Best Hummingbird Feeder: Review of Four Types of Feeders

Watching hummingbirds is one of my favorite past times. Not only do we have a lot of plants that the birds can feed from, but we also hang up several feeders. There are many different types of hummingbird feeders available. The best ones are easy to clean, easy to fill, and are sturdy enough to last several years. I have reviewed four popular feeders, providing the pros and cons of each.

Aspects HummZinger Excel Hummingbird Feeder

Aspects HummZinger Excel Feeder

Aspects HummZinger Excel Feeder

Although this feeder is all plastic, it’s pretty sturdy. We’ve had two that have lasted four years so far. They do discolor after years spent in direct sun.

You can hang it on the supplied brass hook that simply screws into the center of the built-in ant moat, or you can mount it on a post. It does not come with a post. You can use a 5/8″ wooden dowel or 1/2″ copper tubing.  I suspect mounting it on a post would circumvent the ant moat.

The feeder has 6 feeding spots and a circular perch that surrounds the reservoir. The ant moat in the center of the feeder isn’t very big, so you’ll have to keep adding water to it during the hot summer months. However, it’s nice to have a built-in moat.

The lid easily pops off of the reservoir, making it easy to clean both reservoir inside and out and lid. You will need to carefully clean out the holes that the hummingbirds feed from.

The only negative of this feeder seems to be that it can get unbalanced if there isn’t much liquid in it, making it lean to one side or the other. That means hummingbirds might not be able to feed from all ports. This is largely a problem on this style of feeder in the large capacity reservoirs.

Price is also a factor on this feeder, but since it is built to last, it is a decent investment. If you’d like to purchase this feeder, click here: Buy the Aspects HummZinger Excel

Best-1 Hummingbird Feeder

Best-1 Hummingbird Feeder

Best-1 Hummingbird Feeder

I really like this feeder because it comes with a way to order parts as needed.We have an old one (about 6 years old) that the foot perch just broke off of. I’ll be ordering a new part in order to keep the feeder.

The maker has added some improvements to this hummingbird feeder. It’s a lot sturdier than it used to be. They have increased the thickness of the plastic perch and also made it easier to remove the lid from the perch (it used to take a knife to pry it off). They have improved its ease of use considerably.

While it’s a little challenging to get a cleaning brush into the mouth of the glass reservoir, you can do it. Because of the width of the mouth of the reservoir, it’s a little bit more difficult to clean it. However, the lid pops off of the plastic reservoir quite easily, making it a cinch to clean the inside and out side parts of the feeder.

As with anything glass, if it falls on concrete, it may break. The glass is pretty thick though, so in many situations on bare ground, it should be fine.

The feeder has 8 feeding stations and the feeder holds up to 8 oz. I don’t recommend filling it up the whole way as unused food will begin to mold (especially in hot weather, in the sun). You only want to add as much food as the birds will eat in about a week, maximum. You will need to use a measuring cup with a spout or a funnel to fill the reservoir.

This brand advertises that it is bee and wasp proof. I’m not sure what they mean by this. I haven’t seen bees or wasps get into the glass reservoir, but they definitely drink from the feeding holes.

After a long period of time, the red plastic will fade after long-term use in direct sunlight.

Get the 8 oz. Best-1 Hummingbird Feeder here.

 

Four-Flower Frolic Hummingbird Feeder

Four Flower Hummingbird Feeder

Four Flower Hummingbird Feeder

While this is a popular model sold at many local garden stores, it’s my least favorite of the four. Mainly because this feeder is hard to clean. The plastic yellow bee-guard “grates” that protect the feeding holes are prone to growing mold and impossible to get a brush in to clean it. The nooks and crannies created by the extruding flowers also provide places for mold and bacteria to grow.

In addition, the glass reservoir also has a mouth that is way too small for most bottle brushes. My other complaint is that the plastic parts are pretty fragile. The perches will easily snap off and the yellow grates pop off readily.

This feeder has four perches and can hold up to 8 ounces of nectar. You will need to use a measuring cup with a spout or a funnel to fill the reservoir.

I suspect the red plastic will fade with time, but I have not had one long enough to know for sure. I abandoned one of these feeders last year because I simply could not get it clean.

