The 7 Best Affordable Cat Litter Boxes For 2021
This page contains affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn More
As a cat owner, you’ve dealt with your fair share of finicky feline behavior.
Not only do cats tend to be picky about what they eat, but they can also be quite particular about where they do their business. If the litter box isn’t filled to just the right depth, if you use the wrong kind of litter, or if you move it a few inches to the left after refilling it, your cat may boycott the box entirely.
At a Glance: Best Affordable Cat Litter Boxes To Buy
We’re not here to say we have all the answers, but if you’re in the market for a new litter box we can definitely help you out. We’ve tested all of the top litter boxes on the market to bring you our top 7 picks for the best affordable litter boxes for 2021.
Compare Best Affordable Cat Litter Boxes
1. Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan
2. Petmate Basic Cat Litter Pan
3. Frisco High Sided Cat Litter Box
4. Nature's Miracle Disposable Cat Litter Box
5. Van Ness Enclosed Sifting Cat Litter Pan
6. Nature's Miracle Just For Cats Advanced High Sided Corner Cat Litter Box
7. IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box & Scoop, White/Green
Top Entry, Covered
Enclosed, spacious, carbon filter
Generous size, handle for lifting, durable materials
High sides, lowered entry, durable materials
Large size, disposable, baking soda odor protection
Enclosed for privacy, large size, sifting design
Fits in corner, nonstick surface, large size, high walls
Includes box, filtered lid, scoop
Our Top Pick Explained
What We Look For In A Litter Box?
Your cat has his or her own preferences for everything from food to litter, so we’re not about to tell you there’s one perfect litter box out there.
Instead, it’s our goal to give you some suggestions for different kinds of litter boxes so you can narrow down the options according to your preferences (and your cat’s, of course). The one thing all of the litter boxes we’ve chosen have in common is that they are affordably priced.
To help you understand our picks, however, here are a few things I considered:
Nothing is worse than finding litter flung outside the litter box or, worse, urine sprayed on the wall behind it. The first thing I look for in a litter box is size and space enough to give my cats room to dig around without feeling cramped.
All of my cats are pretty small (under 10 pounds), so the average litter box is usually more than big enough. Even so, I like giving my cats a little extra space.
When shopping for litter boxes, I tend to shop for a specific location. With three cats, I have litter boxes all over the house to give my cats options and to keep conditions in the litter box tenable.
In most cases, the standard rectangular shape is perfectly fine for a litter box. If I’m looking for something to slide under the basement steps or to nestle into the corner of the room, however, I might have a specific shape or size in mind.
For the purpose of this review, I made sure to include a corner litter box.
There are a lot of factors that come into play when measuring the convenience of a litter box. First and foremost, it should be made from durable materials that make it easier (not harder) to fill the box or empty it when necessary. Most litter boxes are made from some kind of plastic, so that’s easy.
Another factor I consider is the convenience for my cats – how easy is it to get into and out of the litter box? This comes into play with high-sided and enclosed litter boxes in particular.
Finally, I think about factors that affect my ability to scoop litter. For enclosed litter boxes, I’ll take a look at the latches that attach the top to the base – they should keep the lid securely in place without making it impossible to remove the lid for scooping. For traditional litter pans, I prefer rounded interior edges, so litter doesn’t get caught in the corners.
Generally speaking, a litter box is a litter box. They really aren’t all that complicated.
That being said, it might be helpful to take a closer look at the different kinds of litter boxes I considered before choosing my top seven.
Types Of Litter Boxes Explained
If you’re new to cat ownership, your knowledge of litter boxes may be fairly limited. Presented with all the options, you might choose to keep it simple with a traditional rectangular litter pan.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned litter pan, but as you gain experience in the world of cat ownership, you may come to see the limitations of such a choice. That’s when you start to think about other options like covered litter boxes, sifting litter boxes, and more.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular types of litter boxes along with their pros and cons to help contextualize my top seven picks.
1. Litter Pans
Simple and effective, the standard litter pan is a solid choice. These litter boxes are generally the most cost-effective and they come in a wide variety of sizes. Litter pans are generally pretty durable, though any litter box is likely to accumulate a few scratches from cats climbing in and out.
The downside of litter pans is the open design. Large cats may be tall enough to spray urine or kick litter over the sides of the box. Plus, without a lid to keep odors in, you may catch some unpleasant scents wafting around the room emanating from the litter box.
