Having a feline companion can be a truly wonderful experience. Cats are truly the best pets – cuddly, affectionate, awkward and mysterious. Whether big or small, their antics will soon make you laugh (or curse!). But as wonderful as these furry babies can be, cleaning your cat’s litter box is never a fun task. And leaving it unattended is unhealthy for your cat – and for yourself.
Fortunately, in the age of technology, there are now litter boxes that offer high-tech solutions to handle this unpleasant chore. Automatic self-cleaning litter trays detect when your cat has used them and do the cleaning for you – eliminating the need to collect daily. If it’s one of your most hated tasks, or if you just don’t have enough time for it, automatic litter trays may be worth it.
To find the best self-cleaning litter boxes, we performed tests in our cleaning laboratory at the Good Housekeeping Institute for installation, easy cleaning and clod removal. We also interviewed cat owners who currently use self-cleaning litter boxes, researched their favorites, and cross-checked online reviews of the most popular choices.
Here are the self-cleaning litter boxes that the Good Housekeeping Institute recommends:
Best overall self-cleaning litter box: Litter Robot 3 Connect
Best value self-cleaning litter: Pet Zone Smart Scoop Automatic Litter
Best extra large self-cleaning litter box: LitterMaid Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Best self-cleaning litter box for Odor control : PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Best self-cleaning litter box without litter: CatGenie AI self-cleaning litter box
Best self-cleaning litter box for freshness: Nature’s Miracle multi-cat self-cleaning litter box
Best self-cleaning litter box for small cats: PetSafe Simply Clean Self-Cleaning Automatic Litter Box
How do self-cleaning litter boxes work?
Almost all self-cleaning litter boxes require clumping litter, either your favorite brand or a specific type recommended by the manufacturer. To make sure the box you select works for your cat, note the size and weight of your cat. Self-cleaning litter boxes are not suitable for kittens, so you can wait for your kitten’s first birthday before buying one. These boxes use sensors to detect when your cat has used it and when it leaves. Shortly after, the cleaning cycle begins. For most litter boxes, a rake screens the soiled litter by collecting the clods left by the cat and placing them in a container at one end of the box. Our best recommendation, the Litter-Robot 3 Connect, turns to sift the clods and then drops them into a container. The container closes – containing odors and clumps – and a signal alerts you when it’s time to empty it. Self-cleaning litter boxes have electric motors that activate the cleaning mechanism, so they create a little noise.
Tips for using self-cleaning litter boxes:
- Empty the bin regularly and occasionally clean and maintain the rake and other parts of the cleaning mechanism, as required.
- To help your cat acclimatize, add a small amount cat waste take another litter box from the new self-cleaning container to help your cat identify this container for its use.
- If your kitten is restless or easily surprised, leave power disconnected from the new box and manually collect the litter for a few days until your cat enters and uses it regularly. Once your cat is comfortable, reconnect the power so that the mechanism automatically cleans the litter box.
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BEST SELF-CLEANING BEDDING BOX
One of the highest rated – and most expensive – self-cleaning litter boxes – the Litter-Robot 3 Connect allows you to monitor your cat’s bathing habits (and the level of waste in the container) via its Wi-Fi compatible application. This litter box works with any top quality clumping litter and is ideal for all cats weighing between 5 and 20 pounds as well as for several cats, but not for kittens. It is considerably larger than other closed litter boxes, so consider your available space.
Its cleaning mechanism is slightly different from that of other automatic boxes: the globe rotates after use and deposits lumps and waste in the container located under the box. The bells and whistles include a pilot light, a sleep mode and an additional cycle timer. Additional accessories are available, such as a ramp to help your cat more easily enter the box, a fence to prevent the litter from being expelled while the cat is covering its things, and rubbish drawer covers that facilitate emptying of the waste drawer for you.
The Litter-Robot 3 Connect has a 90 day money back guarantee and an 18 month money back guarantee. During our laboratory cleaning tests, it was easy to install, worked smoothly and completely removed the clods we created (in our animal-free laboratory, we simulated a cat using the litter box with water and a small box).
