(This article was originally published on March 12, 2019. It has been updated on 11/4/2020, 9/24/2021 and 5/10/2022.)
5/10/2022 Update: Read our latest review of the all-new Litter-Robot 4!
During the holiday season last year, I kept seeing people sharing links to a giveaway for a Litter-Robot, which is an automatic, self-cleaning litter box. I had never heard of the hi-tech contraption before, but as a cat mom to five poop-producing felines, my interest was piqued and I wanted to learn more.
Note that I purchased the Litter-Robots myself and simply want to share our experience with a product I feel many cat moms and dads would be interested in learning more about.
For those who don’t know what the Litter-Robot is, I’ll give a quick overview of its features and claims. Then I’ll discuss assembly, and most importantly, what the cats think of it. Note that I purchased the Litter-Robot 3 Connect model, which is what I’ll be discussing.
Litter-Robot 3 Connect
The Litter-Robot features include:
- Self-cleaning after each use.
- Uses a patented sifting system to deposit waste into a convenient drawer.
- Can be used with multiple cats.
- WiFi-enabled to connect to your smartphone (iOS and Android).
- Note: The Litter-Robot is for cats 5 pounds and over (the weight of the cat triggers the cleaning cycle).
The Litter-Robot claims to:
- Reduce odors.
- Use less litter.
- Reduce spills and tracking.
- Only needs emptying once a week per each cat. (1 cat, once a week; 2 cats, twice a week, etc.)
More on these claims later.
Assembly was pretty much as easy as taking it out of the box. For the most part, the unit arrives ready to go. All you have to do is plug it in, fill it with litter (any regular clumping litter will do), connect to your house’s WiFi and then connect to your phone.
The Litter-Robot comes with instructions on how to get your cats to use the unit. Again, more on that later.
A Hi-Tech Litter Box
What I love about the Litter-Robot (the “Connect” model specifically) is that it links up to your smartphone. Like many cat moms, I like to know everything – I mean everything – that my cats do.
Every time the Litter-Robot cycles (cleans), I’m notified. You’ll see in the screenshot below that the bottom notification says Cat Sensor Fault. What does that mean? Well, that means the unit was cycling to dump the waste, but some cat (Sophie!) climbed in while it was working. As a safety precaution, the unit stops cycling. Once it senses the cat has left, it begins the cleaning cycle again.
Another great feature is that the app on my phone shows me when the waste drawer needs emptying. I can also manage all of the Litter-Robot settings from my phone. But if there are WiFi issues or if I don’t have my phone handy, I can still manage all of the settings directly on the unit itself.
Because I have five cats and a two-story house, I purchased two Litter-Robots – and the app allows you to connect to multiple units and manage them independently.
Here are some of the settings you can control:
- Sleep Mode – If you have the unit near your bedroom, you can put it in sleep mode, which means it won’t cycle for an 8-hour period.
- Wait Time – Depending on the litter you use (again, any regular clumping litter should work), you can set how long the unit waits to clean. Options are 3, 7 and 15 minutes. LR recommends 7 minutes, and that’s what I have ours set to.
- Night Light – In low light areas or in the evening hours, the Litter-Robot can automatically turn on a night light inside the unit. I tried this setting for a while, but I didn’t end up using it.
- Power – If for some reason you want to turn off the LR, you can do so from the app.
All of the above can be controlled from either your phone or the unit itself. But available only on the phone, you can see a history of cleaning cycles or sensor faults. The app also shows insights to the unit’s use (how many cycles in a week, average cycles per day, etc.).
What Do the Cats Think?
Okay, all that technology is great and grand for me, the human. But what do the five cats of the household think?
Here’s the rundown…Sophie loves the Litter-Robot! I mean she loves it. Anytime she hears the cleaning cycle start, she runs over to it and watches it as if it’s an entertaining TV show. (Or, she’s wondering where her poop is disappearing to.) And yes, several times, Sophie has climbed in while it’s cycling to get a better view, triggering the Cat Sensor Fault mentioned above.
I won’t say that Olive loves it as much as Sophie, but she uses it regularly and with no problems. I’ve just never seen her hang around for a cleaning cycle. She’s not as easily entertained as Sophie.
Woodrow also uses the Litter-Robot with no issues. At 14 pounds, he’s our largest cat and is just fine with it.
Dexter…so, I’ve never actually seen Dexter use it. However, I have seen him climb in and give it a thorough sniff check. I think that if we didn’t have any other litter boxes in the house (more on that in a moment) then Dexter would use it.
Harley – the holdout! And he is why we still have regular litter boxes in the house…
Harley vs. the Litter-Robot
So, here’s how it went down with Harley. As the manual says, we didn’t plug it in after the initial setup (hooking up to WiFi, linking to my phone, etc.). The company says not to let the cats see the cleaning cycle until after the cats are using it consistently. They also give tips on getting your cat to use the new contraption (place Litter-Robot next to current box, let current box get dirty, place treats up to the LR opening, etc.).
