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4 of the Best Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes in the UK

by Ben Doyle | Reading Time: 15 minutes

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The best self-cleaning litter boxes make a bold promise. 

No more scooping litter.

But do they work and are they worth the cost? 

We ponied up exactly £4,868.97 to buy and test 9 different automatic litter boxes and tested them to find out.

At a Glance: Our Top Picks

PetKit Pura X: The Best For Most Cats

4.4 out of 5.0 stars

The PetKit Pura X is excellent. It looks good, it’s easy to use, quiet, has fantastic odour control and the app provides very insightful data.

Or Read Our Review

Petkit Pura Max

PetKit Pura Max: Best For Larger or Multiple Cats

4.4 out of 5.0 stars

The PetKit Pura Max has many of the same qualities as the Pura X. That said, it’s bigger which makes it better for larger cats or owners with multiple cats.

Or Read Our Review

ELS Pet Slf Cleaning Litter Box: An Effective Sightly Cheaper Option

4.0 out of 5.0 stars

At around £100 – £200 cheaper than the PetKit models, the ELS is a good alternative with some nice features.

Or Read Our Review

PetSafe Scoop-Free Litter Tray: Best For Small Spaces

4.0 out of 5.0 stars

The PetSafe scoop-free litter box is best for small spaces. And it’s less than half the price of other models on this list.

Or Read Our Review

Why Trust Us?

At Pet Checkers, our team of pet carers have scooped and cleaned thousands of litter boxes since 2013.

We also work with;

  • Other pet carers
  • Vets
  • Cat trainers and behaviourists, as well as
  • Pet and animal charities

Plus, we get lots of feedback from our customers.

All this puts us in a unique position to test all kinds of products. Both from a professional perspective and that of a pet owner.

So far, we’ve found the best;

How We Picked Which Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes to Test

As it is, there aren’t that many self-cleaning litter boxes on the market. Even of the ones we could find, many of them aren’t available, at least not in the UK. That made choosing pretty easy.

We looked at;

  • What other websites recommended (most don’t even test the products)
  • Found those products on shopping sites like Amazon and other shopping sites
  • Dug into the user reviews
  • Talked with our customers to get their thoughts
  • Consulted with a local vet to get their advice

We were then able to narrow it down to nine choices.

How We Tested

When we bought our chosen models, we left them in the homes of our most trusted clients.

We helped them get set up and running and graded each one on how easy that process was.

After that, we tested them over 12 months and graded them on;

  • How happy a cat was to use them
  • How easy they were to operate
  • How well they worked day to day
  • How well the app worked (if applicable)
  • How well it contained and eliminated odours
  • How easy they were to clean

Automatic Cat Litter Box Reviews: A Closer Look at Our Top Picks

After testing 9 different automatic cat litter boxes over 12 months (and ongoing), these are our 5 top picks. 

1. Petkit Pura X Review: Best For Most People/Cats

Looks fantasticEntrance hole is quite small
Easy to usePretty short power cord
Quiet cycling
Excellent odour control
App provides insightful data

When you consider the cost, ease of use and reliability, the Petkit Pura X is excellent.

In the box, you get a power cord, adapter, waste bin liners, deodoriser and litter mat. As well as the unit itself. 

Setting it up was easy. The instruction manual gives you a QR code to scan which takes you to a quick setup video. All you need to do to get started is remove the internal drum, add the deodoriser, replace the drum and put the top on. Then, put in a bin liner and add your litter.  All that takes a couple of minutes.

Once set up, it looks fantastic. And when your cat looks out of the entrance hole, it looks like they’re in a mini spaceship.

Petkit says the Pura X can use most types of litter, apart from silica. They also say that although you can use pine litter, it doesn’t work as well as others. We used clumping clay litter which was perfect.

The litter box itself is pretty big at 50.4cm wide, 53.2cm deep and 64.6cm high. Petkit says it’ll accommodate cats from 3lbs (1.36kg) up to 18lbs (8.16kg). We thought the entrance hold was quite small so if your cat is on the bigger side, you might be better off choosing the Pura Max (see our review here).

Also, you’ll need to put it near a socket as the power cord is only a metre long. Unless you have an extension cable. 

The Pura X features their ‘xSecure System’. This is a system of 12 sensors which ensures your cat’s safety. Thermal and infrared sensors detect your cat’s presence around the litter box. The weight sensors detect their presence while inside it. 

Our test cat, Nico, is quite nervous, so it took him a little while to get used to it. That said, adding some used litter to the drum encouraged him inside. It’s really quiet when it cycles too so that helped.

