We now own a Litter Robot Open Air III, and have used it for a couple of months.
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I bought this as a co-worker has 2 (4 or so cats) and he swears by them. Says he had one of the original and it took 5 or so years for it to break down.
Priced at $450 ($350 if you can get refurb), this is a premium model. My refurb came clean and with all accessories. If this continues to work for a year, then it would cost about a dollar a day, and that is worth it to me to have a clean litter box with minimal effort!
Cat gets in, it notices weight change, cat gets out. Light turns different color meaning “I will start clean process soon”.
It will wait 3-7-15 minutes (7 is default, I changed to 15 to allow longer drying) before starting the rotation process. Litter goes thought a screen, solids get stuck and roll through hole into drawer below, it reverses and litter comes back through screen and it levels. This process takes about 2 minutes
Blue light means “clean”. Flashing blue means “take out the litter bag”. There is a light-meaning key included with the instructions.
We have 2 full grown cats and I replace the litter bag 2x a week. MUCH simpler than needing to do this the recommended daily cleanings to keep kitties happy. (I will admit I didn’t clean daily)
I may notice more smell (people in reviews say they don’t), but kitty may have been sick that week.
The noise of it running not enough to wake me up (you can set a “sleep” timer so it won’t run for 8 hours). It is louder than a battery powered light switch flipper, but quieter than a dishwasher. Maybe like a drill with low torque in another room?
This has a night light, which is automatic based on brightness of the room. They say this is good for older cats with poor eyesight, but likely just gimmick.
This takes basic clumping clay litter (Scoop Away clumping clay litter not a referral link) and may accept other types.
It uses garbage bags as the liner. You can buy them for a crazy price from the Litter Robot site, or just use one you have. We initially used the basic 13-18 gallon bag same as our kitchen, but the 10 gallon wastepasket liner bags (500 for $15 at Costco 10 gallon waste basket liner not a referral link) is a better solution and actually fits the drawer better.
The power cable it comes with is only about 5 feet long, and there aren’t adapters/longer versions of it. I bought a basic extension cable and ran it. You can get a battery back up, but this is mean in case of temporary power outage and not for using long term.
I notice more litter on the floor with this, and I’m not sure why. It does have a lip to keep more in, and you can get a taller lip (“lip extender” and “fence”) for it.
The box it self is a little high, as it uses gravity to remove the potty. For an older cat this may be a problem, but they offer a ramp which I may decide to get in a few years if it becomes difficult for my cats.
The unit did initially have issues, but I think this was due to the younger cat being TOO curious and trying to get in it while it was moving. It has a cat sensor (weight) so when it notices a weight change it stops what it was doing. A few of those interruptions and the unit went into a “red mode” where the litter wasn’t available (unit was turned) which requires immediate human intervention to fix.
THIS is a big negative like any automated system. With a normal litter box it would just be poopy. With this, there is no litter and no where for the pet to go potty. Best case it stops working while litter is available, but because there is less litter they’ll have less clean area and may miss the litter. I plan on putting the normal litter box as a back up for any weekend trips.
However, once the novelty wore off the cats stopped running in and stepping on it to watch it steal their poop.
Make sure the unit is on level floor, not carpeted is best (as that could through off the balance of the machine and make it think an animal is in it all the time).
Hope this helps!