For many hunters out there, it seems that they are willing to pay a little more for a reliable gear since a dependable one can give that edge when it comes to hunting.
Purchasing a more expensive deer feeder will not only get you a better machine, but it will give you a greater sense of peace of mind. Walking away from game cameras or deer feeders can give you feelings of uncertainty. It is as if they have to earn your trust by working perfectly for some time.
As a hunter, you want to know that your investment is going to give you the results that you want. This is when the old saying “you get what you pay for” comes into play.
The 9 Top Game Feeders of 2018: Outdoor Empire Reviews
These are our top recommendations for deer feeders in 2018:
- Best spin-cast: Take the Herter’s EZ-Loader ( Read 39+ Cabelas Customer Reviews )
- Best tripod: Take the Moultrie 30-Gallon Pro Hunter
- Best hanging: Take the Moultrie 5-gal All In One Feeder
- Best gravity: Take the Redneck Blinds T-Post ( Read 6+ Cabelas Customer Reviews )
- Best automatic: Take the Moultrie 15-Gallon Directional Feeder
*Looking for a specific feature? Check out our quick-reference chart below:
|Capacity||200 lbs||200 lbs||5 gal||80 lbs||100 lbs|
|Power||12 volts||6 volts||6 volts||N/A||6 volts|
|Solar Panel Ready||No||Yes||Yes||N/A||Yes|
|Cost||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
1. Best Spin-cast Feeders: Herter’s EZ-Loader
Herter’s EZ-Loader is a heavy duty mechanical spincasting feeder that is 53-1/2″ from the ground to the base of the hopper. It comes in two different capacities, 200 lbs and 400 lbs.
The user-friendly digital timer allows for multiple feedings during the day.
But the one key factor that sets this unit apart from the rest of the field is the fact that attached to two of the four legs is a small ladder and platform. It makes loading the hopper a synch by setting the hunter safely up above the lid.
• Heavy duty
• Spin caster feeder
• Available in 200 or 400 lbs capacity
• Fixed ladder and platform
• Digital control
2. Heavy Metal 200 lbs Box Feeder
The Heavy Metal 200 lbs Box Feeder is manufactured by Wildgame Innovations, which is under the spin casting category.
It has a heavy duty protective cage covering the discharge area, making sure varmints and other annoying pests keep out. The digital control gives the hunter the option of feeding four times a day and can disperse feed up to 30 feet.
• Made of galvanized steel
• Spin caster feeder
• Varmint control cage
• Digital control
• Dispenses feed up to 4 times a day
• Feed spread up to 30 feet
3. Best Tripod Feeders: Moultrie 30-Gallon Pro Hunter Tripod Deer Feeder
Moultrie makes several tripod style feeders with their newest, the 30-Gallon Pro Hunter Tripod Deer Feeder. It has a rugged metal barrel with a capacity of 200 lbs.
The programmable mechanical spin casting feeder has a quick disconnect on the motor, giving the user the ability to remove the motor and place it on another barrel or hopper.
It has a fill height of nine feet so a ladder, ATV, or truck bed must be used to stand on to refill the hopper.
• 30-gallon barrel
• 200 lbs capacity
• Digital control
• Dispenses feed up to 6 times a day
• Quick disconnect motor
• Spin caster feeder
4. Boss Buck 350
The Boss Buck 350 is a tripod feeder that can be converted from a gravity feeder to a spin caster with ease right from the box.
It is powered by one 12 volts battery, and this feeder seems to have it all. However, just as most tripod feeders, it may be difficult to load it if you do not have a way to get above the 72″ legs.
• Tripod stand
• Galvanized steel rust proof
• Gravity and spin caster attachments provided
• 350 lbs capacity
5. Best Hanging Feeders: Moultrie 5-gal All In One Feeder
When hunting in a denser area, or an area with plenty of tree branches to hang a feeder, the Moultrie Feeder is the way to go.
It is a 5-gallon plastic tapered bucket and it compacts down to about one third of its operating size. The motorized feeder uses four AA batteries.
• 5-gallon capacity
• Spin caster
• Solar panel ready
• Batteries included
6. American Hunter 5-Gallon Digital Feeder
The American Hunter Feeders are more common to find since a larger variety of stores carry their product, easy to purchase type of feeder. Most of them are very affordable to the average hunters.
They are a hanging type mechanical feeder where their largest model can hold up to 225 lbs.
• Built-in varmint guard
• Solar panel ready
• 225 lbs capacity
• Digital control
• Feeds up to 16 times a day
• Feeds different days of the week
7. Best Gravity Feeders: Redneck Blinds T-Post
With all the talk about mechanical or programmable feeders, it feels good not to have to worry about battery life or anything mechanically jamming.
