Most people just choose a hummingbird feeder with a fancy design and call it a day, but not just any feeder will attract your local hummers. After researching hummingbird behavior and comparing the designs of roughly three dozen feeders, we believe the Aspects HummZinger HighView is the best hummingbird feeder for several reasons. Most importantly, its bright red design makes it easy for hummers to spot from a distance, and its perch and feeding port setup make it comfortable to drink from. On top of that, it's easy to refill and clean, and even offers a moat to protect against insects. Article Summary
Hummingbirds are one of nature’s most colorful and wondrous creatures, with one of the fastest wing speeds and heartbeats of all birds. Whether you’re an avid bird watcher, or you simply enjoy nature, the idea of having colorful hummingbirds buzzing around probably isn’t an unwelcome one. Another interesting (and convenient) thing about hummingbirds is that, if there are some in the area, they are relatively easy to attract. You won’t need special flowers or a magical solution from Himalayan salt – you’ll simply need a good feeder and some correctly proportioned sugar water.
There are two main styles to look at when searching for the best hummingbird feeder. The first is basin-style, where the nectar is placed in a pan-like reservoir at the bottom of the feeder. The second is inverted, where the nectar is placed in a reservoir designed much like an upside-down water bottle. From just these two styles, there are countless unique designs and feature-packed feeders that can be found everywhere from online to your local home improvement store. However, a fancy design should be the last thing on your list if you want a feeder that actually works.
Regardless of style, your main priority in choosing a feeder should be one that your local hummingbirds can easily spot from a distance and easily drink from so that they’ll be back for more day after day. With this in mind, we looked into dozens of different feeder designs and compared them on several aspects, ideally looking for designs that were brightly colored, had easy-to-use feeding ports, and a decent capacity for holding nectar (or whatever you personally plan to put in your feeder). We also looked at each feeder’s perch design to make sure it offered a comfortable place to rest while on the feeder. With all things considered, we’d say the three hummingbird feeders below are the best choices.
The best hummingbird feeder for most people
In our opinion, the Aspects HummZinger HighView is the best hummingbird feeder out there. Although it may seem a little on the simple side at first glance, it offers all the perfect design features to attract hummingbirds and keep them eagerly coming back to your yard for years to come.
First, the main bonus of having a basin-style feeder such as the HummZinger is that you get a clear, 360-degree view of the hummingbirds hanging out around it and feeding from its four feeding ports. With bottle-types, the huge reservoir sticking out of the top can obstruct your view. Another great feature of this feeder is its simple construction. Reservoir, base, suspension hook – that’s it. To clean, simply remove the top, easily scrub out the bottom and you’re done.
This feeder also eliminates any hassles with filling, as you simply fill up the 12oz reservoir, screw on the base, and it’s ready to be hung. With bottle-type feeders, you have to worry about getting the bottle upside down on the base, and if anything is loose, be prepared for a sticky mess. Insects are a worry of yesterday with this feeder, as there is a large moat surrounding where the hook inserts. How this works is: if insects are slick enough to make it down the hook (which is already hard enough as it is), they’ll be greeted by a body of water and stopped in there tracks, instead of hopping straight into your nectar.
The HummZinger performs its main purpose (attracting lovely hummingbirds for your viewing pleasure) better than most, due in part to its bright red design. In addition, the durable polycarbonate construction will ensure hummingbird viewing won’t be a single-season endeavor.
If you’re on the market for a hummingbird feeder and you have the capability of hanging it, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one better at doing its job than the Aspects HummZinger HighView.
A bigger feeder for more popular areas
If you have a ton of local hummingbirds and a smaller reservoir just won’t cut it, the First Nature 3055 can help provide you with some serious feeding power. At 32oz, this feeder is over twice as voluminous as the HummZinger, and has 10 ports to make sure that everyone can get a drink. A durable construction and simple cleaning compliment this feeder and make it one of the best.
The biggest benefit of this feeder, as well as its main drawback, is the huge reservoir sticking out of the middle. On one hand, the massive tank is extremely easy for hummingbirds to see flying by and makes your yard party central for your local population. On the other hand, you could have four or five hummingbirds congregating at your feeder, but if they’re on the side opposite you, you could very well never know they were there. This isn’t a deal breaker by any means, but it’s something to keep in mind if one of your top priorities is actually being able to watch the hummingbirds as they rest and feed.
Inverted-style feeders are typically known for being harder to fill and clean, but First Nature has solved this problem using a patented two-part base that makes the bottle easy to separate from the base when it’s time for refills or cleaning. There is also a seal ring around the bottom to prevent leaking (another common issue with inverted feeders), which does the trick for the most part, although we did come across a few customer reviews that said they still had issues with leaks.
If you have a large local population of hummingbirds and your smaller feeder just isn’t getting the job done, the First Nature 3055 is definitely the best hummingbird feeder for you. In addition to the benefits mentioned above, its price is nearly unbeatable, making it a phenomenal value.
