Of all the things we do for our fur babies, cleaning the litter box is one that nobody looks forward to. There have always been new ways to take care of litter, but technology gives us an extra boost these days.
Enter the best self cleaning litter boxes. Naturally, you’ll find any range of sizes, features, and price ranges when you’re looking for one.
It’s not easy finding the right one. We know the search is hard, so we decided to create this guide with what we’ve found.Buyer’s Guide:
What are self cleaning litter boxes?
Self cleaning litter boxes are essentially litter boxes with built in features so you do as little scooping as possible. They come in a variety of designs, as well as levels of automation.
Some models have knobs you turn to sift the litter. Others rely on sensors or set timers to determine when they sift the litter.
How to Get Your Cat to Use a Self Cleaning Litter Box
We love automatic litter boxes, but sometimes our cats don’t. Why won’t your cat use a self cleaning litter box? This usually comes down to a few reasons.
First, some cats get spooked by the mechanical noises the litter box makes. These aren’t natural sounds to cats, and it can make them nervous to hear them where they’re trying to go potty.
Sometimes cats are simply hesitant to use a new litter box. Like anything else, it takes time for them to adjust.
Mechanical litter boxes aren’t humans. The technology doesn’t necessarily discern when a cat’s using the litter box and when it isn’t.
If the litter box starts a cleaning cycle when your cat tries to use the litter box, that can be a rather nerve wracking experience.
When you introduce the new litter box, keep it in the same place as the old one. If possible, use the old litter while your cat adjusts.
Try keeping the litter box powered off, and consider removing the lid. If your self cleaning litter box has an adjustable timer for cleaning, make sure you set it for times when your cat isn’t likely to use the box.
Above all, remember to be patient. Your cat will adjust eventually, but it takes time. Getting frustrated only makes it harder for your cat to get comfortable.
What Features to Look for
What are the most important things to look at in a self cleaning litter box? Checking out these features will help you choose the best one for you and your cat:
This is one of the biggest factors you should look at. In fact, we’d even say it’s the first thing to check out. If the litter box is too small, your cat is likely to have accidents outside the box. Generally the box should be at least as long as your cat from the end of their tail to the tip of their nose. Aim for about half of this for the width.
How it cleans
As we mentioned, automatic litter boxes work in different ways. Some are more manual than mechanical. While fully automatic, self cleaning litter boxes minimize work for you, there are things to consider.
The more mechanical parts, the more cleaning and upkeep they usually require. You’ll also pay a bit more depending on which model you choose.
Litter boxes that lean on more on the manual side typically cost less, and require less maintenance. However, they also require more regular work on your part. Also consider whether the noise or automation of certain litter boxes will bother your cat.
No matter what kind of litter box you choose, it’s worth looking at the recommended maintenance before you buy one. Dust can get into the motor, requiring more frequent replacement.
Another thing to look at is how you empty the scooped litter. Is it collected in a receptacle? How do you empty the waste bin? Or, do you sift the litter with a knob, and empty it directly from the tray?
What kind of litter you can use
This is one thing a lot of people overlook. It’s easy to get excited about a new tool that lessens your litter duty. However, not all self cleaning litter boxes are built alike.
Make sure you check and see which types of litter you can use in it. Look at whether you can use clumping, clay, non tracking, organic litter and more. If you don’t check first, you might end up damaging your automatic litter box over time.
We never recommend using price as your only criteria in choosing a litter box. Start your search with a price range in mind, but also look at the other features we mentioned.
It’s best to weigh which options are most important to you, and your cat. The more features and automation the litter box includes, the more it raises the price.
Look for the key features, and if there’s extra room in your budget, go ahead and spring for the other things that you want.
Product Reviews: The Best Self Cleaning Litter Boxes
Best for Big Cats: Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box (3rd Edition)
We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get a litter box that fits your cat. For big cats, that’s not always an easy task. If you have cats, especially over 15 pounds, you know exactly what we’re talking about.
If you have multiple big cats, we understand your struggle. That’s why we had to include this self cleaning litter box as our first review.
It’s not just made for big cats, it’s made for several of them. Without a litter box equipped to deal with their messes, you can end up scooping litter at least once a day, if not more.
Now, just imagine only having to change out their litter once a week. Does it sound too good to be true? We thought so too!
However, we were pleasantly surprised to find it’s not just a claim. It’s actually a solution. While you’re probably wondering about the smell, LitterMaid has that covered too.
There’s a carbon filter that naturally eliminates odors so the waste receptacle doesn’t get stinky in the week between emptying it out.
