Customer Reviews: Pioneer Fountain Big Max- Stainless Steel 128oz
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on February 2, 2011
I have 3 cats and needed a fountain that was large enough (esp when I have to be away from the house for a couple of days). I used to have one of those plastic ones with a large water reservoir. These plastic fountains were so difficult to clean that I just had to keep replacing them after a while. Lately, the 2 cats that were drinking from the plastic fountain developed feline acne. That is when I researched a better alternative and found this stainless steel one. I was concerned that the water level would affect the proper functioning of the pump very quickly - not so! It really takes 4-7 days before I need to add water. I cleaned the fountain twice so far and each time it was a breeze. I was able to remove sediments (where the cats lick the bowl) very easily. This fountain is really silent! The water falling from the side is just perfect - enough flow so that they want to drink but not too much that it scares them away - my 3rd cat who is quite shy took a liking in this fountain right away (I think mostly because the bowl is large enough so she can drink from there as oppose to where the water flows down and w/o being too close to it). The water does not splash out of the bowl either. I really think this is a great fountain, the best I ever had.
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on December 24, 2011
I have used Drinkwell fountains for YEARS. However, the plastic was a battleground for bacteria and I found I had to replace those fountains at least once a year (the motors burned out). Drinkwells were comparatively loud and had a lifespan that was far too short for my household (3 cats and two dogs). I recently purchased the Pioneer Big Max with relatively low expectations. The first thing I noticed was that THIS fountain was incredibly easy to put together and clean. I never realized how time consuming the Drinkwell cleanings were until I used the Pioneer. I read the directions, cleaned and put this thing together in less than 10 minutes. The cats and dogs all like it. The cats are fascinated by the constantly moving water (it looks like a little pond with a gentle waterfall that moves the ENTIRE pond) and the dogs just like the fresh water. The stainless steel design is far more hygienic than the plastic used in other brands. The water capacity is the same as the large capacity fountain I had before plus this model is far easier to fill. There aren't any canisters or weird holding cells- you just pour the water directly into the bowl and the the fountain takes care of the rest. The Big Max is literally SILENT. The animals can drink from it at the same time. Admittedly, the cats like the top portion for some reason while the dogs like the bowl at the bottom. One of my cats was a chronic bowl dumper- if there was a huge water dish for all the animals, no matter how heavy it was, she found a way to drag it until it was empty and my floor was sopping wet. The Big Max has cured her of her messy habits- now she just dips her little paws in the flowing stream of water and that seems to entertain her. My floor is dry, my animals are all drinking more water, and I am happy. Added bonus- if this motor burns out, I can purchase that separately so that I don't have to spend $ on a whole new fountain. The Big Max is an AMAZING value.
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on May 8, 2011
I've had this product for about 10 months now - My cats still LOVE it. I thought my pump was dying because I would have to tap it to start working each time after cleaning the unit - I wash everything and put fresh water at least 2 times per week. I started looking online to buy a replacement pump so I would have one on hand in case it went out completely.
Well, I found this video on the Pioneer Pump Maintenance - I had absolutely no idea that I was supposed to clean the pump. It either wasn't in the booklet or somehow I just missed. If you have this unit or will be buying one, you MUST watch this video on how to clean the pump. I don't know if I can post a link here, but if you go to You Tube and search for "pioneer pet pump maintenance", you'll find it.
I cleaned the pump exactly how this video says and now the pump works perfectly! However, I was appalled at myself in not knowing that I needed to clean the pump because it was disgusting! I will clean it twice a week a long with the rest of the unit!!

I would still definitely recommend this product!!

