The 10 Best Cat Litter Boxes to Buy in 2021

The 10 Best Cat Litter Boxes to Buy in 2021

Cats are notoriously picky when it comes to their litter box. If the style isn’t to their liking or preference, they have no qualms about doing the deed outside the tray (or worse, on your lovely new carpet!). Therefore, choosing the right litter box that pairs well with your kitty’s personality and your human need for cleanliness is important. Finding one that creates less mess and is easy to maintain is essential for a happy cat-owner relationship.

This guide will outline the best litter trays on the market. We’ll start with what styles are out there and what to look out for, followed by our top 10 list. We’ll then finish things off with a more in-depth look at the features to consider before making your purchase.

What You Need to Know About Cat Litter Boxes

Cat litter boxes come in all shapes and sizes. While the traditional standard litter box styles are still around, many now come with different heights, styles of entry, and cleaning mechanisms. Choosing the right one can be tricky, but this decision is easier once you establish your cat’s needs.

Deciding on the Best Style

When selecting a cat litter tray, it’s important to think beyond your own desires. While it’s tempting to buy a box because it’s easy to clean and can be kept out of view, ultimately what matters is whether your cat will enjoy using it. Therefore, you’ll need to strike a balance between your preferences and your cat’s.

Think About Your Cat’s Preferences

Knowing your cat’s preferences, personality, mobility, and disposition will go a long way when it comes to choosing the right litter box style. On the market at present are open, enclosed, and self-cleaning options. For a more detailed look at how to determine what type of litter box is best for your cat’s personality, see our full guide below.

Open

Open boxes have no lid, and these allow your cat to have plenty of headspace. They are the most traditional type and can make for easy maintenance due to their simple design. Open styles come in a variety of styles though, which we’ll cover below. It’s also important to note that open styles run the risk of additional mess since litter can be kicked outside the box.

Enclosed

If you’ve got a feline that loves to climb into small spaces, then an enclosed box may suit them fine. Enclosed boxes often have a small entrance on the top or on the side, which keeps litter contained and gives your cat privacy to do their business. However, if your cat is an anxious type, they might not like an enclosed box that prevents them from seeing what’s around them.

Self-Cleaning

Self-cleaning boxes are great because — you guessed it — they do most of the cleaning for you! That probably sounds like a dream, right? These boxes come in open or enclosed versions, but some cats can be startled by ones with noisy motors. There are silent self-cleaning options, but most of these are enclosed, so you’ll need to consider what kind of space your cat prefers. Self-cleaning trays can also be expensive, so research this option thoroughly before purchasing (we’re here to help with that!)

What to Look out For

Aside from the general box style, there are other finer details to consider. These largely apply to your human needs, but they will pertain to your feline’s wishes as well.

Litter Box Design

Most cat owners will want a box that is easy to assemble and clean. This means you’ll need to evaluate the style, its materials, and waste removal system. To establish whether a litter box is easy to set up and clean, pay attention to the design. For instance, are there lots of nooks and crannies? Is it easy to take apart? Does it require a lot of assembly?

Design is also important when it comes to litter scatter on the floor. Your cat can track litter around via their paws or when they’re kicking it inside the box. If litter scatter is a chronic issue for you, consider enclosed box designs or ones with high walls.

Maintenance

In terms of maintenance, evaluate the waste removal system. Does it require scooping or sifting? How often do you need to change the litter? Also, look at what the box is made from. Generally, boxes made with hard plastic (rather than wood) won’t absorb urine. You’ll also want to assess whether the walls wipe down easily and if they prevent soiled litter from sticking to the sides.

Odor Control

Another common issue with cat litter is, of course, the odor. Cats are known to have smelly waste, and while this is often dampened by the type of litter you use, the style of box can also go a long way. Enclosed boxes, for example, can help contain the smell. Self-cleaning boxes are even better in this regard as they push the waste under the litter and into a separate compartment.

Now that we’ve addressed the styles and features to look out for when choosing a litter box, let’s review our top 10 on the market.

Top 10 Best Cat Litter Boxes 2021

Iris Top Entry Cat Litter Box


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: This unique and elegantly designed box is great for privacy and for keeping litter contained.

