Last Updated: October 30, 2020

Best Self Cleaning Litter Box

Best Self Cleaning Litter Box

Imagine spending less time scooping and more time snuggling with your kitty! A self-cleaning or automatic litter box can save you the time and hassle of traditional litter box maintenance and improve your home environment. The favorite with the Spots team is the PetSafe ScoopFree Smart Self Cleaning Cat Litter Box.

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Best Overall
PetSafe ScoopFree Smart Self Cleaning Cat Litter Box
PetSafe ScoopFree Smart Self Cleaning Cat Litter Box Best Overall
$200
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
8/10
  • What we Like
  • User-friendly app
  • Refills/parts are readily available in stores/online
  • Quiet
  • What we Dislike
  • Higher price point
  • Cats may not like crystal litter
Product Details
Type Open or Enclosed
Size 27.6"x 19.1" x 6.2"
Scheduling Button panel
sensor
and app
Cleaning Method Rake
Cleaning Time Customizable
Our Review

The PetSafe Smart Self-Cleaning litter box is our personal choice on an ongoing basis for our own kitties. Initially, we were reluctant to use a “smart” litterbox- when technology goes down, your cat’s need to use the box doesn’t. This box allows you to time when the cleaning rake will pass over the box, allowing solid waste to become a little more… solid before getting raked into the receptacle, but if it’s an emergency there’s a manual rake button as well. This box can be used with pre-filled trays or a plastic tray that you refill yourself (more affordable option) and has to be used exclusively with the crystal litter. It is a little pricier, but unless you have a huge household of cats all using the same box, we found at the end of the day the price was worth the convenience. Our alpha cat stopped covering her poop with the introduction of this box, so there are still times when we’ll scoop solid waste when we don’t want to wait for the rake to catch it. For a cat with urinary issues, a box that helps you keep a running record on the Petsmart App of how often she is using her potty is invaluable when working with a vet on a treatment regimen.

We did have a time where the rake malfunctioned and customer service was only available on weekdays, but they took very good care of the problem and we were satisfied with the resolution.

Best Self Flushing
CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Litter Box
CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Litter Box Best Self Flushing
$399
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
6/10
  • What we Like
  • Uses water and cleaning solution to clean litter pellets
  • Thoroughly cleans and sanitizes
  • What we Dislike
  • Uses special litter
  • May increase odors in your home
Product Details
Type Open
Size 17.5” x 19.25” x 24”
Scheduling App
control panel
and voice interface
Cleaning Method Rake and sanitizing wash
Cleaning Time 40 minutes
Our Review

The CatGenie Self-Washing Litter Box is a little different from other automatic litter boxes on our list. It uses a unique system that doesn’t just rake through the litter and remove clumps. Instead, this box removes solid waste, washes the pellets with a sanitizing solution, and dries the pellets with hot air when the cycle is done. Sounds simple enough, right? This flushes into your home’s drain pipes. What’s washed off the plastic granules flushes into your sewer system and then the granules are dried during a drying cycle. This can be configured to drain into your toilet or in the laundry room, into the washing machine drain pipe. You will be constantly flushing your toilet and drains. The mechanical scoop that comes through the litter after the animal has used this frequently misses solid animal waste. Unfortunately, the cleaning cycle pulls a lot of the litter into the grinder and into your sewer system. The grinder that supposedly liquefies solid waste releases the odors of this waste into the air. If not cleaned regularly (we’re talking every week) the inside of both the bowl, the self-contained grinding part, and the other interior parts can become pretty gross. 

When it does work, it can keep the litter box hygienic and improve your cat’s health. However, if it misses a clump and the drying feature turns on, it can spread odors throughout your home. While this litter box could be an amazing investment, monitoring it while it works is best, and you might find it’s a little more work than you anticipated for a self-cleaning box. While it’s a great idea, the potential for things to go wrong and the high price point rank it a little lower for us.

