Squirrel Buster Plus Review

Last Updated on June 7, 2021 by Nancie

Squirrel Buster Plus Bird Feeder
Squirrel Buster Plus Bird Feeder

Squirrel Buster Plus Review: If you made me pick one bird feeder for my yard, I might go with the Squirrel Buster Plus. This feeder takes a lot of stress out of bird feeding. As the name tells you, Brome designed the Squirrel Buster Plus to defeat squirrels that want to pilfer the seed you put out for birds.

There are many feeders that try to do this, but in my experience, this feeder actually succeeds. (I’ve used two of these feeders in my yard for years.) Even if a squirrel gets on this feeder, he doesn’t do more than slide around on it or dangle. He doesn’t get to eat from it. After a few unsuccessful tries, they generally leave it alone.

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

Lightweight Birds Can Get Seed From the Open Ports
Lightweight Birds Can Get Seed From the Open Ports

How the Squirrel Buster Plus Keeps Squirrels Out

The Squirrel Buster Plus is a hanging tube type feeder. The tube is clear, heavy duty plastic, while the rest is metal. The seed ports at the bottom of the feeder are protected by a metal shroud. The metal top is sloped and slippery so a squirrel can’t hang from the top to get into the seed ports.

Weight on the Perches Moves the Shroud Down Closing Access to Seed
Weight on the Perches Moves the Shroud Down Closing Access to Seed

If something heavy, like a squirrel, puts its weight on the perches, the weight pulls the metal shroud down, completely covering the port holes. The squirrel can’t get in to eat the seed.

This feeder’s design means that you can hang it from a tree branch or on an arm attached to your house or deck and it doesn’t matter. As long as you allow at least eighteen inches space around the feeder from anything the squirrel might hang from to access the feeder without putting weight on it, the squirrel is locked out.

You don’t need to use a baffle, although I did decide to add a baffle to mine. Brome even guarantees the feeder and will fix any non-cosmetic structural squirrel damage. (Note: The company does not guarantee it for raccoons, which makes sense as a raccoon’s method is often to take the feeder down and make off with it rather than to dangle on it to eat.)

How to Fill The Squirrel Buster Plus Feeder

The Squirrel Buster Plus holds three quarts of seed. How long this lasts will vary by how many birds you have eating from it. I have a lot of birds in my yard and two of these feeders, both filled with sunflower hearts, as well as several other types of feeders. I typically fill these two feeders every three to five days, and sometimes more often during snowy or cold weather when the birds are eating more.

Taking the Top off the Squirrel Buster Plus Feeder
Taking the Top off the Squirrel Buster Plus Feeder

To fill the feeder, press down on the top slightly and twist and lift up the metal top. It will pivot off, still attached by the hook. (See photo above.) Then simply pour in the birdseed. I store my seed in the house, so I usually fill up a large pitcher with seed which I bring outside to pour into the feeder. Once full, close up the top and hang it again. It’s quick and easy.

Check Feeder Ports After It Rains

This feeder is designed to circulate air so the seed is less likely to get damp and moldy. The only real point for moisture to get into it is the seed ports. Heavy rain or snow can drive moisture into the open ports where it can potentially gunk up the seed right near the openings. (Moisture turns sunflower hearts I fill mine with to goo.)

I check the feeder for this after bad weather. Often you can just give it a shake to get a few bits of damp seed out and you are good to go. Other times you need to take the feeder down and clean it.

Squirrel Buster Plus in Pieces to Clean
Squirrel Buster Plus in Pieces to Clean

How to Clean The Squirrel Buster Plus Feeder

All feeders should be cleaned every few weeks (or as needed.) You can take this feeder apart to clean in the top rack of a dishwasher. I don’t have a dishwasher, so I clean it in the kitchen sink.

The first couple times you take it apart, you might find it a bit daunting, as there are several pieces that attach together in different ways. But the feeder comes with clear illustrated instructions on how it comes apart and goes back together. (They are also available on their website if you lose them. And there is a video there as well.)

