We all love our cats. They are beloved members of our families, just as much as our spouses, siblings, parents, and children. But as much as we love them, the waste that they leave behind is definitely something none of us are fond of.
And while cats can be trained to go in a litter box, which certainly helps keep the rest of your house clean and feces-free, no pet owner among us actually enjoys scooping poop out of that box and disposing of it.
Luckily, there are some innovative new litter boxes out there to help with that! Within this article, we will explain the benefits of self-cleaning litter boxes and give you some pointers for both how to pick one out and how to use one once you buy it.
We’ve also compiled a list of our best self-cleaning litter boxes along with our reasons why we think they’re so great, in the hopes of helping you to narrow down your own search.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Do You Need a Self Cleaning Litter Box
- 2 Entirely Automatic vs. Manual Litter Box
- 3 Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Cleaning Litter Box
- 4 How to Choose the Best Self Cleaning Little Box
- 5 Best Self Cleaning Litter Boxes 2018 – Reviews and Guide
- 6 8 Best Automatic Litter Boxes
- 6.1 1. Litter-Robot III Open-Air Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box – Best Choice for Low Maintenance Automation
- 6.2 2. ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box – Best Choice for Long Periods of Use without Cleaning
- 6.3 3. CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Box – Best Choice for Hygiene
- 6.4 4. LitterMaid LM680C Automatic Self-Cleaning Classic Litter Box – Best Choice for a Single Cat
- 6.5 5. Pet Zone Smart Scoop Automatic Litter Box – Best Choice for Not Wasting Litter
- 6.6 6. LitterMaid LM580 Classic Series Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box – Best Choice for Limited Space
- 6.7 7. PetSafe Simply Clean Self Cleaning Litter Box – Best Choice for Ease of Use
- 6.8 8. Littermaid LM980 Mega Self-Cleaning Litter Box – Best Choice for Multiple Cats
- 7 2 Best Manual Litter Boxes
- 8 Some Tips on Using Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes
- 9 Conclusion
Why Do You Need a Self Cleaning Litter Box
While cleaning out your cat’s litter box by hand isn’t incredibly difficult, it also isn’t exactly very much fun. There are much better ways to spend your time than scooping up your pet’s poop, and self-cleaning litter boxes are indispensable in that regard.
And not only do automatic litter boxes save you time, they are also significantly more hygienic. If a regular litter box is used in your household, those feces will stay in the box until you (or another family member) comes along to clean the box and change the litter.
And while that might not seem so terrible as first glance, bear in mind that fecal matter is incredibly unhygienic and full of bacteria. If that poop is not removed in a timely manner, there is a chance your cat may walk in it and track it through your home, spreading germs and contaminating your living space.
Therefore, it’s in the best interests of both you and your cat to use a self-cleaning litter box. Not only is it better for you for saving time and maintaining hygiene, but a self-cleaning litter box can dramatically increase your cat’s quality of life.
Entirely Automatic vs. Manual Litter Box
The first thing to understand about self-cleaning litter boxes is that there are two basic types currently on the market.
The first type is pretty much entirely automatic and requires little effort on your part other than maintaining the machine and checking to make sure it’s working properly; you may need to switch out waste-collecting cartridges or clean the sifting mechanism occasionally.
The second type is more manual, and these types of litter boxes generally require a little more of a hands-on approach; these self-cleaning litter boxes don’t operate by themselves, instead you must initiate the cleaning yourself.
The primary difference between fully automatic and manual, other than the level of automation, is that automatic litter boxes require electrical or battery power and sometimes even water hook-ups, whereas the more manual ones do not.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Cleaning Litter Box
How to Choose the Best Self Cleaning Little Box
As with any product, there are a wide variety of things to look for when selecting a self-cleaning litter box for your household.
It can be confusing trying to figure out which qualities are the most important in any given product, so we’ve narrowed down a few key aspects to keep in mind when shopping for a self-cleaning litter box.
1. Ease of Use (for You and Your Cat) – Some self-cleaning litter boxes are simpler to utilize than others. Make sure to select a litter box that both you and your cat are comfortable with.
2. Number of Cats – Some litter boxes are better for a household with a single cat, while others are more useful if you have multiple cats.
3. Cleanliness – Hygiene is one of the major benefits of using a self-cleaning litter box, so it’s important to make sure that the box you select fits your hygienic needs.
4. Maintenance – How easy a given litter box is to clean and maintain is also an important factor. Some boxes need to be cleaned or have the litter changed more frequently than others.
5. Size – Some litter boxes are bigger than others, or more oddly shaped. If you live in a small apartment or another type of home with cramped quarters, the size (and shape) of your litter box is definitely something to keep in mind.
Best Self Cleaning Litter Boxes 2018 – Reviews and Guide
Finding the right self-cleaning litter box for both you and your pets can be a harrowing ideal. Most options have different and distinct features that set them apart, even when made by the same company.
To help you make the best decision possible, we’ve compiled a list of what we feel are the ten best choices currently available on the market, along with brief descriptions that highlight some of their key features.
