The 6 Best Automatic Self Cleaning Litter Boxes

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After hours of research and trying over a dozen automatic litter boxes with our test cats, we’ve chosen the Litter-Robot 4 Automatic Litter Box as the best self-cleaning cat litter box on the market.

The Litter-Robot 4 stands out from the competition with an innovative rotating mechanism that sifts efficiently while avoiding the jams, clogs, and messes common among other automatic boxes.

At a Glance: Our Top-Rated Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes

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Want a quick look at the products reviewed in this article? In the comparison table below, we’ve summarized our top picks. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.

Litter Robot IV ScoopFree Litter Robot III PetSafe Simply CatGenie LitterMaid

Why You Should Trust Us?

Over the last two years, we’ve spent a lot of time figuring out what it takes to make the best self-cleaning litter box. 

We’ve researched the types of automatic litter boxes available, read hundreds of customer reviews, and performed real-world tests on the top automatic litter boxes. We spent over 60 hours testing these litter boxes, paying attention to key factors like efficiency, odor control, and long-term reliability. 

Based on this extensive research and hands-on testing, we’ve selected the following automatic cat litter boxes as the best you can buy.

Top Picks Explained

Based on over 20 years of engineering innovation, the Litter-Robot 4 is at the cutting edge of automatic litter box technology. It provides the consistent performance we’ve come to expect from Whisker products and builds upon that tradition with an array of smart features for better health monitoring, odor control, safety, and more.

But it’s not perfect for everyone. To help you find a litter box that fits you, your cat, and your home, this roundup contains six different picks for the best self-scooping, self-flushing, and self-cleaning litter boxes. With options ranging from budget-friendly to premium and simple to self-flushing, you should be able to find something that’s right for you.

The Best Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes: Our Top 6 Recommendations

Now that you know what it takes to make the best self-cleaning litter box for cats, let’s review the top products on the market.

#1 The All-New Litter-Robot: Litter-Robot 4 Automatic Litter Box Review

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  • Price: $649.00
  • Dimensions: 27 x 22 x 29.5 inches
  • Works With: Any clumping cat litter
  • Key Strengths: A feature-rich, reliable, WiFi-enabled litter box that works with any clumping cat litter
  • Ideal For: People who want to spend more to get the best performance

Because its rotating design uses gravity to its advantage, the Litter-Robot avoids the jamming and caking issues common among other automatic litter boxes. In addition to smooth operation, the Litter-Robot helps to make your life easier by featuring a set of intuitive controls, multiple settings, and useful notification lights.

It is compatible with any type of clumping litter and works with silica gel crystals.

To avoid the sticking that is the bane of most other automatic litter boxes’ existence, the Litter-Robot has a flexible rubber lining that pops out when the machine rotates, pushing clumped litter off of the interior surfaces and into the waste drawer below.

Above the waste drawer, the globe is equipped with a carbon filter, which captures odors before they can escape. When the waste drawer fills, the Litter Robot’s ready light will start to blink, notifying you that it’s time to discard the contents. If you’d rather track this on your phone, you’re also able to monitor the waste drawer fullness level and get notified when it’s time to change it through the Whisker app.

That’s not all the app can do—it allows you to trigger a cycle remotely, adjust the wait time before a cycle begins, set up a sleep period, adjust the night light, and more.

Unfortunately for budget shoppers, the Litter Robot’s superior performance comes at a high-performance price. The Litter-Robot 4 costs just under $650.

Consider, though, the Litter Robot’s lower operating costs compared to other automatic litter boxes. It’s compatible with any clumping litter or silica gel litter, so you won’t need to worry about buying proprietary granules of any type. Compared to the ScoopFree Ultra, for instance, you’ll pay less for the Litter-Robot over time.

Watch the Litter-Robot in action:

 

What We Liked:

  • One of the most reliable automatic litter boxes on the market – doesn’t jam and seldom has serious malfunctions
  • Has an eye-catching design
  • Features a night light
  • Has a step to catch loose litter
  • Intuitive functionality and easy assembly
  • The waste drawer is secure and odor-tight
  • Connects to your iOS or Android device for remote litter box monitoring

What We Didn’t Like:

  • The Litter-Robot litter bed is small and might not accommodate larger cats
  • Great performance comes at a cost – the Litter-Robot currently costs about $650
  • Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks

#2 Runner Up: PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box

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  • Price: $199.95
  • Dimensions: 28.5 x 20.5 x 11.5 inches
  • Works With: Crystal cat litter
  • Key Strengths: One of the most reliable automatic litter boxes on the market
  • Ideal For: Single-cat homes, people who like crystal litter

This automatic litter box earns its place as our top-rated pick with its superior odor control, smooth operation, and reasonable price. This well-known litter box has a better-than-average reputation, with 2,798 reviews on Amazon and a 3.8 out of 5 star rating.

