Cat water bowls come in all sizes and styles. Perhaps you started off like I did with a standard kitchen dish filled with water. Then, discovering that many times it got low while you were absent, you maybe graduated to one that has a reservoir holding a lot more water. However, over time I got concerned that the water wasn't fresh and changed the water more frequently, at the same time cleaning the container. Then I took the leap to electric water recyclers.
Trial and error sums up my experience with cat water bowls. Giving your cat fresh water shouldn't be a big deal or a hassle but it can be. There are three major things to consider (from my point of view).
I started out with a small, inexpensive water fountain that looked good, didn't take up a lot of space and the cats reacted well with it. They drank more water which was the reason for the item, but it would last 3-6 months and I'd be back at the store exchanging it for another one (it had a 1 year warranty). After three exchanges I had the store allow me to simply trade up to the Drinkwell 360 (seen below) after looking at numerous other cat water bowls.
The Drinkwell 360 was well-made and just kept going like it was supposed to. The larger unit was mainly for the 3 cats on the main level of our house while the 2 older cats upstairs occasionally drank from it when they wandered downstairs. But, they had their own small unit, the Petmate Fresh Flow (seen below) upstairs in their eating area and I discovered that the Petmate was far easier to clean...10 minutes versus the 20-30 minutes for the Drinkwell 360. I also had a small unit bought at PetSmart made by WhiskerCity (also seen below) that I placed in the downstairs rec room area where Giorgio goes when he's not outside. It's also an easy 10 minutes to clean.
However, when doing research for an article I discovered the ultimate circulating water unit. The reviews were so good that I bought one to try it. Talk about easy to clean! It takes 5 minutes to completely clean it and you can just rinse the filter a few times and when it looks grungy you can then replace it.
This one is Pioneer's Stainless Steel Big Max Fountain. I gave the Drinkwell 360 to a friend who said she didn't care about the cleaning time involved and now the Pioneer Big Max sits there quietly purring as it circulates water. The cats love it! When the other two units being used upstairs and downstairs give up the ghost, then I'll purchase additional Pioneer units for those areas.
Seen above are two cat water bowls that are not electrically powered. The standard water bowl with a reservoir and a kind of unusual item I came across called the Sink Drink. I haven't tried it but it looks interesting. I think it would be the answer for someone who finds their cat drinking out of the toilet bowl (my cat Max used to do that prior to the water fountains) but doesn't want to have an electric unit. If I buy one to try it, then I will put my opinion of it here in the future.