The answer is: it depends on some elements we will mention here. If you haven’t decided between the Litter Robot, CatGenie or ScoopFree yet, I will give you the best information you need to make a good decision.
The following comparison will give you a good idea about how these automatic litter boxes work and which is more suitable for you and your cat. If after analyzing these units you still need more options, there are more top automatic litter boxes on the market that may fit your budget better.
First you will see basic information, cleaning cycles, what supplies they need, issues you might have with each brand and troubleshooting, to name some.
LITTER ROBOT VS CATGENIE VS SCOOPFREE COMPARISON CHART
|Litter Robot III Open-Air – Full Review||ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Litter Box – Full Review||CatGenie Self Washing Self Flushing Cat Box – Full Review|
|STARS RATING *|
|Dimensions||29.2″ x 24.1″ x 26.7″||27.5″ L x 19″ W x 7″ H||19.25” x 24.5” x 21”|
|Item Weight||24 lbs||22.5 lbs||26 lbs|
|Power||120 volt outlet – 15 VDC||120V 60Hz adapter||120V AC|
|Made In||USA||USA or imported||Israel|
|How It Works||3-7 or 15 min after the cat leaves the litter box a special rotating mechanism drops the waste into a drawer.||Waste and urine go into a disposable tray located underneath the box.||Urine disposed through a waste/water drain. Clumps scooped by a rake then liquefied and disposed through a waste-water drain.|
|Requirements to Install||1) A level surface 2) electric outlet||1) Surface free of humidity 2) electric outlet.||1) Cold water line 2) waste water drain 3) electric outlet|
|Minutes Delay Before Cycle||3-7-15 minute delay (adjustable)||20 minutes (“Ultra” version is adjustable to 5-10-20 min).||10 min. for 1 cat; 30 minutes for multiple cats|
|Safety Mechanism||Rotation stops if a cat re-enters the litter box and resets for another 3-7-15 minutes.||It resets to 20 more minutes delay if a new cat enters (“Ultra” version is adjustable to 5-10-20 min).||It resets to 10 more minutes delay if a cat re-enters (30 min in Cat Activation mode).|
|MAINTENANCE (ONE CAT)|
|Frequency of Scooping||No scooping||No scooping||No scooping|
|Frequency of Cleaning||Wash the Globe ideally every month||Every 2-3 weeks replacing disposable tray (see note 1).||Clean the impeller once or twice a month. Clean the unit every 2-3 months|
|SUPPLIES (ONE CAT)|
|Doesn’t Require Branded Refills|
|Litter||Premium clay clumping litter||Disposable trays with crystals.||CatGenie washable granules|
|Other Supplies||Any 8-13 Gal trash / carbon filter||NO||CatGenie Sanisolution, CatGenie Maintenance cartridge.|
|Optional Accessories||Ramp||Hood (Forever Tray & Litter Bagger are complements but not part of ScoopFree brand)||CatGenie Dome, Sidewalls.|
|COST BY MONTH (ONE CAT) **|
|Cost Approx. in US$||12 US$ to 15 US$ (see note 1)||20 US$ to 40 US$ (it depends on the cat).||12 US$ to 15 US$|
|POSSIBLE ISSUES & SOLUTIONS|
|Possible Issues You May Have||1) Kicked litter outside the box 2) The Globe doesn’t complete a rotation because of too much litter in it.||1) Tray leaking 2) smelly crystals 3) waste compartment too full before time to change tray||1) Tracking granules over the floor 2) clogs on waste drain line or impeller (not always) 3) bad smell during cleaning cycle|
|Solutions||1) Get the Litter catcher mat 2) Fill litter up to the full line indicator or little less (approx. 12-13 cups of 8 Oz)||1) Stir the litter around every day. Get an alternative solution as the Forever Tray 2) Place the unit in an area with circulating air 3) scoop the waste compartment||1) Get the sidewalls 2) Disassemble and unclog it. Brush your cat often to avoid hair from going into the impeller. Clean the impeller periodically. 3) Set the unit away from living areas|
|Type of Cat||5 lbs up to 20 lbs||Average sized cats that don’t eat byproducts. Cats without kidney disease or diabetes.||Approx. 5 lbs up to 10 lbs|
|Kittens||Only if used manually||From 6 months age||From 6 months age|
|Multi-cat||YES||YES (better with one cat)||YES (Better if used by 2 cats max)|
|Guarantee||90 days money-back||90 days money-back||90 days money-back (Except purchases to 3rd parties)|
|Warranty||18 months||1 year limited (replacement or repair of defective pieces).||2 years limited|
|Ideal Solution For||People that want to forget about the cat’s litter box for several days with minor maintenance.||People willing to spend money in disposable litter trays to change it every 2 or 3 weeks (see note 1) to keep the house odor free from the litter box.||People that have a 2d bathroom (ideally the garage’s or a laundry room away from living areas) to install it.|
|Check The Lowest Price|
1) Depending on the cat you may need to change tray every week. 2) Depends on the brand of clumping litter you use (*) Ratings are based on customers reviews and they could change in the future (**) Costs are approximate and they could change anytime. (***) Check details of warranty policy with the manufacturer or distributor.
