Litter boxes are more important than most people give them credit for. Not only do they keep our home smelling clean, but they also have to meet the demands of our often-finicky cats. While all litter boxes perform a similar job, there are tons of different designs and options out there. In addition, there are all sorts of different sizes and shapes. Naturally, most cats will prefer certain boxes, though your preference matters as well.
When choosing a box, it is essential to consider your needs, as well as your cat’s preferences. Otherwise, you may end up with a smelly home and an unhappy cat. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best cat litter boxes on the market so that you can choose the best one for your situation.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 10 Best Cat Litter Boxes – Reviews & Top Picks 2021
1. Frisco High-Sided Cat Litter Box – Best Overall
If you’re just looking for a basic litterbox, the Frisco High-Sided Cat Litter Box is one of the best overall cat litter boxes on the market. It features high sides and back to keep the litter in the litter box when your cat does their scratching and digging. This leads to less of a mess around the box. In addition, the front wall is lowered to allow the cat to enter quickly. Even senior cats and kittens should be able to get into this box without much of a problem.
It is made from high-quality plastic that is completely safe for cats without being expensive. It is safe and comfortable for cat paws without potentially being damaged as they dig and scratch in the litter. Easily clean it with soap and water when it gets dirty. You can even spray it off with a hose if necessary. The open design makes litter changes much easier, as you don’t have to deal with a cover or anything of that sort.
This box is larger than most, which allows it to be used with multi-cat households with some ease. At the same time, it is also great for a single, picky cat. The litter will last longer thanks to the size of the box, though you will likely have to add more litter to the box upfront. It comes in a navy or warm gray color for extra-roominess.
2. Nature’s Miracle Disposable Cat Litter Box – Best Value
Most litter boxes on the market are designed to be used long-term. They can be cleaned and reused many times until they finally get too stinky and need to be thrown away. Some people prefer using a disposable litter box, though, like Nature’s Miracle Disposable Cat Litter Box. These are often cheaper up front, but they can add up over time.
These disposable litter boxes come in large and regular sizes. The large size is best for larger cats or homes with multiple cats. However, they are more expensive due to their larger size. The litter boxes are made with baking soda to help neutralize odors. Of course, this only works if the waste touches the box outside, so it perhaps isn’t as effective as you might hope.
This box is entirely eco-friendly, which is essential since you will be throwing away with them a lot. You can use these litterboxes when travelling or just for picky cats that don’t seem to like using the same litterbox for very long. It is also one of the best cat litter boxes for the money.
3. Little-Robot Automatic Cat Litter Box – Premium Choice
If you’re looking for the best of the best litter box out there, the Little-Robot Automatic Cat Litter Box is easily the most premium option out there. It is automatic and completely self-cleaning. As soon as your cat steps out of the litterbox, it begins processing the waste and cleaning the litter. In addition, it has a carbon-filtered waste drawer where everything is stored until you remove it and throw it away. The carbon prevents the odor from reaching your home.
The machine’s design eliminates the need for scooping and reduces the amount of litter required. You won’t waste as much litter due to the precision cleaning, so you’ll likely save money in the long run.
This litter box is wi-fi enabled. You can monitor it using a special app on your phone, which lets you know how the box is being used and lets you know the current waste levels. This app is intuitive and works quite well, though it isn’t essential for using the box itself.
One unit is advertised as being useable by four different cats. While the litter box is relatively small for a large number of cats, the fact that it cleans after every use allows it to be used effectively by multiple felines.
4. Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan
Some cats prefer litter boxes with tops, while some refuse to use these at all. The Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan is an excellent option in this category. This hooded litter box provides your cat with some privacy and can help keep the smell inside the box. It is pretty large, making it suitable for larger felines and multiple cats. In addition, it provides bag anchors on the inside to keep the bag in place. Using a bag isn’t necessary, but if you prefer to use an anchor bag, that is possible with this litter box.
The hood lifts quickly for easy cleaning and scooping. There is a plastic door that you can add if desired. Unfortunately, many cats will not use litter boxes with doors, so this isn’t always possible. However, if your feline does use one, the door can help keep the smell a little more enclosed in the box.
The carbon filter on the top of the bag helps remove some of the odors as the air circulates into the room. Of course, this works best when the door is on it. Otherwise, the air is simply going to recirculate through the door.
5. Frisco Top Entry Cat Litter Box
One of the biggest problems with cats and dogs in the same household is that dogs often break into the cat’s litter boxes. This can make them sick and make them a mess. You can do quite a few things to discourage your dog from this behavior, but one of the easiest is to use a top-entry litter box like the Frisco Top Entry Cat Litter Box.
