The Litter-Robot 3 Open Air is an automatic litter box that I have wanted to try for a very long time so I could compare it to other boxes on the market. The idea of a hooded or automatic litter box is to make your visitors wonder if you even have cats when they enter your house. The Litter-Robot 3 Open Air is ideal for cat owners and animal shelters to use for maximum efficiency and cleanliness.
I would never recommend another hooded or automatic box for cat owners because not a single product comes close to this one, which is my conclusion after using it for 15 plus cats. Admittedly, it can be expensive and require some maintenance. I am not an advocate for hooded boxes, but this automatic box is one I would use just for the fact that as the director of a medium-sized cat rescue I am gone for long periods. You can purchase your robot from the manufacturer by clicking here, and Cuddle Cat Rescue will get 15% of all proceeds.
The Litter-Robot 3 Open Air is the absolute best litter box on the market for eliminating odor while saving time and eliminating scooping without having many of the drawbacks that are associated with having a hooded box. It is a massive upgrade from the Litter-Robot 2, which had bugs that were identified early in the development process. Every issue in the previous model is now gone. I like to think of this new box as an exquisite piece of art rather than a box. The Litter-Robot is not as hooded as other boxes on the market, so the urine is not going to be trapped within, which would dissuade use. The opening is quite large, which is a nice feature to have for larger cat breeds such as the Maine Coon.
I have used the Litter-Robot with a large variety of cats that are vastly different in personality, age, and size. I have used the Robot with my own cats and with my rescue cats. I find that even the most curious or fearful cat will take to the Robot with time and minimal training if needed. I would avoid it in a household where you might have cats that are being bullied because it only has one front entrance/exit point. Patience and support are invaluable when it comes to training your cat to anything new.
Included In The Box:
- Fully assembled Litter Robot
- Carbon filter (inserted)
- 15 volt DC power supply
- Three Liners
- Manual and quick guide
- Return instructions
- Cute meow sticker
The depth of the globe is approximately 20 inches from front to back, with the widest point inside the globe being 20 inches across. The fully assembled machine is 29.2 inches in height, 24.1 inches in width, and 26.7 inches in depth. The waste drawer is 5 inches in height, 12.5 inches in width, 16 inches in depth, and the oval entryway is 15.5 inches in height and 10.25 inches in width.
Benefits Of Litter Robot
The Litter-Robot is meant to be used for multiple cats and will save you about 50% on your annual cat litter usage, which I find to be an accurate statement from the company. Animal shelter workers or rescue volunteers will find more time in the day for engaging their animals one on one and with their adopters rather than cleaning the litter boxes over and over again. Just cleaning litter boxes all day can become a massive chore if you run a large shelter or rescue. I have found this to be true with 15 cats in my household. The Robot has already saved me quite a bit of cat litter over the years I have used this machine.
I loved the fact that I did not have to scoop as many boxes with this many cats because scooping four times a day was becoming quite the work-out for me since I work as a cat behavior consultant in addition to being the rescue director. The Litter-Robot will automatically and consistently remove clumps while preserving clean cat litter. I have never had trouble with any clumps sticking to the box, as was the case with previous units. The plastic shield serves the purpose it was advertised for, which is removing any waste that is likely to stick to the sides or top of the Robot.
The Robot’s color is tasteful and will blend well with almost any decor. The built-in rubber mat and lip extender are specifically designed to reduce litter spillage so that you do not have to keep up with the mess. It is instrumental in catching cat litter. You may also purchase stairs that attach to the Robot for maximum protection against spillage. A litter mat, such as the Black Hole litter mat, would be a great supplement to have in front of the machine but should not be placed directly under it. I also use the Litter Champ, which is like the Litter Genie, to collect bags until they can be transferred to the trash. One caution: The Litter-Robot should never be pushed up against a wall, or it can overheat.