The ScoopFree Ultra combines the long-lasting odor control of silica gel litter with a convenient raking mechanism. Silica gel crystals have several benefits in an automatic litter box setup.

For one, crystal litter absorbs liquid waste, meaning that you don’t have to worry about it turning into sludge and jamming up the machine. And just as it absorbs liquid waste, crystal cat litter desiccates solid waste and renders it odorless. In short, this is a litter that eliminates odors and doesn’t create sludge.

To compensate for the fact that you won’t be closely watching your cat’s waste, the ScoopFree Ultra features a use counter to give you a better idea of how often your cat uses the toilet.

But it’s not perfect.

The ScoopFree Ultra can handle a lot, but it usually can’t handle cats with diabetes or kidney disease. Silica gel litter has a high absorption capacity, but when it reaches its absorption limit, the liquid has nowhere to go. If your cat urinates more than most, saturation is inevitable. For this reason, the ScoopFree Ultra is best-suited to single cat homes.

The ScoopFree Ultra isn’t cheap. Combined with the fact that disposable trays and replacement litter are both high-priced items, this litter box is expensive both upfront and in the long-term.

One way to save money is by using a reusable tray instead of buying disposable litter trays. You may opt to purchase a  reusable plastic tray and pair it with any silica gel crystal litter.

Watch A Video Review Of The Petsafe Scoopfree Litter Box:

What We Liked:

  • Reliable and not prone to jamming
  • Quiet, quick operation
  • Offers good odor control
  • A good choice for cats who like silica gel litter
  • Features a use counter

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Disposable litter trays quickly become expensive
  • Not a great choice for cats who dislike silica gel litter
  • Can become saturated under heavy use

#3 Overall Best: Litter Robot III Open Air Automatic Litter Box

Litter Robot III Open Air Automatic Litter BoxGet $25 OffDiscount Applied Automatically at Check-Out

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  • Price: $499.00
  • Dimensions: 27 x 24.25 x 29.5 inches
  • Works With: Any clumping cat litter
  • Key Strengths: A feature-rich, reliable, WiFi-enabled litter box that works with any clumping cat litter
  • Ideal For: People who want to spend more to get the best performance

Because its rotating design uses gravity to its advantage, the Litter Robot avoids the jamming and caking issues common among other automatic litter boxes. In addition to smooth operation, the Litter Robot helps to make your life easier by featuring a set of intuitive controls, multiple settings, and useful notification lights.

It is compatible with any type of clumping litter and works with silica gel crystals.

To avoid the sticking that is the bane of most other automatic litter boxes’ existence, the Litter Robot has a flexible rubber lining that pops out when the machine rotates, pushing clumped litter off of the interior surfaces and into the waste drawer below.

The waste drawer is equipped with a carbon filter, which captures odors before they can escape. According to a review on Wirecutter, the drawer contains about 4 cups of clumped urine. When the waste drawer fills, the Litter Robot’s ready light will start to blink, notifying you that it’s time to discard the contents.

Another user-friendly aspect of the Litter Robot is the fact that it’s now available with the WiFi-powered Litter Robot Connect app. This app allows you to monitor your cat’s litter box usage whether you’re home or not. It’s compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

Unfortunately for budget shoppers, the Litter Robot’s superior performance comes at a high-performance price. The Litter Robot Open Air III with Connect costs almost $500. Without the Connect smartphone app functionality, the latest Litter Robot model costs $449.

This is one case when you’ll have to ask yourself whether or not you’re lazy enough to spend almost $500 for the luxury of not having to clean out your cat’s litter box.

Consider, though, the Litter Robot’s lower operating costs compared to other automatic litter boxes. It’s compatible with any clumping litter or silica gel litter, so you won’t need to worry about buying proprietary granules of any type. Compared to the ScoopFree Ultra, for instance, you’ll pay less for the Litter Robot over time.