BEST VALUE SELF-CLEANING LITTER BOX
Simply Clean Self-Cleaning Litter Box
The economical PetSafe Simply Clean automatic litter box is ideal for small cats (up to 15 pounds) although it should be left unplugged for kittens under 6 months of age. the the silent and slow conveyor system runs continuously, by sifting the clumping litter of your choice to eliminate waste, by performing a complete rotation every hour. Recycled plastic bags can be used to line the waste container, eliminating the additional cost of accessories. This litter box comes with a 30 day money back guarantee and a one year warranty.
BEST EXTRA LARGE SELF-CLEANING LITTER
Multi-Cat self-cleaning litter box (3rd edition)
As its name suggests, the LitterMaid Multi-Cat self-cleaning litter box is Designed for use with several larger cats (weighing more than 15 pounds). The high walls prevent cat litter from being expelled while your cat is covering, and the paw cleaning ramp helps ensure that the litter is not tracked out of the box. The electric rake works through any clumping litter and the receptacle stores up to a week of damage. The carbon filters in the autonomous bins maintain the odor contained in the clods.
BEST SELF-CLEANING LITER BOX FOR ODOR CONTROL
ScoopFree Ultra-Clean Cat Litter Box
$ 169.95 (15% off)
Say goodbye to litter bags and litter dust! A consumer favorite, the PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra self-cleaning litter box uses disposable trays pre-filled with crystal litter, which have exceptional odor blocking and moisture absorbing properties. Available in two different colors, the hooded litter box also has a health counter to often record the use of your cat, to alert you to possible health problems.
Five, 10 or 20 minutes after your cat has used and left the litter box (you can set the timer), the automatic rake sweeps the solid waste in the covered container incorporated in the disposable tray and cleans the crystals so that your cat have a fresh litter box for their next use. If a cat enters during the cleaning cycle, the detection sensors automatically reset the rake timer.
Every few weeks (in a single cat), simply throw out the litter box and replace it with a new one. Due to the moisture absorption properties of the crystals, it is best not to install this litter box in a very humid place, such as a bathroom.
BEST SELF-CLEANING LITTERBOX WITHOUT LITTER
A.I. Self-cleaning cat box
The CatGenie A.I. completely eliminates the need for litter. This revolutionary litter box uses special granules which are raked to remove solid waste, then rinsed with a disinfectant solution and blown dry, so your cat has a fresh and clean litter box every time it goes. The pellets are made from natural materials, which are broken down by bacteria in a landfill or septic tank, making them safe for septic tanks.
Another consumer favorite, the litter box is easily installed in your bathroom or laundry room, using a cold water connection and a drain to rinse away waste – no plumber is needed. It is ideal for several cats, large or small (but not for kittens). A privacy dome can be purchased separately.
The CatGenie app allows you to monitor the frequency of your cat’s toilet visits, which can help detect early health issues and provides status updates on cleaning cycles. (If you don’t need the app, the CatGenie 120 is a cheaper option.) You can choose whether you want the cleaning to take place every time your cat uses the litter box or at fixed times All day long. Washable granules (which are biodegradable if rinsed) and SaniSolution must be restocked several times a year. This litter box comes with a 90 day money back guarantee and a 2 year warranty.
BEST SELF-CLEANING BEDDING BOX FOR FRESHNESS
Self-cleaning multi-cat litter box
$ 113.39 (43% off)
The miracle of nature is well known to cat owners for their odor control products, and this automatic litter box is no different. A motion sensor detects when your cat has left the litter box and a rake automatically picks up clods in odor-controlled containers – charcoal filters help contain odors. The extra large box can accommodate larger or multiple cats, and its high walls prevent the litter from being dispersed. A leg cleaning ramp limits tracking, although most reviewers recognize that a larger mat is necessary to prevent tracking. While you can use any premium clumping litter, for an extra fresh linen scent, you can use its brand of super absorbent clumping cat litter. The removable rake makes cleaning easy and a handy tool for cleaning the shovel and rake is included.
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