The simple gravity feeders seem to be the easiest to setup and maintain. With a capacity of 80 lbs of corn, Redneck Blinds T-Post is the most user-friendly gravity feeder out there.
There is a slot on the back of the molded plastic where it fits perfectly snug to a T-Post or one can use tie downs and ratchet the feeder to a tree.
Rat holing can occur with gravity feeders and because the opening must be exposed for the animals to feed, varmints have a season pass when it comes to stealing food.
• 80 lbs capacity
• Heavy duty polyethylene
• Can be strapped to a tree or t-post
• Light weight
8. Redneck Blinds 750
For someone who has a lot of animals, the Redneck Blinds 750 Standing Gravity Game Feeder is an ideal option.
One of the more expensive feeders, this 750 lbs capacity feeder has a 4-way feeding tube with adjustable height and flow controls.
The user is able to adjust the height of the four headed feeding tube, along with adjusting the flow of the feed coming into the heads.
• 750 lbs capacity
• Sturdy 4-leg stand
• Adjustable height feeding tube
• Adjustable flow baffles
9. Best Automatic Feeder: Moultrie 15-Gallon Directional Feeder
Right out of the box, these feeders come with ratchet straps to mount the unit to a tree. It also comes with a bracket, allowing the user to attach the unit to a t-post if desired.
These feeders can discharge feed in a narrow 30-degree path, which is perfect for only placing feed exactly where you like it.
• 15-gallon hopper
• Directional feed pattern
• Includes bracket and ratchet straps
• Tree or t-post ready
• 6 volts battery
• Narrow 30-degree path
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing
Any hunter who has ever felt the rush of sitting in a tree stand while the game they are hunting comes wandering right under them understands the time and effort that goes into finding and preparing that perfect hunting area.
Game feeders can give a hunter a huge advantage as they can draw in and retain a larger number of game if they are allowed in your state or country ( if not, use alternatives ). Maintained and correctly used feeders also give added nutrients to the deer aiding in antler growth.
However, if you purchase a faulty feeder or one that is prone to malfunctioning, it can be very frustrating, discouraging, and even a costly mistake.
Just like any other major hobby, there are countless products with varieties of option and setups that a hunter can purchase when it comes to game feeders such as tripod spincaster, hanging spincaster, and gravity feeders.
Where do you begin when you have decided to invest in deer feeders? Because of all the different brands and the large variety, the process of looking for the perfect game feeder can become a very overwhelming task.
Purchasing one should technically be a simple process, although it can seem daunting until you begin to focus on the key factors which include but are not limited to the following.
The location is a great place to focus on first. Where do you plan on setting up your game feeder? If you own the land or can drive up to the feeder, then you have more options when looking at different styles.
A larger hopper, heavy duty, and extremely sturdy are easier to unload and setup from your truck. If you plan on hiking into your spot, you want something light weight and easier to transport.
Refilling the Feeder
The initial setup is important, but you also need to be able to refill it periodically throughout the season or even year-round.
If you are by your truck, you can haul up large amounts of feed, as well as use a ladder to fill it each time. For those hiking in, you need to keep in mind how much you can pack and if you are able to load the feed by yourself.
For those feeders that are too tall, you will be required to use some step stool or even a ladder to reach the top ( or buy feeder which already has it ). It will be very cumbersome to pack food and a ladder each time you need to load the feeder.
However, some feeders are designed to allow the person to stand on the ground to load, which is a desirable feature to many as well as having a larger hopper to space out how often you need to refill since it can hold so much more.
Durability is another point to consider. A feeder is designed to be outdoors day and night for an extended amount of time. Keep in mind that not all manufacturers produce products that can last as long as a hunter expects a feeder to last.
When investing in a deer feeder, you have to be aware of all the different elements that it needs to overcome to survive such as the wind, rain, sun, and even snow.
Another common factor is the durability that a feeder must have to protect itself from the abuse that it will naturally encounter with animals. This contact can include things such as rubbing, eating from it, bumping it, which may result to tipping it over especially if the animals are larger in structure.
Deer are not the only animals that are drawn to the feed. Varmints may attempt to chew through the hopper or anywhere that is vulnerable to retrieve the food inside. These varmints are a big concern for many who have previously setup deer feeders.
Raccoons are especially a nuisance since they can climb and curiously interfere with all your hard work. They are capable of spilling large amounts of your corn or deer feed onto the ground which will force you to buy more feed and refill it far more frequently.
