Best Automatic Cat Litter Box – Reviews and Ratings of the Top Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes
Kitty litter is a fact of life for most cat parents, as is scooping the poop and cleaning out your cat’s litter box. But what if we told you that you could spend less time cleaning your cat’s litter box and more time hanging out with your favorite feline?
Self-cleaning litter boxes are a life-changing technological advancement for cat owners. They work to keep your cat’s litter box tidy so that you won’t have to scoop the poop every single day.
Auto litter boxes are also a healthier choice for pet parents as they keep you from being exposed to toxic bacteria that can be transmitted through cat waste.
We’ve researched automatic cat litter box reviews for the top self -cleaning litter boxes, and present to you the best of the best. These are our favorite litter boxes on the market.
- 1 At a Glance: Best Automatic Litter Boxes
- 2 What is a Self-Cleaning Litter Box?
- 3 How We Conducted Our Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box Reviews
- 4 Why You Need an Automated Litter Box
- 5 Automatic Litter Box Reviews: Our Top Picks for the Best Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes
- 6 Automatic Cat Litter Box Reviews: Products Worth Mentioning
- 6.1 #3. Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Box by CatGenie -- Most Innovative Design (Works With Your Toilet)
- 6.2 #4. LitterMaid Automatic Multi-Cat Litter Box Self-Cleaning Scoop with Ramp — Best Automatic Cat Litter Box for Large Cats
- 6.3 #5. Omega Paw Roll’N Clean Cat Litter Box -- Most Affordable “Self-Cleaning” Litter Box
- 7 Self-Cleaning Litter Box Buying Guide
- 8 Automatic Cat Litter Box FAQs
- 8.1 How do I Train My Cat to Use this Fancy Device?
- 8.2 Can Kittens Use a Self-Cleaning Litter Box?
- 8.3 Is My Electric Litter Box Safe for My Cat?
- 8.4 What Type of Cat Litter Should I Use with an Automatic Litter Box?
- 8.5 Are Litter Crystals Safe to Use?
- 8.6 Where in My Home Should I Place the Automatic Kitty Litter Box?
- 9 Why You Might Not Want a Self-Cleaning Litter Box
- 10 Care and Maintenance of Your Automatic Litter Box
- 11 Final Thoughts on Using a Self-Cleaning Litter Box for Your Cat
At a Glance: Best Automatic Litter Boxes
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What is a Self-Cleaning Litter Box?
Before we get into the details and litter box reviews, let’s take a look at what exactly a self-cleaning litter box is and how it works.
Most automated litter boxes use a rake that moves over the cat litter, separating the waste from the rest of the litter and depositing it into a closed receptacle.
Our top picks use other methods to separate the waste, but the results are the same. The poop and urine clumps are removed from the litter, and your cat is left with a fresh bed of granules for her next bathroom break.
Most automatic litter boxes use a sensor so that they don’t clean the box when your pet is inside. Some require special litter and disposable bags and/or replaceable receptacles to collect waste.
The automatic waste-removal system keeps odors down and the cat box clean, but it’s not maintenance free. You will have to remove your cat’s waste from the receptacle at some point. You will also have to clean the litter box at least monthly.
Self-cleaning litter boxes are great, but they aren’t always perfect, and in most cases, you will get what you pay for. The litter boxes that didn’t make our list received poor customer reviews, were prone to malfunction, and did an inadequate job cleaning up waste (i.e., may be a health hazard).
How We Conducted Our Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box Reviews
Before you head out to your nearest pet store to make your purchase, you should know that not all automatic cat litter boxes are created equal. They vary enormously when it comes to quality, ease-of-use, and price.
Fortunately, we’ve done your homework for you, and compiled thorough reviews of the best litter boxes on the market today.
Our reviews are based on the product’s:
- ease-of-use, and
- value for the money
We have independently researched each model and read thousands of customer reviews. Our top choices received above-average reviews, aren’t prone to malfunctions, and provide stellar customer service.
