Looking For An Alternative To The Litter-Robot? Here’s What You Should Know
Your cat might be high-maintenance but these automatic litter boxes aren’t.
If you have a cat, switching to an automatic litter box can be life-changing. The Litter-Robot — a trademark of Whisker — is one popular option that has come to be seen by many cat owners as the gold standard, thanks to its automatic sifter that eliminates the need to scoop every day and its sealed waste drawer that seriously cuts down on odor. That being said, if you’re looking for an alternative to Whisker’s Litter-Robot because you need something at a lower price point or want slightly different functionality, there are other automatic models on the market. Here, I’ll break down everything you should consider when shopping for an alternative — as well as a few notable picks — but first, it’s helpful to know more about what makes the Litter-Robot such a fan favorite.
What To Know About Whisker’s Litter-Robot
Whisker’s line of Litter-Robots includes several core models that range in price from around $499 to $699. The brand also offers lots of convenient add-ons (available separately or as part of a bundle), like a sturdy ramp for small or elderly cats that need a little boost, a waterproof mat to help keep stray litter off your floors, and even a stylish credenza designed to keep your Litter-Robot a bit more concealed.
The most inexpensive model from the brand is also its most popular: the Litter-Robot 3. It’s ideal for cats that weigh 5 pounds or more (with no maximum weight limit), and it works with with any clumping litter. Some of the more premium Litter-Robot models are compatible with the Whisker app, which lets you monitor your cat’s activity and get alerts via your smartphone.
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly alternative to the Litter-Robot, it’s worth noting that you’ll have to sacrifice a lot of functionality (for instance, the rotating sifter that moves waste into a drawer to keep odors contained and the brand’s signature OdorTrap Pods that use plant-based oils to further keep your space smelling fresh). Also, some alternatives are only compatible with specific litter types.
But to give you a better idea of what other options are out there (and how they differ from the Litter-Robot), here’s what to consider.
What To Consider When Shopping For An Automatic Litter Box
The globe-shaped Litter-Robot has a rotating mechanism that filters out dirty litter and deposits waste in a fully sealed drawer. This ensures that your feline’s litter box remains relatively clean after every use, even when you’re not home. This type of technology is reliable and effective, and there are other automatic litter boxes that use it, but it does often come at a higher price point.
If you’re looking for something that’s easier on the wallet, you can opt for an automatic litter box that removes cat waste by pushing or lifting it into the waste compartment with a motion-sensor rake. Typically, these models are shaped like traditional litter boxes (which may be easier for some cats to enter), but they’re sometimes unable to get rid of feces that may be stuck on the bottom or sides of the box. Regardless of your choice, keep in mind that you’ll still have to empty the waste receptacle once it fills up. If you have one cat, the options below will need to be empties anywhere from about once every six days to once a month (and more frequently if you have multiple cats).
Most automatic cat litter boxes are activated by either motion sensors or weight sensors (the Litter-Robot uses both). These two technologies both work well, but it’s important to note that weight sensors generally have limitations. If you have a kitten or very large cat, be sure to check weight requirements for compatibility. The Litter-Robot doesn’t have a maximum weight, but it does have a minimum weight of 3 to 5 pounds (depending on the model). For kittens that weigh less than this, the brand says you can still use a Litter-Robot but recommends keeping it on “semi-automatic” mode, which means you can’t take advantage of the full functionality until your kitty gains a little more weight. If that’s a deal-breaker for you, the alternatives below all have lower minimum weights (including one option with no minimum).
The best odor-control litter boxes are equipped with features such as built-in charcoal filters to ensure your home continues smelling fresh — even after your cat has done their business. The Litter-Robot works with the brand’s optional OdorTrap pods that help neutralize smells using a blend of plant-based oils. For a different take on odor control, some high-tech alternatives on this list make use of UV sterilization to help neutralize unwanted smells and eliminate germs.
Supported Litter Types
The Litter-Robot is compatible with all clumping litters, but some alternatives have more limited compatibility (for example, one option on this list must be paired with the brand’s crystal litter trays for optimal results). That means you may want to keep your litter preferences in mind as you shop.