This litter box doesn’t have a door like most litter boxes. Instead, the opening is on the top. This wholly enclosed design keeps the litter all safely within the box and prevents messes. Your feline won’t be able to spread litter around like they could in a standard box. The lid features a textured top designed to remove the litter from your cat’s feet when they jump out. Furthermore, dogs can’t get into it at all. Even tall dogs will be unable to get their head in the opening.
When you need to scoop, the lid comes off for easy cleaning.
The main problem with this box is that some cats simply won’t like the enclosed design and may refuse to use it. If your cat typically doesn’t like litter boxes with covers, they probably won’t like this box either.
6. Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Advanced Hooded Corner Cat Litter Box
Most litter boxes have a basic triangular shape. The Nature’s Miracle Just for Cats Advanced Hooded Corner Cat Litter Box is a bit different. It is made to be put easily into a corner for hiding or space-saving. In addition, it is hooded to provide your cats with some privacy and prevent litter from ending up all over your floor. However, as we have previously discussed, some cats refuse to use enclosed litter boxes. So, keep that in mind before purchasing this one.
It comes with a replaceable charcoal filter that you can use to eliminate odors. It works for three months before needing to be replaced. It works decently well, though not all users were able to tell the difference.
An antimicrobial coating on the litter box prevents bacteria from growing and making it even smellier. However, this coating doesn’t seem to last forever. The surface is also wholly non-stick, which prevents the litter from caking onto the box and causing messy cleanups.
Some males enjoy marking along the inside walls of the container, which can lead to a messy cleanup for you. It can get into the seal of the lid, which can lead to a significant mess. It isn’t fool-proof.
7. Omega Paw Roll-N Clean Cat Litter Box
The Omega Paw Roll-N Clean Cat Litter Box has a unique design. It comes with a grill design inside the box made to “scoop” out clumped waste and deposit them into a pull-out tray. To accomplish this, you simply roll the box upside down and then move it back to its original position. It isn’t automatic, but it doesn’t require scooping in the traditional sense either. It is less likely to break than an automatic litter box since it relies entirely on human power. However, you still have to put to scoop it out; you just accomplish that differently.
It may save you a bit of cat litter since it doesn’t collect any clean litter. However, this is also true with most traditional scoops, so it isn’t precisely life-changing when saving litter.
Using this system takes a bit of finesse. First, you have to roll it and smack it correctly for it to work. Some people may simply find it easier to scoop out the box traditionally, which truthfully doesn’t take much time and effort. This box did have a unique idea, but it seems to fall flat in use.
8. Tide Cats Breeze XL Cat Litter Box System
The Tide Cats Breeze XL Cat Litter Box System is another unique litter system that looks to change the way people change their litter boxes. This system does do a lot of things right. It works with the use of special pellets, which sit on top of a grate. The cats use the box as usual, but the liquids run through the grate and a special pad in a drawer underneath the litterbox. The solids sit on top and are dehydrated by the pellets.
The pad does an excellent job at eliminating the scent from the urine. However, the pellets don’t do an excellent job at eliminating the scent from stool.
This particular box is extra-large for larger cats. The pellets are more difficult to track than your traditional cat litter, but they can still be slung around while your cat is digging.
The largest problem with this litter box is that the special pellets and pads are often challenging to find. You only need to change the pad once a week according to the instructions. Still, in actuality, you may have to change it more than this before it starts overflowing with urine (which is not a pleasant experience).
9. IRIS Open Top Litter Box with Shield
The IRIS Open Top Litter Box with Shield tries to accomplish all the benefits of a hooded box without scaring any cats away from using it. It isn’t completely covered, but it features a rather tall shield that blocks litter and urine from ending up outside the box. One side does not have a shield to allow for easy exit and entrance. The pan is extra-deep, so your cat can move around the litter without piling it up too bad on one side.
The interior surface is polished to provide easy cleaning. Extra molded-in feet provide more stability for cats that like to dig and scratch. The recessed bottom provides some extra strength and makes sit suitable for larger, more active cats.
With that said, we found that cats who don’t like hooded litter boxes also don’t like this litter box. The lack of a top doesn’t seem to matter to many cats; they still won’t use it. All the recesses on the bottom and feet make it more challenging to clean, even inside. It is also not wholly pee-proof, as it will soak through the seam if your cat urinates on the side. Finally, it is not leak-proof in the least.
10. Van Ness Enclosed Sifting Cat Litter Pan
The Van Ness Enclosed Sifting Cat Litter Pan is quite similar to other litter boxes with tops. It features a zeolite air filter that is designed to keep odors to a minimum. It does feature a flap door entryway. For some households, this is a great way to contain the smell and the mess. However, many cats will not use these flap doors without some training and encouragement. Even then, many may refuse to use them at all. Therefore, you may end up with a completely useless box.
This box is also designed with a unique scooping solution. It features a shifting screen that you simply pull up when you’re ready to remove the waste from the box. This does make the job a bit faster than traditional scooping, but it is relatively similar. It also doesn’t work super well all the time, so you may need to follow up with a scooper anyway.
