Cats are one of the nation’s most-loved pets, but cleaning up after your kitty can be a gut-wrenching task. Daily scooping of clumps from a stinky litter box is necessary to keep your cat healthy and happy, but it’s also a chore most cat owners dread.

If you can’t bear the thought of grabbing the poop scoop again, an automatic, self-cleaning litter box could be the answer to all your prayers. These smart devices use sensors to recognize when your cat has relieved themselves and then automatically clean up their waste moments later. Not only do automatic litter boxes free you from the unpleasant task of litter scooping, but they also help to keep your home environment healthy and fresh. Many models include odor-trapping carbon filters and secure waste containers, so you can spend more time cuddling your kitty and less time cleaning up after them.

In this article, we review the best automatic litter boxes on the market, so you and your cat can stay happy and healthy.

  • Lasts up to 2 weeks
  • Metal rake removes waste automatically
  • Dust & track-free litter
  • Leak protection layer
  • Visit frequency tracker
  • Odor-free crystals
  • Easy to clean
  • 1-year warranty

  • Automatic mechanical rake removes waste
  • Smart sensors detect when waste has been deposited
  • Compatible with all clumping litters
  • Simple-to-empty waste disposal tray
  • Whisper-quiet motor
  • Carbon filter
  • 1-year warranty

  • Uses household waste pipe
  • Washes and dries litter granules
  • Multiple trigger settings
  • Granules last up to 4 months
  • 2-year warranty

  • Covered box for privacy
  • Easy, mess-free operation
  • Suitable for all clumping litters
  • Simple pull-out waste bin
  • Carbon filter stops odors
  • Lasts up to 2 weeks
  • 3-year warranty

  • Slow-moving conveyor system
  • LED operation light
  • Easy-access waste compartment
  • Carbon filter
  • Cleans litter every 90 minutes
  • 1-year warranty


The PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box is the perfect solution if you’re growing tired of scooping litter every day. This clever device removes waste automatically as soon as your cat leaves the box, so you can forget about cleaning it for up to 2 weeks.

There’s no need to worry about nasty odors either: even though you’ll be leaving this litter box alone for days, the crystal litter refills soak up urine and dry out poop – so no unpleasant smells escape. As an added benefit, these lightweight crystals are almost completely dust-free and are less likely to attach to your cats’ feet and spread about your home.

While some litter trays are prone to leaking urine, the PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box features a tough plastic lining to further protect against leaks and mess. This means you can rest easy, knowing you won’t come home to an unwanted surprise on your floor.

This automatic litter box uses a super-efficient mechanism to remove your cats’ deposits without any effort on your part. Smart sensors recognize when your cat has left the box, and after 20 seconds, the metal rake pulls through the litter, catching any clumps and pushing them into the special waste compartment. A visit counter tracks your cat’s visits, so you can monitor their health, while the plastic cover allows them to toilet in private.

Once full, all you need to do is lift off the lid, cover the base box, throw it away, and replace with a fresh one. The refill boxes aren’t particularly cheap, but overall, the PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box makes cleaning up after your furball an (almost) enjoyable experience.

Pros

  • Only needs emptying once every couple of weeks
  • Removes waste automatically with metal rake
  • Dust & track-free litter
  • Leak protection
  • Visit tracker for health monitoring
  • Odor-free crystals
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Refills are expensive
  • Some litter is still tracked

The Pet Zone Smart Scoop Automatic Litter Box is another great option if you hate getting close to dirty litter boxes. The built-in sensors note once your cat has done their business, then the machine waits 15 minutes to allow the waste to clump before raking it into a tightly sealed, dedicated disposal unit at one end of the tray.

Unlike some other automatic litter boxes, the Pet Zone Smart Scoop is compatible with any kind of kitty litter, so long as it’s a clumping formula. This means you can continue to use your cats favorite litter and won’t be limited to particular expensive brands or model-specific refill trays.

Being very easy to clean, the Pet Zone Smart Scoop uses tough, metal rakes that move through the litter when triggered, picking up clumps and depositing them in the disposal tray. The disposal tray is designed to be lined with small waste bags, so you can simply pull up the bag edges, tie them, and throw the waste in the bin when full.

