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The self-cleaning (automatic) litter box has become very popular in recent times. This is because they help to simplify the management of a cat’s waste.
This device is especially popular among homeowners who have a very busy working schedule and elderly persons who have issues with squatting and bending. They are also ideal for people who have two or more cats.
However, to get the most out of this product, you need to choose a good model.
The market is full of different types of self-cleaning litter boxes competing against each other. In trying to choose a good self-cleaning litter box, you may run into some difficulties, owning to the large number of options.
Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered in this article.
Our Top Picks
To try to make things easier for you, we have conducted a thorough study into features, design, and customer feedback for many self-cleaning litter boxes currently available.
Based on our own testing, market research, sales and rankings, here are our picks for the best self-cleaning litter boxes currently on the market:
- PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box
- PetSafe ScoopFree Original Self-Cleaning Litter Box
- Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box
- CatGenie Self-Cleaning Litter Box
- Le You Pet Semi-Automatic Cat Litter Box
- LitterMaid Single Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box
1. PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box
This self-cleaning litter box from PetSafe has an innovative design and construction. It does a great job of staying fresh and clean without your manual intervention.
It’s one of the best choices according to sales and the average customer rating. Keep in mind that review scores for self-cleaning litter boxes tend to be on the low side, but this model does very well relative to that fact.
Cleaning up is very easy: just remove the disposable tray and throw it away.
- the automatic cleaning function cleans the litter box for weeks at a time, without any cleaning, scooping or refilling.
- the crystal cat litter absorbs urine and dehydrates solid waste, ensuring little to no offensive smell.
- a covered trap locks away solid waste and odor, so you don’t have to deal with it.
- the crystals are 99% dust-free and don’t stick to the cat’s feet.
- it’s leak-resistant thanks to the plastic tray lining, which creates an extra barrier.
- easy to dispose of the tray yourself
- easy to use and clean
- the crystals suck the smell and moisture away very fast
- less noisy compared to other brands
- we feel that the tray isn’t deep enough
- don’t expect to be able to leave it for a month or longer without any upkeep
- the unit is fairly large but takes up less space than two separate litter boxes normally would.
- it works extremely well.
- it’s relatively quiet and clean.
- despite the claims, we found that the crystals tracked all over and underperformed. If the crystals don’t work well for you, use a different non-clumping litter.
- there are two colour options: purple and grey. The purple is more expensive, and we’re not sure why.
2. PetSafe ScoopFree Original Self-Cleaning Litter Box
This litter box is very similar to the Ultra model reviewed above, but it skips a few features at the benefit of a lower price. The differences are:
- the Ultra model has a privacy hood.
- the Ultra model has an adjustable rake delay (5, 10, or 20 minutes).
- the Ultra model has a health counter to track how much your cat uses the litter box.
Aside from this, there isn’t much difference between the Original and the Ultra models. We think this is an excellent self-cleaning litter box that deserves a spot in our reviews. If you don’t need the above features, then you should seriously consider the Original model.
- self-cleans for weeks, no scooping, refilling or cleaning necessary.
- comes with crystal litter that absorbs moisture and odors quickly.
- just remove the disposable tray and throw it away.
- US-based customer support is available 6 days a week to address any concerns you might have.
- it’s easy to remove and dispose of the waste.
- if you want to rake right away instead of waiting for the auto rake, you can just press a button. This is ideal if there is particularly foul smelling waste in the box.
- it doesn’t need to be maintained that often – maybe once every 1-2 weeks depending.
- if your cat decides to do its business on the rake, it can be easily cleaned.
- doesn’t have some features found in more advanced self-cleaning litter boxes.
- tends to push litter into the waste tray, resulting in wastage.
- the crystal litter isn’t the best.
- how often you need to clean and maintain largely depends on the size of your cats and how many of them use the litter box.
- the disposable litter trays aren’t the best quality. If you’re not happy with them, we suggest using a good permanent tray.
- we suggest trying other crystal litters instead of just using the ScoopFree crystal litter.
- it doesn’t eliminate 100% of the smell and move 100% of the waste, but it does a pretty darn good job.
3. Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box
When it comes to design and performance, this litter box rates highly, and it’s very affordable to boot. It cleans in a matter of seconds, no scooping necessary.
It’s fitted with a patented grill that separates out clumped waste and deposits it into a pull-out tray.
The litter box is large enough to accommodate big cats and is also suitable for households with multiple cats.
- as mentioned above, the litter box features a unique grill that separates out clumped waste.
- it doesn’t require electric power and keeps running without any interruptions.
- its self-cleaning function works at high speeds
- it’s impressive to look at and easy to use
- it’s easy to dispose of waste; you just need to roll the litter box over and back again.
- no electricity, filters, or liners.
- works like a charm. Little to no maintenance is needed.
- excellent customer service and refund policy.
- sifting holes can clog
- dust can get trapped inside
- the sifting grate is wide enough that small clumps can get through.
- the build quality isn’t the greatest.
- don’t fill the unit with too much cat litter.
