The Best Self Cleaning Litter Boxes of 2020
- Our Top 5 List
- 1. Omega Paw EL-RA20
- 2. PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Litter Box
- 3. PetSafe Deluxe Crystal Litter System
- 4. LitterMaid Single Self-Cleaning Box
- 5. PetSafe Simply Clean
- Verdict & Review
- Omega Paw Elite Self-Cleaning Box
- Buying Guide
It can be pretty difficult making sure your cat’s litter box is always clean, especially if you work, go to school, or other time constraints that keep you from getting the job done.
With technology advancing, consider getting a self-cleaning litter box, but picking one can be a little complicated because boxes like this never reach 5-star ratings. Some boxes also have special requirements that may be inconvenient for you, meaning you have to look for a few key features.
But we have figured out the best choices for you, so let’s get into it!
Our Top 5 List
This box is designed so that you only have to tilt it for the litter to go through a plastic grill that is built into the side. That is where the dirty litter is stored until you remove it.
Because of the design, this is one of the few boxes on this list that comes with a lid, and it has to stay on because of the design. It can support regular use for multiple cats, but because of the size, you may need to regularly wash the gill (it can get messy over time) and add more litter since it does not hold enough for 2+ cats of a weekly basis.
- Does not spill or leak like past models
- Big size
- Easy to use
- Gets large and small clumps well
- Very convenient
- Not automatic (see #2 for the best automatic box)
Self-cleaning litter boxes are never perfect but this one is fantastic if you use it together with the right products. For starters, we highly recommend to buy this Forever Tray and use this Arm & Hammer Slide litter. If you use both, it’s pretty much a perfect solution. This combination was first figured out by customers on Amazon and has become the go-to way to upgrade this litter box. We’ve tested it and love the result!
Officially, though, this box requires you to use silica crystal litter, not clay litter, because of its design. The grill that sifts through the litter may break if you use clay litter (unless you use the Arm & Hammer litter, which is fine). Since crystal litter is dust-free and removes odors very well, it is not much of an issue to use but we prefer the Arm & Hammer litter.
- Does not release odors
- Design reduces tracking
- Works well with crystal litter
- It’s the best automatic litter box when used with a Forever Tray
- Needs the Forever Tray to be perfect
The design of this litter box is similar to the last one; it uses a bottom tray to catch excess pee. However, unlike the last box, this one does not clean or sift through the litter, meaning you will have to clean up any large clumps or waste.
Because of the design, if you have more than 1 cat, you will probably be cleaning this box just as often as you would if you used a normal one. Still, if you only have 1 cat, it is a little more convenient since you just scooping their poop and occasionally changing the pee pad.
- Crystals prevent odor from escaping
- Requires little maintenance
- The pee holes get clogged sometimes
One of the things that set this box apart from the rest is the large ramp that leads up to the box that is covered with a rubber padding. The padding catches nearly all of the litter the cat would normally track outside of the box, and it also makes it easier for older cats to climb in and out of the box.
The grill is a little on the frail side, bending easily after a few months of use, but getting it fixed/replaced can be pretty easy with the warranty.
- Little to no leaking
- Works with well with multiple cats
- Has a shorter lifespan than others on this list
This is one of the few litter boxes that has a circular shape instead of a square/box shape. It can be difficult/awkward for your cats to use if they are larger or heavier than the average cat, though. This also requires special litter to use because of the delicate filter.
However, the biggest issue is with the motor. Usually, you can tell it is going to stop working when it starts to work slowly or makes noise, but a lot of the time, it stops working without warning, sometimes days or weeks after turning it on for the first time.
- Works well with multiple cats
- Is one of the quieter models
- Motors can suddenly stop working
For us, the Omega Paw box is our winner by nose-length. While it is not electric or uses timers to clean itself, it does have a much longer lifespan than many of the other boxes, as long as you are not rough when cleaning the grill. If you really got to have an automatic litter box, our #2 is the way to go but be sure to buy the extra part (the Forever Tray) to upgrade the box.
As for the Omega box, it is one of the quietest choices out there since it doesn’t have a motor, and you can use it with any kind of litter. This makes it one of the less demanding boxes on the market.
It usually only takes a few minutes for these litter boxes to clean themselves. The thing that sets them apart is the type of timers they have.
Some can be set to go off at a specific time while others can be set to go off in a certain number of minutes or hours. If you have a routine, boxes that can be programmed to go off at a specific time can be more convenient to stick to your routine without spending extra time each day to program the box to clean itself.
If you do not like to see the inside of your cat’s litter box, know that there are some models that are designed with lids. Unlike many of the regular litter boxes, nearly all of these litter boxes are not able to have lids attached to them because of their design.
Some of these boxes can get a little noisy, which can be a little inconvenient if you plan on having it clean itself in the middle of the night or you have young children who are easily woken up.
Nearly all of these boxes will require some amount of assembly, so you can expect to spend anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes setting it up, but because of their design, they may also require you to only use a certain type of litter.
One of the new types of litter that is becoming popular is called silica crystal litter and nearly all automatic cat boxes use it instead of regular litter; regular litter can not work or break the boxes.
Like any product, some do a great job and some do not, but the best way you can tell how well a box you are looking at works is to look at reviews online.
Nearly all of these unique litter boxes use a raking system, but some of them are poorly spaced, causing the mess to stay in the box, or the rake themselves get dirty quickly and require regular cleaning to avoid long-term odors.
How does a self-cleaning litter box work?
Many of these litter boxes use a mechanical rake that sifts through the box and disposes of the mess in a small box/compartment that you would then throw out, and these are usually powered by an electrical cord.
Some are less robotic and rely on yourself to do a simple action like turning the litter box or replacing a pee pad.
Are there boxes large enough for multiple cats?
There are some that are large enough for 2 cats, but any more and you will either have to program the box to clean itself more often, or you will have to do any manual cleaning (like turning or changing the pee pad) more often.
Of course, you may be reaching a little far if you are looking for a box that 2 cats can use/sit-in at the same time; many are only large enough for one average-sized cat.
Where are the best places to keep a litter box?
Cats can be a little picky when it comes to their litter box location. If it is anywhere near where it is difficult to get to or loud noises happen often, they are less inclined to use it.
You should also avoid keeping it around where their food and water is because this can increase the chance that they get sick, and any smells may deter them from eating.
Our favorite place to store litter boxes is inside of an end table furniture, which hides the box entirely and enriches the room with a piece of furniture that looks great!
How can you get your cat to start using a new box?
There are a few ways, but if your cat is already box-trained, then one of the simplest is putting some of their old litter into the new box (not much), and introducing them to it. Make sure you keep the old box and have it right beside the new one.
Once you see that they are starting to use the new box, take away the old one before slowly reducing the amount of old litter you are putting in the new box. Speaking of litter, here are our top lists on dust-free and quality clumping cat litters for you.
If they are not box-trained at all, slowly and gently introduce them to the litter box; make sure you do not force them into the box or keep putting them into the box if they are trying to get out.
Try to avoid making loud noises or yelling whenever they are near the box; this can lead them to think the box is bad. If they go to the bathroom around a specific time each day, try to lure them to the box around this time; treats, petting, or playtime can help.
Baby kittens can learn how to dig by watching you do it with a finger or 2. Once they see this, the instinct to dig usually takes over, but it may take a few times of them seeing it before they try it themselves.
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