Putting the Squirrel Buster Plus Back Together
First Step: Putting the Squirrel Buster Plus Back Together
Putting the Squirrel Buster Plus Back Together
Second Step: Putting the Squirrel Buster Plus Back Together
Putting the Squirrel Buster Plus Back Together
Third Step: Putting the Squirrel Buster Plus Back Together

Follow along with the instructions the first time or two and you’ll get the hang of it; it really is not hard. It’s actually very nice that you can take the whole thing apart. It makes cleaning the Squirrel Buster Plus, even when you have to do it by hand in the sink, very easy. Take it apart, clean all the parts, dry the parts, put it back together, refill it and hang it up.

Wing-nut on the Bottom to Secure Adjustable Perches
Wing-nut on the Bottom to Secure Adjustable Perches

How to Adjust The Squirrel Buster Plus Feeder

The Squirrel Buster Plus has several features that you can adjust to customize it for your needs.

Adjust the Perch Length

First, you can adjust the length of the perches by loosening a wing-nut at the bottom of the feeder and twisting the perches to make them shorter or longer. (Then hand-tighten the wing-nut again to secure the perches.)

If you make the perches shorter, it makes the feeder less welcoming for larger birds. Extend the perches out farther to make it easier for larger birds to sit.

Squirrel Buster Plus Attaching the Cardinal Ring
Squirrel Buster Plus Attaching the Cardinal Ring

Cardinal Ring

There is also an optional Cardinal Ring. This is a heavy plastic ring that comes in two half-circles. You attach the pieces over the metal spoke-like perches to create a ring perch that circles the feeder, allowing birds to face the ports instead of having to sit sideways. Cardinals find this position easier to use, which is why they call it a Cardinal Ring.

Even with this ring on my feeders, I don’t see much cardinal action on them. This is probably because I have quite a few other feeders cardinals like better: platform feeders and hopper type feeders. If this was the only type of feeder I had, I think they would use it more.

Sometimes in late winter, when the Red-Winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles and European Starlings arrive in mass in the yard and made pests of themselves, I take the Cardinal Ring off and shorten the perches to make it harder for them to use these feeders. Since the cardinals don’t use these feeders often, they don’t care.

Adjusting Weight for the Closing Spring Mechanism
Adjusting Weight for the Closing Spring Mechanism

How to Adjustment the Feeder Weight-Activation

You can also adjust the weight needed to close the Squirrel Buster Plus feeder ports. There is a long column running down the middle of the feeder tube that controls the spring closing mechanism. The feeder out of the box is set to a good weight for most birds that people feed, while excluding most squirrels. The company suggests trying out that setting before adjusting it.

To adjust the feeder so that more weight is needed to close the ports (allowing larger birds) twist the central column clockwise so the red marker line moves lower. To adjust the feeder so that less weight is needed to close the ports (excluding larger birds), twist the central column counter-clockwise, moving the red marker line up.

The feeder comes with a chart of typical weights for common birds to give you an idea of how to set the closing mechanism, but it isn’t clear how to set the mechanism to a very specific weight; there are line markings on the column but no numbers. I just try a setting, watch how it is working for the birds and then adjust as needed.

Adjusting the feeder means making choices. For example, the chart tells me that the average weight of a Northern Cardinal and a Red-Winged Blackbird is the same. So if I adjust the weight to exclude one, I also exclude the other.

Mixed Success On Squirrel Buster Plus Blocking Grackles

While the Squirrel Buster Plus works brilliantly to lock out squirrels, I’ve had mixed success blocking some larger birds with this feeder. An aggressive, determined bird like a Common Grackle can figure out how to get seed out of the feeder even when the feeder is weighted against him. It can do it by fluttering near the feeder without putting all its weight on the perch.

With some birds, having the cardinal ring on can sometimes help it block them better. I think the cardinal ring distributes the bird’s weight around the feeder, pulling it down to cover the seed ports. But other birds have more trouble with short perches. So if you are having trouble with a particular bird, experiment with both methods.

