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Cats bring love and light into our lives, but they also bring something else: litter. You may still have to buy it, lug it around, and pour it, but modern technology has made it possible to completely avoid the chore of scooping dirty litter.
We’re talking about automatic, self-cleaning litter boxes like the CatGenie and the Litter-Robot.
Both of these automatic litter boxes do the work of scooping for you. One of them even goes so far as to flush the waste right down the toilet! But all that convenience comes at a price.
You’ll spend upwards of $350 on either of these litter boxes, so we understand if you want to be absolutely sure it’s worth the investment. Here’s what you need to know about the CatGenie and the Litter-Robot to decide if one of these automatic litter boxes is right for you and, if so, which one.
Head to Head Comparison
|Number of Reviews
Reviews averaged and content pulled from company websites as well as third-party e-commerce sites
|Made in the USA
You should know where your pet appliances are made
|Designed & assembled in the USA (factory in Juneau, Alaska)||Made in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania|
|Years in Business
Is the product manufactured by a longstanding, successful company?
Your investment should be backed by a full-service warranty
|18-month full-coverage warranty; extended 3-year warranty available||2-year limited warranty|
Buy with confidence knowing you can get a refund if unsatisfied
|90-day in-home trial + money-back guarantee (must pay return shipping)||90-day money-back guarantee (Outgoing shipping costs are non-refundable)|
Can you “buy now, pay later” with stress-free financing plans?
|3-, 6-, &12-month plans available with Affirm||None|
Smart pet appliances can be remotely monitored and controlled through the app
|The first self-cleaning litter box with WiFi capabilities; get notifications and monitor litter box habits with the Whisker app||CatGenie A.I provides easy-to-setup WiFi connection. You can start your CatGenie A.I. right from the App|
What makes this pet appliance self-cleaning?
|Original patented gravity-driven litter-sifting technology||Self-Flushing|
The appliance should be designed with both pets and pet parents in mind
|Orbital design with large entry||Covered & Uncovered design|
Background On The Litter-Robot III Connect
- Ease of Cleaning – 10/10
- Odor Control – 10/10
- Appearance – 9.5/10
- Construction – 9/10
- Price – 7/10
Overall Score: 9.1/10
The Litter-Robot III Connect is an automatic, self-cleaning, WiFi-enabled litter box from Litter-Robot by Whisker. Originally released by Auto Pets in 2000, the Litter-Robot has gone through several upgrades with the Litter-Robot III being the most advanced version yet.
Mallory Crusta, our Head of Content, tested the Litter-Robot III in mid-2020 and I tested it myself earlier that year. Check out Mallory’s in-depth video review of the Litter-Robot III on our YouTube channel.
The Litter-Robot III is a large, globe-shaped litter box that has a total footprint of about 30x25x27 inches. The main body of the litter box is a round chamber your cat enters through an oval-shaped entryway in the center.
When your cat enters the litter box, a weight sensor automatically detects its presence. After he leaves, the litter box waits for a predetermined amount of time before starting the clean cycle. The globe rotates, sifting clean litter into a storage compartment while clumps and waste are deposited in a discrete waste compartment.
In addition to doing the work of scooping the litter box for you, the Litter-Robot III helps reduce litter box odor and enables you to remotely monitor your cat’s litter box habits.
Background On The CatGenie Self-flushing, Self-Washing Cat Box
- Ease of Cleaning – 8/10
- Odor Control – 8/10
- Appearance – 7/10
- Construction – 8/10
- Price – 8/10
Overall Score: 8.2/10
The CatGenie Self-Flushing, Self-Washing Cat Box is a comprehensive litter box solution. The first CatGenie was released in 2007 but it has gone through several upgrades over the years since then. Today, the CatGenie is the world’s only cat box that cleans like an appliance and flushes like a toilet.
Mallory Crusta, our Head of Content, tested the older model of the CatGenie Self-Flushing, Self-Washing Cat Box in the fall of 2020. Check out Mallory’s in-depth video review of the CatGenie on our YouTube channel.
The CatGenie is a large, round litter box designed for use in a laundry room or bathroom. It connects directly to a cold water line and a standard GFCI outlet and is something similar to a cross between a washing machine and a toilet.
The litter basin is filled with CatGenie Washable Granules and the litter box housing contains a cartridge of SaniSolution. After your cat uses the litter box, you can manually start the cleaning cycle or set the unit to Cat Activation Mode. First, the CatGenie scoops solid waste and deposits it into a hopper where it is macerated by an impeller. From there, the bowl fills with water and SaniSolution to clean the Washable Granules before flushing the SaniSolution and macerated waste.
The selling point of the CatGenie Self-Flushing, Self-Washing Cat Box is that saves you from scooping AND frees you from the constraints of traditional cat litter.
Now, Let’s Take A Look At How The CatGenie Compares With The Litter-Robot III
The primary benefit of these two automatic litter boxes is the same: no more scooping. There are significant differences, however, when it comes to how they accomplish these goals. Each litter box also has unique benefits to offer that might impact your final decision.
