Dealing with a dirty litter box is something no one wants to do: cat lover or otherwise. Unfortunately, it is one of those things that cannot be ignored and as a result, companies have been creating automated solutions for this messy chore for a few years now.
Two of the most popular products in the automated litter box market are the Litter Robot and the Cat Genie. Both units make the cleanup process much easier but each units takes an entirely different approach.
I’ve previously reviewed both products separately. You can check out the Litter Robot review here and the Cat Genie right here.
Which one is better? The Litter Robot or Cat Genie?
The short answer is that it depends. Both litter boxes work as advertised (for the most part) but some cat owners will find that one unit or the other better meets their needs and that of their cat(s).
Bottom Line up Front: I get it. You might be in a rush. So here’s my overall take (gun to my head): I prefer the Litter Robot III available here, because it’s much easier to set up and maintain for pet owners.
Keep reading to learn about the differences between these two devices so you can intelligently choose the right automated litter box solution for you…and your cats.
Cat Genie Overview
The Cat Genie is one of the most well-known automated cat litter solutions on the market and for good reason: Cat Genie has been making it easier to clean up after cats for years and the innovative approach taken by this product means that you never have to touch dirty cat litter again.
Essentially, the Cat Genie is a self-flushing and self-washing cat box that works similar to a “cat toilet” in that it washes away waste, cleans the litter, and finally dries it so it is ready for its next use.
The Cat Genie features three different settings. “Cat Start” automatically cleans the litter box 10 minutes after the Genie detects that a cat has used the bathroom.
“Auto Start” cleans the litter box up to four times a day automatically and the “Push Start” setting allows the litter box to be manually flushed at the push of a button. The unit also has a child lock that prevents small children from accidentally flushing the unit.
The supplies required to operate the Cat Genie include a biodegradable SaniSolution cartridge that cleans and sanitizes as well as the reusable litter that makes the system work.
The supplies included with the unit are enough to accommodate one cat for approximately three months after which time the user will need to purchase more supplies – supplies that are only available from Cat Genie.
Herein lies the Cat Genie’s greatest fault: it depends on proprietary products to continue functioning and these products cost significantly more than traditional cat litter.
That said, the reusable granules that make up the cat litter used by the Cat Genie do not need to be replaced but over time granules will get lost due to spillage.
The automatic flushing and washing feature does require a cold water line, wastewater drain, and access to an electrical outlet. It does take some work to get the Cat Genie up and running but once it’s properly set up, there is little the user has to do to maintain the cleanliness of the litter box area.
The Cat Genie works by allowing liquid cat waste to drain through the granules. An automated arm scoops out the solid waste which is subsequently dropped into a chamber. During this time, clean water fills the box as the solid waste is emulsified prior to removal.
The liquefied waste is drained through the drain pipe which can be connected to the laundry room drain or through the toilet using an attachment hooked to the toilet rim.
Pros of the Cat Genie
- Fully automated solution
- Programmable flushing modes to keep litter box clean
- Easy set up
- No contact with dirty litter
Cons of the Cat Genie
- Does not work properly if cat defecates soft feces (may get stuck in the device and cause a strong odor)
- System can clogged from time to time, requiring a thorough cleaning
- Reusable litter does not absorb litter box odor
- Loud when performing a cleaning cycle (cleaning cycles take 34 minutes to complete)
Litter Robot Overview
Still automated but not nearly as complex as the Cat Genie, the Litter Robot self-cleaning litter box is another option for cat owners that do not want to handle dirty cat litter anymore.
The unique design of the Litter Robot uses a rotating mechanism to separate waste from clean litter. The waste is then deposited into a receptacle on the bottom of the litter box that is lined with a standard 13 gallon plastic trash bag.
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Cleaning the litter box is as simple as changing out the garbage bag in the bottom of the unit every few days. The Litter Robot operates on a 12 V power source (both AC and DC adapters are included) and does not require using water lines or drainage tubes like the Cat Genie.
The design of this unit is much simpler and less prone to failure while still dealing with dirty litter so you don’t have to. This unit uses standard cat litter which is also a benefit in that it is less expensive than reusable granules and does a much better job of masking cat odors until the next cleaning cycle begins.
Also, the cleaning cycle on the Litter Robot is only seven minutes compared to the 34 minutes it takes for the Cat Genie to clean a litter box of similar size.
Pros of the Litter Robot
- Very easy setup and operation
- No contact with dirty litter
- Works with any clumping litter (better odor control)
- Quick, seven minute cleaning cycle occurs seven minutes after the cat finished using the litter box
- Much quieter than other automated litter box solutions
Cons of the Litter Robot
- Large size
- Not suitable for cats over 15 pounds
- Has trouble separating the waste from kittens – must be cleaned manually until the cats mature
- Waste receptacle is not airtight
- Electronic control panel is not waterproof (should be covered with plastic film as a precaution)
Cat Genie vs Litter Robot Final Results
Both of these automated litter box solutions are an effective option for cat owners who are sick of cleaning dirty cat litter but which of these two options is best for you and your cat(s) depends on a few factors.
First, some cats will prefer one unit over the other. Unfortunately, there is no way to know which of these units your cat will prefer without actually
The additional work required to set up the Cat Genie properly may be a turn off to some cat owners and depending on where the litter box is normally located, water and drainage lines may need to be installed.
The Litter Robot only needs a power outlet to operate and the fact that it relies on regular litter makes it easier to maintain over time. UPDATE: Please note that they have a new App control functionality to control your Litter Robot remotely from your phone. It’s exclusively available here as the Litter Robot III Connect.
Neither of these devices is cheap but the money spent now will save you from the hassles and headaches of cleaning the litter box constantly and in some cases, you can even save money over the lifetime of the unit.
Give one a try and see how easy maintaining the litter box can be with a little help from home automation technology.
Bottom Line: For right now, I’d lean towards the Litter Robot, especially for first time automated kitty litter buyers. You can find it on sale here.
Cynthia Long says
I want to thank you for this review. I have been going back and forth trying to decide which to buy. Your comparison has cleared up all my questions. You just made my decision so much easier. Thank you for the time and effort you put into this review.
Amber G. says
I’ve owned a CatGenie for nearly 8 years now. I’m tired of the constant maintenance required, about once a month I have to pull apart the machine and clean the lower part, the scooper, and the basin for the granules. I also have hard water so the water sensors and hoses get gunked up pretty easy.
I’m seriously thinking of switching to the Litter Robot but worried my chonky-cat won’t fit. He’s around 20 pounds and has a long body. But the CatGenie is seriously not worth the hassle.
Kristen L Mcintyre says
I bought a cat genie and loved it for the first 5 months. Then the stink began. I took it apart and cleaned it like new. It’s winter and I’m in wisconsin so cleaning it outside was not an option. I used an abundance of dawn, cut poop coated hair and strings off the propeller, retired my kitchen dish scrubber to have a tool to get into all the nooks and crannies until the system looked new. I did not put clean litter in. 2 days later it was stinking up the house again….2 months of holding my breath, lighting candles, setting it to only clean when I am gone….I just read that it’s not reccomended for kittens under 6 months. The darn kitten is 4 months old and started using the same box as my other cat 2 months ago! Now I’ve got 2 cats trained to use it and 2 more months of soft poop….Thanks to this review I’m not running out to buy a Litter Robot because they also have problems with kittens under 6 months. I’m not really sure what to do in the next 2 months, I leave for a week long vacation next week. I’ll set it to clean in the middle of the night when I am gone. I think I’ll also figure out how to set it up in the basement where there is no cold air return!