Best Enclosed
Litter-Robot III Open Air Automatic Litter Box
Litter-Robot III Open Air Automatic Litter Box Best Enclosed
$0
Review manufacturer litter-robot
on litter-robot
7/10
  • What we Like
  • Sends usage reports to the app to track your cat’s health
  • Quick, low-spill cycles with time delay settings
  • What we Dislike
  • Requires WiFi to work
  • Small litter pan
  • Loud motor
Product Details
Type Enclosed
Size 29.5” x 27” x 24.5”
Scheduling Button panel
sensor
and app
Cleaning Method Sifting
Cleaning Time 2.5 minutes
Our Review

The Litter-Robot 3 is an expensive investment, but it’s worth it. This is an automatic sifting litter box with a globe-shaped litter pan. The litter pan may be a little small, but it works for most cats. There are multiple scheduling and setting features, including time delay so the cycle will run between 3 and 15 minutes after your cat exits the litter box. 

The sifting action is smooth and quick, so it’s not as loud as some other automatic litter boxes can be. However, the motor is very loud and can interfere with your life if you are close to it when the cycle runs.

PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Automatic Cat Litter Box
PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Automatic Cat Litter Box
$130
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
6/10
  • What we Like
  • Disposable trays make cleaning easy
  • Keeps track of your cat’s litter box usage
  • Crystal litter reduces odor
  • What we Dislike
  • Accessories can become expensive quickly
  • Cats may not like crystal litter substitute
Product Details
Type Open or Enclosed
Size 27.5” x 19” x 17”
Scheduling Control panel
Cleaning Method Rake
Cleaning Time 20 minutes
Our Review

The ScoopFree Ultra by PetSafe is an automatic litter box that can be open or enclosed, as you can purchase the hood separately and install it if your cat enjoys privacy. This is a raking litter box that uses a special crystal litter. This litter absorbs moisture and helps eliminate odors. It also won’t track through your house.

The waste trays where the clumps are deposited are disposable, which means you don’t have to worry about emptying them. You can remove the tray and throw it away or purchase a reusable plastic tray that can be refilled with litter. The downside is that all of the accessories can become very pricey. Still, it’s a solid choice for an automatic litter box if you don’t mind the replacement accessories.

LitterMaid Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box
LitterMaid Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box
$162
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
5/10
  • What we Like
  • Includes paw cleaning ramp to keep litter from tracking all over the house
  • Waste trays are removable, so you don’t have to handle the litter much
  • What we Dislike
  • Plastic rake can get clogged easily
  • Jams easily
Product Details
Type Open
Size 12” x 18” x 10”
Scheduling Control panel
Cleaning Method Rake
Cleaning Time 10-12 minutes
Our Review

The LitterMaid Multi-Cat Litter Box has a larger litter pan that works well for larger cats. It scoops more frequently and includes larger waste receptacles than its single-cat counterpart, making it a great accommodation for households with more than one cat. It comes with four disposable waste bins, 4 carbon filters for odor control, and a rake cleaner to make sure that the plastic rake doesn’t stay dirty. Also, an included ramp traps litter on your cat’s way out of the box. 

The rake is plastic, which makes it a little messier and significantly less durable than a metal rake. To prevent the rake mechanism from clogging, make sure to program it to run long after your cat has used it. While the box allows you to handle litter less, it doesn’t remove it completely.

Nature’s Miracle Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Nature’s Miracle Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box
$140
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
4/10
  • What we Like
  • Designed for cats over 15lbs
  • High walls to keep litter inside
  • What we Dislike
  • Litter often gets stuck in the rake track
  • Rake often jams and clogs
Product Details
Type Open
Size 28.25” x 11” x 19.5”
Scheduling Control panel
Cleaning Method Rake
Cleaning Time 10-12 minutes
Our Review

Nature’s Miracle Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box is extra large for large cats! This automatic litter box has high sides to keep litter inside, for the cat wants to fling it all over the house. This box uses regular litter, and all you have to do is program the rake cycles to run after your cat is done in the box.

It’s a clean solution but beware of jamming. This may be a problem with most automatic litter boxes, but Nature’s Miracle has basically made a knock-off Litter-Maid, and this one is particularly bad about getting litter up into the rake tracks, making the box stop and stutter. It also runs a bit loud, so make sure to keep it in a separate room. Our pet peeve? The giant logo on it that Nature’s Miracle insists on putting on all their products like they’re race cars.

