Felines make up a big part of the average American’s life, with almost one in three Americans keeping at least one feline friend at home. But, with a cat’s companionship comes the responsibility of cleaning out litter boxes, a task not all cat owners can do regularly.
This fact is why many pet brands offer automatic litter boxes. Let’s look at what an automatic litter box is and what the best automatic litter boxes out there look like.
What Is an Automatic Litter Box?
An automatic litter box is a litter box for cats that cleans itself in some way. These litter boxes automatically sift, flush, rake, or otherwise move your cat’s waste to a separate waste drawer away from the otherwise clean litter. After some time, an owner can go to the automatic litter box and empty this waste drawer rather than scooping out the dirty litter.
Unlike a traditional litter box, automatic boxes tend to have other connectivity features that improve their self-cleaning features. They can also have features to check up on your cat’s health, such as automatic weighing and waste amount measurements.
The 5 Top Automatic Litter Boxes
- Whisker Litter-Robot 4 (Best Overall)
- Whisker Litter-Robot 3 Connect (Best For the Price)
- CatGenie A.I. Self-Washing Cat Box (Excellent Odor Control)
- Smarty Pear Automatic Litter Box (Smart Home Compatible)
- PetKIT Pura X Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box (Great Reviews)
- Pet Zone Smart Scoop (Best Budget Friendly)
- PetSafe Scoop Free Self-Cleaning Litter Box (Users Love The Crystal Litter)
Things to Consider Before Buying an Automatic Litter Box
Before grabbing the first automatic litter box you find, there are some factors you want to consider first:
Some automatic litter boxes have a high price tag due to the connectivity and reporting technology they use. While this info and convenience are handy, the extra hundreds of dollars for a litter box might be too much for your current situation. Finding automatic litter boxes that fit your budget is the best place to start when shopping.
Not all automatic boxes use the same method to clean themselves out. Some boxes have a raking system that pulls the clumps of cat waste to a disposal chamber, while others use sifting to shake waste into a collection bin. Not all automatic cleaning cycles hold up the same, so reviewing an automatic litter box’s effectiveness matters, too.
Your Cat’s Comfort
Because our feline friends tend to be jumpy, getting a loud and scary machine for the cat to do their business in could result in you finding cat waste in other parts of your home. If you know, your cat prefers somewhere quiet and isolated to do their business, buying a loud litter box will have the opposite effect.
Ease of Setup
The idea behind an automatic litter box is that it makes your life easier. If an automatic litter box doesn’t do a good job cleaning up after your pet or is a pain to set up properly, you might find that you were better situated with the old, analog litter box.
Maintenance and Odor Control
Ideally, an automatic cat box will take care of itself after your pet does its business, plus the occasional shake-up every so often. If you find an automatic litter box operates on a different schedule, it might not be the best choice for your cats.
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Best Automatic Litter Boxes – Reviewed
With the basics covered, let’s go over some of the best automatic litter box choices out there right now and how they stack up against each other:
The Whisker Litter-Robot 4 is among the best automatic litter boxes thanks to its wealth of features and automation tools. The litter robot replaces the traditional litter box and is the newest model of litter robot made by the Litter Robot company.
Whisker Litter-Robot 4 Notable Features
The Whisker Litter-Robot 4 has several great features for cats and cat owners, such as:
- Advanced sifting technology to quickly move cat waste to the waste drawer
- Automatic weight measuring and kitty litter usage trackable from within the partner app
- Capacity to accommodate up to four cats with this automatic litter robot
- Automatic reminders of when to empty the waste drawer through app notifications
Overall, the Whisker Litter-Robot 4 automatic litter box has a lot of great things going for it, such as:
- Accessible health and maintenance information from the partnered Whisker app
- Quiet and accessible functions that won’t scare away a timid feline friend
- Easy clean-out thanks to a singular, pull-out waste drawer that can be dumped and replaced in a few moments
However, there are some downsides to using the Whisker Litter-Robot, such as:
- The waste bin requires its own trash bags to fit correctly inside the robot
- Despite being smaller than its predecessor, the Litter-Robot 4 still measures almost three feet tall and two feet wide, making it rather big
- The entire unit costs $699 before taxes or shipping, making the automatic litter box one of the most expensive options on this list.
Should You Get the Whisker Litter-Robot 4?
The Whisker Litter-Robot 4 is one of the best automatic litter boxes because of all the convenient and health-focused features the box offers cat owners. Owners can check on their pet’s health by seeing how often they go to the litter box and how much waste they make each visit.
However, these features come with a steep price tag. This fact means that the Litter-Robot 4 is great for cat owners that work or travel a lot or who have cats that need constant surveillance for health reasons. Otherwise, the almost $700 price tag is hard to justify for most cat owners.
