Editor’s rating: 3.8 stars | Avg. rating online: 3.9 stars
ScoopFree Ultra is an automatic cat litter box that uses disposable litter trays with blue crystals to absorb urine and control feces odor. ScoopFree Ultra’s rake automatically cleans and pushes the waste into a covered compartment 5,10 or 20 minutes after your cat has used the litter box.
If your cat re-enters the unit during this time, sensors reset the litter box for another 5,10 or 20 minutes, depending on the programming. The waste compartment is located on the front side of the disposable tray.
The disposable tray forms part of the automatic litter box as the bottom of the unit so when cats do their business on the litter area and this tray gets dirty enough, all you have to do is slide out the tray from the unit, toss it and replace it for a new one.
The manufacturer recommends replacing the tray once every 20-30 days with one cat, every 10-15 days with 2 cats, and every 7-10 days with 3 cats. If you have more than 2 cats is recommended to buy more than one unit.
ScoopFree Ultra vs ScoopFree Original
Unlike ScoopFree Original version, ScoopFree Ultra has 3 additional features:
- Privacy hood (or top entry lid), to give your cat the privacy he or she likes.
- Adjustable rake delay to program the cleaning for 5, 10 or 20 minutes after your cat has used the litter box.
- Health counter, to track how often your cat uses the litter box. You can check a full review of ScoopFree Original to compare.
SCOOPFREE ULTRA FEATURES
- It automatically scoops the litter box.
- Manual cleaning button
- Blue crystals have low tracking and they are dust-free.
- Crystals have the capacity to absorb the cat’s urine and feces thus helps to reduce odors.
- Reliable raking system.
- Ultra includes Privacy Hood (or Top Entry lid), Adjustable Rake Delay, and Health Counter.
- The unique system uses disposable litter trays pre-filled with blue crystals for best odor control.
- Convenient cleaning of the litter box, just changing the used tray for a new one.
- Rake stops moving in case of a blockage.
- The system uses power Supply UL-rated 120V 60 Hz AC Adapter
- Cord length: 10 foot
- Litter Box dimensions: 19″ W x 27-3/8″ L x 7″ H (16-3/4″ H with hood installed)
- Disposable Tray Dimensions: 14-1/2 W x 22″ L x 2-1/2″ H
- Litter Area Dimensions: 14” x 14” square
- Weight: 22.5 lbs (fully assembled)
- Hood and Waste Trap Cover come in Purple or Taupe
- Disposable trays come in Original Scent, Lavender or Dye-Free.
- 90-day-money-back guarantee (free shipping cost)
- One year limited product warranty (free shipping cost)
- Requirements to install: Dry, ventilated area and electric outlet.
- New!: Now ScoopFree Ultra offers a top entry lid for cats that create more litter tracking. The plastic grid on top removes the excess litter from the cat’s paws. The unit is exactly the same, but it only changes the type of hood on top.
The Unit includes:
– 1 ScoopFree Ultra Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box
– 1 Privacy Hood or Top Entry Lid (depending of what version you purchase)
– 1 Premium Blue Crystal Litter Cartridge
– 1 Power Supply Adapter
– Owner’s Manual
HOW THE SCOOPFREE WORKS
When a cat enters the litter box and urinates on it, the blue crystals absorb and deodorize the urine.
After 5, 10 or 20 minutes the ScoopFree’s rake runs through the crystals and re-distributes them flat again (cats dig and create piles of crystals). As the urine is absorbed by the crystals, it does not create clumps so no waste gets deposited into the ScooFree’s waste trap.
If the cat defecates the ScoopFree’s rake pushes the clumps into a waste trap which opens to collect the clumps and closes as the rake gets back into position. The ScoopFree’s purple waste trap cover and the cardboard waste trap are attached by magnets and work together as a unit, opening and closing together to receive the waste. The cardboard waste trap is filled with more crystals so when it shuts down it traps the odor so the blue crystals can absorb it.
ScoopFree’s rake does not get jammed as other brands because it changes the direction it points as it sweeps to the front and back to the rear of the litter box.
VIDEO HOW THE SCOOPFREE WORKS
Crystals are made of silica and they work better with dry and fresh air, with humidity crystals don’t work well and might not cover odors effectively.
