Best litter box: Reviewed for 2021

Published: September 30, 2021


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Selecting a new litter box for your cat or kitten (or multiple cats) isn’t exactly a glamorous task, but it is certainly an important one. Litter boxes are essential for any cat owner and finding one that will meet your specific needs and preferences is important. Not that long ago, there weren’t that many different options to consider when shopping for a litter box, but now the style and design options abound.

We’ll help you zero in on the right litter box whether you’re looking for something that will help with odor control for small apartments, prefer a covered or high-sided litter box, have large cats that need a larger space to take care of their business, need a budget-friendly model, or want to splurge a bit with an automatic, self-cleaning litter box. Your messy cats will be no match for the litter boxes we have picked out below, so keep reading to discover our overall top recommendation as well as our other favorite options.

Verified Review: Our Hands On Experience

While planning this review, we purchased and tested a lot of different litter boxes. We wanted to see how sturdy each option was, how well it worked for our cats, and evaluate the overall design. We narrowed down our purchase to our top three choices to share with you. Here are a few other pros and cons we noted about each of our top picks:

  • PetFusion BetterBox: We really liked the non-stick coating and high-sided design of this litter box. These features worked together to reduce the mess our cats made and to make it easier to clean up the litter box. However, one of our elderly cats with some mobility issues seems to have trouble getting into and using this box without slipping due to the non-stick coating.
  • Petmate Booda Dome Clean Step Cat Litter Box: We found this litter box to be really effective at controlling odors. Between the air filter and the covered design, we were impressed with how little we smelled around it. We only wish it was a bit easier to clean, since the rounded, large shape can make dumping all the litter out more challenging.
  • PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box: There are a few things we really like about this litter box. First, we love that the unit can take care of nearly all the litter box cleaning for us, and that all we need to do is empty the waste tray. We also like the automatic raking button if you want to eliminate an odor coming from the box without waiting for the full 20 minutes to pass so it cycles automatically. We wish the crystal litter replacements were a bit more budget-friendly, though.

The Top Picks for the Best Litter Box: Ranked

PetFusion BetterBox Non-Stick Large Litter Box. Pet Safe Non-Stick Coating for Easier Cleaning & Superior Hygiene. Open Top Box Promotes Healthy Usage. Litter Pans Made of Stronger ABS Plastic
  • SUPERIOR at CLEANING CAT LITTER: (I) Non-stick coating reduces cat litter from sticking up to 70% in this cat litter box. (II) Better hygiene, less odor for cats and kittens.
  • VET RECOMMENDED FEATURES: (I) Open top litter pan to promote healthy usage (enclosed spaces might cause behavior issues). (II) High sided litter box walls to contain litter & leaks. (III) Low entry for older cats.
  • SMART DESIGN: (I) Spacious curves are inviting & make for easier scooping/cleaning of this large litter box. (II) For use with clumping cat litter, cat litter pellets, lightweight cat litter, and crystal cat litter such as Tidy Cats litter, Fresh Step cat litter, Worlds Best cat litter, and Dr. Eleseys cat litter. (III) Easy grip lip for all life stages.
  • LARGE SIZE & SAFETY: (I) 22.6 x 18.1 x 8.0 inches. (II) All materials for our cat litter box are tested using stringent international safety standards.

The PetFusion BetterBox is designed to make cleaning your cat’s litter box easier. It is designed with a non-stick coating which reduces how much cat litter sticks to the bottom or sides of the pan by as much as 70%. In addition to making the litter box easier to clean, this non-stick coating also means that your cats will have a cleaner litter box to use and that there will be fewer litter odors to deal with.

This is an open-top litter box, which is often the most recommended choice of vets. Cats will be able to look out around them as they take care of their business and won’t be fearful of ambush. Also, some cats have been known to cause trouble when in the privacy of an enclosed litter box.

You’ll love the functionality of this litter box’s design. It is a high-sided model that works to reduce the amount of litter that cats kick out. The edges of the box are also curved to make cleaning the box easier. Additionally, it is larger than many standard litter boxes, measuring 22.6 inches long, 18.1 inches wide, and 8 inches tall, to provide more space for your kitty to do their business and more easily accommodate large cats.

Choose from a single pack or a 2-pack, which is perfect for homes with multiple cats.

