Welcome to ThinkVail – we hope you find this article about the best water trough heaters for horses helpful. Explore 10 solutions to keep your horse’s water trough or bucket free of ice all winter long so you can work less and ride more!
Here in Colorado, we have almost as many cowboys as we have skiers. We love our horses, and look forward to long rides in the mountains no matter the season. What we don’t like, is trying to keep our stock tanks and buckets free of ice and snow during our long, cold, Colorado winters. That is where heated de-icers come into the picture, this amazing invention helps make ranch life soooooo much easier.
Types of De-Icers
Submersible Heaters – Lie at the bottom of the tank, so the element stays deep in the water and out of the way. But the cord will come up out of the tank to plug in. Look for a cord that is wired wrapped to deter horses from chewing on it or playing on it. In the past, this types only worked with metal tanks because the heating element was so close to the bottom of the tank, it could melt a plastic tub. However, today many submersible heaters also include a wire guard so it can safely work in both, just confirm that the manufacturer of your particular heater states it is safe to use with both. Always plug deicer into a GFI outlet to prevent your horse getting shocked.
Floating Heaters – are designed for safe use with plastic or poly tanks. Instead of sinking to the bottom they float on top of the water. Be warned, if you have curious horse that likes to play they may try to take the heater out of the tank or try to chew on it. Again always plug deicer into a GFI outlet to prevent your horse getting shocked.
Bucket Heaters – If you only need to keep a bucket of water warm and not an entire stock tank de-iced then this is a great solution. You will still need to manually fill the bucket every day but your bucket will stay free of ice so your horse can always drink from it, even on the coldest nights. Look for a bucket with a hidden compartment to store the cord out of the way during the summer months.
Integrated Trough Heaters – By far the most easy and convenient way to continually de-ice your stock tanks for years. However, it is a very intensive one-time set-up and it needs to be professionally installed with someone who has knowledge about plumbing, electricity and concrete. Once set up you can fill your tank automatically from your water line while using a float and when winter comes, just flip a switch to turn on the heat. Look for thermostatic control or an adjustable thermostat with this type to control electric costs.
Solar Trough Heaters – An innovative, environmental and economical solution that eliminates the need for electrical outlets and cords. The passive power of the sun keeps your tank ice free even during cloudy days. They can either be automatic waterers, tied into your water line or manual drinkers, meaning you must use a hose to keep them full. They are easy to use and will last for years and years.
Wattage – The larger the tank and the colder the climate the higher the wattage you will need. Here in Colorado I never use less than a 1500 watt heater to keep tanks clear of ice and keep my horses drinking all winter long.
Thermostatic control – Means the heater turns on when the surrounding air reaches a specified temperature and turns of when the air reaches another specific temperature. In short, a thermostatically controlled shutoff only heats below a certain temperature. This saves lots of money on your electricity costs throughout the winter
Ground Your Tank
A heated tank that is not grounded can leak voltage or stray current into any water around the tank. If your horses are reluctant to drink from the heated tank, check the water with a volt meter. If needed, ground the water tank so horses don’t get shocked, especially if they are wearing metal shoes. You can purchase a grounding kit or easily make one yourself.
If you are looking for a heavy-duty, electric insulated horse waterer, look no further than this one-piece, heavily insulated waterer with a poly design that is rust and corrosion-free from Behlen Country. Behlen Country makes innovative, flawlessly functional and super resilient items to make ranch life easier.
Thick Styrofoam floor keeps the frost line below the waterer
Urethane in the walls provides maximum insulation and has been tested to -20° f
Double-insulated design eliminates the possibility of stray voltage so your horse doesn’t get shocked.
Built-in hold downs, removable drain plugs, and easy access doors are convenient features.
Set up for water to fill unit automatically so you stop manually refilling buckets every day.
Fully assembled and ready to install
Size: 28-inch by 18-inch by 22-inch
Low-wattage, infrared heat pad directly under the water trough.
