ScoopFree Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box – Review

ScoopFree Ultra

$160
ScoopFree Ultra
86.25

Functionality

9/10

    Cat-Friendly

    8/10

      User-Friendly

      9/10

        Quality / Durability

        9/10

          Pros

          • No dust
          • Easy to clean
          • Very quiet
          • Durable stainless steel rake

          Cons

          • Proprietary litter trays are very pricey
          • Litter trays do not last as long as they claim
          • Waste compartment is undersized
          • Some cats refuse to use crystal litter

          Summary

          If you’re tired of scooping cat litter and you’re ready for a dust-free alternative to traditional litter, the ScoopFree Ultra Self Cleaning Litter Box might be the perfect solution. This affordable litter box is quiet, durable, and makes cleaning a breeze.


          Overview

          The ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Litter Box by PetSafe has been on the market since 2004. The newer “Ultra” model is very similar to the previous design but it now comes standard with a cover and Health Counter. PetSafe offers a one-year limited warranty on both the original and Ultra Self Cleaning Litter Boxes.

          What You’ll Need:

          • Electrical Connection
          • Proprietary Crystal Litter Trays (need to be replaced every 1-3 weeks* – $15/each)

          * Replace every 3 weeks for 1 cat, 2 weeks for 2 cats, and 1 week for 3 cats

          How it Works

          The ScoopFree Ultra Self Cleaning Litter Box uses disposable crystal litter trays with a built-in waste compartment. Crystal litter works differently than traditional clumping litter. With crystal litter, liquid waste drains to the bottom of the tray and solid waste is dehydrated then scooped into a waste compartment by a stainless steel rake. When the waste compartment is full, the entire litter tray is disposed of. As an alternative to the disposable litter trays, PetSafe, Forever Litter Trays, and LitterWorks have created a permanent, reusable tray that is more economical in the long run. Non-proprietary crystal litter can be purchased by the bag and used in these permanent trays.

          Pros

          • Affordable upfront cost
          • No Dust – crystal litter is dust-free, unlike traditional kitty litter
          • Very quiet
          • No assembly required
          • Adjustable cycle timers
          • Disposable litter trays make cleaning very easy
          • Durable stainless steel rake
          • Optional Forever Tray offers more economical, green alternative to disposable litter trays

          Cons

          • Some cats will not use crystal litter and that’s the only type of litter compatible with this unit
          • Proprietary litter trays are very pricey ($15 each) / Cost prohibitive with more than 1 cat
          • Proprietary litter trays do not last as long as they claim
          • Waste compartment is undersized

          Summary / Recommendations

          The ScoopFree Ultra Self Cleaning Litter Box is a great option for cat owners looking for an affordable, time-saving, litter-scooping aid. It is by no means a completely hands-off product, especially if you opt for the more economical Forever Tray option. But it will certainly go a long way towards making your litter chores more manageable.

          Test out Crystal Litter Beforehand

          If your cats aren’t already accustomed to using crystal litter, we highly recommend buying a bag at the store and testing it out in your standard litter box before buying the ScoopFree Ultra Self Cleaning Litter Box. While most cats will eventually adjust to using crystal litter, there are a few that simply refuse to use this type of litter. And if you’re one of the unlucky few, you’ll be grateful to know this before you spend a few hundred dollars on a machine your cat won’t use.

          Disposable Litter Tray vs. Forever Tray

          If you’re trying to decide between sticking with the disposable litter trays that the ScoopFree Ultra Self Cleaning Litter Box comes with and the aftermarket Forever Tray + purchasing bags of crystal litter, here’s some helpful information to consider.

          The disposable litter trays are very simple to swap out and there’s virtually no scooping required. These disposable trays come with everything you need, including the crystal litter and a lid for disposal. Everyone will agree that this option is the easiest to maintain. The Forever Tray takes a bit more work, but for a lot of people it is well worth the long-term cost savings. The Forever Tray is a permanent plastic tray that needs to be manually filled with crystal litter. When the litter is ready to be changed, you empty out the Forever Tray and refill with clean crystal litter, rather than throwing away the entire box.

          Forever Tray Cleaning Tip- To make cleanup even easier, line your forever tray with a plastic liner or trash bag. Then when it’s time to change out the litter, it’s already bagged for you. And there’s no mess to clean up in the plastic tray.

          Assumptions:

          Disposable Tray Cost – Approx. $15/each (when buying package of 6)

          Forever Tray – $50 (ScoopFree) or $60 (Forever Litter Trays & LitterWorks)

          Crystal Litter – $10/4.4lb bag

          Disposable tray lasts 3 weeks for 1 cat, 2 weeks for 2 cats, and 1 week for 3 cats

          Disposable Trays vs. Forever Tray – Life Cycle Costs

          1 Cat Household

          While the manufacturer claims a single crystal litter tray will last up to a month for a single cat, we have found that the average is closer to 3 weeks. The payback period for the Forever Tray is 27 weeks, or about 7 months. So after 7 months, you’ll start saving money with the Forever Tray.

          2 Cat Household

          If your house is home to 2 furry felines, the disposable trays might be cost prohibitive.   The payback period for the Forever Tray is 18 weeks, or about 4.5 months. By month 5 you will be saving money with the Forever Tray compared to the disposable trays.

          3 Cat Household

          And for homes with 3 or more cats, be prepared to pay a hefty fee if you opt for the disposable trays. After week 9, or just over 2 months in, the Forever Tray will have paid for itself.


          Invest in the Litter-Bagger

          The Litter-Bagger by LitterWorks is a nifty 3rd party contraption that eliminates the need for purchasing the disposable trays and it bags your litter for you. The capacity of the litter bags is far greater than that of the waste compartment in the disposable trays, so you won’t have to throw out the litter nearly as often. It also makes changing out the crystal litter a lot easier. You can simply scoop the wet crystals into the waste area, and then refill the permanent tray. This add-on comes at a hefty price of $150. This might seem outrageous, but if you plan on keeping your ScoopFree Litter Box for at least 5 years, you’ll actually save money by investing in the Litter-Bagger.

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