The Best Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes (Review) in 2020
Owning a cat is, simply put, the best. These fluffy, purring furballs make for beautiful, playful, and loyal companions– what more could a pet parent ask for?
A self-cleaning litter box, perhaps? The thing is, no matter how much you love your cat, cleaning their pee and poop is no fun. But with an efficient self-cleaning cat toilet, you can say goodbye to this unpleasant and yucky chore. To help you find the right product for your pet, we went through more than 20 different models, taking user reviews into account, as well as our own testings. The result? A review of five best self-cleaning litter boxes on the market, plus a detailed buying guide.
The Best Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Fully automated system, works on its own for up to 2 weeks
Adjustable cleaning cycle with three rake timing options
Uses crystal litter that is 99% dust-free and low-tracking
Health counter tracks how often your cat uses the box
Leak protection and easy cleanup
If you’ve had enough of constant scooping, cleaning and refilling your kitty’s litter box, we recommend checking out PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Automatic model. This innovative self-cleaning litter box takes the hassle out of daily cat toilet maintenance thanks to its fully automated and adjustable scooping system that can scoop on its own for up to two weeks at a time. Furthermore, the model has excellent odor control thanks to the crystal litter it uses that absorbs urine and dehydrated solid waste quickly and efficiently. This litter is also healthier for both you and your cat because it’s virtually dust-free and doesn’t stick to paws (yay clean floors!). To ensure leak-proof operation, the litter box uses disposable trays with plastic lining which help protect the floors and make the cleanup a piece of cake. There is even a health counter that tracks how many times your pet used the box, which provides a good insight into your kitty’s urinary health and can help detect early signs of health problems. This can also tell you when it’s the right time for litter replacement. Overall, one of the best self-cleaning litter boxes, hands down!
Non-automatic, covered litter box
Patented grill system scoops in seconds
Uses any clumping litter
No battery, filters or liners necessary
Reduces litter dust
Looking for a budget-friendly self-scooping litter box? You can’t get better than Omega Paw Roll ‘n’ Clean model. Simple but highly effective, this covered litter box provides privacy for your cat, while sparing you from manually scooping up poop. While not fully automatic, the design is actually quite ingenious – all you have to do is roll the box and it will scoop for you! Sure, there are no sensors, timers and other fancy stuff most fully automatic litter boxes come with, but it also doesn’t require battery changes, special types of litter or lots of money. That said, it is best when used with clumping cat litter, but pretty much any clumping litter will do. So how does this work exactly? The box has a unique patented grill that sifts out the clumped waste from clean litter, depositing it into the waste tray. So, once you’ve rolled the box, just take out the tray and throw away the used litter. Simple as that! You won’t touch your kitty’s waste or inhale dust from scooping, which is all that matters. As a bonus, the box is quite large so it’s suitable for bigger cats and multi-cat households.
Fully automated, quiet litter box
Self-cleans every hour throughout the day
Works on its own for up to 2 weeks
Uses any clumping litter and any bag as a liner
Designed for cats weighing up to 15 pounds
If your kitty is not a fan of automatic rakes, take a look at PetSafe Simply Clean model. Continuously cleaning itself throughout the day by rotating every hour, this automatic cat litter box sifts waste and carries it up the conveyor belt into a waste bin quietly, without startling your cat. The bin is covered so it does a nice job of trapping the odors, and is, of course, removable, so you can empty it when waste disposal is needed using any small bag as a liner. Speaking of cleanup, the box works all on its own for up to two weeks at a time, after which time you need to clean it to keep it operating at its best. Importantly, you can use any clumping litter your cat normally likes. Overall, a great quiet model that is suitable for most cats, however, it should not be used for pets heavier than 15 pounds.
Fully automated litter box
Stays clean for up to 7 days
Suitable for multi-cat households
High walls and paw cleaning ramp
Carbon filters absorb the odors
Comes with 4 waste receptacles and carbon filters, a scoop and rake cleaner
For households with multiple cats, LitterMaid Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning unit b may be the best choice. This easy clean litter box features a rake system that removes waste on its own, placing it into a waste bin with carbon filters for odor control. So, without manual scooping, cleaning and raking, the box will remain clean and odor-free for up to seven days in multi-cat homes. Designed to be neat and easy to use, the box has high walls and a paw cleaning ramp, a combo that prevents both litter scatter and tracking around the box. However, it should be noted that sometimes, a little bit of litter scatter is normal, especially in a multi-cat home. A big plus is that this unit works with a variety of litter brands, but many users seem to prefer super-clumping, scented litters with this model.
Fully automated litter box
Scoops 20 minutes after cat leaves the box
Self-cleans for up to 2 weeks
Uses crystal litter, 99% dust-free and low tracking
Leak protection, easy to use and clean
Another excellent self cleaning kitty litter box by PetSafe, this model boasts unbeatable odor control and weeks-long automatic scooping. Unlike the Ultra model, this one doesn’t have a hood or adjustable raking cycle, however, it’s still equally good for kitties who don’t need extra privacy to go, as the box scoops for up to two weeks on its own, keeping everything neat and clean. As for how often the scooping happens, it’s always 20 minutes after the kitty leaves the box. Like the previous models, this one too uses crystal litter that is practically dust-free and excellent at absorbing odors. The box comes with disposable trays with plastic linings that help protect against leaks, keeping the floors clean. Overall, the best self =-cleaning litter box if you want a fully automatic but super-simple to use system.