When he did get in, the App showed us some insightful data. It measured his weight which is always useful from a weight management perspective. But it also shows the times your cat uses the toilet and how long they spend there. This data could be vital if you ever need to take your cat to the vet.

It also tells you when the waste bin is full.

Once your cat has done their business, it goes through its automatic cleaning cycle after a minute or two. This gives your cat time to leave. You can choose how long the delay is, from one minute to 60 minutes. 

The deodoriser is fantastic and the Pura X does a very good job of eliminating any smells.

The manufacturer says it’ll self-clean for up to 10 days before you need to empty the bin. With Nico, we found 7-8 days was more accurate but we guess that will vary from cat to can.

When you want to empty the litter box, all you have to do is push the cleaning button and it’ll empty itself. When cleaning it, we found it was easiest to remove the top, take the drum out and give it a wash.

We did find Nico tracked a bit of litter as he hopped out of it. The litter-trapping mat does help but it doesn’t stop it completely. That said, this is always a problem, no matter what type of litter box you use.

2. PetKit Pura Max Review: Best For Bigger or Multiple Cats

Looks goodNot quite as easy to clean
Easy to usePretty short power cord
Quiet cycling
Excellent odour control
App provides insightful data

If you have a larger cat, or more than one cat, then have a look at the PetKit Pura Max Extra Large Automatic Litter Box.

At 62cm wide, 53.8cm deep, and 55cm high, it’s bigger than the Pura X. The waste collection bin is bigger too.

The entrance hole and internal space are quite a lot bigger too. As such, it’ll accommodate cats from 3.5lbs (1.5kg) to 22lbs (10kg).

Like the other PetKit litter box we reviewed, the setup is nice and easy. It’s a simple case of removing the packaging, installing their purifier and putting a bag in the waste bin. Then add your litter and connect to the app. It took minutes.

It’ll also take any type of litter, although we stuck to clumping clay.

Due to the way the drum rotates when it cycles, you do need to set it a few centimetres off the wall. If not, it’ll catch. It’s not a big deal but you’ll need to make sure you have the room.

It features the same ‘xSecure System’ to detect your cat’s presence, both inside and outside of the box. So, if the drum is part way through a cycle, it will stop. So, there’s never a worry about your cat getting trapped or hurt.

The app has a cool feature that lets you give each cat their own profile. It distinguishes each cat by their weight. So, you know how much each cat weighs, how often they toilet and how long they spend there. You can also cycle dirty litter on demand, set a schedule or do it automatically.

It’s also nice and quiet when it cycles too. At 35 decibels, you could compare it to the volume of light rain.

We did find cleaning it a bit more tiresome than the Pura X. You can completely empty the litter with the touch of a button. But because you have to reach in to wipe down the internal walls, it was a bit harder. It’s not a deal breaker, just an observation.

The price might also be a stretch for some too, It’s expensive. That said, looking at the number of reviews it has online, it’s still popular.

3. ELS Pet Self-Cleaning Automatic Litter Box: An Effective, Slightly Cheaper Model

Looks very futuristicAssembly instructions were a bit confusing
Easy to useThe quality of components could be better
Quiet cycling
Excellent odour control
App is easy to use

If you like the Pet Pura X but can’t quite stretch the budget, have a look at the ELS Pet Self-Scooping Litter Box.

They offer two models. The more expensive model comes with an app which;

  • Monitors your cat’s toileting frequency
  • Tells you when you need to empty the waste litter compartment
  • Tells you when you need to add more litter, and
  • Lets you adjust the cleaning and cycle times

The cheaper model isn’t compatible with the app so you lose these features.

At 60cm diameter and 64cm high, it’s a good size with a 60-litre internal capacity which will handle most cats. In fact, it’ll handle cats from 3.3lbs (1.5kg) to 28.7lbs (13kg).

The way it cleans the litter is different. Most automatic litter boxes use a rolling drum that sifts litter and dumps the waste into a drawer underneath. The ELS uses rakes to scoop the litter from the bottom and drops the waste into a compartment at the back.

The benefit is that wet litter doesn’t stick to the inside walls. Speaking of litter, it’s compatible with all types of litter, except silica.

Putting it together took us a little over an hour. We found the instructions a bit confusing at times.

We didn’t think the build quality was quite as good as the PetKit either. One of the rakes broke after a couple of days. That said, their customer support was excellent. They sent us a couple of reinforced rakes free of charge and we’ve had no issues since.

Our test cat, Charlie took a few days to use it reliably. We had to chuck in some dirty litter to help him understand it was a toilet. After that though, he was more than happy to use it.