Most importantly, they will make life with your pets easier by reducing the amount of time you spend caring for their litter boxes.
Why You Need an Automated Litter Box
“Need” may be a rather strong word to use here, but we’re sold on the benefits of the top self-cleaning litter boxes, and we can’t imagine ever going back to daily scooping.
Our cats feel the same way and are so impressed with the royal treatment they’ve been receiving. We hope it won’t go to their heads.
Here’s why we think automated litter boxes are the cat’s meow:
- You no longer have to scoop your cat’s poop every single day.
- Your kitty’s litter box will be more sanitary, keeping you and your pet safer from harmful toxins and dangerous levels of ammonia build-up.
- A self-cleaning cat litter box will reduce odors (2 of our top 3 best odor control litter boxes are automatic).
- Traveling will be easier because you won’t need someone to scoop your cat’s litter every while you’re away.
Automatic Litter Box Reviews: Our Top Picks for the Best Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes
#1. The Litter Robot 3 -- Best Overall and Best Automated Litter Box for Multiple Cats (EDITOR’S CHOICE)
We love the Litter Robot iii for many reasons:
- It is extremely durable, reliable, and well-made
- It does a great job reducing odors
- It is packed with useful features
The Litter Robot 3 is the best self-cleaning litter box on the market today. The self-cleaning system is fully automatic and is perfect for large cats and multiple-cat households. It allows you to add litter to the box and forget about it for a week or more. No more scooping. No more odors. Just happy cats and cat parents.
What You’ll Love About the Litter Robot 3
First of all, this litter box is extremely durable and made in the USA.
Unlike most automatic litter boxes, which rake the soiled litter out of the box, the Litter Robot iii rotates an inner chamber to quickly and effortlessly sift out waste.
This design reduces clogging and sticking and is less likely to malfunction than boxes that use automatic rakes.
The Litter Robot 3 is entirely safe.
When your cat enters the Litter Robot, a weight-activated sensor will keep the cleaning cycle from starting. Even if your pet enters the box after the process has started, the cleaning will stop mid-cycle to keep your cat safe.
You do not have to worry about your cat being hurt by moving parts inside the box.
It saves time and money.
Depending on the number of pets in your household, you will have to empty the waste drawer every seven to ten days. A blue light on the control panel will flash when the drawer is full.
Because the cleaning system is so efficient, you will find that you use less litter than you ever have before.
Yes, you will make an initial investment, but because you are spending less on litter, you will save money in the long run.
Great Customer Service.
Reviewers consistently praise the customer service for being responsive and supportive.
They will help you troubleshoot problems, give you advice for enticing your pet to use the new litter box, and provide technical support when needed.
he company provides a 90-day money-back guarantee and a full 18-month warranty so that if your cat doesn’t like its new litter box or something happens, you can return it for a full refund.
- The system can be programmed to start the cleaning cycle 3, 7, or 10 minutes after your pet exits the box.
- It has a lockout option so you can prevent children from tampering with settings.
- A nightlight setting can be used with elderly cats or pets that have trouble seeing in the dark.
- A sensor light indicates when the waste receptacle is full.
- The new Litter Robot 3 Connect is Wi-Fi enabled and allows you to monitor your cat’s litter box usage, change settings remotely, and receive status notifications.
- Refurbished versions of the Litter Robot iii, Litter Robot Open Air, and the Litter Robot 3 Connect are all available on the Litter Robot website.
- The Litter Robot 3 includes a 90-day money-back guarantee and an 18-month warranty.
- Best electric litter box for multiple cats
- Does a great job reducing odors
- Packed with features to make use easier
- You can use any type of clumping cat litter
- 90-day money-back guarantee and 18-month warranty
Why the Litter Robot 3 may not be the Best Choice for You
- It’s pricey. The Litter Robot iii isn’t cheap, but it offers incredible value. Users report saving up to 50% of their annual litter costs, not to mention the time savings. If you aren’t ready for a big-ticket litter box, this may not be for you.
