Wouldn’t it be nice if you never had to scoop cat litter ever again?
Well, you don’t! The best automatic litter boxes are easy to set up, and require very little work and maintenance.
I have reviewed the three most popular models, to help you find the best one.
- 1 Best Automatic Litter Box Comparison Chart
- 2 Why Get a Self-Cleaning Automatic Litter Box?
- 3 Litter-Robot III Open-Air Litter Box Review
- 4 CatGenie Self-Washing Self-Flushing Cat Box Review
- 5 ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box Review
- 6 Conclusion
Best Automatic Litter Box Comparison Chart
|Litter-Robot III Open-Air Litter Box||- Indicates when full|
- Multiple cats
- Normal cat litter
- Carbon-filtered waste drawer
|CatGenie Self-Washing Self-Flushing Cat Box||- 1-2 cats|
- Washable granules
- Flushes with water
- Mechanical scoop
- Uses sanitizer
- Child lock
|ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box||- Absorbent crystal litter|
- Disposable litter trays
- Health counter
- Privacy hood
- Ideal for 1 cat
Before we dive into the details to discuss the pros and cons of each litter box, let’s start with the basics.
Litter-Robot III Open-Air Litter Box Review
Litter-Robot III Open-Air Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box is the latest update to the popular Litter-Robot platform. It’s the iPhone of self-cleaning litter boxes – sleek and futuristic, and it just works. But just like the iPhone, it’s an expensive premium product.
How does it work?
- A sensor detects when your cat uses the Litter-Robot III and starts a timer (can be set to 3, 7, or 15 minutes).
- When the preset time has elapsed, the globe starts to slowly rotate. The rotational movement creates a sifting process that separates the waste from the litter.
- The waste then drops into a hidden drawer where a carbon filter stops bad odor from seeping out.
- A blue light flashes when the waste drawer is full. Just open the drawer and take out the garbage bag, and then put a new garbage bag in.
Here’s a video clip that shows you how it all works:
- 8-hour sleep mode (peace and quiet during the night).
- Carbon-filtered waste drawer (less odor).
- Detects and indicates when waste drawer is full.
- Adjustable timer (3-, 7-, or 15-minute delay).
- Automatic night light.
What do I think?
The Litter-Robot III has a lot going for it. The indicator that tells you when it’s full, and the ability to accommodate several cats, are two great features. But I especially like that you can use normal cat litter, which will save you a lot of money and hassle compared to competing products.
The downside, of course, is that it’s expensive to purchase. But if you have multiple cats and you’re prepared to invest a bit of money in your pets, this is definitely the best option for you.
I should also mention that it comes fully assembled and is simple to use. All you have to do is to put a garbage bag in the waste drawer, and then just plug it in. Electricity is all it needs. No water, no special accessories.
I know that buying expensive items like the Litter-Robot III online can feel a bit scary (“What if it’s broken or doesn’t work?”). Fortunately it comes with a 1½-year full warranty and a money-back guarantee that’s valid for 90 days. If you don’t like it, just send it back.
All in all, I think the Litter-Robot III Open-Air Litter Box is a great product.
CatGenie Self-Washing Self-Flushing Cat Box Review
The CatGenie Self-Washing Self-Flushing Cat Box is actually a litter-free litter box. Sounds funny, but it’s true.
The CatGenie cat box uses biodegradable non-absorbing granules instead of normal clay or clumping litter. After your cat has used the cat box, the waste is removed, and the granules are cleaned and ready to be used again.
Yep, that’s right. The granules are washable and reusable, which means that you’ll never have to buy or touch cat litter again.
How does it work?
- The cat uses the CatGenie.
- A sensor starts a 10- or 30-minute countdown, which then activates the cleaning process. (You could also start it by pressing the start button, or set it to run automatically up to four times a day.)
- When the countdown is finished, water flushes and liquifies the waste. A mechanical scoop removes the solid waste, while the rest is flushed away through holes in the bottom of the bowl.
- A sanitation solution cleans the granules and the bowl.
- The wet granules are heated and dried. The cat box is ready to be used again.
