“Breaking up ice in the horse water tanks is great!” said no one ever. Trying to keep water in troughs from freezing over during the winter often feels like hammering jelly to a tree, and no one wants to be subjected to dealing with ice in frigid weather. Well, there is some good news for you. There is something called a stock tank heater, or trough heater, that stops ice from forming, giving your horses and stock drinkable water throughout the year.
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But do trough heaters work?
Reducing the freeze risk of water in plastic storage containers and troughs revolve around several elements, such as the shape of the tank, location, and so on. You can move it into the sun or try insulating the trough to raise the water’s temperature. But, the truth is that, even if you arrange your tank just right, there will be a time (or temperature) when the water freezes. When that happens, the best method to keep water from freezing is to purchase a heated de-icer, also known as a trough heater.
The Best Watering Trough Heater Reviews
As you will see below, there are several types of heated de-icers out there, including floating heaters, bucket heaters, submersible heaters, and so on. We took a look at some of the most useful trough heaters, looking at the features included. With the top-rated trough heaters below, we will also explain some of the various types of horse trough heaters so you can decide on which type is best for you.
So, let’s get started. Here are the best of the best:
Best Water Trough Heater: Farm Innovators Floating Pond De-Icer
This is decidedly one of the best all-around horse trough heaters. The Floating Pond De-Icer by Farm Innovators has enough power—a nice 1250 watts—to punch through ice and keep water from turning into a solid block. Even larger water troughs will stay de-iced with this nifty heater. You do not have to worry about it running every hour of the day either. Farm Innovators’ Floating Pond De-Icer has a built-in thermostat, so it will only switch on when the temperature of the water drops to a certain level.
This unit is also extremely durable. The body is crafted from cast aluminum and plastic, and there is a metal safety guard around the base for more protection. Integrated into the design is a fully grounded 10-foot cord.
- Can be used in ponds or troughs between 50-600 gallons
- Maintains a vent hole in the ice for gasses to escape
- Has 1250 watts of power
- Thermostatic control
- Budget-friendly price
- Easy operation and setup
- Lacks longevity of some other more expensive models
- Reportedly poor customer service from Farm Innovators when a problem arises
Best Heated Bucket: API Heated Flat-Back Bucket
For over 65 years, API has been a brand that many people trust. The ranch products are highly rated across the board, and there is something available to make every season a breeze. If you have horses, you probably have something by API already in your stables. Now, as for the API Heated Flat-Back Bucket: this thing is amazing. Yes, you will need to refill it every single day, but it works handily at keeping water from turning ice. Since it is relatively lightweight, you can haul the bucket to a field or even bring it along in the horse trailer for longer tips.
The bucket also has a flat back, enabling you to set it flush against a wall. There is also a large metal handle that allows the bucket to securely hang. You don’t even have to worry about the plastic cracking since it is resilient.
- Thermostatic control
- Bottom compartment for safely stowing away the electric cord
- Grounding provided, along with anti-chew protection to stop damage
- Works up to -20 degrees F (-28 degrees C)
- Low power usage
- Small capacity
Best Submergible Tank De-Icer: Farm Innovators Submersible Tank De-Icer
A classic design and proven effectiveness—that is what you get with this submersible tank de-icer. Yes, we’re bringing you another Farm Innovators recommendation. This one can be added to both plastic and metal water troughs. Unlike a floating device, this trough heater stays out of the way and won’t spook the horses. There is a safety cage set around the heating element, so the unit won’t get jostled or damaged. With 1500 watts of power, this tank de-icer is perfect for larger troughs and tanks.
The built-in thermostatic controller will switch on the unit when the water temperature reaches freezing (32 degrees F/0 degrees C). The only downside of this trough heater is the cord, which is only wrapped in plastic.
- Submersible water trough heater with thermostatic control
- Made in the USA
- Sturdy construction and reliability
- 1500 watts will keep even large stock tanks unfrozen
- Lasts about 2-4 years
- You must install your own grounding cable or use a GFI outlet
Watering Trough Heater Buyer’s Guide
Having seen some of the best water trough heaters available, you may be wondering if certain features separate them from the competition. Some important features to prioritize when shopping for a trough heater include the following:
When a heater has thermostatic control, it means that it will automatically switch on whenever the air around the water trough reaches a specific point. This is an energy-saving mechanism that will save you money in the long run.
If you leave the tank without grounding it, there may be an energy leak. Stray currents may also enter the water, and that could be a serious risk to the horses or other stock. If you find that your horses are hesitant to use the tank, do a quick check with a voltmeter. Remember, if the horses are wearing metal shoes and the tank is not grounded, they could get shocked.
Cold climates and large tanks require one thing to remain unaffected by freezing. That would be more wattage. For instance, in Colorado, where the winters are frightful, any heater with less than 1500 watts will be insufficient (for larger tanks). Make sure you are purchasing the correct size of the heater.
There you have it: the best water trough heaters available. Though there is a limited selection, knowing which brands and models work effectively is a great way to begin your hunt. Keep in mind that the best features include thermostatic control and safety measures, and you will be able to find a horse trough heater that will keep you and your livestock or horses happy throughout the coldest months.
If you’re the kind of person who struggles with cold feet during the winter months you may be looking for the Best Foot Warmers for Cold Feet. For spending a lot of time outdoors with horses and stock we recommend the incredible GLOBAL VASION Sock Foot Warmer or Thermrup’s Warming Insoles. They’re both great foot warmers that will keep your toes warm all day long.
If you live in a snowy part of the world and spend a lot of time outside working, hiking, or even snowshoeing check out our best snow gaiters article to help you choose the best gaiters to keep your legs and feet dry.
A chilly wind is never welcome but sometimes unavoidable, check out our best neck gaiters article to help you keep your neck warm this winter.
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