It keeps the whole litter box area fairly clean too. Large cats especially tend to make more of a mess when they’re kicking up litter.
This litter box has a couple features that keep litter in the box, and off the floor. First, the higher walls help prevent litter from getting kicked out.
Then, there’s actually a ramp that helps prevent tracking. We also noticed that the ramp really helps cats with stiff joints get into the litter box, so that was another nice bonus.
The sensor technology is great for more skittish cats. It senses when your cat leaves the litter box, then waits ten minutes before it starts cleaning.
- Sensor waits 10 minutes after cat leaves to clean
- Great for multiple, large cats (15+ lbs)
- Only needs emptying/refilling once a week
- Contains litter well
- Ramp prevents tracking, and helps cats with mobility issues
- Contains odors with carbon filter
- A little pricier, although worth it
- Receptacles need to be re-ordered
Best Techie Box: A.I. Self-Washing Cat Box
If you’re willing to invest a little more, you can get a really high tech upgrade to your litter box.
Honestly, we were impressed right off the bat by the amount of engineering and technology that went into this litter box. If you’re serious about convenience, keeping a clean litter box, and having the newest and best pet gear, you’ll want to try this one.
This is something we can say was made for people prioritizing convenience, as well as germaphobes (or people really into cleaning).
If you’re into high tech gear, this is the litter box you need. Seriously, it’s like an all inclusive cat waste system paired with a health tracker for your cat.
The only thing is, you don’t need to get your cat her own smartphone to use it.
It’s a self cleaning litter box you can really tailor to your needs, as well as your cat’s. You don’t have to rely on a single cleaning mode either.
You can choose whether it cleans automatically or just when you tell it to. For cats that are really nervous about using an automated litter box, being able to keep it from cleaning until they’re away from it is a big help.
This box really seems more like a toilet than your typical litter box, and it even flushes! That said, cats don’t seem to notice much of a difference, since the fine granules feel just like cat litter to them.
Don’t worry, it won’t hurt your plumbing either. It’s totally septic safe. You’ll have to search long and hard to find a more ‘hands off’ way of dealing with litter.
Another thing we love: it actually cleans itself. That’s right, there’s no more scraping litter or sanitizing the box. This one cleans and dries itself so it’s perfectly clean and fresh all the time.
- Very high tech litter box
- Completely self cleaning and sanitizing
- Flushes scooped litter
- Pet and septic safe
- Connects to an app to control any function you need
- Works either on automatic or manual modes
- Completely hands off litter cleaning
- Features cat health monitoring and reports
- 90 day guarantee, 2 year warranty
- More of an investment than a typical litter box
- Takes a little time to install
Best for Ease of Use: PetSafe Simply Clean Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
We were really looking for a self cleaning litter box that just about anyone, and any cat, can use. One of the best things about this litter box is how easy and straightforward it is.
There aren’t any complicated controls, maintenance, or setup to worry about. You can more or less take it out the box, fill the litter, and plug it in to get started. When it comes to any kind of technology, it doesn’t get much easier than that.
It runs on a set cleaning schedule, and scoops once an hour throughout the day. We like the simplicity of a ‘set and forget’ litter box, and it’s surprisingly quiet too. That was key for us, considering it’ll be cleaning dozens of times each day.
As far as emptying it goes, that’s easy too. We didn’t want something that would get messy when we’re dumping out the waste.
You just attach a plastic bag to the collection bin, let it scoop, and remove the bag once it’s full.
Then, replace the bag and you’re good to go. We noticed that it doesn’t need to be emptied often either.
With a single cat, you can easily go a week or more without having to empty the waste receptacle.
It does a good job of getting all the clumps up and into the bin. That can make a huge difference in how often you actually have to clean the whole box. Naturally, if you only have to give a thorough cleaning every couple of months, that saves a lot of time.
That’s just another category in which this automatic litter box gets extra points for ease of use.
Most cats can use this litter box, since it’s meant for cats up to 15 pounds. While the manufacturer says it’s designed for single cats, we didn’t have a problem with multiple kitties sharing it!
The only difference is you might need to change the waste bag a couple days earlier than if you only have one cat.
- Extremely easy to set up and use
- Works best with clumping litter
- Fits cats up to 15 lbs
- Easy to empty
- Lasts a long time before the receptacle needs to be dumped
- Runs fairly quietly
- Motors wear out over time because of constant use
- Adding a timer greatly extends motor life
Best Covered Litter Box: PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
If you haven’t noticed yet, we really love self cleaning litter boxes. However, not all cats do. In our home, one major reason we’ve realized is that a certain cat might really need their privacy.
