Cat owners have a wide selection of self cleaning litter box to choose from. But how do you pick the best self cleaning litter box? This automatic cat litter box review and buying guide looks into the many auto litter box models for cats and identifies the things to consider in choosing the right litter box for cat owners.
Automatic Litter Box
What Is A Litter Box
One of the things that cat owners appreciate with their furry friends is that they can be trained to use a litter box. This is simply a box that is filled with cat litter and often located in a spot where cats can easily access it.
Benefits Of Using The Best Self Cleaning Litter Box
There are lots of benefits of owning the best self cleaning litter box. One is that you can keep your home free from unpleasant odors even if you are away from home. Second, having an automatic litter box can prevent the spread of germs and microorganisms that crawl under your cat’s litter box. These microorganisms are harmful especially to children because of their weak immune system.
If you have small children and other pets in your household, you may be worried about them being exposed to cat waste. That won’t be a concern at all when you have an automatic cat litter box in your home. Moreover, there’s no need to pick up your cat’s litter again. For most cat owners, that alone is enough reason to invest in a self cleaning litter box.
Factors to Consider in Buying a Self Cleaning Litter Box
It is within the nature of our feline friends to eliminate in sand and soil thus they can be trained to use a litter box. Cats are thus a lot appropriate for apartment living compared to other pets like dogs.
But this doesn’t mean that you will just buy the first scoop free litter box that you see in any store. As other self cleaning litter box reviews will tell you, there are a lot of things that you need to consider in shopping for a self cleaning cat litter box such as:
This will depend on the size of your cat. Kittens, for one, may find it difficult to get into a regular sized litter box. A large cat, meanwhile, may find a small box difficult to maneuver around.
The rule of thumb in choosing a cat litter box is that it should be at least 1.5 times the size of your pet.
Small cat boxes are best for small cats and kittens. Medium sized boxes should work well for one box, while a large litter box could house one or two cats. Extra large litter boxes are useful for cat owners with three or more pets.
Auto litter boxes can be classified into types. The most basic are the open type which is rectangular shaped. It’s easy to operate, with sensors that can activate the cleaning cycle 10 minutes after your pet leaves the box. It’s cheap, too, so it is a good option for pet owners who don’t want to spend much. But the problem with an open litter box is that it may not suit cats that prefer privacy when they litter.
Then there are the covered auto litter boxes. Cats will get lots of privacy with this type of auto litter box. The cover also controls the odor and makes it less likely for the litter to be spilled over the side when your pet is vigorously digging.
There are also cat litter boxes with optional covers. It can be covered and uncovered. It also does a decent job of controlling the odor because of a rake that transfers solid waste into a receptacle. The latter has to be emptied periodically. Many people think the best automatic cat litter box is of this type. The major downside is that it is pricey.
Last but not the least are the self-washing and self-flushing litter boxes. It is the most expensive of the four types. But it is very convenient and advanced as it completely flushes the waste of your cat. Think of it like your cat’s toilet bowl. It also keeps your house smelling clean.
Aside from the price, another disadvantage is that it will only have to be placed in the laundry room or toilet. It requires a cold water line and waste water drain to work properly.
3. The size of your apartment/house
If you have a mansion, then you don’t have to consider this factor. But if you live in an apartment, studio, or condominium, then you should get an automatic litter box that isn’t bulky and too noisy during cleaning cycles and also use a litter mat to help you ease in cleaning.
An automatic cat litter box with a silent option will not embarrass you and bother your neighbors. You can also get one with a short cleaning cycle. Other units have a sleep mode that delays the cleaning cycle so that you won’t wake up to the irritating sound of the unit in the middle of the night.
4. Age and health condition of your pet.
Older cats no longer have good night vision that they had when they were younger. Thus you may get them a cat litter box with a night light, so she will be able to find it even in the dark.
You can also look for an automatic litter box with a health counter that tracks the cat’s usage of the unit. It can help you in identifying changes in the metabolism of your cat, and perhaps give you something to tell her vet.
5. Your cat’s size
The average domestic cat should not weigh more than 10 pounds. Most automatic litter boxes can accommodate a cat of the standard size. But if your feline friend weighs more than 15 pounds, then you would have to look for heavy duty auto litter boxes.