We’ve also divided our list up, splitting up the eight more automatic varieties we found from the two more manual ones so that you can get a better idea of how each box functions.
8 Best Automatic Litter Boxes
1. Litter-Robot III Open-Air Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box – Best Choice for Low Maintenance Automation
This iteration of the Litter-Robot is the third in a series of automatic litter boxes well-known for being about as close to truly automated as you can get.
Using the latest applicable technologies, the Litter-Robot has an open entryway allowing easy access for any cat in your household, and it is also a good choice if you have multiple cats.
The unique built-in sensor can tell when your cat is currently using the box, and once your feline finishes their business and leaves, a timer counts down, allowing time for your pet’s waste to clump together before the automatic cleaning process begins.
The cleaning process itself is simple but effective; the globe portion of the litter box rotates once the timer has finished counting down, and the special sifting system separates the clumped waste from the clean litter, disposing of the waste in a drawer that utilizes a carbon filter.
This cleaning process can be timed for three, seven, or fifteen minutes after your cat has finished and left the litter box, and there is a flashing blue indicator light that will let you know when the drawer containing the waste is full.
This product also has a lock-out feature enabled for the control panel, so as to prevent tampering from children or curious pets.
The Litter-Bot also comes with a 90-day money back guarantee, and an 18-month full warranty, just in case you encounter any problems.
2. ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box – Best Choice for Long Periods of Use without Cleaning
This litter box is by far the best choice if you don’t want to have to even think about dealing with your cat’s waste for long periods of time. It is capable of self-cleaning for weeks without any need for additional scooping or cleaning on your part.
It also utilizes a specialized crystalline litter that absorbs waste odors much more effectively than other types of litter, and the closed compartment that holds the waste after cleaning also helps with odor control.
The timer on this litter box has three different settings, and will automatically reset if the sensor picks up on your cat re-entering the box, which is a very useful safety feature that helps prevent injuries to your pet from the waste rake.
This litter box also comes with an attached privacy hood, which helps create an atmosphere of safety and security for your cat while they’re doing their business, and the built-in counter will keep track of how often your cat uses the litter box, a very handy feature if you need to monitor how often your cat uses their litter box for health reasons.
3. CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Box – Best Choice for Hygiene
This self-cleaning litter box is incredibly unique in that it uses water to not only remove your cat’s waste from the box itself, but also to wash itself clean using a pet-safe sanitation solution. This keeps you from having to handle any waste at all, while also maintaining good hygiene.
The litter box’s cleaning schedule can be easily programmed with the straightforward display, so you can time the automatic cleaning for any time of day or night.
Also, this product does not use traditional litter, but instead uses specialized “Washable Granules” that help maintain a dust-free and odor-free litter box. This litter box also has a built-in dryer than will dry the granules once the washing cycle is over.
Setting up the product isn’t as easy as with other types, since some hands-on work is required to connect it to running water, but the product comes with a manual to help you get started. There is also a 2-year warranty in the event of any problems.
4. LitterMaid LM680C Automatic Self-Cleaning Classic Litter Box – Best Choice for a Single Cat
One of three LitterMaid products that we looked at, this product is a good choice if you have one cat in your household.
It, like various other self-cleaning litter boxes, utilizes a waste-removal rake to separate your pet’s poop from the clean litter. This product also has a carpeted ramp to help your pet easily access the litter box, and higher walls to help prevent litter from leaving the box.
This product cleans when the built-in sensor senses that your cat has finished their business, and once the rake has sifted through the litter, the waste is deposited into a waste receptacle that can be removed and replaced once it is full.
This self-cleaning litter box also comes with a sleep timer, so you can have it not operate overnight, which is a useful feature to have if you don’t want to be woken in the middle of the night by the sound of the litter box rake.
5. Pet Zone Smart Scoop Automatic Litter Box – Best Choice for Not Wasting Litter
This self-cleaning litter box is very sturdy and durable, and has a very powerful motor contained within in that makes the scooping rake function very smoothly and effectively. The rake itself is also very strong, since it’s made of metal and not plastic.
It is also one of the quietest self-cleaning litter boxes currently on the market; it is said to be almost four times quieter than similar automatic litter boxes.
The most appealing feature found in this particular product, however, is the efficiency of the metal scooping rake; unlike the plastic rakes found in some other similar litter boxes, the stronger rake in this product is very good at removing just the clumped waste and leaving clean litter behind.
This is a very important feature to have, so you can avoid wasting cat litter and therefore save at least a little money, since you won’t need to be buying additional litter as often.
Overall, this litter box is a good investment if you want something durable, quiet, and efficient.
6. LitterMaid LM580 Classic Series Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box – Best Choice for Limited Space
Another litter box from LitterMaid, this self-cleaning box is a good choice if you don’t have a lot of room in your home for a larger or bulkier litter box.
This litter box is similar to others in that it uses a specialized rake to sift through the litter and remove your pet’s waste, but this product stands apart for it’s compact size.
