Owning a cat should be a pleasure, not a chore.
Let’s face it, you didn’t get a cat because you wanted to clean up after it.
You got a cat because they’re fun, great company and a little quirky — at least that’s why I did.
You have better things to do than hunch over a smelly litter tray and sift through dusty clay for clumps of poo.
What a Best Automatic Litter Box/Best Self Cleaning Litter Box Can Do For You
Imagine NEVER having to pick through your cat’s feces again.
Imagine crossing that chore off your list forever.
How would you feel knowing that the worst part of owning a cat was gone for good?
Life’s too short to spend time doing things you don’t like doing.
Welcome to the automatic litter box.
Different Categories of Best Self Cleaning Litter Box
Because automatic litter boxes have varying prices and may be appealing to different cat owners for different reasons, I will use the following three categories for the purposes of this review:
- Best automatic litter box in the premium category
- Best automatic litter box in the premium economy category
- Best automatic litter box in the entry-level category
I’ll use both the terms “best automatic litter box” and “best self-cleaning litter box”, as these are often used interchangeably by both manufacturers and retailers.
I’ve been looking forward to writing this review for a few weeks now because I’ve recently purchased the best self-cleaning litter box on this list — a Litter-Robot III.
I used to dread cleaning the litter box more than any other chore. So much so, that sometimes I would put it off for waaay too long.
I hated everything about cleaning up after my cat.
The disgusting smell.
The pain in my lower back.
The way I would dry retch just looking at the waste and what it sometimes contained…
Finally, I had enough, I took a breath, jumped off the high-board and got myself the best self-cleaning litter box on the market.
And boy am I glad I did!
In order to find the best automatic litter box for my cat Max, I did a ton of research and now I want to share that information with you.
There countless hours of testing and multiple smell tests for leftover kiddy poop, here are the overall top five self cleaning/automatic litter boxes.
Litter-Robot III Open Air
The Litter-Robot III Open Air is the best self cleaning litter box out there period.
It is the most recent product from the team at Litter-Robot, the makers of the acclaimed Litter-Robot II Classic.
The Litter-Robot III does something that many products claim to do, but few actually achieve. It quickly and efficiently cleans up after your cat.
It looks good too, a contemporary flowing design and a futuristic egg-shaped litter chamber, make it look more like a time machine than the best self cleaning litter box on the market.
It actually does the job — Where to start?! The Litter-Robot III is the best automatic litter box for the simple reason that it actually does the job.
Simply set it and forget it!
Many products are touted as the “best self cleaning litter box” or the “best automatic litter box”, but very few actually clean waste effectively and efficiently with minimal human input.
The Litter-Robot III does just that due to its unique cleaning mechanism.
Where other products rake or sort waste and litter which can sometimes be ineffective, the Litter Robot III rotates the entire litter chamber more than 180° using gravity to separate waste and clean litter.
Efficient odor management — This product nullifies odor immediately because it has an odor-absorbing charcoal filter located in the waste compartment.
The waste in the Litter-Robot III is in a sealed compartment underneath the entire Litter Robot system. This means that there is no chance for the odor to escape into the surrounding air.
It also uses moisture absorbing clumping cat litter, which soaks up liquid waste and dries out solid waste, greatly reducing unwanted odors.
The litter chamber can accommodate all cat sizes — One issue with competing products is that the size of the litter box is not sufficient for larger breeds, or cats that like room in the litter box.
It is cost efficient — Besides clumping cat litter, the Litter-Robot doesn’t need additional consumables, making it very cost-efficient to operate.
This differentiates it from other types of best automatic litter box, that require the recurring purchase of specific consumables such as sanitizers, litter or litter trays.
It is jam-packed with features — The designers of the Litter-Robot have thought of EVERYTHING.
Some of the features include:
- An adjustable cycle timer that allows you to choose a 3, 7 or 15-minute delay from the time your cat uses the Litter-Robot to the time the machine commences its cleaning cycle
- A night light that switches on in low light conditions so your cat can see what it is doing at night or in dark rooms
- A sensor light that indicates when the waste drawer is full and needs to be emptied. The waste drawer can also take any type of plastic bag
- A night mode that puts the device on standby for 8 hours while you sleep so there is no noise
- An optional battery backup kit that provides up to 48 hours of reserve power
- A control panel lockout function that prevents your cat or children accidentally changing settings
Your cat will track minimal litter outside the litter box — One major gripe of people who own an automatic litter box, is that they are messy and that cats will track litter outside the box.
The Litter-Robot III features a raised entry and exit lip in the litter chamber, meaning that your cat will track minimal litter outside the device.
It also features an additional step that is designed to capture litter.
Risk-free purchase and peace of mind — The Litter-Robot is made to the highest standards using the best quality materials.
It comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee and an 18-month warranty, so you can sleep easy knowing your investment is secure.
The size of the unit — The litter robot is large, so you will need ample space to put it somewhere.
An enclosed space — Very timid cats may need some time to adjust to the Litter-Robot as the litter is inside an enclosed chamber.