****Update to original review - originally I gave this 1 star because I thought the motor burnt out within the first 2 weeks. After playing around with it before returning the item, I discovered the motor wasn't the problem at all, it was the adaptor for the plug in. The small pin in the adaptor is bent and so I had to press the plug in hard and towards the side of the adaptor - I have to be careful not to touch the plug or the fountain will stop again.
I contacted the manufacturer via their "contact us" button on their website to see if I could get a replacement adaptor - To my surprise, I had a response from them apologizing for the problem and letting me know that they had sent a replacement out to me that day - they even said "Thank You", which I don't hear often enough these days! What GREAT customer service! I received the replacement today (within a week of contacting them) - I will be keeping the fountain. My 3 cats love it and I'm really happy I don't have to return it.


Original Review:
At first, I thought this was the greatest fountain ever - it was quiet and all 3 of my cats loved it. They started drinking from it right away and really enjoyed it. But, within the first 2 weeks of having it, the fountain just stopped working - It always had water in it, so I know that wasn't the issue, it was perfectly clean - the motor just burned out I suppose. Anyway, it's being returned along with the extra filters I bought since I thought I would have it a long time. It's too bad because it could have been a great fountain.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon December 12, 2015
 Oh my goodness, I wish I had ordered this fountain long long ago. I have been using a PetSafe Drinkwell Stainless Multi-Pet Fountain for the past three years. It was large enough but always a major pain to clean. So many pieces, ugh! I put it all (except the motor) in the dishwasher but it was still a real pain rinsing and brushing out the motor and since I have six furbabies in my home, cleaning it was a weekly chore.

This fountain has been the much needed relief I have been longing for. I wasn't sure about it and wouldn't order it for the longest time because it didn't have multiple spouts for the water to rain down like the 360 did but I finally gave in and decided to give it a try. There are half as many parts to clean in this Big Max fountain as there are with the 360 and the bowl is much easier to clean as well. I spend so much less time cleaning and what's better is that I do not have to clean it as often. I have been using it for over a week and the water still looks clean with very little hair floating in it and no slimy residue (yuck). With the 360 I had to clean it every week and the water would be hairy and slimy every time. It really needed to be cleaned probably every five days but it was such a pain.

I am so proud of this fountain and highly recommend it to all pet parents. Especially if you are wanting something easy to clean. My furbabies took right to it too. Maybe because they were already used to something similar? If your babies are not used to something like this it might be best to leave their bowl or fountain out while you transition them to this one. That way you make sure they are getting the hydration they need.

I am including a video showing the different pieces of the fountain. In the video I mention that you will need to clean the motor weekly. I am so used to cleaning a fountain weekly due to my 360 that I said that without thinking. It is probably not a bad idea to clean it weekly though, especially if you have a lot of furbabies using it like I do. Just be sure to clean the motor each time you clean the fountain to preserve the life of the motor. Also I recommend buying those fuzzy craft sticks that look like pipe cleaners (I get the white ones). I cut them in half and use them to clean the really tight areas of the motor that nothing else seems to be able to get into, especially the center of the impeller.

One final note. When I cleaned this fountain it took me about 12 minutes from beginning to end, whereas the 360 always took me about 30 minutes.

If you find my review useful please let me know and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them below and I will answer them as quickly as possible. Thank you for checking out my review. :)
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on June 15, 2012
We've had a Drinkwell Platinum at least 4 or 5 years. Kitty loves it, which is the only reason we still have it.

The slime factor is disgusting. It really does take 25 - 30 minutes to clean it well using big and little brushes, sponges, and bleach in all the crannies and taking apart and cleaning the pump each time. It seems to be worse in the really hot months. No matter how clean it feels, I worry about Kitty getting sick from the stuff lurking where I can't reach. This week I cleaned it really well on Monday and by Wednesday the slime was back.

Not to worry. The new Big Max STAINLESS STEEL - FITS IN THE DISHWASHER - EASY TO HAND WASH - NO NOOKS OR CRANNIES - fountain arrived yesterday.