Many people will be thrilled to hear that this product is made in the United States and comes with an 18-month warranty for those who are still on the fence about purchasing the Litter-Robot. The 90-day money-back guarantee will allow you to try this product without a full commitment to keeping it if it does not work out for you. However, I think that you will not want to return the product after you have experienced the power of the Litter-Robot first hand.
My favorite update to the Litter-Robot 3 Open Air from previous models is that it will work for any cat weighing between 5 and 20 pounds. Please note that this box should be manually operated for cats weighing under 5 pounds because, not knowing better, they can get stuck in it since the trigger plate will not work right. Caution should be used if you want to use this box for a diabetic cat due to the size of urine clumps she may leave; the plastic shield sometimes is not thorough enough for huge clumps.
I have used this product in my animal rescue in addition to using it in my home. The automatic cleaning cycle does an extraordinary job of cutting down on odor and preventing prospective adopters from seeing soiled litter during their visit, which can be dissuading. I have had visitors turn down an adoption due to smell before. While the argument could be made that it should not smell bad, cats use the litter box all of the time when people visit, and people can immediately form a snap judgment. The goal of any shelter should be to remove any objects or items that can make the visitor think the shelter is dirty, even if it is not realistic for it to be utterly spotless at all times.
There will eventually be that customer who freaks out because a cat has just used the box and no one is around to clean it. I find that the Litter-Robot 3 blended in perfectly with the way I set up the cat rescue I direct. If you do own a rescue, you can take advantage of Litter-Robots’ program which allows shelters or rescues to buy them at a lower price, and you can also become a member of their affiliate program, which rewards your shelter for every Litter-Robot you sell for the company. This unit retails for around $500, but shelters can buy a unit for less than $400.
I have five cats that weigh above 15 pounds, which can use the Litter-Robot just fine, which is something I found difficult with other hooded boxes. This box is comfortable and spacious enough for even a Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat. My cats have plenty of room to dig, turn around, bury and leave without an issue.
Control Panel is Fully Equipped:
- Night light
- Sleep mode option
- Control panel lock
- Filtration system
- Vents in waste drawer
- Adjustable wait times
- On/off button
- Lip extender and rubber mat
- Indicator light
The machine is user-friendly and can be assembled in, at most, one hour. No specialized tools or prior knowledge is needed for setting up this machine. (The Wifi part of it does take some knowledge to set up.) All the Robot requires is electricity and cat litter for it to work; everything else is included in the package. The machine is manufactured to run at 3-, 7-, or 15-minute cleaning intervals after a cat urinates or defecates in it.
The nightlight will help your cat find the litter box at night or be comforted by the fact that he can see where it is if your house is consistently dark. Elderly cats and cats with poor vision will benefit from this feature. One of the reasons a cat might not use the box is poor lighting around it, which is one huge reason I love this nightlight attachment. I have had five cats refusing to use a box without a nightlight, about whom I have consulted with other rescue organizations or shelter in the past few years.
The indicator light will help you understand when the waste drawer is full and ready to be emptied, or you can check the app on your smartphone. The machine will run three more cycles after that light flips on. Note that it may be more helpful to get this information by accessing the app via your smartphone if you have the connect upgrade.
The 8-hour sleep mode option is ideal for light sleepers because it will prevent the box from cleaning during the night or when you are sleeping. This can be changed from the control panel or from the app. The machine is unbelievably quiet, so it is not likely that it would wake you up even if it did run.
Finally, the machine has an accessory battery back-up option that you can purchase for individuals who need their device to stay on at all times and run without fail. This option will enable the device to operate up to 48 hours for two cats with ten cycles per day–even in the midst of a power outage–as long as the backup mode is kicked on.
Step By Step Process
The Robot will go through a comprehensive process after your cat has eliminated in the box so that it is spotless and ready for another cat to use. Again, you can set up the machine to run at 3-minute, 7-minute, or 15-minute intervals, based on your specific preference. This is great since some cats are so picky they will not use a box that another cat has used, will only urinate or defecate in one box, or refuse to urinate and defecate in the same area twice. Having the Robot will prevent these problems.