Watch the Litter Robot in action:

What We Liked:

  • One of the most reliable automatic litter boxes on the market – doesn’t jam and seldom has serious malfunctions
  • Has an eye-catching design
  • Features a night light
  • Has a step to catch loose litter
  • Intuitive functionality and easy assembly
  • The waste drawer is secure and odor-tight
  • Connects to your iOS or Android device for remote litter box monitoring

What We Didn’t Like:

  • The Litter Robot litter bed is small and might not accommodate larger cats
  • Great performance comes at a cost – the Litter Robot currently costs about $500

#4 Best Budget: PetSafe Simply Automatic Clean Litter Box

PetSafe Simply Automatic Clean Litter Box

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  • Price: $99.95
  • Dimensions: 26 x 19 x 10 inches
  • Works With: Any clumping cat litter
  • Key Strengths: An affordable automatic litter box
  • Ideal For: Small cats, people who don’t want to spend a lot of money on their cat’s litter box

This automatic litter box is in constant motion. The almost imperceptible motion doesn’t stop when your cat steps in or when you’re handling it. Instead, it slowly continues, making a full rotation every hour. As the litter bowl rotates, the machine captures clumped litter and sends it up a conveyor, which delivers the clumped waste into the built-in trash bin.

There are currently two versions of the Simply Clean on the market—a new version and an original style. The new version has a fresher, more modern look, higher sides, status lights, and a conveyor that doesn’t reach as far into the bowl. While it has some improvements in terms of spaciousness and style, the new version appears to have the same motor burnout problem seen in the older models. Users recommend pairing the cat box with an outlet timer to prevent the motor from running constantly.

Since the new model hasn’t solved the biggest problems users faced with the original design, we recommend the original Simply Clean for most buyers.

On Amazon, the Simply Clean has 2,618 customer reviews, earning it a 3.2 out of 5 star rating. Critical and positive reviews are almost evenly matched. 34% of reviewers give it 5 stars and 28% give it a single star. Negative reviews concentrate on the motor’s tendency to fail just days, weeks, or months after purchase.

As of September 2021, the original version of the Simply Clean costs $99.95, making it one of the lowest-priced automatic litter boxes on the market.

Watch the PetSafe Simply Clean in action:

What We Liked:

  • Almost noiseless during operation
  • Allows your cat to use it at all times
  • Compatible with any clumping cat litter

What We Didn’t Like:

  • An extremely small litter area
  • Sometimes clogs and jams
  • The motor tends to burn out after a short period of use

#5 CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Box

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  • Price: $479.00
  • Dimensions: 24.5 x 19.2 x 21 inches
  • Works With: Proprietary plastic granules
  • Key Strengths: The only flushing litter box on the market
  • Ideal For: People who want their cat’s toilet to be as efficient and clean as their own

Installing the CatGenie is like adding a new toilet to your bathroom. It looks like a small human toilet and hooks up to water lines in the laundry room or bathroom. Each time your cat uses their little toilet, their waste is flushed away into the (bigger) toilet or through the plumbing.

This is the only automatic litter box on this list that doesn’t just scoop. It washes your cat’s litter with a combination of water and CatGenie sani-solution. Once the plastic litter granules are washed, the CatGenie uses hot air and agitation to dry them out.

The CatGenie is interesting in this respect. It’s the only automatic litter box that whisks your cat’s waste away through the plumbing, sparing you from ever having to haul away your cat’s waste in a bag. It’s not necessarily the end of your cat litter struggle – the CatGenie can grant your wish for a life free of scooping and scraping, but for many users, it brings a new world of problems.

Because it requires the use of proprietary granules and special, non-refillable sani-solution cartridges, the CatGenie has a higher lifetime cost than either a standard litter box or some other automatic litter boxes. A review on Wirecutter estimated that the CatGenie’s replacement costs would add up to $400 after 10 months. But it’s worth the convenience, right?

Not necessarily. The CatGenie may end up creating more problems than it solves.

Customer reviews of the CatGenie are mixed. Some say that it’s a miracle machine, making the feline litter box as struggle-free as their own toilet. Others, like Amazon customer Suren, disagree. Here’s what Suren had to say in this top-rated review of the CatGenie on Amazon:

“If you like smelling delicious baked cat poo, enjoy clogged hoses and drains, and love questionably clean litter all over your entire house — this is the product for you!!!”

It sounds dramatic, but this kind of drama is characteristic of this litter box’s negative reviews.

Heated and dried cat waste is a reeking reality for many dissatisfied CatGenie users.

It’s important to recognize, however, that these negative reviews aren’t indicative of the average CatGenie experience. On Amazon, this automatic litter box has 1,123 reviews and a 3.8 out of 5 star rating. Over half of those reviewers gave 5-star ratings. A lot of people love the Genie, describing it as a hassle-free litter box that works like a household appliance.

Watch A Video Review Of The Cat Genie:

At the time of this review the CatGenie currently costs around $479.00.

