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The best self-cleaning litter boxes you can buy: Expert tested

ZDNET cat parents personally tested some of the best self-cleaning litter boxes so you can say goodbye to daily scooping after your kitty.
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer
Reviewed by Kayla Solino
Whisker Litter-Robot 4 | Best self-cleaning litter box overall
An orange cat in a black robot litter box
Whisker Litter-Robot 4
Best self-cleaning litter box overall
View now View at Best Buy
PetSafe ScoopFree Litter Box | Best budget self-cleaning litter box
Purple litter box on a black mat in a room
PetSafe ScoopFree Litter Box
Best budget self-cleaning litter box
View now View at Walmart
CatGenie AI Deluxe Automatic Cat Box | Best flushable self-cleaning litter box
CatGenie toilet litter box with a smartphone next to it
CatGenie AI Deluxe Automatic Cat Box
Best flushable self-cleaning litter box
View now View at Amazon
Smarty Pear Leo's Loo Too | Best self-cleaning litter box for smart homes
A round robot litter box
Smarty Pear Leo's Loo Too
Best self-cleaning litter box for smart homes
View now View at Amazon
Whisker Litter-Robot 3 | Best self-cleaning litter box with accessories
Black litter box with a brown cat in it and a smartphone in front of it
Whisker Litter-Robot 3
Best self-cleaning litter box with accessories
View now View at Litter-robot

Cat people like myself love their cats dearly. But, as much as we enjoy their company and cuddles, cleaning up after them is a less than enjoyable task. Plus, the average cat uses anywhere between 28 and 40 pounds of litter per month—that high price stacks up as a cat owner. 

Also: Everything you need for a smart pet setup

However, a robot litter box can be an effective solution for you and your feline friend. These devices decrease odor and provide a cleaner place for your cat to do its business, and some models can also save you up to 50% more litter than a traditional scooping litter box. The automatic litter boxes on the market today feature compatible apps and even built-in features to keep track of your kitty's health. They're a much more efficient option over scooping poop daily from a plastic box.

What is the best self-cleaning litter box right now?

I compiled this list by extensively researching and doing hands-on testing with some of these suggested automatic litter boxes. My top pick is the Whisker Litter-Robot 4, based on my own experience using it with my orange tabby cat, Norbert. However, I also included other self-cleaning litter box options at different prices so you can quit scooping up after your kitty and let a robot do the work for you. 

Also: The best pet trackers you can buy

The best self-cleaning litter boxes of 2024

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Quiet
  • Built-in smart scale
  • Compatible app
Cons
  • Expensive
  • App can be buggy
More Details

This automatic litter box changed the game for me after using it, and I will never go back to a regular litter box. It's much quieter than other robot litter boxes I have seen, and the free compatible app provides excellent insights into your cat's health and routine. 

Review: Whisker Litter-Robot 4

The Whisker app lets you know when your cat is in the box when a cleaning cycle is happening, and when a cleaning cycle is complete. It also provides an entire history and your cat's average usage. I also love the intelligent scale built into the Litter-Robot 4, which automatically records your cat's weight each time it uses it so that you can keep track of any dramatic weight gain or loss.

I also noticed I smell my cat's litter much less--if at all--with this litter box, which is refreshing.

Overall, 92% of Best Buy customers who reviewed this litter box said they would recommend it to other cat owners and gave it an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Whisker Litter-Robot 4 tech specsDimensions: 29.5 x 22 x 27 inches | Power: 15 Volt DC | Weight: 24 pounds | # of cats: Up to 4

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Odor control
  • Simple to operate
Cons
  • Must buy specific reusable litter trays in order to use it
More Details

As you can guess, automatic litter boxes can be costly due to the technology involved. But if you're looking for a more straightforward solution that won't break the bank, this option from PetSafe is a great budget pick at $280. Using sensors, it automatically removes waste after your cat does its business. When it's time to clean the box, you throw out the disposable tray. 

The disposable trays that come with the litter box are filled with crystal litter, which helps control odors and reduce dust tracking. In addition, a built-in health counter tracks how many times your furry feline uses the box to detect any abnormal bathroom behavior.

Also: The best automatic pet feeders you can buy

ZDNET managing editor Alison DeNisco Rayome has been using this litter box for years and highly recommends it as a budget option. "The counter works accurately, and is helpful for reminding us when we need to change out the tray (for our one cat, it's about once every 3-4 weeks)," she said, adding, "You do need to buy the crystal litter, which is pricier than regular litter. But to me, it's well worth not having to do any scooping."