Birds on Squirrel Buster Plus Bird Feeder
House Finches and American Goldfinch on Squirrel Buster Plus Bird Feeder

These feeders have been very popular in my yard over the years. They are almost always in use during daylight hours. Depending on the seed I put in them, the most common visitors are House Finches, American Goldfinches, Tufted Titmouses, Carolina Chickadees, White-Breasted Nuthatches and the occasional Carolina Wren or Pine Siskin.

I’ve seen the occasional Northern Cardinal use it and even a Red-Bellied Woodpecker who can dangle off the Cardinal Ring to use the feeder at the default setting. It can also get Brown-Headed Cowbirds, Red-Winged Blackbirds, European Starlings and Common Grackles, depending on how it is adjusted. Every now and then I’ll see a Dark-Sided Junco or a House Sparrow use this feeder but only rarely as they really prefer to eat on the ground.

Note: The seed you put in a feeder makes a big difference. Check out my post on Choosing Seed For Backyard Birds.

So that is my review of the Squirrel Buster Plus. This feeder is not inexpensive, but I have saved much more than its cost in birdseed that doesn’t go into a squirrel’s belly. I really feel that it was a good investment. It is sturdy, well-made, guaranteed and works as advertised. It keeps the squirrels out and that keeps my stress level down too. I bought one of these feeders in the spring and was so pleased with it that I bought a second a few months later. I’d definitely buy it again if I needed another.

If you don’t want to pay quite as much for a feeder but still want block squirrels, you might instead look at the Squirrel Buster Classic feeder. I have one of these too and have been quite happy with it.

You may be able to find these feeders at local stores. They may be a bit less expensive on Amazon, particularly with free Amazon Prime shipping (Brome Bird Feeders on Amazon) so you might want to check there to compare.

Also see my posts on Keep Squirrels Out of Bird Feeders and Solving Squirrel Bird Feeder Problems for more tips on dealing with squirrels.

Enjoy feeding the birds in your yard!


Birds on Squirrel Buster Plus Bird Feeder
Birds on Squirrel Buster Plus Bird Feeder

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15 thoughts on “Squirrel Buster Plus Review

  1. I have been researching this feeder and had decided to purchase it but really appreciate seeing your review as well. It is a tad expensive but I want something that is squirrel proof since this will be placed near the base of a tree as an additional feeder in my yard. I already have a separate feeding station with three feeders – a suet feeder, thistle feeder & squirrel proof no mess blend feeder. I plan to get this one to dispense sunflower seeds.

    1. Hi Diane, I’ve had two of these feeders for quite awhile now and I still love them. As long as you follow the placement guidelines that come with the feeder (to keep it out of a squirrel’s reach from something nearby), it ought to keep them out of it. At least that has been my experience. Good luck! Nancie

  2. Excellent information and now I think I know why no birds have been to the new feeder I purchased. There’s a neighborhood cat that likes to hang out in the shrubbery in my backyard. So, the Sheppard’s hook will have to be moved – again!

  3. Hello, This is a question rather than a comment: Will whole shelled peanuts and dried raisins fall through the feeder? I bought new birdseed for a very old, but similar design, feeder and the larger pieces get stuck and prevent the seed from dropping down the tube. Thanks, Nora

    1. Hi Nora,
      Hmmm. I haven’t tried that combination of foods in this feeder. (I’ve been using safflower or shelled sunflower in them.) So I’m just guessing here, but from my experience with this feeder, I would think shelled peanuts and dried raisins would not have trouble falling through the tube portion of the feeder because it is very wide. I can’t see how it would stick in that section. I would think the part where it might possibly get stuck might be at the bottom near where the ports are, although birds could probably peck the pieces out at that point.