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN SEARCHING FOR AN ELECTRIC LITTER BOX
The success or failure of an automatic cat litter box depends on 4 elements we would like you to know and to keep in mind when searching for information:
- Multiple Cats or One cat
- Your cat’s age and personality
- Your cat’s health
- Your budget
1. MULTIPLE CATS OR ONE CAT
Very important element if we consider that one cat is already enough work in scooping the litter box, so if you have 2 or more cats you need a system able to handle the extra use.
This is especially critical if you are away most part of the day and your cats use the box throughout the day. You need a very reliable system that won’t collapse. So what do you have to search for in this situation? An automatic litter box that:
a) Has high capacity to collect the waste
b) The whole process has to be automated
c) Not so expensive that it will break your budget but not so cheap that won’t serve its purpose. However, if you want to avoid contact with your cat’s litter box you may want to go for the higher price.
If you have multiple cats and don’t know what particular features to search for in order to get the best performer, check how to choose a multi cat auto litter box so you don’t waste your money.
HOW THE BEST 3 AUTOMATED SYSTEMS WORK WITH MULTI-CAT HOUSEHOLDS
If you have several cats, this is what eventually might happen with each brand:
LITTER ROBOT III. If you have more than one cat you will need to empty the bagged waste more often. Let’s say, if you have 3 cats, instead of emptying the waste drawer every 10 days, you will need to do it every 3-4 days or more, depending on how much your cats eat and what type of food they eat (cats that eat food made from by-products produce more waste than cats that eat better quality food).
Regarding clumping litter, the Litter Robot III allows you to save up to 50% on litter due to its rotating Globe with a built-in screen that sifts after 7 minutes of delay, avoiding the waste from sitting too long in the litter bed, preventing the clean litter from getting soiled.
When the Litter Robot 3 is used with a single cat you can forget about the litter box for up to 10 days and more (yes, I am not kidding). You can check my experience with this unit here where I created an in-depth review.
CATGENIE. With more than one cat you will need to set the cleaning cycle with 10 minutes delay so each cat can go to do its business in a clean litter box or 30 minutes delay if they can use it dirty. With the 10 minutes delay you will have the machine cleaning more often and with the 30 minutes delay you will have the clumps sitting in there for 30 minutes.
It seems like the CatGenie sometimes gets clogs (after 4 months or so) with the cat’s hair or other particles that go through the system. However, this does not happen always and it depends on how often people clean the unit. If you have more than one cat using the CatGenie and you don’t clean the unit very often, you will probably experience clogs. I must mention that there have been cat owners whom haven’t experienced this at all.
SCOOPFREE ULTRA. If you have more than one cat you will have to spend more money on pre-filled trays. According to customers experiences with one cat you have to change the tray every 7 to 20 days, depending on how much your cat urinates and defecates. If your cat urinates 3 or 4 times a day, most likely you will need to change the tray every week. Actually, the manufacturer recommends using this system only on cats that are healthy and that means they don’t have whether urinating problems, diabetes or creamy feces.