It was simple to assemble and Kitty checked it out right away. She isn't as excited about it as the old one, but today she is drinking from the top. Don't know if she's found the little water fall yet. The Big Max is so quiet I don't hear her drinking anymore so I don't notice when she's there. We could tell from across the room when the cat was at her Drinkwell, whether we could see her or not. Now that the fountain noise is gone I don't miss it at all.

I noticed that the stainless steel bowl seems to be keeping the water cooler, too.

All the Amazon reviews were helpful as was the youtube video from Pioneer Pet on how to clean the Big Max pump.

Someone said it was hard to open the clam shell pump housing. It's not. Just hold the bottom and squeeze the top front to back where it says to. Just push the top back a bit in front to disengage from the bottom and it lifts off. Easy if you know what to expect.

I also took the pump apart - same process as the Drinkwell, and even though it's smaller it has the same 4 pieces. Quik enough to clean if the rest of the fountain parts fit in the dishwasher. (And they do! HURRAY!!!!!)

Will update the post later on Kitty's customer satisfaction, but the MOM satisfaction is very high regarding ease of use AND peace of mind about clean water and Kitty's health.

Another thing to mention is that we also bought two for my parents' town cats and farm cats. How many days can it run without adding water? The idea was for my folks to be able to travel between the two locations for a few days without having a cat sitter. Will take some monitoring, but the instructions say to keep the fountain filled to within 1/2" from the top of the bowl. This may not be the solution for water for 4 days away... I'm sure they'll keep the old standby bowls handy until we know for sure what to expect.

Finally, we had the 3 fountains delivered in one order. The first one I opened had a 1" steel cylinder rolling around that we couldn't find accounted for in the assembly instructions. It was a piece called a riser that the cord was supposed to lace through from inside to outside of the bowl. It didn't make sense how it was supposed to fit in...didn't screw on or plug in.

When we finally opened the other fountains, we discovered the risers were welded to the back of the bottom bowl and the first one had broken off at the weld during shipping. Amazon arranged for next day UPS pick up and worked through their easy return/refund policy. I had to re-order the 3rd fountain because it was from another seller and shipped through Amazon, but other than taking some web time and a few phone calls, that process was relatively easy as well.

The farm kitties are happy with their fresh water fountain, which is an upgrade from a plastic coffee can. The city kitties will have to wait for the next delivery.

As for our Drinkwell Platinum, it's trash. I'm sure Kitty will get over it.


We've had the new bowl about 10 days. Kitty made the switch really quickly and drinks from the top of the spillway. No problemas. She dances around waiting for me to plug in the Big Max as soon as I set it down for her, so it's obvious Kitty's Customer Satisfaction is high.

The stainless does keep the water cooler, but by the end of the first week there was the beginning of slime. Took all of 4 minutes to clean both pans by hand and take apart the pump and put it all back together. Almost too good to be true, but it really is that easy and quick.

Drinkwell Platinum users, make the switch. You won't regret it. The only thing I regret is that I paid nearly $100 for the Platinum when it first came out. OUCH.

Couldn't be happier with the Big Max. AND am appreciating the QUIET fountain. Wish I'd made the switch a long time ago.

UPDATE 7/6/14: Kitty and I still love the fountain. The cat always drinks more from the fountain than she will from a regular bowl. I know she's healthier because if it.