Quick Facts

  • Dimensions: 20.75L x 16.13W x 14.63H inches
  • Style: Enclosed
  • Recommended Cat Size: Small to medium
  • Self-Cleaning: No
  • Accessories: Comes with a scoop

At the top of our list is this stylish litter box from Iris. Its enclosed design keeps litter contained and it prevents a wandering pooch or other pet from sniffing around.

Standout Feature

The unique design of this litter box gives your cat plenty of privacy, and it’s nice on the eyes, too.

Ease of Cleaning

Iris’s cat litter box is easy to clean. The plastic walls prevent litter clumps from sticking to the side and it’s simple to wipe down. The lid also removes easily, creating straightforward access when the litter needs removing.

Litter Scatter and Odor Control

The enclosed design of this box is great for keeping litter and odors contained. Unlike most enclosed boxes, the entrance is on the top which allows the smells to partially waft upwards, rather than be sealed in.

Sizing

The compactness of this litter box is great for medium-sized cats, but it can be tight for larger felines. This is especially when it comes to the top entry, as the hole is small-ish and the lid can collapse into the box. If your cat has an aversion to crawling through the hole, one option is to use this without the lid.

Pros

  • Provides privacy
  • Prevents litter scatter
  • Easy to clean
  • Aesthetic design

Cons

  • The lid can sometimes collapse into the box (especially with larger or heavier cats)

Purina Tidy Cats Hooded Litter Box System


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: Purina’s litter box has a unique system for separating urine and solids, and its hooded design makes cleaning easy.

Quick Facts

  • Dimensions: 16.75L x 20.5W x 16.5H inches
  • Style: Open
  • Recommended Cat Size: Small to medium
  • Self-Cleaning: No
  • Accessories: Comes with a scoop, 1 bag of litter pellets, and 4 cat pads

This hooded litter box has a unique breeze system that allows urine to soak into the pad on the bottom while keeping solids on the pellets above. It is easy to clean and its pellet formula doesn’t scatter like normal litter. It also offers privacy for cats who prefer to do the deed away from spying eyes.

Standout Feature

The pellet litter formula and pad system separate urine and solids.

Ease of Cleaning

The hood on this litter box system is easy to remove, making cleaning easy. The soaked urine pads are also easy to throw away and the pellets are simple to scoop once soiled.

Litter Scatter and Odor Control

Purina’s hooded design and pellet formula mean less mess and very little litter scatter. However, while this system is great for separating your cat’s waste, the pellets aren’t terribly great when it comes to absorbing odors (particularly of the poo-kind).

Sizing

Like the Iris Top Entry Litter Box, this may not suit larger cats. Again, this all depends on your kitty, but generally, this box is good for small or medium-sized felines. Entry to this box is easier, too, as the height of the door is low to the ground.

Pros

  • Open hood makes for easy access
  • All-in-one cleaning system
  • Fast scooping
  • Pellets create very little litter scatter

Cons

  • Poor odor control for solid waste

3. Best Litter Retainer: Petmate Booda Dome Cat Litter Box

Petmate Booda Dome Cat Litter Box


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: This dome-shaped litter box from Petmate provides privacy and odor control, and the grooved steps clean your cat’s paws as they exit.

Quick Facts

  • Dimensions: 22.5L x 22.5W x 19H inches
  • Style: Enclosed
  • Recommended Cat Size: All
  • Self-Cleaning: No
  • Accessories: None

Petmate’s dome-shaped box is great for keeping your floors free from litter. It comes in 3 different colors and its enclosed design gives your cat some privacy.

Standout Feature

This box’s grooved steps remove litter from paws as they exit.

Ease of Cleaning

The lid on this domed litter box is easy to remove, making cleaning simple. The litter also slides off the inner walls quite easily, meaning there aren’t many soiled clumps that stick to the box. However, the lid can be loose and has been known to occasionally fall off when a larger cat is inside. In this case, we advise taping the sides or weighting the lid down.

Litter Scatter and Odor Control

This box retains odors well owing to its charcoal filter and enclosed design. The stairs are also great for removing additional litter from your cat’s furry paws.

