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- Ease of Cleaning – 10/10
- Odor Control – 10/10
- Appearance – 9.5/10
- Construction – 9/10
- Price – 7/10
Overall Score: 9.1/10
Here’s How You Get Started With The Litter-Robot
At around $500, the WiFi-enabled Litter-Robot III Connect could be the most expensive device you’ll ever buy for your cat. But is this rotating litter sifter worth the money?
After testing the Litter-Robot for over a year, we’re bringing you the details on how the Robot works and my personal experience using it with my two cats.
Let’s Start With Some Background On What The Litter-robot Is And How It Works
In 2000, Auto Pets produced the first Litter-Robot—an innovative globe-shaped, rotating litter box that automatically sifts your cat’s litter after each use.
The latest edition of the Litter-Robot, called the Litter-Robot III with Connect, is a WiFi-enabled device that allows you to control and monitor cleanings via a smartphone app. With its glowing blue night light, distinctive design, quiet performance, and smart home-ready functionalities, this looks like the litter box of the future.
Here’s How You Get Started With The Litter-Robot
The Litter-Robot arrives fully assembled and ready for use. You’ll just have to take the ridged rubber mat out of the globe and place it on the step, install a drawer liner, pour in the litter, then plug the Litter-Robot in.
It’s a big, noticeable installment in the home, measuring 30 x 25 x 27 inches and weighing 24 pounds. With its enormous footprint, the Litter-Robot may have a hard time fitting in your home.
Before you take the plunge, confirm that you have enough open floor space to fit this behemoth. The Litter-Robot does best when positioned away from walls and corners—cramped spaces could limit its rotation.
Which Kind Of Litter Works Best In The Litter-Robot?
Before we talk about the Robot’s automatic sifting performance, let’s backtrack a little bit and talk about cat litter. While some automatic litter boxes—think the PetSafe ScoopFree—demand that you use a single, specific type of cat litter or come with their custom litter, the Litter-Robot gives you a few more options.
The Litter-Robot works best with a hard-clumping litter, so whether you choose clay, clumping crystals, or a biodegradable product, you’ll want something that creates firm, cohesive clumps.
If you’re not sure which litter to choose, visit the Litter-Robot store to explore their selection of litter intended for use in the Litter-Robot.
When I first got the Litter-Robot, I used a fine-grained, lightweight clumping clay, which resulted in a sticky, messy situation. Later, I tried Fresh Step, Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance, and Dr. Elsey’s Ultra. All of these hard-clumping clay products worked well, creating firm clumps and allowing the Litter-Robot to do its job with minimal sticking.
I also tried the Litter-Robot with a couple of biodegradable litter products, including a grass-based litter and World’s Best Litter, which is made from corn. Both had a bit more sticking than I’d prefer, fusing a bit to the rubber liner.
Regardless of which type of cat litter you choose, pouring it comes with some challenges. Large, heavy bags won’t do well with the small opening and awkward angle of the Litter Robot’s entryway, necessitating the use of a scoop to transfer litter from bag to bed.
Here’s How The Litter-Robot Works
Cleaning cycles happen in one of two ways—automatically and manually. You can trigger a cleaning cycle by pressing the “cycle” button on the front of the Litter-Robot or wait for it to work automatically each time your cat uses the box.
The Litter-Robot is equipped with a sensor that detects the presence of a cat—provided that the feline weighs at least 5 lbs—when they enter the globe. Upon detecting a cat, the Litter-Robot initiates a waiting period of 3 to 15 minutes. This period gives the contents of the litter box time to firm up and dry. When that waiting interval is over, the Litter-Robot begins a cleaning cycle.
I found the Litter Robot’s sifting mechanism was consistent and effective. Because it allows the litter to fall through a grate naturally, the Robot avoids some of the jamming and clogging that plagues other self-cleaning boxes that use rakes and conveyors to separate clumps from loose litter.
As the globe rotates, the litter shifts and slides, eventually moving through a sifter. As it inverts, the rubber globe liner pops out, ensuring that all of the waste detaches from the bottom of the globe. Eventually, all of the clean litter is sequestered for later and dirty litter drops into a waste drawer under the globe. The Robot then rotates back to give you a flat bed of clean litter.
In my experience, this sifting system works exactly the way it should. The litter moves smoothly through the sifter with minimal sticking and no jamming. Compared to other automatic litter boxes like the PetSafe Simply Clean or the Litter Maid, it’s a smooth, effective, and consistent machine.
While the sifting mechanism works beautifully, the cat detection system wasn’t quite as consistent as I’d hoped it would be.
Sensor issues are common when using the Litter-Robot—many users say that the sensor was unable to detect their cats, even though they met the weight minimum and had placed the Robot in an appropriate location.
In my experience, the Litter-Robot only detected my larger cat, Wessie, when he went into the box. Wessie weighs between 12 and 14 lbs, so he’s well-above the lower weight limit. But when 7-lb Forest entered the box, the Robot failed to detect her presence about half of the time.
What Did The Cats Think?
Both Wessie and Forest were hesitant to use the Litter-Robot when it first arrived.
