Convenience of use
With its two-litre capacity, Xiaomi’s water cooler logically takes up more space than a simple bowl, but the area required to install it is still reasonable: it occupies a square of less than 20 cm on each side. floor. On the other hand, it is preferable to have a power outlet near the dining area. The Smart Pet Fountain only works on the mains, and the supplied cable measures 1.50 m.
Getting started couldn’t be simpler. The cable is inserted on the back of the fountain, and it is enough to fill the tank, to insert it in the base and to cover it with the tray. The pump is attached to the latter, and connectors allow the current to reach it from the base. The water begins to circulate.
Thanks to the pump, the water rises on the plate on one side and flows on the other thanks to the inclination of this one. This cover is also hollowed out to keep a small quantity of water available to the animal in the event of a breakdown, for example. It is also possible to set the fountain so that it lights up intermittently, thanks to an integrated button on the front or via the application. A battery would have reassured the most worried users, but it would still take a long outage for the animal to run out of water.
By keeping the water moving, the pump limits the risk of bacteria growing in it, and Xiaomi adds two filters to that. The main one — the “carbon filter” — fits under the tray and therefore filters the water as it flows. It includes four layers, which must respectively trap hair, deposits, earth and other fine dirt, residual chlorine and odors and, finally, the CA and MG ions responsible in particular for kidney stones.
Unfortunately, we are not able to test the effectiveness of this filter, but note that it is advisable to replace it every month for optimal effectiveness. It is completed with a small sponge filter to be inserted at the inlet of the pump, the last bastion against dirt before the water rises on the plate.
The Smart Pet Fountain is very quiet. Xiaomi had the good idea of integrating the pump in suspension under the lid rather than against a wall or in the bottom, from where it could shake the fountain and create small friction noises on the ground. The flow of water is almost inaudible. Going up, it creates little more than slight eddies on the board, which also has the advantage of not frightening the animal, even fearful.
It should be noted, however, that animals, especially cats, may be more attracted to trickling or cascading water. If you are looking for a fountain to encourage a cat prone to urinary problems to drink more, for example, it may therefore be preferable to opt for this type of system, although the best is still to have the choice, as with the Catit 2.0 or the PetSafe Drinkwell Papillon.
To work, the Xiaomi fountain needs a minimum of water. We were able to go down to about 400 ml. Beyond that, it stops automatically – the advertised capacity of two liters is therefore a bit misleading. The automatic stop nevertheless has the advantage of preserving the pump and signaling to the user that the water level is too low. A red indicator light is also provided, while an alert can also be sent to the smartphone.
Thanks to a small window on the front, it is possible to check the water level at a glance rather than waiting until the last moment, and the fountain is easily filled when needed. A small tab is provided to pull the lid and the removable bowl avoids having to move it entirely, but also to unplug it if the sink is too far away.
Like most devices in Xiaomi’s catalog, the Smart Pet Fountain can be connected to the Mi Home app. The latter was unable to detect the fountain on its own by scanning the devices around it during our test, but the pairing procedure, in 2.4 GHz wifi, remains quite quick and easy by the manual method, and there is it’s a safe bet that the problem will be solved by a simple update. On the other hand, it must be recognized that the interest of the application is much less here than with the Smart Pet Feeder.
Mi Home essentially allows you to be alerted when the water level becomes insufficient and to switch from continuous operation (Standard mode) to split operation (Intelligent mode). With its button and small window, the Smart Pet Fountain is well enough designed to do without these features, although the reminders may be of interest to the most airheaded. The app also counts the remaining days until the main filter needs to be changed, according to Xiaomi’s recommendations, and maintenance tips are also offered there.
The Smart Pet Fountain requires a little more than replenishing water when it runs out. Dirt can deposit on the edges of the tray, or get stuck at the level of the filter and the grid which is below. However, the assembly is removable for easy cleaning, as is the pumping system. It is advisable to regularly clean the inside of the tank and the connectors on the back of the base.
If necessary, a small illustrated guide takes up these steps in the application, where there is also a counter for the filter – which it is advisable to change every month to maintain the water flow, a silent flow and avoid Reservoir water pollution. Xiaomi offers a pack including two carbon filters, two pump filters and a tube for 49 €, which still seems very expensive. We found this same pack at around twenty euros at an online retailer, but it is clear that these consumables are not very well referenced for the time being, like the fountain. And it’s probably even worse in physical stores.
Up to 1.6 liters of water in reserve.
Easily removable for maintenance.
Water level view and low level reminders with the app.
Filters hard to find commercially.
Only one mode of flow.