Sizing

Petmate’s dome is 50% larger than most average boxes, making it ideal for cats of all sizes. The stairs to the entrance are also great for cats who struggle to jump into a litter box with high walls. However, the large size may not be convenient for storing in smaller spaces. Despite how large it is, it’s very lightweight, making it a good option for traveling.

Pros

  • Contains odors
  • Easy to clean
  • Travel-friendly
  • Comes in 3 different colors

Cons

  • The lid can be loose and sometimes fall off

4. Best Budget Pick: Arm & Hammer Sifting Litter Pan

Arm & Hammer Sifting Litter Pan


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: This affordable litter box requires no scooping and contains a convenient sifting pan to separate your cat’s waste.

Quick Facts

  • Dimensions: 19L x 15W x 8H inches
  • Style: Open
  • Recommended Cat Size: Small to medium
  • Self-Cleaning: No
  • Accessories: Comes with 1 sifting pan and 2 regular pans

At nearly half the price of some other litter boxes, this sifting pan from Arm and Hammer is durable, easy to clean, and deep enough to allow for privacy.

Standout Feature

The sifting pan allows you to separate urine and solids without the need for scooping.

Ease of Cleaning

This box’s sifting feature makes it easy to maintain and dispose of kitty’s waste. The box itself is also easy to clean with soap and water owing to its simple design.

Litter Scatter and Odor Control

The wall height on this box is average so you may find that litter scatter is still a bit of a problem. In terms of odor control, though, the box is treated with Microban for added anti-microbial control.

Sizing

This box is large enough for small to medium cats, but larger ones may struggle to fit in. Petmate’s Giant Litter Pan, however, provides a comparable design for bigger cats.

Pros

  • Sturdy and durable
  • Easy to clean
  • No scooping required

Cons

  • Not big enough for larger cats

PetSafe ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Litter Box


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: This self-cleaning litter box automatically removes waste, and its disposable tray means you don’t have to do any scooping.

Quick Facts

  • Dimensions: 27.37L x 19W x 7H inches
  • Style: Open
  • Recommended Cat Size: All
  • Self-Cleaning: Yes
  • Accessories: Comes with 3 disposable litter trays

Our premium pick is this self-cleaning litter tray from PetSafe. Its automated rake system pushes solid waste into the waste trap and covers it with odor-catching crystal litter. However, the sound of the motorized rake can scare some felines, so if you’re keen on self-cleaning, Omega’s Silent Self-Cleaning box may be a better option.

Standout Feature

This box has an automated rake system that automatically removes waste. It also has sensors that stop the motorized rake if your cat enters the box.

Ease of Cleaning

PetSafe’s litter box is simple to maintain. The device self-cleans for several weeks and all that is required once it’s full is to dispose of the bottom tray. The manufacturers recommend that you replace this tray once every 20 to 30 days for one cat, every 10 to 15 days for 2 cats, and every 7 to 10 days for 3 cats.

Litter Scatter and Odor Control

The crystal litter formula performs average on the odor control front, but you may find that traditional clay litter works better. The benefits of crystal litter, though, is that it is less messy and doesn’t stick to your kitty’s paws as much.

Sizing

This litter box is larger than most and is therefore suited to cats of all sizes; however, they do specify a weight of no more than 15 lbs. The walls are a bit shorter than standard litter trays, which is great for older or mobility-restricted cats.

Pros

  • Minimal maintenance
  • Controls odors
  • Crystal litter leaves little mess

Cons

  • The motor can be noisy and may scare some cats

6. Most Convenient: Litter Genie Cat Litter Box

Litter Genie Cat Litter Box


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: The flexible plastic and integrated handles on this convenient litter box make it easy to transport and empty solid litter.

Quick Facts

  • Dimensions: 22.3L x 16W x 17.6H inches
  • Style: Open
  • Recommended Cat Size: All
  • Self-Cleaning: No
  • Accessories: None

Little Genie’s cat litter box is a convenient option for owners who want minimal fuss. The handles make it easy to transport and stow away, and the high walls give your feline a bit of privacy when they’re doing the deed.

Standout Feature

The flexible plastic on this kitty litter tray allows it to fit into small spaces.

