The 14 Best Bird Baths for a Stylish, Bird-Friendly Garden
"Birds bathe themselves regularly as a means of maintaining the health of their feathers, and introducing a bird bath to any garden is a wonderful way to invite birds into your outdoor space," says Marc Parnell, author of The Birding Pro's Field Guides. "Bird baths also hold the potential to attract a wider variety of birds to the yard than traditional feeders, given that the diets of many birds are not limited to seeds, grains, and nuts."
To help you choose the best bird bath for your space, we researched a variety of picks, keeping in mind each style's material, weight, and size. We also consulted Parnell as well as interior designer Sarah Barnard, a naturalist and WELL and LEED accredited designer.
Our overall choice for the best bird bath is the Darby Home Co. Saphira Birdbath. It's one of the only solar-powered fountain models that can actually store energy to keep the water running even when out of direct sunlight. Plus, it's made of sturdy concrete in a smooth design that can easily integrate into any garden setup.
Here are the best bird baths for your home.
- Best Overall: Darby Home Co. Saphira Birdbath
- Best Budget: Vivohome Polyresin Lightweight Antique Outdoor Garden Bird Bath
- Best Concrete: August Grove Gada Acadia Birdbath
- Best Fountain: August Grove Fountain Birdbath
- Best Hanging: Mumtop Hanging Bird Bath
- Best Ceramic: Rosalind Wheeler Birdbath
- Best Plastic: Bloem Bird Bath with Pedestal
- Best Copper: Monarch Pure Copper Bird Bath/Feeder
- Best Glass: Mumtop 26-Inch Glass Birdbath
- Best Stained Glass: Charlton Home Tiffany Hanging Birdbath
- Best Solar-Powered: Bungalow Rose Canaseraga Solar Birdbath
- Best Deck-Mounted: Hanizi Deck-Mounted Bird Bath
- Best Ground: Campania International Alpine Stone Kosei Birdbath
- Best Stone: Cirrus Stone Birdbath Fountain
Many states have reported an increasing number of avian flu cases. Before setting out bird feeders, bird baths, or birdhouses, please check with your state's department of natural resources.
What We Recommend
Best Overall: Darby Home Co. Saphira Birdbath
Best Budget: Vivohome Polyresin Lightweight Antique Outdoor Garden Bird Bath
Best Concrete: August Grove Gada Acadia Birdbath
Best Fountain: August Grove Fountain Birdbath
Best Hanging: Mumtop Hanging Bird Bath
Best Ceramic: Rosalind Wheeler Birdbath
Best Plastic: Bloem Bird Bath with Pedestal
Best Copper: Monarch Pure Copper Bird Bath/Feeder
Best Glass: Mumtop Glass Birdbath
Best Stained Glass: Charlton Home Tiffany Hanging Birdbath
Best Solar-Powered: Bungalow Rose Canaseraga Solar Birdbath
Best Deck-Mounted: Hanizi Deck-Mounted Bird Bath
Best Ground: Campania International Alpine Stone Kosei Birdbath
Best Stone: Cirrus Stone Birdbath Fountain
The Bottom Line
Overall, we chose the Darby Home Co. Saphira Bird Bath as the best bird bath for its moving water powered by solar power, timeless design, and sturdy materials. For a less expensive option, consider the Vivohome Polyresin Lightweight Antique Outdoor Garden Bird Bath. The lightweight pick has a classic design that'll work well in most outdoor spaces.
What to Know About Bird Baths Before Shopping
Your bird bath is going to be outside, which means it needs to be made of something sturdy enough to withstand whatever elements may be most pervasive in your area.
"Consider avoiding metal baths, which may reach unsafe temperatures in the summer, while heating water to a degree appealing to bacteria, not birds," Parnell says. "Concrete baths tend to work best, as they are more durable than stone and plastic options and less likely to rust than some metal offerings. "
If your bird bath is too light, it might get unstable in the wind. If it's too heavy, however, you won't be able to move it and may be less likely to clean it as a result. Whichever bird bath you choose, be sure to consider if you'll need to move it around often or not and how much indoor storage space you have if the bath needs to be stored inside during the winter.
The diameter of a bird bath is only as important as the size of your outdoor space. If you aren't too worried about fitting it into a specific spot, you can choose one as large or small as you like. Perhaps the most important measurement is depth. If a bird bath is too deep, birds may end up over their heads in water. Birds like to splash, not swim.