To compare and contrast these two litter boxes, we’ll take a closer look at the following categories:
Let’s dive into the details in each of these categories.
1. Size And Setup
Neither the CatGenie nor the Litter-Robot is small. Either will take up a significant amount of space in your home, so you’ll need to think carefully about placement.
The Litter-Robot weighs 24 pounds and measures about 30x25x27 inches. The CatGenie is a little smaller, measuring about 19.25×24.5×21 inches but it has to be placed in a laundry room or bathroom.
The Litter-Robot arrives in a large box fully assembled. All you have to do is place the rubber litter mat on the step, add a waste drawer liner, and fill the globe with litter before plugging it in. The CatGenie, on the other hand, requires a bit more planning and assembly.
Not only do you need to make sure you have space for the CatGenie close enough to a water line, but you’ll have to spend some time with the installment. The CatGenie comes with the adapters you’ll need to attach the hose to your water line and to direct the waste line into a toilet or washing machine.
If your home’s water hookup is non-standard or if you have a rigid water line, you may need to make some adjustments before you can complete installation.
CatGenie suggests it takes an average of 15 minutes to set up the unit. As long as you don’t have to make any major adjustments, that estimate should be accurate. Still, setting up the Litter-Robot should take only a minute or two after you get it out of the box.
Size And Setup Winner: Litter-Robot
2. Operation And Performance
When it comes to how these automatic litter boxes work, there are some significant differences. The Litter-Robot is essentially an automatic sifting litter box while the CatGenie has a self-scooping function.
The Litter-Robot III consists of a large globe set on an elevated base that contains the device’s hardware. You pour several inches of clumping clay litter into the globe and the device rotates to sift it, separating the clumps from the clean litter. Those clumps are then deposited in a waste compartment that you’ll need to empty when it becomes full.
The CatGenie is a self-flushing, self-washing litter box that collects waste and combines it with water and SaniSolution so it can be flushed down the toilet or drain. Rather than using traditional litter, the CatGenie uses Washable Granules which can be cleaned and reused time and again. The granules are very small and fine, so they look and feel like clay litter, but they are biodegradable and septic-safe.
Once the cleaning cycle is initiated, the CatGenie has a scoop that descends into the litter tray and collects solid waste. The waste is deposited into a compartment where it is macerated and then mixed with water and SaniSolution before being flushed away. Hot air then blows from the side of the bowl to dry out the Washable Granules, readying them for the next use.
Both the Litter-Robot and CatGenie automate the process of cleaning the litter box, but the process takes much longer for one of them.
The Litter-Robot detects your cat’s presence in the litter bed then initiates a waiting period of 3 to 15 minutes before starting the cleaning cycle. You can also press a button on the unit (or on the Connect app) to manually start the cycle. The cleaning cycle itself lasts less than 3 minutes.
The CatGenie can be set to detect your cat’s presence in Cat Activation Mode, or you can keep it in Manual Mode. Cat Activation Mode may work for a single-cat household, but because the cleaning cycle itself lasts for 30 to 40 minutes, it may put the litter box out of commission for most of the day if you have more than one cat using it.
This brings us to the question of how well either of these litter boxes actually works.
In testing the Litter-Robot, both Mallory and I found that it worked very consistently. The unit initiated the cleaning cycle automatically and it worked smoothly with no jamming. That being said, the efficacy of the unit depended to some degree on the type of litter.
The Litter-Robot works best with hard-clumping clay litter, and it may help to select a longer waiting period to give the litter time to dry and firm up. You should expect some small bits of dirty litter to be left behind, but they’ll just end up back in the litter bed.
The CatGenie has a similar problem with pieces of waste being left behind. The real problem, however, is that softer waste can get stuck in the tines of the scoop. Any waste that’s left over after the scooping phase will be washed and dried along with the granules.
Again, delaying the cleaning phase may give the waste time to dry and solidify to prevent this from happening.
Operation And Performance Winner: Litter-Robot
3. Odor Control And Tracking
While scooping is the main concern for many cat owners, it’s important to consider odor control and litter tracking as well.
The Litter-Robot is a covered litter box, so it works very well for controlling odor. It also has a carbon filter which, combined with the separate waste drawer, helps keep odors from leaking out. Tracking, however, is another thing entirely.
The Litter-Robot comes with a rubber mat to place in the step, but it’s pretty small. The litter bed itself is fairly small as well, so if you have a cat who likes to dig, he could end up scattering litter outside the unit. Placing a litter mat on the ground under the Litter-Robot may help.
Odor control is somewhat limited with the CatGenie and may depend on the cleaning cycle it’s in.
Between cycles, the CatGenie doesn’t do anything to reduce feces or urine odor. If the unit misses pieces of feces during the scooping cycle, it could stick around for the washing and drying process. When the hot air kicks in, it could create a smelly situation. Once the cleaning cycle is completed, however, there should be no noticeable odor.
In terms of litter tracking and scatter, the CatGenie is little different from any other litter box. The Washable Granules are small and fine which makes them highly trackable and the litter box itself doesn’t do much to prevent scatter.