Additionally, Pet Zone says the metal rakes are designed with curved ‘fins’ at the edges, to prevent any clumps from escaping or falling onto the floor.This doesn’t always work perfectly, as many users have complained that waste has been thrown out of the box on occasion or that waste at the edges is often missed. Therefore, you may want to go for another model if your cat tends to prefer toileting at the edges of the litter box.

The Pet Zone Smart Scoop features a whisper-quiet motor which shouldn’t upset your cat, as well as a high-quality carbon filter to stop nasty smells from wafting about your home. If you live in a single cat household, the waste container is big enough to last around a week before it needs emptying, but expect this timeframe to be shortened if you have a very large cat that makes significant deposits.

Pros

  • Automatic mechanical rake removes waste
  • Smart sensors detect when cat has used box
  • Compatible with all clumping litters
  • Simple waste disposal tray
  • Whisper-quiet motor
  • Carbon filter defends against odors

Cons

  • Some waste at the edges gets missed
  • Clumps are occasionally thrown over the sides

Quite unlike any other automatic litter box on our list, the CatGenie is a truly innovative and fun solution to all your litter box woes. This clever contraption not only removes your cat’s waste automatically, but it does so by flushing it down your own toilet or other water waste pipe.

Easy to set up, the Catgenie removes and liquifies solid waste and disposes of it down your drain. The included washable litter granules are then cleaned with a mixture of water and a special sani-solution (safe for your feline), before being dried thoroughly by the built-in warm air dryer. There’s no need to worry about expensive refills either: the washable granules and solution will last up to four months before requiring a change.

The CatGenie features multiple settings to keep your cat happy and your home smelling fresh. It can be set to run whenever a cat has been detected, automatically 4 times a day, or only work when you manually press a button. It’s also great if you have a multiple cat household because it can accommodate the toilet habits of up to 3 standard-sized felines at least 6 months old.

Unfortunately, as great as this automatic flushing litter box appears, it does have a few shortcomings. It’s rather noisy when washing, so you may find it disturbs you during the night. The machine is also very large and requires lots of space close to water and electrical connections. Lastly, a few users have complained that the waste pipe blocks up quite easily, leading to some pretty unpleasant scenes and extensive cleaning.

Pros

  • Flushes waste down your household waste pipe
  • Specially designed litter granules are automatically cleaned and reused
  • Multiple settings
  • Granules last up to 4 months

Cons

  • Noisy when cleaning
  • Waste pipe may block easily
  • Take up lots of space
  • Must be placed near a water inlet pipe & waste pipe


If your kitty prefers some privacy when using the bathroom, then the Catit SmartSift Litter Box offers a solution you’ll both love. The tall, enclosed design allows your cat to climb inside and hide herself away at toilet time, which conveniently also reduces the risk of litter getting kicked out all over your floor. Although it isn’t strictly an ‘automatic’ litter box, the SmartSift’s manual mechanism still enables you to avoid getting close to your kitties waste for up to two weeks.

When pulled, the lever on the outside of the unit rotates the litter pan inside, tipping the dirty litter through a sieve to catch clumps of waste. This is then deposited into a separate compartment, while the cleaned litter is returned to the pan ready for your cat’s next visit. The waste compartment consists of a simple-to-use pull out bin, which should be lined with biodegradable bags for effortless disposal when full.

The Catit SmartSift Litter Box is suitable for use with any type of clumping cat litter, and will help save you money by extending the usage time of each fill. When the litter needs changing, the handy maintenance door allows you to easily access the pan without any fuss. Troublesome odors are kept under control by the combination of a carbon filter and swing-close doors which seal the unit, so no nasty smells can escape.

Overall, this litter box is an easy way to avoid unpleasant litter-box tasks, but you should be careful not to activate the sifter too soon after your cat has used the box; otherwise, feces tend to get stuck to it.