The Whisker Litter-Robot 3 is the earlier version of Whisker’s automatic cat litter boxes. As an earlier model, the Litter-Robot 3 doesn’t have the same breadth of features as its newer cousin. However, the model still has some features that make it worth considering, even in the face of the new model.
Whisker Litter-Robot 3 Notable Features
Some of the features that make the Litter-Robot 3 worth considering are:
- An ergonomic design that makes it easy for cats to climb into and out of the litter robot
- Automatic sifting and cleaning protocols that bring dirty litter to a waste drawer
- Connectivity with the Whisker app that allows for tracking the device’s cleaning cycles and cat health information
- A cheaper price than the other Whisker Litter-Robot model
Thus, the Whisker Litter-Robot 3 has some good things going for it, such as:
- A more affordable version of the same Whisker product quality, the Litter-Robot 4 is known for
- Simple to use commands and cleaning cycles through the partnered app
- Easy cleanout that just requires the owner to remove the dirty litter and trash bags from the waste drawer
However, there are some downsides to this automatic litter box:
- The sifting technology is not as refining as the Litter-Robot 4, meaning lightweight litter scatter a lot in this automatic box
- As the first model with a sensor, the sensor doesn’t always pick up lighter cats due to not working well as a first-generation feature
- Despite the lower price tag of $449, this is still an expensive option for many cat owners
Should You Get Whisker Litter-Robot 3?
Many of the same reasons why you would get a Litter-Robot 4 apply to the Litter-Robot 3. While it costs about $250 less than the newest model, the Litter-Robot 3 still has the tracking and cleaning features many cat owners would love to get from an automatic litter box.
However, the lower price tag for the Litter-Robot 3 comes with less robust features. You need to use a heavier litter with this automatic box, and the sensors do not work as well as the newer model. Again, unless you often travel or have an injury that prevents regular cleanup of an old litter box, the Whisker Litter-Robot 3 seems excessive for most cat owners.
CatGenie A.I.’s Self-Washing Cat Box is different than a standard litter box. This litter box features a self-washing system that uses plastic litter granules and a special hook-up to create automatic self-cleaning litter and a clean litter box for pet owners after every use.
CatGenie A.I. Self-Washing Cat Box Notable Features
This self-cleaning litter box has several unique features to it, such as:
- A self-cleaning system that uses washable granules and a water hookup to automatically flush waste away
- Odor control by avoiding the use of regular litter instead of this flushing system
- A companion app similar to other automatic litter boxes that can track your cat’s health and litter usage
The CatGenie A.I. self-cleaning litter box has some good things going for it, including:
- The lack of need for the pet owner to resupply the system with litter since the system uses washable granules over clumping litter or clay litter like other self-cleaning litter boxes
- Ability to hook into a laundry or toilet waste hookup to make connecting the system to your water system easier
- No disposable litter trays or litter bags are necessary
There are some downsides to using the CatGenie system for your automatic litter box needs, though:
- The SaniSolution that washes the granules needs replacing a few times every year to keep the litter sanitary
- Requires the owner to hook the system into the water lines of the home, which requires a little bit of piping knowledge
- Some cats track the granules out of the system, requiring the owner to replace the granules over time
Should You Get CatGenie A.I. Self-Washing Cat Box?
The self-flushing system that CatGenie offers is both a blessing and a curse, depending on your cat. While many owners will appreciate the lack of litter replacement and the increased odor control of this system, the flushing system has its downfalls.
If your cat tracks the granules out of the system, you’ll have to replace the litter regardless. Also, the system requires regular refilling of the SaniSolution mixture and a water hookup to work well.
Still, considering this system costs less than some of the others on this list, the CatGenir self-cleaning litter box is a top consideration for the owner that wants as much of a hands-off experience as possible.
#4 Smarty Pear Automatic Litter Box (Smartest Self-Cleaning Litterbox)
If you want a product that tries to do a little bit of everything, then the Smarty Pear Automatic Litter Box is another good choice to consider. The design of this litter box includes functions meant to improve the sanitation and convenience of the standard self-cleaning litter box system.
Smarty Pear Automatic Litter Box Notable Features
The Smarty Pear self-cleaning litter box has some notable features to its design, such as:
- A UV sanitation system that helps to disinfect the inside of the system when your cat finishes their business
- A companion app that can connect with home assistants like Google Home and Amazon Alexa
- Quiet sifting technology that rarely gets about 30 dB
The above features of the Smart Pear system mean that it offers these benefits to cat owners:
- Easier and more effective cleanup between the automatic litter sifting, large waste drawer, and UV disinfecting system
- A slightly more compact size than the average self-cleaning litter box
- A companion app that allows you to make litter box maintenance part of your morning or evening routine using a home assistant
Still, there are some downsides to using the Smarty Pear litter box system, such as:
- Many of the home assistant integrations require extra time to set up, but they have really helpful guides
- A high price tag of $649 puts this system out of range for many cat owners (In our opinion it’s worth every penny)
Should You Get Smarty Pear Automatic Litter Box?
