Chicken watering cups are small cups that chickens drink from, that are filled from a water container. There are three main types of cup waterers, where the main difference is the mechanism used for filling up the water cup from the container:

  1. Trigger filled watering cups
  2. Automatic watering cups with floats
  3. Automatic watering cups (no floats or triggers)

In this post I will review each type of cup waterers, including:

  • Pros and Cons
  • Cost
  • Where to buy them

Note: Waterer Review Series

This is part of a series on Chicken Waterers. Here's a list of the other types of waterer I have reviewed: 

After publishing these, I also created a roundup review, where I compare the three main types of waterer: Check it out here.

Before I get into the detail on each type of cup waterer, here are the general pros and cons of cup waterers, compared to other types of waterers.

Pros and Cons of Chicken Watering Cups

The main benefits of watering cups is they keep the water clean, eliminate spills and they are easier for chickens to drink from. The downsides are that they freeze up in cold weather, need regular cleaning to prevent jamming up and are less durable than other types of waterers.

  • Clean Water: The waterer is fully enclosed (except for the water sitting in the cup), which prevents dirt, poop or feed contaminating the water. 
  • No Spills: The enclosed water source stops the water from spilling everywhere, so will keep your coop dry.
  • Easy for chickens to use: Cups allow chickens to drink from a pool of water, which is a more natural way for chickens to drink compared to nipple waterers. Chickens appear to drink more water from cups compared to nipples.
  • They freeze: They are not suitable to use in freezing temperatures because they freeze up, even with a heater in the water container.
  • Need regular cleaning to prevent clogging: A small amount of water sits in the cups, which can get dirty and clogged from the chickens. This can cause the cups to stop working or leak.
  • Less durable: Compared to other types of waterers, the cup design is less durable and more prone to breaking and failing. That's because the design is more complicated (e.g than a standard bell waterer), with the plastic cup sticking out from the water container more than nipples.

Trigger filled watering cups

With trigger filled watering cups, water is released into the cup when chickens peck at a yellow trigger inside the cups. These are installed on the side of a water container.

Pros and Cons of Trigger filled cups


Trigger filled watering cups are cheap, but you get what you pay for. They are not easy for chickens to use, are unreliable and prone to leaks.


  • Easy to clean: cup clips off easily for cleaning  
  • Cheap: which makes them affordable to use for large flocks
  • Easy to Setup: Easy to install and setup on the side of a water container.


  • Difficult for chickens to use: they need to learn to peck the trigger to release enough water to drink
  • Not durable and break easily: made cheaply with thin plastic
  • Not reliable: prone to leaking


  • Less than $1 each

Automatic watering cups with float system

These are watering cups that work a float valve. When the cup is empty, the float opens the valve to fill the cup. When the cup is full, the float shuts to avoid over flowing and spills. These cups must be installed underneath / at the bottom of a water container. 

Pros and Cons of Watering Cups with Floats


Good quality cups that are durable and easy for chickens to use. The main downside is that they are more difficult to setup, because they must be installed at the bottom of a container.


  • Durable: Well made and sturdy design that tolerates knocking around 
  • No leaks or spills: when working correctly
  • Easy for chickens to use: No training or learning curve required


  • Expensive
  • Difficult to setup: These cups must be installed at the bottom of a container, which means the water container needs to be raised or hung up. (Note: some brands provide extra hardware so they can be side mounted. But these tend to be more expensive and less durable / reliable)


  • $3.5 to $10 each

Where to buy them

Look for the European made brands rather than the knock-off Chinese brands, which are usually lower quality.



Automatic watering cups (no floats or tabs)

These are truely automatic watering cups because they fill without any floats or triggers. These cups are automatically kept half full at all times. These cups are designed to be installed on the side of a water container.

Source: RentACoop

Pros and Cons of Watering Cups (no floats or triggers)


The automatic watering cups without floats or triggers are easy to setup, work great and chickens love them. The downside is they aren't durable or reliable and break easily. 


  • No leaks or spills: When working correctly
  • Easy for Chickens to use: No training or learning curve required
  • Easy to Setup: Easy to install and setup on the side of a water container.


  • Expensive
  • Not durable and break easily: Made with thin flexible plastic. Prone to break when chickens step on them or knock them.
  • Not reliable: Easily dislodge if knocked by chickens, causing leaks and failures.


  • $3 to $5 each

My Recommendation

Out of the 3 different types of cup waterer, my pick is the Watering Cups with Floats. The European made ones are the most durable and reliable of the cup waterers, which is important to ensure your chickens are not left dry without water. The easiest way to use these is to setup your water container so that it's raised on top of bricks or some other type of platform (just make sure it's sturdy).

  • I use the dineachook water cups with floats, they are great when they work, but the fail rate is that they can either overflow or run completely dry I cannot go away without another traditional watering system there as well they are not reliable it’s not worth the risk, I still use it but with other watering sources too!

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