Best Self-Cleaning Litter Box Buying Guide & FAQ
Self-cleaning litter boxes can be a godsend for super-busy pet parents and folks who own multiple cats. While they are an investment, they can make your and your kitty’s life easier and cleaner. But finding the best self-cleaning litter box for your budget can be challenging. There are many models to choose from, including fully automatic, semi-automatic, covered and non-covered boxes, making the selection process difficult for most cat parents. In this buying guide, we cover everything you need to know about auto-cleaning litter boxes, including the features to consider, how to pick the right one for your pet, and more.
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Features to Consider When Buying a Self-Cleaning Litter Box
While all self-cleaning litter boxes have the same purpose, they’re not all created equal. Simply put, some are better than others. To get the right one for your kitty, it’s important to consider the following features:
- Automatic or Manual
Do you want a fully automated self-cleaning litter box or a manual one? While most people prefer automatic models as they work almost entirely on their own, bear in mind that they require electricity or batteries to work. Manual self-cleaning boxes, such as a rolling litter box by Omega Paw, do not use electricity; instead, you have to roll them or sift them to separate the waste.
- Open or Hooded
This decision should be (mostly) based on your kitty’s preferences. Some cats prefer privacy and seclusion when going to the bathroom, while others don’t mind open boxes one bit. Bear in mind that hooded litter boxes often (although not always) trap odors a little better.
- How Often It Scoops
Most auto-cleaning litter boxes come with timers that are either adjustable or already pre-programmed. If you prefer a system that scoops almost immediately after your cat leaves the box (5-10 min), we recommend narrowing your search to models with adjustable scooping cycles. If you prefer simpler mechanisms that sift and scoop always at the same time (ex. 20 min after your pet leaves the box), stick to pre-programmed boxes.
- Which Litter It Uses
Finally, consider the type of litter the unit uses – can any litter type work or do you need to use specialized litter all the time? Many self-cleaning units use a specific type of litter, such as crystal, but can also work with other types, including clumping clay. However, you do need to check if the model you’re eyeing is compatible with other litters before purchasing (check a couple of user reviews) if you’re not ok with buying specialized litter all the time.
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Benefits of Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes
If you’ve never owned an auto clean cat litter box before, here are three reasons to give it a try:
- No more manual scooping: one of the best things about having a self-cleaning litter box is not having to manually scoop your cat’s waste. This is not only time-saving but also healthier as you don’t have to touch waste nor breathe in the ammonia fumes.
- Cleaner and happier cat: fastidious groomers they are, all cats prefer having a clean litter box at all times. Of course, you can’t be expected to clean after your kitty every single time they go to the bathroom, but a self-cleaning box? It will scoop the waste every time your cat leaves it.
- Cleaner and better-smelling home: by scooping your pet’s waste regularly, an auto-litter box will reduce the odors emanating from your cat’s toilet. This, in turn, will improve the smell and quality of the air in your home, which is always a big plus!
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How to Train Your Cat to Use an Automatic Litter Box
While some cats will naturally gravitate towards any box that contains litter, others will need some convincing. Here is how you can help your cat use the new self-cleaning litter box.
- Go slow: first, “introduce” the new litter box to your cat by taking it out of its packaging and putting it down. Let your kitty examine and explore it.
- Use old litter: to encourage your cat to use the new box, take a small amount of their old, used litter and place it in the new unit. This will help “familiarize” the new box.
- No sensors in the beginning: if your kitty has never used an auto-cleaning litter box, it’s best not to spook them with noise and movement in the beginning. So, turn off the sensors for the first couple of days, and once they get used to the box, turn them back on.
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Our Top Pick
Out of five excellent auto-cleaning litter boxes on our list, our top pick has to be PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box. This model has adjustable scooping cycle which allows you to choose the most convenient times for scooping (5, 10 or 20 min after your cat leaves the box), as well as a counter that tells you how many times your cat has used the box, and therefore the right time for litter replacement. This makes it ideal for multi-cat families, but it can also be used for single-cat households. Importantly, the unit also has excellent odor control, especially if you use the recommended crystal litter. All in all, one of the best self-cleaning litter boxes currently on the market!
Best Self-Cleaning Litter Box FAQ:
Q: What is a self-cleaning litter box and how does it work?
An automatic self-cleaning litter box uses sensors and raking/scooping mechanisms to eliminate your cat’s waste from litter. Their manual counterparts also use specific raking systems but they need to be rolled to separate the waste.
Q: What type of litter should I pick for an automatic litter box?
This depends on the model you have. Some units require a specific litter such as crystal, while others can be used with any. Read the directions on your unit and use the litter it specifies.
Q: How often should I change cat litter?
Litter should be changed every week to three weeks, depending on the type of litter, size of the box and number of cats using it. However, it’s best to follow the recommendations for litter replacement set by the manufacturer of your self-cleaning unit.
Q: Where should I keep my cat's litter box?
Ideally, in a peaceful, quiet room where your cat can have some privacy, or where they normally go to the bathroom.