Top 10 Best Deer Feeder (Feb. 2020) : Review & Buyer’s Guide
- Erik Himmel
Many hunters in the USA now use deer feeders to attract more deer and aid them in harvesting that elusive trophy buck of their dreams. When you add it to your hunting gear, your game takes a new turn since the number of deer visiting your shooting zone increases manifold. Besides,
However, the wrong feeder or a malfunctioning one can take you on the verge of marring your chances of success for the season. So, what are the things to keep in mind when shopping for the best deer feeder, especially with the numerous great options out there?
We reviewed a number of these baits to find out the great choices. Check out our findings and see which one best matches your needs.
What You Will Get Here
- Deer Feeder – Buyer’s Guide
- Our Top 10 Product List
- Top Tripod Feeder: Moultrie Tripod Feeders
- Top Hanging Feeder: Moultrie 5 Gallon All in One with Time Feeder
- Top Gravity Feeder: REDNEK Redneck Outdoors T-post
- Top Feeder Kit: American Hunter Sun Slinger Directional Feeder Kit
- Good Value for Money: Moultrie Feed Station
- Top Automatic Feeder: Boss Buck “All in Series Protein Deer Feeders”
- Top Large Capacity Feeder: Capsule Feeders CAP-500 500 LB Hunting Game Feeder
- A List of 3 Other Products We Reviewed
- Other Tested Products
- Final Words
Deer Feeder – Buyer’s Guide
You need to ask yourself these questions before choosing your feeder site –
- What’s the size of the place?
- How many deer are there?
- What’re the distinct needs for the spot?
- What’s the distance of the area from my home, and will I need a truck?
- Who owns the land? What are the laws? Will they require you to take out the feeders before the next hunting season?
Most states don’t allow the use of feeders, while others only allow you to set them up for a season. For these reasons, you should check the laws of the area before buying a feeder.
If the area is large, you need to pick a feeder with a larger capacity and battery life so that you wouldn’t need to visit the site daily for refilling and other maintenance purposes.
So, what’s wrong in making frequent visits to the feeder land?
Frequent visiting could scare the feeding animals and disrupt their routine. The lesser the frequency of feeder refill, the higher your chances of success.
If possible, you should always choose a high deer traffic area, but if you need to use a truck, go for an easily accessible site.
Ensure you’re keeping the feeder at where people can’t often spot the herd as they gather to feed - more human pressure could increase deer’s anxiety and delay feeding success.
2. Barrel Size / Containment Capability
Deer’s feeder comes in different shapes and sizes, but your choice should depend on the number of deer you might want to feed. An industrial feeder can hold over 200 pounds of corn, while a small type would accommodate around 10 to 50 pounds.
The barrel’s size will determine the number of times you’ll need to refill in a day, week, month, or year. If deer are many in your area, it’s perfect for getting a container with a larger capacity. But if your land is small, opt for a compact size feeder.
If you’re without assistant or hunting alone, we recommend that you pick a mobile-friendly model that you can carry and quickly set up.
If you’re choosing a heavy type, remember you’ll be carrying both the feeder and feed to the site, things could become more complicated if there’s no truck or ATV for you to fill the container.
Though heavy feeders can be finicky for a single person to set up, animals (not necessarily deer) won’t easily knock them over, trampling on the feed.
Ensure you’re choosing a deer feeder that’s strong and durable in all-weather situations. If you’re only hunting for a season, then you can choose a cheaper plastic feeder.
However, for those of us that want a long-lasting feeder, be ready to spend the extra cash buying one with a metal build that can withstand the abuse from the climatic elements and animals.
5. Feeder Type
- Hanging Feeders – These types have cylindrical or pail shapes and designed to hang from stands or tree branches. Hanging feeders aren’t prone to animal attacks because of their height from the ground. You’ll find that they can handle all seeds and easier to use than other feeders. However, it takes a little effort to install or maintain a hanging feeder. It’s because you’ll first create or find the right support, meaning not every site is suitable for it.
- Gravity Deer Feeders – They’re great alternatives to the tripod and hanging feeders because they function by gravity, eliminating the need for battery or spinning disc. Their construction allows the feed to fall to where the animal can quickly reach to eat.
Gravity feeders are cheap, easy to set up, and use, but the issue is they need frequent refilling because of their small size. Also, they’re prone to attacks, and most can’t feed more than one deer.
- Trough Feeders – If you’re planning to hunt only on weekends, or in a restricted environment where you don’t mind other animals coming around or where the biggest prey in the site would be a deer, you need the trough feeders.
