Cats are curious, playful, independent, and (sometimes) loving. Most cat owners will agree that their cat or multiple cats add plenty of joy to their lives. Cats are generally low-maintenance pets, well, except for that one chore––that the most dreaded chore of cleaning the litter box.
Even with only one cat, the litter box needs continuous attention, and let’s face it, the smells and scooping waste aren’t fun to deal with. However, it’s more than just the nasty smells. Cleaning your cat’s litter box can also be harmful to your health, with plenty of bacteria and organisms just waiting to do damage.
If you love your cats but hate the litter box, discover the best self-cleaning (also known as automatic) litter boxes to reduce or eliminate the hassles of cat cleanup.
We have compiled our top six recommendations for the best self-cleaning litter boxes as well as a buyer’s guide for you. Here are the factors we researched when deciding on our self-cleaning litter box recommendations:
- Waste disposal frequency
- Ease of setup
- Odor control
- Power source
- Placement considerations
- Single or multi-cat households
You will find everything you need to know about the best self-cleaning litter boxes and be well on your way to choosing one for your furry feline! Gone are the days of the dreaded scooping and less-than-desirable smells!
- Type: Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
- Dimensions (inches): 27.5x19x16
- Weight (lbs): 21
- Type: Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
- Dimensions (inches): 24.5×19.2×21
- Weight (lbs): 26
- Type: Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
- Dimensions (inches): 26x19x10
- Weight (lbs): 12.2
- Type: Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
- Dimensions (inches): 25.2x11x19.5
- Weight (lbs): 13.5
- Type: Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
- Dimensions (inches): 23x19x18.5
- Weight (lbs): 6.5
- Type: Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
- Dimensions (inches): 25.5×18.2×7.5
- Weight (lbs): 12
Best Self Cleaning Cat Litter Box (Automatic)
1. ScoopFree Ulta Automatic Cat Litter Box
PetSafe, a company that is devoted to continuous innovation for pet products, has been thriving since 1991. They consult with top veterinarians, behavioralists, and trainers when developing their products, and are always improving their designs, like with their ScoopFree Ultra Automatic Cat Litter Box.
Advertised as “literally a breath of fresh air at all times,” the ScoopFree Ultra Automatic Cat Litter Box tops our list of best self-cleaning litter boxes. This litter box is incredibly low-maintenance; all you do is plug it up, and it does all the work. The crystal litter used is incredibly efficient at blocking odors.
Here’s why the ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box earned our number one spot:
- The self-cleaning automatic rake system cleans the box just 20 minutes after your cat uses it.
- The rake moves waste into another closed compartment, keeping the box odor-free.
- 99% dust-free crystal litter eliminates odors five times more efficiently than clumping litter while absorbing urine on contact and drying up solid waste.
- The plastic kitty litter tray liners prevent leaking.
- This system uses 5 to 10 times less litter than clumping litter.
- Includes a health counter, so you will know how many times a day your cat uses this box.
- This product has been rigorously tested and approved for more than 100,000 cycles without problems.
- Litter box comes with a UL-rated 120V 60Hz adaptor, 10-foot power cord, litter tray filled with premium crystals, and a privacy hood
- S. based customer service
With the ScoopFree Ultra self-cleaning litter box, you will never scoop kitty litter…again. The company gives you three steps: Load it, leave it, toss it. One tray lasts 20-30 days with one cat before needing to be replaced. The health counter is a perk, a convenient way to detect early signs of a health issue.
The ScoopFree Ultra self-cleaning litter box is our top choice for plenty of evidence-based reasons. It is one of the best rake-type automatic cat litter boxes on the market and the efficiency of the crystal litter and will give you the freedom to leave it alone for several weeks at a time.
- Crystals offer good odor control, absorbing liquids and drying solids
- Adjustable time delay for 5, 10, or 20 minutes
- Health counter that tracks how often your cat uses the litter box
- Convenient disposable system
- The unit can go for weeks without your intervention.
- You need to buy the cartridges to maintain the system, which could get expensive
- Some cats may not adapt to the crystals
- If your cat is a digger and creates big piles of clumps, the motion sensors could get blocked
2. CatGenie Self-Washing Self-Flushing Cat Box
PetNovations, Inc is the creator and manufacturer of innovative pet products, including CatGenie, the world’s only self-washing litter box! When you see the CatGenie Self-Washing Self-Flushing Cat Box, you may laugh (or at least I did!) It is a self-cleaning litter box that resembles a toilet. Not only does this litter box flush away waste, but it also washes the litter clean, and all you do is press a button to program the cleaning schedule.
