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Litter-Robot 3 Connect Review (Testing a $549+ Automatic Litter Box)

We LOVE our cats. They’re cute and fluffy creatures that brighten up any day, but one downside to owning them is scooping up their litter boxes. So to spend more time cuddling cats and to spend less time cleaning dirty litter boxes, Whisker created a self-cleaning litter box, the Litter-Robot 3 Connect. This automatic litter box promises to eliminate scooping time, reduce odor, and improve your cat’s quality of life. We put this pricey $549+ wifi-connected cat toilet to the test.

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We LOVE our cats. They’re cute and fluffy creatures that brighten up any day, but one downside to owning them is scooping up their litter boxes. So to spend more time cuddling cats and to spend less time cleaning dirty litter boxes, Whisker created a self-cleaning litter box, the Litter-Robot 3 Connect. This automatic litter box promises to eliminate scooping time, reduce odor, and improve your cat’s quality of life. We put this pricey $549+ wifi-connected cat toilet to the test.

Why trust us?

For context, we’ve tested a bunch of other automatic litter boxes, tested the Litter-Robot 4, and compared both units. For the Litter-Robot 3 Connect, we tested this for over one year with our indoor cats to see how well they interacted with the machine, how much litter is filtered and cleaned in the box, ease of use, and if it’s worth the hefty price. Meet our little furry friends, Bounce and Gob, and learn about our Litter Robot experience below.

What is the Litter-Robot & what to expect

cat sitting inside the Litter Robot
Bounce focusing on using the Litter-Robot 3

The Litter-Robot is a self-cleaning litter box that automatically scoops up clumps of litter to a hidden waste drawer beneath the machine whenever your cat uses it. This machine differs from other automatic scooping litter boxes because of its globe shape that physically turns the entire inner chamber to filter out clumps, leaving no extra clumps unturned.

However, if you use lighter-weight litter (like wheat or corn), you may experience some leftover clumps stuck to the inner globe like we did.

There’s the standard Litter-Robot 3 and an upgraded model called the Litter-Robot 3 Connect that connects to a smartphone app. The app allows you to view your kitty’s usage history and customize different settings on the machine.

Since the machine filters out dirty litter every time it’s used, there’s less odor from the litter box and inside your house. Most cats prefer a clean litter box–some will even stop using the litter box if it’s too dirty–so having a self-cleaning litter box helps with overall cat health!

While there is no weight limit for cats to use this machine (it’s a rather large machine), it is required that cats need to be at least five pounds to trigger the sensors. Whisker recommends having one Litter-Robot per four indoor cats, but you may need to empty the waste drawer more often if more than one cat uses the litter box.

Our cat, Gob, didn’t seem to ever mind using the machine, although he was suspicious about the moving globe for the first couple of tries. He would often peek in during a cleaning cycle, which would stop the machine automatically and restart once he left. If you’re worried about switching litter boxes, Whisker does offer a handy guide to help your cat get used to its new litter box.

How much does a Litter-Robot cost?

There are currently two types of Litter-Robot machines available for purchase on the Whisker website. The Litter-Robot 3 is priced at $499 and is the current base model without any additional accessories. There is also a more expensive version called the Litter-Robot 3 Connect, which is $549. This upgraded model lets you link the litter box to an app on your phone.

There are also many accessories and bundle sets to create the best environment for your kitties. Some helpful accessories are the LR 3 Ramp ($50) that helps cats enter the globe easier (this is helpful for older cats who can’t constantly jump to use the litter box) and the Litter Trap mat ($40) that helps to catch any litter outside of the machine. Unlike other mats we’ve used, this mat is larger and opens up completely so you can vacuum any hard-to-reach litter pieces.

Litter-Robot dimensions: will it fit?

cat stepping into litter robot 3

Realistically, this is a really big litter box in size and weight. So before you press the trigger on the purchase button, make sure this fits your space. The Litter-Robot stands at 29.5”x 24.25” x 27” and weighs about 24 pounds (before adding litter). Whisker states that it also needs to be placed on top of a flat, even surface without it touching walls, so make sure you have the space for this.