- Tripod Feeders – The most significant advantage of these feeders is their vast size, making them ideal for areas with considerable traffic. Most tripod feeders have plenty of electric and mechanical parts, which is the reason they cost more than other types. Often heavy, coming with spinning bases and timers that scatter the feed on the surface. These electronic timers allow you to control the deer’s feeding pattern, preventing other animals from eating the food before the animal comes.
- Camera Attachment Feeder - If you want to keep tap of the specific hunting sessions, then you need this type. It allows you to attach different cameras to the feeder to observe what’s happening and also know the right time to dispense the food.
6. Spin Plate / Dispenser Type
You’ll find the spinner at the bottom of the game feeder, and it dispenses the seeds in a 360-degree radius per time. An essential thing to look out for in spin plates is their coverage area when spreading the feed.
7. Varmint Proof
It can be more challenging to keep out other animals like raccoons and varmints from your feed – and, that’s the reason you need models with protection. Units with Varmint proof has either spinner barrier or spikes on the tripod stands or mesh cover on the trough. However, these protective mechanisms can only work if you’re not scattering your seeds on the ground.
8. Battery Requirements
If your feeder has a spinning plate, then you should be concerned about the battery life. You should choose a model with a display that helps you to know the right time for a battery replacement. If you don’t want to disrupt the feeding pattern when changing the battery, select feeders with solar power options.
9. Lid Design
Most consumers may not see this as necessary, but you can’t truly predict the extent an animal could go to open the container. The best lid should completely shut off both animals and moisture. Though the cover style differs among feeder manufacturers, you should always opt for the one that guarantees ultimate feed security.
It’s a fact that most deer feeders would only last for a season and so don’t have warranties (that’s understandable for the cheap plastic models). However, high-quality types that's made from heavy metals usually come with warranties, and from our experience, they’re often worth the investment.
Below are the most reputable feeder brands to buy.
- Moultrie – This is the brand to pick for your bucket, tripod, and gravity feeders. Though Moultrie products are mostly sophisticated, their material makeup is plastics, which can be prone to rodent attack.
- Boss Buck – This company not only deals with feeders but sells parts like stands, spin plates, blinds, and more. You’ll appreciate its durable, lightweight, and versatile units. Its models allow you to switch between auto and gravity functions easily.
- American Hunter – When looking for the most flexible feeding system, this manufacturer should always come to mind. This brand’s major separating feature is the analog timers on most of their feeders.
- Capsule Feeders – The capsule feeders offer the needed solution to most of the issues confronting the gravity and tripod feeders. Their products are virtually indestructible to animals as the durable cage does an excellent job of protecting your feed. Each of their feeders features a patented capsule design – there’s no need worrying about animals pulling down the stand to steal your food.
Our Top 10 Product List
The Moultrie Tripod Feeders boasts of amazing features like digital timer, metal spin plate, adjustable legs, quick-lock hopper, and many more. This is one feeder that’s built to meet your daily feeding needs.
Let’s see why it’s our top pick!
Moultrie leads other brands when it comes to tripod feeders.
Each of the legs has individual sections that allow you to adjust the feeder height from 5 to 8 feet quickly. You can reduce the leg’s height to refill, then extend it again. Besides, this feature is quite vital if varmints are persistent in their attacks as you can deter them by raising the feeder higher from the ground.
Fewer trips less downtime
You can always plan your visits to the site if you know when to make such trips. This Moultrie feeder comes with a battery and feed level estimator so that you won’t make needless trips that could cause downtime.
Another thing that reduces battery replacement visit is its external port that accepts a 6V solar power source. You can either use this port to recharge the battery or as the only power source.
This unit features the patented Moultrie quick-lock that secures the hopper from intruders. You’ll appreciate how you don’t need tools to open or close the lock, but only push and twist with two hands, and the task is done.
While we found that the product was easy to assemble, load the hopper, and program the timer, a few users reported that the timer stopped functioning after a couple of days of use, and that also affected the working of the spinner.
Its Amazon score was terrific for us, having received 4.3 stars from 567 customer ratings at the time we last checked. It’s sold around $120, which is comparably a good bargain for the price.
This Moultrie tripod feeder is an excellent choice for any hunter who wants to feed several at once. It’s well-made, easy to install, and immediately you’re done with the setup, you don’t need to make frequent trips to the location. Looking at the price, this is the best deer feeder for the money.
Another Moultrie feeder that’s worth the investment is the 5 Gallon Time Feeder. This model features a five-gallon plastic bucket that you can fill the feed then hang it at your desired spot. Unlike our top pick, this one doesn’t require any assembly.