Ease of Cleaning

Litter Genie is simple and easy to clean. Litter rarely sticks to the sides and wiping it down can be done effortlessly with soap and water. The plastic can crack easily, though, especially with repeated carrying, so it’s best to not bend this box too much.

Litter Scatter and Odor Control

The high walls on this box help reduce litter scatter, particularly if your cat kicks it around when they’re inside. In terms of odor, the walls don’t absorb scents and the box’s depth allows for a higher load of litter which minimizes the smell.

Sizing

This box’s flexible plastic makes it easy to store and fit into snug places. When it’s filled, it’s roomy enough for bigger cats, making it a great fit for all sizes of cats. The entrance height between the handles is also low enough for easy access.

Pros

  • High walls prevent litter scatter
  • Easy to transport
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • The plastic cracks easily

7. Best for Large Cats: Petmate Giant Litter Pan

Petmate Giant Litter Pan


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: Petmate’s open-top giant litter pan goes back to basics and provides ample space for larger cats to do their business.

Quick Facts

  • Dimensions: 34.7L x 19.8W x 10H inches
  • Style: Open
  • Recommended Cat Size: Large cats (but may also suit medium-sized felines)
  • Self-Cleaning: No
  • Accessories: Comes with side storage for liners, bags, and scoops

This litter pan is large and durable and provides ample space for cats to comfortably do their business. It also features side storage to hold litter liners, bags, and scoops.

Standout Feature

The wide open-top design of this litter box makes for easy entry and exit, especially for larger felines.

Ease of Cleaning

Similar to the Arm and Hammer Sifting pan, this wide-open design makes for easy cleaning and litter disposal. There are also no sharp edges that can catch cat litter and create an additional mess. However, unlike Arm & Hammer’s, this box doesn’t have a sifting system.

Litter Scatter and Odor Control

The high sides of this large box prevent litter scatter, except at the front where there is a dip for the entrance. Owners may find a litter mat at the front solves this problem. Its large capacity (the box holds up to 30 lbs. of litter) also helps with odor control because waste can be sufficiently covered up.

Sizing

Large cats will love this litter box as it is roomy and high enough to give them some privacy. However, the big size means it also requires a large area for storage.

Pros

  • Easy to clean
  • Good for large cats
  • Strong and durable

Cons

  • The dip on the front of the box can allow litter scatter

8. Quickest Clean-Up: SpeedySift Cat Litter Box

SpeedySift Cat Litter Box


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: This litter pan has customizable walls and uses sifting liners which make for a quick and easy clean-up. No need for scooping!

Quick Facts

  • Dimensions: 20.9L x 17.9W x 4.9H inches
  • Style: Open
  • Recommended Cat Size: All
  • Self-Cleaning: No
  • Accessories: Comes with 14 sifting liners and 1 bottom pan

SpeedySift’s litter pan uses sieve-like sifting liners which means there is no need for scooping. When used with clumping clay, it prevents litter from sticking to the pan, making for an easy cleaning job.

Standout Feature

The liner system of this box creates a series of sieves which not only separates waste but also prevents leakage.

Ease of Cleaning

Speedy Sift’s litter box is easy to clean. Simply remove the liners and allow the litter to fall through the holes. The liners can be a bit weak if there is too much weight, so be sure to use the recommended amount of litter. Cleaning kitty’s waste only takes seconds with this sieve system and the walls are easy to wipe down.

Litter Scatter and Odor Control

This box’s customizable walls allow you to adjust the wall height to prevent litter from scattering on the floor. The box is also easy to wipe down, which helps minimize odors.

Sizing

This litter box is big enough for larger felines, so cats of all sizes can enjoy its merits. The low entrance is also great for cats who struggle to get into boxes with high walls.

Pros

  • Quick and easy to clean
  • Replaceable side walls
  • No scooping required

Cons

  • Liners can be a bit weak

Omega Paw Roll 'n Clean Self-Cleaning Litter Box


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: This self-cleaning litter box operates without electricity and rolls the waste to one side, eliminating the need for scooping.

