Indoor cats need a litter box to use the bathroom comfortably. Most litter boxes are plastic rectangular bins for containing litter, but there are many variations—hooded covers to keep litter contained, lowered entrances for senior cats—that can improve quality of life for you and your cat.
We selected 21 popular litter boxes for real-world testing in homes with cats and kittens. For several months cats did their business in each box, while our volunteer testers made notes on how well their cats liked the design, how easy the litter box was to clean, and other features.
After hundreds of hours of combined testing, our favorite litter box is the Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Litter Pan, which has an easy-to-remove hooded cover, and offers ample space for large cats. It also comes with a carbon filter that effectively neutralizes odors.
We also recommend a top-entry model, a litter box with its own liner, an automatic litter box, and more.
Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Litter Pan
Easy to carry with handle and to clean with soap and water
Contains mess and masks odors with a carbon filter on top
Built-in bag anchor at the front helps to streamline scooping by keeping a trash bag in place
Suitable for large cats and multi-cat homes
Provides privacy for a cat
Our cat tester took some time to adjust to the door flap
No scoop included
The Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan is equipped with an abundance of useful features, including a replaceable carbon filter to absorb odor, a bag anchor to make scooping easier, and a lockable hood providing a secure and secluded space for your cat. Plus, it's ideal for both large cats and multi-cat homes—all at an approachable price point.
This sturdy litter box comes with a hood that is easily secured with snaps and removed for cleaning. On the hood, you'll find a carbon filter that absorbs and neutralizes odors. Replacement filters made by Catit are sold separately but are easy to switch out when needed. A clear door with hinges at the top is lightweight and easy for a cat to pass through to access their private bathroom stall. The door glides shut behind them offering privacy and helping to maintain granules of litter inside the box, even if a cat kicks to celebrate their latest drop. Our participating cat tester didn't immediately comprehend the purpose of the door, but quickly caught on after a few demonstrations.
For maintenance cleaning, a built-in bag anchor at the front assists in holding a waste bag open as you scoop. And rinsing with soap and water is all that's required to fully clean the litter box. Catit also makes liners that can be placed in the bin under the litter making cleaning out the bin more streamlined.
The litter box is made with BPA-free plastic and is compatible with most cat litter products.
Price at time of publish: $54
Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 22.4 x 18.3 x 19.7 inches | Scoop Included: No
Best Top Entry
IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box with Scoop
A removable lid with grooves helps to wipe off litter particles from cat paws to cut down on tracking
Slim design with smaller footprint than traditional bin litter box
Matching slotted scoop included
Entry is too narrow for some cats
Older cats or less agile cats might not like top entry and exit
Top entry litter boxes have their entrance on the lid, instead of the front of the litter box. This way, cats have to jump out after they're done using the bathroom, preventing them from carrying too much litter on their paws. Using a top entry box can prevent tracking, but it's also an acquired taste, as cats often prefer to look around while they're pooping and peeing.
Our favorite top entry model, the IRIS Top Entry Litter Box, has a compact oval shape, with tall sides and a removable lid to contain splatter and reduce tracking. As a cat hops up on top to leave, the grooves on the lid collect granules of litter that might otherwise end up around your home. The lengthened cylindrical design takes up less floor space than a traditional litter box while still providing a spacious entry portal on top, with ample room for most adult cats to come and go as they need.
The top-entry design comes in three colors, white, black, and gray, with a matching slotted scoop. This litter box is compatible with most types of litter and it's easy to clean with soap and water. If you have an older cat or one with mobility issues, they might not enjoy top entry and exit. The lid has a listed weight capacity of 20 pounds, so owners of extra large cats might want to look elsewhere. However, one of our two volunteer tester cats is 19 pounds, and has regularly stood atop the litter box.
Price at time of publish: $40
Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 20.5 x 16.2 x 14.6 inches | Scoop Included: Yes
Frisco High Sided Cat Litter Box
Easy for cat to enter and exit, and suitable for cats of all ages and sizes
Available in two sizes and two colors, navy or gray
High walls to prevent litter for splattering
Made from BPA-free, recyclable plastic
Only available at one online retailer
Frisco High-Sided Cat Litter Box has a U-shaped entry at the front allowing cats to waltz in with ease. The straightforward design can comfortably accommodate cats of all ages and sizes, and it's very similar to our previous pick for Best Budget, Nature's Miracle Just For Cats High-Sided Cat Litter Box, which is sold out.
All three walls surrounding the low-barrier walk-through point are 10 inches high for the x-large size and 8 inches for the medium size to keep litter contained. The entryway is 5.6 inches off the ground for both sizes and doubles as a concentrated spout for emptying out litter into a trash bag. The edges are curved at the top to make the bin easier to pick up for cleaning, and it's easy to wipe down with soap and water. The durable box is available in two colors, navy or gray, and is made out of BPA-free, recyclable plastic.
