You’ve likely come across the new, high-tech automatic litter boxes on the marketplace. Or, perhaps a friend has recently purchased one for their cat and you’re feeling a little green with envy.
A litter box that cleans itself seems like a fantastic idea and a useful product for any cat household. But, at first glance, they can come across as incredibly expensive. Because of this, it’s easy to push the idea of owning one aside without proper consideration for long-term benefits.
However, once you research what a self-cleaning litter box can do and break down the running costs, you may see that they offer better value for your money than you first realized. Of course, not all self-cleaning litter boxes are created equal. Price, as well as effectiveness, and efficiency varies between each model.
We’ve explored the market to break down the unit and maintenance costs of the four leading automatic litter boxes permeating the market right now. In our complete guide, you’ll discover which of these high-tech units give you the best bang for your buck.
Unit price: $399.99
The AutoEgg by ChillX utilizes a newer cleaning method consisting of a horizontal rake and zigzag tray. The rake moves through the tray in slow motion to thoroughly clean and removes all waste particles before transporting them into the waste drawer below. While the unit cost is relatively high, we found the running costs to be minimal over time.
The AutoEgg will work with any standard clumping clay litter. Therefore, you don’t have to purchase any special expensive litter. Instead, you can use a low-cost clay product from the grocery store. Like most automatic litter boxes, the litter efficiency of the AutoEgg is much better than if you were scooping manually. This means you will buy far less litter than before.
There are also no cartridges or filters needed with this model. The only disposable item you’ll need is a waste drawer liner. You can purchase 100% biodegradable liners directly from ChillX, or you can use any standard garbage or grocery bag.
Lastly, ChillX also sells refurbished units if you’re looking to save money. These reconditioned units are $50 cheaper than the brand new units but are just as high quality plus they ship out for free. All refurbished boxes are put through testing to verify they meet factory specifications prior to sale.
Unit price: $329.99
The Aimicat functions with a traditional style rotating globe and sensor system. As the globe rotates, it sifts through to separate the dirty litter into the large waste compartment below.
Like the AutoEgg, the Aimicat will work with clumping clay litter. Other cat litter types such as tofu and corn will also work as long as it has clumping abilities. You don’t need to use any specific bin liner for the waste compartment either; a trash bag will do just fine.
The Aimicat has extreme litter efficiency, saving you four times the cat litter amount when using a traditional litter box. The savings this will bring you shows the Aimicat is one of the best units for value for money.
The Aimicat uses carbon filters in the waste compartment. While this helps to eliminate odors, it is an additional cost for you. Depending on your cat, you’ll need to replace it every three months or so. For multiple cat households, you’ll most likely need to change it every one to two months instead. Luckily, they are reasonably low cost at $12 each.
Unit price: $399.99
The CatGenie A.I. works uniquely by functioning like a toilet. The system scoops and liquefies the solids to dispose of them down the laundry drain or toilet. While the price of the CatGenie is fair, the maintenance costs are much higher than other automatic litter boxes.
Firstly, the CatGenie will not work with standard cat litter. You will need washable granules specially made for this litter box. These granules are reusable and cleaned after every use. On average, a box will last single-cat households 5-6 months, so you should only need to purchase two packages each year. Homes with two cats will likely get through 3-4 boxes of granules per year. Of course, this does depend on your cat’s litter box habits.
As expected, this litter is much more costly than standard versions. Each box will set you back $23.99 but remember, this is an infrequent purchase compared to automatic litter boxes using clay litter.
Another upkeep cost is the cartridge needed for descaling maintenance cycles. This cycle breaks down any lime or other mineral deposits that might come from your water inside the unit. Each maintenance cartridge costs $19.99, and CatGenie recommends running a cycle twice a year
Lastly, the CatGenie will not run without a SaniSolution Cartridge, which costs $24.99 each. This concentrated cleaner is used each time the system runs a clean. Each cartridge will last an average of 240 cleaning cycles on cat activation mode or 120 cleaning cycles on manual or time activation mode. With your unit purchase, you will receive your first SaniSolution cartridge and one box of washable granules.
ScoopFree by Petsafe
Unit price: $139.95
The PetSafe ScoopFree self-cleaning tray operates in a similar way to the AutoEgg. It uses a cleaning rake to sift through the litter and remove waste. However, the ScoopFree box uses disposable crystal gel litter trays instead of traditional litter. This crystal litter absorbs urine and dehydrates solid waste.
While the ScoopFree is significantly cheaper than most other automatic litter boxes, the upkeep can get expensive as you’ll need to replace the litter trays frequently. A tray typically lasts 20-30 days for one cat or 10-15 days for two cats. Therefore, you’ll get through no less than 12 a year. A pack of three disposable trays costs $54.99, so this is something you should consider beforehand if opting for the ScoopFree.
Our verdict: Which automatic litter box is the best value for your money?
After reviewing the top four automatic litter boxes, we found the AutoEgg to offer the best value for money. Although the upfront cost is not the cheapest, you will never have to buy any special disposable items or replacements for it. Moreover, many cat owners already use clumping clay litter, so it’s likely that you won’t have to change the litter type. This is important as using familiar litter will help your cat adjust quickly to their new toilet and eliminate any litter box problems from arising.