      Because I have not actually tried this myself and so can’t be sure, my suggestion would be to email the folks at Brome (who make this feeder) and see if they think this feeder would work well for your purpose. https://bromebirdcare.com/busterproducts/ They also make a Squirrelbuster Peanut+ feeder that you might consider. I haven’t tried the peanut feeder myself, but it is designed specifically for shelled peanuts. You can find info on that one on their site too.

      Good luck!

  4. Hi. I lost my wing nut while cleaning my Squirrel Buster Plus birdfeeder Model 1024. Do you know the size for replacement? Thank you.

    1. Hi Cecillia,
      I’m sorry but I don’t know. Have you tried reaching out to the folks at Brome? (https://bromebirdcare.com/busterproducts/) They should be able to give you an answer.

      Another way to do it would be to take the portion of the feeder the wing nut goes on to a local hardware store and look for a wing nut to fit the threaded part. Often stores will have loose hardware that you could try out to see if it fits or one of the clerks might help you find one.

      Good luck!

  5. I guess I still don’t understand what a medium weight bird is, what weight bird the factory setting is set for, and what size perch various birds like.

    I live in rainy Oregon. My feeders are not in a place I can easily see in order to keep most of the rain out of the seed.

    Any help you can give me is appreciated. Thank you

    1. Hi Lindi,
      When I bought my Squirrel Buster Plus feeders a number of years ago, I believe there was a chart of bird weights in the box paperwork. But you can also find a chart of bird weights on their website. Go to the Squirrel Buster Plus page on the Brome website (https://bromebirdcare.com/squirrelbuster-plus/) and scroll down to the “Table of Average Weight” tab. If you click on that, you’ll see a chart with common feeder birds sorted from lightest to heaviest, plus squirrel weights. The feeder is set to allow most feeder birds access to the seed and to block out heavier squirrels. That means that the very heaviest feeder birds (like Mourning Doves for example), would be too heavy for this feeder. But Mourning Doves aren’t birds that like tube feeders any way. I’ve tried adjusting this feeder to try and block out birds like grackles and starlings with only very limited success. It mostly makes it more work for them to get the seed but doesn’t block them. The feeder’s real purpose is to block squirrels and used correctly, it does that very well. Brome has info and a video on their site on how to adjust it.

      For perch lengths, you can experiment with perch length, but I think many birds are actually pretty flexible. Very generally, smaller birds will usually have an easier time with shorter perches than a larger bird will. But a really hungry bird will often squeeze onto a short perch or even find ways to dangle without perches.

      I’ve found that these feeders do a pretty good job of keeping rain out of the seed. The feeder ports are obviously the weak spot where rain can get in but the rest of the feeder is sealed up pretty tight against rain. A baffle or rain guard over the feeder can be helpful in keeping birds dry as they eat at the feeder in the rain and maybe keep a little rain from getting into the ports. But blowing rain can still get into the ports, so it is good to keep an eye on any feeder and make sure wet seed isn’t collecting in the ports. Sometimes, if you catch it quick enough, you can use a stick to clear wet seed out after a rain storm. But if it builds up over time, you’ll need to clean the feeder. (Brome’s website has written directions and videos on that too.)

      Good luck!

  6. That was very helpful. I expected the list to specifically say small, average, and large. I will do a little trial and error.

    Thank you…. lindi

  7. Hi Nancie! Just found your blog and I’ve been engrossed!

    I wonder whether you have heard anything about the Squirrel Buster Suet version?

    I live in a third floor apartment in Brooklyn. We’ve seen woodpeckers, finches, sparrows etc and i’d love to feed them but not the tree squirrels and pigeons. We have one tree squirrel who climbs up the side of our stucco and has ruined my neighbor’s patio cushions trying to make a nest). My apartment faces the back of a house one block over that feeds indiscriminately – handfuls of bird feed thrown from her kitchen window onto the roof of a garage next to her – so we have a large flock of pigeons every morning. City life!

