Though no longer the latest model in Whisker’s lineup of automatic, self-cleaning litter boxes, the WiFi-enabled Litter-Robot 3 Connect offers consistent performance and strong odor control. At around $550, however, it could be the most expensive device you’ll ever buy for your cat. Is this rotating litter sifter worth the money?
After testing the Litter-Robot 3 for over a year, we’re bringing you the details on how this automatic litter box works and my personal experience using it with my two cats.
- Ease of Cleaning – 10/10
- Odor Control – 10/10
- Appearance – 9.5/10
- Construction – 9/10
- Price – 7/10
Overall Score: 9.1/10
Here’s How You Get Started With The Litter-Robot
Why Trust Cats.com
Over the past several years, the Cats.com team has spent hundreds of hours researching and testing automatic litter boxes. I’ve tested over a dozen different models myself with my two cats, Wessie and Forest. This review was written after using the Litter-Robot 3 Connect in my home for over a year.
Before testing the Litter-Robot 3, I made observations about the product’s design, engineering, and appearance. I assessed the ease of setup, how consistently it worked, and how effectively it controlled odor and litter scatter. I also evaluated my cats’ responses to the Litter-Robot 3 and my own experience using the Whisker app.
Litter-Robot 3 Connect and Whisker Overview
In 2000, Auto Pets produced the first Litter-Robot—an innovative globe-shaped, rotating litter box that automatically sifts your cat’s litter after each use. The third edition of the Litter-Robot, called the Litter-Robot 3 with Connect, is a WiFi-enabled device that allows you to control and monitor cleanings via a smartphone app.
With its glowing blue night light, distinctive design, quiet performance, and smart home-ready functionalities, the Litter-Robot 3 looks like the litter box of the future. It utilizes a weight sensor to detect your cat’s presence in the globe-shaped main body and automatically initiates a cleaning cycle after a preset time delay. You can also trigger the cycle manually by pressing a button on the front of the unit.
During a cleaning cycle, the Litter-Robot’s globe rotates inside the bonnet, sending the litter inside shifting and sliding through a sifter. The rubber liner pops out, ensuring that all of the waste detaches from the sides. Clean litter is collected while clumps are deposited in a sealed waste drawer housed in the base of the unit.
When the cleaning cycle is complete, the globe rotates back to its original position, returning the clean litter to the litter bed for reuse. Waste and dirty litter remain locked away in the waste drawer, which needs to be emptied about once a week in a single-cat household.
Litter-Robot 3 Connect Features
The Litter-Robot 3 arrives fully assembled and ready for use. You’ll just have to take the ridged rubber mat out of the globe and place it on the step, install a drawer liner, pour in the litter, and then plug the Litter-Robot in. If you purchase the Litter-Robot 3 Connect, you’ll need to take a few minutes to sync it with the Whisker app.
Though easy to set up, the Litter-Robot 3 is a big, noticeable installment in the home. It measures 30 x 25 x 27 inches and weighs 24 pounds. Before you take the plunge, confirm that you have enough open floor space to fit this behemoth.
While some automatic litter boxes, like the PetSafe ScoopFree, demand that you use a specific type of cat litter, the Litter-Robot gives you a few more options. This model works best with hard-clumping litter. Whether you choose clay, clumping crystals, or a biodegradable product, you’ll want something that creates firm, cohesive clumps.
Also Read: The 12 Best Cat Litters of 2023
The Whisker app allows you to monitor the waste drawer level and track your cat’s litter box usage. It gives you a daily, weekly, and monthly analysis of your cat’s litter box activity, which can provide valuable insights into your cat’s health. This app also allows you to adjust all of your settings, including the nightlight, sleep mode, and cleaning cycle delay timer.
What We Like
- It’s one of the most versatile and consistent automatic litter boxes you can buy.
- The design gives you the freedom to choose any clumping litter (though it works best with hard-clumping clay).
- Its sifting mechanism works more reliably than many other self-cleaning models.
- The Whisker app enables you to track your cat’s litter box activity and remotely monitor and control the litter box.
- It takes the work out of scooping, which can benefit people who are busy or have trouble cleaning the litter box due to disabilities or mobility issues.
- The sealed waste drawer does a good job of containing litter box odors.
What We Dislike
- It’s one of the most expensive automatic litter boxes on the market, priced around $500.
- Performance may vary depending on the type of cat litter you use.
- It takes up a great deal of floor space and should be placed away from walls and corners.
- The interior may be too confining for large cats.
- It still requires occasional disassembly and cleaning to maintain optimal performance.
What Did Our Test Cats Think?
I found the Litter-Robot incredibly easy to set up and it paired quickly with the Whisker app. Both Wessie and Forest were hesitant to use the Litter-Robot when it first arrived.
Over the months of trialing the Litter-Robot, my larger cat refused to use it. I believe he was uncomfortable with the small internal size of the globe. Though it’s a massive unit that takes up a lot of space in the room, the inside of the Litter-Robot measures just 14 x 14 inches.