- if you see clumps on the grate or on the bottom, we recommend doing the following: flip the unit over and give the area where the clumps are a few thumps. This will almost always loosen them.
- we suggest putting the unit on a tray so that you can easily slide it short distances when needed.
4. CatGenie Self-Cleaning Litter Box
The design, features, and performance of this fully automatic litter box place it high up on our list. It prides itself as the only litter box in the world with the ability to self-wash.
What this theoretically means is that you don’t need to touch, replace, or change the cat litter in any way. In practice, this holds up pretty well. That’s because it uses litter-like washable granules that are free of germ, dust, and odors.
- can remove and liquefy the solids for easy and safe disposal.
- uses water and vet-approved SaniSolution to scour, scrub, wash, and purify the washable granules, keeping the area clean.
- dryer dries granules so that they’re ready for the next use.
- there are 3 cleaning settings: run automatically up to 4 times a day, manual start, and cat activation.
Check out this video review of the CatGenie:
- does a great job at cleaning the waste.
- eliminates the need for any manual process.
- durable and a quality build.
- this is one of the most independent self-cleaning litter boxes out there.
- easy to use with multiple cats.
- the bowl is deeper than others, making it easy to bury.
- quite loud, particularly during a wash cycle.
- the litter gets tracked out.
- stops running when there’s no more cleaning solution in the cartridge, and yet the microchip prevents you from refilling it yourself.
- note that the unit will not turn on if the manufacturer’s cleaning cartridge is empty. In this case, we suggest a 3rd party modification.
- you do need to keep an eye on this unit every once in a while. Don’t expect that you’ll never need to check on it.
- if you’re emptying the waste into a toilet, it may require more frequent cleaning because of the film that it leaves.
5. Le You Pet Semi-Automatic Cat Litter Box
This litter box by Le You Pet has a semi-automatic design, with a drawer-style cleaning box and an active cat litter separation grid. These both contribute to efficient and convenient waste disposal.
Here’s how cleaning works: you lift the front of the tray to begin sifting, flip it to get the clumps to fall into the pull-out tray, and lower it to refill the tray. You can easily remove the pull-out tray to discard the clumps.
The litter box requires assembly, but there are no tools required. The installation process is straightforward.
- 19.68″ by 19.68″ x 18.1″ size, which can easily accommodate an 18-pound adult cat.
- made with environmentally-friendly PP resin; safe, non-toxic, anti-soluble, resistant to moisture and corrosion.
- a tipping bucket design.
- easy to assemble.
- looks nice.
- stands solidly.
- quick and easy to clean (tip over and pull out).
- doesn’t use an electric motor.
- not the biggest litter box.
- the unit could be sturdier.
- not fully automatic and so requires more manual work.
- note that this litter box is not fully automatic. You will need to tend to it more frequently than most other self-cleaning litter boxes reviewed here.
- to successfully sift the lumps out from the rest out the litter, you may need to shake the unit a bit.
- the build quality is a bit cheap (hence the price), and certain plastic parts can break.
6. LitterMaid Single Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box
This model falls just short of the benchmark that we set earlier in the review, but we found that many of the complaints were due to improper use, and so this model earns a place on the list.
LitterMaid is one of the most well-known brands in the cat litter space. This unit has automatic scooping with a rake and is designed for one cat under 15 pounds.
The design is similar to the PetSafe Original model reviewed above. When used correctly, you won’t have to scoop for up to a week.
- waste receptacles with carbon filters keep odor and mess contained once the rake removes the waste.
- high walls prevent litter scatter.
- there’s a paw-cleaning ramp at the front that reduces litter tracking.
- the accessories included are: 4 waste receptacles, 4 carbon filters, 1 paw cleaning ramp, 1 rake cleaner and scoop
- durable and easy to use.
- great value for the money.
- there’s almost no smell at all.
- stays clean for a while.
- customer service is very accommodating.
- can be quite loud.
- the waste box is small and needs to be dumped frequently.
To maximize the life of this litter box, we suggest doing a few things:
- Buy a good litter that clumps fast.
- Watch the fill line (too much or to little litter will cause problems).
- An effective trick to save waste bins is to line the waste bins with disposable grocery bags.
- Cut the rim off another waste bin about 0.5 inches all around; this makes the bin area stronger.
You should marry the above information with your own circumstances to arrive at the best choice. For more information, click the buttons above.
Now, in case you need such information, we’re going to tell you what you need to know about automatic litter boxes including how they work and how to choose the right one for your cat.
How An Automatic Litter Box Works
Automatic litter boxes operate according to a simple principle. They are equipped with sensors that automatically remove waste from the litter box once the cat does its thing.
The waste is usually deposited into some form of container that is located at the end of the box. The container will hold the waste until it’s removed.
The sensor has a timer that triggers a rake to move across the box to clean the waste once the cat leaves the box.
Benefits Of Using An Automatic Litter Box
1. You don’t have to handle your cat’s waste.
The main reason why automatic litter boxes were created was to collect cat waste on your behalf.
