5 Best Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes (We Tested Them All)

 

 

 

Hey guys, it’s Mallory here with All About Cats. In this week’s video, we’re going to be taking a look at the top five best self cleaning automatic litter boxes on the market. If you’ve been watching our videos for a while, you’ll know that we’ve tried out a number of automatic litter boxes and done in-depth reviews on them.

So over the last few months, I’ve been testing out litter boxes, researching them, and figuring out what differentiates a good litter box from a not-so-good litter box. And what that experience has shown me is that there really is no perfect automatic litter box.

As you might imagine, an automatic litter box is going to be significantly more prone to flaws and malfunctions when compared to a traditional litter box. And even after testing out most of the most popular automatic litter boxes on the market, I’ve yet to find one that ticks all the boxes for every person and every cat.

So in this video, I’m going to be telling you about my thoughts on each of these litter boxes and which type of person I think is going to get the most out of each of them. So our first recommendation is going to be the Litter-Robot III with Connect.

Again, I’ve tried out a number of different automatic litter boxes over the last year. And the Litter-Robot is the one that I keep coming back to. It’s the one that I’m actually using currently with my two cats, and it’s the one that I found to be the most consistent.

So in contrast to the majority of automatic litter boxes that use a raking mechanism to kind of scoop up waste and then put it into a waste receptacle, the Litter-Robot uses this rotating motion in order to sift out waste.

So you use a clumping litter and then clumps as well as solid waste will be moved into the waste drawer, while clean litter is stashed and then returned to the litter box at the end of the cycle. The Litter-Robot’s design allows it to avoid a lot of the problems that I’m seeing in other automatic litter boxes.

I think the most obvious area where it’s set apart from the competition is in its lack of sticking. So when I was using other automatic litter boxes, very often litter would clump to the rake or other nooks and crannies around the litter box.

But because the Litter-Robot uses this rotating sifting mechanism, it doesn’t have a rake, and it has a rubber liner that kind of pops out, with no real crevices where waste could get stuck, it really doesn’t have a lot of that sticking.

While I was using it with my cats, I found that the Litter-Robot did a good job of keeping everything clean and controlling odors. Additionally, the Litter-Robot pairs with the Litter-Robot Connect app, which allows you to monitor the status of your Litter-Robot, trigger manual cleanings, and make certain adjustments in the way that the Litter-Robot works.

It also allows you to monitor your cat’s usage of the Litter-Robot, which is really beneficial since some other automatic litter boxes leave you in the dark on what your cat is doing in there. The Litter-Robot can also be paired with various smart home appliances, like a Roomba.

So for example, you can program your Roomba to go into the room and do a cleanup every time that the Litter-Robot cycles. So overall, between its clean cycling, reliable performance and the advantages of the Connect app, I’ve been pretty happy with the Litter-Robot.

Now I’ve had some issues over the years using the Litter-Robot. For example, my larger cat, Wessie, finds it a bit too cramped, and my lighter cat, Forest, doesn’t always activate the Litter-Robot.

So sometimes it won’t detect her in the box and it won’t run a cycle after she uses it. Overall, I would say that if you can stomach the $499 price tag, the Litter-Robot III is a worthwhile investment.

Now our next recommendation is the Petsafe ScoopFree Ultra. The Petsafe ScoopFree Ultra works with silica gel crystals, which are already a really low-maintenance alternative to traditional cat litter.

So the Petsafe ScoopFree really only needs to scrape across and remove any solid waste and store it in a little waste pocket at the end of the litter box. The urine can just remain in the tray for anywhere between a week and a month, depending on how many cats you have.

After up to a month if you’re using it with one cat, you’re just going to discard the contents of the tray and replace it with a new tray full of silica gel crystals. In my experience with the Petsafe ScoopFree, I found that this a pretty consistent automatic litter box.

I haven’t noticed a lot of malfunctions or jamming or issues that I’ve seen with other self cleaning boxes on the market. Now, it’s not the most thorough cleaner. There are definitely some particles remaining after it runs through, and I found that the trays tended to fill up a little bit more quickly than was promised on the package.

So with two cats, I was probably changing it out about once a week. I’d say that the PetSafe ScoopFree has two big drawbacks. One is that it works best with crystal litter, which is one of the least popular options.

Cats tend to feel a little uncomfortable with silica gel crystals under their paws. And then the second concern is that it can get kind of expensive over time, especially if you’re using those disposable trays.

Now there is one way to reduce your recurring costs which is using a reusable tray and that can get your price down significantly. If you already know that your cats are comfortable using a crystal litter, then the PetSafe ScoopFree could be an excellent choice.

It costs $139.95, making it a moderately-priced automatic litter box. I tried the original ScoopFree Ultra, but there’s now a second generation available, which has a nice little health monitoring system so you can see how many times your cat has used the litter box, and it costs the same amount as the original PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra.

So if you’re interested in getting some more insights into your cat’s usage of the litter box and trying something that looks a little bit more sleek and modern, then I would recommend going for the second generation of the PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra.

Now, our next recommendation is labeled as the best self-flushing litter box, but it’s really the only self-flushing litter box you can buy. So while all of the other automatic litter boxes shown here do require that you dispose of the waste once it’s accumulated in their waste receptacles, the Cat Genie flushes itself.