This feeder comes with a programmable timer that enables you to regulate the feeding pattern up to four times a day. It uses the long-lasting AA batteries, which pretty reduces the need for frequent battery replacements, limiting the maintenance cost.
We didn’t find any severe complaints against this item only that Moultrie should make options with larger sizes available.
It currently retails around $60, which is quite cheap when compared with our top pick.
This model made many customers happy with the purchase, as reported in 169 reviews and a 4.5-star rating.
This is a more reasonably priced option than our top pick, yet worth every penny. The Moultrie 5-gallon feeder is the perfect product to select if you’re having issues with feeder installation. It’s versatile such that you can also use for feeding chickens and other livestock.
The Redneck Outdoors T-post gravity feeder has a capacity of 80 lbs that can go for a few weeks before the next refill.
It’s constructed from heavy-duty polyethylene that’s pretty sturdy and can withstand any weather condition. It has a unique mounting design that allows you to place it on a tree stump while the 4 x 5 inches feed is spacious enough for deer to access the feed with little effort.
Unlike our previous choices, this model operates without the spin plate, and so, you won’t worry about maintaining the battery or motor.
However, it didn’t come with any varmint proof, but we found a way to evade these creatures – that’s by placing a 6 inches PVC pipe around the t-post to make it difficult for squirrels and raccoons to climb.
It costs around $130 and had 4.3 stars out of 90 buyers at the time of the research.
It’s packed with all the features you need from a high-end gravity deer feeder. Overall, it’s durable, has a wide mouth, and cheaper to maintain. Though it costs a few bucks than our previous Moultrie option, we can assure you won’t regret buying.
If you’re looking for a sturdy feeder kit, this Sun Slinger unit from American Hunter is for you. It has a metallic body and a powerful motor for good coverage. As an Omni-directional feeder, it throws the feed in all corners, making it easier to serve many deer at a time.
It’s designed to work well with a 30-gallon container, and the attached solar panel will give an excellent boost to your battery.
The timer programming was pretty easy and offered plenty of setting options. Many customers liked how the wires are inside the case, which made it impossible for raccoons and squirrels to rip them off.
We observed that the display was dim, making it more challenging to set the timer in the sunlight.
However, this unit didn’t come with a battery, but since it came in around $55, this wasn’t a big issue for us. It got 4.5 stars from 124 users at the time of the reporting.
This is a pretty reliable feeder, and the price is reasonable. Though it didn’t come with a battery, it did well at dispensing the food in all directions.
Cheap, easy to set up, no battery or programming required, this Moultrie feed station is the real deal for your money.
The feeding mouth is about 3 x 7.5 inches, so deer has no problem eating from it.
At about $20, we weren’t surprised by the few complaints it received from its users. First, the plastic was flimsy such that raccoons could effortlessly boreholes to reach the feed. Also, the lid didn’t fit securely.
However, it worked for many of the customers as it received 4.1 stars out of 578 ratings.
This is the cheapest model on this list. It’s cheap plastic makeup makes it prone to raccoon attacks, but if you want something sturdier, you’ll have to pay more for other expensive models. However, it’s the best deer feeder for those on a budget.
This is another excellent option for any busy hunter with no interest in maintenance demanding feeder. The Boss Buck feeder features a 3-way internal sleeve that allows you to control the feed flow for various grain sizes by pushing the slide in or out.
It has a patented hopper design that gives you the flexibility to switch to auto-mode in the winter months. However, it doesn’t come with the electric feeder head.
Most users of this product appreciated its 200 lbs capacity, and this one would dispense for a whole hunting season once it’s installed. Since it’s a gravity type, we found it easier to use and was quicker to install.
This Boss Buck Feeder is made from plastic, which is quite durable and weather-resistant. Legs are about 8 feet tall, but they aren’t adjustable like our first choice. The manufacturer recommends you use foot pads to prevent the legs from sinking into the ground.
We also noticed that raccoons climbed the legs to reach the feeder holes, but we placed spikes on the feeder’s legs to keep them off.
This model is priced around $205, so it’s among the mid-range options on this list. On Amazon, it had only 42 reviews and scored 3.8 stars at the time of the evaluation.
We like the design of this product, especially how you can use it without a battery or spin plate. It does the job with high level of efficiency. Though it costs a little more than our top pick, it offers a good deal for the money.
Earning the reputation of the world’s safest feeder, the Cap-500 model boasts of a patented capsule design that practically prevents animals from knocking down the unit. It stays flat on the ground, allowing you to fill up the feed from the surface.
Another issue with most game feeders is the high rate of the refill. Luckily, this Capsule feeder has a total capacity of 500 pounds; such feed volume could last for almost a year. Despite its massive size, this unit is lightweight and easily moveable, you’ll have no problem transporting it to your station.
