Best Squirrel Feeders

Updated September 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
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.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
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.Read more 
How we decided

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

18 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
252 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

Buying guide for best squirrel feeders

Last Updated September 2020

Love them or hate them, once a group of squirrels decides your backyard is snack central, you are stuck with them. For those who love squirrels, a squirrel feeder can be a fun addition to your outdoor living space that provides a never-ending source of entertainment and joy. Even those who aren’t fans of this bird feeder crasher must acknowledge that providing squirrels with their own food can shield valuable bird feeders, bulbs, and other plants from their destructive behavior.

Whatever your motivation is for buying a squirrel feeder, we’re here to help you find the right one. Are you in search of a traditional feeder or something more whimsical? Do you want something that mounts or something that hangs? What type of food will you be providing, and how often will you be able to refill the feeder?

Read on for an examination of squirrel feeders and the features that accompany them. We also provide plenty of tips and answer your questions about these fun backyard entertainment centers.

Gnawing on nuts that are still in the shell can help keep a squirrel’s teeth healthy.

Key considerations

Durability

Squirrels aren’t exactly known for being gentle when foraging for food, so any feeder you purchase should be sturdy enough to withstand some abuse. The material with which a feeder is made affects its durability.

Plastic/vinyl: Many squirrel feeders made of plastic or vinyl aren’t very durable. Unless you are buying a plastic or vinyl feeder for a specific reason (like whimsy), try to avoid them unless you don’t mind purchasing a new one every couple of years.

Wood: Squirrel feeders built from wood have a classic, rustic appearance that can blend with the trees and structures in your backyard. Sturdy red cedar is an excellent choice. 

Steel: For the best in longevity, opt for a material that squirrels can’t chew through. A steel feeder with a powder-coated finish is chew-proof and will also hold up to the elements quite well.

The other elements of a squirrel feeder panels, hinges, additional hardware should be sturdy enough to withstand squirrel abuse and inclement weather, too.

DID YOU KNOW?

Feeders with heavy lids are designed specifically for squirrels, as birds do not have the strength to lift the lid and access the food.

Feeder types

From traditional to whimsical, different squirrel feeder styles abound. Your choice will depend on  a number of factors, including the type of food you plan to use, the setting, and your personal preference. Here’s a look at some common types of squirrel feeders.

Platform: These are some of the simplest, and often cheapest, squirrel feeders. Platform feeders typically employ an open design that allows you to feed multiple squirrels at once.

Traditional: These items are in tune with what you probably visualize when you think of a
feeder. There is often a clear plastic front and a lid. Traditional feeders usually mount to a surface, such as a tree or post.

Hanging: These feeders secure to a tree branch or overhang via rope or cord. The entertainment factor can be high, as squirrels must work hard to access them. If you really want to have fun, consider a hanging squirrel feeder with a bungee cord.

Whimsical: We use this term to refer to any type of feeder where the entertainment factor is amped way up. Amusing to those who buy them probably garish to the neighbors whimsical squirrel feeders tend to be more of a novelty than an item valued for durability.

Capacity

A large-capacity feeder won’t need to be filled as often. This can be a big benefit, particularly if you feed a large community of squirrels. If space is limited, however, a large feeder may not work for you. Carefully consider both your available space and how hands-on you wish to be with a feeder before choosing a size.

Feeders can range from simple platforms that hold one corn cob to larger top-load feeders that hold 5 pounds or more of assorted foods such as peanuts, kernel corn, or seed.

Assembly and mounting

The majority of squirrel feeders arrive either fully assembled or require simple assembly that doesn’t take more than a few minutes. When you open the package, make sure you have received all necessary hardware and instructions to put the feeder together.

Slightly more challenging will be the mounting or hanging of the feeder. Once your feeder is assembled, you’ll need to attach it to a tree, limb, fence, garage, pole, or other structure. Feeders that mount should include all hardware and instructions for doing so. If you purchase a hanging feeder, it will likely ship with a rope or wire for hanging.

EXPERT TIP

A squirrel feeder that features an open design, such as a platform feeder, is preferable if you’re trying to feed a large squirrel population.