The various parts of this box also aren’t incredibly durable. The shifting screen and door tend to break after light usage, which can ruin the whole point of this box. If the shifter stops working, you would have saved money by purchasing a standard hooded box.
Once upon a time, purchasing a cat litter box was pretty simple. They only came in one type and a few materials. Your most important decision was what color and size you wanted them in. Today, things are entirely different. There are litter boxes of all different sorts available, from essential plastic boxes to full automated boxes.
Which one you choose will depend on where your preferences and your cat’s needs meet. For example, you may love the idea of a fully enclosed litter box, but they may make your cat feel a little too enclosed. On the other hand, some cats prefer substantial litter boxes, though this means you’ll have to purchase more litter to fill it.
This section will go over some important factors to keep in mind when choosing a box. Just remember that the decision needs to be made with your cat. Otherwise, they may refuse to use the box altogether.
Types of Cat Litter Boxes
There are several types of cat litter boxes on the market today. More are coming out every day as manufactures try to find the “next best thing” in innovation.
Traditional Litter Boxes
Traditional litter boxes are simply square boxes that are typically made with high-quality plastic. They’re what you probably think of as the “typical” litter box. There isn’t much that sets these apart from each other. Some may feature exceptionally high sides or something of that sort, but that’s about as big of a difference as there is.
Many cats will use these boxes without a problem, and they’re pretty straightforward to take care of. Unfortunately, however, you aren’t getting any extra help with the odor.
Hooded Litter Boxes
These litter boxes come with a top. The doorway may be open, or it can include a flap door. Because there is less air circulation above the box, some of the odor will stay trapped inside. However, this will be released when you go to actually change the litter. Not all cats will use a hooded litter box, especially if they’ve never been around one. Many will feel trapped and may refuse to go inside altogether.
Many of these litterboxes use an air filter of some sort on top to help circulate air while fight odors. These have varying degrees of success.
Automatic Litter Boxes
Automatic litter boxes are the fancy, high-end options that often require wi-fi, electricity, and even water access. They require more work to set up, but many decrease the amount of work required after the initial start. Most will “scoop” themselves. Some put the feces into a particular container that you have to dump, but others will flush it right into your pipes.
As you might imagine, these are incredibly expensive. In addition, they don’t always work as advertised, and many may require just as much work in maintenance and troubleshooting as a traditional litter box.
Other “New” Litter Boxes
Companies are constantly coming out with new designs that are supposed to make their customer’s lives easier. For example, some litter boxes include a fancy shifter that is used instead of a scooper. Others have a grate system that eliminates the need for clumping litter. If something, in particular, irks you about litter box maintenance, you may be able to find something that fixes your problem.
Otherwise, these boxes often don’t work as well as advertised and don’t save you that much time. Some of them are great, but most of them are just as good as a traditional box. They aren’t necessarily better or worse, just different.
There are litter boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Some are relatively small and work best for kittens, while others are huge and designed for multi-cat households. The size you choose depends mainly on your needs. Larger cats will need larger litterboxes and may be unable to use small ones. If you have more than one cat in your home, it may be in your best interest to purchase a larger box (or multiple small ones).
Remember, you’ll need to use more litter to fill the larger litter boxes appropriately. This means it will cost more per litter change. Sometimes, you may even need multiple packs of litter. However, you often don’t have to change it as much, since there is more litter to get dirty. With that in mind, it usually doesn’t cost you very much more over time to own a larger litter box.
On top of the box itself being a specific size, there are also boxes with varying side lengths. Most cats are wonderful with 5–7-inch walls. However, those who tend to “spray” or kick litter out of their box will likely benefit from taller sizes. There are several boxes out there with highly tall sides for this purpose. Preferably, there should be one entrance side that is lower than the others for easy entry.
Cats with mobility problems may need even lower sides. This typically goes for kittens as well, at least until they are grown up. For these cats, the sides shouldn’t be more than 2.5 – 3.5 inches.
For most cats, we recommend the Frisco High-Sided Cat Litter Box. It features slightly higher-than-average sides to keep the litter in the litter box. The entrance is still short enough to allow entry for most cats, though. There isn’t anything fancy about this box. Instead, it is simple, effective, and inexpensive. If you just want a litter box that does what it’s supposed to, this is the best option.
As a good value pick, we also liked the Nature’s Miracle Disposable Cat Litter Box. Because they are entirely disposable, they’re suitable for extra-picky cats and owners who don’t want to deep clean a litter box. They’re incredibly cheap as well, though you will have to purchase new ones often.
Hopefully, our reviews helped you choose the best litter box for your purposes.
Featured Image Credit: Litter Robot, Unsplash
Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!