    Anyway, we have a small (6’x10’) balcony and i was thinking we might try something like the suet version of this feeder. I’ve read many of your other posts, but unfortunately given the small size of our balcony, a baffle solution seems like it wouldn’t work. The feeder would have to hang inward over my balcony so as to avoid the ire of my own downstairs neighbors, and as such virtually anywhere we’d put a feeder would be acrobatics-accessible, either from the side of the stucco or the balcony railing.

    So i was thinking maybe if the squirrels can’t get at it *this* way, this feeder might work? I would stock it with red pepper suet in case any of it falls to the ground – I know you’ve mentioned they’ll eat it if they’re hungry enough, but they get a lot of food from the aforementioned neighbor.

    Curious to get your thoughts. Am i chasing a dream that will never come true here?

    1. Hi Brooklyn,
      I haven’t personally tried the suet version of this feeder so I can’t say from personal experience. I do think that your idea of this feeder in combination with the hot pepper suet is a reasonable approach to try. The way all of the Squirrel Buster feeders work is that the food inside is open to birds. But when a something heavy like a squirrel gets on it, the weight of the animal pulls the cage down to cover the food. So the idea (as you already know) is to hang it so that a squirrel can’t reach out from a perch without putting its weight on the feeder. If the squirrel reaches out from the wall, it could probably get around it. It’s possible though that if the squirrel were to reach UP from the balcony, it might be enough weight to trigger the cage coming down. So my suggestion would be to hang it so that it is 18″ away from the wall if at all possible. Then the squirrel’s options would only be to jump on the feeder (triggering the cage) or reaching up from the balcony (which might trigger the cage.) Keep a watch on what happens. If you see a squirrel able to get to the suet, watch how they did it and try to adjust the feeder position to thwart it next time.

      Another possibility, depending on the type of woodpeckers you are trying to attract is one of Erva’s Starling Proof Suet feeders. These are a suet cage within an outer cage. I use that one and like it. (Review here: https://birdseedandbinoculars.com/wordpress/erva-starling-proof-suet-feeder-review/) These don’t let larger woodpeckers in, but smaller ones like Downeys are fine with it. A squirrel might dangle on it but as long as the top is locked down correctly, shouldn’t be able to get to the suet.

      But either way, definitely try the red pepper suet. While a squirrel might still eat it if they are REALLY hungry, most of the time they probably won’t be trilled with it and so would be less likely to want to struggle with a hard-to-get-into feeder for it. Keep in mind that they will still try periodically because they probably figure, “Maybe something has changed!”. My feeders are all really well baffled and squirrel proof but squirrels will still occasionally test the feeders just to see. (I especially see young squirrels give it a try in the spring. Their elders roll their squirrel eyes at them.)

      Good luck! I’d love to hear what you try and how it goes.


  8. As always, I am a fan of tube feeders. Nothing beats this design when it comes to saving space and in some cases, deterring squirrels from stealing the seeds or damaging the cardinal bird feeder. 🙂

  9. Can you suggest please how to get my Black Sunflower seeds from NOT excessively falling out of the feeder to the ground ?? Am I doing something wrong ? Please advise.

    Many Kind Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Terry,
      I have a couple thoughts on this. First, it could depend on the type of feeder and if it is a good match for the type of seed you are putting in it. Second thought would be that if you are using the Squirrel Buster Plus, black oil sunflower seeds ought to do fine in that feeder.

      My suggestion would be to keep an eye on the feeder and watch when the seed is falling out. Does it immediately spill out when you fill the feeder? If so, there might be something off about that particular feeder and how it is put together or the seed is a bad match for the feeder ports. If not and the seed is found on the ground at a later time, it might be that birds or some other critter are reaching in and knocking seed onto the ground. Some birds will do that unfortunately, although most typically they do it when they don’t like the seed and are hoping to find something else behind that seed. Deer and bears and other larger critters can sometimes tip feeders to spill seed onto the ground as well. I suppose seed could also possibly spill out of some types of feeders if it is excessively windy. The best thing to do is probably to watch and see if you can observe what is happening.

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