So, you’ve decided to bite the bullet and upgrade your cat’s traditional litter box for a high-tech, automatic version? Congratulations!
Self-cleaning litter boxes are proving to be a game-changer to cat owners around the globe. Once you switch to an automatic litter box, you can say goodbye to scooping dirty litter and enjoy a cleaner, fresher-smelling home. Your kitty will also reap the benefits of these devices by having a spotless bed of litter to do their business every time.
As you may have seen, there are many automatic litter box models on the market. However, what you might not know is that they operate in different ways and utilize different features. Which cleaning system is right for you will depend on what you need the most from your self-cleaning litter unit. This is because each method has its unique advantages.
Let’s learn the difference between the most common automatic litter box systems on the market right now.
Litter Type Systems
There are three cleaning methods that an automatic litter box may utilize. These are:
- Horizontal raking system
- Rotating system
- Flushable/Alternative system
With a raking system, a horizontally-positioned rake moves through the litter bed. The rake catches the clumps and transports them to the waste compartment below.
A rotating system similarly removes waste. This system consists of a globe that rotates on an axis to sift out all the litter’s clumps. Like the raking system, it deposits the waste in the drawer below afterward.
Flushable systems are unique compared to the other methods. They operate like a toilet, flushing the waste down the drain. Units using this method require special crystal litter granules. The system cleans the granules, flushes the debris away, and then dries the granules to reuse.
Which Self-Cleaning Litter Box System Should You Choose?
For Quiet Operation
If you live in a small apartment with limited space, you might have to keep your automatic litter box in the same room as where you sleep. If that’s the case, you’ll need a unit that operates quietly without waking you up. Choosing a quiet automatic litter box is also vital if your cat gets anxious easily. The loud operating noise can cause kitties to become fearful of their new toilet, and they may even avoid using it.
Raking systems such as the AutoEgg are the quietest type of automatic litter box. This is because a highly optimized motor powers the rake. Some rotating mechanisms can operate very loudly as the globe rattles and tumbles. Therefore, if you’re a light sleeper or have an anxious kitty, we’d suggest opting for a raking-style auto litter box.
For Faster Cleaning
Most automatic units let multiple cats share the litter box. However, if you have a few cats in your home, you’ll need a litter box that cleans quickly, ready for the next kitty. Rotating mechanisms have the fastest cleaning action and complete each cycle in just a few minutes. Many raking systems have quick cleaning cycles too, for example, the AutoEgg completes a full clean in 5 minutes.
If the speed of cleaning is an essential factor, flushable systems may not be the best option for you. Units that operate on this system can have up to 30-minute cleaning procedures. This is because the method is very different from the others and involves cleaning and drying the reusable crystal granules.
For Maximum Safety
One concern that many cat owners share when buying an electronic product for their fur babies is the level of safety. The good news is that as these high-tech litter boxes have been around for a while, all current models are safe for felines.
However, some models, like the AutoEgg, prioritize keeping your cat safe, which is apparent in their design. In general, raking systems are safer than rotating ones as they use a much gentler motion when cleaning.
Aside from this, the AutoEgg boasts a ‘cat-stuck prevention sensor’. This sensor can detect if your cat enters the box during a cleaning cycle. If this happens, the system immediately pauses the action and then waits until your cat has left the box before recommencing. The Aimicat also tackles safety well. They use a precise custom infrared sensor to pause operation as soon as it detects the presence of your kitty.
For The Lowest Maintenance
Like all high-tech products, an automatic litter box should save us time. If you’re looking for the model that requires the least from you day-to-day, you may find a flushable system to suit you best. This type of self-cleaning litter box can be easier to maintain as there is no waste compartment to empty, and you can reuse the litter for months. With rotating and raking systems, you’ll need to empty the waste drawer and replace the liner every week or so. You’ll also need to top up the litter once or twice a week too, depending on your cat’s litter box habits.
For Minimal Running Costs
While flushable units need less maintenance, they require the most disposable items, meaning higher running costs. With the CatGenie, you’ll need to buy and replace two different types of cartridges and occasionally replace the crystal granules, which all are pretty pricey.
Many rotating and raking litter boxes are compatible with standard clumping clay litter. Because this is a widely available, low-cost litter type, choosing an automatic litter box that uses clay litter helps keep costs low. This is not the case with all models. For example, the ScoopFree utilizes a raking mechanism but works with disposable crystal litter trays only. These trays require replacing every few weeks, so the costs quickly add up.
If you want to keep upkeep costs as low as possible, the AutoEgg has practically zero running costs. The only disposable item it uses is the waste drawer liners. Still, you can use any standard grocery or garbage bag.
Our Verdict: Which Type Of Automatic Litter Box Is The Best?
Considering these factors, we find horizontal raking systems to be the best option for most people. More specifically, the AutoEgg rates high in most areas. Its slow-motion raking and safety sensor make it perhaps the safest model on the market right now. Furthermore, it has minimal running costs, quiet operation, and five-minute cleaning cycles, making it an all-around winner. Check out the ChillX website to learn more.