Quick Facts

  • Dimensions: 17.5L x 20W x 9H inches
  • Style: Enclosed
  • Recommended Cat Size: All (the box comes in 2 sizes)
  • Self-Cleaning: Yes
  • Accessories: None

This handy self-cleaning litter box operates without electric sounds, making it a more pleasant experience for both kitty and owner. There have been some issues with the quality of this product, but Omega has released an improved version with stronger clips and better plastic.

Standout Feature

This litter box doesn’t require electricity or liners. Simply roll the box upside down, and the sifted waste deposits into a pull-out tray.

Ease of Cleaning

Omega’s self-cleaning box is easy to clean, especially when used with clumping litter, and the box comes apart easily for maintenance. The sifting grate can pop loose if the weight is too heavy so be sure to only fill the litter up to the recommended fill line inside the box.

Litter Scatter and Odor Control

While the enclosed structure of this box keeps litter scatter at bay, it’s advisable to have a mat underneath, as litter can come off your cat’s paws when they exit. The self-cleaning method of the box is good at retaining odors, though, which is a bonus.

Sizing

The inner area of the box can be on the small side and may not suit large cats. However, Omega conveniently offers this in a normal and large size. The overall shape of the box (particularly the larger version) is on the bulky side, though, so it is not great for storing in smaller spaces. Height-wise, the entrance is quite low so your cat should have no problem getting inside.

Pros

  • Comes in two sizes
  • Easy to use
  • Good odor retainer

Cons

  • Bulky size not great for small spaces
  • Quality can be flimsy

Merry Pet Cat Washroom Night Stand


Editor’s Rating:

Why we like it: Merry Pet’s unique litter cabinet is stylish, multi-functional, and great for retaining odors.

Quick Facts

  • Dimensions: 20L x 18W x 25H inches
  • Style: Enclosed
  • Recommended Cat Size: Small to medium cats
  • Self-Cleaning: No
  • Accessories: Comes with a towel bar on the side

While this litter cabinet requires more assembly than most, it creates a roomy space for your kitty that is both private and stylish. This is an ideal product for those who want an elegant space for their cat that disguises the litter box.

Standout Feature

This novel product is both furniture and a litter box. It provides a sleek functional space for your cat’s litter while also adding to the décor of the home.

Ease of Cleaning

The shape of the box makes for easy cleaning of the inner walls. However, the build quality could be better as the lacquer finish on the walls tends to degrade, especially when soap is applied. To solve this issue, we recommend spraying the walls with a non-toxic waterproof varnish to protect the material before use.

Litter Scatter and Odor Control

Merry Pet’s enclosed box is good for containing odors. Litter scatter can result when your kitty exits, so we recommend using a high-walled litter tray inside the box. It’s also a good idea to put a mat at the front to wipe their paws.

Sizing and Height

This box is roomy and great for cats of all sizes. However, the dimensions don’t accommodate larger-sized litter trays, so this may not suit all cat types. The height for the entrance is very low and almost at ground level, making it ideal for cats of all mobility ranges.

Pros

  • Looks elegant and stylish
  • Easy to assemble
  • Multi-functional

Cons

  • Quality of material could be better
  • Doesn’t accommodate large litter trays

Guide to Buying the Best Cat Litter Box


When it comes to cat litter boxes, the decision about what to buy can be complicated by several factors. This includes the needs of your feline, as well as your requirements in terms of size, ease of cleaning, and maintenance.

What Style of Cat Litter Box? Why Personality Matters

Selecting the right style of box also requires knowing the personality of your cat. Whether they’re old, young, anxious, or adventurous, these factors can greatly influence the type of box you choose.

Skittish Cats

When it comes to anxious felines, traditional open litter trays can be an easier choice. While enclosed boxes provide privacy, nervous cats might prefer to see what’s happening around them. Conversely, some nervous cats might not like being seen or exposed in an open tray, so an enclosed version would suit them better.

Automated self-cleaning trays can also create a bad experience for some nervous cats. While this is great for the human, a motorized sound might put your cat off entirely, resulting in a wasted litter box.

Older or Mobility-Restricted Cats

Cats who are older or who have mobility issues can struggle to climb over walls or into enclosed spaces. If your cat’s mobility is restricted, an open top might be easier for them to get in and out of. Again though, some open versions have high walls, so an enclosed one with a low entry is another option.

