The 5 Best Cheap Cat Litters

November 1, 2019

The 5 Best Cheap Cat Litters

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Looking For The Best Cheap Cat Litter The Industry Has To Offer?

You’re in luck. The cheapest litter is often the most effective.

Because it gives you industry-leading performance at an ultra-low price, we recommend Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Premium clumping cat litter as the best cheap cat litter you can buy. Keep reading to learn about our other favorites.

At a Glance: Best Cheap Cat Litters To Buy

What Are The Qualities Of The Best Cheap Cat Litter?

There’s no reason to sacrifice quality to get a good price. The best cheap cat litter neutralizes odors. It doesn’t make you choke or cough. It doesn’t have any additives that might irritate your cat’s paws.

Once you rule out expensive products, the litter that satisfies those qualities is made from clumping or sodium bentonite clay. You’ll have to spend more to get similar results out of other types of litter.

For example, non-clumping clay litter appears cheaper at first glance, but you’ll have to replace it more often.

That adds up to higher costs over time. Biodegradable or plant-based litter, for example, is almost always expensive.

Silica gel or crystal litter is also more expensive than clay and, in most cases, the best crystal litter is more expensive than the worst.

Best Cheap Cat Litter: Our Top 5 Picks

Overall Best: Dr. Elsey's Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter

Product Info:

  • Type: Clumping Clay
  • Price per Pound: $0.38-$0.46/lb
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: An all-around excellent clumping cat litter


  • Quickly creates firm, easy-to-scoop clumps
  • The clumps don’t crumble or break
  • Known for good odor control
  • Relatively low dust compared to other clumping clay litters
  • Controls odors without added fragrances


  • Comes in a heavy, large bag that makes it hard to pour

This litter is a favorite in the cat guardian community. People love its robust, low-tracking granules, excellent odor control, and minimal dust production. The litter clumps quickly and creates firm clods that are easy to scoop out of the litter box.

It’s unscented and dye-free, so it won’t irritate you or your cat.

Depending on when and where you buy it, this litter ranges from $0.38 to $0.46 per pound, making it one of the most economical clumping clay litters on the market. Combined with its outstanding performance and longevity, this looks like a great value.

Runner-Up: So Phresh Advanced Odor Control Scoopable Fragrance-Free Cat Litter

Product Info:

  • Type: Clumping Clay
  • Price per Pound: $0.39 – 0.49/lb
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: Refillable for extra savings


  • Allows you to get extra savings by refilling from the bulk bin
  • Formulated for superior odor control
  • Made without irritating fragrances and dyes


  • Some reviewers say the litter’s quality has declined over the years

Available in Petco stores and online through the Petco store and Amazon, this Petco brand is one of the cheapest on the market. Their Advanced Odor Control formula typically costs between $0.39 and $0.49 per pound.

The Advanced Odor Control formula gets positive reviews from customers. Most seem to agree that it’s hard-clumping, which makes it easy to scoop and keeps it from sticking to the bottom of the litter box. The litter doesn’t produce a lot of dust compared to other clay litters and, thanks to its unscented, dye-free formula, it is an appropriate choice for sensitive cats and people.

This litter’s biggest advantage? If you live near a participating Petco store, you can refill your container from their bulk litter bin. Refilling your jug or bucket will save you a few cents per pound.

Best for Odor Control: Purina Tidy Cats Free & Clean Clumping Cat Litter

Product Info:

  • Type: Clumping Clay
  • Price per Pound: $0.43/lb
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: A high-performance clumping litter with activated charcoal for odor control


  • Creates solid, scoopable clumps that don’t stick to the bottom of the box
  • Uses activated charcoal to neutralize odors
  • Relatively low-dust compared to other clumping clay products


  • Tends to track and scatter

Tidy Cats is a reasonably-priced brand that’s been producing reliable cat litter for over 50 years. This clumping clay litter is one of the most consistent, effective products you can buy.

If odor control is your top priority, this Tidy Cats litter may be a good option. It’s a standard clumping clay product that’s optimized for odor control. The litter is infused with activated carbon, which improves its ability to knock out litter box odor. Reviewers say the litter clumps well, lasts for a long time, and is easy to scoop.