Pros

  • Covered box provides privacy
  • Simple, mess-free operation
  • Suitable for all clumping litters
  • Easy to access pull out bin
  • Carbon filter prevents odors
  • Lasts up to 2 weeks before full

Cons

  • May be too big for some rooms
  • Sometimes feces stick to the sifter
  • Not completely automatic

Resembling something like a kitchen mixer, the PetSafe Simply Clean Self-Cleaning Litter Box uses a conveyor-based mechanism to automatically remove waste without the need for scooping.

Working in a continuous motion, the bowl of this automatic litter box slowly rotates, sifting through all the litter once every 90 minutes. It moves very quietly, so as not to frighten your cat, and collects any clumps your kitty may have left behind as it goes. These clumps are then deposited in a lined compartment bin at the back of the unit, so you can simply remove and replace the bag when full. Note: clumping cat litter must be used, otherwise this mechanism will simply spread the waste around, which isn’t much fun for anyone.

Because the PetSafe Simply Clean Self-Cleaning Litter Box moves so slowly, a handy LED light on the side of the unit remains illuminated when the mechanism is running, so you can be sure that it’s working as intended. Odors will struggle to escape since the waste bin as it’s securely sealed, but a carbon filter provides an additional layer of protection against any unpleasant smells.

In terms of negatives, one issue with this automatic litter box is its size. The unusual design means there’s little room for your cat to squat, so if you have a large or fussy cat, you should opt for a model which offers more space. Furthermore, as the mechanism moves slowly, your cats waste isn’t immediately removed. Therefore, you may experience some unwanted odors in the meantime.  

Pros

  • Slow-moving conveyor system is great for nervous cats
  • LED light notifies you of any problems
  • Waste compartment is easy to empty
  • Carbon filter prevents nasty smells
  • Litter is automatically cleaned every 90 minutes

Cons

  • Not much room for larger cats
  • Waste isn’t immediately removed
  • Awkward shape

Comparison Chart

FEATURESPetSafe ScoopFree UltraPet Zone Smart ScoopCatGenieCatit SmartSiftPetSafe Simply Clean
Automatic RakeXX
Self FlushingXXXX
Manual SifterXXXX
Built-in SensorX
Carbon FilterXX
Works with all clumping litterXX
Multiple Cats
Quiet ModeXXXX
Weight (lbs)19.559.32614.114.3
Covered TopXXX
TimerXXXX

Buyer’s Guide:

Automatic Litter Boxes

Automatic litter boxes offer a wealth of benefits for the busy cat owner. Let’s take a look at the main ones below:

Never Scoop-Poop Again.

As much as you love your cat, cleaning up their waste is a pretty unpleasant chore. Grabbing a plastic scoop and scraping feces from their litter is often enough to make you gag, or at least put you off your dinner. Dust and odors get stirred up, contaminating the room with nasty smells which take time to subside, and litter almost inevitably scatters across the floor as you try to transfer all the lumps into the trash bag.

Using an automatic litter box is a great way to avoid this stomach-turning task. These smart devices sift or rake through dirty litter, collecting all the clumps and depositing them in an easy-to-remove waste compartment. Once filled, simply open the compartment and empty the content into the trash. The most innovative of devices, such as the CatGenie, will even remove the waste for you by flushing it down your household waste pipe.

Saves Litter Costs

If you manually scoop your cat’s litter box, you already known how much litter your cat goes through. Scooping the box often results in a high quantity of waste, as much of the clean litter ends up getting thrown out alongside the dirty. Good-quality, clumping litter isn’t cheap, and over time the cost of your cat’s toilet visits will mount.

One of the main benefits of an automatic litter box is that they help you save on litter costs. The clever raking and sifting systems remove waste clumps only, leaving the clean litter behind. Therefore, each fill of the litter tray lasts much longer and you won’t need to visit the pet store every week.

Perfect For Weekends Away

If you like to get away for the weekend, or often head off on business trips for a couple of days, an automatic litter box offers peace of mind when you’re not at home. Unlike regular litter boxes, automatic litter boxes don’t need daily attention. As long as your cat has enough water and food for the time you’re away, you can rest at ease that they’ll be clean and comfortable during your absence. This also means you can look forward to a fresh-smelling home on your return, without any overflowing, stinky litter trays, or out-of-the-box accidents with which to deal.