The secret here is litter-like, permanent, washable granules that never need replacing. This genius automatic kitty litter box saves disposable litter from polluting landfills while providing an efficient, eco-friendly solution to dispose of cat waste. Here are the key benefits of the CatGenie:
- The litter-like, washable granules never need to be changed.
- The litter box washes itself clean with Veterinarian-approved SaniSolution and water after your cat uses it.
- Litter is clump-free, waste-free, dust-free, and odor-free.
- Litter box scoops, washes, flushes, and dries by itself.
- Litter box includes one CatGenie 120 unit, one box washable granules, and one SaniSolution Cartridge.
- Litter box includes a two-year warranty and available customer service.
You may be wondering how the CatGenie works. After your cat uses the automatic litter box, the system starts cleaning by scooping and liquefying the solid waste for disposal down the drain or toilet. Then, using water and SaniSolution, the CatGenie washes, scrubs, scours, and purifies the washable granules to be used again. The dryer then heats and dries the granules, so they are ready for use again. Each cleaning cycle takes 30 minutes.
The CatGenie litter box is truly genius! It is one of the most advanced self-cleaning litter boxes on the market today. No touching, changing, or buying cat litter again with this gem.
- Nothing to clean or empty
- Fully automatic
- Washable granules are permanent, saving money on litter
- You need a cold water line
- Cleaning cycle (30 minutes) is longer than some of our other recommendations
- More expensive than other competitors
3. PetSafe Simply Clean Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
With their motto of “Protect, teach, love,” PetSafe is another brand that specializes in innovative products, including pet fencing, feeders and fountains, toys, treats, training products, and of course, self-cleaning litter boxes!
The PetSafe Simply Clean Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box made our list of recommendations because of its quiet, self-cleaning cycles that occur once per hour. This cat box reduces odor and keeps waste out of sight in a waste bin, so the box is continuously fresh and ready for use.
Check out the details of the PetSafe Self-Cleaning Litter Box:
- The self-cleaning bowl completes one cleaning rotation in an hour.
- Known for its quietness, this litter box will not disturb you or your cat, even though it continuously works.
- The waste is swept into an enclosed bin, reducing odors and odor-causing bacteria.
- This self-cleaning litter box uses little power and plugs into an electric outlet with a 6-food cord.
- Best suited for cats who are 15 pounds or less.
- Comes with the litter box unit, an AC adaptor, and a user’s guide
- One year limited warranty
- Customer service available Monday through Saturday.
- PetSafe has been a valued global manufacturer of pet products for nearly 30 years.
Here’s how this self-cleaning litter box works:
You will fill the litter box with clumping, clay litter. The slow-moving bowl continuously rotates, making one full rotation each hour. During the rotation, the waste makes its way to the conveyer and is then carried off into the covered waste bin, ready for you to empty for easy cleanup. All you need for this litter box is clay, clumping litter and recycled plastic bags (like empty ones you get from the grocery store).
With positive customer reviews, the PetSafe Simply Clean Self-Cleaning Box provides all you need in a cat box: fresh, clean litter, no odors, and simple-clean up!
- Simple to set up and operate
- Continuous and slow cleaning rotation 24/7
- Does not require any special litter, cartridges, or disposable bags
- Constant rotation creates some noise (although it’s still quiet compared to other systems)
- Does not include a dome or lid
- Cannot disassemble 100% as the conveyor’s arm is not detachable
4. LitterMaid Single Cat-Self Cleaning Litter Box
“Take the dirty work out of pet parenting!” is LitterMaid’s logo, and if you have a single cat under 15 pounds and want a simple, yet efficient self-cleaning litter box, this one is for you. The LitterMaid Single Cat-Self-Cleaning Litter Box features automatic scooping with a rake that removes waste for a fresh, clean environment with no hassle.
It is a simpler box than some of the others we have looked at so far, but it truly has all you need in a self-cleaning litter box without all the bells and whistles. Here’s what you will get with this product:
- The automatic scooping rake removes waste into the waste bin after every use.
- The waste bins contain carb filters that keep the mess and odor controlled.
- The high walls prevent litter from being scattered.
- The paw cleaning ramp helps prevent litter tracking around the box.
- Designed for one cat under 15 pounds.
- Easy setup instructions.
- Incredibly easy for your cat to transition from a manual litterbox to LitterMaid’s automated system.
- When used as directed, you will have scoop free cleanup for up to seven days!
- Includes an attachment to fit vacuum hoses with a diameter of 1 3/8 inches to 1 7/16 inches.
- LitterMaid also features a multi-cat cleaning litter box.