It has all the safety features you’d expect;

  • Infrared internal sensors detect when your cat is inside
  • The entrance door shuts when it’s cycling and stops if your cat tries to get in
  • The rakes stop working if they detect a foreign object inside the box

Another nice feature is UV sterilization. After scooping waste litter, the UV lights come on. This kills any bacteria which prevents the spread of infections. It also makes the whole thing very futuristic!

It also has a help step drawer you can pull out to help your cat walk into it instead of hopping in.

It’s super quiet when it cycles and the sealed waste compartment does a good job of trapping the stink.

Build quality aside, the ELS automatic letter box is very good.

4. PetSafe Scoop Free Self-Cleaning Litter Tray: Best For Small Spaces

More like a traditional litter trayThe ongoing cost of litter refills will add up
Takes up very little spaceOny uses silica litter
Super quiet operation
Fantastic odour control
Takes minutes to set up
Very easy to clean

The PetSafe Scoop Free Litter Tray is less than half the cost of every other model on this list.

It’s more like a traditional cat litter tray and that offers two main benefits;

  1. It doesn’t take anywhere near as much room up as the other models on this list, and
  2. The transition from switching from their old litter box to their new one was quicker

It also comes in a hooded version too if you prefer.

Now, most automatic litter boxes don’t work with silica cat litter. But the PetSafe ONLY uses silica.

That’s because of its ability to absorb liquids and odours and dehydrate cat poo.

Now we must admit, our test cat, Bridget already used silica litter in her old litter tray. As a result, the transition to the PetSafe was pretty seamless. But some cats need a bit of time to get used to silica litter so don’t bear this in mind.

20 minutes after Bridget used it, it raked the litter and moves the solid waste to a separate compartment. Then, once a month (for a single-cat household) you slide out the tray of litter and replace it.

The operation of the rakes is super quiet too.

All that said, while the upfront cost is cheap, the litter refills are expensive. So, what you save upfront, you could spend even more on refills.

A good hack we found was to buy their reusable litter tray when you buy the main unit. Then you can buy whichever silica litter you want to refill it with.

What to Consider When Shopping for a Self-Cleaning Litter Box

Let’s face it, the best automatic litter boxes are expensive. Even the ‘cheap’ ones aren’t cheap. So here are a few things to consider to help you find the best one for you and your cat.


This is many people’s first consideration because, as we said, even the cheap ones are expensive. Especially when you compare them to a standard litter box.

There are two costs to consider when looking for an automatic litter box;

  1. The upfront cost – This is what you’ll pay to own your chosen litter box. It could be anywhere from £150 to £700.
  2. The ongoing costs – These are the consumables your automatic litter box uses. They include litter disposal bags, deodorising refills, filters and sometimes the litter itself.

All this can make owning and maintaining a self-cleaning litter box pretty expensive.

Litter Compatibility

Most self-cleaning cat litter boxes are compatible with a variety of cat litter types.

That said, some won’t work at all with certain types of litter.

For example, the PetKit Pura X and the PetKit Pura Max don’t work at all with silica litter. And most automatic litter boxes don’t work well with wood-based litter.

Then there’s the PetSafe Scoop Free Litter Tray that only uses silica litter.

We used Dr Elsey’s Ultra in all our tests. It clumps very well and it’s a decent price.

When choosing a self-cleaning litter box, consider;

  1. The type of cat litter you use, and
  2. Whether you’re willing to change it if need be


There are two main types of automatic litter boxes; Rotating cylinders and rakes. Both can look massive next to traditional litter trays.

Cylinder types like the PetKit Pura X and the PetKit Pura Max and the ELS Pet are pretty tall. They need to be to fit the cylinder. But that can mean they can make smaller spaces feel cramped.

Rake-style litter trays the PetSafe Scoop Free have a much lower profile but they can take up more floor space.

Whichever type you choose, you’ll need to;

  1. Figure out where you’ll put it, or
  2. Move it to somewhere it’ll fit

Either way, make sure you measure the space first.

The overall size of the actual litter box isn’t your only concern either. You’ll want to make sure the entrance hole and the inside are big enough to fit your cat in. If it’s too small for your cat to get into, turn around, do their business and dig in, they won’t use it.

The Pet Kit Pura X and the ELS Pet Automatic Litter Box will accommodate most cats.

If you have particularly big cats, the PetKit Pura Max has a big internal space. Or the PetSafe Self Scooping Litter Tray it’s covered at all so it won’t feel cramped.

Features and Benefits to Look Out For

Different self-cleaning litter boxes have different features and benefits. As such, it’s worth having a think about what features and benefits are important to you.

Here are some things to consider;

Safety Features

Your cat’s safety is a huge concern.

The best automatic litter boxes have safety features that detect your cat’s presence. Either when in it, around it, or both.