Step 1: Elimination
The cat enters the Litter-Robot and eliminates inside. The Robot will sense when your cat is inside the unit and when he has left so that the Litter-Robot can clean up properly. This prevents scaring your cat or accidentally operating with your cat inside, which would cause injury.
The Robot will work with almost any kind of clay clumping cat litter on the market without a problem. You can even use the biodegradable cat litter with the biodegradable bags from the official Litter-Robot website for maximum recycling potential. Litter-Robot sells its own cat litter, which is possibly the best option for this box.
One initial concern of mine was that the rubber would not hold up to cat scratching, but it seems somewhat indestructible, even with my cats who need to dig excessively. The rubber is of very high quality and has not shown any wear or tear in the year I have had it available to my cats.
Step 2: Timer and Cleaning
The timer will start after the cat has exited the Litter-Robot, which allows the litter time to clump before the actual cleaning cycle starts. The Litter-Robot can detect when a cat is in or out of the box based on a weight-sensitive cat sensor built into the device.
As a safety mechanism, the globe will cease to rotate when weight is detected.. Then when that weight is removed from the robot, the timer starts as previously mentioned, which leads to the cleaning cycle. I prefer to have the machine run 15 minutes after each use as I feel that 5 minutes is too short. You can choose to manually stop a cleaning cycle by pushing any of the three buttons on the machine.
You should know that there are absolutely no moving parts, electrical components, or sharp objects that can cause harm or endanger your cat in any way. There is a comprehensive safety program in place that will prevent the Robot from operating when a cat is inside. Entry by the same cat, or a different cat, will turn the motor off temporarily while he is inside the machine.
Step 3: Globe Sifting and Rotation
The globe will slowly rotate, sifting the cat litter. The machine will be using the patented sifting system to separate the clean litter from clumps. The built-in plastic shield will prevent clumps from sticking to any walls while the sifting process is taking place.
The sifting system combines flawless timing, accurate rotation, and gravity to process the waste instead of pulling the clumps with a rake. Other automatic litter boxes use the rake system, which often leads to blockage, machine failure, or the feces sticking to the corners of the litter box, which leads to an odor build-up.
Step 4: Waste Drawer
The separated cat litter is preserved while the waste is dumped into the carbon-filtered drawer in the base of the unit. You can expect to empty the waste drawer every 7-10 days for a single household, more frequently if you have more than one cat.
The waste drawer is equipped with infrared emitters and sensitive sensors that precisely detect the level of waste after each cleaning cycle. The blue light will flash on the control panel when it is time to empty the waste drawer. Then you just pull out the waste drawer so you can empty or throw away the liner.
The waste drawer is especially designed with cleanliness in mind. The waste drawer will prevent mold growth, which will control the litter box smell that can be dissuading to visitors or guests. Additionally, the carbon filter will go above and beyond in isolating any litter box odors.
Step 5: Home Position
After its rotation, the globe will return to the default home position,l leaving a clean and level bed of cat litter for use. Ensure there is an adequate amount of cat litter left in the box, or the sensor will have trouble detecting when it is time to clean.
Training A Cat To The Robot
Most cats will be hesitant to enter the Robot at first because they are cautious about anything new. Skittish and nervous cats will take longer to adjust to the Robot than outgoing and laid-back cats.
Some cats may be too nervous to try anything new or will completely reject the Robot at first. It is my goal to help you with getting them acclimated to it. Step 1 is to avoid scaring your cat while she is adjusting to any new litter box layout. This can be avoided by having your Robot switched to the off position for the first few days while the cat becomes used to it just occupying her environment.
You want to wait for about 7 minutes for any waste to clump together before plugging it in and turning it on, at which point the Robot will automatically perform a cleaning cycle that lasts about 2 to 3 minutes. This is referred to as the semi-automatic or manual mode, leaving it unplugged for the cat to go and then plugging it in when you notice she has eliminated in the box.
