The Best Self Cleaning Litter Box

We appreciate the affectionate bond formed with cats when they choose us as their human companions. However, amidst the numerous reasons to adore these feline friends, there exists a less enjoyable aspect: the task of self-cleaning litter box. Even if the cat litter boasts long-lasting freshness, your cat shouldn’t encounter unpleasantness in their litter and then trail it throughout the house.

For those who find the act of scooping unbearable, the solution might lie in self-cleaning litter boxes. These advanced devices autonomously handle the removal of waste, sparing you from the daily chore of scooping. In our quest to identify the best self-cleaning litter boxes, we conducted thorough tests on eight different automatic litter boxes. These evaluations took place at the Pak Option and within our own homes, assessing factors ranging from ease of setup to the efficiency of clump removal.

Our top picks:

  1. Best Overall: Whisker Litter-Robot 4
  2. Best Value: PetSafe ScoopFree Complete Plus
  3. Best Litter-Free: CatGenie A.I. Self-Washing Cat Box

In our Lab without pets, we mimicked a cat’s actions with each self cleaning litter box using water and a small weight to activate the sensor. Moving on to real homes, we observed cats using these boxes and interviewed owners using self-cleaning options, cross-referencing with online reviews.

Our top two choices use a mechanism to move clumps into a covered bin, aided by carbon filters to control odors. Eventually, you’ll need to empty the bin, much like a diaper pail; waste stays hidden until disposal when the bin is full. Our second choice is distinctive; it washes waste down a drain.

For more details on selecting the right self-cleaning litter box, refer to the end of this guide. If you’re seeking accessories for your cat, explore our guides on the best outdoor cat houses, cat carriers, water fountains for pets, and cat toys.

Best Overall Self-cleaning Litter Box

Best Overall Self-cleaning Litter Box


  • The almost silent cleaning operation
  • Works with any premium clumping litter
  • The app tracks kitty habits and lets you know when the bin is full


  • Much Expensive
  • Height may be an issue in small spaces

We put the Litter-Robot 4 to the test in homes with multiple cats, and the cats adapted to it quickly with little hesitation. This self-cleaning litter box stands out for its superb odor control, smooth operation, and easy maintenance and setup. Tailored for households with multiple cats, it accommodates any quality clumping litter and is suitable for cats of all sizes. Unlike previous models, the Litter-Robot 4 addresses the issue where smaller cats under 5 pounds may not trigger the sensor.

Read more review

Although its footprint is similar to other covered litter boxes, the Litter-Robot is notably taller, standing at just under 30 inches. Its unique cleaning mechanism involves the entire globe quietly rotating after use, depositing clumps into a lined bin below. The globe then returns to its position, covering the bin and its odors, and leaving it clean and ready for the next use.

Initial reservations about the Litter-Robot, such as its height and cost, were dispelled by Lynn Redmile, a contributing product analyst for the Pak Option. She praises its effectiveness, emphasizing that the app, which records the weight of each cat, is particularly helpful in a multi-cat environment. The app also provides reminders to empty the waste receptacle, which proves useful when daily scooping becomes a habit of the past. For a convenient waste disposal process, the brand offers waste drawer liners.

Additional features include an adjustable night light, sleep mode, and a customizable cycle timer. If you prefer a model without app connectivity, the previous version, Litter-Robot 3, is a worthy alternative. While it lacks app compatibility and is suitable only for cats weighing 5 pounds or more, it comes at a $200 lower price point.

Best Value Self-Cleaning Litter Box

Best Value Self-Cleaning Litter Box


  • Poop stays out of sight
  • Crystal litter eliminates dust, tracking, and heavy boxes


  • Ongoing expenses for the brand’s crystal litter and trays

The ScoopFree Complete Plus, an open-top litter box, is approximately the size of a regular litter box and is designed to function seamlessly with PetSafe’s crystal cat litter. Upon plugging it in, a sensor detects when your cat enters and exits. Twenty minutes after your cat leaves, the rake moves solid waste to the bin, while the crystals absorb urine.

Read more review

Utilizing crystal cat litter virtually eliminates tracking problems and dust. This model is straightforward to set up and does not require a connection to an app, which is a positive aspect for those who prefer not to rely on their phones for everything. However, an app-enabled version of this box is available for those who enjoy that feature.

For cat owners who are averse to dealing with waste, especially visible poop, this system can be a game-changer. The tray comes with a lid that can be securely clamped down during changes, minimizing exposure to unpleasant sights. It proves beneficial for individuals with limited mobility who find it challenging to bend down for regular box scooping. Additionally, it serves as a more budget-friendly option for pet owners who travel for a few nights and want to ensure their cat’s box remains clean. Many users appreciate the lightweight crystal litter as a refreshing alternative to heavy, sandy clumping litter.

