What you need to know about the Litter-Robot 4 (2024)

What you need to know about the Litter-Robot 4 (1)

Cats poop inside your house. No matter how cute and otherwise fastidiously clean they may be, there is no escaping that fundamental truth and all its attendant horrors. The smell. The scooping. The litter tracking.


  • Turn it upside down
  • The nitty gritty on kitty litter
  • Probably smarter than your cat
  • The price of convenience

So when my wife and I adopted our cat Niles six months ago, I knew I needed to enlist a robot for this drudgery. Like robot vacuums and mops, I was sure an automated litterbox could take the sting out of scooping litter. Off we marched to Petsmart to buy the PetSafe ScoopFree for about $200. And back we marched to return it two weeks later.

It’s not that it didn’t work, sometimes, but it had a habit of … how do I say this? Niles’ poop got jammed in the rake that sweeps over the litter. Over and over and over. I took it back, and as the PetSmart cashier interrogated me about the consistency of my cat’s bowel movements in the return line, and a queue backed up behind me, I decided it was time to bring out the big guns. We got the Litter-Robot 4.

Turn it upside down

What you need to know about the Litter-Robot 4 (2)

For the uninitiated, Litter-Robots are the Teslas of automatic litterboxes, and I’m not trying to imply the CEO is a psychopath. Whisker, the company that makes the Litter-Robot, pretty much invented the “self-sifting” category in 1999 and has maintained its edge by meticulously updating its offerings with the times. Its latest offering, the Litter-Robot 4, is smaller, quieter, and smarter than its predecessors. As you’d expect it to be, for its princely $700 price tag.

Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Also yes.

Unlike the horizontal rake action of the PetSafe, the Litter-Robot is like a clothes dryer for your cat’s excrement. Stay with me, it’s a good thing: A layer of fresh litter sits at the bottom of a drum, Niles does his business, and when he’s done the entire drum rotates. A grate sifts clean litter from waste, which tumbles into a sealed garbage bin beneath, where its hideous odors remain sealed from the rest of your house. The clean litter returns to the bottom of the drum. For such a potentially messy operation, it’s shockingly graceful and quiet.

The nitty gritty on kitty litter

The Litter-Robot ostensibly works with any clumping litter, but we tried using hippie corn kernel litter to start, and it was too large to properly sift out. Switching to a standard clay litter did the trick, and switching to Litter-Robot’s own formula seemed to last even longer between swap outs. As Litter-Robot CEO Jacob Zuppke explained to me, bentonite clay content is really the only thing that matters in selecting a litter, and any high-quality litter will do.

My reservations that Niles might be too scared to enter the Litter-Robot were unfounded. Not only did he delight in stepping into the drum, he now spends 10 minutes at a time in there, scraping and pawing around like a kid in a sandbox. It’s possible he has a little Tonka truck in there. Though he ended up kicking a lot outside the robot at first, the newly introduced add-on shield has resulted in dramatically less spillage.

Probably smarter than your cat

What you need to know about the Litter-Robot 4 (3)

The Whisker app not only tracks how often Niles uses the Litter-Robot, but it also measures his weight with its SmartScale feature. After some erratic early measurements, we ordered a $30 carpet tray that allows it to measure accurately even on soft surfaces, which fixed the problem entirely. Tray or not, I’m not sure I’d pay extra for SmartScale. While it’s novel at first, it just isn’t actionable enough in most situations. My wife is a veterinarian and even she’s not that interested that Niles was 8.1 pounds at 5:56 a.m. and 7.8 pounds at 11:10 a.m. He pooped.

More pragmatically, the app can notify you when the waste drawer is full, which takes about two weeks or so. Emptying it is about as pleasant as such a chore can be: Slide the drawer out, lift up the bag full of turds, and get it outside as fast as humanly possible. This is not a task you want to dawdle with for olfactory reasons, but it will make you appreciate just how much smell the Litter-Robot manages to contain inside the machine with its charcoal filter.

Every couple months, the robot needs a more thorough cleaning, which involves popping out the orb-shaped litter drum, scrubbing it down with soapy water, and hosing it out. Dreadful as it sounds, it’s a 15-minute task.

Besides all the accessories you can kit out your Litter-Robot with, I was impressed to find a library of parts for the last-generation Litter-Robot 3, which came out in 2015. For a device that costs as much as a kitchen appliance like a dishwasher, it’s refreshing to see Whisker following the appliance model of long-term support, rather than the gadget model (“throw it away and buy a new one in two years”).

The price of convenience

Don’t let my whinging about the price mislead you: I did not pay for my Litter-Robot 4, which was provided for review, and I’m pretty sure Jenna Fischer didn’t either, but I share her enthusiasm for it. If your life includes smelling cat poop and manually scooping it every day, you could say it’s a literal life changer. My Narwal Freo has been a life changer, too, but if you forced me to choose, I might go home with the Litter-Robot 4. It’s that good.

And in the hopefully unlikely event that mine ever breaks, I will be cringing and prying out my credit card to get another, because there’s simply no way I can go back to the plastic pan.