Overall, the Smarty Pear system will appeal to cat owners with a flair for the technical. While it might not be as cheap as other systems on this list, the increased convenience and sanitation features will be enough for some pet owners to overlook the price tag when making their purchase.
The PetKIT Pura X is a self-cleaning litter box focused on maintaining odor control for your cat’s litter business. In addition to the waste separation into a separate bin, the self-cleaning box comes with a few other features that try to manage the usual smells coming from a litter box.
PetKIT Pura X Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box Notable Features
Some of the PetKIT Pura X litter box’s features include:
- An integrated and refillable deodorizing container that sprays the litter with deodorizer after each use
- PetKIT’s xSecure system, featuring thermal and infrared sensors that detect when your cat uses the litter box and how much they weigh when stepping inside
- A companion app that has both scheduled and manual cleanup options
Overall, the PetKIT Pura X has a lot of pros going for it, such as:
- Simple cleanup and odor control through the automatic litter sifting and deodorizing spray functions
- Easy waste disposal by removing the waste drawer and dumping the bagged content out
- Ability to review your cat’s weight and other health information based on the data the sensors pick up from each litter box visit
However, there are some downsides to the Pura X, some of which include the following:
- A smaller overall design than some of the other automatic litter boxes on this list, making it a poor choice for the owner of larger or longer cats
- Despite its inclusion, the deodorizer spray for the litter doesn’t work well at controlling litter box smells, making it a bit of waste without buying a separate deodorizer
- A $599 price tag makes this litter box expensive compared to some of the budget options listed later
Should You Get PetKIT Pura X Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box?
Ideally, when a company focuses on a niche, they excel at that detail that sets them apart from the rest. PetKIT has a product comparable to the Litter-Robot boxes but with a lower price tag and a focus on deodorizing. Sadly, that focus doesn’t come through in the design.
Thus, the PetKIT Pura X mostly ends up as a cheaper Litter-Robot 4 unless you use a third-party deodorizer that works well for your cats. Otherwise, it doesn’t quite stand up as well as the Litter-Robot products.
The Pet Zone Smart Scoop is an automatic litter box that eschews the bells and whistles of other automatic litter brands in favor of something simple and effective. While this model won’t win any technology awards, its simple design allows it to do what you need to and automatically collect and store dirty litter.
Pet Zone Smart Scoop Notable Features
Pet Zone’s Smart Scoop litter box has several things that help it to stand out from the other choices, such as:
- Quiet cleaning and raking functions that automatically activate 30 minutes after your cat uses the litter box
- An odor-absorbing filter that helps to reduce the smell created by the open-air design of the litter box
- Reliable functionality over long periods of use due to the lack of extra tech or sensors
The notable features mentioned above give the Smart Scoop some distinct pros, like:
- Simple and effective design that performs without needing input from the cat owner
- Easy-to-remove waste drawer to dispose of dirty cat litter quickly
- Affordability due to the $145 price tag and the lack of features seen in more advanced automatic litter boxes
However, there are some downsides to using this litter box, such as:
- The litter box has no integrated way to store the trash bags or manual litter scoop included with the litter box
- The bags for the waste drawer do not fit snugly, meaning they can slip off during use
- Due to the gaps between the automatic rake’s teeth, small pieces of litter can be left behind after an automatic cleanup
Should You Get Pet Zone Smart Scoop?
The Pet Zone Smart Scoop is one of the cheapest automatic litter boxes on the market, making it appealing to many cat owners. Because the litter box doesn’t have the same degree of features that others do, Pet Zone offers something that provides the primary goal of an automatic litter box: a box that makes cleanup easy.
Still, this product isn’t perfect. It won’t always clean out the litter completely, and there are some quality-of-life improvements the company could make for a new model in the future. Overall, something like the Pet Zone Smart Scoop is a good choice for a cat owner experimenting with automatic litter boxes for the first time.
The PetSafe Scoop Free Self-Cleaning Litter Box is yet another take on the self-cleaning litter box system. Rather than using automatic rakes in a waste drawer, PetSafe instead uses a disposable tray of silica granules to capture waste. Owners can then replace this tray with another one as their cat fills up the tray.