"Look for maximum depths of 0.75 to 2.25 inches, with shallower areas near the edges of the basin," Parnell says.
Maintenance is essential to avoid your bird bath turning into a mosquito breeding ground or incubator for harmful bacteria. We go more into this below, but make sure you're buying a bird bath that's easy to clean because you'll be doing it a lot.
Bird baths with solar-powered fountains need to be in direct sunlight to work. But fountains in the shade won't lose water to evaporation as quickly, and birds are drawn to more sheltered spots.
"While placing bird baths directly under trees and brush is not ideal, having them near branches and trees can provide appealing access to the bath and a safe space for birds to retreat," Parnell says.
He also recommends keeping bird baths at least 25 feet away from any windows. "This helps to prevent fatal bird-window strikes, which account for hundreds of millions of avian deaths at US residential properties each year," he says.
Your Questions, Answered
How do you clean a bird bath?
A bird bath can become a breeding ground for bacteria and avian diseases, so it's important to ensure you're cleaning it regularly.
"The best solution for safely cleaning a bird bath is a combination of vinegar and water, ideally, nine parts water to one part vinegar, as recommended by the Audubon Society," Barnard says.
"When cleaning containers and replacing water, make sure to empty water instead of just refilling, as the bath should be up-kept with fresh water. To maintain a bath's cleanliness, place it in the shade to minimize bacterial growth, but avoid positioning them directly under shrubs, trees, and feeders to prevent debris from dropping into water."
Parnell recommends cleaning a bird bath two to three times per week.
"Each basin must be completely emptied, scrubbed clean, soaked in a 1:10-part bleach-to-water solution, and thoroughly rinsed before being refilled," he says. "Though initially intimidating, this process can be surprisingly quick after a few practice runs."
How do you keep a bird bath grounded?
The base of the bath should be either heavy enough to avoid instability or designed with a pronged metal stake that can go into the ground. Both Parnell and Barnard recommend possibly putting the bird bath slightly into the ground as well.
"For bird baths displayed on soft grounds, consider insetting the bird bath slightly into the ground and covering the bottom with rocks or gravel," Barnard says. "Before anchoring or weighing a bird bath, try out a few locations to ensure satisfaction with the placement, as it may be challenging to adjust after grounding."
Parnell takes it one step further if you prefer even more security.
"For concrete baths, you should plan to excavate a shallow hole, setting the bath inside, and filling several inches over the top," Parnell says. "The absolute best method typically involves a deeper hole with some fast-setting concrete. In general, when placing a concrete bath in the ground, a heavy, flat stone should be placed directly underneath; this prevents excess shifting as the soil composition and density change over time."
How do you attract birds to a bird bath?
Start by choosing the ideal location, with proximity to shelter. You also want to make sure you're keeping it clean and keeping the water fresh, Barnard notes.
"Avoid any materials that are too slippery for use, as something with texture will benefit the grip and mobility of birds," she says. "Flowing water will also appeal to birds, as they are attracted to both the experience and the sound."
Adding some enhancements to the basin can attract birds as well. "When selecting any water feature, including a platform, even something as simple as a stick or a rock can help wildlife exit the bath," Barnard says.
A snack bar can also help. "A nearby bird-feeding station can serve as an additional invitation to visiting birds," Parnell says. "Many birds follow the same foraging routes each day, and others selectively choose breeding territories based on the available resources at hand, both of which can lead to a single backyard receiving hordes of dependable visitors for years to come."
How do you keep mosquitos out of a bird bath?
With moving water and regular cleaning. If your favorite bird bath design doesn't have moving water built-in, you can add a fountain pump to get some bubbling going. Then just make sure you stay on top of your maintenance schedule.
Who We Are
Rena Behar has been researching and evaluating products for publications including Wirecutter, Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, Apartment Therapy, Reviewed.com, and more since 2014. She also polled multiple outdoor design and bird experts and investigated pages of user reviews to come up with this list of the best bird baths. She consulted Sarah Barnard, a naturalist and WELL and LEED accredited designer who focuses on "personalized, sustainable spaces that support mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing" as well as Marc Parnell, an ornithologist and the bestselling author of The Birding Pro's Field Guides.