We bought a Litter-Robot. Was it worth it?

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.

This is not a sponsored post, nor does it contain affiliate links. I 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.

Litter-Robot 3 Connect

Litter-Robot Assembly

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.

white cat in front of Litter-Robot 3 Connect
“Looks ready to go, Mama. Should I give it a test drive?”

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.

Litter-Robot notifications on smartphone

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?

white cat investigates Litter-Robot 3 Connect
“It looks like a spaceship, Mama. A poop-collecting spaceship!”

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.

tabby cat using Litter-Robot 3 Connect
“Really, Ma? REALLY?!? A little privacy, please.”

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!

cute Siamese cat with blue eyes
“No touchy my litter box, Mama!”

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!

The Verdict?

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.
white cat climbs into Litter-Robot 3 Connect
“Hey, where’d my deposits go?”

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?

Remember, this is not a sponsored post and there are no affiliate links. I’m simply sharing information I think would be of value to cat owners.

The Litter-Robot company recommends 1 robot for every 3-4 cats. I emailed them before ordering to ask about a discount for multiple units. They offered 15% off 3 units and 10% off 2 units. I ordered 2 units and was pleasantly surprised when the 10% discount also applied to the accessory kits I ordered (ramp, waste drawer liners, 3 extra carbon filters, fence guard). I assume they would offer the discounts to anyone who proactively reaches out to them, but who knows.

The customer service team, who I emailed back and forth with several times, was very responsive and helpful each time. I also spoke with them on the phone one time before ordering. All of my interactions with them were pleasant.

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. 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.

Any questions? Ask away and I’ll answer them in the comments!

white cat stretches outside of Litter-Robot 3 Connect
“Litter-Robot, conquered!”

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P.S. Additional Photos!

Litter-Robot Control Buttons

Litter-Robot Control Buttons

With Ramp Accessory

Litter-Robot Ramp

Waste Drawer Location

Litter-Robot Drawer

Waste Drawer with Empty Liner

Litter-Robot Waste Drawer

How Liner Attaches to Drawer

Litter-Robot Waste Liner

Carbon Filter in Front of Waste Drawer

Litter-Robot Filter

58 thoughts on “We bought a Litter-Robot. Was it worth it?

    1. Haha! Harley used to be afraid of the terrible vacoom monster, but he’s gotten better about that. Perhaps there’s still hope for the litter eating robot!!

  1. I really love the look of these and really want to order one but I had an automatic litter tray that came free with Your Cat magazine subscription and both cats were terrified of it, so I’m not sure if they will use it or not and I don’t want to buy one for it to just be abandoned in the shed like the current one!

    1. We tried another automatic litter tray before and didn’t keep it. But this one’s a keeper (for us anyway). I doubt shipping is free to the UK, so it would definitely be a bigger decision for you.

  2. When I first saw it I thought no cat would venture in there. I should have guessed Sophie would be the first to check it out. It seems the ideal solution for indoor cats.
    Even though I had 4 ordinary litter boxes for Eric and Flynn they always preferred to use the greenhouse which I ended up scooping daily.

    1. Haha, yes, Sophie loves to explore everything! As you can see from the photos at the end, she was even checking out the drawer and ramp. We’ve had them set up for 2+ months and those photos were from yesterday. Any action in her area and she has to be there!

    1. Well if you’re tempted enough, they do have that 90-day full refund option. Honestly, that’s why I gave it a go, knowing that I could return it. I’d just be out the shipping back. I’m technically still in the 90-day mark, but I’m definitely keeping them.

  3. Wow. That is one impressive machine. (Sohpie’s reaction made me laugh out loud!) Aside from the price (add at least 20% here in Canada :-( ) I don’t think we’d have space for it — assuming the resident cats would even use it. And fosters probably wouldn’t get a chance to get used to it. Sadly, no matter how much we’d like to scoop less, it’s probably not for us.

    1. I feel that if you ONLY had the Litter-Robot, then space wouldn’t be an issue. But if you had to keep other boxes out, then yes, that would be an issue. Our downstairs one is inside a small closet.

    1. Yeah, I was actually surprised that Harley was the holdout (he’s our oldest at 10). He usually adapts to everything so easily. But I guess he doesn’t like his litter messed with!