Best Budget
Omega Paw Products RA20 Self Cleaning Litter Box
Omega Paw Products RA20 Self Cleaning Litter Box Best Budget
$
Review manufacturer
on
4/10
  • What we Like
  • Cleans very quickly
  • Contains odors well
  • Large pan size
  • What we Dislike
  • Only semi-automatic
  • You’ll still have to deal with litter
Product Details
Type Enclosed
Size 22.4” x 19.4” x 0.8”
Scheduling

Cleaning Method Sifting
Cleaning Time 30 seconds
Our Review

Omega Paw Products is well-known for its rolling, sifting litter boxes that use motion to manually separate litter and clumps. The RA20 model takes this a step further and includes a mechanism that separates the clumps more effectively. However, you still have to initiate the process by rolling the litter box. There is no sensor or schedule – you’ll have to keep track of when the litter box needs to be cleaned.

While this is only really semi-self-cleaning, it still works well to prevent the box from getting too dirty. As long as you keep an eye on it, the cleaning process is simple and works very well. The pan is large and great for multiple cats. You just have to put in a little more work with this box than with others on our list.

PetSafe Simply Clean Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
PetSafe Simply Clean Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
$90
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
4/10
  • What we Like
  • Innovative, simple design
  • Uses a carbon filter to control odors
  • Rotates on a timer
  • What we Dislike
  • Timer can’t be changed
  • Extremely small pan
Product Details
Type Open
Size 26” x 15” x 10”
Scheduling Timer
Cleaning Method Rake
sift
Cleaning Time 30 minutes
Our Review

The innovative PetSafe Simply Automatic Cleaning Litter Box looks and works a little differently than the other boxes on our list. This box rotates the circular litter pan, sifting the litter slowly every half hour. This way, the rake,, and sifting mechanisms are never dragged through the waste. Instead, waste makes its way up a conveyer belt once it has been separated, and is then deposited into a removable compartment.

There is a filter to keep odors inside the compartment. The only real drawback of this litter box is the size of the pan. It’s very small, and larger cats may have some difficulties with it. If your cats often miss smaller litter boxes, this definitely won’t be the box for them. Otherwise, the constant cleaning and unique design make this a great option for smaller cats.

ChillX AutoEgg Self-Cleaning Litter Box
 ChillX AutoEgg Self-Cleaning Litter Box
$399
Review manufacturer chillx
on chillx
6/10
  • What we Like
  • Uses any clumping litter
  • Quiet motor
  • Modern design
  • What we Dislike
  • Small pan size
Product Details
Type Enclosed
Size 30.3” x 18.1” x 17.7”
Scheduling App
timer
and sensor
Cleaning Method Rake
Cleaning Time 5 minutes
Our Review

The ChillX AutoEgg is one of the best self-cleaning litter boxes on the market right now. ChillX has worked hard to avoid the pitfalls of other automatic litter boxes, including multiple measures to keep the rake from getting clogged (including a slow-moving 70-degree cleaning rake and a litter tray with a zig-zag pattern). It runs so quietly you’ll barely hear it.

It’s safe for your cat to use, as the sensor only runs the cleaning cycle if there is very little weight on the litter pan. If weight is detected, the cleaning cycle immediately stops. The only real drawback is the pan-to-case ratio: there is a small litter pan, but the litter box itself is quite large. The modern design and color options make it great for modern, minimalist homes.

Le You Pet Semi-Automatic Quick Cleaning Litter Box
Le You Pet Semi-Automatic Quick Cleaning Litter Box
$48
Review manufacturer amazon
on amazon
3/10
  • What we Like
  • Low tech and easy to use
  • Unique design
  • Effective sifting and reusable tray
  • What we Dislike
  • Most of the work is still up to you
  • Smaller pan is not great for large cats
Product Details
Type Open
Size 21.65” x 19.09” x 10.03”
Scheduling

Cleaning Method Sifting
Cleaning Time 30 seconds
Our Review

The Le You Semi-Automatic Quick Clean Litter Box is another low-tech option that requires you to work a little more. There is no schedule or sensor inside: when you notice the litter needs to be cleaned out, you’ll have to spin the box to separate the waste. It’s technically a sifting litter box.