The litter is composed of small, relatively light granules that tend to scatter and track across the house. It’s a good product to pair with a mat.

Best for Multiple Cats: Purina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Clumping Cat Litter

Product Info:

  • Type: Clumping Clay
  • Price per Pound: $0.40/lb
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: An all-around high-performance cat litter at a low price


  • Creates firm, cohesive clumps
  • Neutralizes odors effectively
  • Doesn’t create a lot of dust
  • Available in a variety of package styles for convenience


  • A scented litter—not a good choice for sensitive people and cats
  • On the pricier end of the budget tier

This Tidy Cats staple has all the qualities of a good litter, making it a solid choice for multiple-cat homes.

It controls odors effectively, clumps well, and doesn’t produce as much dust as some other clay litters. The litter’s biggest flaw? Its smell. Tidy Cats doesn’t call this a scented litter, but it’s definitely scented. If you or your cat is sensitive to fragrances, you may want to try another of our top recommendations.

At first glance, Tidy Cats isn’t the cheapest litter on the market, but its long-lasting performance and reliability make it a good value over time. If you can snag Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance cat litter on sale, you can get it for under $0.50 per pound.

Best Biodegradable: World's Best Cat Litter Clumping Litter Formula for Multiple Cats

Product Info:

  • Type: Clumping Corn
  • Price per Pound: $0.99/lb
  • Made In: United States
  • Key Strengths: An affordable and effective plant-based litter


  • Provides good odor control
  • One of the best-trusted products on the market
  • Cheaper than the average biodegradable cat litter
  • Lightweight litter is easier to handle


  • A relatively dusty litter

One of the most effective and trusted biodegradable litters is also one of the category’s cheapest. This litter from World’s Best Cat Litter is made from compressed corn, an absorbent material that locks in liquid and odors. It’s a clumping formula made with multi-cat homes in mind. The litter is infused with a proprietary plant material that, according to the company, helps it to control odors in a multiple-cat home.

Most customers like this World’s Best Cat Litter formula, though some report that it’s dusty and doesn’t control odors as well as some other products.

Compared to clay litter, you’ll pay about twice as much for this litter per pound, but it’s a lightweight product. You’ll get more volume for less weight and end up pouring fewer pounds—and pennies—into your litter box.

Tips for Saving Money on Cat Litter

The best cat litter buyers are all-around savvy shoppers. They know when and where to find deals, they buy in bulk, and they try alternatives to traditional cat litter.

Store brand litter can be your best friend. Just make sure you buy from the right stores.

Private label store brand cat litter is usually the most competitively-priced product in the cat litter aisle, but it’s often dusty, sticky, or ineffective. Shoppers say that Kroger, Petco, Target, and Tractor Supply have excellent—and economical—cat litter.

Stock up when the getting’s good.

When you spot a good deal on cat litter, stock up. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and liquidation sales are good opportunities for big savings. Buy as much litter as you can and put it in storage. As a bonus, you’ll save on gas by knocking out your annual litter shopping in one trip.

A shopper going by Elphabeth writes to, saying that PetSmart “always has a great sale on Tidy Cats clumping litter” on Black Friday. Elphabeth adds that the crowds are never as bad at PetSmart as they are at the mall or Best Buy.

Try alternatives to traditional cat litter. 

Sometimes the cheapest cat litter isn’t cat litter at all. Instead of expensive pine pellet cat litter, some use horse stall bedding. Instead of corn litter, you might use corn-based chicken feed.

Finding the best cheap cat litter demands an open mind.

Be ready to experiment with alternatives to traditional litter, shop when no one else is, and laugh at the idea that you have to pay more for a better product. Whether it’s a hard-clumping clay, like our top pick, or pine pellets from the feed store, sometimes the cheapest litter is the best.

Mallory Crusta

Mallory Crusta is a blogger and adventurecat enthusiast who brings you the facts about cat products, wellness, and care. She's the co-founder of Wildernesscat, a resource for savvy cat guardians who want to give their felines richer, healthier lives. Visit Wildernesscat for product reviews, radically natural nutrition tips, and lifestyle inspiration
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