    2. The first of my 4 cats to try it was the oldest! (11 or 12). She has used it consistently since I got it. Ditto the youngest!,, The two middle ones, 6 and 16 months, just look…

  4. My husband and I purchased the original Litter Robot back in 2006. It didn’t take long for 3 of our 4 cats to take to it. (The last one had been having litter box issues since litter-mate brother passed a few months prior.) We still have it and love it. We’ve sent it in twice to have maintenance done on the main unit (they don’t do this anymore, but used to). We bought a Litter Robot 2 about 8 years ago to add to our original. The original one died about 3 years ago, but the second one is still running well. You use so much less litter. a 40 pound bag of litter lasts us a month with 3 cats.

    We no longer have any of those original kitties (old age), but currently have 3 cats. Our oldest has used the Litter Robot from the very beginning. The younger 2 prefer the open topped boxes, but will use the Litter Robot when they’re full. I have been wanting to get the Open Air Litter Robot 3 for a few years now, and am hoping to purchase one or two this Spring. In my opinion, they’re very worth it. Just in litter savings alone, the unit pays for itself in about 2 years.

  5. Once I saw the price, I was a definite NOPE! However, should we ever get the house remodeled, and have nice furniture, and actually invite people over to sit a spell, I’d consider one or two or three! My friend Pam at The Way of Cats blog just loves the LR; her cats have been using them for years.

    1. Yes, it’s a bit of sticker shock for sure! That’s why I did so much research and read as many reviews as I could. One guy said he’d had the LR for 5 years and hadn’t scooped once in that time. His review sold it for me. Course Harley had something to say about that. That’s great that your friend Pam is a fan of them!

  6. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. I always thought about getting one for my house. After reading this I like everything about it. I wished all your kitties loved it. I hope mine do too. Have a great day.

  7. Wow this is a wonderful review. I have seen this and read about the Litter Robot but this has me thinking…. Anything that requires less scooping duty piques my interest! I actually think most of my cats would use it as they don’t mind covered litter boxes. In fact, I have a hidden “planter” litter box in the far end of the kitchen and this one gets used a lot! But I think it’s mostly due to the fact it’s so easily accessible and the buggers are too lazy to go walk upstairs or downstairs to where the uncovered boxes are! MOL

    I think it was a great purchase for you. I guess Harley is just not a fan of fancy technology :) he likes things just the way they are

    1. If the Chirpies don’t mind covered boxes, then I bet they’d take to this! And yeah, that’s why we call Harley the curmudgeon! :-)

        1. I think the Open Air one is the same configuration for the most part. But I’d love it if Harley would use it! :-)

  8. I would do almost anything to scoop less! And I loved the extensive review. Sadly at $499 US (aka a million dollars when converted to Canadian ;0) I may have to save up!It definitely sounds like something that would be worth trying

  9. Wow, thanks for all this info on the Litter Robot. But it gets a big NO from Zoey and me. We think it will eat us! ~Ernie

  10. Interesting. I’ve heard that the covered area is uncomfortable for bigger cats – but if Woodrow doesn’t mind, my cats may not. My biggest concern is the covered/small space aspect. Both my cats seem frightened by small spaces they can’t see out of easily. Still, the advantages are tempting!

    1. Yours are around 14 pounds as well, right? Wodrow is a “tall” 14 – he’s pretty leggy, and he fits fine. It would probably work for Bear and Ellie!

  11. They should pay you for this fantastic review. That sounds amazing, but too pricey for me. I had a different self-cleaning box, but ended up selling it on craigslist because the refills were too pricey and with so many cats ( despite having other boxes available) it needed to be changed every few days. Sophie is too funny that she watches it :)

    1. Thanks Ellen! With as many cats as you have, you’d need so many and that would definitely be pricey!

  12. The movement and noise would probably scare and totally turn off my girls they would not appreciate the cover either). Requiring clumping littler is a big turn-off for me (haven’t voluntarily purchased any ever since Elsey Senior Forumula came on the market — far superior odor control and only poop needs to be scooped).

    1. The noise definitely took them by surprise at first! But they’re used to it now. And the noise…it “calls” to Sophie! She must watch it every time. :-) That’s a good point about non-clumping litter. If you’re not a fan of clumping, then this wouldn’t be a good fit.