If they detect your cat’s presence, they will stop cycling so there’s no chance of your cat getting trapped.

Ability to Not Jam

Some automatic cat litter boxes are prone to jamming which can be a nightmare to clean and unpick.

None of the litter boxes we tested had issues with jamming.

That’s not to say they don’t jam though, it’s just that we didn’t experience it. Have a look through customer reviews to see if other users experience problems.

The type of cat litter you use might also have an effect on whether a litter box jams or not. For example, most litter boxes don’t work well with wood litter because it has a tendency to cause jamming.

Quick Cleaning and Cycling

While the litter box cleans itself, your cat can’t use it. So it’s important to choose one that cycles quickly.

This is especially important if your cats share a litter box.

It should also clean the litter box as well as you would. A product that leaves lumps and clumps of litter that you would have scooped is useless.

Odour Control

Most self-cleaning litter boxes boast the fact that you don’t need to empty them for a week or more. They store your cat’s waste in a sealed bin.

As such, a good product will trap smells and have effective odour filtration and/or deodorizing features.

Quiet Operation

A noisy self-cleaning cat litter box isn’t only annoying, but it could also put your cat off using it.

Many cats don’t like loud noises, especially if they’re nervous.

So, it’s important that they’re quiet.

Ability to Track Litter Box Usage

Many self-cleaning litter boxes come with mobile apps which;

  • Show how often your cat uses it
  • The times of day they go
  • How long they’re in there
  • Let you clean it on demand
  • Tell you when the waste box needs emptying
  • Tell you when you need to add more litter

The ability to know when you need to empty the bin or refill the litter is useful. But the ability to track your cat’s litter box habits can provide vital data for your vet if your cat ever becomes ill.

Frequently Asked Questions

Self-cleaning litter box work by scooping your cat’s waste automatically. Sensors detect when your cat leaves the litter box and then start the cleaning cycle.

Cylinder-style models roll the internal drum, sifting the clean litter and dropping the waste in the bin.

Rake-style litter boxes rake litter and remove the waste.

The best automatic, self-cleaning litter boxes are safe. They often have thermal or infrared sensors which detect a cat’s presence around the box. Then, weight sensors detect a cat’s presence inside it.

Once the cat leaves, the litter box will start its cleaning cycle. If it detects a cat while cleaning, it will stop.

That said, it’s vitally important you make sure your cat meets the litter box’s minimum weight limit. If a product’s minimum weight limit is 5lbs for example, your cat must weigh at least 5lbs. If not, the weight sensor won’t recognise your cat is inside. This means it could start the cleaning cycle and trap your cat.

]If you have one cat, you typically need to empty the waste litter drawer every week or so. This will be less if your cats share litter boxes.

You’ll want to do a full clean and change the litter once every one to three months.

Self-cleaning litter boxes range in cost from around £150 to as much as £700.

How you clean your litter boxes will depend on the type and manufacturer.

Many rotating cylinder types allow you to remove the cylinder so you can wash it out. That said, some don’t which means you’ll need to reach in and wipe it out which can be a bit of pain.

Most automatic litter boxes work with a range of cat litters. That said, many cylinder types don’t work with silica or crystal cat litter.

Wood litter can often cause issues with jamming too.

Some models only work with a specific type of litter. For example, the PetSafe self-scoop litter tray only works with silica litter.

During our tests with cylinder models, we used Dr.’s Elsey’sclumping cat litter which worked very well.

Get your cat used to their new automatic litter box by placing it next to their old one. Putting in a few scoops of litter from their old litter box will help your cat recognise it as a new toilet.

Also remember that, if given the choice, your cat will also use what’s familiar. Chances are, your cat will default to their old litter tray. If you leave their old tray un-scooped for a couple of days, they may choose to use their new, clean one.

It’s also a good idea to let your cat use their new litter box for a few days before you turn it on. This does mean you’ll have to scoop yourself for a few days but it will help the transition.


If you hate scooping your cat’s litter box, an automatic litter box is worth considering.

That said, they’re expensive so you want to make sure you find the right model for you and your cat. The best self-cleaning litter boxes are safe and comfortable for your cat, easy to clean, quiet, and simple to use.

All of the models in this article fit those criteria.

Our favourite though, the PetKit Pura X.

PetKit Pura X: The Best For Most Cats

4.4 out of 5.0 stars

The PetKit Pura X is excellent. It looks good, it’s easy to use, quiet, has fantastic odour control and the app provides very insightful data.

Or Read Our Review

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Ben Doyle

Ben Doyle co-owns Pet Checkers with his wife, Vicki. He spends his days looking after all kinds of animals, from dogs to eagles. When he's not taking care of animals, he's writing about them.

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