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Automatic litter boxes are revolutionizing the lives of cat owners everywhere. Not only do they scoop the poop for us, they decrease nasty smells typical of open litter boxes. They teach us about our cats and help us monitor health data. The best automatic litter boxes do all of these things—and, somehow, more. If you’re considering switching over to the world of self-cleaning litter boxes, take a look at our list but remember: The best litter box is one your cat uses. That said, our personal take on the best overall automatic litter box would be the Whisker Litter-Robot 4 ($699)—we explain why below.
The Best Automatic Litter Boxes at a Glance
What to Look for in an Automatic Litter Box
Can You Use Any Litter in an Automatic Litter Box?
Take in to account the type of litter your cat is used to and how well they adjust to change since your automatic littler box may require a certain time. Two boxes on our list use crystal litter, which is less common than clay clumping litter. It may take a few weeks to get your cat acclimated to a different sensation on their paws. Gently ease them into this new world by adding litter from their old box into the new box for a while.
Watch and Learn
Finally, observe your cat as she uses her automatic litter box. If she likes it and continues going back, hooray! It’s a keeper. If she doesn’t like it, begins going to the bathroom outside the box or sticks to her old box exclusively, it may be a bust. Scooping litter is just one part of cat life; if an old-fashioned box is what kitty wants, an old-fashioned box is what kitty should get.
Pro tip: Don’t get rid of your old box until your cat totally accepts the new box!
How We Chose the Best Automatic Litter Boxes
Curating the best automatic littler boxes available in 2023, we tested some of the products extensively with our own cats, scoured real-person reviews and took into account features like footprint, litter use, and extra features like apps and, of course, price.
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For anyone following along, I love my Litter-Robot 4. My cats do, too. Both use it (though one prefers it more than the other) and it’s a much sleeker, quieter version of the Litter-Robot 3 Connect, which I owned until I upgraded. Not only is this thing super quiet, it saves on how much litter we buy and contains smell very well. The waste drawer is deep and the app alerts me when it’s full. This single unit also works for up to four cats. The only drawback is litter pellets still end up on the floor outside the Litter-Robot 4, despite the rubber grooves on the entrance step meant to catch litter.
Like the Litter-Robot 4, the Litter-Robot 3 Connect can sustain up to four cats in a single household. Be sure to empty that waste drawer as soon as the app alerts you it’s full, though! Yes, the Litter-Robot 3 is louder and slightly clunkier than the newer version, but it gets the same job done. Less odor, less scooping, less litter over time. Especially in homes with more than one cat, I found this made kitty duty much easier. The interior is huge but the opening is narrower than the new model (though my cats had no trouble getting in and out).
3. Smarty Pear Leo's Loo Too Wifi Enabled Litter Box
If you’re a clean freak, which we totally understand, you’re gonna love the sanitation feature on this automatic litter box. Leo’s Loo Too uses a UV ray inside the waste drawer to get rid of 99.9 percent of the gross stuff (like parasites and bacteria) hanging out in there. This box is slightly smaller than the Litter-Robots, which means it takes up less space but provides a smaller opening for kitty. One reviewer says both of her Maine Coons are able to get in and out and use it regularly, so large cats do fit. Smarty Pear offers a 90-day trial, so if you or your cats don’t like it, you can send it back (as long as you used 100 percent clay-clumping litter).
Buy it ($650)
4. PetSafe ScoopFree Original Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box
This self-cleaning litter box is more straightforward than others on our list. It looks like a regular box, but it contains a tray of crystal litter that is changed once every 30 days (more cats or more frequent users may mean changing out the tray more often). A rake combs through and collects solid waste in a covered trap and the crystals absorb moisture (and odor). The manufacturer says crystal litter “is formulated to eliminate odors five times more efficiently than clay or clumping litter.” Like other automatic boxes on our list, you’ll likely use less litter overall with this box than traditional litter boxes. At a fraction of the cost of many automatic boxes, this is definitely worth a try.
Buy it ($200)
5. PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Top-Entry Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box
If your cat is used to a top-entry box or has proven a fan of them, try this automatic version. It’s essentially the original ScoopFree with a cover. Though the manufacturer says the crystal litter is 99 percent track-free, the cover has a grated surface anyway, which can diminish the amount of crystal litter your cat leaves in her wake after using the box (a feature the original doesn’t offer). Both models let you know how often your cat is using the box, which can be especially helpful if you’re tracking a sick or elderly cat’s bathroom habits.
Buy it ($230)
PetSnowy’s automatic litter box has magnetic parts that easily click together and come apart, which means assembly and cleaning is much easier. Like the Litter-Robots, the SNOW+ also has an app that cat parents can use to track their cat’s usage and to get alerts when the litter drawer is full. Four different sensors ensure the litter box doesn’t start a cleaning cycle while kitty is using it - or exiting. One unique aspect? When you pull out the litter drawer, the waste bag self-seals. This is easy on your nose, but doesn’t allow you to really see what’s going on with your cat, which makes spotting health problems tricky.
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PureWow's editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series (where we rank items on a 100-point scale) to our painstakingly curated lists of fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family picks, you can trust that our recommendations have been thoroughly vetted for function, aesthetics and innovation. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.