Dr. JB’s Clean Hummingbird Feeder

Dr. JB's Clean Hummingbird Feeder

Click to Buy Dr. JB’s Clean Hummingbird Feeder

Of the four hummingbird feeders I have reviewed, this is my favorite. It has a very large mouth on the glass reservoir, making it very easy to clean and to fill. Finally – no sticky sugar water spills out when I’m filling a hummingbird feeder.

The plastic reservoir is very sturdy and is held in to place when the glass reservoir is screwed in. You will need to pop the two plastic parts apart when ready to clean. Simply push the inner part of the base downward, and it will release from the top. Be careful not to hold on to the perch that encircles the base of the feeder when doing so.

This feeder holds up to 16 ounces of nectar, but you will probably not need to put that much in at one time. It has four ports and a perch for your hummingbirds.

Although it says that you can clean this feeder in the dishwasher, if your dishwasher is like mine and has a rinse (JetDry) feature,  this is not advised.  You should also rinse the feeder very well before refilling to remove any residue. If you’re like me and just find putting something that birds use in with your dishes distasteful anyway, hand cleaning is the way to go.

I also like the sturdy hanger at the top of the feeder as well. This makes it easy to remove and put back on a hook. I am excited to get this feeder, as I’ve never had one before. It’s ease to clean and fill is what I am happy about.

You can purchase JB’s Hummingbird Feeder here.

Ranked Hummingbird Feeders

 
Aspects HummZinger Excel
Best-1 Hummingbird Feeder
Four Flower Frolic Feeder
Dr. JB's Clean Hummingbird Feeder
ImageAspects HummZinger ExcelBest-1 Hummingbird FeederFour Flower Frolic Hummingbird FeederDr. JB's Clean Feeder - Hummingbirds
Easy To Clean97310
Easy to Fill96610
Sturdiness9859
MaterialsAll plasticGlass container, plastic perchGlass container, plastic perchGlass container, plastic perch
Built-in Ant MoatYesNoNoNo
How to PlaceHangs or Mounted on PostHangsHangsHangs
Holds8 oz8 oz8 oz16 oz
Overall9749.75
Rated on a scale of 1 to 10, these are my personal opinions

Purchase one of these feeders by clicking a link below:

Other Notes

I avoid all decorative glass flower feeders or other oddly-shaped feeders. While they look pretty, the glass flowers and parts are very hard to get completely clean. Additionally, small glass components break easily. When looking at feeders, think easy to clean, easy to fill, and long-lasting.

Hummingbird Food Recipe

Mix one cup of white sugar to four cups of water (not brown sugar or honey!). Place it in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow it to completely cool before filling your feeders. Fill the feeder up for a couple of days use.

Put the remaining amount in the refrigerator for up to a week. Be sure to let it warm up to room temperature before putting it our for your hummingbirds. No red food coloring is necessary!

Keep an eye on the hummingbird feeder in hot weather, when it starts to cloud up, it is time to change the food. You don’t want your hummingbirds to eat moldy liquid.

Cleaning Your Hummingbird Feeders

Bottle Brush and Smaller Brush to Clean Hummingbird Feeders

Bottle Brush and Smaller Brush to Clean Hummingbird Feeders

Keeping your feeders clean and free of mold will help keep your hummingbirds healthy and prevent disease from spreading. If your feeder is in a bright, sunny spot, you’ll need to clean it more frequently (but you’re more likely to get birds too). For a cleaning solution, Audubon recommends one part white vinegar to four parts water about once a week. Cleaning out the reservoir with a bottle brush will remove any mold in the reservoir. Use pipe cleaners or a small specialized brush (available at most birding stores) to clean out the holes from which the birds feed.  Scrub away any mold or crystallized sugar. Rinse really well and let dry before putting fresh feed back into it.