If you own kitties that weigh less than five pounds or not big and tall enough to be detected by motion sensors, choose an electronic litter box with a manual start option
Other Things To Consider In Buying An Automatic Litter Box
- Dimensions of the unit--- which is of particular importance if you live in an apartment
- Ease of use/assembly
- Included supplies, as well as ease of sourcing them
- Back-up power source
Video Of A Self Cleaning Litter Box
Top 7 Self Cleaning Litter Box
We know that choosing just one auto litter box can be tough especially for a first-timer, so we made things easy for you by picking the seven best litter boxes for cats:
1. ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box
This is a self-cleaning litter box that you can leave unattended for weeks. It can absorb urine and boasts of an odor control. There’s a health counter that you can refer to if you want to know how many times your pet has used the box.
It has safety sensors that automatically reset the rake timer once the cat has re-entered the box. This is a litter box that can give your pet a lot of privacy, reduce litter tracking in the process. It measures 30 x 20 x 12 inches and weighs 19.6 pounds.
- It is very easy to use. Only load it with the disposable litter tray that is filled with crystal litter. Then plug it and watch it work wonders.
- It makes use of sensors that detect when your cat is in the litter box. It would only be that time when the rake timer begins.
- It requires minimal maintenance. You will have to remove the disposable tray, cover it with the lid, and then throw. You can do this every 3-4 weeks.
- Very easy to switch out cartridges
- The crystal litter used in this unit is readily available
- Disposable trays can last up to a month in some cases
- It is relatively quiet
- Assembly is quick and easy
- It’s a bit expensive compared to other litter boxes
- Some reviewers say the smell is noticeable but tolerable
2. Nature's Miracle Nature's Miracle Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box
This is another good choice if you are in the market for an automatic litter box. The unit itself is big enough for a 15-pound cat to get inside. Aside from the self-cleaning litter box, the package includes four catch-all waste receptacles, four carbon filters, and a litter level measure scoop.
Like the item discussed above, this one makes use of motion detectors to know if your cat has left the litter box. After 20 minutes, there is a rake that pushes the litter to a plastic receptacle with a carbon filter to control the odor.
It can be plugged into a wall outlet, or powered by eight AA batteries if you want a backup energy source..
- It makes use of a unique antimicrobial protection to deter the growth of bacteria within the litter box
- There is a change indicator that lets you know when to change the receptacle
- It has dual motion detectors that can find out when the cat has left the box
- It is very easy to set up
- It has a detachable rake for easy cleaning
- There’s a sleep timer that prevents it from operating at night
- Back-up power with AA batteries gives you peace of mind especially during power outages
- Lid part of the receptacle doesn’t stay on
- There’s some noise from the unit, but many reviewers say it is tolerable
- There are no AA batteries included in the package
3. CatGenie Self-Washing Self-Flushing Cat Box
According to the makers of this litter box, this is the only self-washing and self-flushing cat litter box in the world. It uses washable granules that look like litter but attractive enough for cats to dig and cover. It is ideal for 1 to 3 cats of average size, and no younger than five months. It must be hooked up to cold water and an electrical outlet.
The package comes with one box of the washable granules. Its manufacturer backs it up with a two-year warranty.
- Ideal for households with 1-2 cats
- Although you have to set it up yourself, assembly/set-up is relatively easy.
- You’ll only need a pair of pliers for the set-up
- It is ideal for placement in the bathroom or laundry room
- No need to touch/buy cat litter again
- With three settings allowing you to choose the way the cat litter box works
- With included supplies, that should last for three months for one cat and around two months for two cats
- Has a child lock mode to prevent your kids from accidentally starting the unit
- Covered by a 90-day money back guarantee and a two-year warranty
- Not suitable for big cats over 15 pounds
- The product is loud during cleaning cycles
- There’s a tendency for the unit to get some clogs after some time
- Cleaning cycle can last for 30 minutes, so it can be time-consuming if you have two cats
4. PetSafe Simply Clean Self-Cleaning Litter Box
This automatic litter box continuous self-cleans throughout the day. It has a slow moving bowl that is always turning, making one rotation every hour. The bowl slowly moves to sift out the waste and bring it to the covered and removable waste bin. Now all you need is to clump the litter as the unit does all of the dirty work for you.
Its dimensions are 10 inches x 26 inches x 19 inches, and should not take up much space in your room. An AC adapter powers it. It is suitable for cats weighing no more than 15 pounds.
