The Litter Robot 3 Open Air is an automatic litter box that I have been wanting to try for a very long time so I could compare it to other boxes that are on the market. The idea of a hooded or automatic litter box is to make your visitors wander 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 type of 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. I am not really an advocate for hooded boxes but this automatic box is one I would use just for the fact that I am gone for long periods of time as the director of Cuddle Cat Rescue. You can purchase your robot 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 huge upgrade from the Litter Robot 2 which had issues but every issue that it did have is gone. I like to think of this 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 rather quite large which is a nice feature to have.
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 as needed. I would avoid it in a household where you might have cats that are being bullied because it only has one entrance/exit point which is the front. Patience and support is invaluable when it comes to training your cat to anything new such as this litter box.
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 a true 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 large 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 year that I have used this machine.
I love the fact that I never have to scoop again with this many cats because scooping 4 times a day was becoming quite the work out for me since I work a full time job in addition to being a cat behavior consultant plus rescue director. The box will automatically and consistently remove clumps while preserving clean cat litter. I have never had trouble with any clumps sticking to the box as is the case with previous units. The plastic shield serves the purpose it was advertised for.
The color is very tasteful and will clash 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 extremely effective 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 do not place it directly under it. I also use the Litter Champ which is like the Litter Genie. Please know that 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 this product. 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. I think that you will not want to return the Litter Robot after you experience 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 used manually to clean for cats who are below 5 pounds because they can get stuck in it and do not know better. Caution should be used if you want to use this box for a diabetic cat due to the size of urine clumps that they may leave – the plastic shield sometimes is not thorough enough for very large clumps.
I have used this in my animal rescue in addition to using it in my personal home. The automatic cleaning cycle does an extraordinary job of cutting down the odor for visitors and preventing them 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 judgement. The goal of any shelter should be to remove any objects or items that can make the visitor think that the shelter is dirty even if it is not realistic for it to be completely spotless at all times.
There will eventually be that customer who freaks out because a cat just used the box and no one was around to clean it. I find that the litter robot blended in perfectly with the way that I setup my animal rescue. If you do own a rescue then you can take advantage of their program which allows the shelter or rescue to buy them at a cheaper 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 are able to buy a unit for less than $400.
I have 5 cats that are above 15 pounds who can use it 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 set-up in just one hour at the most. No specialized tools or prior knowledge is needed for setting up this machine. The wifi part of it does take some knowledge to do. All this robot requires is electricity and cat litter for it to work, everything else is included in the packaging. The machine is manufactured to run at 3, 7, or 15 minute cleaning intervals after a cat urinates or defecates in it.
The night light will help your cat find the litter box at night or be comforted by the fact that they can see where it is at if your house is consistently dark. Elderly cats and cats with poor vision will benefit from this feature. One of the reasons that a cat might not use the box is poor lighting around the box which is one huge reason why I love this night light attachment. I have had 5 cats in the past few years refuse to use a box without a night light via behavior consultations that I do through several other cat rescue organizations.
The indicator light will help you to understand when the waste drawer is full and is ready to be emptied or you can check by the app on your smartphone. The machine will run 3 more cycles after that light flips on. Note that it may be more helpful to get this information by accessing the app via your smart phone 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 time 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 machine to stay on at all times and run without fail. The machine will be able to operate up to 48 hours for 2 cats with 10 cycles per day even in the midst of a power outage if 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 completely clean 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 that they will not use a box that another cat has used or will only urinate or defecate in one box – they hate urinating and defecating in the same area twice. Having the robot will prevent both problems.
Step 1: Elimination
The cat enters the box and then eliminates inside of it. The robot will know when your cat is inside of the unit and when he is gone 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 clumping clay 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 their 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 rather 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 excited the Litter Robot which allows the litter time to clump prior to the actual clean cycle starting. The litter robot can detect when a cat is in or out of the robot based on a weight-sensitive cat sensor built into the device.
When weight is detected, the globe will cease to rotate as a safety mechanism. Then when that weight is removed from the robot, the timer starts as previously mentioned which leads up 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 chose to manually stop a cleaning cycle by pushing any of the three buttons on the machine.
You should know that there is absolutely no moving parts, electrical components, or sharp objects that can cause harm or endanger your cat in any way. There is a very thorough safety program in place that will prevent the robot from operating when a cat is inside. Entry from the same cat or a different cat will turn the motor off temporarily while they are inside the machine.
Step 3: Globe Sifting and Rotation
The globe will slowly sift the cat litter and rotate while doing so. 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 will lead to blockage or 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 found in the base of the unit. You can expect to empty the waste drawer every 7-10 days for a single household and 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 once it is time to empty the waste drawer. Then you just pull out the waste drawer so you can empty out or throw away the liner.
It is important for you to know that the waste drawer was specially designed with cleanliness in mind. The waste drawer will prevent mold growth which will control litter box smell which 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
The globe will now return to the default home position which will leave 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 at first to enter the robot 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 completely reject the robot at first which can happen. It is my goal to help you with getting them acclimated to it. Step 1 is to avoid scaring your cat while they are 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 they become used to the robot just occupying their 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 which lasts about 2 to 3 minutes. This is referred to as the semi-automatic or manual mode because I leave it unplugged for them to go then plug it in when I notice that they have went to the box.
The next step is to use treats near the machine or to lace the steps with catnip to entice them 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 they make toward using the robot. You may use a laser light to lure them in then out of the robot over and over. Treat them on their way in and out each time so they make good 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 just 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 cats 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 which will smell familiar to your cat. Eventually you want to implement a bait and switch technique which is when you remove 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 special 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 clean cat litter. I usually replace 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 which is built with durability and safety in mind. There is even handles on both sides of the machine for easy lifting for 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 trained to help you with any issues that you have regarding your new Litter Robot. This is the epitome of reliable. Simply contact customer service by visiting their website and clicking the contact button.
The unit has lasted over a year with no real problems. The robot did have the plastic shield come loose which took me about 30 minutes to repair with two people 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 have kept up with that standard for nearly 6 months – previously it was used by my own cats which was 20 cycles a day at the minimum.
Connect Wi-Fi Feature
The Litter Robot Connect is an upgraded version of the Open Air Litter Robot. This version grants you the ability to monitor and control your robot directly from your iPhone or iPaid with an existing Wi-Fi 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 provide reports for you. The reports will be provided in the form of graphs on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to track elimination habits. 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 great for when you are busy and cannot manually do so.
The best feature that 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 sleep mode for the machine by this app. This is much easier to do by 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 Liter 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 on how to install it. 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 along with putting it back together. No special tools or equipment is required for the cleaning of the Litter Robot. The best way to get started cleaning the robot is to run a empty cycle, unplug the machine, pull it away from any walls, then start taking it apart.
I recommend that the globe is 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 prior to add 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 of it so that it does not get wet while you are cleaning the rest of the machine. You want to avoid any parts of the machine 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 is 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 to think 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 back together. Make sure to add a new waste liner and to line up the black key with the back of the machine prior to turning it on. Litter can clump prematurely if you do not allow the machine to dry completely.
I recommend this box 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. These are all features that would be perfect for a person who is pregnant or is extremely compromised when it comes to their immune system or an individual that has a bad back and cannot bend down to scoop on a consistent basis. This box would also be ideal for people who are 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 this robot for healthy cats who are not prone to urinary problems. Or 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 odor control and preventing a 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 that 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. You can support my work and my cat rescue by visiting Cuddle Cat Rescue and making a small contribution if you wish. Or you can simply share this article with your friends!