Young or Adventurous Cats

If your cat is sprightly, young, or likes to climb, enclosed boxes can work well. Generally, they should have no problem climbing through a top or side entry and they may even enjoy it! Young cats can also tend to spray more litter if they’re energetic, making enclosed boxes a good option.

Additional Litter Box Elements to Consider

Once you’ve figured out the general style of litter box for your cat’s personality, it’s important to consider some additional features.

Sizing

Sizing is important for a couple of reasons. Larger cats will need a larger tray and enough space to turn around in. As a general rule, the box should be at least one and a half times the length of the cat.

Another important thing to consider is the height of the walls. High walls are great for privacy, especially if the tray is an open style. However, when it comes to older cats or those with mobility issues, high walls can make access tricky. In this case, you might have to sacrifice your preferences for your cat’s comfort and opt for a low entry box.

Ease of Cleaning

As a cat owner, the ability to easily clean the litter box will likely be on the top of your list. To determine whether a box is easy to clean, start with the materials and design. Decent plastic walls won’t allow litter to stick and should be easy to wipe down with soap and water. You’ll also want to find a box that doesn’t absorb urine or waste smells. Plastic is often the best material in this case.

Waste Removal

Waste removal is another important factor to consider. Do you want the least amount of contact with kitty’s waste as possible? Or are you happy to get down and dirty?

Basic open kitty litter boxes that require scooping will be more laborious in terms of removal. While it might be a bit messier and less appealing on the nose, some prefer this simplicity. Petmate’s Giant Litter Pan, for example, provides this basic option.

However, other boxes that come with a sifting method mean you won’t have to do manual scooping. Self-cleaning boxes like PetSafe’s Self-Cleaning box are great for this, but you’ll need to establish whether your cat will be ok with the motorized sound. Alternatives like SpeedySift’s and Omega’s sifting mechanisms are quieter options in this case.

Litter Scatter

Litter scatter can be a pain, especially if it appears outside the box and throughout your home. The best way to deal with scattering is to go with boxes that are enclosed or that have high walls. Petmate and Litter Genie provide good open versions with high walls, while Iris and Merry Pet are good enclosed options.

You may also want to consider trays that are specially designed to remove litter from your cat’s paws, such as the Booda Dome. Additionally, you could investigate different types of litter that don’t stick to the paws as much.

Making Your Choice

Now that we’ve familiarized you with the different styles of cat litter box and the elements to consider, you’ll want to make your choice.

Price

Price matters a lot, especially if you’ve got more than 1 cat and you require multiple boxes. You’ll want to price up additional factors, too, such as how much litter (and what type) is required and what replacements might be needed later.

Standard litter trays are fairly inexpensive, and you can find ones that are reasonably priced and long-lasting, such as Arm & Hammer’s Sifting Pan. If you opt for a self-cleaning version, it can rack up the price significantly, but there may be long-term savings if less maintenance and litter are required.

Convenience

Something else to consider when making your final decision is convenience. Is it easy to carry and move to different areas? Is it compact and able to fit into small spaces? Can you take it with you in the car on holiday? Before launching into your choice, weigh up how much convenience matters to you and in what ways.

Final Thoughts

Finding the right litter box amongst a sea of choices can be tricky, but once you establish your cat’s preferences and what they need, the decision becomes easier. Pairing this up with your requirements as an owner in terms of cleanliness and maintenance will enable you to make the best choice for your cat. We hope this guide will make your search easier and that you’ll soon find a litter tray that is comfortable, clean, and enjoyable for your beloved feline.

Team PetMag

We’re a diverse team of animal lovers with a penchant for pups and a fascination with felines. As pet owners, we know that all pets are part of the family. Whether you live with pooches, pussy cats, rodents, or reptiles, we want to support them in living happy, healthy lives. Nothing tops our unwavering love for animals, but sharing all of our tips and tricks here at Pet Mag is a close second. We’re here to guide you through all of your pet care needs, like fighting fleas, picking grooming gloves, or simply hunting down the tastiest treats available.