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For anyone who has ever owned a pet, it’s no secret that they require a lot of care, attention and hygienic maintenance. But, because we love our pets, providing that excellent care and safe environment is well worth all of the joy and love our furry friends give in return.
Now, that’s not to say it’s all fun and games— certain tasks are much less enjoyable than others— but like the smart pet owners we are, we’re always looking for ways to improve the daily routines for both ourselves and our animals. For dog owners, this might be getting odor resistant bags, or a lint roller for stray hair, but for cat owners, it might look something like a self-cleaning litter box.
Anyone who has ever owned a cat knows that the litter box can become quite a task, whether it’s being used by one or multiple cats. Litter is messy— like sand, it has the ability to be everywhere all at once— and it’s not always great at trapping odors. In addition, for busy pet owners, getting to the litter box falls among a long list of to-do items, meaning that odors spread beyond just the mudroom. These, among many other reasons, are good enough to imply that a self-cleaning litter box is well worth any cat owner’s investment.
It’s for these reasons that I set out to find the best self cleaning litter box for the money and ultimately chose the ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box.
Top Self Cleaning Litter Boxes:
What is a Self-Cleaning Litter Box?
Now, it may be redundant to explain what a self-cleaning litter box is, as it is essentially what it sounds like— a power-operated litter box that cleans out any defecation made by your animal. Still, as any good consumer knows, it is still a good idea to know as much about these handy tools as possible before actually making the investment.
Self-cleaning litter boxes are sensor activated and store waste in a separate compartment. Unlike standard litter boxes, these separated waste compartments keep odors locked in and prevent them from spreading throughout your home.
The Basics of a Self-Cleaning Litter Box
With internet shopping on the rise, as well as a multitude of traditional stores, the vast expanse of brands and styles can be incredibly overwhelming. That being said, the basics of self-cleaning litter boxes are very similar.
For example, most self-cleaning boxes have a rake that runs through the litter and sifts out any waste. These rakes are activated by sensors set to timers that begin the cleaning process after the cat leaves the box. Additionally, most boxes are operated by some sort of power source, whether it is electric or battery-operated.
Though self-cleaning litter boxes have a lot similarities in function, it is important to note that different boxes will require different kinds of litter. The box directions will inform you as to what kind of litter is needed, whether it be clumping, fine, etc.
A final thing to remember when investing in a self-cleaning litter box is that some pets may need time to adjust before feeling comfortable using it. If your pet is highly anxious or frightened by loud sounds, it maybe be best to leave the box powered down until the animal gets used to the new device.
ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box – Top Self Cleaning Litter Box
- Automatically removes waste: No scooping, cleaning or...
- Unbeatable odor control: Crystal litter removes smell by...
- No more messy floors: Low-tracking crystals are 99% dust...
- Leak protection: Disposable trays have plastic lining to...
- Easy cleanup: Simply remove the tray and throw it away; Each...
- 18 lbs
- 4 x 19 x 7 in
- ScoopFree Disposable Litter Trays
- Multiple cats
- Easy setup
- Odor eliminating crystals
- Sensor-activated timer
- Easy waste disposal
- Disposable litter trays can be expensive
- Not suited for humid places or rooms
- May need additional odor eliminating tools
The ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box is similar in many ways to the LitterMaid but flaunts slightly higher customer satisfaction at about a $50 price difference. This box utilizes the same automatic rake system, activated by a twenty minute timer that is activated every time a cat makes use of the box.
It is a great setup for multiple cats, but it should be noted that multiple cat use will lead to a shorter lifespan of the disposable trays. The standard usage period of the disposable trays are typically between 2 – 3 weeks depending on how many cats utilize the box. The blue crystals lock in odors from the box and prevent spreading throughout your home. However, because the crystals are moisture-activated, the box cannot be kept in rooms that have high humidity, such as bathrooms.
Some consumers claim that the disposable litter trays can become expensive, but many have solved this issue by purchasing permanent trays and other crystals litters such as the one sold by LitterMaid.
This litter box has great reviews and is a favorite among the lesser expensive self-cleaning boxes.