My smaller cat took to the Litter-Robot readily. I believe the Litter-Robot appealed to her size and personality. As a lightweight cat with a delicate frame, she fits easily inside the globe. Because it’s cleaned after every use, the Litter-Robot appeals to her love of cleanliness. It also suits her appreciation of cozy, confined spaces.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get much out of the app because one cat wasn’t using the Litter-Robot and it wasn’t consistently detecting the other cat. I could adjust my settings from the app and monitor the waste drawer, but I missed out on the usage tracking.
I found the Litter Robot’s sifting mechanism was consistent and effective. Because it allows the litter to fall through a grate naturally, the Litter-Robot avoids some of the jamming and clogging that plagues other self-cleaning boxes that use rakes and conveyors to separate clumps from loose litter.
Odor Control and Litter Scatter
Whenever I pull out the waste drawer, I’m surprised by how much stench is locked away. The smell is fully contained in the drawer until you open it up, meaning that the house feels fresh. Between this effective containment system and the Litter-Robot’s frequent cleaning cycles, it’s better at controlling odors than any traditional litter box.
The Litter-Robot comes with a little mat that’s supposed to capture litter, but it’s pretty small and doesn’t catch everything—especially if you have cats who dig a lot. If you want to prevent all of that scatter, you can put a mat in front of or underneath the Litter-Robot for additional protection.
Choosing the Right Litter
When I first got the Litter-Robot, I used fine-grained, lightweight clumping clay that resulted in a sticky mess. Later I tried Fresh Step, Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance and Dr. Elsey’s Ultra. All of these hard-clumping clay products worked well, creating firm clumps and allowing the Litter-Robot to do its job with minimal sticking.
I also tried the Litter-Robot with a couple of biodegradable litter products, including a grass-based litter and World’s Best Litter, which is made from corn. Both had more sticking than I’d prefer, fusing a bit to the rubber liner.
Pouring in the litter comes with some challenges. Large litter bags and boxes don’t do well with the small opening and angle of the Litter Robot’s entryway. You’ll have to use a scoop to transfer litter from bag to bed.
What Do Customers Think of the Litter-Robot 3 Connect?
Since 2000, Litter-Robot has sold over a million litter boxes. The Litter-Robot 3 Connect alone has around 15,000 customer reviews on the Litter-Robot site. It has an average 4.3 rating out of 5 stars with over 10,000 5-star reviews.
“I have had the Litter Robot 3 Connect for three years now after trying another rake-style auto-cleaning litter box that was terrible. I tell everyone I know who has a cat they need to get this. It is a game changer.”
—Renee, Litter-Robot.com on November 12, 2023
“This is the best litter box!! A dirty, smelly box and trying to remember to clean it regularly were two big pain points in our home. This is totally worth the investment. It works flawlessly and our cats took to it very quickly. I will never go back!”
—Julie D, Litter-Robot.com on November 8, 2023
Customers are overwhelmingly satisfied with the Litter-Robot III, so much so that many return to the site years later to provide an updated review. Many positive reviews mention the Litter-Robot’s strong odor control, ease of use, and convenience.
“I have to reset or power down and power back on literally every day—sometimes a few times a day. Also, the fill gauge is extremely skewed. I’ll put in a new liner and a few hours later, it’ll say it’s 95% full. If I’m having to do this much work to not scoop, I might as well scoop.”
—Erin, Litter-Robot.com on November 8, 2023
“It worked amazing for a while, but in the past few months, it has not cleaned itself without me manually cycling it. I’ve read and tried everything I could to fix it and it won’t work the same anymore. These things are way too expensive to stop working after only a couple months.”
—Trinity, Litter-Robot.com on July 8th, 2023
While customers are largely satisfied with the Litter-Robot initially, a significant number of negative reviews mention that the unit begins to glitch or stop working after a few months or years of use. Some of these issues appear to coincide with the release of the Litter-Robot 4 and the subsequent redesign of the Whisker app.
Sensor issues also appear to be common when using the Litter-Robot. Many users say that the sensor was unable to detect their cats, even though they met the weight minimum and had placed the Robot in an appropriate location. In my experience, the Litter-Robot only detected my larger cat when he went into the box.
How Much Does the Litter-Robot 3 Connect Cost?
The base model Litter-Robot 3 costs $499 on the Litter-Robot site. If you opt for the Connect version, you’ll pay $549. Whisker offers refurbished models at a discount, but availability is inconsistent. Shipping is free to the contiguous United States and financing is available with Affirm.
The Litter-Robot 3 Connect comes with a 90-day in-home trial as well as a one-year warranty. You can extend the warranty to three years for an additional $100.
Whisker offers an assortment of accessories for the Litter-Robot, such as litter mats, extra waste drawer liners, clumping clay cat litter, and an OdorTrap Pod. You can also purchase the Litter-Robot 3 as part of a bundle with various accessories.
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