As I mentioned earlier, I purchased two Litter-Robots – one for upstairs and one for downstairs. As instructed, I left the regular litter boxes in place for a couple of days and put the new units next to those boxes. The LR was used within the first day. But since we have 5 cats, I didn’t know which cats were using it yet (except Olive, I saw her use it almost immediately).
After a couple of days, I closed the door to one of the normal litter boxes, but I still had some in place. Things seemed okay. After a week, I finally took away the normal litter boxes. That’s when I realized Harley wasn’t using the LR. He peed on Ross’ shoes by the front door! I started the process over, but it was clear after a few weeks (and another pee incident) that Harley wouldn’t be using the Litter-Robot. Bummer!
How Many Litter Boxes?
Now, I know they say to have the same number of litter boxes as you have cats, plus one. So, with only two Litter-Robots in the house, was that the problem? I don’t think so.
I’ll be honest. I had half the number of suggested litter boxes prior to the LRs – I only had 3 regular litter boxes. I’d had more before, but the cats didn’t use them all, so I reduced it to three and it was never a problem for over a year. (Note that I work from home and can clean the litter boxes whenever I hear one being used.)
I think Harley’s issue was that he didn’t like using what some would consider a covered litter box. While the opening to the globe is pretty large, that’s the only thing I can think of. I had also purchased ramps to use with the Litter-Robots, but he didn’t use them either. Oh, Harley!
So, as the title says: We bought a Litter-Robot. Was it worth it? Yes and no. Read on to learn why.
First off, remember the claims I mentioned earlier? Let’s look at those now.
- Reduce odors. This one is hard to say since I still have regular litter boxes in the house. But I don’t see how they couldn’t help reduce odors.
- Use less litter. Definitely! I don’t have to re-fill the litter in the LRs as often as I do the regular boxes.
- Reduce spills and tracking. I think so. Spills – not really sure what they mean. I’ve never spilled a regular litter box (have you?). Tracking – I notice less litter outside the LR than a regular box.
- Only needs emptying about once a week per each cat. Again, hard to tell since I still have regular boxes. I empty the waste drawers on each LR about once every 5 days. Note that you can use any regular 13-gallon trash bag as a waste drawer liner.
Next, let’s recap what the cats thought:
Ratings by Cat
Sophie – YAY!!!
Olive – All paws up!
Woodrow – Approves!
Dexter – Eh…
Harley – Yeah, that’s a hard no.
Total: 3.5 paws out of 5
In my opinion, the Litter-Robot is awesome. It would be even more awesome and completely worth it if Harley would use it.
So, knowing that one of our cats will never use the Litter-Robot, will I return them? Nope! I am keeping them both. Overall, having the Litter-Robots has reduced my need to scoop, which was the main goal. And since I have the LR near the regular boxes, I actually put the waste from the regular boxes in the LR and then push Cycle on the unit. So, it also makes cleaning the regular boxes quicker, too.
One more thing to note. The unit is not super loud, but it’s not quiet either. I do use the Sleep Mode on the upstairs unit, which is in the room next to our bedroom. In the beginning, the noise did startle the cats, but they’re used to it now.
Thinking of Ordering a Litter-Robot?
The Litter-Robot company recommends 1 robot for every 3-4 cats. If you’re thinking about buying a Litter-Robot, they have a 90-day, full refund return policy. You just have to pay shipping back (note that the initial shipping to you is free). It also comes with an 18-month warranty. You have the option to purchase an extended warranty for an additional 18 months (totaling a 3-year warranty), which I purchased.
The Litter-Robot is not cheap and is currently $499.00 USD (increasing to $549.00 on September 27, 2021!). So before ordering, I fully researched it and recommend you do the same. I read a gazillion reviews and watched as many testimonial videos as I could find. The Litter-Robot currently has 4.5 out of 5 stars on their website (693 reviews). If you’re interested in ordering one, you can check out their how it works page as a starting place.
$25 Off Litter-Robot
(Added affiliate link 11/4/2020)
Due to the popularity of this review, Litter-Robot allowed me to provide $25.00 off for readers who use our affiliate link to purchase their Litter-Robot. (Thanks, Litter-Robot!) This is only good on new models, not reconditioned units. Here is the $25.00 off link: Shop the Litter-Robot 3 Connect at Litter-Robot.com!
The review itself remains unchanged from its original posting on March 12, 2019.
FTC Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. If you make a purchase using the affiliate link, Three Chatty Cats will earn a small commission. Three Chatty Cats is a humor blog dedicated to entertaining our readers, but we do post the occasional product review that we feel would be relevant to our readers. The Litter-Robot product review was written honestly and without Litter-Robot’s prior knowledge or review. Due to the popularity of the product review, Litter-Robot proactively sent us an affiliate link.
Any questions? Ask away and I’ll answer them in the comments!
P.S. Additional Photos!
Litter-Robot Control Buttons
With Ramp Accessory
Waste Drawer Location
Waste Drawer with Empty Liner
How Liner Attaches to Drawer
Carbon Filter in Front of Waste Drawer