A huge perk of investing in a self-cleaning litter box is the peace of mind that comes with its hands-off design. The more premium Litter-Robot models work with a companion app that lets you adjust settings on your phone as well as receive alerts when the waste drawer is full. You’ll also get wellness insights like updates on your kitty’s weight and how often they’re using the box — helpful if you’re concerned about common feline health issues like urinary tract infections. There are some other automatic litter boxes that support smart technology, so you can still access these insights and adjust settings from your phone.
Keep in mind, though, the Litter-Robot is not smart assistant-compatible, so if you want to utilize voice commands, you’ll need to use a platform like IFTTT to connect. If you want more seamless integration with your Alexa or Google Home, there’s a pick on this list that has smart assistant compatibility built right in.
All things considered, you may end up finding that the Litter-Robot really is the best option for your needs and budget. To help you make a decision, here are some other automatic litter boxes that may be worth considering, depending on which factors are most important to you.
1. A Smart Litter Box For Cats From 1 To 20 Pounds
- UV sterilization helps keep odor under control
- Nonslip step for easy access
- Sleek, modern design and multiple color options
- Smart assistant-compatible
- Must be placed on a hard, flat surface for weight sensors to work
- Only compatible with clay litter
- More expensive than some other automatic litter boxes
Leo’s Loo Too boasts the most similar features to the Litter-Robot, albeit with a few minor differences. Like with the Litter-Robot, the rotating sifter keeps the litter inside fresh, depositing waste inside a lined and lidded drawer equipped with a charcoal filter for odor control. Reviewers reported having to dump waste from the compartment about every six days on average. An accompanying mobile app lets you adjust settings, monitor your pet’s weight, and track your kitty’s bathroom trips — helpful if you need to keep close tabs on your pet’s wellness. Another nice-to-have feature? An ambient LED night light and anti-pinch technology that helps ensure your kitty won’t get caught in the door.
As far as differences go, Leo’s Loo Too has a UV sterilization function (controllable via the mobile app) that may help enhance odor and germ control. You can also seamlessly pair Leo’s Loo Too with your Alexa or Google Assistant (a feature you’ll need to use IFTTT for if you opt for the Litter-Robot). Leo’s Loo Too also comes in a handful of appealing two-tone shades that boast a sleek, modern aesthetic, which some people may prefer. However, it’s only compatible with clay litter.
Suitable for cats from 1 to 20 pounds, this pick has a cleaning mechanism that’s activated by weight sensors that are highly sensitive; for that reason, Leo’s Loo Too must be placed directly on a hard, flat surface (not carpet) to avoid unnecessarily triggering the cleaning cycle. The unit is relatively spacious, with one reviewer noting their full-grown Maine Coon can use it. It has a nonslip step in the front for easy access, but note that it may be difficult for your feline to enter if they have mobility challenges. While this model may be pricier than the other options on this list, the smart technology, UV sterilization, and chic aesthetics make it a worthy pick.
According to a reviewer: “Leo’s Loo Too is worth every penny!!! No more scooping, no more mess (I bought the mat from Smarty Pear too!) and no smell! The bags hold a lot of waste. 7 cats using it and still keeps going for a week! The app is great, easy to use. [...] This is a must have for any cat owner… takes the one nasty part of owning a cat out of the equation and the cats like it too!”
Dimensions: 24 x 22 inches x 27.5 inches | Compatible litter type: Clay | Time between waste drawer disposals: About every 6 days for one cat | Smart assistant-enabled? Yes | Weight limit: 1 to 20 pounds | Available colors: 4
2. A Budget-Friendly Automatic Litter Box
- Wallet-friendly price
- Hooded, non-hooded, and top-entry options available
- Offers the longest time between waste compartment change-outs
- No mobile app or smart assistant technology
- Only compatible with PetSafe crystal litter trays
- Only available in one color
The PetSafe ScoopFree self-cleaning litter box is the least-similar alternative to the Litter-Robot in terms of appearance and design, but it still gets the job done — at a budget-friendly price, too. Available in hooded, non-hooded, and top-entry designs, the rectangular box is equipped with a motion-activated rake that pushes waste down into the trap. You only need to remove and dump it once a month for one cat, making this the most low-maintenance option on the list. And — since the tray can hold so much — it’s arguably the best self-cleaning litter box for multiple cats. To boot, it bears the most resemblance to a traditional litter box, which may be appealing to felines who are resistant to change, and it’s also an accessible option for kitties with mobility challenges. Just bear in mind, the rake design may be a little less thorough than a 360-degree rotating sifter when it comes to capturing every last bit.