After months using the Litter-Robot, I found that my larger cat, Wessie, refused to use the Litter-Robot. I believe he was uncomfortable with the small internal size of the globe. Though it’s a massive unit that takes up a lot of space in the room, the inside of the Litter-Robot measures just 14 x 14 inches.
Forest, however, took to the Litter-Robot readily. I believe that the Litter-Robot appealed to both her size and personality. As a lightweight cat with a delicate frame, Forest fits well inside of the globe. Because it’s cleaned after every use, the Litter-Robot appeals to her love of cleanliness. It also suits Forest’s appreciation of cozy, confined spaces.
How Well Does The Litter-Robot Control Odors?
Once the litter is sifted, the waste is held in the waste drawer, which contains a trash bag—you can use either Litter Robot’s custom bags or your favorite 8-13 gallon trash bags—and a carbon filter, which helps to keep any odors from leaking. With one cat using the Litter-Robot, you’ll have to discard the contents of the waste drawer about once a week.
Whenever I pull out the waste drawer, I’m surprised by just how much stench is locked away in there. The smell is fully contained in the drawer until you open it up, meaning that the house feels fresh.
Between this effective containment system and the Litter Robot’s frequent cleaning cycles, it’s better at controlling odors than any traditional litter box and scoop.
Does The Litter-Robot Contain Scatter?
The Litter-Robot comes with a little mat that’s supposed to capture litter, but it’s pretty small and it doesn’t catch everything, especially if you have cats who dig a lot. If you want to prevent all of that scatter, you can put a mat in front of or underneath the Litter-Robot for additional protection.
It’s important to place the mat under the base of the Litter-Robot or in front of it. Placing a mat partially underneath the Litter-Robot could disrupt the sensor.
You’ll have to take everything apart and clean the Litter-Robot at least once every few months.
Even if you’re using the best low-stick litter, waste and litter will eventually accumulate on the Litter-Robot. At this point, you’ll have to take everything apart and clean the Litter-Robot. It’s recommended that you clean the Litter-Robot at least once every 3 months.
You’ll have to empty the litter, take the bag out of the waste drawer, unplug the base, take off the bonnet, and release the globe. Disassembling the Litter-Robot is more straightforward than you’d expect. Handling the separated parts is awkward, but not difficult.
Once the Litter-Robot is disassembled, you’ll either hose it down outdoors or wipe it with a paper towel, soap, and water. With disassembly, cleaning, drying, and reassembly time considered, the entire process takes about 20 minutes.
The Litter-Robot App
For an additional $50, you can upgrade to the WiFi-enabled Open Air III with Connect. The Litter-Robot app allows you to monitor the waste drawer and track your cat’s litter box usage. It gives you a daily, weekly, and monthly analysis of your cat’s litter box activity.
The Litter-Robot app also allows you to adjust all of your settings, like how long the Litter-Robot waits after use to start a cycle and whether or not you want to use the night light. You can set up a sleep mode, which prevents the Litter-Robot from cycling during an 8-hour period of your choice. It also allows you to manually start cleaning cycles remotely.
Because the Litter-Robot takes you out of the litter cleaning equation a bit, I think that the use monitoring functionality of the app is an important and valuable addition. It lets you monitor your cat’s bathroom activity, which is a very important insight into your cat’s health.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get much out of the app because Wessie wasn’t using it and it wasn’t detecting Forest. I could adjust my settings from the app and monitor the waste drawer, but I missed out on the usage tracking.
How Much Does The Litter-Robot Cost?
The base model Litter-Robot III costs $449 on the Litter-Robot site. If you want to opt for the Connect version, you’ll pay $499. If you want to cut back on your costs, you may be able to find a reconditioned unit in the Litter-Robot store. Financing is also available.
Overall, Is The Litter-Robot A Good Choice?
The Litter-Robot is among the most versatile and consistent automatic litter boxes you can buy. Its design gives you a lot of freedom in terms of which types of litter you can use and its sifting mechanism seems to work more reliably than that of virtually any other automatic litter box.
Because it’s such a strong hands-off solution, the Litter-Robot and its hefty price tag are worth it for people who want to spend less time cleaning the litter box and are willing to pay for it. This investment could save you hundreds of hours. And thanks to the Litter-Robot app, it’s one of the only automatic litter boxes that allows you to keep track of your cat’s litter box activity, meaning that you’re not losing touch with what’s happening in your cat’s bathroom.
It’s a good choice for people who are busy or overwhelmed and need something they can rely on to keep the litter box clean without their help. It can also be a good choice for people with mobility issues or disabilities. You’ll still have to take it apart and clean it every couple of months, but the hands-off operation can reduce the burden.
I even think it could be a good gift for someone who’s having a hard time taking care of their cats. The Litter-Robot could help someone keep their cats happy while they’re going through a rough patch and having a hard time keeping up.
That being said, the litter-robot isn’t right for everyone.
I wouldn’t recommend it for larger cats or those who will feel uncomfortable in a covered litter box. The sensor can be inconsistent and you may find yourself triggering manual cycles more often than you’d like.
If you’re interested in trying the Litter-Robot, remember that it comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee and an optional 3-year warranty. If you want to lower your upfront expense, you might consider financing, available through Affirm on the Litter-Robot site.
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