At only 14 inches by 14 inches, this litter box takes up very little room and can fit easily into tight spaces, such as in a closet or in a small bathroom.
This litter box also has adjustable programming, and dual-motion sensors that begin the cleaning process ten minutes after your cat has left the litter box; there is also an option to manually trigger the cleaning process if you need to do so.
7. PetSafe Simply Clean Self Cleaning Litter Box – Best Choice for Ease of Use
This product, which comes with a one-year warranty, is the best option currently on the market if you want something that requires minimal set-up after purchase. And not only is getting started with it easy, maintaining it and cleaning it is similarly simple.
The innovative design of this particular litter box doesn’t involve a waste rake like other boxes, but instead the cleaning method involves the rotation of the bowl-shaped litter box itself.
The litter bowl rotates at a slow pace continuously throughout the day, generally completing one full rotation every hour.
As the bowl spins, your pet’s waste is carefully sifted out of the litter and channeled into a small conveyor belt that transports the waste up into a secure closed container that can be removed and emptied at your convenience.
To make this litter box even more owner-friendly, you can use virtually any clumping litter, and the waste container can be lined with any small bag that fits, keeping you from having to deal with the frustration of ordering specific and expensive litters or waste cartridges like with other products.
8. Littermaid LM980 Mega Self-Cleaning Litter Box – Best Choice for Multiple Cats
There are other self-cleaning litter boxes that can be used in households with more than one cat, but in our opinion this third and final litter box from Littermaid is probably the best choice if you have multiple cats.
Much like the other Littermaid self-cleaning litter boxes, the LM980 has high walls to prevent spilled litter and utilizes a rake mechanism to clean clumped waste out of the main portion of the litter box.
The difference in the LM980, however, is its size. This litter box is much larger than similarly designed litter boxes, making it ideal for larger cats or a household that has multiple cats in residence.
This litter box has dimensions of 14 inches by 17 inches, and includes a carpeted ramp for ease of access and paw cleanliness. It is also deeper than other models, and can hold more litter as a result.
2 Best Manual Litter Boxes
1. Omega Paw Self-cleaning Litter Box – Best Choice for a Limited Budget
This litter box is a little more hands-on than some of the more truly automatic varieties. It doesn’t use electricity or battery power; instead, all it requires is that you come over and roll it over to the right and then back again when you want it clean.
This action (rolling it to one side and then back) separates your cat’s clumped waste from the clean litter and deposits it into a removable tray that is separated from the rest of the litter box by a specially designed grate.
This litter box is a good choice if you don’t mind having to do a little more work than with other more automatic products; it also comes highly recommended if you have larger cats or multiple cats.
This particular litter box is also by far and away the cheapest one currently available on the market, making it the perfect choice if you’re dealing with a lower income situation or a tighter pet-care budget.
2. Litter Spinner Quick Clean Cat Litter Box – Best Choice for Durability
This litter box isn’t as automatic as some of the others, but it makes up for that in durability. Made of sturdy polypropylene (a widely used thermoplastic polymer), this litter box does not require electrical power or battery power, and can be used in conjunction with any clumping cat litter.
Unlike other self-cleaning litter boxes that use waste rakes that can become jammed or break, this litter box is designed to separate the clumped waste from the clean litter with one easy spin from you, depositing the waste into a removable drawer once you’re done.
It is, however, considerably larger than most other self-cleaning litter boxes; it is 18 inches wide, 20 inches high, and 14.5 inches deep, so it would probably not be a good choice if you live in a smaller home or apartment.
Some Tips on Using Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes
As with any product, it is important to follow the care directions that come with your new litter box. Those instructions will help you maintain your litter box and ensure that it remains effective for as long as possible.
That being said, we’ve compiled a list of some important pointers to keep in mind when using your self-cleaning litter boxes.
1. Use the Recommended Litter – You might have a type or brand of litter that you prefer to use, but make sure it matches the specifications of your litter box; some automatic litter boxes will jam or not function properly with the wrong kind of litter.
2. Pick a Litter Box Your Cat Will Use – This may seem rather obvious, but make sure you pick a box that your cat isn’t afraid to use. Some cats won’t approach an automatic litter box, or find the moving parts frightening; choose something they’re comfortable with.
3. Check the litter box periodically – While they are “automatic”, it’s still a good idea to check on your self-cleaning litter box from time to time and even clean it out completely once in a while. This helps to keep it working smoothly and extend the product’s lifespan.
4. Be Patient When Introducing Your Cat to the New Litter Box – Cats are, as we all know, a bit on the fussy side. Most cats will need an adjustment period to get used to using their new automatic litter box. Also, make sure to keep their old litter box around for a few days just in case they refuse to use the new one.
All in all, a self-cleaning litter box is a good investment to make if you want to have cleaning up after your beloved feline a little less of a smelly and time-consuming hassle.
It’s up to you which type of litter box you choose, but we hope that the information we’ve provided for you in this article can help you make a well-informed decision that will benefit not just you but your furry companion as well.