me know in the comments below.

More than 25 years ago, Tammy put her first bird feeder outside her kitchen window. Since then she learned how to attract wild birds to her backyard. Studying the meaning & symbolism of wild birds is also a passion of hers. Read more about Tammy

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