2. Covered Litter Boxes
Enclosed or covered litter boxes take the simple concept behind litter pans but add a lid. By adding a lid, covered litter boxes help keep odors contained and they provide a little extra privacy – some cats like that. It also keeps dirty litter out of sight which is a benefit if your keep your litter box in a central space.
The trouble with enclosed litter boxes is that some cats feel a little claustrophobic. If you have a small cat, that may not be an issue, but larger cats may find standard enclosed litter boxes a little tight. Keep in mind as well that while the lid might keep you from noticing litter box odors, it can concentrate them inside the box, making conditions unpleasant for your cat sooner than with an open litter box.
Many enclosed litter boxes tackle this issue by ditching the door to allow air to flow freely into the box. Others incorporate a filter to help keep things fresh.
3. Disposable Litter Boxes
Both traditional litter pans and enclosed litter boxes have their benefits, but they both have one thing in common – you have to empty them and refill them once in a while. If you’re not interested in the task of scoop and scraping the litter box, you may want to avoid the issue entirely with a disposable model.
Disposable litter boxes are particularly useful for travel. If you’re taking your cat with you, you can simply throw a few disposable litter boxes in the car to save space. For caretakers keeping an eye on your kitty at home, leaving a few disposable litter boxes around saves them from having to tackle the unpleasant task of scooping the litter box.
Hint: If you’re into disposable litter boxes, we recommend checking out Kitty Poo Club. You’ll receive a new disposable litter box with a fresh bag of litter sent right to your door each month.
4. Sifting Litter Boxes
A sifting litter box is an upgrade to the standard litter box. These litter boxes come in open and enclosed forms, but the key component is, of course, the sifting tray. Usually, these litter boxes come in a set of three or more pieces – the sifting tray and two standard trays. Sifting litter boxes help save you the hassle of scooping by hand and they come in the same sizes and shapes as standard litter boxes.
To use a sifting litter box, you simply place the sifting tray inside the two standard trays (stacked). When you’re ready to clean the litter box, lift the sifting tray to separate out the clumps and discard them as you normally would. Then, you place the sifting tray inside the empty litter tray and pour the clean litter from the second tray into it. Finish up by stacking the extra litter tray underneath for safe keeping.
5. Top Entry Litter Boxes
One of the biggest issues any cat owner has to deal with is tracking. When your cat jumps into the litter box and digs around, he’s bound to get litter granules stuck in his paws. Sometimes those granules stay stuck after your cat jumps back out, leaving them to be scattered around the litter box and around your home. That’s where top entry litter boxes come in handy.
Rather than having your cat step into an open litter pan or climb through the door of an enclosed litter box, top entry boxes have your cat jump up and enter through an opening in the top of the box. Litter falls off your cat’s paws as he jumps back out and any clinging to his fur is collected in the top of the litter box. These boxes can be a little pricey, depending on the design, but the benefits are worth it.
6. Automatic Litter Boxes
Automatic litter boxes are the all-stars of the litter box world. They fulfil the same function as a regular litter box, but they take the hassle out of the equation for you. Most automatic litter boxes incorporate some kind of sifting or raking technology to remove waste from the litter box into a covered compartment. You simply empty the waste compartment and refill the litter box as it is needed.
The downside with automatic litter boxes is that they can be pricey, and some require the use of a specific type of litter. The Litter Robot III, for example, has a price tag near $500 but it can be used with just about any clumping cat litter. The PetSafe ScoopFree is priced under $150 but requires the use of crystal cat litter. It’s a trade-off whichever option you choose.
Our Top Picks For The Best Affordable Cat Litter Boxes
Now that you have a better understanding of how we came to our top picks, you’re probably eager to see them! Here are our 7 favorites for affordable cat litter boxes:
Catit Jumbo Hooded Cat Pan
- Type: Enclosed
- Size: 22.4x17.18.3 inches
- Price: $29.99
- Benefits: Enclosed, spacious, carbon filter
- Spacious size, great for large cats and multi-cat households
- Comes with carbon filter to remove litter box odor
- Enclosed design with clear plastic door for privacy
- A little more expensive than some models
- Front door can stick when out of alignment
My favorite thing about this hooded litter box is the size. It offers roughly 4 cubic feet of space but has a remarkably limited footprint. I liked that this litter box provides more horizontal space compared to many enclosed litter boxes that focus on vertical space.
My cats are pretty small anyway, but they do appreciate having room to dig around in a litter box. This Catit Jumbo Hooded Litter Box was perfect in that regard.
In addition to being spacious, this Catit hooded litter box offers several convenient features. The swinging door is clear plastic, so my cats could see through it easily. The latches on the side of the box connecting the top to the bottom were sliding latches rather than clips – I always prefer sliding latches because the clips can break too easily.