Weight: 28 lbs
You will need access to power, installed water line and a concrete pad
Livestock Tank Heater 1500w
We all know how important fresh water is for our horses, especially in the winter. This Allied Precision tank side heater and de-icer keeps larger sized metal stock tanks ice free all winter long.
This livestock heater ensure your horses have water available all winter
Heating element rests on the inside of your stock tank. The red part lies above the water and the submersible element rests in the water near the base of the tank.
Large, stainless steel element is great for heating larger tanks
Adjustable thermostat is great for use in many settings
65″ long cord for use with a GFCI outlet so your horses don’t get shocked.
Significant thumbscrew allows you to clamp the unit to the side of your tank.
Metal sleeve prevents animals from making contact with the heater,
Adjustable thermostat can be set to operate only when the water temperature around it reaches approximately 43° Fahrenheit, for efficiency and safety.
Thermostats are replaceable
Unit can be completely removed from tank at the end of the winter.
Dimensions: 20.5″L x 7.25″W x 25″H
1500 watts, 120 Volts
Made of plastic, metal and stainless steel
Use with metal tanks only. Not recommended for plastic tanks.
May want to use this with the ThermoCube to save money on electric bill
Brower Heated Box Stall Drinker
This is the perfect solution for the corner installation of an automatic, heated drinker in boxed stalls but it can also be installed outdoors so its very versatile and makes life so much easier.
Drinker is very easy to clean, no disassembly for cleaning required
Half moon stainless steel access plate secures plumbing from above or below
Waters works for 1 horse in a box stall
Heater is 250 watts, 110 volts
Submersible anti siphon fill valve delivers about 2 1/2 gallons (9-1/2 liters) per minute
Simple water level adjustment.
Foam filled–R value of 7-1/2 inch.
Double walled for insulation
Single piece of smooth poly construction
Waterer size: 15.5 x 15.5 x 12 inches
Weight: 17 pounds
Optional ground mounting tube for hookup to underground services and outdoor installations.
API Heated Flat Back Bucket
API® has been a trusted name in heated ranch products for over 65 years. No matter what the season, they provide innovative solutions for your horse that last.
Flat back bucket design allows buckets to lie flush against the wall with less chance of horses spilling them
Oversize metal handle allow this 20-quart bucket to hang securely so horses don’t kick it over on the floor
Constructed of high-quality, resilient plastic to withstand low temperatures without cracking.
Thermostatic control coupled with over-temperature protection ensures that it will keep water ice-free down to -20° f
Patented design features a bottom compartment to stow the cord out of the way during summer use.
6-foot grounded cord with anti-chew protector exits from the bottom of the bucket to prevent chewing.
Thermostatically controlled for efficient operation and keeps electric bills down.
115 Watts, 120 Volts, 60 Hz.
One year warranty.
Ritchie automatic waterers are built for longevity and the OmniFount series features a selection of six different models, so you will be sure to find the perfect one, with all the right features for you and your horse or horses.
Easy to maintain and clean
Large access panel for easy access to heating components and waterline.
Insulated with highly energy efficient polyurethane foam, providing an r-factor of 7 per inch to keep ice away.
Heating elements are located directly under the stainless trough for exceptional performance
Available in both traditional stainless steel units and insulated poly units
Smooth rounded edges and a fully insulated casing for energy efficiency.
The stainless steel trough features thermostatically controlled heat elements that are attached to the underside for frost free service even under the most severe winter conditions.
Fast refill valve provides fresh water for up to 40 head horses.
Cable heater provides extra valve and supply line protection I
Comes complete and ready to install to your electric and water lines.
Concrete pad needed.
Made in the USA
Farm Innovators Ice Chaser Tank De-icer
Farm Innovators has the broadest and most complete line of de-icers on the market. This cast aluminum de-icer is the most powerful de-icer available and is perfect for cold weather barns and ranches.
Cast Aluminum submersible AND floating tank de-icer so it can sit on the bottom of a metal tank or float in a plastic tank and keep them both ice free.
Made in the USA
Weight: 3.0 lb
Thermostatically controlled to operate only when necessary and to keep electric bills down
Heavy-duty “anti-chew” coiled metal wire cord protector
Designed for five gallon buckets but works in larger tanks as well.