All you do to set up your LitterMaid cat box is fill it with litter, allow it to work automatically for up to seven days, and empty the spacious receptacle for easy, no-odor disposal. The advanced motion sensors are what drives the self-cleaning design. Within ten minutes of your cat using the litter box, the self-cleaning will begin. There is also a manual mode button on this unit, so you can press the button, and the box will do its cleaning magic!
This self-cleaning kitty litter box is larger than some others and includes a ramp with a cleaning pad to trap litter, so you shouldn’t have a mess on your floor. LitterMaid also makes its own litter for this unit, but you are not obligated to buy it if you have a favorite brand that you love.
- Automatic rake removes waste
- Slightly less expensive than other units
- Battery backup in case your power goes out
- May require manual cleaning to remove blockages
- Lifespan 2-4 years
- Motor can be loud
5. Omega Paw Roll ‘n Clean Large Cat Litter Box
Omega Paw is another great company that creates, manufactures, and markets original pet products. Their products are unique and functional, like the Roll ‘n Clean Large Cat Litter Box. This one is a simpler version, but it works well! Here’s what you will get with the Omega Paw Roll ‘n Clean Litter Box:
- Easy to use litter box that rolls and scoops by itself (no scooping for you!)
- Includes a patented grill that separates the waste, depositing it in the pullout tray.
- This litter box is covered, offering privacy to your cat while eliminating dust.
- Uses clumping, clay cat litter.
- Easily controls dust and odors.
- Attractive and unique design.
- No electricity or expensive filters needed.
- Advertised at an affordable price.
- A large litter box (23 x 19 x 18.5 inches; 6.5 pounds), which works well for large cats or multiple cat households.
- This litter box is also available in a smaller size if you have a single, small cat.
We love how simple and easy-to-use the Roll ‘n Clean is. Inside the box, there is a grill that divides out the clumped waste, directing it to the pullout tray. All you do is roll the litter box onto its top, and roll it back to the upright position. Remove the tray and dispose of the waste. Simple!
Do note that this is a larger box, so you will need to keep that in mind when looking for the best place for it. Also, when you roll the box and empty the waste, you will need around 6-8 feet.
If you want a simple, effective self-cleaning litter box for your large cat or multiple cats, the Omega Paw Roll ‘n Clean is what you want!
- Easy to clean (just roll it upside down!)
- Great privacy for cats
- Affordable price
- Litter clumps may get stuck below the drawer or on the grate
- You need a large space to roll the unit
- You need to assemble the unit perfectly, or else it won’t work correctly
6. Pet Zone SmartScoop Basic Green Self-Scooping Cat Litter Box
Pet Zone was founded in 1996 and has been a trusted leader in pet solutions ever since. They have expanded their line of pet care products over the years, and today, they offer the SmartScoop Basic Green Self- Scooping Cat Litter Box. This litter box automatically cleans the litter after your cat uses it, keeping it fresh, clean, and ready for your cat’s next use. Here’s are the details:
- This automatic cat litter box that scoops waste with a powerful, yet quiet motor unit.
- Your cat’s waste is automatically trapped into the waste tray, out of sight.
- Smart sensory technology activates the cleaning cycle.
- Effective carbon filters remove odors, keeping the litter box smelling fresh.
- The heavy-duty litter pan is made to last and is easy to clean.
- All parts are removable for easy cleaning.
- This litter box has a clean, sleek appearance.
- This litter box works with your favorite clumping cat litter; no need to buy any specific brands.
- Includes 6 no-touch plastic bags and a cleaning scoop.
- High walls to keep litter inside the box and prevent tracking
- Includes a one-year warranty.
The SmartScoop Basic Green Self-Scooping Cat Box keeps your cat box clean, is easy to use, and its motor is quiet. That’s one of the perks that customers rave about; many said that didn’t even notice it was there. Here’s how it works: 15 minutes after your cat uses the box, the cleaning cycle will begin. A scooping metal rake will collect the clumps from the litter and dump them into a waste container. Each time your cat enters the litter box, the operational indicator red light turns on and restarts the cycle for another 15 minutes.
Overall, the SmartScoop Self-Scooping Cat Box is best for single cat households. If you have two smaller cats, it’s probably fine, but for larger cats, check out our #5 recommendation above.
- Quiet motor
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Can be used with any brand of clumping litter
- Sometimes rake misses clumps on the bottom of the pan
- Clumps are occasionally thrown over the sides of the box
- Does not include a lid or way to cover
Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes 101: Everything You Need to Know
Self-cleaning litter boxes have been around since 1991, but they have been gaining popularity in the past few years. The first design for an automatic cleaning litter box was patented by Angelo Carlisi in September 1991.
