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Best Bird Baths

Updated July 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 24 Models Considered
  • 0 Models Tested
  • 15 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 100 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best bird baths

    Last Updated July 2018

    If you enjoy taking care of your neighborhood birds, one of the best things you can do for them is place a bird bath in your yard.

    Not only will it give you hours of entertainment watching your feathered friends, a bird bath will provide a place for them to drink and bathe. This is especially important if you don't live near a permanent body of fresh water, such as a river or a lake.

    But with so many options available, how do you you pick the best bird bath? It can be tough to sort the wheat from the chaff, particularly if you're not yet sure which type is right for you.

    If you want to buy a bird bath and aren’t sure which one to select, you’ve come to the right place. At BestReviews, we pride ourselves on creating fair and thorough product reviews. To do so, we test products in our labs and in real-world situations, gather feedback from existing customers, and consult experts.

    Read on for our full guide to bird baths. Then, when you’re ready to buy, head to the top of this page to see our matrix featuring our five favorite products.

    Your garden birds need water for drinking and bathing just as much as they need food. A well-placed bird bath will provide this for them.

    Types of bird baths

    One of the primary decisions you’ll need to make is which type of bird bath you’d like to have. There are pedestal bird baths, hanging bird baths, ground-level bird baths, and deck-mounted bird baths.

    Pedestal bird baths

    Pedestal bird baths feature a bowl that sits on top of a pedestal, plinth, or even a specially designed stake in the ground.

    Pros:

    • Pedestal bird baths are raised up from ground level, which makes many types of garden birds feel safer and more likely to visit.

    • The elevated level of a pedestal bird bath helps deter cats and other predators who might otherwise stalk birds while they are bathing.


    Cons:

    • A pedestal bird bath made of lightweight material could be blown over by the wind or knocked down by squirrels or large birds. Some people stake their pedestal bird bath to the ground to prevent this from happening.

    • You need to have a level spot in your yard in which to place a pedestal bird bath. Otherwise, it could tilt or tip over.
       

    Price: Basic plastic or resin pedestal bird baths start at $20 to $30, while highly decorated ceramic models can cost $100 to $200.

    If it's possible to remove the bowl of a pedestal bird bath from its plinth, you’ll have an easier time cleaning it. If you opt for a bird bath with a removable bowl, we recommend one that locks into place on the pedestal.

    Hanging bird baths

    Hanging bird baths are fitted with a chain and hook and can be hung from a tree or a special stand.

    Pros:

    • Hanging bird baths tend to be fairly compact and inexpensive.

    • Some types of birds prefer hanging bird baths that are suspended from a branch. The close proximity to a tree helps birds feel safer.

    • You can find some very attractive hanging bird baths.


    Cons:

    • Hanging bird baths tend to be quite small, so fewer birds can use them at once.

    • If placed in a tree, a hanging bird bath may collect a lot of fallen leaves. As such, it may require frequent cleaning.
       

    Price: Small, basic hanging bird baths can cost as little as $10 or $20. Large, ornate hanging bird baths are also quite affordable, rarely exceeding $50 or $60.

    Many small birds prefer a bath that is placed at least a few feet off the ground; this gives them a better field of view. Larger birds tend to be more comfortable drinking and bathing at ground level.

    Ground bird baths

    Ground bird baths are essentially bowls that are placed directly on the ground, without any sort of stand.

    Pros:

    • Ground baths are great for attracting larger birds, such as doves or crows, as they generally prefer bathing on the ground.

    • Ground bird baths don't require any kind of stand, so there's no chance of anything falling off or tipping over.


    Cons:

    • Birds are more vulnerable to predators when bathing at ground level.


    Price: Most ground bird baths cost between $20 and $70. The price depends heavily on extra features, size, and design.  

    Add rocks of different sizes to your bird bath to provide places for birds to sit and rest and to create shallower areas for smaller birds to enjoy.

    Deck-mounted bird baths

    Deck-mounted bird baths attach to a clamp that screws onto the top of a railing.

    Pros:

    • Deck-mounted bird baths are generally very sturdy and stable.

    • A deck is a comfortable and convenient place for humans to sit and watch birds.
       

    Cons:

    • Cats can easily jump onto the railing of a deck and walk along it to get to the birds.


    Price: Small deck-mounted bird baths start at around $20, whereas large, heated models can cost in excess of $100.

