At less than $100, the PetSafe Simply Clean is one of the most wallet-friendly—and most popular—automatic litter boxes you can buy. But is it a wise purchase?
After hours of research and hands-on testing, we’ve concluded that while the PetSafe Simply Clean does a decent job of keeping the litter box clean, it’s also unreliable. According to customer reviews, it’s not unlikely that a motor malfunction could take this unit out of commission within a few weeks of purchase.
Keep reading to get all the details on how the PetSafe Automatic Simply Clean works and what we thought of it.
- Ease of Cleaning – 8/10
- Odor Control – 8/10
- Appearance – 8/10
- Construction – 7.5/10
- Price – 9/10
Overall Score: 8.1/10
PetSafe Simply Clean Video Review
First, Let’s Get Some Background On What The Petsafe Automatic Simply Clean Is And How It Works
The PetSafe Simply Clean is a pretty interesting little machine that does a few things differently than other automatic litter boxes. While most self-cleaning boxes rake, scrape, or use a rolling motion to remove waste from the litter bed, the PetSafe Simply Clean slowly rotates—a bit like an ultra-slow record on a turntable.
Instead of waiting for your cat’s presence to trigger a cycle, the PetSafe Automatic Simply Clean never stops moving. It uses a constant, almost imperceptible rotating motion to move waste onto a plastic conveyor mechanism. This ridged conveyor picks up any clumps and gradually moves it into a receptacle at the back of the unit.
This plastic receptacle then holds your cat’s waste until you’re ready to throw it out. You’ll slide the waste drawer out from the back of the unit, remove your trash bag, and throw out the contents before returning the drawer for another fill-up.
Here’s How You Get Started With The Petsafe Simply Clean
The PetSafe Simply Clean is a little bit more difficult to set up than some of the other automatic litter boxes I’ve used. You’ll have to screw the conveyor unit onto the bowl, slide in the carbon filter, slide in the waste receptacle, and seat the cover on top of the conveyor.
The process involves a couple of thumbscrews and some finicky placements, so you’ll want to take your time and make sure that everything is seated and screwed in the right places.
Once you’ve assembled the body of the Simply Clean, you’ll line the waste receptacle with a plastic bag. These bags are not included, so you can use a grocery bag or a small trash bag.
Once It’s Assembled, The Petsafe Simply Clean Measures 26 X 15.5 X 10 Inches.
While these outside dimensions sound generous, the litter bed itself is actually really small. The area that your cat can use is a ring that measures 9” across on the inside.
Which Kind Of Litter Works Best In The Petsafe Simply Clean?
Before you can start using the PetSafe Simply Clean, you’ll add cat litter. The PetSafe Simply Clean works best with clumping litter.
And, as with most automatic litter boxes, the better the litter clumps, the better the Simply Clean works. You can use clumping clay, grass, corn, or crystals—just look for a product that clumps hard and fast. Quick clumping translates to less litter stuck to the bottom of the bowl and more efficient cleaning.
I used the PetSafe Simply Clean with Dr. Elsey’s Ultra, a hard-clumping medium-grained clay litter with a strong reputation.
Here’s How The Petsafe Simply Clean Works
As mentioned earlier, the PetSafe Simply Clean is in constant motion, making a complete rotation every 90 minutes. That movement doesn’t stop whether your cat is in the box or not—the bowl spins on, moving any clumps towards a litter guide that directs them onto a slowly-moving conveyor and eventually into the waste drawer.
The Simply Clean runs smoothly and quietly, producing an almost-imperceptible hum and occasionally creaking.
How Well Did It Work?
During my test, I found that the PetSafe Simply Clean did a fairly good job of collecting waste, capturing all the big clumps without leaving anything stuck to the bottom of the bowl. That said, while the bowl overall looked pretty clean with no significant waste remaining there, it did leave a lot of particles that might have been picked up if you were using a traditional scoop.
I Also Encountered A Few Reliability Issues.
The body of the litter box has an indicator light that changes color to tell you about the box’s status. As soon as I plugged in the Simply Clean for the first time, I noticed that the light was red, indicating an issue with the conveyor motor. As the instructions suggested, I unplugged the Simply Clean and plugged it back in. This seemed to resolve the issue—at least temporarily.
Later in my test, the PetSafe Simply Clean started showing a blue light, meaning that the cover or waste trap wasn’t positioned correctly. After a few bumps and jostles, the Simply Clean showed a solid green light, meaning that everything was working correctly and was ready to go. But days later, the blue light turned on again. I re-adjusted everything again, tightened some screws, and the green light was back for the remainder of the one-week test.
Although things seemed to work out in the end, I found that the PetSafe Simply Clean was finicky in a way that most other automatic litter boxes aren’t.
Although it did eventually start working smoothly for me, my initial experience with malfunction lights and stalling seems to align with some of the experiences shared by other users. There are a lot of reviews saying that one or both of the bowl’s motors failed within weeks of getting the litter box.
What Did The Cats Think?
My cats seemed relatively comfortable with the Simply Clean and used it as soon as it was set up. Although the area is small, neither of them seemed to mind.
How Well Does The Petsafe Simply Clean Control Odors?
During my test, the PetSafe Simply Clean didn’t do the best job of controlling odors. I’m not sure if this was due to the placement of the carbon filter or the security of the waste receptacle, but at any rate, the unit’s odor control ability wasn’t equal to that of some other automatic litter boxes I’ve tried.
Does The Petsafe Simply Clean Contain Scatter?
In contrast to some other litter boxes I’ve used, the Simply Clean’s rim guard did an excellent job of keeping litter contained.
How Easy Is It To Discard Litter From The Waste Drawer?
Compared to some other automatic litter boxes, this was a simple, straightforward process. You’ll grip the waste drawer at the back of the unit, slide it out, and pull out your trash bag.
How Much Does The Petsafe Simply Clean Cost?
The PetSafe Simply Clean costs $99.95, making it one of the few automatic litter boxes available for less than $100. Replacement carbon filters cost about $2 each and you’ll have to change them out about once per month.
Compared to other automatic litter boxes that tie you to special litter, waste traps, bags, and more, this litter box doesn’t demand a lot of replacement parts and is a more affordable investment over time.
Overall, Is The Petsafe Simply Clean A Good Choice?
Reliability issues aside, I was relatively happy with the PetSafe Simply Clean’s cleaning performance. With moderate odor control, minimal sticking or jamming, and fair scatter control, the PetSafe Simply Clean can out-clean a lot of its competitors.
If PetSafe could improve the unit’s design to prevent the repeated motor failures and other malfunctions that so many customers encounter, this could be one of the best automatic litter boxes on the market.