Through the years, I have tried to find the BEST suet feeders for my backyard, constantly experimenting looking for the ones that attract the most birds.
I have found there are COUNTLESS types of suet feeders that you can purchase, and they vary significantly in price, design, and quality.
In this article, I plan on showing you some of the BEST suet feeders that I have used, along with sharing the features I liked most. (Ok, I lied a bit. There are two suet feeders at the end that I don’t currently own but have heard great things about – #6 and #7).
Quick Links: Suet Feeders
How To Choose The Best Suet For Your Birds (4 MUST-READ Tips!)
Why include a suet feeder at your bird feeding station?
The main reason that most people (myself included) hang suet feeders in their backyard is to attract woodpeckers!
Yes, it’s true that many types of birds feed on suet, but woodpeckers absolutely love the stuff. The healthy fats that suet provides are beneficial to their health, especially during the cold winter months.
In my backyard, we commonly see and attract three species of woodpecker; Downy, Hairy, and Red-bellied. You may even be able to see one RIGHT NOW!
View a LIVE stream of my bird feeding station below!
The 7 BEST Suet Feeders
Below is a list of my favorite suet feeders. The good news is that I own and have tested all of the products listed below, except for #6 and #7. I decided to include these two after hearing such positive reviews from their users, and they represent two different styles that were not on the list.
If you’re looking for an effective suet feeder that doesn’t cost much money, then this one made by Stokes Select (or any simple cage feeder) is a great choice.
Take a look at the picture on the right. It is a cage that perfectly fits any standard size suet cake (4.5″ x 4.5″ x 1.5″). The hook allows it to hang just about anywhere.
Birds can cling to the metal sides and slowly eat the suet. Once it’s gone, the feeder unlatches easily to place another suet cake inside.
Take a look at the video below. At the top, you can view the Stokes Suet Cage in action being used by a Downy Woodpecker!
My only complaint with this suet feeder is after some use, the latch that snaps the cage into place starts to wear and won’t work anywhere. I have found that I go through one or two of these feeders every single year. They typically cost under $10, so I guess the quality is to be expected.
- Stokes Select also makes another similar cage feeder that I own, but it can hold TWO suet cakes. View on Amazon here.
This suet feeder is currently the one that I have been featuring at my bird feeding station the most!
I like that it holds TWO suet cakes. This fact allows me to test different brands and types of suet cakes against each other to see what my backyard birds like best. Also, I don’t have to refill the feeder often as it takes around a week or two for the birds to eat through the suet.
The feeder is roughly 17 inches long, including the tail prop under the suet cage area. The length provides lots of surface area for birds to feed. The tail prop you see under the suet cages is for woodpeckers. This is because woodpeckers like to have a place to prop their tail to provide support while eating.
- More information (including pictures) on tail props, check out my article HERE.
Overall, I highly recommend this suet feeder. Cedar construction, simple design, opens easily for refilling, sturdy steel wire for hanging, and my birds use it daily with no hesitation.
This feeder also has room to fit two suet cakes. As mentioned above, this feature allows me to test different brands and types of suet against each other. And I don’t have to refill the feeder nearly as often!
The construction material is recycled plastic, which I have found to be almost indestructible but also aesthetically pleasing in my backyard. The green top opens easily to fit standard size suet cakes.
You may be asking why this feeder has such a long tail prop underneath the suet cage?
The answer is in the name: Birds Choice PILEATED Suet Feeder.
Yes, the long tail prop is included to attract the beautiful and extremely large Pileated Woodpecker! The hope is that these birds will be drawn to this feeder since it provides an excellent place to support their long body and tail.
Does it work? In full disclosure, I have not been able to attract any Pileated Woodpeckers to my bird feeding station…yet. Regardless, this suet feeder still works well to attract many other species of birds. In the meantime, I am going to keep on trying for a Pileated!
The first thing you need to know about this Droll Yankees feeder is that it doesn’t use standard suet cakes like the first three feeders listed above.
Instead, you will need to use suet nuggets (or peanuts) to fill this metal mesh tube feeder. Suet nuggets resemble a pea, just slightly larger.
Because of the metal construction, this feeder is durable, tough, and sturdy. I use it commonly in my backyard whenever I want to feed suet nuggets or peanuts.