Price at time of publish: $20 (x-large)
Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 18 x 8.5 x 15.2 inches (medium), 24 x 10 x 18 (x-large) | Scoop Included: No
Best High End
Tuft & Paw Cove Litter Box
Removable walls that help reduce tracking
Easy to wipe clean
Comes with a scoop, dustpan, and brush
Grippy bottom to keep box from sliding
There are three options for purchasing the Tuft and Paw Cove Litter Box: the litter pan (called the Cove) on its own, the litter pan plus walls known as the Shelter, or the litter pan, walls, and a subscription to Tuft and Paw Really Great Litter. We happen to think the cat litter lives up to its name (check out our review here). For testing, we selected the Cove with the addition of the Shelter.
The entire structure is easy to wipe clean, the walls are easily removed, and a grippy bottom keeps the litter box in place. We like the walls offer an open top that most cats prefer along with the reduction in tracking that most pawrents prefer. A scoop, dustpan, and brush are all included along with built-in docks on the perimeter of the bin, conveniently keeping these tools handy in the space where you need them. A grippy bottom keeps the litter box in place.
Price at time of publish: $200
Material: Plastic, rubber | Dimensions: 16 x 26 x 6.5 inches | Scoop Include: Yes
Best With Liner
ModKat Flip Litter Box
Reusable tarp liner is included and easy to clean
Gives cat option for front or top entry
High walls prevent tracking
Price point is significantly higher than most manual scooping litter boxes
A reusable custom-fit liner along with high walls make the ModKat Flip Litter Box Liner extremely easy to clean and ideal for cats that have a habit of getting their pee on the sides.
The washable tarp, similar in feel to the iconic blue IKEA bags, can be wiped down with soap and water every time you empty out the litter. Plus it dries quickly so your cat's bathroom will be clean and ready for use in no time. It lasts roughly three months, so you only need to replace it a few times a year.
The U-shaped front entry might be too high for some senior cats, but for most cats, it will provide a little bit of privacy. The lid has two flaps for flexibility in coverage and streamlined scooping. Plus a scoop and a corresponding dock for convenient storage come standard with this litter box
Price at time of publish: $90
Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 20 x 16.75 x 15 inches | Scoop Included: Yes
Whisker Litter-Robot 4
Includes step for entry and to reduce tracking
Wifi connected, app powered
Can detect up to four cats, keeping track of their activity and weight
One year warranty
Device is much larger than most litter boxes
Needs to be plugged in
Whisker Litter-Robot 4 is a technology-powered litter box that takes away the need for daily scooping. The price tag is significantly higher than other litter boxes, but its ability to provide a fresh bathroom experience for multiple cats is unmatched.
Available in white or black, the automatic litter box has built-in sensors detecting the need for a clean sweep, freshening up the space for the next visit. An app allows for control via a mobile device keeping track of litter use, and the corresponding weight of each unique visitor. It also sends timely notifications indicating when the contents it has collected need to be emptied out of the waste drawer. The litter containment tool, with a shape resembling a wide fan, is equipped with an odor-neutralizing carbon filter that effectively keeps the stench away from human nostrils.
A step to reduce tracking is included and the purchase comes with a one-year warranty from the manufacturer. To function properly, The Litter-Robot 4 must be connected to a power source at all times and it is significantly larger than a traditional litter box.
A litter mat designed to fit with the Litter-Robot can be purchased separately.
Price at time of publish: $700
Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 29.5 x 27 x 22 inches | Scoop Included: N/A
Petphabet Jumbo Hooded Cat Litter Box
Enclosed space is sufficient for large cats
Available in four colors: blue, gray, purple, teal
Prevents litter tracking and splatter
Entryway is large enough for daily scooping
Brightly colored, bulbous design doesn't easily blend in with most home decor
Petphabet Jumbo Hooded Cat Litter Box offers abundant enclosed space where larger kitties can comfortably release their bowels. The bulbous shape of the clear cover paired with the brightly colored bins are reminiscent of iMac desktop computers from the late '90s/early aughts, which depending on your personal preference, could be an amazing addition to your space.
The cover can be easily secured via latches and removed for cleaning. The see-through dome helps cats feel at ease and keeps litter contained when occupied by a cat. It has an entryway opening wide enough (8.2 x 7.8 inches) to accommodate hefty felines while reducing tracking and allowing unobstructed maintenance scooping.
Price at time of publish: $54
Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 24.8 x 20 x 16.5 inches | Scoop Included: No
Best Stainless Steel
iPrimio Enclosed Sides Stainless Steel Cat XL Litter Box
Tall sides of removable enclosure help prevent tracking
Stainless steel is easy to clean and disinfect
Open top gives larger cats the unrestricted space they crave
The sound of cat claws on steel surfaces
A stainless steel litter box offers durability and weight that a traditional litter box made of plastic cannot measure up to. Our favorite is the iPrimo Enclosed Sides Stainless Steel Cat XL Litter Box because it's very easy to wipe clean and is equipped with an enclosure that provides an additional six inches for height to prevent tracking. The open top is ideal for most cats, who prefer a sunroof type of litter box, providing privacy without height restrictions.