PetSafe Scoop Free Self-Cleaning Litter Box Notable Features
PetSafe’s system has some features that help it stand out from the crowd, including:
- Disposable silica trays that can hold up to 30 days worth of waste for a single cat, or 14 days for multiple cats
- A self-raking system that transfers the waste from the old litter to the disposable tray at the bottom of the system
- Odor control through the use of silica over clay or sand that may not absorb all the smells of cat waste otherwise
PetSafe’s disposable system has a few upsides going for it, such as:
- A total lack of scooping litter necessary for the cat owner since the system rakes everything into a disposable tray
- No leak and no scent design thanks to the usage of silica and silica gel to seal gaps in the construction
- Automatic cleanup 20 minutes after your cat finishes their business
However, there are some downsides to using the PetSafe Scoop Free Self-Cleaning Litter Box, including:
- You may need to reacclimate your cat to the litter box each time you change the silica litter by mixing old litter into the new tray
- Expensive recurring costs as the cat owner changes out the disposable tray of litter every so often
- A lack of companion app that a more expensive self-cleaning litter box offers
Should You Get PetSafe Scoop Free Self-Cleaning Litter Box?
The PetSafe Scoop Free Self-Cleaning Litter Box offers a no-fuss way for an owner to change out their cat’s litter while also having the litter clean itself up after each use.
While this feature is nice at a glance, the expense of getting a new tray of litter each month tends to be more than adding new standard litter into one of the other systems. Also, you might have to convince your kitty to use the new litter tray each time by adding old litter to the new stuff.
However, the system is just under $200, making it cheaper than most other self-cleaning litter box systems. If the recurring price doesn’t bother you, the PetSafe system will work well for cat owners looking to never fuss with litter again.
Do Automatic Litter Boxes Work?
Looking around online, cat owners all over are pleased with and talk about the different automatic litter boxes all the time. Whether they seek to figure out the best system for their circumstance or compare models with one another, pet owners look to automatic litter boxes as a way to better take care of their cats and take some of the burdens off their shoulders each day.
Ultimately, the convenience of a self-cleaning litter box improves conditions for your kitty, too. Since your feline friend will always have a clean place to do their business, you don’t have to worry about finding surprises around the home.
Automatic Litter Box Alternatives
If you feel that an automatic cat litter box isn’t the right choice for you, there are a few other options you can consider:
Standard Litter Boxes
Regular litter boxes have worked well for many cat owners. While you will have to clean these yourself regularly, you can use almost any type of litter and deodorize you choose when cleaning a regular litter box. These also tend to be the cheapest option.
Hidden Litter Boxes
A cat’s litter box should be a place where your furry friend can take care of their litter box habits without concern. Buying a litter box built into an otherwise nondescript piece of furniture makes it so that your cat has a safe place to do their business and that you don’t have an obvious or dirty litter box visible to your guests.
Owners of outdoor cats won’t have to worry about their cat’s litter boxes since cats will find a place to do their business outside on their own. You will need to be careful when navigating through your home’s bushes and similar spots, but the cost savings and headache reduction are the simplest with outdoor cats.
Automatic Litter Box FAQs
Here are the answers to some of the common questions out there about automatic litter boxes:
Is it worth it to get an automatic litter box?
While anyone could find some use in an automatic litter box, cat owners that work long hours or that have an injury or disability will enjoy these boxes more. Having an automatic litter box reduces the number of times you need to check the litter box and clean it out yourself.
Do automatic litter boxes work for multiple cats?
As long as your cats don’t need to use the litter box at the same time, an automatic litter box is good for multiple cats. Most automatic boxes only have enough space for one cat at a time, meaning homes with large numbers of cats would most likely need multiple automatic boxes to take care of their pets.
Do cats hate automatic litter boxes?
Automatic litter boxes aren’t for all cats. Big cats might not fit in all automatic boxes, and the loud noises and strange looks of the box might put your cat off from using its new potty. These facts are why you should opt for a quiet model for especially skittish cats.
Do self-cleaning litter boxes smell?
Many automatic litter boxes have odor control tools of some kind, generally, a separate chamber or slow where the cat waste goes after the automatic cleaning happens. This process keeps the litter from staying exposed to the open air, where it can create unpleasant smells.
How long can you leave a self-cleaning litter box?
An automatic litter box for a single cat can sit for two or three days before it needs cleaning. This changes depending on how often your cat uses the litter box and how many cats you have, though.
Automatic litter boxes clean themselves so that cat owners can focus on tending to other needs the cat may have or ensure the cat has clean litter for an extended period. While the function might seem unnecessary to some owners, those that travel or who cannot clean litter every day will find these litter box systems invaluable.
Check out the products we reviewed above and see if any of the systems can improve things for you and your cat. Even if you just need a break from cleaning the litter sometimes, an automatic system ensures you keep things clean for your cat even when you can’t scoop the litter yourself.