The body is almost indestructible to both animals and the forces of nature. It’s equipped with a solar panel that keeps that powers the battery, keeping charged all year round. You can easily manage your feeding routine using the automated timer.
At a little over $1000, this feeder is the most expensive in our list, yet you have the assurance of its durability, large capacity, and limited lifetime warranty.
It received only 13 reviews and came out with an average of 3.8 stars.
You won’t complain about the size, safety, and durability of this unit. Once the installation is complete, it can dispense the feed for a whole year. This Capsule product is great for locations with heavy animal traffic.
A List of 3 Other Products We Reviewed
If you’re looking for a pocket-friendly tripod deer feeder without compromising on quality, the Quick-set 225 Innovation is yours to buy.
It stands on durable tripod legs, which eliminate the need to look for a hanging place. It’s quite easy to set up even as most new users reported that it took them about 15 to 20 minutes.
This model comes with a durable weather-resistant 30-gallon plastic hopper that can last your animals for a few weeks, depending on your set feeding pattern. It has a digital timer that lets you pick any of the four serving times. This controller is easier to use when compared to most programmable ones on sale.
This unit comes with a galvanized steel spinner plate and a built-in funnel for accurate feed dispersal.
Though the Quick-set 225 Innovation feeder may not be as sophisticated as our first choice, it’s significantly cheaper; retailing around $65. It doesn’t have a solar option, but the 6V battery (not in the package) can save the day.
Currently, this product scored an average of 3.9 stars from 407 customers (on the date of the research).
An excellent choice for the price, though cheaper than the Moultrie Tripod Feeder, lacks top-notch features like battery, solar panel, and adjustable legs. If you want a budget feeder that can easily attract and pattern game, this Quick-set 225 is for you.
If you’re looking for a feeder that’s proof to squirrel and bear attacks, this unit from Banks Outdoors is what you need. What separates this Gravity Feeder from other types we’ve listed is its sealed overlapping door that prevents moisture from contaminating the food, keeping it fresh, and nourishing for the animals.
It’s another unique feature is the center pole mounting design that allows the deer to feed through the openings without any obstruction. To keep raccoons off the feeder, you use a tree stump or bury a post into the ground before attaching the unit. Once you’re done, the feeder now stands above the surface, allowing bucks to reach the four feeding ports at an optimal height of 42 inches.
This Gravity Feeder features a durable UV-resistant polyethylene hopper with a total capacity of 300-pounds, which could hold a lot of feed. From our observation, if you only have one or two deer at the site, it could last for months.
In terms of price, this feeder comes in at the $300 range. Though it’s not the most expensive product on this list, it’s undoubtedly one of the high-end options on sale. Don’t let this be a turn-off for you, and you’ll pretty get a lot from your investment.
Though it had a smaller number of reviews at the time we last checked, we were overwhelmed with the many positive reports from the users, resulting in an average score of 4.6 stars out of 46 ratings.
We highly recommend this product as it’s an ideal option for corn and protein feed. We found that it took deer less than a week to adjust and easily feed on it.
Though you might spend a few bucks more, you’ll be happier for its design, quality, and performance.
The Quick-Set 50 Pail Feeder had many intriguing features that were beyond our expectations. We were impressed with its camo design that blends with the natural environment, giving it more exceptional ability to attract the deer.
Besides, the 6.5-gallon capacity hanging pail design speeds up the setup time, allowing you more time to study the game’s feeding activity. It’s lightweight, weighing about 2.4 ounces, enabling you to convey to the feeding station with ease.
Most buyers reported spending only 5 to 7 minutes on getting it to work after unboxing the unit.
Its other exciting feature is the user-friendly timer that only distributes the feed during daylight and dark with the help of a photocell unit. The only disadvantage is your inability to set your preferred feeding time - but that’s not a deal-breaker for us since you’ll still enjoy the simplicity of not having to regulate the spinning process.
However, there’s a rheostat dial that lets the user control the spin cast duration to a maximum of 20 seconds.
Like the Quick-set 225 Innovation Feeder, this one features a galvanized steel spinner plate that’s powered by a 6V battery (sold separately).
It’s sold a little over $40, making it an economical choice for the cash strapped hunter.
At the time of the writing, this product had an excellent average rating of 4.1 stars out of 190 reviews. Though it wasn’t the highest-rated on this list, it had many quality features you’ll like to have in a budget electronic deer feeder.
Overall, this is the right product with an economical price tag, and it’s lightweight, compact, and easily blends with the environment. The Quick-Set 50 is our choicest feeder for any first-time hunter because of its size and timer simplicity.