The stainless steel surface does not absorb odors or stain easily and is compatible with most types of cat litter. Our participating cat would occasionally scratch the surface which produces an unpleasant sound, but it only happened a few times, and we hope they now feel the same about the noise of claws on steel. A scoop is not provided, but the open top paired with the wide bin makes it easy to use any slotted scoop you fancy.
Price at time of publish: $80
Material: Stainless steel | Dimensions: 23.5 x 15.5 x 6 inches | Scoop Included: No
Best for Seniors and Kittens
KittyGoHere Senior Cat Litter Box
Easy for senior cats and cats recovering from surgery
Available in two sizes and a variety of colors
Horizontal orientation offers different placement options than standard litter boxes
Makes litter tracking more likely
With an entryway that's only three inches tall, the KittyGoHere Senior Cat Litter Box will appeal to more experienced cats who prefer the path of least resistance.
The lightweight plastic bin comes in two sizes, small and large. Both litter box sizes have sides that are five inches high, but the larger bin offers a wider footprint that bigger cats require. You will likely experience some tracking with this litter box, so we recommend pairing it with one of these litter box mats.
The litter box is compatible with most types of cat litter and has curved edges all around to make it easy to grip and empty out. It's available in a variety of colors including green, lavender, sand, blue, and white.
Price at time of publish: $42 (large)
Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 20 x 15 x 5 inches (small), 24 x 20 x 5 inches (large) | Scoop Included: No
Our favorite litter box is the Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan, which has a number of thoughtful design touches ,including an easy-to-replace carbon filter. If you know your cats will use a top entry litter box—which is fantastic for minimizing litter tracking—our favorite is the IRIS Top Entry, which has a unique system for securing the lid on this usefully large litter box.
What to Look for in a Cat Litter Box
Your litter box's size will correspond to your cat's size. Larger cats will need more space to keep them from feeling cramped. If your cat is leaving their business right outside of the litter box, they might be indicating to you that their litter box is too small.
For most cats, a litter box with 5 to 7-inch sides offers sufficient height to prevent tracking. If your cat has a habit of peeing on the sides or tends to kick litter around, you may need an option with high walls.
A hooded cover can also keep the contents of the litter box inside as much as possible, but many cats, especially the larger ones, feel restricted by a ceiling on their litter box. You should find want keeps your cat the most at ease to prevent peeing and pooping outside of the litter box.
The litter box should be visible and easily accessible for your cat, so the design of your litter box is important, especially if you plan to place it in a central area of your home. Many people prefer a neutral color palette and a streamlined design. If you really want the litter box to blend in, you can find furniture styles that enclose the box inside a side table or another functional, multi-purpose piece.
How We Tested
We tested 21 litter boxes in real homes with real cats and kittens. We purchased each and sent it to a volunteer's home, along with a written methodology that guided them through long-term testing.
Our testers were each assigned a litter box to be used and evaluated for several months. Ease of cleaning, mess prevention, design, and overall value were all considered as their cat (or cats for many!) handled their business, with our participating humans tidying up after them. Testers documented their cats' and their own initial impressions of the litter box assigned to their home.
After reviewing feedback paired with numerical scores across different categories, we categorized and ranked our selections.
Where should a cat litter box be placed in a home?
A cat litter box should be placed in a very low-traffic space that is convenient for your cat to get to. This could be a bathroom, a closet, next to your washer-dryer, or even in the corner of your living room. We highly recommend placing the litter box in a place that is easy for you to clean. Tracking of a litter usually happens in the area surrounding a litter box, and if your cat takes issue with the tidiness of their litter box, they may occasionally choose to relieve themselves directly outside of their litter box, so carpeting is not recommended.
Do cats prefer an open or covered litter box?
Most cats prefer an open litter box, but cats also instinctively kick their litter to cover their poop and pee which can lead to sprinkles of cat litter landing outside of the litter box. Most humans will find the addition of higher walls or an enclosed, cave-like litter box to be advantageous for keeping the space surrounding the litter box clean.
Why Trust The Spruce Pets?
This story was updated by Anna Mejorada, a writer for The Spruce Pets, who shares her home with a happy pomeranian named Gidget who does her business on a tinkle pad, even at the airport. Before researching and writing about pet products for a living, Anna embarked on a self-mandated, ongoing quest to find the optimal items for her dog. She is now delightfully devoted to helping humans discover and select the most favorable products for their pets.
A previous version was written by Theresa Holland, a freelance writer and animal lover with lots of experience covering pet products and home goods.