    EXPERT TIP

    Are you interested in a heated bird bath? You can find pedestal, ground, and deck-mounted bird baths that have heat. The water in a heated bird bath won't turn to ice in freezing temperatures, which is when birds are most in need of a reliable water source.


    Questions to ask before buying a bird bath

    If you have a potential purchase in mind, you may appreciate knowing the answers to these questions before you buy the bird bath.

    What is the bird bath made of?

    Bird baths are made of a range of materials, including ceramic, plastic, metal, and glass.

    • Ceramic bird baths are heavy, stable, and durable. However, unglazed ceramics are hard to keep clean, and they can be expensive.

    • Plastic or plastic resin bird baths are inexpensive, easy to clean, and may feature intricate molding. On the downside, they're not very durable; the resin may crack in freezing temperatures. Furthermore, they are so lightweight that they easily blow over in the wind.

    • Metal bird baths are durable and attractive. If the finish is too smooth, however, there may not be much grip or traction for visiting birds.

    • Glass bird baths are non-porous and easy to wipe clean. However, they can break easily if they fall, and they can get slippery.

    If the bottom of your bird bath gets slippery, it might not provide enough grip for the birds who use it. You can remedy this by adding a thin layer of fine gravel to the bottom of your bird bath. Just make sure the gravel is clean and hasn't been chemically treated.

    How deep is the bird bath?

    Birds only need to be partially submerged while bathing, so your bird bath shouldn't be too deep. Smaller birds – sparrow, finches, cardinals – prefer baths with a depth of just one to two inches. Larger birds prefer a depth of three to four inches.

    If you want to attract a wide range of birds, you can find bird baths with areas of different depths, or you can place rocks in the water to create shallower areas.

    Empty and clean your bird bath at least once a week. Avoid using household cleaners, as they may contain chemicals that are dangerous to birds. You can buy cleaning products specially designed for cleaning bird baths and bird tables.

    How big is the bird bath?

    Some bird baths are larger than others. The size you choose may depend on how many feathered visitors you regularly get, the size of your yard, or your personal preference. A large bird bath can be used by more birds at the same time, whereas a more compact model may only accommodate one large bird or a few small ones.

    Ornate carving or molding might look nice on a bird bath, but it can be hard to keep clean compared to a simple, smooth basin.

    Do you like the style of the bird bath?

    Bird baths vary in style from plain to ornate, and from vintage-style to modern. Choose one that you like the look of and that's in keeping with the size and style of your yard. Style might not be the most important factor, of course; your main objective is to keep your feathered friends happy. But you should still choose a bird bath that you will like looking at.

    EXPERT TIP

    Change the water in your bird bath every two to four days.


    Tips

    • Choose a bird bath that's easy to clean. Regular cleaning is essential to remove bacteria and avoid the spread of disease between your avian visitors.

    • Choose a bird bath with texture. Your bird bath should have a bit of texture to it so your feathered friends can have good traction on the bath’s surface.

    • If you live in a cold climate, consider a heated bird bath. Your feathered friends can enjoy this type of bath year round.

    • If you live in a warm climate, consider a large bird bath. A bird bath that holds more water will not evaporate as quickly as a smaller bird bath.
    Most birds prefer baths that have a shallow slope down to full depth so they can wade in the water.

    FAQ

    Q. Will a bird bath attract more birds to my yard?
    A.
    It might take some time for local birds to discover your new watering hole, but ultimately, it will attract more birds to your yard –  and likely other species, too. Water can be in short supply both in summer and winter, so your bird bath could save lives.

    Q. Are there any useful accessories I can buy for my bird bath?
    A.
    If you don't have a heated bird bath, you can purchase a small water heater designed for use in bird baths that's invaluable in freezing temperatures. You can also buy pumps and drippers that add some motion to the water; this helps attract birds and discourages insects, such as mosquitoes, from laying eggs in the water. Finally, you can get a mister for your bird bath. A mister sprays a fine mist of water; some bird species, notably hummingbirds, can't seem to get enough of it.

    Q. Where should I position my bird bath?
    A.
    Think carefully about where you place your bird bath. The idea is to attract more birds to it while helping keep them safe. Generally, birds feel safer with some cover nearby, so you should position your bird bath fairly close to some bushes, shrubs, or trees to encourage use. However, cats can take advantage of this cover to stalk birds while they bathe and drink. Therefore, you shouldn't position the bird bath too close to any bushes.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Lauren
      Lauren
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor