Design – How it works
You thought PetSafe is the best automatic litter box? here our review: The litter pan is bowl-shaped and is filled with premium clumping cat litter. It rotates continuously at an extremely slow speed. You and your cat cannot detect the movement. Eventually the urine clumps and feces reach a conveyor belt ramp that separates solids from litter and carries the waste up and into a waste receptacle. No special trays, bags or litter are needed to make it work, however “premium” clumping litter is required. It takes one hour to remove freshly-laid waste. The PetSafe Simply CleanTM should win an award for the “Most Interesting Litter Box Design” at the sub-$100 price point.
I’m sure you are thinking, “This thing must use a lot of power!” This is not true, however. A small amount of electricity is used, perhaps even less than some other electronic litter boxes, because the motor turns very slowly. A slow-turning motor takes less electricity than a fast turning motor (just like a four cylinder compact car uses less gas than a souped-up sporty model).
The manufacturer states that PetSafe Simnply Clean Electronic Litter Box uses the same amount of electricity in one Christmas light bulb. In other words, burn a Christmas bulb continuously 24/7 and that’s how much electricity it takes to run it. Besides, if you are willing to let the waste hang around a bit longer, you can always purchase a timer for the AC outlet to make it run only a few times per day, if you want to reduce the power consumption to the minimum.
There is a bowl-shaped litter tray connected to a motorized pole. The tray is mounted on a platform. A waste receptacle is attached to the platform just outside the rotating tray. The conveyer is covered and fills about half of the tray. There is not much room for the cat to move around, so hopefully you have a cat that doesn’t care about that!
PetSafe Simply Clean Demo
Construction is where the PetSafe Simply CleanT M electronic litter box falls short compared to other, more robust, electronic litter boxes. The cover must always be installed properly because there is a switch that must be depressed in order for the litter box to operate. The sides of the litter tray are not high enough for most cats so expect a lot more litter to be kicked around the box vs. a litter pan or another electronic litter box. Note that assembly is required before using it for the first time.
The construction also could lend itself to more breakdowns because litter can get trapped in the gear motors, the conveyor can jam on occasion and the cover can lift off due to a large-sized clump. This is problematic because the switch will not be depressed and the unit will not run. A somewhat mechanical person will be able to deal with these issues, but if you are not someone who is willing to take it apart, think twice before purchasing.
Use and Care
I find the use and care instructions in the manual to be a bit confusing. First, it says, “Fill the litter to the fill line. Do not let the litter fall below the line.” Hmmm, the cat urinates one time and a significant amount of litter is removed. To avoid letting the litter fall below the fill line, it will need to be filled every day, defeating the purpose of owning an electronic litter box!
Also, many users complain that the conveyor belt chops up the clumps into fine particles that cannot be carried up the conveyor. Clearly, they did not read the manual because it says premium litter is required!
Many users also complain about maintenance issues such as: needing to take it apart frequently to clean gears hidden inside, litter getting chopped into bits and clogging the ramp, litter getting kicked out, etc. Other users, however, diligently found work-arounds for every problem encountered. Bottom-line: if you have a knack for mechanics, this electronic litter box may be fine for you; otherwise, it could be your worst nightmare!
There is no reason to think this electronic litter box will have great odor performance compared to other electronic litter boxes since there is nothing special such as a carbon filter. In fact, it may perform worse due to the reported problem of the conveyor chopping up the odorous clumps into fine bits. Nevertheless, it will certainly have less odor than a litter pan because of the continuous cleaning action.
Minor disassembly is required for cleaning. Both the waste receptacle and the litter bowl may be submerged in water. Make sure the bowl is completely dry before reassembly, though, because the electronics may not be exposed to water.
I really like the noise performance of this electronic litter box. It is extremely quiet, the noise is undetectable when it is working properly. If you are concerned about noise bothering you, this is the one to get! However, there is a caveat. Many users also complain about noise that may be caused by litter getting into the gears; this can be overcome if you are mechanically-inclined.
The warranty is one year from the date of purchase; proof of purchase is required if the consumer does not register the purchase with PetSafe. Also, do not purchase from an unauthorized retailer because of this statement on the PetSafe web site: “If our products are not bought from an Authorized Retailer, customers may not receive warranty or customer support care.” Refurbished units are also not covered.
Pros & Cons
• Unique, noise-free design (may require a work-around to eliminate noise, though)
• Works well for the price, if you can overcome the maintenance hassles
• Very little litter is wasted no special waste receptacles needed, but premium litter is required
• Reasonable size
• Good for cats under 12 lbs; users have reported larger cats and multiple cats are fine
• Higher cost over time due to breakdown risk and the use of premium litter (required).
• Some risk of the cat not using it due to the bowl being small; cats who dig a lot may not like it.
• No cover, bowl sides too low, litter gets kicked out a lot
• Maintenance hassles; not good for those who are not mechanically-inclined
• No odor control
• No trial period, except for store return policy
The PetSafe Simply CleanTM electronic litter box is a good mid-term value if you can put up with some maintenance hassles, however, it may cost more in the long run due to the requirement of premium litter. This electronic litter box is not recommended for those who are not mechanically-inclined.