The Final Word
The Litter-Robot III is without a doubt the best self cleaning litter box money can buy.
It provides every feature a cat owner could want, along with a genuine “set and forget” cleaning mechanism that WORKS.
This best self cleaning litter box is a premium product, and at USD 449 it can be a significant investment — it was for me. That being said, I think it provides incredible value for money.
What you are really purchasing here is the permanent removal of a chore you hate.
In deciding whether to buy this product myself, I actually did the math. I took the purchase price of USD 449 and added another USD 40 for 60lbs of clumping cat litter over this time.
I then divided this by the minimum 18 month risk-free warranty period — this is the worst case scenario, realistically the Litter-Robot should last longer than its warranty. I then divided each month by four to get a per-week cost.
The per-week cost of this unit is a very affordable USD 6.80. A price I was more than willing to pay to be done with scooping up poop forever.
- Efficient and effective “set and forget” waste disposal solution
- Effective odor control
- Suitable for several cats as well as larger cats
- Low ongoing consumable costs
- Several cycle timing options
- Digital control interface
- Night light
- Full waste compartment light
- High-quality construction
- 90-day money back guarantee and 2-year warranty
- It is a physically large unit
- Timid cats may find the litter chamber daunting at firs
Total Score 98/100
CatGenie Litter Box
This best self cleaning litter box from CatGenie looks like a miniature toilet for your cat and uses an ingenuitive method to collect and dispose of cat waste.
The CatGenie uses water to swirl and sort waste into a hopper. This hopper then deposits the waste into a waste liquefier that disposes of liquefied waste via hoses into a toilet or through a water connection.
The specialized plastic litter granules are then washed with CatGenie’s “sani-solution” and are finally blow-dried so they are ready for the next use.
This product is suitable for 1–3 average sized cats.
You never come into contact with waste — This best automatic litter box from CatGenie is the only one on this list that does not require waste disposal in some form by the owner.
This means you never have to empty a waste tray or come into contact with your cat’s waste.
Waste is liquefied and transported off the premises via the connected water pipes or goes straight into your toilet for flushing.
Quality construction gives you peace of mind — The CatGenie is a very well constructed and robust unit that uses high-quality internal parts.
This product also comes with an industry-leading 2-year warranty, giving you peace of mind that you own your product risk-free for a minimum of two years.
No more dusty cat litter — CatGenie’s environmentally friendly granules are made of plastic and are re-washable. This means you won’t need to use dusty cat litter ever again.
Convenient and safe — The CatGenie has three cleaning modes: cat activation mode, automatic cycle mode (which cleans 1 – 4 times a day) or manual mode.
It also has other convenient features such as a child and cat lock to prevent cats and children from starting a wash accidentally, along with a re-fill indicator for the sanitary cartridge.
Plastic granules can be problematic — The plastic granules of this product are smaller and lighter than normal cat litter and this means your cat may track a larger amount of litter outside the unit.
Another issue with plastic litter is that it may not be as effective at absorbing the smell of cat waste as some more porous clumping litters — frequent cycling is recommended.
This unit can be loud — This is especially true when the liquefier is working. That being said, unless it is set to the “cat activated” setting, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem as the cycle will only run 4 times a day or when activated by you.
This product uses specific consumables — The CatGenie requires the brand’s specific “sani-solution” to function. The litter will also need to be replaced from time to time as your cat will track it outside the bowl.
The Final Word
This best self cleaning litter box is definitely one of the top contenders.
If you are somebody who does not want to see or deal with your cat’s waste in any way shape or form, this is the litter solution for you.
The CatGenie provides excellent convenience and great value for money. USD 239.99 is great price to pay for never having to see or deal with cat waste again.
- Fully automatic system means you have no contact with waste
- Excellent quality
- 2 year warranty
- Dust-free plastic granules
- Several cycle options and cartridge refill indicator
- Child and cat proof
- Plastic granules have some drawbacks
- Can be noisy
- Requires specific consumables
Total Score 95/100
ScoopFree Ultra Litter Box
The ScoopFree Ultra best automatic litter box is a rake-type unit that uses disposable crystal litter “cartridges”.
It utilizes a traditional rectangle litter box shape and is enclosed by a privacy cover.
This best self cleaning litter box utilizes an angled stainless steel rake that glides smoothly through the litter, to push waste into a self-contained waste compartment.
Excellent odor control — The ScoopFree Ultra utilizes litter crystals that are 5 times more effective at odor control, due to the fact that they quickly absorb liquid waste and dry out solid waste.
This product also has a self-contained waste compartment that is synchronized with the rake, to effectively seal waste odors and keep waste out of sight.
It is perfect for noise sensitive environments — The ScoopFree Ultra has a whisper quiet rake motor and is one of the quietest self cleaning litter boxes on this list.
It is convenient and assists with monitoring your cat’s diet — The ScoopFree Ultra has a digital interface that allows you to set cycle intervals of 5, 10 and 20 minutes after your cat leaves the box.
It also has a health counter that shows you how many times your cat has used the litter tray in a set period, allowing you to effectively monitor your cat’s digestive patterns.
