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Cats make wonderful pets—they’re playful, soft, and relatively self-sufficient. Yet, as you probably know, scooping up kitty litter is a less-than-glamorous part of being a cat owner. But if you don’t stay on top of cleaning a litter box, it can create all kinds of problems for both you and your fur baby.
Luckily, you can purchase a self-cleaning litter box that does the dirty work for you by essentially eliminating the need for manual scooping. Whether you have multiple cats or just one, we've researched the market and tested top products to help you find the right option for your feline friends.
Below are the best automatic litter boxes.
Best Overall: PetSafe Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box
For a reliable automatic litter box that gets the job done, our top pick is the PetSafe ScoopFree Ultra Automatic Self Cleaning Litter Box. This best-selling product is a favorite among feline owners for a reason: it gets rid of waste automatically, so you don’t have to clean, scoop, or refill the box for weeks. All you need to do is plug it into the closest outlet, and choose whether you want the cleaning cycle to kick in 5, 10, or 15 minutes after it senses your cat leaving the box. The sensor also tracks how many times your cat uses the box, which can help you monitor their health.
The ScoopFree Ultra uses leak-proof disposable trays with plastic lining. Every few weeks, you can remove the tray, toss it out, and replace it with a new one. To keep odors at bay, PetSafe recommends using its Crystal Litter, which dehydrates solid waste and absorbs urine. A hooded cover is also recommended to help control immediate smells and keep cat litter from spilling out. If you’re looking for a litter box solution that’ll make your life easier, this might be your best bet.
"When the box is activated, it slowly and quietly combs the solid waste into the front of the litter box, under the lip of the entryway. You never have to touch—or even see—any waste."—Joy Merrifield, Product Tester
Best Budget: Arm & Hammer Large Sifting Litter Pan
If you’re on the hunt for a budget-friendly self-cleaning litter box, you should consider the Arm & Hammer Large Sifting Litter Pan. This product is relatively low-tech––no batteries or electricity required––and eliminates the need to scoop out waste. Its clever design allows the litter to pass through quickly and easily, while its compact size is ideal for apartments and smaller homes.
This litter box comes complete with two reinforced antimicrobial plastic pans and a sifting tray. When it’s time to clean the litter box, dump the dirty litter from the top pan into the empty pan with the sifting tray on top. Then, lift the sifting tray to sift out the clumps, dispose of the waste, and then switch the pans. Now, the cleaned litter will be on top, followed by the sifter, and empty pan on the bottom.
Best Large: Litter-Robot 3 Connect Cat Litter Box
Whether you have a large cat, multiple cats, or just want to provide your pet with a comfortable bathroom setup, the notably roomy Litter-Robot 3 is a solid choice. While it’s more of a splurge than other automatic litter boxes, you'll find that it’s well worth the investment. This self-cleaning product features an extra-large litter chamber with a wide upward-facing entry point. According to the manufacturer, this provides an “open-air feel” and makes it more inviting for sizable house cats. The unique design also reduces the amount of litter that’s spilled and tracked on your floors.
The Litter-Robot 3 detects when your cat comes in and out. After each use, it automatically sifts the waste into a drawer underneath. Not only does this make pet care easier, but it also allows you to use less kitty litter. While it takes up more space than other litter pans, this automatic litter box has a sleek, futuristic appearance. Plus, it connects to your smartphone or tablet, allowing you to monitor your cat’s usage from anywhere.
"When we got a push notification saying the waste drawer was full, all we had to do was pull open the drawer, tie up the bag of waste, and throw it away. From there, we just lined the drawer with a new bag, hit the button to reset the waste gauge level in the app, and that was it."—Camryn Rabideau, Product Tester
Best for Multiple Cats: CatGenie Self-Washing Self-Flushing Cat Box
For households with multiple cats, the CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Box is an excellent choice. While it's priced slightly higher than other automatic litter boxes, it can accommodate up to three mid-sized cats. Reminiscent of an actual toilet, it actually flushes waste away, and cleans itself after each use with a hot-air function.