However, it does the actual scooping for you, using a low-tech mechanism to get the waste to separate from the rest of the litter. You must take extra care not to move the litter box too quickly, because you can easily spill litter everywhere. While this box states that it can be used by larger cats, it doesn’t have a large enough litter pan. However, if your cats are skittish and may not like the noise and motion of a self-cleaning litter box, this is a great option.

Best Products Best Self Cleaning Litter Box
Product Name Best for Rate
PetSafe ScoopFree Smart Self Cleaning Cat Litter Box Best Overall 8
CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Litter Box Best Self Flushing 6
Litter-Robot III Open Air Automatic Litter Box Best Enclosed 7
Omega Paw Products RA20 Self Cleaning Litter Box Best Budget 4

How to Choose

All cats are different, so it makes sense that one litter box won’t be perfect for all of them. Here are some things to consider before you decide on which automatic litter box is best for your cat.

Type: Covered vs. Open

Some self-cleaning litter boxes have covers to provide your cat with privacy. These enclosed boxes may not work well if your cat doesn’t like small spaces. Thankfully, most enclosed litter boxes allow you to remove the lid. Enclosed boxes also help keep the dog out of the cat box. 

If you know your cat won’t like a covered litter box, choose an open option. This way, you won’t have to worry about the hood and your cat will remain comfortable with their litter box situation.

Size

Unfortunately, most automatic litter boxes are not very big. Because of the way they work, a smaller litter pan is more effective. Keep this in mind as you shop for an automatic litter box. Some multi-cat boxes may be better even if you just have a single cat that weighs more than 15 pounds.

Consider the space your cat is used to with their current litter box. If they are used to having a lot of space, consider purchasing a large automatic litter box. 

Scheduling

There are several different scheduling methods that automatic litter boxes use.

  • Sensor-based. Some automatic litter boxes will run a cleaning cycle when a sensor is triggered. These sensors may detect when the litter box needed cleaning, or it may trigger after your cat leaves the litter box (based on weight). Either way, there is little intervention needed on your part. 
  • App-based. An app-based litter box is one of the most sophisticated scheduling methods available today. These litter boxes connect with WiFi or Bluetooth. With your smartphone, you can control when the box runs, schedule run times, and adjust sensors to run exactly when you want them to.
  • Control panel. A control panel is also a viable option. This is a panel on the litter box itself that allows you to manually run the box, including scheduling times and timer delays with the push of a button.
  • Timer. Litter boxes that work on a timer run at set intervals throughout the day. Some boxes will run every three hours, or every 30 minutes. Usually, there is an option to adjust how often it runs.

Cleaning Method

Automatic litter boxes self-clean in a variety of different ways. 

  • Raking- These boxes use a metal or plastic rake on a track. The rake is dragged through the litter to collect clumps and waste. The waste is deposited into a drawer at the end of the track that you can empty as it fills.
  • Sifting- Sifting litter boxes often require some work from you, but that isn’t the case with an automatic sifting litter box. The box often uses motion to separate the litter and the waste, flipping or turning the pan itself to sift out solids.
  • Washing- There is currently only one washing litter box on the market. The CatGenie uses a combination of raking (to remove solids) and a sanitizing wash to completely clean litter pellets. The pellets are then dried with a hot air dryer located on the box itself. 

Cleaning Time

How long does the box take to complete a cleaning cycle? Some boxes can take up to 40 minutes to run, which isn’t ideal for multiple cats. If you have three cats trying to use the litter box, having it out of commission for 40 minutes (or stopping and starting cycles) just isn’t going to work. Look for a litter box that cleans sufficiently without taking an extremely long time to finish raking or washing.

Noise

One of the first things you hear about automatic litter boxes is how loud they are. Each type of cleaning process requires a motor to work. Consider that they’re moving around litter granule en mass in addition to the regular motor sounds. Some boxes can be extremely loud. 