Customers who have used the PetSafe litter box also agree that this model is the #1 best seller on Amazon in the self-cleaning litter box category. 

PetSafe ScoopFree Litter Box tech specs: Dimensions: 20.38 x 7.13 x 28 inches | Power: N/A | Weight: 16 pounds | # of cats: 1

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Easy maintenance
  • Flushes waste to get rid of it completely
  • Customizable cleaning cycles
Cons
  • Requires DIY hookup to cold water and electrical outlet
  • Not as large as other options
More Details

If you're looking to forgo dealing with your cat's waste altogether, the Catgenie AI Automatic Cat Box is a great option. It is a flushable litter box, meaning you hook it up to a drain hook in your bathroom or laundry room. It will liquefy solids and flush away the waste while washing itself clean. It's even shaped like an actual toilet.

The litter box has a four-step process, including scooping, washing, flushing, and hot-air drying after each use. To clean, choose between automatic or manual settings depending on your preferences by the accompanying app. 

The CatGenie app gives insight into when your cat goes to the bathroom, provides access to customer support, and even uses artificial intelligence to analyze your cat's bathroom behavior to recommend optimizing your settings and maintenance habits for peak performance and comfort.

Pet owners who have used the CatGenie Deluxe say that you might have to buy drain extensions to make it fit your setup, but once it is installed, it's as easy as cleaning a human toilet.

CatGenie AI Deluxe Automatic Cat Box tech specsDimensions: 24.5 x 19.25 x 21 inches | Power: 120-volt AC | Weight: 35 pounds | # of cats: 1-2

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Smart capability
  • Good customer support
  • UV sanitation
Cons
  • Limited money-back guarantee
  • Narrow design
More Details

Smarty Pear's Leo's Loo Too is the best solution for your automatic litter box if you have a smart home. The mobile app allows complete control of the device, or you can ask Alexa or Google to start a cleaning cycle. It uses UV sanitation to remove bacteria. Like the Whisker model, this robot litter box has an accompanying app for activity and weight tracking. 

It comes in fun colors like green, blue, and pink. Plus, bamboo filters keep odors inside the litter box's built-in waste drawer, so you don't have to worry about unfavorable smells filling up the room. 

Those who have purchased this litter box at PetCo praise the customer support, which helps with issues like connecting with Amazon Alexa, Wi-Fi issues, and more. 

Smarty Pear Leo's Loo Too tech specs: Dimensions: 24 x 22 x 27.5 inches | Power: N/A | Weight: 27.5 pounds | # of cats: Up to 2

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Accessory additions to choose from
  • 1-year warranty included
  • Can be used with up to 4 cats
Cons
  • Not ideal for cats under 5 pounds
More Details

This Whisker model is a little cheaper than the Litter-Robot 4 but still has much of the same technology. Plus, Whisker offers tons of accessories for your litter box, such as stairs to help older cats reach the box, a litter trap mat, a camera mount to keep an eye on your kitty, and even cleaning spray and wipes. 

Like the Litter-Robot 4, the automatic sifting process removes dirty litter from the clean, keeping foul smells out of your home. You also have the option to control the litter box from the Whisker app. 

The main difference between the Litter-Robot 3 and the Litter-Robot 4 is that the 4 has an enlarged waste drawer, a wider opening, and a quieter sifting cycle. 

Even though this model isn't as quiet as the Litter-Robot 4, customers noted they were not bothered by the sound even if placed in a prominent place in their home and that, overall, they saved money on having to buy litter since using the Litter-Robot 3.

Whisker Litter-Robot 3 tech specs: Dimensions: 24.25 x 27 x 29.5 inches | Power: 15 Volt DC | Weight: 24 pounds | # of cats: Up to 4

What is the best self-cleaning litter box?

The Whisker Litter-Robot 4 is the best overall self-cleaning litter box, thanks to its thoughtful and quiet design and smartphone capabilities. To see how it compares to the other options on our list, here's an overview of size and price.

Self-cleaning litter box

Price

Dimensions

# of cats

Whisker Litter-Robot 4

$699

29.5 x 22 x 27 inches

4

PetSafe ScoopFree Litter Box

$280

20.38 x 7.13 x 28 inches

1

Catgenie AI Deluxe Automatic Cat Box

$489

24.5 x 19.25 x 21 inches

1-2

Smarty Pear Leo's Loo Too

$650

24 x 22 x 27.5 inches

2

Whisker Litter-Robot 3

$549

24.25 x 27 x 29.5 inches

4

Which is the right automatic litter box for you?