However, there were some concerns in our tester households, primarily among the human users, as the cats adapted well to the box. The ScoopFree relies on disposable trays but initially only provides one. Subscribers must regularly receive additional trays, sold in three-packs for approximately $70. This system generates a considerable amount of waste and ongoing expenses. Although PetSafe suggests changing the tray and litter every 20 days for a one-cat household, our testing with two-cat households required more frequent changes, typically weekly or every 10 days.

Some users, including ourselves and various online reviewers, encountered challenges with the crystals not effectively concealing odors. While solid waste is efficiently raked into the covered bin, the issue arises if your cat urinates frequently, as the moisture gets absorbed but is not contained. Nevertheless, other online reviewers claim they never notice any odors from this litter box, finding it to be an odor-free solution. The mechanical rake’s noise was minimal for our testers. PetSafe recommends this product for cats under 15 pounds, making it unsuitable for larger felines, and it’s not intended for kittens under 6 months.

Best Litter-Free Self-Cleaning Litter Box

Best Litter-Free Self-Cleaning Litter Box


  • Has a companion app
  • No litter necessary
  • Waste is flushed away, not even a bin to empty


  • Requires a water hookup
  • Still have to buy special granules and cleaning solution

The CatGenie A.I. revolutionizes the concept of litter boxes by eliminating the need for traditional litter. Instead, it employs special granules that undergo a rotating sifting process to remove solid waste. Subsequently, these granules are rinsed with a sanitizing solution and dried, ensuring your cat enjoys a clean and fresh environment daily. The granules, crafted from natural materials, are environmentally friendly and break down in landfills or septic tanks, making them septic-safe. It’s necessary to replenish the washable granules and SaniSolution a few times per year.

Read more review

For optimal functioning, the CatGenie requires both an electrical outlet and a cold-water hookup for waste drainage and flushing. The user-friendly instructions make installation straightforward, eliminating the need for a plumber. It can be connected to the washing machine drain in a laundry room or the toilet’s waste drain in a bathroom. Using the app or control panel, you can schedule cleaning times throughout the day. The cleaning cycle, lasting 40 minutes to an hour, is best scheduled when your cat is not actively using the box, especially with one or two cats with easily identifiable routines.

Numerous online reviewers commend the CatGenie dome for containing the granules, preventing tracking or accidental flinging by the cleaning rake. The CatGenie app offers additional features, allowing you to set a delay for the rake’s operation after your cat leaves the box. It also enables you to monitor your cat’s bathroom visit frequency and receive status updates on cleaning cycles. If app functionality is unnecessary, the CatGenie 120 provides a more budget-friendly option.

How do we test self-cleaning litter boxes?

Our team extensively tested 3 automatic self-cleaning litter boxes, focusing on their performance, overall value, standout features, and user-friendliness in terms of setup, use, and cleaning. The assessment involved both lab-based trials and real-world testing with owners and cats.

Ease of Setup: We observed whether the automatic litter box required assembly and, if so, evaluated the simplicity of the process. For products with no assembly, we tested the ease of installation, app setup, connectivity to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and compatibility with smart home systems when applicable. Clear instructions and the overall intuitiveness of the setup process were noted for those that required assembly.

Performance: In-lab testing involved the use of a vinegar and water mixture and melted chocolate to simulate various types of cat waste. At home, testers relied on their cats and personal observations to gauge performance. We examined how effectively each litter box removed waste and how quietly it operated.

Ease of Cleaning: The cleaning aspect focused on the ease of removing soiled litter from the waste tray and the frequency of tray emptying. We also checked for any challenging nooks, crannies, or design flaws that could impede the cleaning process for the litter box itself.

Ease of Use: The value of automatic cat litter boxes hinges on user-friendliness. We assessed the interface and design, evaluating commands, button placement, cycle setup, waste tray removal, litter box filling, and everyday interactions for comfort and difficulty.

Odor Elimination: During at-home testing, we observed how well each litter box controlled or eliminated odors. We considered its ability to keep smells at bay when not in use, the development of unpleasant odors over time, and the comparison of odor control to testers’ usual litter boxes.

Overall Value: Taking all testing observations into account, we assessed the overall value of each automatic litter box concerning its price. We compared the cost against similar competitor products, aiming to answer whether the automatic litter box justified its price. Additionally, we considered the preferences of different cat owners, identifying who might be willing to pay more or less based on their specific needs.

What features to look for in a litter box that cleans itself?

Remember all of these things when deciding whether to upgrade from a manual litter box to one that uses automated scooping technology.