- It’s not suitable for cats or kittens under five pounds. The Litter Robot uses a weight-sensitive switch, which will not activate with cats less than five pounds.
- It may not work for diabetic cats. Pets who are diabetic produce bigger-than-average urine clumps that may not fall through the waste port.
With its cutting-edge design, great features, and fabulous customer support, we think the Litter Robot iii is the best automatic cat litter box on the market and worth the cost. We highly recommend it to all cat owners.
Special Coupon And Discount Savings For Catological Readers
Litter Robot has given Catological readers a special $25 off if you purchase using the link below. All you need to do is add something to your cart, and the coupon code will automatically be generated. Awesome deal for an awesome litter box!
The ScoopFree and the ScoopFree Ultra self-cleaning cat litter boxes are one of the most popular on the market. PetSafe sets the standard for pet-care products and is a reputable company with a great track record.
While we have a few reservations about this litter box, it features a thoroughly-tested design and eliminates scooping.
- High Reviews on Chewy -- 83% recommended
- Recommended for one cat, two maximum
- Requires a special crystal litter
PetSafe’s ScoopFree Automatic Litter Box features an electric raking system, that clears the litter tray of soiled litter twenty minutes after your cat leaves the box, and deposits it in a separate lidded compartment.
We love that it is completely hands-off. You simply add a disposable tray filled with litter and leave it for 20-30 days for one cat.
When the crystals begin to turn yellow or smell, you simply remove and dispose of the tray and replace it with a new one.
This is a great option for people who travel for extended periods, as the ScoopFree model can go long times without any additional maintenance.
If your cat appreciates the privacy of a cover, then consider the ScoopFree Ultra Automatic Cat Litter Box, which provides the same cleaning system and features, but adds a cover at a higher price point.
Crystal litter is designed to draw moisture from your pet’s waste, removing odors and lasting longer than traditional litter.
Some people love crystal litter (otherwise known as silica gel litter), while some think it doesn’t quite control odor all that well.
You might find that every once in awhile, urine leaks out of the cardboard tray onto the floor.
Silica is also more expensive than clay litter, and cat parents who buy the ScoopFree litter box will have to replace the disposable litter trays and crystal litter, which is an expensive long-term option.
- Requires very little care. If you have one cat, you can replace the tray and forget about it for 20-30 days.
- You never have to scoop or touch the litter.
- Comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty, and Chewy’s unconditional money-back guarantee.
- Silica lasts longer than traditional litter and may help remove odors.
Why the PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Cat Litter Box may not be the right choice for you
- It can be costly. Replaceable trays and crystal litter are expensive.
- Produces extra trash. Cardboard trays are big and hard to dispose of in the garbage.
- Not suitable for more than two cats.
- Some reviewers complain that the litter doesn’t last as long as advertised.
While we recommend this product, it’s prudent to do a thorough cost-analysis before investing. The ScoopFree litter box is comparatively affordable, but you may pay much more than expected when the extra cost of litter and replaceable trays is figured in.
We do, however, love that you can forget about scooping or cleaning up for a solid 20 days using this box. Perfect if you want to set it up and forget about it.
Automatic Cat Litter Box Reviews: Products Worth Mentioning
The following products are recommended with reservations. They feature unique designs and/or features.
At first glance, they may seem to be exactly what you’re looking for. But for various reasons, these models do not meet the same standards as our top recommendations.
#3. Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Box by CatGenie -- Most Innovative Design (Works With Your Toilet)
This cat toilet is unique in many ways.
It is truly designed to be a cat toilet, using special washable granules instead of regular cat litter.
The CatGenie scoops your cat’s waste, flushes it down the drain, then washes and dries the remaining granules. It does not require constant filling, scooping, or emptying, which is pretty awesome. It’s even shaped like a toilet bowl, which we love.