BEST MULTI-CAT SELF CLEANING LITTER BOX FOR USE UP TO 3 CATS
When it comes to multi-cat use, the Litter Robot is reliable up to 3 cats. The CatGenie also can handle 3 cats, but the cleaning cycle takes 45 minutes vs 2 minutes of the Litter Robot. This means with the CatGenie one of the 3 cats most likely will have to wait its turn to use the litter box at some point.
2. YOUR CAT’S AGE AND PERSONALITY
The success with one of these automatic cat litter boxes will depend on how good your cat adapts to the new system. The age and personality are important elements on this. For example, kittens are more willing to adopt new systems while old cats are more reluctant to try new things; they usually stick with the old fashion regular litter box. Of course, this is not the rule, every cat is unique. Regards personalities, this might happen with your cat with each brand:
LITTER ROBOT OPEN AIR. The previous versions of the Litter Robot 3 may not be good for cats with claustrophobia, but the new Litter Robot Open Air provides plenty of space and room for cats so they don’t feel too enclosed due to its ergonomic wide entryway.
CATGENIE. Maybe shy cats won’t like the cleaning cycle, but very good for cats that like to dig.
SCOOPFREE ULTRA. Some cats adopt the crystals instead regular litter while others, don’t.
EASIEST AUTO LITTER BOX TO BE ADOPTED BY CATS
The Litter Robot 3 is the easiest to be adopted by cats, actually 99% of cats adopt this automatic litter box. The CatGenie with the loud cleaning cycle may scare some cats whom eventually will get used to it, but this may take a little longer if you have a skittish cat. Regarding the ScoopFree, cats with sensitive paws or that have been declawed might reject the crystals.
3. YOUR CAT’S HEALTH AND DIET
If your cat has urinary tract disease or diabetes you have to pick a system that can handle urine. The Catgenie is a good option here. If your cat has digestive problems and defecates very soft stools or diarrhea, any automatic system could have trouble collecting the waste, so in this situation there are not very many good options and it is better to use a regular cat litter box.
If your cat has a diet including by-products, it will tend to create more waste making difficult for any automatic mechanism to contain all the waste. Think of systems with no trays to contain the waste in this case. With a healthy cat that creates solid stools you should not have problems with any these 3 best automatic feeders.
WINNERS: LITTER BOXES WITH BEST HANDLING OF URINE
The CatGenie and Litter Robot 3 have a good capacity to handle urine from a single cat or with multi-cat use.
WINNER: LITTER BOX WITH BEST HANDLING OF FECES
The Litter Robot, due to its rotating mechanism has the ability to manage softer feces better than the CatGenie or the ScoopFree. The CatGenie soft feces get caught on the arm creating bad smell when doing the drying cycle and the ScoopFree gets some soft feces stuck on the rake.
4. YOUR BUDGET
How tight is your budget in the short and long term? With the top 3 automatic litter boxes in the market, the choices are:
LITTER ROBOT 3. Big investment in the beginning, but you won’t be trapped having to buy the Manufacturer’s supplies to make it work. The Litter Robot works with any clumping litter and kitchen bags.
CATGENIE. Medium investment in the beginning and you will have to buy the brand’s supplies to make the unit work and make sure to never run out of supplies.
SCOOPFREE. Not so big investment in the beginning and you will have to buy pre-filled trays and change them as much as it takes to keep the system clean and odor free (check the excellent tip given from a reader in a comment below. He explains how to make the Scoopfree a much less expensive alternative by buying the Forever tray and the crystals in bags).
WINNER OF LOWEST PRICE
The ScoopFree has the lowest price of the 3 best automatic litter boxes, costing less than $140.
WINNER: LOWER COST IN LONG TERM USE
The Litter Robot 3 is a large investment, but on the long run you save money on litter and you don’t need to buy special supplies to make the system work. Only clumping litter and kitchen/trash bags.
Whatever you decide, make sure to consider all these elements before making a purchase and decide what’s the most important for you.