More Hygienic than Standard Litter Trays

By their very nature, litter boxes aren’t known for being hygienic. This isn’t so much of an issue if there are only adults in the house, but can be a cause for concern if you have small children around. Curious kids may mistake the litter tray for a fun-filled sandbox, putting both their health, and your sanity, at risk. Automatic litter boxes offer a sanitary solution to the issue of cat waste in the home. Your cat’s deposits are quickly removed and stored in a sealed compartment away from potentially inquisitive hands.

Reduced Odors

Unless you scoop your litter box every time your cat makes a visit, odors are an unfortunate fact of life. Even the best odor-control cat litter will struggle to contain smells immediately after your cat has used it. Not only is this unpleasant, but it makes keeping your home fresh a difficult and time-consuming task. By removing waste moments after your cat has relieved themselves, automatic litter boxes are a great way to keep nasty odors under control. The waste compartments often include special carbon filters, too, which trap and absorb smells so that they can’t leak out into the room. If you struggle with general pet-related odors in your home, an ozone generator may help.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the best litter box for you and your cat. Some of the most important features to bear in mind when making your decision include:

Size & Capacity

Perhaps the most important aspect to consider when choosing an automatic litter box its the size and capacity. If you have more than one cat in your home, you’ll need to ensure the waste tray is large enough to hold waste from multiple cats. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself having to empty it more often than desired. The overall size of the litter box is also important. Some automatic litter boxes are large and bulky, due to the mechanisms inside them. This means you’ll need a room with plenty of space in which to place it. Also, bear in mind that ‘self-flushing’ models will require a location close to water inlet and outlet pipes.

Required Supplies & Cost

Unlike standard litter trays, automatic litter trays often require the use of additional supplies. Some models must be used with manufacturer-specific products, such as specially designed litter, refill trays, cleaning solutions, and waste receptacles. Therefore, when choosing an automatic litter box, you should pay attention to the cost of these products and how often you’re going to need to buy them.

Noise Levels

Due to their mechanical processes, automatic litter boxes can be quite noisy when operating. Therefore, if you live in an apartment or have a small home, it may be difficult to escape the noise generated while it’s working. This could be an issue if, for example, you’re a light-sleeper or work from home. If this sounds familiar, you’ll be better off choosing a model that features a whisper-quiet motor, such as the PetZone Smart Scoop Automatic Litter Box.

Your Cats’ Personality & Habits

Quirky personalities are one reason we love cats, but these quirks can throw up some issues when considering an automatic litter box. For example, if your cat has a thing about pooping right at the edge of the litter box, rather than in the middle, there’s potential that it’ll get missed by the rake mechanism or be flicked out of the tray altogether.

Alternatively, a nervous or skittish kitty may be freaked out by their new ‘robot toilet’ and simply refuse to use it, while an enthusiastic litter kicker will throw their waste all over your floor if the sides are too low. Therefore, when considering an automatic litter box, you must keep your kitty’s quirks in mind. These motorized trays are rarely a one-size-fits-all solution, so you’ll need to choose a model compatible with your cat’s behaviors.

Chances are that you’ll need to spend some time introducing your kitty to their new toilet before they’ll use it. Below, we offer some top-tips on training your cat to use an automatic litter box:

  1. Once you have purchased your new automatic litter box, don’t throw away the old one. Instead, leave the old one in place and put the new one next to it. This will help familiarize your cat with the new device and associate it with toilet time.
  2. If the new litter box requires a special litter substrate, such as crystal litter, you’ll need to give your cat time to adjust. A great way to do this is by slowly adding the new litter on top of the litter in their current litter box, so they can gradually become accustomed to the new smell and sensation.
  3. Once your cat has had a few days using the new litter, you can try removing the old litter box, leaving them with only the new one. Don’t switch it on just yet, instead, wait a few days until your cat has gotten used to using it. If you catch your cat using the new box, make sure to give them lots of fuss and treats.
  4. When you’re confident your kitty has grown to love their new litter tray, you can switch it on. Keep an eye on them to make sure they’re not worried by any unusual noises, and continue to reward them with treats when they use it for a few days.