The next step is to use treats near the machine or to lace the steps with catnip to entice the cat to gravitate closer to the Robot. It can take a good amount of repetition and patience to get results. You always want to offer praise for any positive progress he makes toward using the Robot. You may use a laser light over and over to lure him in and out of the Robot. Treat him on his way in and out each time so he makes functional associations. Going in the box and out of the box become moments associated with treats and verbal praise.
The third step is to make the old litter boxes less attractive. You never want to immediately take the old box away, but you will want to work toward phasing out the old box. Simply let waste accumulate in the old box so the cat will be more likely to seek out clean and less smelly locations to go. This should be motivation for your cat to try the Litter-Robot rather than reject it.
Step 4 is to gradually move the old litter boxes closer to the Robot, then pour a scoop of the old litter on top of the new litter in the Robot, making it smell familiar to your cat. Eventually, you want to implement a bait and switch technique, removing the old box when it is soiled.
You might have to be creative and use all of these strategies together to entice your cat to use the Robot. I have seen people go as far as covering the Litter-Robot in the original cardboard box. This will sometimes work because, as we all know, cats are drawn to boxes like bees are to honey.
No unique accessories are required for installation or ongoing maintenance, but you can use large grocery bags or 13-gallon trash bags in place of the custom Litter-Robot liners. I use bags from Walmart rather than using their liners because they can be quite pricey for what you get.
It is always advisable to check the litter level every time you empty the waste drawer, so it does not become too low. You might frequently look at the Litter-Robot just to see if you do notice any abnormalities with the urine or feces from your cat, which can translate to health issues. I like to add a few cups of clumping litter after every cycle, then flatten it out until it is equal with the fill line found inside of the globe. The fill line is convenient, so you know how much litter to add.
The entire bed of litter does not need to be changed daily or even weekly if it remains clean. The Litter-Robot has an extremely efficient sifting system that preserves fresh cat litter. I usually replace all of the cat litter every 6 months, but you may be able to wait longer than that, based on the number of cats that you own.
Support And Quality
The Litter-Robot 3 Open Air is a home appliance that is built with durability and safety in mind. There are even handles on either side of the machine for easy lifting from the box it comes in and for moving it around the house as needed. The entire Robot only weighs a total of 24 pounds. The Robot should provide impeccable service with little, if any, maintenance. The solid construction and industrial-grade components ensure a long life.
There is a fantastic and very responsive customer service team that is properly trained to help you with any issues you may have regarding your new Litter-Robot. This product is the epitome of reliability. Simply contact customer service by visiting their website and clicking the contact button.
My unit has lasted over a year with no real problems. The Robot did have the plastic shield come loose, which took me and another person about 30 minutes to repair, but that is the only issue I have ever had. Keep in mind that I use it for the rescue cats, so it cycles about 10 to 20 times per day and has kept up with that standard for nearly 6 months, previously having been used by my own cats, which required 20 cycles a day at minimum.
Connect Wi-Fi Feature
The Litter-Robot Connect is an upgraded version of the Open Air Litter-Robot. This version allows you the ability to monitor and control your Robot directly from your iPhone or iPad with an existing Wifi network. Make sure to download the LR Connect App. This is the first automatic litter box that utilizes this type of technology.
This app will allow you to check the Litter-Robot usage in real-time and receive reports in the form of graphs on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to track elimination habits. Above you can tell that the Deathstar Litter-Robot detected an abnormality in rotations so sent me a text to alert me of this. The cat ended up having a urinary tract infection. This can help you detect trends and notice when those trends are off, which could be the first sign of a medical issue.
You may remotely trigger a cleaning cycle or control multiple units with this app, which is excellent for when you are busy and cannot manually do so. The best feature, which I find amusing, is that it will send me a notification when I should empty the waste drawer and that I can adjust the wait time or turn on the sleep mode for the machine by using this app. This is much easier to do with my phone rather than doing this manually.