Not only can this disrupt your life (imagine being on a conference call when the litter box begins to clean itself), but the loud noises and movements may startle your cat. Look for a litter box that has been specifically engineered to run quieter.

Safety

Safety is a major concern when it comes to an automatic litter box. We’ve all heard terrible stories of cats getting trapped or injured while using the box. Sensor issues, moving parts, and unreliable motors can lead to serious injury if the box isn’t working correctly.

Thankfully most automatic litter boxes come with safety features that prevent these types of issues. Look for a box you can manually stop if it becomes hazardous or one that has safety sensors in place. Some will even stop if your cat enters the box when the cycle is running. 

Ease of Use

Self-cleaning litter boxes can be complicated machines. While most are fairly easy to set up, cleaning them afterward can be a nightmare. Some of the larger, dome-shaped boxes have a lot of moving parts and require a ton of assembly any time you want to deep clean it. 

If the thought of taking the box apart and putting it back together a few times a month is unappealing to you, aim for a litter box that is simpler to clean and easier to use.

Litter Type

Consider what type of litter you already use. Your cat may be used to it and prefer it over other types. Unfortunately, some automatic litter boxes only work with special crystal litter cartridges or unique pellet litters. These litter boxes are made to work with smaller particles, so clumping litter isn’t going to work the same way. 

If you think your cat may have a problem transitioning away from their favorite litter (or using clumping litter at all), consider your automatic litter box options and choose one that will work best for them.

Accessories

Automatic litter boxes can come with a host of different disposable parts, accessories, and more. Most have filters that need to be replaced often and must be purchased specifically for your box model. Waste drawers on some models are completely disposable, so you’ll need to insert a new plastic drawer when you want to empty the waste. Some boxes even require special litter inserts in order to work! This can get expensive, but there are options.

If you don’t want to spend exponentially more each year on your litter box, choose a box that allows you to make permanent additions. For example, most boxes with disposable waste drawers offer a permanent version for more upfront. This can save you a ton of money in the long run! 

Your Cat’s Preferences 

One of the chief concerns that any cat owner should have when purchasing a new type of litter box is your cat’s personality. Some cats take to change well, while others won’t appreciate a new litter box or a litter change. 

An automatic litter box is a big change. No matter what type you get, it may be a very drastic change for your cat. They may not want to use it, especially if it uses a special type of litter they haven’t used before. 

If your cat has shown resistance to change before, it may not be a good idea to get an automatic litter box. If you are determined to get one, choose one that uses a litter they already use so you don’t stress them out too much. 

Essentially, your cat’s tolerance, personality, and preferences are the most important thing to consider before you commit to the purchase of an automatic litter box. It’s a big investment, and you know your cat best.

Introducing Your Cat to the New Litter Box

While some cats will take to a new litter box immediately, others require a little more motivation to use the new box. When it comes to an automatic litter box, that might turn into quite a lot of motivation, particularly if they are skittish. 

First, place the new litter box right next to the old one. Putting the new litter box in the same location will help your cat become more comfortable with it. This also allows them time to adjust, and gives them the added security of their familiar box as well.

Experts suggest that during this time, you shouldn’t clean the old box. Cats prefer a clean litter box, so allowing their familiar spot to get dirty will make the clean one more inviting. Use the same litter in both boxes if you can. If your cat won’t adjust to the crystal litter that some boxes require, try purchasing a box that uses clumping litter instead.

Avoid forcing your cat into the new box. This could make them not want to use it at all.


For automatic boxes, try changing the settings if you can. Increase the timer on the box, so that it waits as long as possible after your cat leaves to rake the waste out. Your cat may be more inclined to use if they aren’t immediately confronted with the noisy motor and moving parts.

 

By slowly getting your cat used to the new litter box, providing a clean and peaceful environment, and not pushing your cat into an uncomfortable situation, even the most resistant of cats will eventually give in. Make sure that they know there is nothing to fear. Soon, your cat will be using their new self-cleaning litter box like a pro!