We have compiled a plethora of information and helpful tips on self-cleaning litter boxes. If you have never used one and are not sure if it is a beneficial investment, check out this next section, including some frequently asked questions from other cat lovers.
Benefits Of Self Cleaning Litter Boxes
As you can see from our recommendations, most self-cleaning litter boxes are unique in design and don’t work the same way. Each technology differs from the next, but the overall goal is the same: efficiency and less work for you!
There are many benefits to using self-cleaning litter boxes. Check them out:
- Self-cleaning litter boxes are automatic, meaning you won’t have to scoop cat feces again!
- They provide better odor-control since they quickly clean up the waste after your cat uses the box.
- They are convenient and self-sufficient. In some cases, you won’t need to even touch the litter box for several weeks at a time.
- Because self-cleaning litter boxes eliminate waste quickly, they also eliminate bacteria from growing in your litter box.
Features To Consider Before Buying a Self-Cleaning Litter Box:
As we have discussed, all self-cleaning litter boxes are not created equal. In other words, don’t just buy the first one you find. There are a lot of features to consider before purchasing a self-cleaning litter box. Here are the most crucial features to take into account when researching which self-cleaning litter box is best for you and your feline friend:
Litter Box Size:
The size of the litter box is important, of course. If you have a small cat, you will need a small box. If you have a large cat, you will need a large box. I know that sounds obvious, but many cat owners don’t think about how the size of the litter box will impact their cat or multiple cats.
A good rule of thumb in choosing a litter box is that it should be at least 1.5 times the size of your cat. Medium-size boxes should work well for one cat; large litter boxes could hold a large cat or multiple smaller cats. Extra-large litter boxes are great for cat owners with three or more cats.
In case you’re not sure about what size to look for, let’s use this example:
Luna is 12 inches long.
The width of her litter box should be at least 12 inches wide.
The length of her litter box should be at least 18 inches long.
Size of Your Space:
Litter boxes take up space, of course, and some take up more than others. Consider where you will put your new litter box and make sure you have enough space. Aim for a place that is easily reached and is free of distracting noises.
Common places for litter boxes are in the bathroom, laundry room, or a bedroom. If you need electricity for your box, consider that you will need an outlet and a cord (most self-cleaning boxes come with power cords).
Another note is that you shouldn’t place the litter box near your cat’s food or water. Many cat owners do not know this, but it is not only unsanitary, but most cats don’t like it!
Litter Box Type:
Whichever type of litter box you decide on will be dependent on your cat’s preferences. We all know that cats can be finicky, and if she doesn’t like the litter box, it will be a waste of time and money.
Automatic litter boxes are classified into types. You can choose the open-top clutter crate, the covered litter box, the hidden litter box, or the sifting litter box, whichever one is best for you and your cat.
Some cats prefer the open-top automatic litter box, while others prefer a covered one. Automatic cat litter boxes with optional covers are also available. You can either use the cover or not, or use it sometimes but not all the time.
Then there are the self-washing and self-flushing litter boxes, like our second recommendation, the CatGenie. These automatic litter boxes are super convenient and advanced because they actually flush your cat’s waste, like an actual toilet. These are, of course, the priciest of the types, but if you want a completely self-sufficient system, these types are what you are looking for.
A self-cleaning litter box should cut down on maintenance, not add more to your routine. However, some automatic, self-cleaning litter boxes are more complicated than a car motor (well, maybe I’m exaggerating, but you get the point). In all seriousness, some automatic litter boxes may have technical features that be prone to breakage. Also, avoid a litter box where you have to
keep buying supplies from the company (litter, cartridges, etc).
Your goal is to search for a self-cleaning litter box system that requires little to maintenance.
If you have a particularly anxious cat, a noisy litter box may end up being a problem. The noise factor is important to note, and some self-cleaning litter boxes are louder than others. Our No. 5 recommendation, the SmartScoop Basic Green Self- Scooping Cat Litter Box, is known for being a quiet model. If the noise of a motor is an issue, look for a litter box that makes a noise of 50
decibels or less.
Here are some other factors to consider:
- Ease of use/assembly
- Included supplies
Read customer reviews, too. The reviews can tell you a lot about the product and how it works with unique circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Big Differences Between Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes and Conventional Litter Boxes?
Automatic self-cleaning litter boxes use a power source to remove waste from the box automatically. Most advertised self-cleaning litter boxes include boxes with a motor that drives a rake through the litter and deposits waste into a holding container for you to empty. You can literally go up to a week without even checking these boxes. These boxes are the most advanced litter boxes on the market.
