At the time of our review, there about 600 Amazons for the ScoopFree® Ultra and another 1,800+ for the ScoopFree® Original Self Cleaning Litter Box – both have an overall rating of 3.8 stars. In most cases we like to recommend products with a minimum Amazon rating of 4 but we did some digging into the user feedback on Amazon (no pun intended) and read several other more in-depth reviews from pet experts.
The trend we saw with a lot of the critical feedback stemmed from people saying that they needed to change the trays more often than the manufacture recommended or that the system wasn’t completely odor free for the full “20 to 30 days.” With the exception of a few rare, isolated cases we didn’t see complaints about the actual mechanism works – as a matter of fact we saw a lot of reviews that talked about how it doesn’t get stuck or jam like other models that they have tried.
What we learned, by looking at both the positive and critical reviews, is that cats differ in their frequency of usage and the manufacture gives averages. They do say that results may vary depending upon factors such as size, age, health, diet and the number of cats. As for the “odor” – our thought (as well as many other happy users) is this, just because you CAN leave the waste container alone for 3 weeks at a time, doesn’t mean that it’s the best option. We are dealing with urine and feces here, so no matter how enclosed a container you have – it’s going to stink after a while.
When we did our research, the ScoopFree® by Petsafe was the only self-cleaning litter box that uses disposable litter trays as part of the system. These trays truly make keeping your cat’s box clean and odor free a much easier task. The waste storage container is large enough to go a few weeks before entering – however, we would recommend only going that long if you are on vacation! Most pet owners suggest that once a week is enough to keep odor under control.
The Original ScoopFree® offers one option for the time delay before the rake does its job – 20 minutes after your cat leaves the box. If you go for the Ultra, you can adjust this to 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes. For both models, the timer will automatically reset if your cat goes back inside before the time is up. Petsafe tested the raking mechanism in the lab and it went over 100,000 cycles without any jams or failures. Real world owners also report that they don’t experience jamming like they had with other self cleaning litter boxes.
Some owners of larger cats, or cats who go more frequently, have expressed concern that using the disposable crystal trays costs more than a system that allows them to use any brand of litter. While this may be true, what you are getting is a litter that provides up to 5X more odor control and cleaning system that keeps your contact with the waste to a minimum (just emptying the waste container). The average single cat owner only needs to change the tray about every 3 to 4 weeks. Changing frequency will be more often if you have multiple cats, kittens, senior cats or cats who are sick.
The ScoopFree® Litter Box without a doubt simplifies your daily maintenance tasks. Altogether now, “Woo Hoo! Goodbye to scooping!”
But how does it do with the major cleaning job? Yup, it’s got that covered too. First of all, since you are using a disposable tray, there is now litter tray that has to be dealt with – that means now emptying out a tray full of old litter, no banging the bottom to remove stuck on clumps and no worries about whether to go outside in the rain with the hose or washing the pan in the bathtub.
With a traditional litter tray, because there is direct contact with the waste, major cleaning should be done once a week. For the ScoopFree® you should wash the waste container that frequently, and you might want to rinse out the hood while you are at it, but since the base never comes in contact with waste (thanks to the leak proof trays) “major” cleaning day will consist of changing out the tray and probably washing the rake. We don’t think things could get much easier.
Needless to say, the ScoopFree Self Cleaning Litter Box has lots of features and benefits for pet owners, but about their furry friends?
- Because cats are clean animals, they won’t go in a litter box that is dirty or smells badly – Petsafe has that covered for sure.
- Most cats like privacy and seclusion when they do their business, but others don’t – ScoopFree comes with our without the privacy hood and even if you purchase the Ultra model, if your cat doesn’t like it you can simply take it off.
- Some cats can be very particular about the type of litter that is used in the tray – From the reviews that we read, most cats adjust nicely to the litter crystals. However, if yours doesn’t’ this system will not work with clumping or clay litters.
- Some cats can be skittish and the sound of a self cleaning litter box may be enough to frighten them so much that they won’t go back – With the 20 minute time delay before raking, most cats won’t be bothered by the sound.