Bear in mind, you’ll need an electrical outlet and a cold-water hookup. For this reason, setting it up in your bathroom or laundry room might be your best bet. Instead of actual litter, it uses septic-safe washable granules that never need changing. When your cat goes to the bathroom, urine drains through the granules, and solid waste is liquified and flushed away. After that, a sanitizing solution cleans the granules and tray. And just like that, it’s ready for another use.
Best Odor-Control: Premier Pet Auto-Clean Litter Box System
Automatic litter boxes are undoubtedly convenient, but without daily upkeep, they need a sufficient odor-control function. With that said, the Premier Pet Auto-Clean Litter Box System is our top pick for an odor-controlling litter box. Once you plug it into a wall, just fill the bin with litter and line the attached waste bin with a small trash bag.
It works with clumping clay litter to transfer waste onto a conveyor belt and then into the waste bin, making for an effortless, virtually mess-free disposal. But what makes this product stand out is its activated carbon filter. The filter is designed to absorb odors and keep your home smelling fresh—all you have to do is replace the litter every few weeks. The system comes with a year’s supply of carbon filters, and since you don’t need to scoop or refill the bin on a day-to-day basis, it uses less litter than most traditional litter boxes.
Best Value: Little Maid Single Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box
For a high-quality automatic cat box that doesn’t break the bank, check out the LitterMaid Self-Cleaning Litter Box. Using an attached rake-like tool, it automatically scoops waste into a waste receptacle, freeing you of scooping duties for up to a week.
The waste receptacles have a tight seal, which makes for easy disposal and helps with odor control. A charcoal filter also works to contain smells. With high walls and a paw-cleaning ramp, it’s designed to prevent litter from getting onto your floors. This litter box comes in two variations: single cat and multi-cat. If you have multiple felines in your home, check out the multi-cat version.
Best Features: Nature's Miracle Multi-Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box
The Self-Cleaning Litter Box from Nature’s Miracle is full of cool features. When your cat makes its way down the attached ramp, a smart-detection motion sensor triggers it to automatically rake away waste. High walls prevent scattered litter, and the paw-cleaning ramp reduces tracking around your home.
This litter box also has a removable waste receptacle with carbon filters for easy disposal and odor-control. Additionally, an LED nightlight helps both you and your pets see it in the dark. Similar to the LitterMaid box, this cat box comes in both single and multi-cat size options. While the manufacturer recommends its super-absorbent litter, you can use any brand of clumping kitty litter.
If you're searching for a reliable automatic litter box that takes the hassle out of cleaning, pick up our best overall pick the PetSafe Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box. Complete with a built-in cleaning cycle and sensor to track your cat's movements, this litter box won't let you down. But if you're looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Petmate Arm & Hammer Large Sifting Litter Pan is perfect for you.
What to Consider When Shopping for an Automatic Litter Box
Most automatic litter boxes require clumping cat litter, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to use more natural litters like wood-based pellets. Some boxes have even more specific requirements, so it’s a good idea to check what type of litter you’ll need before you buy.
Automatic litter boxes tend to be bigger than traditional tray-styles. It’s always a good idea to measure the space where you plan to place your
Additionally, keep your cat’s size in mind. Bigger kitties tend to prefer a more spacious box, while kittens or older cats may have harder time stepping into boxes that have entrances elevated from the floor.
Some automatic litter boxes are app-connected to alert you when they need emptying or maintenance. Tech-savvy cat owners may want these features, but they may be more fuss than other users want.
Why Trust The Spruce Pets?
This article was written by Theresa Holland, a freelance writer who has been contributing to The Spruce Pets since 2020. Her work has also appeared on MyDomaine. For this list, Theresa considered each litter box's size, price, and features. In addition, product testers reviewed several styles and provided insight.