Here are some other differences between self-cleaning and conventional litter boxes:
Ease of Use
If you currently have a conventional litter box, think about the time you spend scooping, cleaning, and replenishing the litter. It adds up quickly! Self-cleaning litter boxes save you time by doing the “dirty work” for you. Plus, they are generally easy to use. Some of them you can plug in and forget
about for weeks on end.
The odor of a conventional litter box is one of the downfalls. No one likes the smell, and I personally know some people who gag every time they smell the litter box! Automatic, self-cleaning litter boxes are significantly less smelly than traditional ones because they are continuously working to clean the waste and put it out of sight in a closed compartment that you can empty when you have time.
If you don’t know much about automatic, self-cleaning litter boxes, you may think they are way more expensive than conventional ones, and you are right. Self-cleaning litter boxes are more expensive, at first. However, when you think of the upkeep of a litter box, ask yourself how much you spend on litter and box maintenance.
Typically, you will use less litter with a self-cleaning box, and some (like the CatGenie, our number 2 recommendation) uses permanent, washable litter, so you don’t have to buy additional litter at all. Crunch the numbers and see what you find out. Often, cat owners save money in the long run by switching to self-cleaning, automatic litter boxes.
Will My Cat Use An Automatic Litter Box?
To answer this question simply, yes, in most cases, your cat will use an automatic litter box.
However, adjustments take time, for sure. If your cat is used to using a conventional litter box, and you introduce her to an automatic one, she may not know how to react. Thankfully, there are research-driven ways to help acclimate her to her new box.
First, don’t expect her to quit using her old litter box, cold turkey. Make sure to give her time to warm up to this new contraption when you first open it and take it out of the box. Set the automatic litter box up beside her old litter box, but don’t turn it on or use it yet. This will give her time to explore it without fearing any surprising noises it produces.
Once a few days have passed, turn the box on, assuming it is an electric one. Most self-cleaning litter boxes will let you manually turn on the scooping function, so turn this feature on a couple of times a day so she can get used to the new sounds.
When your cat no longer seems startled by her new litter box, add litter to it. You can even add a couple of scoops of the litter in her other box, so she can make the adjustment. Don’t take away her old litter box yet. If you take it away too quickly, she may not use her new litter box at all.
Praise her when she uses her new litter box. Once she starts using it regularly for several weeks, take the old litter box away. As you can see, acclimating your cat to a self-cleaning litter box takes time and patience, but it is well worth the effort.
How Do Self Cleaning Litter Boxes Work?
Since self-cleaning boxes vary in design, they also vary in how they work. With that said, here are some common ways that these contraptions work:
Most self-cleaning litter boxes include a rake that moves through the cat litter, sifts, and removes waste to a receptacle at one end of the litter box. The receptacle is closed to hold in odors until it can be removed.
A sensor is set off when your cat enters and leaves the box. A timer then starts (ten minutes is standard, but you can change the time frame if you want.) When it is “time,” the rake begins its work, and the waste is eliminated.
While most self-cleaning litter boxes work this way, it is important to read the directions that accompany the litter box you purchase, so you will know how to use your box to its fullest capacity.
Are Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes Safe For Cats?
You may have heard horror stories of self-cleaning boxes jamming up and not working. Most modern units don’t have these problems and also have sensors to keep your kitty out of harm’s way.
What Type of Cat Litter Do I Need for a Self-Cleaning Litter Box?
The type of cat litter you need for a self-cleaning box will depend on the style of box you are using. Most require clumping litter, but automatic litter boxes often require the use of non-clumping litter or specialized crystals. It is important to read the manufacturer’s recommendations for which type of litter to use.
Can I Use a Self-Cleaning Litter Box for Multiple Cats?
Yes! If you have multiple cats, you can use a self-cleaning litter box. In fact, a self-cleaning litter box is ideal for multiple cat households, since there will be more waste, and the self-cleaning litter box will make your life much easier.
When looking for a self-cleaning litter box for multiple cats, make sure to pick a model that is designed for more than one cat. Do be aware that you will go through litter much quicker, and you will need to empty the waste more frequently.
How Old do Cats Need to be Before They can use a Self-cleaning Litter Box?
There’s really no hard and fast age limit on these contraptions, although it’s usually harder to teach a kitten to use one. Some brands say not to use their self-cleaning litter boxes on kittens. Generally, it’s better to go not by age, but by weight. Once a cat reaches 5 pounds, they are ready to start
Self-cleaning litter boxes have changed the game and are worth the investment. You won’t go wrong with any of the models described on our list. Each one offers a hassle-free cleaning system that keeps your cat’s comfort and health in mind.
Find one that works within your budget and watch how the odors eliminate, the freshness appears, and love the fact that you will no longer be scooping cat feces again!