To prevent water damages from potential leaks, make sure you place the CatGenie in a bathroom or laundry room.
Here’s a video that shows you the entire process, from unpacking and assembly, to setting it up and using it:
- Washable and reusable granules instead of normal litter.
- Water flushes away the urine, and a mechanical scoop removes the poop.
- Sanitation solution (SaniSolution) keeps it clean and hygienic.
- Child lock prevents your kids (or cats) from accidentally starting it.
What do I think?
The CatGenie is a great option if you want a low-maintenance litter box that hardly requires any work on your part.
Since the waste is flushed away down the drain, and the granules are washed and reused, you’ll never have to refill any litter, change garbage bags, or empty any waste drawers. It’s really a hands-off operation.
But if you have more than two cats, the CatGenie box is not for you, because the cleaning cycle takes about 30 minutes. With multiple cats, there’s a significant risk that they want to go at the same time (if you feed them at the same time).
A good thing is that it’s easy to assemble and install (as you could see from the video). No tools are required for assembly, except maybe for a pair of pliers when you connect it to a faucet. It will be up and running in a matter of minutes.
What about price? Well, compared to normal litter boxes, this is obviously an expensive product. But compared to automatic litter boxes, the CatGenie Cat Box is rather medium priced. For what you get, I think the purchase price is fair.
It comes with a 2-year warranty.
ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box Review
The ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box is the cheapest of the three automatic litter boxes we have reviewed.
It uses a crystal litter that absorbs urine and odor, and dehydrates the poop, and a steel rake that pushes the remaining solid waste into a covered waste trap. Bad odor is significantly reduced compared to a normal litter box.
ScoopFree is available in two colors; purple and taupe.
How does it work?
- Sensors detect when the cat uses the ScoopFree litter box.
- A countdown timer is activated.
- The crystal litter absorbs the urine.
- After the preset time delay (3 timing settings), a stainless steel rake combs through the litter, and pushes the poop into a hidden waste trap.
- After a few weeks of usage, just put the lid on the disposable litter tray and throw it in the trash. Put in a new tray (pre-filled with crystal litter).
For safety reasons, the timer will reset if your cat decides to use the litter box again before the cleaning cycle has started.
Make sure you place the litter box in a dry and well-ventilated room. Placing it in for example a bathroom (which often is wet and humid) will shorten the life span of the crystal litter (since it absorbs moisture).
A bonus feature is the health counter. It keeps track on how many times your cat uses the box, which could help you discover any illnesses or imbalances.
If you want to see it in action, take a look at this video:
- Disposable litter trays pre-filled with fresh litter.
- Adjustable timer (three settings).
- Health counter.
- Privacy hood helps to keep the litter in the tray.
What do I think?
I like the ScoopFree a lot for several reasons. It’s more affordable than the competitors, you don’t need to connect any water hoses (like the CatGenie), and it works for weeks with no maintenance.
Some cat owners (with one cat in the household) report that they change the tray only once a month. For a lazy man like myself, that’s really good news.
What I don’t like, are the expensive crystal litter trays. If you buy them in 3-pack, you’ll have to pay about $15-$20 per tray. Under optimal conditions (one healthy small-sized cat) you’ll use one tray per month.
Dishing out $15-$20/month (at best) is the reason I only recommend this product for people with one cat. With multiple cats, ScoopFree is not your best option.
To help keep the litter in and around the ScoopFree litter box, I’d recommend that you get the accompanying ScoopFree Anti-Tracking Litter Mat. Together with the privacy hood, it will definitely help to reduce mess.
So, time to answer our initial question; what is the best automatic litter box for cats?
If you have more than two cats, or if money is of no concern, the top-rated Litter-Robot III Open-Air Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box is definitely the best option for you. The other two products are simply not ideal for multiple cats.
But if you only have one cat, the question becomes harder to answer.
Weighing in things like cost, maintenance and odor, my winner is the ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box.
It’s affordable to purchase, easy to set up and use, requires very little maintenance, it’s silent, and the clean-up is super simple.