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Aqara Smart Pet Feeder C1 dry food dispenser tested: a networked ecosystem for dogs and cats

The Aqara Smart Pet Feeder C1 is dry food for cats and small to medium-sized dogs. According to the manufacturer, its 4-liter tank must be able to hold approx. 1.7 kg of dry food. To program its distribution, the device is accompanied by a mobile application, but cannot communicate with it directly because it only has a Zigbee connection. Therefore a gateway is required. Aqara’s catalog is full of them. There are simple gateways like the Hub M2 or security cameras that can act as a gateway like the Camera Hub G3 or the Camera G2H Pro.

In any case, additional costs are to be expected. The Smart Pet Feeder C1 was launched at a price of €119.99 and you will therefore have to add that of the catwalk if you are not already equipped, which is at least around forty euros. In comparison, Xiaomi’s Smart Pet Feeder is a bit more expensive but is natively Wi-Fi compatible.

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5

user friendliness

With its 4 liter tank, the Smart Pet Feeder C1 logically takes up more space than a simple bowl. It measures approximately 31cm high, 33cm deep and 19cm wide. It’s still a bit more compact than the Xiaomi model, for a fairly tight capacity (1.7kg vs. 1.8kg). In fact, the tank didn’t seem to be able to hold much more than 1.5kg of our kibbles, but we also had estimated the competing retailer’s capacity to be a bit smaller than advertised. We definitely prefer the Aqara tank and especially its transparent plastic that allows to foresee the breakage.

To fill the tank, simply unlock its cap by pressing the buttons on each side, then remove it. Now all that remains is to add the croquettes. Aqara recommends using rather small kibble, between 2 and 12 mm, so that they do not jam the blades that push them into the channel that leads to the basin at the bottom of the tank.

The ones used for our test did not block the distribution mechanism. On the other hand, we found some at the exit of the line, just above the bowl. It is therefore an area to be monitored, even if not very serious: the animal can pass the paw and pull the kibble if necessary. It should also be noted that the lid is equipped with a seal to hermetically close the lid and that it includes a place for a pocket made of silica gel, responsible for absorbing moisture: the croquettes should therefore be fresh and crispy remain.

In order to function, the Smart Pet Feeder C1 must be connected to the mains. Unsurprisingly, the included cable plugs into the back of the device. However, Aqara does not supply a power supply unit. While finding a compatible one at home isn’t very complicated, provided the cable uses a USB-A female connector, we still find it a pity not to find one in the box, since it’s not about having it every now and then use loading time; it can no longer be used for anything else.

As soon as the device is plugged in, an immediate delivery can be triggered using one of the buttons on the front. The others make it possible to reset the device and record a voice message that will be played with each new distribution to lure the animal – or at least try to, the sound is not very good and especially not very loud – but programming must go through the application; We will describe it in detail in the special part.

It should be emphasized here that a gateway must be added to connect the Smart Pet Feeder C1, as it only has a ZigBee connection. We chose the Camera Hub G3, which is also recommended by the manufacturer for the different functions that it can offer and we have not had any particular problems with the pairing. Adding the gateway is fast and adding the distributor even faster. Finally, a slot for 3 LR20 batteries is provided to keep the dispenser running during power outages, with a small memory for programming. We would have preferred a battery, but better than nothing.

Editor's Rating: 2 out of 5


The Aqara dry food dispenser is controlled with the manufacturer’s application: Aqara Home. As we showed in our review of the Camera Hub G3, French has been one of the available languages ​​since the end of 2022, but translation problems must be taken into account. Worse still, it happens that the application changes the language from one menu to another and therefore it is difficult to use it in French. We eventually preferred to return to English.

In terms of functionality, the application goes back to the essentials. Just like the distributor’s control panel, it allows you to request an immediate distribution, but its main interest lies in the possibility of creating a distribution plan. More precisely, the application allows the creation of distribution plans that can be repeated on several days of the week, choosing from 1 to 10 servings for each distribution. On the other hand, it’s impossible to define a different schedule for certain days and, above all, we haven’t figured out how to delete a distribution. Therefore, if one day you decide to reduce the number of distributions decided at the beginning, you will have to reset the device.

It is all the more regrettable that the application does not openly bother to take the user by the hand. If you’re the type who fills your pet’s bowl haphazardly without knowing their true needs because they’re rationing themselves, then you might fidget a bit at first. We would have liked the application to ask us the weight of the animal to create a more or less suitable distribution plan, as suggested by Xiaomi.

Of course, the application also allows you to track portions throughout the day and automatically calculates the corresponding weight, provided you have previously entered the weight of a portion within the application. By default, the app counts 8g per serving, but the actual weight depends on the size and density of the kibble. For us, a portion dispensed from the Smart Pet Feeder C1 is closer to 6g; It is not possible to change the size of a portion.

Finally, the application allows turning off the dispenser’s power indicator at night and disabling the manual dispensing control to prevent a child from having fun emptying the tank all at once. Also note that you will not be notified in this case; The Aqara dispenser does not send an empty tank notification unlike the Xiaomi dispenser. So you have to be careful.

However, as already mentioned, it is possible to use additional functionalities by combining the dispenser with other devices by creating automations. Having the Camera Hub G3 on hand, we were able to ask it to film the bowl after each distribution to see if Tartiflette made it to the meal. One can also imagine using the camera or a motion detector so that the food is distributed automatically when the animal comes into the bowl for example if it is not too gluttonous, or even assigning a vibration detector or even a button that the Animal could trigger if it is not too gluttonous. In any case, Aqara’s catalog does not lack options to make distribution a pleasure.

It is also possible to control the dispenser by voice using Alexa or Google Assistant, but this requires creating scenes. Because it only works in Zigbee, the distributor cannot be connected directly to a Google or Alexa speaker, but the scenes can be synced to the Aqara account. It’s not the easiest thing, but it’s possible.

Editor's Rating: 5 out of 5


The Smart Pet Feeder C1 is largely detachable. So we can separate the transparent tank from the base to take it underwater and the same goes for the bowl and its support. Since the dispenser is designed to hold kibble, none of these should require too much effort or even product. One passage underwater should be enough. On the other hand, the sponge is preferable for the substrate. Of course, since it contains all the electronics, rinsing it is not recommended in order not to damage it.

It should be noted that Aqara does not indicate that the silica bag in the lid should be changed regularly, nor does it offer one for purchase.

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strong points

  • Rather compact.

  • Transparent container.

  • Easy handling.

  • Interesting automations with other Aqara products.

  • backup batteries.

weak points

  • ZigBee gateway required.

  • No power adapter.

  • No personalized suggestions.

  • No alarm when the tank is empty.

  • Shaky translation of the application.


Global brand

Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

How does the classification work?

The Smart Pet Feeder C1 does what is expected of it. Its tank allows you to store just over 1.5 kg of dry food and the relative application makes it easier to plan the distribution. However, we regret the obligation to purchase a gateway, even if it can allow interesting interactions depending on the model chosen and the other Aqara objects connected to it. This is also the main interest of this mailing list, otherwise very simple and difficult to use if you only know the French language.