There’s a catch, though.
Not only do you have to hook this up to an electrical outlet, which is pretty standard, you also have to connect it to a cold-water line and a drain. In our opinion, this limits its usefulness.
But if you have room in your bathroom or laundry room, it may be perfect for you and your kitties.
- Once it’s set up, the CatGenie is pretty much hands-off
- Comes with washable litter granules and cleaning solution
- Toilet-bowl design is kind of fun
- Must be hooked up to water and sewer, which limits where you can put it
- Some reviewers complain that it does a poor job controlling odors
- It requires special washable granules instead of traditional litter
The CatGenie litter box (read our full review here) is one-of-a-kind, and a decent choice if you have a place in your bathroom or laundry room to hook it up. When making your decision, be sure to figure in the cost of the washable litter granules, which are quite pricey.
#4. LitterMaid Automatic Multi-Cat Litter Box Self-Cleaning Scoop with Ramp — Best Automatic Cat Litter Box for Large Cats
The LitterMaid Automatic Multi-Cat Litter Box is an automated litter box featuring a standard design and a comparatively low price point. It has a battery backup, which many of the other models lack, and is suitable for multiple-cat households and large cats.
The main reason that this litter box didn’t make it into the top tier is the number of negative customer reviews.
It gets three out of five stars on Amazon, and many reviewers complain that the rake doesn’t pick up all the cat waste, litter spills all over the floor, and the waste receptacles need to be replaced too frequently.
Now obviously we can’t just read reviews and pretend we’ve done our research. We look at a lot more than that.
But in today’s world, a bunch of bad reviews usually ARE indicative of a problem, so tread carefully.
If you are willing to make some creative modifications, many of these issues can be fixed by changing the type of litter you use, sealing the cracks with tape, and lining the receptacles with plastic bags.
As is, the LitterMaid has too many design flaws to make it a top pick.
- Battery back-up
- Large capacity makes it great for multiple cats or large cats
- You can use any type of litter that clumps
- More durable than the LM580 made by the same company (not mentioned in this article)
- High-sided walls
- The rake doesn’t always catch all of your kitty’s waste
- Litter falls through the crack when being raked into the waste receptacle
- Disposable waste receptacles are an additional cost. The unit comes with four, and each one lasts about a week for one cat.
The LitterMaid Automatic Multi-Cat Litter Box can work well if you are willing to do some research and make some adjustments. We like that you can use regular clumping cat litter with it and that it is big enough for several cats.
It does seem prone to malfunction, though, and may not be worth the hassle for most cat owners. We recommend it but with strong reservations.
The Omega Paw first caught our attention because it’s fairly cheap, and we were curious if something so affordable could get the job done.
After some research, we are happy to say that the Omega Paw Roll’N Clean provides great value and is easy to maintain, but it’s not “self-cleaning,” unless you think that pulling it out and rolling it onto its side is hands-off. Yeah, no.
Using the unique self-cleaning mechanism is fairly easy, but again, not automatic.
All you have to do is roll the box on its side so that the clumped litter is separated from the clean litter in a small drawer. After giving it a roll, simply empty the drawer into the trash and go on your way. Your cat will enjoy a fresh bed of clean litter, and you don’t have to scoop.
Now that we’ve explained the benefits of this box, you should know that it’s not flawless.
Sometimes the litter gets stuck in the corner and can’t be dislodged with a good roll. For best results, you still have to clean the litter from the drawer every day — you just don’t have to do any scooping. The clumps may get stuck in the grate from time-to-time, forcing you to open the box and clean them up.
While there’s no mention of a warranty for the Omega Paw Roll’N Clean, if you buy your product from Chewy, they will provide a refund if you are not 100% satisfied with your product.