I appreciated that this litter box came with a carbon filter to help eliminate odor and I liked that the handle folded down flat. Overall, I’d say this litter box is well worth the $30 price tag.
Petmate Basic Cat Litter Pan
- Type: Litter pan
- Size: 22x16.6x6.5 inches
- Price: $11.99
- Benefits: Generous size, handle for lifting, durable materials
- Generous size, great for larger cats
- Durable materials, reinforced handles for lifting
- Affordably priced, often on sale
- Large size requires more litter to fill
- Sides may be too high for small or older cats
For the purpose of this review, I chose the jumbo size which was listed at a retail price of $11.99 but was on sale for $7.99. The litter box featured a basic open-top design and measured about 22-by-16.5-by-6.5 inches. It was plenty big enough for all three of my cats to use comfortably.
In addition to this litter box being generously sized, I was pleasantly surprised by the durability of the materials. Though this litter box is made from plastic it is by no means flimsy. Plus, it has reinforced handholds on the size for easy lifting.
When cleaning this litter box, I found that dirty litter really didn’t stick to the pan very much. I appreciated the rounded corners which made scooping easier and the plastic held up well to scratches.
The one downside to choosing a large litter box like this is that it takes a lot of litter to fill it. If you’re using clumping cat litter, that may not be a problem since you’ll scoop the clumps and reuse the clean litter. For non-clumping or natural cat litter, however, it could get pricey to keep it full.
Frisco High Sided Cat Litter Box
- Type: Litter pan
- Size: 24x18x10 inches
- Price: $15.99
- Benefits: High sides, lowered entry, durable materials
- High sides control litter scatter and urine spray
- Made from durable, high-quality plastic
- Generously sized, great for large cats and multi-cat homes
- Entry may be too high for small or older cats
- May require more litter to fill due to size and depth
- Litter may scatter through the front entry
To deal with this problem, I tend to choose high-sided litter boxes like this Frisco High-Sided Litter Box. This litter box is affordably priced under $20 and is quite spacious in addition to being high-sided.
This Frisco High-Sided Litter Box measures 24×18 inches and stands 10 inches high. Because the sides are so high, it allows you to fill the litter box extra-deep with litter – this is great for multi-cat households and for cats who like to dig around. Don’t worry – there’s a lowered entrance for cats to come and go.
To be honest, I didn’t notice much difference between this litter box and the Petmate Basics Litter Box other than the height of the sides. Both were durable, well-made, and affordable.
The only potential issue I saw with this litter box is the height of the entry. For small cats and kittens, it could still be a little too high for comfort. On the opposite side of the coin, it might end up being too low for cats who tend to kick litter around – it may scatter out the front of the box.
Nature's Miracle Disposable Cat Litter Box
- Type: Disposable
- Size: 21x14.5x8.4 inches
- Price: $11.00
- Benefits: Large size, disposable, baking soda odor protection
- Made from eco-friendly materials, safe for disposal
- Generously sized, great for larger cats
- Infused with baking soda for up to 4 weeks of odor control
- Low sides may allow for litter scatter/urine spray
- Litter may stick to the material, making scooping a challenge
That’s where disposable litter boxes come in. My top pick for the best disposable litter box is Nature’s Miracle Jumbo Disposable Litter Box.
These disposable litter boxes come in two-packs for just $11.00. They are generously sized so your cat has plenty of room to do his business and they are durable enough to last up to 4 weeks at a time.
The Nature’s Miracle Jumbo Disposable Litter Box is waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about urine soaking through to the floor beneath. The litter box is infused with baking soda to help control odors as well. Plus, because it is disposable, you don’t have to worry about scraping and scrubbing.
Not only is the Nature’s Miracle Jumbo Disposable Litter Box disposable, but it is made from eco-friendly materials so you can dispose of it responsibly when you’re finished.
The primary downside I could see with these disposable litter boxes is that the sides were fairly low. My cats tend to kick litter around and one has a tendency to spray, so I can see these litter boxes resulting in a fair bit of mess. For travel or temporary use, however, it may be worth it.
I’ll also note that when my cat sprayed urine on the side of the box, the material stayed fairly damp. I was a little worried about mildew or mold, but it didn’t end up being an issue.