Odor Control And Tracking Winner: Litter-Robot
Though the CatGenie may be less effective at controlling odors than the Litter-Robot, it really shines in the maintenance department.
It’s a self-sufficient unit that does everything for you. The most you’ll have to do is occasionally clean out the hopper, top off the Washable Granules, and pop in a new SaniSolution cartridge. You also have the option to do a little manual scooping just to keep things tidy between cycles or if the scoop leaves small pieces behind.
The Litter-Robot does the work of scooping the litter box for you, but you’ll still have to empty the waste compartment and refill the litter bed. How often you have to do these chores will depend on how many cats you have and whether the Litter-Robot is the only litter box in use.
Maintenance Winner: A Tie
5. Overall Impressions
Generally speaking, there’s a lot to love about both the CatGenie and the Litter-Robot. Both can save you a lot of time and hassle when it comes to cleaning the litter box.
Whether you choose the CatGenie or the Litter-Robot, you should be prepared to make a significant financial investment and be ready for the unit to take up a lot of space in your home. The CatGenie Self-Flushing, Self-Washing Cat Box is a completely self-reliant unit that may require a bit more setup, but maintenance is negligible. Conversely, the Litter-Robot takes only a minute or two to set up but you’ll still have to empty the waste drawer and refill the litter bed on occasion.
If odor control is a concern, the Litter-Robot is much more effective in this area. Neither is completely effective against tracking and litter scatter, but that’s not really what they’re designed to do.
Before wrapping things up, there’s one more aspect we want to cover.
The Litter-Robot II Connect is a WiFi-enabled litter box designed to be used with the Litter-Robot Connect app. The app enables you to track your cat’s litter box usage, check the waste compartment level, set cleaning schedules, and manually initiate a cleaning mode.
The CatGenie model Mallory tested was the CatGenie 120 which is not a smart device, but CatGenie has since released the CatGenie A.I. It’s priced nearly $100 higher, but it is paired with the CatGenie App which enables you to track usage, set cleaning schedules, and even order supplies.
Another final detail worth mentioning is that both the CatGenie and the Litter-Robot come with a 90-day in-home trial. The Litter-Robot comes with an 18-month warranty which you can extend to three years for $50 and the CatGenie has a 2-year limited warranty.
How Do They Compare In Cost?
Automatic litter boxes can save you a lot of time, but they do tend to be more expensive than the standard litter tray – significantly more expensive.
For the most part, you can expect to spend upwards of $350 on a fully automatic litter box. The CatGenie 120 costs $359, putting it at a similar price point to the Petree Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box and the Chillx AutoEgg. If you want the latest model, however, you’ll pay about $439 for the CatGenie A.I. which pairs with the CatGenie App.
The Litter-Robot III is over $100 more expensive than the CatGenie, priced at $549. Litter-Robot does sell reconditioned models on their website at a discount, but availability is inconsistent.
One thing to keep in mind when comparing costs for these two litter boxes is the cost of maintenance.
The Litter-Robot III can be used with any hard-clumping clay litter and the only other supplies you’ll need to purchase are liners for the waste compartment. The CatGenie uses Washable Granules and SaniSolution cartridges.
With an average of 3 cycles per day, a box of Washable Granules ($24) and a single SaniSolution cartridge ($25) could last up to 80 days.
Generally speaking, the CatGenie is probably going to be more expensive to maintain than the Litter-Robot, but the tradeoff is never having to manually dispose of waste and dirty litter.
Which Option Is Right For You?
Having thoroughly tested both the CatGenie Self-Flushing, Self-Washing Cat Box and the Litter-Robot III Connect, we happily recommend Litter-Robot III Connect as the clear winner in 3 out of our 4 testing criteria.
That being said, there are certain cases in which one option might be more appropriate than the other.
The CatGenie A.I. Might Be Right For You If…
- You want to complete avoid handling waste and dirty cat litter.
- You have plenty of space in your laundry room or bathroom to connect the unit to a water line and drain or toilet.
- You’re not interested in “smart” technology or mobile app connectivity (see the CatGenie 120).
- Your cat prefers the freedom of an open-style litter pan versus a covered litter box.
- You’re not ready to make an investment over $400 (the CatGenie 120 is priced at $359).
- You have a single cat or plan to create a custom cleaning schedule using the CatGenie A.I.
The Litter-Robot III Connect Might Be Right For You If…
- You want the freedom to choose your own cat litter.
- You’re interested in mobile app connectivity to monitor litter box usage and to get notifications when the waste drawer is full.
- You have a small cat or kitten who doesn’t mind covered litter boxes.
- You want to avoid scooping litter but don’t mind disposing of it from time to time.
- You’re ready to make a significant investment over $500.
- You have plenty of floor space and want the freedom of choosing the location.
In the end, an automatic litter box is a major investment, but it has the potential to save you a lot of time and hassle. If you’re going to invest in one of these two litter boxes, check out our in-depth video and written reviews to determine which one is best for you.
Not sure you’re ready to spend hundreds of dollars on a self-cleaning litter box? A sifting litter box might be more your speed. They’re an economical option that saves you time on scooping.