Unfortunately, sometimes even the best self cleaning litter boxes don’t have a cover on top of them. Or, you might have to purchase it separately. That’s not the case with this PetSafe litter box.
It’s not just the hood we love, although that does seem to win over the shy cats. Of any litter box, this is definitely one of the neatest.
If you have cats that can’t seem to help tracking litter all over your house, you’ll want to take a look at this box. The hood certainly helps, but there’s also a little ledge like ramp that keeps litter from tracking. Plus, it comes with a special litter that prevents tracking.
It’s easy to change the litter too. All you have to do is throw out the old tray and replace it. There are pros and cons with disposable trays, but this design really takes care of most of our concerns.
If it was a tray that needs weekly replacement, that could be tough. However, you can really go a few weeks without needing to replace it, even if you have a couple cats.
Next, you’re probably wondering how it does with odor control over such a long time. What we say: surprisingly well! It might come down to the design of the tray, or the special litter granules, but either way, it does better over three weeks than some boxes do in one.
This is another litter box with easy setup and maintenance. Anybody can have it ready to go in less than a couple minutes.
Then, just choose how long you want it to wait to scoop after your cat leaves.
- Hood helps cats that like more privacy
- Choose cleaning for 5, 10, or 20 minutes after cats leave
- Contains litter and basically eliminates tracking
- Fast, easy installation
- Works for weeks without needing a change
- Includes health counter
- Disposable and replaceable litter trays
- Good odor control
- Health tracker isn’t a helpful with multiple cats
Best on a Budget: Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box
Who says you have to spend a fortune to get a good self cleaning litter box? Not us! While the price point already had us on board, there’s plenty more we like about it.
This is by far the most affordable litter box in our reviews, and it’s a good fit for any budget. You also don’t need to worry about buying special liners to use, a particular kind of litter, or even raising your electricity bill.
Add all of this to the value price, and you have a winner, and money saver, for the long run.
This is also a good pick for pet parents that just can’t get their cat to use a mechanical litter box. Sometimes, no matter how quiet the motor is, cats are still a little spooked by it.
There’s no motor and no noise to worry about. However, you also don’t have to go to the work of scooping the litter yourself.
How does it work? Just roll the box on its side, pull out the tray, and throw away the clumps.
We’ll admit, we were worried that might make a mess. However, it really doesn’t. There might be a couple stray granules while you get used to it, but don’t worry about the waste tray emptying on your floor.
It’s simple, but effective. It has a special sifting grill that catches the clumps and deposits them in a tray. Then you just pull the tray out, dump it, and you’re done with litter duty.
- Simple and efficient scooping
- Very affordable for any budget
- No noise to bother cats
- Uses clumping litter
- No need for liners or filters
- Automatically scoops with a simple roll
- Easily fits larger cats
- Good for homes with multiple cats
- Small amount of effort required
Best for Multiple Cats: Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box
While we always try to include products that work for multiple cats in our reviews, this one deserves its own place.
It’s ideal for homes that have two or more cats, especially if they’re around 15 pounds or even larger. If you have a few cats, you know odor control is a priority.
When we consider litter boxes for more than one cat, we’re not just looking at size. We’re also looking at how well it contains smells, how well different cats can use it, and how much scooped litter it holds before you have to change it.
Cats can be picky about the toileting areas, and nothing drives them off like knowing another cat just used it.
This litter box makes it a non-issue. Even better, you don’t have litter scattered everywhere, and the ramp prevents tracking too. After your cat leaves the box, it scoops up the mess and hides it (and the smell) away.
Thanks to carbon filters, you won’t notice the smells, or have to change the litter to fix it.
Here’s another thing we really like:
It’s extremely accessible, even for older cats. The ramp makes it so they don’t need to hop to get in. Not just that, but there are also LED nightlights, which is a huge bonus for cats with vision issues.
- Very accessible to older cats
- Great odor control
- Ideal for large and multiple cats
- Keeps litter in the box
- Large capacity receptacle means less dumping
- A stronger motor would be better
Our Top Pick!
While each household is different, there are some things you can’t do without. You need odor control, efficient scooping, and most of all, something your cat will actually use.
We’ll admit, we’re sold on tech that makes our lives, and our cats’ lives, easier. Our top pick for the best self cleaning litter box?
The A.I self washing litter box is everything we could want, and even some things we didn’t know we would! It doesn’t get easier, or more hands off than this.