Van Ness Enclosed Sifting Cat Litter Pan
- Type: Enclosed, sifting
- Size: 21.5x17.5x19 inches
- Price: $19.99
- Benefits: Enclosed for privacy, large size, sifting design
- Convenient sifter pan to make cleaning the box easy
- Polished plastic materials resist stains and odor
- Removable clear plastic door for odor control and privacy
- Sifter pan may become clogged with dirty litter
- Takes a little time to sift and refill the box with clean litter
This litter box looks like a regular enclosed litter box. It has a removable clear plastic door to help with odor control and the plastic materials have a polished finish to resist stains.
I found the Van Ness Enclosed Sifting Litter Box to be a decent size, though it definitely had a lot more vertical space than horizontal space. Again, my cats are very small, so they’d probably prefer having more space to move around inside the litter box. It was, however, plenty deep enough.
I appreciated the sifting design of the litter box as well, though I can see how it might be a little confusing the first time you use it.
To use the Van Ness Enclosed Sifting Litter Box correctly, you’re supposed to stack the sifter on top of the two solid pans then fill the sifter with litter. To clean the box, simply lift out the sifter pan and discard of the clumps. You then place the sifter pan inside the empty solid pan and pour the clean litter from the other solid pan into it before replacing the lid.
It’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it, but I can see how some users might be confused by the extra pan if they haven’t read the instructions for use.
The one thing I didn’t like about the Van Ness Enclosed Sifting Litter Box was the clips that hold the different pieces together. They clipped very securely, but it was difficult to undo them – I had to use enough force that I was worried about breaking the clips just by opening them.
Nature's Miracle Just For Cats Advanced High Sided Corner Cat Litter Box
- Type: Litter pan
- Size: 26x23x10 inches
- Price: $14.99
- Benefits: Fits in corner, nonstick surface, large size, high walls
- Space-saving design, ideal for corners
- Durable plastic materials with nonstick surface
- Affordably priced under $20
- Product label adhesive difficult to remove
- Large size may require more litter to fill
That’s where a corner litter box like Nature’s Miracle Corner Litter Box comes in handy.
The Nature’s Miracle Corner Litter Box is generously sized, measuring 26 inches across the front, 23 inches deep, and 10 inches high. The walls were plenty high to control litter scatter and urine spray.
This corner litter box is made from durable plastic materials featuring a nonstick surface to keep litter from caking and building up in the bottom of the box. The interior corners were rounded as well, so that helped prevent buildup too. It also has an antimicrobial coating to prevent bacteria from settling in.
I appreciated the generous size of the Nature’s Miracle Corner Litter Box and I loved the corner design.
The only downside was that because there was less horizontal space inside the box, one of my cats (the one who sprays) ended up splashing the walls more than usual. Litter scatter wasn’t really much of a problem, however, and the box seemed pretty durable.
One other minor issue I’ll mention is that the litter box came with the product label attached to the bottom with something very sticky. It was quite difficult to remove the adhesive to prevent litter from sticking to it.
IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box & Scoop, White/Green
- Type: Top Entry, Covered
- Size: 20.5×14.8×14.4 inches
- Price: $32.99
- Benefits: Includes box, filtered lid, scoop
- Modern design, available in several colors
- Integrated mat in lid collects excess litter
- Comes with a scoop that hangs inside the box
- Somewhat pricey compared to standard litter boxes
- May not be large enough for very big cats
This Iris Top Entry Litter Box is one of the best options I’ve found that is reasonably priced. It measures 20.5x16x14.5 inches, so it isn’t so huge it takes up a lot of space either. It’s big enough for my cats to not feel claustrophobic inside the box but it doesn’t take up a ton of floor space.
What I liked about the Iris Top Entry Litter Box was the grooved lid. The grooves act as an integrated litter mat to help brush excess litter off your cat’s paws when he exits the litter box.
I also appreciated that the litter box comes with a scoop you can hang right on the side of the box.
The Iris Top Entry Litter Box is thoughtfully designed, and it has a modern look to it. I appreciate that it has rubber feet on the bottom to protect my floors and it comes in several colors. It looks less out of place than the typical litter box.
Wrapping Things Up
Choosing a litter box shouldn’t be a stressful decision. Though some cats can be picky, most adapt well to a new litter box once they realize that’s what it is. If you’re not sure what your cat is going to like, we recommend sticking with the affordable litter box options reviewed here so you don’t end up spending a bunch of money on something your cat isn’t going to use (after all, you’ve probably already done that with cat beds and toys – boxes are their favorite!).
Once you’ve chosen a litter box, all you have to do is pick a cat litter. Overwhelmed by all the options? Check out our top 7 picks for the best affordable cat litter here.