What We Liked:

  • Allows you to flush your cat’s waste away
  • Can be cleaner and less odor-prone than a standard litter box
  • Receives more positive reviews than most other automatic litter boxes

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Solid waste may be baked during the drying process
  • At around $479.00, this is one of the more expensive automatic litter boxes on the market
  • Comes with replacement costs for sani-solution and washable granules
  • The lightweight plastic granules have a scattering and tracking problem
  • Makes it almost impossible to monitor your cat’s toilet health

#6 Best for Clay Litter: LitterMaid Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box, Version 3.2

LitterMaid Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box, Version 3.2 Buy On Amazon

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  • Price:$169.95
  • Dimensions: 27 x 18 x 10 inches
  • Works With: Any litter
  • Key Strengths: Comparable to the ScoopFree litter box without the crystal cat litter
  • Ideal For: Multiple cat homes, people who want to be able to choose from any type of cat litter
  • The LitterMaid litter box is a classic in the self-cleaning space.

Like the ScoopFree, the LitterMaid looks like a standard litter box. It’s a rectangular pan equipped with a raking mechanism that crosses the litter bed, scraping up and sequestering waste. When your cat steps into the litter box, a sensor built into the inner wall of the LitterMaid detects their presence. Ten minutes after your cat leaves the box, the machine starts a cleaning cycle.

Unlike the ScoopFree litter box, the LitterMaid is intended for use with any litter of your choice. You can pair it with clumping clay, silica, or any natural biodegradable litter your cat enjoys.

Most cats prefer clumping clay litter over any other type of litter on the market. In that sense, an automatic litter box should be compatible with such a well-loved litter substrate. On the flip side, clumping litter presents a unique set of challenges when paired with the LitterMaid litter box.

On Amazon, the LitterMaid has 3,109 customer reviews and a rating of 2.9 out of 5 stars. About a third of reviewers describe it as a scooping wonder, while another third hate it.

When litter clumps in the LitterMaid, it tends to stick to the rake. Anytime your cat urinates near the rake, clumping litter will adhere to the cleaning mechanism, preventing it from doing its job effectively.

This has led some users to coat the rake with baking soda or use cooking spray to prevent sticking. Others choose their litter strategically, observing that only hard-clumping, fast-acting litter works effectively in the LitterMaid.

As of January 2020, the latest version of the Litter Maid self-cleaning box costs $99.99 on Amazon. This puts it among the most economical options on the market.

Watch the Litter Maid in action:

What We Liked:

  • Compatible with any cat litter, including clay, silica gel, and biodegradable litter
  • The generously-sized litter box is appropriate for large cats and multi-cat households
  • Reasonably-priced

What We Didn’t Like:

  • Tends to jam and clog

What Should You Look For In An Automatic Cat Litter Box?

The Best Automatic Kitty Litter Box Doesn’t Jam

Cleaning cat litter is a sticky business, and many automatic litter boxes struggle with it. While testing automatic litter boxes, we found that many of them got jammed and backed up. Some couldn’t get through a single large clump.

We looked for automatic litter boxes with strong enough sifters to power through clumps large and small without malfunctioning.

The Best Automatic Litter Boxes Clean Thoroughly

When used with the right type of cat litter, great automatic litter boxes should be able to clean out your cat’s waste without leaving chunks and residue.

In our tests, we found that bad automatic litter boxes tended to let messy bits fall under the litter bed or into other crevices in the unit. To avoid this problem, we looked for boxes that featured a strong rake or sifter with holes tight enough to catch and remove small pieces.

That’s why we also looked for units that were well-sealed without a lot of gaps and cracks that could collect mess.

It Should Be Good at Controlling Odors

Except for the toilet-style CatGenie, automatic litter boxes don’t make your cat’s waste disappear completely.

Instead, they store it within an odor-trapping waste bin. These compartments should contain odors effectively and should have a large capacity, allowing you to go for a week or more before making a trip to the garbage can.

Look for Boxes That Work With The Type of Litter Your Cat Prefers 

Some automatic litter boxes only work with certain types of litter.

The PetSafe ScoopFree litter box, for example, is only compatible with crystal cat litter.

The CatGenie won’t work unless you fill it with proprietary plastic pellets.

If your cat doesn’t like the type of litter that the box requires, you’re out of luck. Consider this before choosing a self-cleaning litter box and make sure your cat likes the type of litter it requires.

The Best Automatic Litter Boxes Let You Monitor Your Cat’s Activity

Your cat’s litter box activity is one of the best indicators of their health status. That means that your scooping sessions are one of the best opportunities to learn how your cat’s doing.
And when their box does the work for you, you’re missing out on an opportunity to evaluate their wellbeing. Some automatic litter boxes make up for this shortcoming with an activity log in a connected app or other means of monitoring your cat’s box usage.

To ensure that you don’t lose track of your cat’s litter box activity, choose a health monitoring box.