Home Gardening 6 Best Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes of 2021

6 Best Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes of 2021

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petsafe scoopfree ultra self cleaning cat litter box

PetSafe

Having a feline companion can be a truly wonderful experience. Cats are truly the best pets – cuddly, affectionate, goofy, and mysterious. Whether they are large breeds or small, their antics will soon have you giggling (or cursing!). But as wonderful as these fur babies can be, cleaning your cat’s litter box is never a fun task. And leaving it unattended is unhealthy for your kitty – and for yourself.

Thankfully, in this age of technology, there are now litter boxes that offer high tech solutions to handling this unpleasant chore. Automatic self-cleaning litter boxes detect when your cat has used them and do the cleaning for you — eliminating the need for daily scooping. If this is one of your most-hated chores, or it’s something you simply don’t have enough time for, automatic litter boxes can be well worth the money.

To find the best self-cleaning litter boxes, we ran tests in our Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab for setup, easy clean-up and clump removal. In our pet-free Lab, we simulated a cat using the litter box with water and a small weight to trigger the sensor – outside the Lab, we monitored cats using the litter box in their own home. 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:

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. Sensors detect when your cat has used the box and when it leaves, and a few minutes later, the cleaning cycle begins. For most litter boxes, a rake sifts through the soiled litter collecting any clumps left by the cat and deposits them into a receptacle which then closes, containing the odors and clumps. Self-cleaning litter boxes have electric motors that activate the cleaning mechanism — they are very quiet but not completely silent.

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BEST OVERALL SELF-CLEANING LITTER BOX

3 Connect

Litter-Robot
litter-robot.com

$549.00

In our Cleaning Lab tests, the Litter-Robot 3 Connect was easy to set up, worked smoothly and was easy to maintain. Cat testers took to it almost instantly and loved using it! This litter box works with any premium clumping litter and is ideal for any cats between 5-20 pounds as well as multiple cats, though not for kittens. While its footprint is similar in size to other covered litter boxes, it is substantially taller than them, so consider your available space. 

Its cleaning mechanism is different from other automatic boxes: The globe rotates very quietly after use and deposits clumps and waste into the lined receptacle below the box. There is no rake to trap errant clumps, and the app alerts you when the waste liner needs removing and replacing. Bells and whistles include a night light, sleep mode, and an additional cycle timer, plus an app that allows you to monitor your cat’s bathroom habits (and the level of waste in the receptacle) but if you don’t need the app, the Litter-Robot 3 is a lower cost option.

  • No rake to trap clumps
  • Works with any clumping litter
  • Quiet cleaning operation
  • Pricey
  • May be too tall for some spaces

BEST VALUE SELF-CLEANING LITTER BOX

Simply Clean Self-Cleaning Automatic Litter Box

PetSafe
amazon.com

$109.95

The budget-friendly PetSafe Simply Clean Automatic Litter Box is ideal for smaller cats (up to 15 pounds) although it should be left unplugged for kittens less than 6 months old. The whisper-quiet, slow-moving conveyor system operates constantly, sifting the clumping litter of your choice to remove the waste, completing a full rotation each hour. Recycled plastic bags can be used to line the waste container, eliminating additional cost for accessories. This litter box comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a one-year warranty. 

  • Conveyer sifter operates constantly to eliminate waste
  • Budget-friendly
  • Not suitable for cats over 15 pounds

BEST LARGE SELF-CLEANING LITTER BOX

Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box

LitterMaid
amazon.com

$175.99

$119.99 (32% off)

As its name indicates, the LitterMaid Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box is designed for use with multiple larger cats (weighing over 15 pounds). High walls keep cat litter from being kicked out while your cat is covering, and the paw-cleaning ramp helps ensure litter is not tracked out of the box. The electric rake operates through any clumping litter and the receptacle stores up to a week’s mess. Carbon filters in the self-contained waste receptacles keep odor contained with the clumps. This litter box has a 90-day money back guarantee and a one-year warranty for defects. 

  • Great for multiple or large cats
  • High walls and paw-cleaning mat prevent litter from exiting the box
  • Carbon filters mitigate odor
  • Waste can get stuck behind the rake

BEST SELF-CLEANING LITTER BOX FOR ODOR CONTROL

ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box

PetSafe
amazon.com

$209.99

$179.95 (14% off)

Say goodbye to bags of litter and litter dust! A consumer favorite, the PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box uses pre-filled disposable trays of crystal litter, which have exceptional odor-locking and moisture absorbing properties. Available in three different colors, with a one-year warranty, the hooded litter box also has a health counter to record often your cat uses it, to alert you to possible health problems. 

