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Best self-cleaning litter box

Which self-cleaning litter box is best?

If you own cats, you know they are endlessly entertaining, interactive and occasionally finicky members of the family. Despite loving these pets, most people don’t love regularly cleaning out their dirty litter boxes.

Self-cleaning litter boxes eliminate the hassle by incorporating sensors that can detect when a litter box is being used and cleans up for you when your cat is done. The PetSafe ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Litter Box is the recommended choice because it automatically cleans waste and features great odor control.

What to know before you buy a self-cleaning litter box

How do self-cleaning litter boxes work?

When a self-cleaning litter box detects your cat’s presence, it uses a rake-like device to pull the waste into a trash receptacle, leaving behind clean litter. Once the waste bin or drawer is full, all you have to do is remove it from the litter box and dispose of the waste.


There are two types of self-cleaning litter boxes: automatic and semi-automatic. Automatic self-cleaning litter boxes work by raking the waste into a receptacle that you must regularly empty. Semi-automatic self-cleaning litter boxes usually have a lever you manually turn to filter and separate the waste from the clean litter. Both types work well, but automatic litter boxes typically are more expensive.

Single cat vs. multi-cat

According to experts, a household should have at least one litter box per cat. If you choose to let multiple cats use a single self-cleaning litter box, make sure you increase your cleaning habits accordingly. A self-cleaning litter box doesn’t work miracles, so empty the waste receptacle at least three or four times a week if you have more than one cat.

What to look for in a quality self-cleaning litter box

Sensor vs. timer

Some self-cleaning litter boxes have sensors that detect when your cat is relieving itself and start the cleaning process immediately after. Others operate on an adjustable timer that cleans the litter box periodically throughout the week. If your box has a timer, monitor your cat’s bathroom habits and try not to schedule cleanings for any part of the day that your pet likes to go.

Noise level

Self-cleaning litter boxes tend to make noise during the cleaning process. Look for a manufacturer that tries to reduce generated noise, as a loud litter box can startle a cat and discourage it from using the litter box in the future.


Most pet owners know cats can be finicky about their litter. If your pet only likes one particular litter brand, make sure it’s going to work with the self-cleaning litter box you choose. Non-clumping litter, for instance, won’t work with many self-cleaning litter boxes because the raking mechanism needs clumps to properly separate the waste. Wet, unclumped litter could damage the inner workings of your litter box.

How much you can expect to spend on a self-cleaning litter box

Most semi-automatic self-cleaning litter boxes cost around $20-$80. Automatic litter boxes typically cost more, ranging from $80-$400.

Self-cleaning litter box FAQ

How do you get your cat to use its new litter box?

A. Start by placing the new litter box next to the old one, filling it with the same kind of litter you always use. After a while, your cat should begin using the new litter box more and more frequently until the old one can be removed.

How often should you empty the litter box waste bin?

A. If you only have one cat using the self-cleaning litter box, you should be emptying the waste bin at least twice a week. Double that amount for every additional cat that uses the box.

What’s the best self-cleaning litter box to buy?

Top self-cleaning litter box

PetSafe ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Litter Box

What you need to know: This automatic litter box comes with sensors and leak protection. 

What you’ll love: With a straightforward assembly and streamlined design, this automatic self-cleaning litter box makes disposing your cat’s waste easy. The litter box also features an automatic health counter so you can keep track of how many times your cat goes throughout the day.

What you should consider: This model requires a particular brand of cat litter that pets and pet owners may not like.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top self-cleaning litter box for the money

Pet Zone Smart Scoop Automatic Litter Box

What you need to know: This automatic litter box is affordable and works with any brand of clumping litter.

What you’ll love: This automatic self-cleaning litter box is incredibly quiet, making it a great choice for particularly skittish cats. The box is designed with angled deflectors and fins to keep the litter area free of messes.

What you should consider: Some users report the scraper can miss clumps of litter.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Omega Paw Self-Cleaning Litter Box

What you need to know: This model is a solid, affordable and relatively versatile semi-automatic litter box.

What you’ll love: A great option for pet owners with a smaller budget, this litter box works by incorporating a filtration screen that separates waste from the litter. Users simply rotate the box to sift the litter, then remove the tray to dispose of the waste.

What you should consider: The box is smaller than comparable models, making it unappealing to certain cats.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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