While this litter box doesn’t work with a mobile app, it has a set of no-frills manual buttons and an LCD screen that allow you to track how many times your cat has used it. Also, changing the litter couldn’t be simpler — just remove the disposable tray and replace it with a fresh one. Just note that this system is only compatible with PetSafe’s disposable crystal litter trays, which is designed to absorb liquid waste and dehydrate solid waste to cut down on any unpleasant smells. The trays are available in several options: original scented, lavender, or unscented versions.
While there’s no weight limit for this box, keep in mind that the actual litter surface area is 14 square inches, which may be too small for some felines. That being said, many reviewers reported that their large Maine Coons and Ragdolls can use it with ease.
For those who want a self-cleaning litter box at a low price — and don’t mind sacrificing some bells and whistles — this is a great pick.
According to a reviewer: “These inserts are great. Easy to use and you don't have to dig around with a scoop in the cat pot any more. Crystals eliminate almost all the odor doing a much better job than clumping litter and other litters on the market. Easily disposed of. I have a big cat who eats a lot and only have to change the refill tray once a month. Saves a lot of time and TROUBLE! One of the best animal product investments I have ever made!”
Dimensions: 20.4 x 7.1 x 28 inches | Compatible litter type: PetSafe Scoop-Free Crystal Litter Trays | Time between waste drawer disposals: About once a month for one cat | Smart assistant-enabled? No | Weight limit: None | Available colors: 1 (gray)
3. An Automatic Litter Box For Large Cats
- 28-pound weight limit makes it suitable for larger breeds
- Front step offers access easy while also catching litter before it reaches the floor
- UV sterilization helps eliminate odors
- Additional safety features help keep your cat out while it’s operating
- Not smart assistant-compatible
- Only compatible with clumping litter
- More expensive than some other automatic litter boxes
This pick from Hillpig is suitable for cats up to 28 pounds, which covers most of the feline population, making this one of the best litter boxes for large-breed cats. Like with the Litter-Robot, the globe-shaped unit has a built-in LED light, but instead of a sifter, this model uses an intelligent raking system to lift waste and deposit it into the trash bin, which needs to be emptied approximately every 15 days. It’s also built with a front door that automatically closes as the unit cleans itself — a safety feature unique to this pick that keeps curious cats from trying to poke their heads inside while it’s in operation. Speaking of safety, there’s a motion sensor and emergency braking system that pauses operation if it detects activity inside or near the box.
The box is built with a large front step that enhances accessibility for small cats, older cats, or those with joint issues, and it also conveniently catches excess litter that falls off your feline’s paws, helping to keep floors clean.
The manual buttons and accompanying mobile app make it easy to adjust the settings and track usage frequency, but you can’t pair it with your smart home assistant for voice control. While there’s no charcoal filter, UV sterilization helps eradicate germs and neutralize bad smells inside the box — and reviewers have raved that it really works.
According to a reviewer: “Great investment- virtually works straight out of the box! Simple effective design even for our larger cat. Does a great job cleaning the litter- even the large ones that used to stick to our other box’s bottom!!! It’s very quiet- not an eye sore to look at and the cats took to it right away! Read lots of reviews before deciding on this one and so far I couldn’t be happier with the purchase!”
Dimensions: 27.5 x 23.6 x 19.7 inches | Compatible litter type: Clumping clay or plant-based | Time between waste drawer disposals: About 15 days for one cat | Smart assistant-enabled? No | Weight limit: 3.5 to 28 pounds | Available colors: 2 (gray, white)
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