- Extremely affordable
- No need to use special litter
- No need for electricity
- Simple design
- Comes in two sizes (though cats may prefer the large size best, the smaller size would be best if you have limited space)
- It’s not hands-off. This is not a fully automated litter box. You still have to check up on it, give it a roll, and empty the tray daily.
- Some clumps get stuck in the corners and the grill. When this happens, you may have to scoop, or even scrub.
- Litter may spill out if you aren’t careful with your rolling technique.
While there are drawbacks to this model, we are recommending it based on its positive reviews (four stars overall on Chewy), its extreme affordability, and its simple design. Read our full review of the Omega Paw Roll’N Clean. If you are looking for a full automated litter box, you should look elsewhere.
Self-Cleaning Litter Box Buying Guide
Hopefully, our reviews have given you a decent idea of what to look for in a self-cleaning litter box, but you will still have to choose one that works for you and your cats. Before you choose your favorite automatic litter box, ask yourself the following questions.
How much do I hate scooping my kitty’s litter?
If you answer that you would do anything not to have to scoop litter again, then you will want to invest in a model that will be durable and reliable, and that you won’t have to fiddle with.
We think the Litter Robot 3 is the most reliable and easy-to-use of the bunch.
Will I be away from home a lot?
If you answered yes, consider a litter box that doesn’t have to be emptied very often.
If you have one cat and travel for less than a week at a time, the Litter-Robot 3 will still be your best bet.
If you can hook up the CatGenie in a bathroom or laundry room, you won’t have to empty waste at all and can leave it alone for many weeks at a time.
How much money am I willing to spend?
Don’t want to put a huge dent in your wallet? Try out the Omega Paw Roll’N Clean.
Do I want to spend more on special litter for my new cat litter box?
The PetSafe and CatGenie models both need special litter.
Are my cats picky, skittish, or fearful?
Think very carefully before making your purchase. Most cats can be trained to use a new box, but some will be stubborn, and others may be afraid of the cleaning mechanisms in self-cleaning boxes.
For these cats, our top two choices — the Litter Robot 3 and the Omega Paw Roll’N Clean have the most traditional feel and use regular clumping cat litter.
Automatic Cat Litter Box FAQs
Still have questions about using an automatic kitty litter box with your favorite felines? We’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions and answers to help you make the most of your new self-scooping litter box.
If you still have questions after reading through the FAQs, feel free to contact us.
How do I Train My Cat to Use this Fancy Device?
Cats are creatures of habit, and changing to a new litter box or cat litter may be frowned upon by your feline family. The key to convincing your cat to accept the new self-cleaning litter box is to take it slow and use positive reinforcement techniques to help things along.
For the first few days, keep your old litter box set up, and let your cat choose between the two boxes.
You may want to stop cleaning your old box as frequently as your cat is used to so that the box is less appealing.
Many cats will automatically start using their new box, without any extra coaxing from you. If that’s the case, congratulations!
Give your cat some more time to adjust, but stop adding fresh litter to the old box, and keep scooping.
Once your cat has transitioned over to the new cat box, remove the old one.
If your cat has made it this far without avoiding the new litter box or having an accident outside the box, you are ready for the next step — turning on the self-cleaning mechanism and stepping away from your duties as a poop scooper.
Go ahead and plug it in.
If your new litter box has a timer that you can set, set it to start the cleaning cycle for the maximum amount of time after your cat exits the box. For the Litter-Robot iii, this is 10 minutes, but every litter box is different, and some don’t have a programmable timer at all.
After a few cycles, your cat will likely accept the self-cleaning action as the new normal.
Can Kittens Use a Self-Cleaning Litter Box?
Yes, but there may be some restrictions.
You should read the instructions that come with your new litter box very carefully because many kittens will not be heavy enough to trigger the sensor that starts or stops the cleaning mechanism.
Check the weight requirements, and if you are unsure, either contact the manufacturer or use the box without the automated cleaning process until your cat is heavy enough to trigger the sensor.
Is My Electric Litter Box Safe for My Cat?