- Quiet and straightforward to use
- Continuously cleans without disturbing your pet
- Reduces unpleasant odors
- Plenty of space for oversized cats to get in
- Spacious enough for up to 3 medium sized cats
- Durable—can last for many years
- Changing of litter /cleaning the unit can take as long as two months
- It uses everyday grocery bag to line the waste container—it’s cheap and practical as there’s no need to buy proprietary bags/accessories
- It looks good
- Very reasonable price, affordable
- Easy to assemble
- There’s some squeaking, but not noisy enough to distract your neighbors
- Open system, no cover
- Waste bin is a bit small
- The outer walls are not high enough, so there’s a tendency for the litter to move over it
5. Litter Robot LRII Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box
This is an automatic and self cleaning litter box that operates on 12VDC. It is easy to set up as well as you only need to add litter to the globe, then plug it in. It will be able to detect your cat moving away from it with its weight activated sensors. Seven minutes after your cat leaves the unit, it will start cleaning itself with a slow, counter-clockwise rotation.
Its dimensions are 29 inches x 24 inches x 22 inches. It weighs nearly 30 pounds.
- Excellent at controlling odors because the litter is deposited in a sealed container
- It makes use of odor fighting trash bags
- No need to empty it every day; users say they empty theirs every 1-2 weeks
- Can accommodate up to five medium sized cats
- Doesn’t need to use proprietary waste bags/accessories
- Good build quality
- Simple design, very few moving parts
- It is low maintenance
- One of the most expensive in this list
- It can be very noisy
- It is large and heavy, takes up a lot of space
6. Pet Zone Smart Scoop Automatic Cat Litter Box
This is another smart automatic cat litter box that you will find useful at home. It uses a smart sensor for triggering the activation of the cleaning cycle. The motor and scooping rake will run automatically 15 minutes after your cat leaves the unit.
Its motor is powerful yet quiet. And you don’t need to buy costly crystal litter cartridge replacement because it can accommodate your favorite clumping litter.
Aside from the automatic litter box, the package includes one carbon zeolite filter that absorbs odor and six no-touch waste bags. The manufacturer backs it with a one year warranty.
- The motor is reasonably quiet; there’s some hissing sound but not enough to bother neighbors
- It is very easy to empty the litter collector at the back
- It is easy to clean the unit
- It is practical as it doesn’t require proprietary cartridge replacements
- It is backed by a one-year warranty
- Some users say it takes months for them to replace the bags
- It is easy to set up
- It can accommodate cats up to 20 pounds in weight
- Manufacturer gets a lot of positive reviews for its good customer support
- It has an instructional manual that you can refer to
- Some durability issues as there are users who complain that their units suddenly stopped working
- Waste gets stuck to the rake rather easily
- Scoop does not reach all the way to the bottom of the pan
7. Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box
With this self cleaning litter box from Omega Paw, you don’t have to worry about scooping your feline friend’s feces again. It measures 18 x 18 x 20 inches and should be able to accommodate big cats. It weighs just 6.5 pounds.
There’s a grill inside the litter box that divides the clumped tray and directing it into the pull out tray. It can clean itself by rolling to the right and back again. It requires no electricity and filters and can control dust and odors.
- It is big enough to accommodate cats who weigh as much as 25 pounds
- It is easy to dispose of the waste, as you only roll the unit to the right and return. Then pull out the scoop and dispose of the litter.
- It is backed by the manufacturer with a one-year warranty
- It is practical as there is no need to buy scoop, liner, or filter
- It gives cats privacy because it is of its covered pan design
- The opening is big at 9 x 9 inches—big cats can easily get inside it
- There’s the risk of the litter spilling on the floor if the lid is not completely sealed or closed
- A bit expensive
- Assembly can be tricky
- Not ideal for cats with stool problems
Our Recommended Product
Those are seven excellent auto litter boxes for cats, but which one is the best?
We have to go with the ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box. This one is a litter box that you can practically leave unattended for weeks. It can absorb urine pretty well, and control odor very effectively. You can also know the number of times that your pet has used the litter box as it has a health counter.
The safety sensors are very reliable and can automatically reset the rake timer once your pet has re-entered the unit. It can also give your cat a lot of privacy. We liked that it is very easy to use and that it requires very minimal maintenance. Others also point out that the disposable trays can last to a month or so. Finally, the unit is silent during the cleansing cycles.
Yes, it is a bit bulky and can take up a lot of space in the room. There’s some concern as well about the odor emanating from the unit although most reviews indicate that the smell isn’t that strong. Overall, the ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box is arguably the best self cleaning litter box in the market today. It’s something you should seriously consider getting.