A good stick-on feeder for windows
The last model in our group is yet another Aspects-brand feeder: the Jewel Box. We chose this as our third pick because it offers a different design than our last two, using section cups to mount to a window (or even screw for mounting to a wall) as opposed to the traditional hanging method. This makes it a great solution for those without a big yard to hang things from, or those who simply want to be closer to the action.
This feeder features an 8oz basin-style reservoir, making it the smallest of our bunch and overall on the smaller end in general for hummingbird feeders. This can be a blessing or a curse depending on your personal situation. If you don’t have many hummingbirds in your area, 8oz may be just fine; however, more than that and you might find yourself having to refill every day or two. The Jewel Box was design for things like apartments, condos, and even for travel with RV’s, so naturally its small size is most convenient for those particular situations.
One of the best features of this feeder, to compensate for its small capacity, is its hinged lid. Since it can’t hold a lot of nectar, you may find yourself refilling it more often than it needs to be cleaned. Therefore, the lid has been designed so you can simply lift it up, refill, then set it back down – quick & easy.
Although this feeder doesn’t have a moat that completely covers the nectar, it does have a moat surrounding the edge, which can deter a good portion of insect activity. You still may experience more issues with insects compared to the other two feeders we’ve reviewed above, though, so keep that in mind if you live in an area that has a series insect population. One of the other two models may be a better choice in that case.
Light, portable and usable by anyone with a window – the Aspects Jewel Box is a very versatile and effective little feeder that will get the job done and keep you close to the action.
How we picked our top three
With most hummingbird feeders being relatively similar products, you may be wondering, “What actually makes one feeder better than another?” Surprisingly, there are several aspects to judge a feeder by, but despite what most people think, one of those aspects is not how fancy the design is. Simple things like materials, size, and even color play major roles, as explained below.
Materials and design
The thought of having a beautifully-spun glass hummingbird feeder hanging from a vintage hook is probably an attractive one if you have an eye for design. However, have you considered how will those materials weather a storm? Or even a simple windy day? Probably not too well. Therefore, we specifically looked for more durable materials, which mostly consisted of some sort of plastic or composite. Sure, they might not be as aesthetically attractive as painted glass or clay feeders – but remember, you can’t judge design based on how it looks to you, you have to judge based on how it looks to hummingbirds. And hummingbirds don’t care what material it’s made of as long as they can easily find it while flying around the area.
Speaking of which, the second aspect that we looked for in design was a prominence of the color red. Hummingbirds’ eyes have a heightened sensitivity to the color red, which is why many of them have red designs. However, there are also a lot of feeders out there that give up the color red either to stand out or present different artistic options for you, the consumer – but again, we wanted to find feeders that were attractive to the hummers, as that’s the main purpose here.
There is a fine line between holding enough and holding too much when it comes to nectar (or whatever else you plan to put in your reservoir). We know what you’re thinking: “But more is surely better, right?” Not necessarily. Hummingbird feeders need to be cleaned every few days, and filling it with a ton of excess solution is going to simply be a waste if it’s going to end up going down the sink anyway. It’s important to find the sweet spot where you have enough for the days in between cleanings, but you don’t have a whole lot left over when cleaning time comes. We factored this heavily into our decision when choosing the best feeders, as there are some pretty unnecessarily huge choices out there.
Convenience (for both you and the hummer)
Convenience comes in two forms. First, we wanted the feeder to be convenient for you to fill and clean. Many feeders are a pain when it comes to these two duties, which is why we prioritized this aspect in our judgement. The second form of convenience is directed to the hummers themselves. Let’s say a hummingbird is flying by and sees your new feeder for the first time. He immediately flies over to the perch, goes to take a drink, but can’t get his beak in. Or maybe drinking the nectar was easy, but the perch was uncomfortable. We looked closely at design when comparing the convenience for the hummingbirds, but to really get the best understanding of how well the feeders worked in this regard, we turned to consumer reviews. Each of the three feeders we chose received rave reviews for how much local hummingbirds loved them.
Things to consider before buying
Buying a hummingbird feeder isn’t like buying a laptop. There aren’t a thousand things to consider beforehand. With that said, there are a few things you should think about before buying just to make sure you choose one that best fits your particular needs.
Where will you be mounting your feeder?
This is probably the biggest factor in determining which feeder you should purchase. There are two main locations people generally put hummingbird feeders: suspended from an overhanging surface somewhere in your yard (the most popular), or stuck onto the window via suction cups. Keep in mind that suspended feeders generally have larger reservoirs and have less potential for damage, as they won’t be relying on a series of suction cups to keep it from falling. However, your living situation may dictate differently. In that case, stick-on hummingbird feeders can be just as effective at attracting hummingbirds, with the added benefit of being so close to your window.
How many hummingbirds are in your area?