Size: There are two things to take into account: your cat’s size and the dimensions of the box (height, width, and entry opening). Larger cats require larger boxes to allow them to turn around freely, and some self-cleaning litter boxes are incompatible with too-small or too-big kittens due to weight restrictions in the sensors. Make sure your pet’s size fits the automatic litter box and that the litter box you have chosen will fit both your space and your pet’s needs by taking measurements of your area.

Litter: Certain self-cleaning litter boxes need clumping litter, while others call for brand-specific litter. We are not aware of any that can manage pellet or paper litter. It’s crucial to give your pet enough time to become used to a new environment. To assist your cat in adjusting, keep your old litter box for a while and mix some new litter with the old litter in the old box. Introduce the new self-cleaning box along with the new litter and gradually replace the old one. Read more

Adjustment period: Cats may be picky, as the makers of self-cleaning litter boxes are aware. Each advises you to introduce the new litter box while keeping your old one out. For some excellent advice on acclimating a scared cat to the new machine, carefully read the directions. For example, a lot of people advise you to scoop the self-cleaning litter box like you would any other box for a few days before turning on the cleaning feature so your cat can become acclimated to it.

Maintenance: Cleaning is still necessary for self-cleaning boxes. Although you won’t need to scoop every day, you will need to empty the trash can and replace the litter once a week or every two weeks. If the box removes clumps of cat waste with a mechanical rake, you will need to clean the rake frequently because it will become caked in crud. This is one of the reasons we like the self-cleaning litter box that rotates and removes trash without the need for a rake.

Money-back guarantee: Self-cleaning litter boxes are often expensive, so it’s comforting to know that you can typically return the item within a set window, whether you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions or Amazon return policies if you misjudged how well it would fit in your home or aren’t happy with how well it works. To make things easier, save all of the packing.

The benefits of an app-connected litter box

The cost of an automatic litter box that syncs with an app is higher, and using an app requires constant setup and adjustment. However, we do see two main advantages to employing a litter box that is connected to an app, such as the Litter Robot 4 (that’s a user screenshot). Read more review

App-based notifications: You’ll receive notifications on when to replenish the litter and when to empty the trash can. Additionally, you can quickly determine when you’re going to need additional litter, allowing you to buy it in advance.

Monitoring capabilities: The way a pet goes potty speaks much about their health. Based on each cat’s weight, the automatic cat litter boxes that link to an app frequently record each visit so you can determine whether or not someone is frequently using the restroom. Additionally, you can see your cat’s weight in real-time and determine whether it is rising or falling. (Though, if you have multiple cats that are within inches of one another, this gets more complicated.)

How do self-cleaning litter boxes work?

Sand-colored, hard-clumping litter is needed for many self-cleaning litter boxes. After your cat relieves themselves and buries their waste, the liquid or solid waste combines with the sandy litter to create firm clumps that can be pushed aside.

The cleaning cycle starts when your cat jumps out because sensors detect their movement. The cleaning mechanism of self-cleaning litter boxes is triggered by electric motors, which make them quiet but not silent. The trash can eventually gets full with lumps, so you empty it into the trash. How frequently do you need to clear the trash and replace the litter box? That varies according to how many cats you have, how frequently they use the litter box, and how big the bin is.

Why trust Pak Option?

Since 2012, Lynn Redmile, a cleaning product tester and assessor, has been writing and researching this guide. Ever curious about how things operate, Lynn works with the professionals at the Pak Option to investigate, evaluate, and document the newest advancements, including self-cleaning litter boxes.

Jessica Hartshorn, a contributing writer who lives with two cats, worked on the most recent revision of this story. She reviewed children’s and pet products for Parents magazine before doing product testing and writing for Pak Option.

FAQs for Best Self Cleaning Litter Box

Can you use regular cat litter in an automatic litter box?

Automatic litter boxes are specifically designed to work with clumping litter. Clumping litter allows for effective sifting and disposal of both liquid and solid waste into the litter box’s waste tray. Using non-clumping litter can lead to issues like odors, waste smearing on the sides of the litter box, soggy litter, or jamming in the rotation mechanism.

How often should you clean automatic cat litter boxes?

The frequency of cleaning depends on factors like the number of cats using the box, its waste-sifting efficiency, and the type of litter used. Generally, it’s advisable to replace the litter entirely every four to six weeks and wipe down the inside of the litter box during each replacement. Immediate cleaning is recommended if you observe urine spraying on the sides or soft waste smearing during the rotation process to prevent unpleasant odors.

Does an automatic litter box work for multiple cats?

While one litter box per cat is generally recommended, many automatic cat litter boxes are designed for use with multiple cats. These boxes often feature insights for individual cats in a multi-cat household. If your cats don’t already share a litter box, having an extra one on standby is advisable, especially for simultaneous bathroom needs. Cats can be territorial about their personal space, including their litter box.

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