Keeping Ants Out of Your Hummingbird Feeders

Hummingbird Feeder Moat

Click to Buy a Hummingbird Ant Guard

Ants often climb into hummingbird feeders and die, causing mold and fungus in the feeder, or just making your feeder leak. Keeping ants out of the feeder is the best way to avoid this. We bought some really cool water reservoirs or moats that keep ants from reaching the feeder. The moat is hung between the feeder and the hook it hangs on. Ants can not cross the water and thus never reach the feeder. Just make sure you keep water in it. I am pretty sure that you can build one yourself (out of an old liter soda bottle).  The birds may also drink out of this for fresh water, so keep an eye on it too, and change the water when needed. If you want to buy one already made, check this link out Ant Guard

 

Comments

  1. Thanks for the reviews. I have the Four Frolic feeder and was looking for a good one to replace it. I like the feeder but it hasn’t held up well.

  2. Gun Lemke says:

    Thanks as well. I’m looking to replace my Four Frolics (two). They are a pain to clean and are not staying together well anymore.
    Looks like Dr. JB’s is the way to go.

  3. Uncle Aus says:

    This is good info. Now that I’ve successfully attracted hummingbirds to my yard to feed, I’m learning the ins and outs of feeder maintenance and ease of cleaning is key. I’ve found, too, that “my” hummingbirds simply won’t eat from a feeder with a plastic bottle. It’s gotta be glass. Anyway, I’m going to be ordering at least one of Dr. JB’s Clean Hummingbird Feeders, if not more. Thanks for posting this info!

    • Garden Experiments says:

      Thanks for the comments! I really like the JB’s – it holds up well and is much easier to clean than some of the others. Interesting that your birds won’t drink from plastic. I wonder if the plastic is emitting a smell?

  4. Thank you so much for the post. Lot’s of great information. I was deciding between the Apects feeder and the Dr. JB’s, but this swayed me to give Dr. JB’s a try. Happy hummer feeding!

  5. I like Dr. JB’s the best from an aesthetic standpoint…very clean lines. But…that is not why I am writing. Your website just gets better and better, and I really appreciate and respect the time you took to write this review (which is incredibly detailed by the way).

    I agree with you about the 4 Flower Frolic…I think they overdid it with the four plastic flowers (and have always felt this way). What gardener wants plastic flowers in the garden?

    Especially when it comes to hummingbird feeders there is so much dis-information that I became wary of even using them. You give me a place to start for (at least) two reasons: you addressed the mold/bacteria issue and finally showed me a hummingbird feeder that is attractive (circling back to Dr. JB’s…the Best 1 is pretty cool as well).

    (Very) Well done.

    • Garden Experiments says:

      Thank you so much! I appreciate the kind words. I love writing for my blog (and gardening, of course!) and I always hope that it shows.

  6. HummMomma says:

    Hi, thanks for the reviews :). I have the Aspects HummZinger Florals 4oz. red & purple feeders and my hummers and I love them! I was wondering if you can add ant guard caps to the underside of the feeding ports like you can to the Ultra models & Fancy models & Floral 4oz. models all made by Aspects as well. Thanks.

    • Garden Experiments says:

      Hummomma – I had not seen the nectar guards you mentioned, so I looked them up. How clever that they extend the depth of the nectar tubes so that bees and wasps can’t reach the nectar. I called Hummzinger to find out if they would fit the Excel model, and they do not fit; they only the Ultra and the Fancy models (http://www.aspectsinc.com/384_NectarGuard.html).

      The Excel does have a built in ant moat, which works well for me for keeping out ants, but I have never needed anything to keep bees and wasps out of the feeders. I think there are plenty of flowers around that keep them busy.

  7. Forgot to mention that I love using Hummbrellas with both my feeders and that I twisty tie my feeders to them so they can’t be blown away during stronger storms.

  8. Dorotea says:

    I’ve read some really bad reviews on the Best-1 feeders that are killing hummingbirds. Why give them a good review?

    • Garden Experiments says:

      Dorotea, my experience with the best one feeder that I have has been good. I have had one of these (though I’ve gone through two) for over 7 years and not had any issues with it. Hummingbirds are able to use it easily and it cleans well.

      I’m not familiar with the reviews that you mention, though I have seen one review from 2005 that discussed issues with the holes – but at the end of the review (March 2005) the reviewer stated that the lid had been redesigned (http://www.hummingbirds.net/best1mod.html#update). I don’t believe I have ever used one with the earlier design that may have had a problem.

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