The best self-cleaning litter box for you depends on your preferences, number of cats, space, and price point. We offer expert suggestions to help you find the correct automatic litter box for your budget and needs.

Choose this automatic litter box...

If you want...

Whisker Litter-Robot 4

The best overall option. It is super quiet and has a large opening for cats of all sizes.

PetSafe ScoopFree Litter Box

A budget-friendly litter box for under $300. It even helps with odor control and litter mess. 

Catgenie AI Deluxe Automatic Cat Box

A self-cleaning litter box that flushes waste by using your home's drain hooks. Its four-step cleaning process includes scooping, washing, rinsing, and hot-air drying.

Smarty Pear Leo's Loo Too

A self-cleaning litter box that's compatible with Alexa or Google Assistant. It also has a UV sanitation cleaning cycle. 

Whisker Litter-Robot 3

An alternative option from Whisker. You can add different accessories to the litter box to make it easier for your cat to access. 

Factors to consider when choosing the best self-cleaning litter box:

We considered the following essential factors when determining products and compiling our top picks.

  • Size: Self-cleaning litter boxes are often larger than traditional ones and can take up much space in your home. Be sure to check measurements and consider the footprint that your robot litter box may leave.
  • Sifting process: The best automatic litter boxes incorporate an advanced sifting process that separates dirty litter from clean litter, saving you precious time.
  • Budget: We keep cost at the forefront when weighing the best self-cleaning litter box. Not only is there an upfront investment in the machine itself, but there are also maintenance costs like waste bags and particular litter.

How did we test these self-cleaning litter boxes?

When choosing the best automatic litter boxes, I considered my own experience with some of the products, as well as other ZDNET team members who have used a self-cleaning litter box in their homes. ZDNET does extensive hands-on testing of self-cleaning litter boxes, including ease of use/installation, size, sifting/cleaning process, and more. We test these in real-world situations, especially focusing on user (our furry friends) sentiments. 

For products we have not gone hands-on with, we do, extensive research into different products and brands, taking into consideration user reviews (both good and bad), competitor analysis, and more.

What are self-cleaning litter boxes and how do they work?

Self-cleaning litter boxes, also known as automatic litter boxes, are cat litter boxes that use technology to automatically clean and dispose of waste. They are designed to make the process of cleaning a cat's litter box more convenient and less time-consuming. They are also helpful for people who travel frequently or for those who have physical limitations that make cleaning a traditional litter box difficult.

These litter boxes use sensors to detect when a cat has used the box and then activate a cleaning mechanism, such as a rake or a scoop, to remove the waste and deposit it into a sealed compartment. Some models also have self-cleaning mechanisms, such as using UV light to sanitize the box. Some newer models also come with a phone app that allows you to monitor the box and schedule cleaning times. 

How often should I clean my automatic litter box?

Cleaning periods may vary from machine to machine, so be sure to check the manufacturer's manual to see what kind of litter is recommended for your self-cleaning litter box. It also depends on how many cats are using the litter box.

The self-cleaning litter box usually indicates when the waste bin is full. On average, the bin takes about a week to fill up, so you'll have to empty it out about once a week. 

Do self-cleaning litter boxes smell?

Even the best automatic litter boxes are subject to foul odors. Still, many incorporate features to help reduce or eliminate bad smells, such as an advanced sifting process or a certain kind of litter. 

Most of the litter boxes on this list have odor-reducing technology, but we recommend placing your litter box in a more secluded area of your home since smells can escape. 

Do cats like self-cleaning litter boxes?

As you may know, cats are very particular animals. In my experience adjusting my cat to his new litter box, it took him a little over a week to fully use his new automatic litter box. I put his old regular litter box next to his new one (still in the same place as his litter box always has been) but made sure it was filled with waste and was not clean, so he would naturally choose the cleaner litter box next to it. 

It also helps to put some dirty litter from the old litter box into the new one so your cat smells the familiar scent. 

Are there alternative self-cleaning litter boxes worth considering?

There are other options out there aside from our top picks. In our search, we also found these great automatic litter boxes that may also be worth a second look. 

View at Els PetView at AmazonView at Amazon
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