PROS:
  • Easier maintenance – One surefire advantage of automatic litter boxes is the fact that they are much easier to clean, and require no scooping – unlike regular litter trays. All of this amounts to much less maintenance on the pet owners part, and also means that the litter lasts longer!
  • Reduces odors – Automatic litter boxes are more hygienic than regular litter trays, and therefore lead to a reduction in bad odors.
  • Easy to use – Automatic litter trays, as their name implies, are automatic. This means they are very easy to use.
CONS:
  • Can be noisy – While having a machine clearing our your cats litter tray has its bonuses, it does mean that the process can be noisy. While only a minor irritation, noise level is something to be aware of.
  • May not suit all litter – Some litter trays may require their own litter, rather than regular off-the-shelf brands. This means refilling the tray could be an added cost.
  • May frighten some cats – We all know that cats can be nervous creatures, so there is no guarantee that a strange poop-scooping robot won’t frighten your feline friend.
The Best Automatic Litter Boxes To Keep You & Your Cat Happy

Pros

  • Less-frequent cleaning
  • No scooping required
  • Reduces odors
  • More hygienic
  • Litter lasts longer
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Can be noisy
  • Refills for some models are expensive
  • May not be suitable for all types of litter
  • May frighten some cats

  • What kinds of litter should I use in an automatic litter box?
  • Unless otherwise specified, all automatic litter boxes should be used with good-quality, clumping cat litter. This is so your cat’s waste can be easily trapped and removed by the mechanical rake or sifter. Some automatic litter boxes must be used with a particular type of litter, usually made by the same manufacturer and often available in pre-filled trays that fit that specific model. Should you use non-clumping litter or other substrates, cat urine will simply be stirred up by the automatic mechanism. Not only is this ineffective, but it will also lead to nasty odors over time.
  • How do I clean an automatic litter box?
  • Ease of cleaning is the main benefit of automatic litter boxes. For the vast majority of models, waste is sifted, collected and stored in a special container at the back of the unit. To empty, all you need to do is open the lid and lift or tip out the waste. Of course, you will still have to give the litter box a deeper clean once in a while. The best way to do this depends on the design and mechanics of the particular model. Be sure to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer closely, and avoid getting any electrical connections wet.
  • Are automatic litter boxes safe?
  • Yes. So long as they are used correctly and you (or your cat) doesn’t tamper with the mechanisms, automatic litter boxes are safe for your cat. The electrical parts of the machine are kept out of reach, while the built-in sensors ensure the cleaning process doesn’t start if your cat is still in the box.
  • Where is the best place to put an automatic litter box?
  • The best place to put your automatic litter box is the same location as your old one. This ensures your cat isn’t confused by the sudden change. If the box won’t fit, however, or the mechanism is quite loud and disturbs you in its current location, you may need to move it to a place where it will be less intrusive. Most importantly, you should make sure that you place the litter box somewhere your cat will feel safe and secure. A quiet, low-traffic location is best, as this enables your cat to have some privacy during toilet time.

Final Thoughts

As we have seen, automatic litter boxes offer a fantastic solution to the revolting task of litter scooping. All of the models on our list make life as a cat owner much easier, but our top pick overall is the PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box.

With a covered design for privacy, easily disposable trays, low-tracking, odor-free litter and automatic mechanical rake function; the PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box is simple to use and highly effective. The pre-filled litter tray replacements may be pricey, but when you consider that they only need changing once every couple of weeks, you’ll save money on cat litter in the long-run.

On the other hand, if you have limited money to spend and simply want to avoid directly handling waste, the Catit SmartSift Litter Box is our favorite budget choice. While this model isn’t automatic per se, the clever rotating sifter mechanism means you’ll never have to scoop the litter box while also reducing litter wastage.  All in all, whichever model you choose, we’re sure you’ll agree that an automatic litter box is a great addition to the home of any cat owner.

Further Reading

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