List of Key Features on App
- Adjust wait times
- Turn on night light
- Control panel lockout
- Power on and off
- Reset guage
- Default reset
- Activate sleep mode
- Activate clean cycle
It is amazingly easy to upgrade a Litter-Robot 3 Air into the Litter-Robot 3 Air Connect. You just need to buy the upgrade from the website and install it into the machine, which will take about 30 minutes or less. Just follow the upgrade kit installation guide for full instructions and pictures. I feel this was the best part of the Litter-Robot since I am a computer guru.
Cleaning The Litter Robot
Cleaning the Litter-Robot is a breeze since it is simple to take this machine apart and put it back together. No special tools or equipment is required for cleaning the Litter-Robot. The best way to get started cleaning the Robot is to run an empty cycle, unplug the machine, pull it away from any walls, then start taking it apart.
I recommend that the globe be cleaned twice per year and that you wipe down the base with a damp cloth when it becomes dirty (or sooner if you run an animal rescue or shelter). You can use Trifectant on your rag if you need to truly disinfect the machine but avoid bleach or any harsh cleaners. The waste drawer can be soaked in disinfectant and wiped cleaned before adding new cat litter.
Do not submerge the bonnet or the base into any liquid because they are electronic and contain metal. You can remove the bonnet by pressing and releasing latches on both sides so that it does not get wet while you are cleaning the rest of the machine. You want to avoid any parts of the device that contain metal or electronics. You can vacuum excess cat litter if needed to prevent any litter streaking.
You can check the DFI lenses that are located right inside of the waste opening in the base of the unit to ensure it is clean and working correctly. Debris can confuse the DFI into thinking the waste drawer is full when it is not. You can rinse the carbon filter with regular water or order a replacement on the official website if it is getting nasty.
Allow the machine to dry completely before you reassemble the Litter-Robot. Make sure to add a new waste liner and to line up the black key with the back of the machine before turning it on. Litter can clump prematurely if you do not allow the device to dry completely.
I recommend the Litter-Robot for people who are too busy to scoop, cannot have contact with feces if they are worried about being hygienic, or if they are going on a vacation and are having a sitter over. All of the features would be perfect for a person who is pregnant or extremely compromised when it comes to his/her immune system or an individual who has a bad back and cannot bend down to scoop consistently. This box would also be ideal for people who must be very hygienic, like those who might have Crohn’s disease or are scared of toxoplasmosis.
The only big downside to the Litter-Robot 3 that you need to consider is that it can be hard to monitor your cat as it pertains to their urinary health and bowel health since you usually are not going to see their stool or urine output. This is important for senior cats who might be on the cusp of being in kidney failure. I typically advise the Robot for healthy cats who are not prone to urinary problems. Alternatively, you can use Pretty Litter with the Litter-Robot 3 if you want to have the option of monitoring the output to a certain extent.
The Litter-Robot provides a substantial improvement over any other hooded litter box or automatic box on the market in terms of odor control and prevention of machine blockage. As previously mentioned, this box does not utilize the rake system that other boxes are known for encompassing. The patented sifting system of the Litter-Robot will keep your box free of any potential problems and your house free of cat smells.
The reality is that 99% of cats will adapt and use this machine without a problem if they are given the time they need to adjust, along with reassurance in the way of treats and catnip. Using Cat Attract or Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping cat litter can go a long way toward attracting your cat to the box if nothing else is working.
- Cleaning: 9 out of 10
- Features: 10 out of 10
- Durability: 9 out of 10
- Uniqueness: 9 out of 10
- Ease Of Use: 8 out of 10
- Aesthetics: 8 out of 10
- Packaging: 9.5 out of 10
- Value: 9 out of 10
- Customer Service: 10 out of 10
- Shelter Friendly: 10 out of 10
I received this product for my cat rescue at no cost to me in exchange for writing this review. The free product did not persuade my opinion and my views on this product does not necessarily reflect the opinion of other writers on this website. All of the opinions listed are my own after extensively testing this product with over 20 cats from a range of different backgrounds and personalities.