To change the cartridge just lean the unit against the wall, slide to remove the old cartridge, slide in a new cartridge, place the plastic back down, pour fresh crystals. Put the old cartridge in a trash bag and dispose of it.
The ScoopFree Ultra is suitable for cats and kittens over 6 months of age, weighing between 5 lbs and 12 lbs. The litter area is not that big (14″ x 14″). Also, this system is designed for cats that eat a healthy diet, free of grain or by-products. When cats eat foods that are not healthy they create more waste and the system sometimes can’t handle it. Also, this litter box is not recommended for diabetic cats that urinate much more.
ScoopFree is suitable for multi-cat households with up to 2 cats. However, I think you will get the best of this automatic litter box by using it with a single cat.
The Scoopfree resets for another 5, 10, or 20 minutes in case your cat re-enters the litter box once the activation has started. This ensures your cat won’t be inside the litter box during a cleaning cycle.
FREQUENCY ON DISPOSING OF WASTE
The manufacturer recommends changing the disposable tray every 20-30 days with one cat. I suggest you to change the disposable tray every 10 days with two cats and 20 days with one cat. You will need to empty the waste compartment every 2-3 days in case your cat creates a lot of waste or if using with two cats.
HOW TO CLEAN IT
You can wipe clean the surfaces of the Scoopfree once a month and clean the sensor every week. To fully clean it, remove the waste trap and rake and wash it with mild soap and lukewarm water.
HOW TO MAXIMIZE CARTRIDGES LIFESPAN
- Keep the unit away from high humidity.
- Trays last shorter when used by cats with a high crude fiber and ash content diet because they defecate more.
- Old cats and cats with diabetes, urinary diseases, or thyroid problems urinate more so the tray lifespan is shorter.
- Kittens will cause a shorter lifespan of trays as well as they urinate and defecate more often than adult cats. ScoopFree is not designed to be used by kittens under 6 months old.
- Stirring litter crystals often extend the life of the tray.
- Make sure to mix in the crystals from behind the rake and along the sides of the litter box.
What are the Pros and Cons of the ScoopFree Ultra?
Check the following Pros and Cons of this unit for full information about this auto litter box:
- Easy setup
- It scoops effectively without jamming like other rake types of litter boxes.
- Crystals offer good odor control, absorbing liquids and drying solids.
- Blue crystals don’t track or create dust as much as clumping litter.
- Adjustable time delay for a cleaning cycle to 5,10 or 20 minutes
- Counter that helps to track how often your cat uses the litter box.
- Privacy Hood for cats that like enclosed litter boxes.
- New top entry lid, which is a good option for cats that create a lot of litter tracking.
- Much less maintenance than other similar brands.
- No need to scrap the bottom of the pan anymore.
- Convenient disposable system.
- The unit can go on its own for weeks if used with one cat and follow the instructions.
- It makes some noise but is much quieter than other rake-type automatic litter boxes.
- Short cleaning cycle, approximately one minute.
- Long 10-foot electrical cord.
- You have to buy cartridges to maintain the system. It gets expensive with more than one cat.
- Occasionally some waste might get caught behind the rake or on the rake.
- If a cat is a digger and creates big piles of clumps, this could block the motion sensors.
- If a cat scratches vigorously after doing its business it could scratch the cardboard bottom.
- The waste trap is not sealed.
- You have to stir the crystals often so the cat doesn’t use the same spot every time.
- Cartridge gets heavy when dirty.
- Not good for cats that use only the corners of the litter box.
- The litter area is not very big (14” x 14”).
- Some cats urinate against the walls of the litter box creating leaking between the box and the tray (this happens occasionally and only with some cats).
- Cartridge lifespan could be shorter than advertised, depending on various factors (see instructions on how to maximize the lifespan of cartridges).
- Some cats might not adapt to the crystals.
- Magnets don’t strongly attach to the purple plastic waste trap cover.
TIPS TO USE THE SCOOPFREE ULTRA
- If you want to increase the lifespan of the cartridge, make sure to stir the litter once a day to facilitate crystals absorption and to make your cat use a different spot in the litter area.