  13. If you think of it, please give an update in 3 to 6 months. I had a robot litter box (the kind with the rake) and while it seemed great in the beginning, after a couple months the rakes and the litter collection box both started getting poopies stuck on them or jamming or just being otherwise annoying. I went back to my giant cement-mixing tray litter boxes and the robo-litter box is in parts, in the garage.

    1. Great suggestion! I’ll plan on doing a follow up. I can see how the “rake” ones could get messy. The waste doesn’t really touch anything like that in the Litter-Robot. As the globe turns, the waste just dumps into an opening to the drawer below. Even if the cat doesn’t cover their poo, as the globe turns, the litter falls to cover it.

  14. This is a fabulous description of this machine. I’ve always been curious but we are a one-cat household and never had any luck with a “covered” (or partially covered) litter box. With just one cat and us being home all the time as retirees it’s no trouble to keep up with Teddy’s “deposits”……but for a multiple cat household in particular – this would be a GREAT purchase!! Again, your honest assessment has for sure helped anyone who was even remotely considering one of these……….

    Hugs, Pam

    1. We had a covered litter box when Dexter was the only cat in the house, but we’ve never had one since. But I guess Harley feels the LR is just too covered. There’s always one, huh? :-)

  15. It looks like something out of Star Wars, but I’m OK with that. I would love to try this – though I have a hunch Rosie would be the hold out because she’s the hold out in just about everything. I love that it has a night light ( I don’t know the cats would care about that, but still fun).

    And p.s.: I actually have spilled a litter box – while moving it, I dropped it. LOL

    1. They say the night light is for older cats who can’t see as well anymore. So perhaps I will use it later. Oh, Rosie! You and Harley. And that is too funny that you spilled the litter box. Well, funny after the fact I’m sure. :-)

    1. I hope they like it too! I’m pretty sure it’s only sold at their Litter-Robot website, not on Amazon.

  16. Hey, those robots are pretty cool! But we’re with you, Harley … we’ll be sticking with our old-fashioned litter boxes. One question: how do you think there would work for a geriatric cat? It seems like it would be hard for them to climb in and out. Just curious. :)

    1. I think it probably depends on the cat, but that’s why I bought the ramp (for Harley of course!), but I don’t use it. I do think the ramp would make it fine for older cats to walk in and out.

    1. A camera would be very cool! Since the unit is weight sensitive (to know when to trigger the cycle), it would be great if they could tell you which cat used the litter. Of course if your cats are similar in weight, that wouldn’t work very well.

  17. This was a superb review, just superb! But…for me, 1) it is scary looking as hell and it looks BIG 2) all of the updates would annoy me (I can see having multiple cats it would be worthwhile but for one cat? Nope 3) It seems like more work than just scooping the normal litter box. I guess because you are so much younger you love all of that technology, me? Not so much………but……..still it was a superb review!

  18. Thank you! I purchased one of these a couple of months ago because i hate scooping! I have 4 cats ranging in size from 5 to 20+ pounds! The big boy is also the oldest at 17 yrs old. He gets in and actually turns around in it but then gets out. I think he feels a bit large for it! I know at least 2 of the girls use it so I am keeping it because I can tell with only part of them using it, I scoop less! My question to you is about the fence guard. Does it really help? I have the steps (ramp) but mine tend to track litter on them and the surrounding floor. Thank you!

    1. Wow, 20 pounds! That is a big boy. :-) If you have a big kicker when covering their business, I do think the fence would help with that. They do have to step over it when exiting, so it’s not as quick to just run out – so perhaps a little extra litter might fall off their paws before climbing out, if that makes sense. I’m glad you like it overall! We still like it, too. :-)

  19. THANK YOU for not posting any affiliate links. I always took all other reviews with a grain of salt, since there was always an affiliate link. This is finally a review that I can trust as being an honest review..

  20. My wife and I have had cats for 30 years and currently have four. We have tried several fancy litter boxes over the decades. We’ve had the Litter Robot III for five months — and hands down, it’s the best litter box we’ve ever had.
    The one cat who was resistant acclimated after a month of pooping just outside of it and now all parties use it. I love that cleaning it does not involve putting on gloves and holding my breath, its so much easier! While no product is perfect, this one is pretty darn good! If you can part with the $500 then this is worth it.

    1. That’s great that all of your cats use it! Harley is still our holdout. I have hope for him one day, though! My friend who watches our cats for us when we’re away is about to buy one for her own cats.

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