When I was using the Cat Genie, I found that it had some good qualities and some bad qualities. One issue with the Cat Genie is that it needs to be installed near a cold water line, which means that it can only be installed in either a laundry room or a bathroom with my cats not going into the laundry room and scared to enter the bathroom.

This was kind of a tricky situation, you’re going to want to keep that placement issue in mind when considering whether or not you want to purchase the Cat Genie. Once the Cat Genie is installed, it’s going to cycle automatically either every time that your cat uses it or according to a schedule of your choosing.

Each Cat Genie cycle involves four stages. So first, it’s going to scoop out any waste, then it’s going to wash the proprietary plastic granules that go into the bowl. Then it’s going to flush the waste into your toilet or your drain, and then it’s going to dry those granules in the bowl.

Overall, this process takes over 30 minutes, I found that it worked consistently. But cleaning wasn’t entirely thorough and any particles remaining in the litter box could cause some odor during the drying cycle.

At the same time, once the drying cycle was complete, there wasn’t any odor in the litter box. And at the end of the day, you have a self-flushing litter box that’s capable of taking your cat’s waste and flushing it away down your toilet.

Between difficulty and finding a location that my cats would accept and which was also close enough to an outlet and also close enough to a cold water line, as well as those concerns about some odor during the drying process, I found that the Cat Genie wasn’t really the best fit for my household.

But I know that this is an automatic litter box with kind of a cult following. A lot of people really really like the convenience of a self-flushing litter box. And the Cat Genie offers that. So if you have an appropriate location that you know your cats are going to use, you’re willing to do a little bit of extra setup to get started, and your top priority is really stepping back from having to clean the litter box then I think the Cat Genie could be a good option.

Now the next recommendation is labeled as the best automatic litter box for small cats. But really, it’s just kind of a an honorable mention. It’s the PetSafe Simply Clean. The PetSafe Simply Clean uses a slightly different cleaning mechanism than the typical automatic litter box.

So it has a circular pan that slowly rotates and eventually moves any waste of this conveyor and into a waste receptacle at the back of the unit. By using this very slow rotation, the PetSafe Simply Clean is able to operate a bit more quietly than your typical automatic litter box.

And it’s relatively unobtrusive with its small size. That being said, its small size can also be an issue. So its litter bed is quite small and probably isn’t going to be the best choice for multiple-cat homes or larger cats.

In my experience, the PetSafe Simply Clean did a pretty good job of cleaning out the litter box when it was working. But unfortunately, I ran into a number of malfunctions. Starting on the day that I set it up and started using it, the first error light indicated that the PetSafe Simply Clean hadn’t been assembled just right, something was loose, something wasn’t set into place correctly.

So I had to make a few adjustments and the error light went off. But I found that over the period of time that I was using, it the error light would just come back on for what seemed to me no apparent reason.

And then after that I started seeing an error light that indicated that something was wrong with the motor. And this is a really common complaint in customer reviews. A lot of people are saying that something went wrong with either one or both of the PetSafe Simply Clean’s motors within a week of purchase.

So it seems that these issues are really, unfortunately, quite common with the PetSafe Simply Clean. Again, the reason why I’m including this on this list, in spite of this history of repeated malfunctions, is the fact that some people really do seem to like the PetSafe Simply Clean.

Some people are happy to do some tinkering with it and have been able to get it to work consistently. And when it does work, it seems to work pretty well. So I was eventually able to get it running for several days at a time, and it did a pretty thorough job of keeping everything clean.

At $89.95, the PetSafe Simply Automatic Clean is a smidge cheaper than your typical automatic litter box. And our last recommendation is our budget pick, which is the Litter Maid. The Litter Maid, like the PetSafe ScoopFree, is an old classic.

It has a standard raking mechanism that moves across the litter bed and then picks up waste and drops it into a waste receptacle. The Litter Maid is perhaps what most people think of when they think about an automatic litter box.

Again, it’s really an old classic. But when I use the Litter Maid, my experience was pretty disappointing. It failed to pick up waste in three different ways. One was that there were kind of areas on the litter tray that the rake just didn’t touch, and so waste would just accumulate there.

Secondly, the rake would often pick up a clump and then just kind of carry it along and never deposit it into the waste receptacle. So it would just be deposited back into the litter tray. And thirdly, the rake would just miss some smaller crumbs.

And so those would remain in the litter tray after a cycle was done. I also noticed there were a few different areas on the sides of the Litter Maid where waste would tend to get clumped up and stuck.

And of course, the rake couldn’t make it there. Personally, I feel that I was spending more time cleaning up after the Litter Maid than I was enjoying that convenience. But I know that there are some people who would disagree with me who would say that the Litter Maid has made their life easier.

So again, at $79.99, the Litter Maid is one of the cheapest automatic litter boxes on the market. So that’s about it for a few of the best automatic litter boxes you can buy. Again, the Litter-Robot and the PetSafe ScoopFree are the only ones that I would really actively recommend.

The Cat Genie could be a good option if you’re really interested in not handling any more cat waste, and the PetSafe Simply Clean and Litter Maid are options to consider if you’re looking for something a little bit cheaper and are willing to take a gamble in terms of performance.

(As Found On Youtube)

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