The Litter-Robot globe sits on top of the waste drawer, where the litter is added, so your cat needs to jump about 13.4” high to reach the top step of the entrance, and the opening is an oval that measures 16.5”x11.” If your cat is on the larger side, it might be harder for them to jump in and use the Litter-Robot, or if your cat is old, you may need to buy the additional Ramp for easier access.

Litter-Robot setup

Before assembling the Litter-Robot, find a location that fits the machine that’s a firm, level surface area that’s not touching any walls or corners. You don’t want your cat to tilt the machine if it’s on an uneven surface. It’s also great to find a place that’s a dry and cool place to prevent damage to the machine.

While it doesn’t come completely assembled, set-up takes no time at all. It comes in separate parts: the base with the waste drawer slid inside, the globe (the ball-shaped litter compartment), and the bonnet (the semi-circular piece).

Make sure you follow the manual on how to set up your machine, you can find photo instructions on set-up on page 31 of the manual. Align the globe onto the base of the Litter-Robot. On the back of the globe is a moveable key that needs to be locked into place by turning it counterclockwise until it sits on the notch at the bottom of the globe.

Place the bonnet over the top of the globe and put the tabs onto the notches of each side of the globe so they click in. Add clumping litter to the top of the fill line. Plug the power supply on the back of the globe and plug the adapter into a wall outlet. Finally, turn on the machine by pressing the power button on the control panel. It’s also great to look over the quick start guide after you’ve assembled the machine.

Litter-Robot app

litter-robot app screenshot

The Litter-Robot 3 Connect comes with a useful app that tracks all your cat’s bathroom usage. You can also connect multiple Litter Robots on one app and name each one to differentiate them. When you open the app, you can choose which litter box to view.

There’s a gauge that alerts you if the waste drawer is empty or full and needs to be changed out. It also lists the recent activity like cat sensor timing, clean cycle starting/progressing, and clean cycle completing.

What’s great about the app are these activities and the history graph of when your cat uses the litter box. If you’re on a trip and need to monitor your cat or just want to see if they’re making daily visits to the litter box, it’s useful information to have. It’s also good to monitor your cat’s average litter box usage over time to spot any potential health issues if usage deviates from normal.

You also have control over the Litter-Robot through the app and can make changes to the nightlight, sleep mode, cycle delay, and possible power controls. For the base model without the app connection, you would need to manually change these on the control panel of the machine.

While the app is a handy tool to use, setting up the Litter-Robot connection to the app was a bit of a confusing and frustrating experience. It took multiple tries to connect and was very spotty. It eventually worked in the end but could have been way smoother.

Daily and long-term maintenance

Daily scoop

Since we used wheat litter for environmental purposes, we found we did have a daily “end-of-the-day” scrape inside the global to make sure there weren’t any leftover clumps stuck to the inner chamber. Whisker recommends heavier clay clumping litter so this may not be a problem if you already use this. Even with the nightly scrape-downs, we found it beneficial to use the Litter-Robot because it cleans out most litter about five times throughout the day that we may have not otherwise gotten to with a regular litter box.

Trash bags

13 gallon trash bags

Since we only had one indoor cat use the machine, the Litter-Robot app alerts us about every one and a half weeks that the waste drawer is full and needs to be emptied. You can buy custom fitted bags for this machine from the manufacturer, but we found that standard 10-13 gallon Kirkland garbage bags work well enough for us. Using bags makes emptying the machine super easy and convenient.

Deep cleaning the Litter-Robot

deep cleaning the Litter Robot 3

One critique is cleaning the machine–it wasn’t the fastest process or easiest because it’s such a sizable electronic machine. You can clean the globe with soapy water; however, the other parts of the machine, like the bonnet or base, have electronics that cannot be cleaned with water or get wet. Also, after disassembling the machine, there were crevices where dirty litter got stuck on the globe and the base. So we used a vacuum, natural spray cleaner, and paper towels, which took a significant portion of time to clean.