Click here to check out PetFusion BetterBox on amazon.com

Petmate Booda Dome Clean Step Cat Litter Box 3 Colors, Pearl White
  • Covered litter box with paw-cleaning steps and air filter
  • CONTAIN ODORS: This kitty litter pan features a charcoal filter for the dome that absorbs odors so it can be placed in any room of your home. Perfect for multicat homes & larger cat breeds.
  • PET CLEAN UP: Swiftly clean up after your dog or cat while at home or on walks with a variety of waste management products. From waste bags, rakes, pans, trainings pads to poop scoopers, litter boxes & litter, we've got you & your pet covered.
  • Petmate: For over 50 years, we at Petmate are passionate about our dogs, cats & furry friends in general. Starting with the very first dog kennel, we've produced plenty of products that pets will love.
  • JUST FOR PETS: Petmate makes a variety of pet products for dogs, cats, chickens & other small furry friends. Check out our brands such as Aspen Pet, Arm & Hammer, Booda, Chuckit, Jackson Galaxy & more

Keep odors contained with the Petmate Booda Dome Litter Box. In addition to being a covered litter box, this model also has a charcoal filter for even more odor absorption. Its covered and odor-controlling design make it a good fit for smaller spaces, such as apartments.

The litter box also features textured steps between the opening and the litter area. These steps not only separate the litter area for additional privacy for cats, but they also work to help clean a kitty’s paws and remove excess litter after they take care of their business. The litter area is designed to be spacious enough to accommodate large cats.

When it is time to clean the litter box, simply remove the dome for easy access to the litter area. This budget-friendly litter box is available in three different colors: pearl white, brushed nickel, and titanium.

Click here to check out Petmate Booda Dome Clean Step Cat Litter Box on amazon.com

PetSafe ScoopFree Original Taupe Uncovered Self Cleaning Cat Litter Box System - No More Scooping - Includes Automatic Cat Litter Box, Disposable Litter Tray, 4.5 lb Premium Blue Crystal Cat Litter
  • Automatically removes waste: No scooping, cleaning or refilling your cat's litter box for weeks
  • Unbeatable odor control: Crystal litter removes smell by absorbing urine and dehydrating solid waste
  • No more messy floors: Low-tracking crystals are 99% dust free and don’t stick to your cat’s paws
  • Leak protection: Disposable trays have plastic lining to help protect against leaking and keep your floors clean
  • Easy cleanup: Simply remove the tray and throw it away; Each tray includes a lid for quick disposal. For cats over 6 months old

Looking to splurge a little and make your life easier? Consider the PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box.

The unit will automatically scoop the box using the rake and place waste in the waste trap. The waste trap is covered to eliminate odors and hold waste until you’re ready to empty it out. This model also features safety sensors that prevent the rake from moving if your cat is using the litter box.

A low-tracking crystal litter is included with this model. The crystal litter works to absorb liquids and dry out solid waste.

Click here to check out PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box on amazon.com

The Different Types of Litter Boxes: Pros and Cons Compared

Litter boxes come in three main types: opened, covered, and self-cleaning. There are pros and cons to consider for each model.

Opened

Pros!Cons!
Easier for cats to turn around inCats can make more of a mess
You don’t need to deal with removing a cover to clean the litter boxLess odor control than covered boxes
Dogs can more easily access litter
Some cats prefer more privacy when going to the bathroom

Covered

Pros!Cons!
High sides and cover limit the amount of litter messy cats throw aroundSome cats may feel trapped and at risk of an ambush in a home with multiple pets
Greater odor control than open litter boxesIt may be difficult for larger cats to turn around in
Keeps cat waste out of sightThe odor in the litter box may be overpowering for a cat
A better option if you have dogs who may try to eat feces or urine
Gives cats privacy to go on their own

Self-Cleaning

Pros!Cons!
Automatic design that reduces the effort you need to exertMore expensive to purchase
Can clean litter dailyCleaning may sound too loud
Some cats may be afraid of the sound made by these litter boxes while cleaning

Last update on 2021-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best litter box: Reviewed for 2021 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the best cat litter box?

The best cat litter box will look different for each pet and pet owner. For example, people with one cat living in small apartments may need to search for a different style than individuals with multiple cats with more space for a litter box. Some cats may also prefer different designs than others when it comes to litter boxes, such as a covered design for more privacy.

Your priorities can also help in choosing the right litter box for your cat. Messy cats may do best with a high-sided or covered litter box that will keep them from throwing litter all over the place. Finally, consider your overall budget. Are you looking to splurge on your furry friend and get them an automatic, self-cleaning litter box, or are you looking for a more economically-priced option?

We chose the PetFusion BetterBox as the best litter box, but we also really liked the Petmate Booda Dome Clean Step Cat Litter Box and the PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box.

What is the best self-cleaning litter box?

Our favorite self-cleaning litter box is the PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box. We like that this model is very easy to use. We also found the special crystal litter that comes with it to be excellent at controlling dust and odors.

What is the best litter box for multiple cats?

Self-cleaning litter boxes, such as the PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box, are often a popular option for multiple cats. These models can help cat owners stay on top of keeping the litter box clean. If you don’t want an automatic litter box, consider choosing a larger box or multiple litter boxes if you have more than one cat.

Do cats prefer open or closed litter boxes?

Each cat’s preferences can vary. Some seem to prefer open litter boxes, while others like covered boxes better. You could try setting up one of each type to assess your kitty’s preferences.

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