Whenever the power has been off or the fountain unplugged, once we have electricity again the pump motor hums but the little yellow fan inside won't start spinning on its own. A light poke with a toothpick to the yellow blades will start it running again. Other than that little quirk, all is well. It would be easy to think it's broken if you didn't know the trick.
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on November 28, 2011
Despite the reviews about the pump breaking, I decided to purchase the fountain based on the fact that the company posted that the chance of getting a defective pump was quite low, and based on the high price of other stainless fountains. It worked great and looked great for about 3 days. Then the pump stopped working. I called the manufacturer for the pump to get a replacement one. Before I even said anything, he gave me this speech about how they figured out the pumps weren't defective and it that the problem was the customers not installing the pump property. The representative argued with me and insisted that the pump wasn't broken and that I must have taken it apart just before it stopped working and didn't put it back together property (I didn't - I came home from work one day and it had already stopped working). I had a petmate fresh flow deluxe for 4-5 years, and only had to replace the pump once. I have 1 cat. I put that pump in there, and the big max fountain burned that pump up in about a day (it had been going for about 1.5-2 years in the petmate fountain). The product is clearly defective. I returned it and purchased the stainless steel drinkwell 360.
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on January 18, 2012
Delivered on time and easy to assemble! I wish we would've gotten it a long time ago. Our Maine Coon has had a small "bump" on his lower lip which we believe may have been caused by the bacteria that can accumulate in the small scratches in the old plastic fountain bowl. Hoping this will take care of it.
1. Will be easy to clean thoroughly as there are no tight corners and crevices to try and clean.
2. Very quiet.
3. Kits love it, went right to it with no problems
4. Holds a lot of water
5. I like the way the filter is ahead of the pump to keep it clean. :) (Most of the other fountain pumps that we've used have the filter after the pump.)
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on February 14, 2016
This parts swap modification turns this unit from just ok into great, all but eliminating the issues people are having with the under-powered pump, slime and frothy water and sub-par filtration. The attached picture shows the setup. Hope it helps.

I used the pump from my previous unit (Drinkwell platinum). I had this pump already although you can probably buy it on Amazon. The white stem coming out of the pump I cut from the tapered part of a dry-erase marker although you could use any marker. I used this one because the lettering on the plastic was easy to remove and there was no ink residue inside the plastic.

I did away with the stock filter and pump-cup all together and replaced it with an Amazon 24 Inch By 15 Inch Dual-Density Bonded Cut To Fit Filter Pad For Fresh Water & Saltwater Aquariums, Aquaculture, Terrariums & Hydroponics!
I read up on this and it seems to do a better job of filtering then any carbon filter for this purpose. The results have been amazing.
This also eliminates the need to buy expensive filters as you just cut another piece of the pad when it's time to replace, but I havent had to do that yet. With the size I cut from the pad, I can replace the filter about 9-10 times before having to buy another pad. Not bad for $8. I cut a small slit with scissors in the pad to fit over the pump so the pad sits flush on the bottom. The attached picture shows how the pad fits in.

I've been running this unit with these mods for several weeks now. I set the pump to about 80%. ZERO slimy water issues. The pump stays CLEAN with the pad protecting it. The pad washes off EASILY. This setup has cut the cleaning schedule IN HALF. I've used filtered water from a pitcher AND tap water with the same results.

I didn't like any other pet fountains for various reasons: didnt want plastic, too big, too noisy, too expensive to maintain, too hard to clean, etc. I really wanted to make this one work.

Anyway, I hope this helps anyone else out there who was looking for a pet fountain and getting sick of all the drawbacks.
picture attached.
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on January 5, 2011
Please, do yourself a favor. If you are looking for a pet water fountain you've come to the right review. You must try this pet water fountain. It's simply the Best of the Best. All of my cats had love in their eyes, the moment they saw it. They curiously observed the flowing water at first, then cautiously crept up to the bowl and began to lap up the cool, clear filtered water. And the fountain, it's noiseless. So quiet you can't hear any motor or pumping sound at all. The water flows up and over into the large capacity stainless bowl. This is not a paid endorsement, my cats love it! I love it too!
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on December 15, 2010
Design is striking. Easy to assemble. Easy to clean. Large water capacity. If only my dishwasher was as quiet as this fountain. Did not frighten either of my cats. They act as if they had been raised with the fountain (one of my cats is scared of any little sound, so for him to just walk up to it is saying something). Have not changed the filter yet, but that is going to be very easy. I cleaned and changed their water bowl at least twice a day, so this is going to save me a lot time. Cleaning only once a week and changing filters every 2 - 4 weeks is going to be a snap.
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