The food that is put inside this feeder lasts a long time typically. Birds can access the food, but they can’t devour it quickly since they are forced to take a little chunk at a time. Also, the feeder discriminates against some bird species that either can’t cling (Mourning Doves) or don’t have a bill that can fit in between the metal mesh (Northern Cardinals). And as a bonus, squirrels are unable to use this feeder!
Above is a short video of a Red-bellied Woodpecker using this feeder eating suet nuggets and peanuts.
Including a tray feeder on a list of the best suet feeders is a bit unconventional, but I thought it was worth a mention.
That’s because I love putting suet nuggets or even small chunks of leftover suet cakes onto my tray feeders. Many birds benefit from eating suet, but most suet feeders only cater to birds that can cling to vertical landing positions and stick their beak inside a metal cage.
There are times that I have as many as three tray feeders sitting out at once in my bird feeding station (two on the ground, one hanging from the pole). I can be flexible with the types of food that I provide. Typically I am offering suet on at least one of my tray feeders every day (especially in winter).
In case you’re interested, here is a live look at the ground underneath my bird feeders. Usually, I have at least one of my tray feeders displayed.
As you can see in the picture above, this bird feeder does not only feed suet! First and foremost, it’s a hopper style feeder, which is characterized by a seed chamber that empties at the bottom and provides some ledge or perch for the birds. But on each side, there is an attached cage that fits the standard size suet cake.
Since this product is a hopper and suet feeder combined, it is an excellent choice if you are looking for one bird feeder that can attract as many different species as possible. Just make sure to buy a high-quality bird seed mix for the hopper along with your suet.
If full disclosure, I don’t own this exact feeder from Woodlink. But I do own another type of Woodlink hopper feeder, which is the same style except it doesn’t include the suet cages on the sides. If you viewed my bird feeding station in the live stream at the beginning of this article, you probably noticed that I have A LOT of bird feeders and don’t have the need to combine a suet and hopper feeder!
Once again in full disclosure, I do not own this window feeder…yet.
I had never seen a window suet feeder before until I came across this option. It looks fantastic! As with most window feeders though, you are going to need to be patient and give your birds time to discover the feeder and feel comfortable enough using it so close to your home.
How To Choose The Best Suet For Your Birds
This section is going to give you some actionable tips when you go to purchase suet. There are many suet varieties on the market that have fancy packaging and enticing names, but they are not great options for your birds.
Tip #1: Read the ingredient list!
Just like when you shop for your “human” food, it’s important to read the ingredient list on the package. Many suet blends include cheap fillers that bring the price down, such as corn, wheat, milo, or millet. Typically, the cheaper the suet costs, the more grain it contains. The highest quality blends include better ingredients such as “rendered beef suet,” peanuts, or sunflower. Remember that whatever ingredient is listed FIRST is the most common and whatever is last is the least common.
Above is an example of a high-quality suet cake and a list of ingredients. Note that suet is the most plentiful followed by peanuts.
Above is an example of a very inexpensive suet cake. Note that corn is the most plentiful ingredient.
Tip #2: Check the protein content!
On the packaging, the suet should show the crude protein as a percentage.
- Low-protein (cheapest price): 5% or under
- Medium-protein: 6-8%
- High-protein: 9%+
Tip #3: Don’t be fooled by “fruit” suet.
To trick you into buying low-quality suet, many manufacturers add a fruit name to the title, such as blueberry, cherry, or orange. If you look at the ingredients though, you will find that no fruit is actually included, just artificial flavoring to make it smell nice.
I want you to know that birds can’t smell (except vultures). Do I need to explain any more? 🙂
Tip #4: Test, test, test!
One reason that I like double suet cake feeders so much is for the ability to test different suet cakes against each other. I enjoy buying different brands and then putting them side by side in my suet feeders to see which ones get eaten fastest. This way I can let the birds decide what they like best.
As you can probably imagine, 99% of the time the costlier suet that contains more protein and fewer grains gets eaten first!
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
Offering suet feeders in your backyard is a great way to attract new species of birds.
In this article, you have learned about several options that you could purchase. I feel confident that one of the best suet feeders listed above will satisfy your needs.
We also reviewed some tips that you need to remember when buying suet bird food. Remember that ALL SUET IS NOT CREATED EQUAL! Your birds will appreciate the fact that you bought them the highest quality food you can find with lots of healthy fats and protein.
Thanks for reading!