The short answer is yes. All of the electric litter boxes mentioned in this article have a fail-safe that will prevent the cleaning cycles from starting if your cat enters the box. The electric component is completely hidden away, so there is no danger of your cat coming in contact with it.
All except one of these litter boxes do use electricity, so you should supervise your cat if she has been known to chew on electrical cords.
What Type of Cat Litter Should I Use with an Automatic Litter Box?
The type of cat litter you use will depend a lot on what type of self-cleaning litter box you buy.
Several of the litter boxes in this list will work with any type of clumping cat litter, but you may have to experiment to figure out which brand works best with your machine.
PetSafe’s ScoopFree Automatic Litter Box uses silica crystals, which absorb urine but don’t clump, and the Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Box by CatGenie uses special washable granules that are cleaned and sanitized with every wash cycle.
Read your instruction manual to find out which cat litter is recommended for your machine, and check out our cat litter buying guide to find out what we recommend.
Are Litter Crystals Safe to Use?
Cat litter crystals that are used in some self-cleaning litter boxes are made of sodium silicate sand that has been processed with oxygen and water to form small beads that can absorb up to 40% of their weight in liquid. They are formulated to be safe for cats.
Silica crystals contain very little dust and are less likely to be tracked out of the litter box. Litter tracking is a super annoying part of litter box life, so they can make a big difference.
Where in My Home Should I Place the Automatic Kitty Litter Box?
Just like people, cats prefer privacy when doing their business. You should place your litter box somewhere quiet, where it won’t see a lot of traffic, but you don’t want it in some far-reaching corner of your house.
Consider rooms where your pet spends a lot of time or can get to easily, such as an extra bathroom or laundry room.
You also want it close enough so that you can check up on the cleaning process and empty the waste receptacle when needed.
Why You Might Not Want a Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Automated cat litter boxes aren’t perfect, and they aren’t for everyone.
All but one of the litter boxes that earned top marks in our review uses electricity to separate your pet’s waste from the clean litter. In addition to the added electricity cost, you have to consider what to do when the power goes out (only the LitterMaid has a power backup).
Self-cleaning litter boxes aren’t maintenance-free.
You will still have to empty the waste receptacle, add fresh litter, and clean out the box periodically.
You may also have to deal with problems as they come up, whether that means contacting the manufacturer about a warranty, cleaning clogged grills and rakes, or replacing parts.
In addition, you may also need to experiment with litter types to find a brand that works well with your new machine.
Is all of this effort worth not having to scoop poop every day? Only you can answer that question. If you decide that an old-fashioned litter box is fine for your needs, please read our reviews of the best cat litter boxes.
Care and Maintenance of Your Automatic Litter Box
As with traditional litter boxes, you are required to thoroughly clean your automatic litter box monthly and replace the litter bed with entirely new cat litter. Cats hate dirty litter boxes!
To do this, simply unplug your litter box, remove any remaining cat litter, and use a mild detergent to wipe down the box and its components.
Do not immerse in water, and avoid ammonia and citrus-based cleaners, which many cats find offensive. Once the litter box is completely dry, you can add fresh litter and plug it back in.
Final Thoughts on Using a Self-Cleaning Litter Box for Your Cat
We think self-cleaning litter boxes are a life-changing technological advancement, but they won’t solve all of your poop problems. What they will do is eliminate your poop-scooping tasks and reduce your maintenance duties while increasing your costs.
Whichever way you look at it, using an automatic litter box is more expensive than using a traditional box. It’s a trade-off.
There are distinct benefits to investing in a self-cleaning litter box.
Getting out of scooping duties is the most obvious, but you will also be able to go away for the weekend without hiring someone to clean up after your cat.
You will limit your exposure to harmful bacteria found in your cat’s waste, and your cat will be treated to a clean toilet each time she visits.
Are these benefits worth your investment? We think so. And so do our cats!
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