An important detail that you want to look into is the type of varmint protection compatible with each type of deer feeder.
Some styles include a cage around the automatic dispenser, as well as certain attachments that go around the legs to prevent these small animals from climbing to the access area, or even some that will send an electric shock to the smaller lower animals.
Along with structural integrity, mechanical parts also need to be durable. Many options of feeders include automatic feeders that entail a clock to initiate the times when you want the feed dispersed and the allotted time that the food is released.
Some feeders will fill a trough and others will shoot the feed out on top of the ground encircling the feeder. You must remember, that with more moving parts there is a greater chance that those parts might break.
It is very important to have a dependable feeder, one that you don’t have to worry about between visits.
Setting Up the Feeder
The process of setting up of the feeder is another thing you need to think about. For many hunters, they may prefer to keep their honey hole a secret from others and need to rely on themselves to be able to setup the feeder independently.
Many manufacturers who understand that concept have made a large variety of feeders capable to be setup by one person.
Still, it is important to evaluate the bulk, weight, size, complexity, and the height of the feeder so you can range if you’re able to fill the it independently.
You may need to bring a ladder if your location is next to a road. You may also be able to stand on the bed of your truck as you load it.
If you are packing the feeder in, you need to purchase one that you can transport, setup, and fill completely on your own. It isn’t just the physical labor of setting up your feeder; with the different styles, a few varieties require you to setup things such as solar panels, batteries, and even program the timer.
Regardless of popular beliefs, not all hunters are wealthy. Hunting is a sport or hobby that takes quite a bit of money to get into, and it doesn’t always leave enough money to get the “top of the line” items. So price is usually the main point of concern for the average hunter.
It is common to look at the cheapest item in the category you want and to still assume that the quality is not substandard. In some cases, you can skip on the bells and whistles and get a good-quality basic feeder which might be desirable.
Although when you look for a cheap automatic feeder, you need to do more research to understand the integrity of the product and to see if it still fits your purpose.
Also keep in mind that if you purchase an inexpensive feeder, you may end up spending a lot more for repairs, feed, or even replacing the entire unit down the road.
Consider Your Goal
Think about the goal you are trying to achieve and how you want to feed the animals.
Some styles like the gravity feeder, which tend to cost less, may take the deer a bit longer to trust and feed out of. Where as the mechanical spin caster styles, which are more expensive, sprays the feed to the ground where the deer adapts quicker.
If these options still don’t work for you, you can always use a homemade deer feeder.
Overview of Leading Deer Feeder Brands
Boss Buck not only sells feeders, but also stands, blinds, and even feeder parts. Their feeders are light weight and versatile.
You are able to swap back and forth from automatic to gravity with ease. They have a tripod, four-leg stands, and ATV feeders.
Their feeders are very durable and light when empty which makes them really easy to move and setup. Its price is a little on the high side though.
They understand the frustration of hunters when varmints try to access their feeders so they also have Shark Teeth Deterrent Strips.
These spiked strips help keep squirrels from climbing and hogs from rubbing against the legs.
On Time Tripods
From hanging to gravity feed tripods, it seems On Time has each type of feeder for every hunter.
One downside of On Time tripods though is that they don’t have plates at the bottom of their legs.
Customers gave their feedback saying that if the ground is damp, the weight of the feed inside the hopper pushes the leg into the earth resulting in an unstable base with a very high possibility of the unit tipping over.
Of course, homemade foot plates can be rigged to help resolve this concern. However, this is not something a customer should have to worry about taking the unit right out of the box.
Moultrie seems to be a brand that understands the fact that hunters come in a variety of wealth.
From bucket feeders, gravity feeders, and of course tripod feeders, they have it covered.
Moultrie makes most of their hoppers out of plastic. This, unfortunately, allows small dedicated rodents somewhat of a soft material to chew through and get into the feed.
American Hunter is the most flexible feeding system available. They have tripod feeders, hanging feeders, feeder kits, chargers, and batteries.
It is one of the brands that has analog timers with their feeders.
However, it has some reviews from customers stating that the analog timer malfunctions and engages the motor at the incorrect times or does not work at all. Some of the units completely quit working after a short period.
They also seem to be very temperamental. And if the user spins the timer the wrong way, they have a very high likelihood of breaking.
All you have to do now is to go over the considerations stated above based on your necessities, and take a closer look at the recommended products.
These factors will definitely guide you pick the feeder that you need.
What is the game feeder that works for you?
Also check these resources:
Whitetail nutrition calendar – whitetail seasonal feeding habits explained