LitterMaid LM680C – Budget Alternative
- SINGLE CAT SELF-CLEANING LITTER BOX: This litter box has...
- LOW MAINTENANCE: When used as directed, the LitterMaid...
- ODOR CONTROL: Once the rake removes waste, the waste...
- LITTER BOX DESIGN KEEPS AREA CLEAN: Designed with high walls...
- ACCESSORIES INCLUDE: 4 waste receptacles, 4 carbon filters,...
- 10 x 17.8 x 24.6 inches
- LitterMaid clumping litter
- Multiple cats
- Holds 50% more litter
- Cleaning pad
- Carbon filters monitor odor
- Disposable waste receptacles
- Cats under 15lbs
- Can be noisy
- Overfill can cause jamming
The LitterMaid is both a less complex and less expensive alternative to the Litter Robot III. Though it is designed with single cat households in mind, the LitterMaid can accommodate multiple cats so long as the waste receptacles are removed routinely. Additionally, this litter box has a special cleaning pad that traps litter as cats go in and out, keeping litter inside of the box where it belongs.
Part of what makes the LitterMaid a great alternative option are the carbon filters which monitor the odors and prevent them from spreading throughout the house. The waste receptacles are also easy to remove and replace, making cleaning the box a simple task.
Some consumers feel that the waste receptacles become an unnecessary expense, so they opt to use garbage bags in place of the receptacles so that is an option to reduce cost as well.
Unlike the Litter Robot III, the LitterMaid has been known to be a bit noisier and does not have a night mode option. Additionally, other consumers report that the motor can jam if the box is overfilled with litter so regular removal is required with this system. However, it’s fully automatic system is incredibly effective when properly maintained.
CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Box – Premium Alternative
- Product Dimensions: CatGenie is 19.25" wide in front. 17.5"...
- Programmable cleaning cycle
- Easy to setup
- Great for multiple cats (3 at most)
- 100% dust-free
- Flushes waste away and washes itself clean
- Uses litter-like washable granules not clay litter
- Requires hookup to cold water and electrical outlet
- Claims litter during cleaning
- Clogs are possible
If you live in a household with multiple feline friends, the Genie Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Box is a great pick for you. It’s built specifically with multiple cats in mind and programmable cleaning cycle that begins at when you prefer.
Unlike many other boxes this one liquefies solid waste and washes away into a toilet or washer drain.
The unit is not noiseless, but the noise it does create is relatively quiet and can be lessened by setting the box to clean when you’re away. The box also has sensors that allow it to stop automatically if a cat enters in the middle of a cleaning cycle.
The biggest benefit here is the convenience of not having to handle any waste. You’re essentially trading more money for more convenience with a splash of more sanitation.
On the downside, the unit has a tendency to slowly claim litter through the waste hose through it’s various cycles and may lead to clogs if the hose has a long vertical climb to the drain. For some, the cleaning cycles feel too lengthy at 30-40 minutes.
Alternative I Can’t Recommend
Hagen Catit SmartSift Litter Box — This is a product that is much cheaper than most self-cleaning boxes, however many report that it does not work very well. The box is also incredibly large in size and does not have any motor operated parts. Instead, it works via a manually operated lever that sifts out waste. However, it is reported to often waste litter that is still good, meaning that you go through litter much quicker and less efficiently. Though this box is inexpensive compared to most, it is often ineffective and wasteful.
When it comes to our pets, we always want to make sure they’re receiving the best care possible. However, sometimes life gets busy and certain things fall by the wayside. That’s why getting a self-cleaning litter box is a great idea for any cat owner, whether you have one or many furry friends. Self-cleaning litter boxes are able to manage waste and odor for you, making sure that your pet has a clean and safe place to go to the bathroom.
In my opinion the best self cleaning cat box for the money is the ScoopFree Ultra. It is a big investment to make, although it is likely to be the only self-cleaning box you’ll need. However, the LitterMaid is a cheaper and highly recommended alternative if you’re trying to upgrade your litter box without breaking the bank.
At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with any of these options and your pets are sure to adapt to their new facilities in no time. If you’re looking for a better way to clean up after your cats, a self-cleaning litter box is certainly the way to go.