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Features

Lid

While there are exceptions, most squirrel feeders have some type of lid. Often hinged, the lid should fit securely to keep rain from soaking and ruining the food. Some lids are designed specifically to keep squirrels out so they don’t empty the feeder in minutes.

Clear plastic front

Some feeders have a clear plastic front panel that allows you to tell at a glance how much food is left. This panel is often the weakest point of the feeder, so you’ll want to make sure you get something that isn’t easily shattered or removed by squirrels.

Mounting or hanging area

The hanging tab (or mounting piece) of a feeder takes on considerable stress. As such, it should be reinforced for durability. Many mounting areas include pre-drilled holes that accommodate the included screws or other hardware.

Food access area

Many squirrel feeders have open access, so squirrels can easily reach the food. Some feeders have a hinged top that squirrels must lift to access food. The majority of traditional feeders use a lid/gravity approach where nuts or seeds fall down to replace food that is taken.

DID YOU KNOW?

A dedicated squirrel feeder is one way to protect your bird feeders from damage. Just be sure to keep it filled with squirrel favorites.

Squirrel feeder prices

While some squirrel feeders can be found for under $10, the majority fall in the $20 to $30 range, with some feeders reaching $50 or more.

Inexpensive: Squirrel feeders that cost $10 or less tend to be simple cob feeders, often capable of only supporting one cob at a time. 

Mid-range: You will find a broad range of feeders for $10 to $20. Gravity and platform feeders are common here. As the price goes up, build quality improves and capacity increases. 

Expensive: For $30 and up, you will find metal squirrel feeders as well as feeders with more complex designs.

Tips

  • Think of the birds, too. While some squirrel feeders are designed specifically for squirrels, others also work for birds. This can be handy for those who want to feed both birds and squirrels but don’t want to buy separate feeders.

  • Remember the squirrel food. Unless otherwise stated, squirrel feeders do not ship with food. Factor this in as an additional cost when deciding how much to spend on a feeder.

  • A squirrel feeder is an economical choice. As the cost of quality bird seed can be considerably more than whole kernel corn and other squirrel favorites, picking up a dedicated squirrel feeder can actually save you money in the long run.

  • Give the squirrels easy access. Consider hanging the feeder near a fence, ledge, or other surface so the squirrels can easily reach it.

  • Mount your feeder strategically. Wood and other types of feeders that could be damaged by the elements can be mounted under an eave or overhang. Station your squirrel feeder away from your bird feeders so the squirrels won’t be tempted to eat the bird food.

Squirrels can be rough on feeders. If you want something for the long term, consider paying up for a feeder made of metal or another highly durable material.

FAQ

Q. Why is red cedar so popular in the construction of bird and squirrel feeders?
A. Used in everything from decking to feeders, red cedar is not only an attractive wood, it is also lightweight and durable. Red cedar contains natural oils that help preserve the wood and keep insects and fungus at bay. Furthermore, as a renewable resource, red cedar and wood in general is the preferred material for those who wish to be environmentally conscious.


Q. What do squirrels prefer to eat?
A. As notorious foragers, squirrels will eat pretty much anything. In addition to a wide variety of plant material, some squirrels turn to insects and bird eggs when the pickings become slim. Dried corn cobs, loose corn kernels, nuts, and seeds are popular options that squirrels enjoy. You could also choose to pick up a special blend, such as Audubon Park Critter Crunch, which can be used to feed not only squirrels but also birds, chipmunks, and deer.


Q. Do I need to clean a squirrel feeder?
A. While generally not needed for simple platform cob feeders, you should try to clean other types of squirrel feeders on a monthly basis, particularly if you live in a hot or humid climate. A feeder can become a breeding ground for everything from mold to insects; keeping yours clean may help keep your squirrel friends healthier.

The majority of squirrel feeders require a wipe-down with a warm, wet cloth. For feeders that need a deeper cleaning, try using some soapy water, a diluted vinegar/water solution, or even a bleach/water solution. Allow the feeder to completely dry before refilling it.

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