free hit counter

SmartScoop Auto Litter Box Review

Similar to Littermaid, is also a rake-type auto litter box that does not require special receptacles and also uses a carbon filter.

Design – How it works
SmartScoop® is an open pan auto litter box that uses a metal rake. The motor attaches to the top of the pan on the long edge and traverses the box from one end up to the waste receptacle and back. Fifteen minutes after the cat leaves, the motor drives the rake across the box. When it reaches the waste receptacle, the rake lifts up the waste and rotates toward the top of the box. The receptacle opens and the waste slides down the rake into the receptacle. The receptacle is lined with any type of bag, or a scented SmartScoop® bag that is fitted to the receptacle. The lid of the receptacle has a carbon filter to help with the odor.

Construction
SmartScoop® is solidly constructed and easy to assemble. The receptacle is a bit small; it needs to be emptied once a week with one cat (according to the manufacturer). This means it will require more frequent emptying with multiple cats. I could not find very many complaints about breakdowns, which is good because if you want a roomy open pan style box but you do not want to use crystal litter, SmartScoop® is one to consider. Littermaid is another open pan style box but there have been lots of complaints about newer Littermaid models breaking down prematurely. In Comparison to PetSafe Simply Clean, SmartScoop® auto litter box is still a lot easier to maintain.

The SmartScoop® comes with a ramp which is useful if your cat gets old or has trouble climbing in the box. I think it may be too steep to be useful, though, and if this turns out to be the case for you, it is very easy to remove it and save space.

The old SmartScoop® design had a few significant flaws that are now corrected in the new model:

1) The rake would fling the waste and it would miss the receptacle and end up on the floor,
2) users complained that the tines on the rake were too far apart and small pieces of waste would be left in the box. This created additional odor and mess. The rake tines are now closer together so this is no longer a problem.

One flaw that is still present in the new design is that the rake does not reach the sides or bottom of the box. This is a problem for users whose cats urinate on the sides or in the corner of the box. Users also dislike that it does not reach the bottom because a caked layer of urine collects and this creates a cleaning chore.

However, you can get around this problem by keeping a putty knife handy and use it to scrape the caked waste from the bottom and side into the middle of the litter for raking. Look at it this way, no auto litter box is perfect, even the highly-rated, ScoopFree® auto litter box benefits from some redistribution of the crystals between tray changes. If you are going to put up with some deficiencies, it is better to know what they are before purchasing so you can decide whether you want to deal with them up front.

Odor Control
SmartScoop® is an open pan design and since a hood is not available, odor performance is worse than an auto litter box that has a hood. The litter always collects litter particles that contribute to odor. However, since it has a carbon filter in the receptacle, the strong concentrated smell from the collected waste is minimized. Odor performance is way better than a litter pan.

Cleaning
Cleaning is the same as all auto litter boxes that use clumping litter. It is necessary to disassemble it and clean the litter area and receptacle periodically with a mild soap such as Dawn® Dish Detergent. Disassembly is not too difficult. No screws are used to hold it together.

Power Consumption
The SmartScoop® auto litter box plugs into a standard wall outlet with a cube-shaped DC transformer plug. A household extension cord can be used if needed. Power consumption is similar to all auto litter boxes. It does not cost much to run the SmartScoop®.

Noise
SmartScoop® is a bit noisier than other auto litter boxes, but half as loud as the Littermaid, according to tests performed by the SmartScoop® manufacturer. Since SmartScoop® is a comparable style as Littermaid, if you are a current Littermaid user and you are replacing your old one or purchasing an additional auto litter box I am sure you are pleased to hear that the SmartScoop® is quieter!

Warranty
SmartScoop® has a one year warranty and a 30 day money back guarantee, if the box is purchased from the SmartScoop® web site. If it is purchased from a store or another site, the return policy depends on the policy of the store or site. .

SmartScoop Video

Pros
• Works okay, but not quite as good as other auto litter boxes
• No special receptacles required
• Open pan style; most cats use it right away
• Less break-downs reported than Littermaid®
• Uses any clumping cat litter, but premium litter is recommended by some users
• Reasonable odor control since there is a carbon filter for the receptacle
• Good solution for large sized cats
• Nice rectangular shape and low profile increases placement options
• Relatively easy to maintain and clean
• 30 day return policy when purchased at the manufacturer’s site

Cons
• Receptacle is a bit small and requires more emptying with multiple cats
• No hood is available to avoid litter scatter; additional sweeping and cleanup is needed
• Users that had problems with it really hated it
• The price is a bit high compared to PetSafe Simply CleanTM it is easier to maintain.
• Rake does not reach sides, corners or bottom of the box but this can be resolved by keeping a putty knife handy to scrape the caked litter into the middle and avoid jams

Conclusion
SmartScoop is a good rake type litter box that actually works pretty well. I know there are a lot of strongly worded negative reports from users about the SmartScoop®, but like any product, you can always find good reviews and bad ones. Assuming you decided to use a box that takes clumping litter, if you want the most trouble-free box, then you should cough up the money for a Litter Robot.

PetSafe Simply CleanTM is a good alternative for a low cost auto litter box, but it requires more complicated maintenance so it may not be right for you. If you have decided on a low cost auto litter box and have ruled out PetSafe, you can compare the SmartScoop® to the Littermaid® and decide what makes the most sense for your situation.

    Posted in Automatic Litter Box Reviews