If you have a huge hummingbird population in your area and you want to take full advantage, it would behoove you to have a higher-capacity feeder that has several feeding ports. This way, you can have as many hummers come along as possible for your viewing pleasure. However, if you have very few in your area, a smaller feeder with fewer ports will do the trick. You can see hummingbirds by state here, but unfortunately the only way to find out how many are in your particular region is simply be observing them yourself.
The different types of hummingbird feeders
We briefly mentioned in the introduction to this article that there are two main types of feeder, basin-style and inverted. The majority of feeders out there are just different designs based off these two base types, so let’s talk about the pros and cons of each to help you decide which best fits your needs.
Inverted (sometimes referred to as bottle feeders)
Inverted feeders are what most people think of when they hear the term, “hummingbird feeder.” These feeders feature a tall reservoir filled with nectar that fits into a base, similar to an upside-down water bottle (this is where the term “bottle” feeder comes from). The base contains a perch for the hummers to sit, and feeding ports to drink from. These types of feeders are typically hung from an overhead surface, but in some cases can also be designed to mount to a window or screw into a wall.
• Easy to use
• The most abundant on the market
• Generally has the largest reservoirs
• Reservoir can obstruct view of hummingbirds
• Can be slightly more time-consuming to refill and clean
Basin (sometimes referred to as bottom-reservoir feeders)
Unlike inverted feeders, which have the nectar reservoir positioned above the base, basin-style feeders have the reservoir positioned under the base. Other than that, the rest of the design is pretty much the same. The base contains a perch and feeding ports, just like the last style, and the feeder is typically hung (and, again, some can be mounted to a window or screwed into a wall).
• Quick and easy to use, refill, and clean
• Offers best visibility of hummingbirds congregating around feeder
• Generally more durable
• Reservoirs are generally smaller
Why you shouldn’t use a regular bird feeder
You may be wondering, “Hummingbirds are birds, why won’t my regular bird feeder work?” The biggest reason for this is due to the difference in diet. Hummingbirds, due to their tiny size, don’t need the nutritional value in the seeds and other foods that go into a regular bird feeder. Instead, hummingbirds prefer to go straight to the energy source: sugar. All the energy we receive in our body is the result of different components in our bodies being broken down into glucose – birds are no different in this regard, and hummingbirds tend to stick around wildflowers and other sweet-smelling plants to obtain their sugary nectar as a food source.
Since hummingbird nectar (for practical purposes, a precise mixture of water and sugar) doesn’t go so well in a feeder meant for seeds and solids (aka a traditional bird feeder), a special feeder is required. Also, hummingbirds are finnicky creatures, so simply having a small basin of bird seed isn’t enough of an attraction, which is why most hummingbird feeders are bright red and are adorned with artificial flowers in which nectar reservoirs are built. This simulation of hummingbird feeding from the flower (through both the bright color and the shape) is important for attraction, and a regular bird feeder is pretty far removed from the design required to meet these requirements.
For more information on what to feed hummingbirds (and what not to feed them), check out this article from The Spruce.
Preventing ants, bees, and other insects from infesting your feeder
There is one design component that you should look for in every hummingbird feeder: an insect moat. Insect moats will prevent ants and other pesky crawlers from marching right into your feeder and creating an unsightly and contaminated mess. Insect moats are generally located right at the base around the feeding ports. If yours is a stick on-type, there is usually somewhat of a moat close to the wall or window. If the feeder you’re interested in doesn’t have a moat, you can always build one yourself, but it can be a little tricky if you aren’t the DIY type.
Bees and wasps are another concern surrounding hummingbird feeders. The deep reservoirs with narrow openings do their part to keep bees and wasps from feeding on the nectar at the surface; however, after hummingbirds feed, they can leave a residue of the nectar on the surface of the feeder. The best way to get rid of this residue and keep away those pesky bees and wasps is simply to make sure you’re cleaning your feeder as recommended (every 3-4 days is what most suggest). This way, you’ll be proactive in keeping the surface clean and nectar-free, instead of reactive when you notice your porch taken over by a swarm of bees and wasps.
Cleaning your hummingbird feeder
Hummingbird feeder maintenance is very simple. The problem for most lies within the frequency that it needs to be maintained. In more moderate weather, a hummingbird feeder needs to be cleaned every 3-4 days. In the hotter months, every 2 days is a safe bet. When you clean your feeder, simply empty out any remaining nectar, rinse the entire apparatus (including all exterior surfaces) with hot water and scrub away any contaminants or unsightly spots. Fill the feeder back up with nectar and you’re ready to hang it back outside for your friendly neighborhood hummingbirds to feast upon.
Wrapping it up
Purchasing a hummingbird feeder is a simple way for any nature lover to attract local hummers and enjoy the view of them feeding, resting, and buzzing around the yard. Most people make the mistake of choosing some fancy feeder because they think a decorative design ultimately makes it better, but at the end of the day, the best feeder to attract hummingbirds is simply one that’s easy to see and easy to use. We think our top three meet these requirements perfectly. Each is unique for certain situations, so consider your personal arrangement at home and choose the style that best fits you.