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What you need to know about the Litter-Robot 4 (2024)


What you need to know about the Litter-Robot 4? ›

Add litter as needed

Check the litter level once per week or each time you empty the waste drawer. Add litter up to the raised MAX fill line inside the globe, and be careful not to overfill it to avoid wasting litter.

What do you need to buy with Litter-Robot 4? ›

Getting started with Litter-Robot 4
  • Litter-Robot 4.
  • 15 Volt DC Power Supply.
  • 1 Carbon Filter.
  • 3 Waste Drawer Liners.
  • Fence.
  • Most Accessories (optional – sold separately or in bundle)

How often do you add litter to Litter-Robot 4? ›

Add litter as needed

Check the litter level once per week or each time you empty the waste drawer. Add litter up to the raised MAX fill line inside the globe, and be careful not to overfill it to avoid wasting litter.

How does Litter-Robot 4 know which cat? ›

SmartScale uses an advanced algorithm to determine which cat is using Litter-Robot 4. SmartScale analyzes individual weight data and automatically displays it in your Pet Profile. See when each cat used the Litter-Robot 4 and track their daily weight over time.

Does Litter-Robot 4 require WiFi? ›

Litter-Robot 4 requires a 2.4 GHz WiFi signal and IPv4 or IPv6 addressing (5 GHz band not supported). * SmartScale™ technology to record cat weight is most accurate on a firm surface, not carpeting.

Can I use regular litter in Litter-Robot 4? ›

Does Litter-Robot require special litter? Litter-Robot simply requires clumping litter. We recommend a high-quality, standard-weight, clay-based clumping litter, such as our premium cat litter. Some silica gel litter beads and crystals can also be used with Litter-Robot, as long as they pass through the screen.

How many cats can Litter-Robot 4 handle? ›

The Litter-Robot 4 is cleared for up to four cats, but the more cats you have, the more often you will be emptying the waste receptacle. For four cats you might actually want to try having two boxes and both can be simultaneously connected to the Whiskers app.

How much does it cost to fill a Litter-Robot 4? ›

Fill the Globe through the circular opening with clumping litter until it meets the raised MAX Fill Line when spread flat—approximately 8-10 pounds (3.6-4.5 kg) by weight or 1 gallon (4L) by volume. Be careful not to overfill the Globe. The Litter-Robot litter sifting system requires clumping litter to work properly.

What happens if you put too much litter in Litter-Robot? ›

If there is too much litter in the globe, it can cause cycling issues (getting stuck during a cycle).

What happens when Litter-Robot gets full? ›

Once a full waste drawer is detected, the unit will indicate it is full with a blue flashing light. You will also receive a notification on your phone if you use the Whisker app. The unit will cycle two additional times before it will no longer automatically cycle.

What are the lasers on the Litter-Robot 4? ›

There are 3 laser sensors located in the top of the bezel, called curtain sensors, that accurately measure the capacity of the waste drawer. During each cycle the unit will measure the waste drawer capacity and check if the waste drawer is full.

Is Litter-Robot 3 or 4 better? ›

On the other hand, if you want the latest advancements in technology, a quieter and more efficient cleaning process, larger waste drawer capacity, and the ability to monitor your cat's litter box usage through a mobile app, the Litter-Robot 4 is worth the investment.

What are the red lights on the Litter-Robot 4? ›

If your unit's light bar is solid red, this indicates that the cat sensor has been triggered (kitty entered globe). The unit will cycle once the cycle delay countdown is up or if you press the Reset button.

Can two phones connect to Litter-Robot? ›

You are able to have unlimited Android or iOS mobile devices connected to a single Wi-Fi enabled robot. Through your account on the iRobot® HOME app you can have up to 10 robots connected.

Does Litter-Robot 4 work on carpet? ›

If your Litter-Robot 4 sits on carpet thicker than 3mm(1/8 inch), you can improve the accuracy of SmartScale™ weight readings by placing our specially designed carpet tray between the unit and the floor. Place the carpet tray on the floor in the desired location of your Litter-Robot 4.

How often do you need to empty Litter-Robot 4? ›

How often should you change the litter in Litter-Robot? Typically, you will empty the waste drawer once per week if you have one cat. If you have more than one cat using Litter-Robot, you will typically empty the waste drawer twice every seven to ten days.

What comes with Litter-Robot? ›

One box includes the fully assembled Litter-Robot 4 (with step installed), along with a fence, carbon filter, power supply, three waste drawer liners, and a welcome kit.

Does the Litter-Robot 4 come with a filter? ›

Litter-Robot 4 is equipped with a flexible carbon filter pad that is installed on the outer bottom area of the globe.

Does Litter-Robot 4 come with a fence? ›

Each Litter-Robot 4 will come with a fence pre-installed.

Do you need bags for a Litter-Robot? ›

Litter-Robot does not require special bags or liners for the waste drawer, but clear bags work best. Customers often use 10- to 13-gallon clear kitchen garbage bags or large clear plastic grocery bags. Please note that waste level readings may be inaccurate when using a dark bag, especially when the drawer is empty.

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