Five, 10, or 20 minutes after your cat has used and exited the litter box (you get to set the timer), the automatic rake sweeps solid waste into the covered receptacle incorporated in the disposable tray and grooms the crystals so your cat has fresh litter for its next use. If a cat enters during the cleaning cycle, detection sensors automatically reset the rake’s timer. Every few weeks (in a single cat household), simply dispose of the litter tray and replace with a new one. 

Because of the crystals’ moisture-absorbing properties, it’s best not to install this litter box in an area with high humidity, such as a bathroom.  

  • Pre-filled disposable litter trays absorb moisture and lock odors
  • Automatic rake sweeps waste away
  • Each tray lasts a few weeks
  • Not for use in humid rooms

BEST LITTER-FREE SELF-CLEANING LITTER BOX

A.I. Self-Washing Cat Box

CatGenie
amazon.com

$439.00

The CatGenie A.I. eliminates the need for litter completely. This revolutionary litter box uses special granules which are raked to remove solid waste, then rinsed with a sanitizing solution and blown dry, so your cat has clean fresh litter every time it goes. The granules are made from natural materials, which get broken down by bacteria in a landfill or septic tank, making them septic safe. Another consumer favorite, the litter box installs easily in your bathroom or laundry room, using a cold-water hookup and a drain to flush the waste – no plumber necessary. The washable granules (which are biodegradable if flushed) and SaniSolution need to be replenished a few times per year. 

The CatGenie app allows you to monitor the frequency of your cat’s bathroom visits, which can help detect early health issues, and provides status updates on the cleaning cycles. (If you don’t need the app, the CatGenie 120 is a lower cost option.) You can select whether you want the cleaning to take place every time your cat uses the litter box or at set times throughout the day. It’s ideal for multiple cats, large or small (but not kittens) and a privacy dome can be purchased separately.

  • Hooks up to cold water to flush waste
  • No litter necessary
  • App compatability

BEST SELF-CLEANING LITTER BOX FOR FRESHNESS

Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box

Nature’s Miracle
amazon.com

$203.99

$139.99 (31% off)

Nature’s Miracle is well known by 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 scoops clumps into odor-controlled receptacles – carbon filters work to keep odor contained. The extra-large box comes with a one-year warranty against defects and accommodates larger or multiple cats. 

Its high walls prevent litter from being scattered, and a paw-cleaning ramp limits tracking, although most reviewers recognize that a larger mat is necessary to prevent all tracking. The removable rake makes clean-up a breeze, and a handy scoop and rake cleaning tool is included. Although you can use any premium clumping litter, for an additional fresh linen fragrance, you can use Nature’s Miracle’s brand of super-absorbent clumping cat litter.  

  • Carbon filters keep odor contained
  • Motion sensor-activated cleaning rake
  • May need to purchase additional litter mat

What to keep in mind when shopping for a self-cleaning litter box

✔️Size: Two factors need to be considered here: the size of the box itself (footprint and height) and the size of your cat. A larger cat needs a larger box, especially if it is one that is enclosed, so that they can easily turn around. Some of the automatic litter boxes are quite tall: Measure your space to be sure that your chosen litter box will fit.

✔️Litter: Some self-cleaning litter boxes require a specific type of clumping litter, and most (if not all) don’t use the natural paper or wood pellet style litter. If you choose a litter box which uses a litter that’s different from what your cat is currently accustomed to, it’s important that you give your pet time to adjust to the new litter. Mixing some of the old litter with the new litter usually works to help with the adjustment, but be sure the new litter box can handle that.

✔️Money-back guarantee: Self-cleaning litter boxes generally aren’t cheap and if you miscalculated how well it would fit in your home or aren’t happy with how well it works, it’s reassuring to know you can return the item and find one that is a better fit for you.

✔️App-based notifications: If you prefer to have an app to tell you when to empty the waste receptacle or when to top up the litter, look out for those models which have Wi-Fi connectivity – they are generally more expensive than non-app models, if budget is a consideration.

✔️Monitoring capabilities: A pet’s bathroom habits can tell a lot about its state of wellbeing and some automatic cat litter boxes record the visits of each cat.

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