Crystals may not be ideal in every scenario — The crystal-type litter this product uses may not be suitable in high moisture environments or for cats that urinate a lot, as the crystal needs a dry environment to function at an optimal level.
Consumables need replacing — This unit requires the use of disposable crystal “cartridges” that include the base of the ScoopFree Ultra.
While a cartridge will last around 1 month, in reality this may be closer to a couple of weeks if you have more than one cat.
If this is undesirable you can purchase a “Forever Tray”, a permanent tray designed especially for the ScoopFree Ultra, that means you no longer need to buy cartridges for this product.
The Final Word
At USD 159.95, this is a great product if you have a more modest budget, yet still, want a quality litter solution with a simple operating mechanism that also comes with a 1-year limited warranty.
- Excellent odor control
- Very silent motor
- Several timing options
- Health counter allows you to observe your cat’s habits
- 1-year limited warranty
- Effectiveness of crystal litter is contingent on a dry environment
- This product requires specific consumables
Total Score 85/100
Pet Zone Smart Scoop
Rugged and reliable, the Pet Zone Smart Scoop rake style litter box, is the best automatic litter box in the entry-level category.
The motor, waste bin and rake are part of one unit that moves across the length of the litter tray.
Low-cost option — This best automatic litter box is designed with the price conscious buyer in mind. It has a permanent base and only needs cat litter.
The waste compartment is also designed to take any kind of generic plastic bag.
Effective odor reduction — This product as an odor-absorbing carbon zeolite filter in the waste chamber that eliminates odors immediately.
It is simple to use — The PetZone Smart Scoop has a simple and user-friendly modular design and only takes a few minutes to construct or pull apart.
This product also comes with a very simple interface and only one 15 minute after-use cycle option — it is perfect for people who prefer not to be inundated with settings and choices.
This product may not be suitable for noise sensitive environments or people — The motor on this product can be quite loud. If you want a product you can run at night or you are a light sleeper, this may not be the product for you.
Only suitable for one average sized cat — This product has been designed for a single average sized cat, and the rake mechanism may become strained if used by several cats or larger cats.
The Final Word
At a very reasonable USD 110 with a 1-year warranty, the Pet Zone Smart Scoop is the best automatic litter box in the entry-level category.
It is the perfect product for someone with a single cat who wants a no-frills automatic litter solution (an elderly aunt or grandparent for example).
- Cheap and provides great value for money
- Doesn’t require expensive consumables
- Efficient at minimizing odors
- Modular design and simple features
- Not suitable for more than one average-sized cat
Total Score 80/100
PetSafe Simply Clean
The PetSafe Simply Clean best self cleaning litter box is the runner-up in the entry-level category.
This low profile product comes in a green, grey and white color scheme and has a mixer-type design.
The PetSafe Simply Clean is designed to constantly rotate at a very low speed, so it is always working and cleaning.
Waste is sifted continuously and gathers near the conveyer belt to be lifted and moved to the wastebasket.
There are no visible moving parts to scare your cat or get it tangled.
Excellent value for money — Priced at USD 82.99 this is definitely a product that deserves to be on the best self cleaning litter box list.
This product provides some of the functionality of more expensive models for a fraction of the price.
It also comes with a 1-year warranty. Petsafe are well known for their obliging and efficient customer service and if issues arise you will be in good hands.
The best option for noise sensitive environments — This product is so quiet that you won’t even know it’s on.
You may even find yourself touching it to make sure it is working at all!
Low consumable costs — The PetSafe Simply Clean has no recurring consumable costs apart from cat litter.
Engine durability can be a problem if it is left on all the time — There may be issues with this product if it is always left on to rotate.
This is more a design issue than a reflection on the quality of the motor, as 24/7 operation of anything with moving parts will gradually wear those parts down.
One “fix” for this, is to buy an automatic timer to turn the machine off at regular intervals.
Timers range from between USD 6 and USD 20 and will greatly improve the life of the product, as the engine is not constantly on and has time to rest.
Only suitable for cats up to 15lbs — While it is a large unit, this product is only suitable for cats up to 15lbs so it may not be suitable for larger cats or for more than two cats.
Not suitable for confined spaces — The PetSafe Simply Clean litter box does not have a self-contained waste unit, meaning that this product may not be the best choice if you don’t have much space, or if your cat’s waste has a strong odor.
The Final Word on the best self-cleaning litter boxes
The PetSafe Simply Clean is the runner-up best automatic litter box in the entry-level category for a good reason.
When combined with a cheap timer, this product combines good functionality with longevity and an unbeatable price.
This is the perfect product for people who want a no-frills product that does the job, or for people who want to “test the waters” without committing to a premium category best self cleaning litter box.
- Cheap and provides great value for money
- 1-year warranty and comes with excellent customer service
- Whisper quiet
- No recurring consumables required
- You may need to purchase a timer to reduce strain on the engine
- Only suitable for cats up to 15lbs
- Not suitable for confined spaces
Overall Score 78/100