- Silica crystals need good air circulation to eliminate odors because it works with evaporation. So a good tip is to place the unit close to a window or door that you can open or put a small fan above the box, blowing air constantly down onto the litter.
- If your cat is a digger, check the green light daily to see if the sensors are blocked by litter piles.
- To help your cat adapt to the crystals, pour some crystals on the old regular litter box mixed with regular litter and let him use the regular litter box for some days.
- Some ideas to reduce odors: sprinkle some baking powder on the crystals and under the waste compartment. Also, buy an activated charcoal odor absorber (affiliate link) and place it on the inside of the waste compartment. Another good idea is to get the Febreze Hamilton Air Filter and plug it into the outlet right next to the ScoopFree. This filter removes the odors completely.
ALTERNATIVES TO CARTRIDGES
If you have several cats and cannot afford to replace the cartridge often, there are some alternatives that customers have used to avoid this expense (keep in mind that these alternatives are not part of the ScoopFree brand).
Using the ScoopFree with Forever Tray. You can buy the Forever Litter Tray which is made of hard plastic and it has the advantage that it does not leak and you can refill it with crystals you buy in bags. For this alternative to work, you need to consider 2 things:
– Make sure the crystals you buy are made from silica so they are safe for your cat
– The crystals need to be the right size for the ScoopFree to work.
If the crystals are too large the rake drags crystals with it and it is a mess. If crystals are too small, they might get inside the motor. So, you need to buy the closest crystal’s size to one of the cartridges. Some customers recommend Fresh Step Crystal litter because it has a moisture-activated perfumed that is released when in contact with waste.
Other customers have used the Forever Tray with clumping cat litter, such as Fresh Step clumping litter or Arm & Hammer Natural clumping litter, requiring only scraping the bottom pan from the urine every 2 or 3 days.
To clean the Forever Tray once empty, make sure to hose it down and dry it off before using it again. If you don’t dry the permanent tray, the crystals will soak up the water and they will get ruined. Check a Forever Tray review to know more details about this alternative.
Using the ScoopFree with the Litter-Bagger System.
This is another alternative which consists of a wooden platform with a hole in it and a bag attached to it. So when the ScoopFree rakes the clumps, instead of going to the waste compartment, they fall into the bag located on the front side of the Litter-Bagger.
This system comes with its own permanent tray. When it is time to change the litter you can just scoop the wet litter through the hole into the bag and fill the tray with new litter. Grab the bagged waste and toss it.
ScoopFree Ultra is one of the best rake-type of automatic cat litter boxes. The unit isn’t as maintenance-free as it is stated, but checking it daily, clearing out the clumps every few days from the waste compartment, and redistributing the crystals is sufficient to enjoy a very reliable machine that will give you freedom from scooping the cat litter box. Some points to consider about the unit:
- The system will cost more than other rake-type brands and especially if you have more than one cat, but on the other hand, it is a convenient system to use with disposable trays. With one small or regular size cat and normal use, the cost of cartridges is approx. $30 by month.
- The cartridge lasts about 10 to 20 days with one cat but you still might need to scoop the waste trap from the tray every 3 or 5 days.
- The replacement of the trays can be stretched longer if you place the unit in a basement or away from the living area.
- If your budget is tight you can get around from buying the cartridges with the alternatives described by customers.
- The unit is not suitable for cats that eat by-products because they create soft and very abundant feces.
For all these reasons and Pros and Cons,
√ I recommend using the ScoopFree Ultra:
- With one cat (if you want only use cartridges)
- With small or regular size cats (the litter area is not very big)
- If you have the budget to replace the cartridges
- If you want to be able to adjust the delay cleaning cycle (the Original does not have this feature).
- If your cat is flexible to adapt to new systems or litters
- For two cats using the alternatives to cartridges described above (or using cartridges if you have a budget for that, approx. $75-85 mo.)
x I don’t recommend using the unit:
- For large cats
- With 2 or more cats using only cartridges (unless you have a good budget for your cats)
- If your budget is tight
- For small apartments or houses with poor air circulation and humidity
- In humid and hot climates
- For kittens under 6 months old
- For cats that urinate excessively or defecate soft feces.
- For cats that usually urinate against box litter’s walls
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