Cats are amazing pets that are loved in so many ways. But one thing that is disliked by almost every cat owner is having to collect their cat’s waste. Automatic litter boxes are equipped with sensors that trigger the self-cleaning process automatically once the cat leaves the litter box.
If you often forget to clean the litter box on time, then a good litter box that cleans itself automatically will come in handy. It will also free up time for you to do other important tasks.
2. It eliminates the odor in your house.
Let’s face it: cat waste stinks, especially if you’re not feeding your cat the right food and it sits there for a while. The smell can be so strong that guests will be aware that you have cats in your house without even seeing them.
One of the easiest ways to eliminate this bad smell from your house is by purchasing a self-cleaning litter box. The fact that these boxes are self-cleaning means that that your cat’s urine and feces will be cleared as soon as they are dropped, a factor that will help ensure your home smells fresh all the time.
Of course, what does this mean? No hassles, and no embarrassment from smelly poop when you have visitors.
3. You don’t have to worry about your cat’s waste when you’re away from home.
If you are the type of person who travels a lot, then a self-cleaning litter box is a great option for you. When you have it in your house, you can leave for as much as 10 days without worrying about mess or odor.
4. It preserves hygiene and health.
The way you handle the cat’s waste is very important. Cat feces and urine are full of bacteria and viruses that can harm you when you come into direct contact with them. Breathing ammonia from your cat’s urine can also harm your health.
When you buy an automatic litter box, you’ll improve the hygiene of your family because no one will need to come in contact with the cat’s waste. The device will do everything for you.
Factors To Consider Before Buying A Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Are you considering purchase a self-cleaning litter box for your cat? If you’re reading this article, then the answer is probably yes.
If so, you’re making a great decision. If you really want to buy the best self-cleaning litter box for your cat, then there are a few important factors you need to consider before you make your final decision. Let’s go over them now in this buying guide:
1. Number of cats in the house
One thing about cats is that they can be very territorial. They don’t like sharing with their fellow cats.
Thus, if you own two or more cats, it’s wise to buy each its own litter box, and keep an extra one for good measure. This will cost more, but it will go a long way towards maintaining peace between the cats in your house. If you don’t do this, one or more of your cats may refuse to use the litter box.
2. Size of your cat
This is a very important factor that many people overlook. If you don’t consider the size of your cat, you may end up running into problems down the road. Make sure that you buy a self-cleaning litter box that suits the size of your cat.
For instance, if you have large cats, you should buy a large litter box that can accommodate their size. If the litter box is too small, they may end up coming into contact with their waste, which is obviously something that you don’t want.
On the other hand, if you have smaller cats, then you should buy a smaller self-cleaning litter box to minimize wastage and make it easier for the cat to do its business.
Look at size information for each litter box. For example, the PetSafe ScoopFree unit has dimensions of approximately 19″ x 27.5″ x 6.5″.
3. Ease of use
There are many self-cleaning litter boxes to choose from on the market, but some of them are very difficult to use. You should avoid buying a box that falls under this category.
Before you make your final decision, check to see if the one that you are considering is easy to use and doesn’t have unnecessary bells and whistles. The litter box should have a user manual that is simple and straightforward.
4. How easy it is to clean and maintain
A good self-cleaning litter box is easy to clean and maintain. Remember that even though the device is self-cleaning, it still needs to be manually cleaned periodically to protect your cat’s health and well-being.
Check out the litter box’s overall design and look at the documentation to get a sense of how easy it is to clean and maintain.
Before you pull the trigger, check to see if the litter box has a manufacturer’s warranty.
In general, a warranty is a feature that indicates that the litter box is of high-quality. If it has a warranty, then it means that you can return it to the manufacturer and get a replacement if it gets damaged or if it fails to function as promised by the manufacturer before the warranty period passes.
Most brands that give warranties usually make high-quality self-cleaning litter boxes because they know what’s at stake. Experts recommend that you choose a self-cleaning litter box with at least a 1-year warranty.
6. Customer reviews
This is one that seems obvious. What are other people who have bought the litter box saying? Are they happy or disappointed? What is the general consensus?
Take your time and read through reviews – positive and negative – that customers have written before you make your final decision. But also keep in mind that there are negative reviews for all products; many times this is because the buyer didn’t follow instructions or use it correctly.
If buyers are mostly happy about the litter box that you’re interested in, it’s a good sign. If you find that there are a large number of negative reviews, take pause and either dig deeper or look at other models. We recommend considering self-cleaning litter boxes that have at least a 3 star rating.
Price shouldn’t be on the top of your mind. Having said that, you should work within your budget.
It is important to note that when it comes to self-cleaning litter boxes, you get what you pay for. If you’re willing to spend $100 or more for one, you’re probably going to have a better experience.
An automatic litter box can help make your life a lot easier, especially if you have many cats in the house. But if you really want to get the most out of it, you need to do a little research.
Follow the guidelines in our buying guide, and you’ll maximize your chances of being happy with whatever model you choose.
What is your experience with self-cleaning litter boxes? Have you used any of the boxes in this article? Leave a comment below and let us know!