Other Tested Products
- 01Moultrie MFG-13053 Pro Hunter Quick-Lock Feeder Kit
- 02AMERICAN HUNTER R-Pro Kit Digital Timer & Guard
- 03Moultrie Pro Magnum Deer Feeder Kit
- 04Moultrie Pro Hunter Hanging Deer Feeder
- 05AMERICAN HUNTER 5-Gallon Digital Hanging Bucket Feeder
- 06Wildgame Innovations TREEHUGGER80 Tree Hugger Gravity Deer Feeder
- 07Moultrie Pro Magnum Hanging Deer Feeder
- 08American Hunter Tripod Feeder Digital 225 lb. Capacity
- 09On Time 71540 Buckeye Gravity Feeder
- 10One and Done Game Feeder
- 11Moultrie All-in-One Hanging Deer Feeder
- 12Moultrie 55 Gallon PRO Hunter Tripod
- 13Capsule Feeders CAP-250 250 LB Hunting Game Feeder
Before heading to buy a deer feeder, it’s perfect for you to research and determine what features you need and what could be a nice extra. Do you need a large feeder that’ll last for a season or a compact type that needs a weekly refill? This best deer feeder buying guide covers everything you need to make the right choice.
If you’re still undecided, our top pick is an excellent choice, and we guarantee you’ll be happy with the purchase because of its outstanding quality that gives real value for money.
Our gravity feeders offer unbeatable reliability and unmatched ease of use for any hunter with no interest in controlling the feeding.
We hope that you get the perfect feeder for your deer to discover the joy and success that comes with it. So, just check through the list, compare the products, and make up your mind.
1. What kind of feed should I use?
Ans. You can either use corn or pellet seeds, but you better try blended feed formulation if you’re frequently feeding a large herd of deer. We recommend you use only swell resistant pellets for the smooth working of your feeder.
2. What are ethical feeding practices?
Ans. Ensure you keep to these standards to get the desired results.
- Use only deer specific foods for better nutrition.
- A corn often attracts deer, but could also be harmful if the content is much.
- Place your feeder at a location where the target game would only make occasional visits. Note that diseases could spread if deer crowds for long periods at the feeder.
3. How many times a day should I feed?
Ans. We recommend feeding twice daily; this is because the entire hunting periods are mostly at dawn and dusk.
4. How much land can a feeder cover? How many feeders do I need?
Ans. A single feeder can cover 100 acres of land, but you’ll still consider the expected number of deer in the site. You could place one feeder for every 25 deer. Yet, it’s preferable to have fewer feeders per area to leave more space for the animals to feed with comfort.
5. How much food should I feed at a time?
Ans. Always strike a balance between your feed quantity and animal population. Your feed shouldn’t form a significant part of their diet; stick to a routine that’ll keep them from depending on your food supply.
6. Should I add a mineral block in the same area as my feeder?
Ans. Most hunters believe that a mineral block could contribute to the spread of diseases though they’re good at attracting deer. However, you can discontinue its use if you spot a sick animal in the herd.
7. Is the varmint guard prestigious?
Ans. Any other animal will assume ownership of the feeder and would want to break in or pull it down to take the food. So, having additional proof would prevent the intruders from usurping the deer’s meal.
8. Does the feed in the feeder become rancid if it sits for too long?
Ans. Most of the well-made feeders can always keep your food fresh and safe. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations if you’re using pellets, but most natural feeds like corn could remain dry for months. However, keep your feeder clean and check for molds before refilling.
9. Are generic batteries Ok to use?
Ans. Yes. The only reason we won’t recommend a generic battery is if you’re using a model that consumes much power. But you don’t have a problem since most electric models we’ve listed use little power a day.
10. Is there a guarantee that feeders will attract deer?
Ans. There’s no guarantee that deer will always come to the feeding ground. However, you can play your part by paying attention to the type of deer in the area, the quality of food, and the kind of feeder to use. If the animals don’t like the food you’re serving, they’ll stay away from your feeder.
11. Can old food harm the deer?
Ans. Yes, it causes constipation and other reproductive problems. Always check your feeder to replace old or moldy food.
12. Should I prefer an electric model?
Ans. Electric feeders are the best option when you don’t consider making frequent trips to the station. This situation happens if the area isn’t on your land nor easily accessible. You can set these battery-powered feeders and leave it to spin cast for a long time.
13. What is Acidosis?
Ans. Deer or elk that eat a large number of carbohydrates will likely have Acidosis. This is a life-threatening disease, and the only prevention is offering a balanced feed to the animals.