Whisker recommends cleaning the inside of the globe every one to three months depending on your cat’s behavior, however, after finding crevices with dirty litter, I would recommend cleaning the entire machine and not just the globe.

wiping Litter Robot surface

Odor control

At the end of the day, it’s a place for your cat to expel waste throughout the day. So yes, it sometimes does emit odors when cats use it and during the automatic sweeping of litter. However, since the Litter-Robot is an enclosed and domed box, it’s less smelly than traditional litter boxes.

Due to the automatic self-cleaning feature, the dirty litter is quickly scooped throughout the day and transferred to the hidden wastebasket underneath. This is similar to a Litter Genie, the smells are locked-in place, and it helps trap the odors from coming out.

Whisker sells various products that help with odor control inside the Litter-Robot. For example, they sell OdorTrap Pods that stick onto the Litter-Robot or a traditional litter box. This OdorTrap is made up of natural plant oils that attach and trap odor molecules to help eliminate smells. They also sell carbon filters that slide into the waster drawers to help absorb foul odors and control the moisture in the drawers.

We can control the wait time between when your cat uses the Litter-Robot and when it rotates to sift–this allows more control over clumping time based on litter material. The default time is seven minutes but can be as short as three minutes or as long as 15 minutes. Whisker recommends setting the automatic cleaning cycle to 7 minutes for clumping litter, but if you are using lightweight, low clumping litter, you may need to wait 15 minutes; otherwise, the litter will break during the scooping process.

Does the Litter-Robot contain scatter?

cat looking into Litter Robot
Gob inspecting the Litter-Robot 3 Connect

The Litter-Robot could be considered one of the best-covered litter boxes in the market because its minimized entry/exit point helps to prevent litter from scattering outside of the box. As a result, the amount of extra litter our cat kicks out is considerably less than our previous manual litter box.

It’s also helpful to have the large litter trap mat on the floor to catch any litter. We noticed that our cat tracked more litter using the ramp than jumping into the globe. Once we removed the ramp, there was way less litter tracking outside the machine. Whisker also sells a fence you can attach to your Litter-Robot to reduce the amount of scatter; however, it’s also an additional $25.

Best cat litter for the Litter-Robot

wheat litter bag

Whisker recommends using high-quality litter that clumps easily, and they’ve made it even easier by creating their own premium and natural clay litter. Whisker states the Litter-Robot is not compatible with litter beads, crystals, wood pellets, or other forms of litter that may not pass through the screen filter or get stuck. Many people like using other clay litter like Fresh Step clumping clay litter.

You can also use wheat or corn litter. We prefer using wheat litter because it’s more environmentally friendly and doesn’t have any added fragrances. We also don’t need to adjust the amount of litter needed because the Litter-Robot can sensor its weight appropriately.

There is a fill line in the Litter-Robot to know how much litter to add, but if you decide to use lightweight litter, like wheat or corn litter, you may need to add more litter so that the sensor can adequately work. The Litter-Robot may not activate when your cat uses it if the litter is too light.

Is the Litter-Robot worth it?

Things to consider when buying the Litter-Robot is if its large size will fit in your space if you’re using the appropriate litter, and if it’s in your budget. If you’re worried about your cat adjusting properly, Whisker offers a 90-day trial to see if it’s the right fit.

After testing the very expensive Litter-Robot 3 Connect for over a year with an indoor cat, we spend enough time cleaning up pet fur, so we would definitely say it’s worth the hefty price for the time saved scooping a dirty litter box multiple times a day and to be able to monitor our cat’s health, too.

Bryan Vu, Editor

Bryan is our cooking and kitchen expert, with more than 15 years of experience of cooking and testing kitchen products. When outside of the kitchen, he enjoys woodworking, photography, videography and figuring out how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. He thoroughly enjoys discovering the best, whether it’s ingredients or equipment, and finding products that can stand the rigors of daily use.