Safe to use in plastic buckets and tubs
Guaranteed for 3 years
4.2 x 10 x 9.5 inches
SunTanks Solar Drinker
SunTanks are an amazing leap in de-icing technology. These tanks keeps ice away through solar power. They have been used successfully throughout the United States and Canada with rave reviews. SunTanks has received The Horse Journal “Product of the Year” for their innovative products.
The shatterproof solar panel and unique float system keep water thawed even when temperatures drop down to 50 degrees below zero.
Insulated for up to an R-50 rating. The tank has a float valve on top that is about 2 in. thick.
Available in manual fill (fill with a garden hose)or automatic fill (connect directly to your waterline)
Available in two sizes – 25 and 42 gallons. 25-gallon is good to -20° f and the 42-gallon is good to -50° f
With proper installation the water in these Suntanks doesn’t freeze in the winter and it also won’t develop green slime in the summer.
A cement pad is needed for automatic fill but not needed for manual fill
The closed system helps prevent West Nile Virus, other diseases and bird droppings.
Passive solar system keeps tanks ice-free even if it’s cloudy for a few days.
During the summer months, the float keeps the water covered, and algae can’t grow without sunlight. Cover the solar panel (or turn to the north) to prevent heating.
Very durable and built to last a lifetime
Eligible for rebates from local energy company and a government program through USDA-NRCS covers up to 50 percent of the costs for SunTanks and installation of a waterline for eligible farmers.
1500 Watt Submersible Tank De-Icer
This is the traditional, classic, affordable, workhorse of de-icers that we all know and love. These old-fashioned heaters are always reliable. They do not have a super long life but you should get 2-4 years of reliable service and ice free water for your horse.
Economical submersible tank de-icer with attached metal guard
1,500-watt keeps even larger tanks free of ice.
Designed to rest in the bottom of tank unnoticed by livestock
Protective sturdy cage permits use in all tanks
Sturdy protective cage makes it safe in all plastic or metal tanks
Made in the USA
Thermostatically controlled to operate only when water reaches 32° f
Designed to rest in the bottom of the tank unnoticed by livestock. A very curious horse may still play with the cord, since its only wrapped in plastic but most will ignore it.
Size:13.5 x 14 x 6.4 inches
Weight 2.65 pounds
Use a GFI outlet to reduce chance of electric shock
Universal Drain Plug De-Icer
A drain plug de-icer is the ideal solution for curious horses that like to chew. The element is naturally at the very bottom of the tank and out of the way. The cord comes out at the bottom of the back of the tank so its easy to cover and keep out of the way. Very safe for mischievous or mouthy horses.
Universal drain plug fits all meal and plastic tanks
Cord comes out at the drain plug so no cord in water
Thermostatically controlled to operate only when temperature falls below 35°
Unit is unnoticed by livestock
Easy to install
Use in any plastic or metal stock tank, including all Behlen, Freeland, Hastings, Rubbermaid and Applegate tanks
Thermostatically controlled to operate only when necessary
I love this little invention it works great on deicers that are not thermostatically controlled or thermostatically controlled at a higher temperature. But they are also great for heat tape, pump house, unheated rooms, heated cat & dog beds. They are wonderful for cutting wintertime electricity costs.
Plugs into standard 15 amp electrical outlets and turns power on automatically ONLY when outside air temperature drops below 35°f & turns off when outside air reaches 45°f
Saves money by using power only when temperatures require heating
Two receptacles for use with more than one electrical device
One ThermoCube has 2 three-prong outlets.
There are five models available with different temperature ranges
We hope you found this article about the best water trough heaters for horses helpful. What is your favorite stock tank de-icing solution? Do you prefer professionally installed stock heaters with electricity, water and a concrete pad or do you lean towards a submersible or floating deicer that can be removed in the summer? Does your horse ever play with the de-icer or try to chew on it? We would love to hear your thoughts, comments and stories and please let us know if there is a solution you love that is not on this list. Thanks for reading.