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The 5 Best Crystal Cat Litters

November 1, 2019

The 5 Best Crystal Cat Litters

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Crystal, or silica gel, cat litter is the most under-appreciated product on the cat litter aisle. It’s more eco-friendly than clay, controls odors better than most plant-based litter, and can desiccate up to a month’s worth of cat urine in one box.

Perhaps its divisiveness stems from the fact that crystal litter can be just as bad as it is good. Mediocre crystal litter is one of the worst things you can put in your cat’s litter box. But when crystal litter is good, it’s life-changingly good.

After researching the science of silica gel, studying the market, and going through dozens of customer reviews, I’ve found five products that showcase crystal cat litter’s potential.

At the top of that list is a product called Just the Crystals Premium Cat Litter. This unscented, dye-free litter has consistent, high-capacity crystals that soak up urine and keep the box fresh. Its outstanding performance comes at a cost—it’s about twice as expensive as the average crystal litter.

If price is your top priority, don’t fret. In addition to our top pick, I’ve chosen four more of the best crystal cat litters on the market, identifying the strongest candidates for people on a budget, multiple cat homes, senior cats, and more.

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Tested and proven to offer superior absorbency
  • Doesn’t contain any added fragrances
  • Provides excellent odor control
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  • Among the most economical crystal cat litter you can buy
  • Holds liquids and neutralizes odors well
  • Moderately-sized crystals are cat-friendly and effective
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  • Made without irritating additives
  • May help to keep senior cats cleaner
  • Has a sandy consistency that cats like
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  • Has non-tracking granules
  • Doesn’t produce much dust
  • Can handle plenty of urine and lasts for a long time
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  • Forms cohesive, easy-to-scoop clumps
  • Offers good odor control and adsorbency
  • Has small, comfortable granules
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What Are The Qualities Of The Best Crystal Cat Litter?

After researching crystal cat litter, here are the qualities that appear to set the best crystal cat litter apart from the rest.

The Best Crystal Cat Litter Feels Comfortable Under Your Cat’s Paws But Isn’t So Fine That It Turns To Slush After A Week.

Great crystal cat litter isn’t so coarse that it hurts your cat’s paws or makes you wince when you step on a crystal at night. At the same time, tiny crystals don’t retain as much moisture and have a tendency to turn into slush before they should. The best crystal cat litter is both fine enough to keep your cat’s paws comfortable and coarse enough to hold plenty of urine for a long time.

The Best Crystal Cat Litter Is Ultra-adsorbent And Lasts For A Long Time.

This is the most important job a crystal cat litter has. Crystal litter is, by and large, non-clumping and usually promises to retain a month’s worth of urine in one box, so it needs to be good at holding moisture.

Silica gel crystals are inherently good at holding water—silica gel is a desiccant that can hold 30% to 40% of its weight in water. But performance varies from product to product. The size and consistency of the crystals influence how well they work, but it’s hard to know which product is best before you try it.

Customer reviews are your best friend when assessing a crystal litter’s effectiveness. I chose products that receive good customer reviews and have a reputation for keeping the box dry and odorless.

Finally, The Best Crystal Cat Litter Is Free Of Additives That Irritate You Or Your Cat.

For a large portion of the population, scented litter is a headache. Considering that added fragrances might also irritate your cat, it’s just not worth it to choose scented litter.

Best Crystal Cat Litter: Our Top 5 Picks

Overall Best: Just the Crystals Premium Cat Litter

Product Info:

  • Type: Silica Gel Crystals
  • Price per Pound: $4.77/lb
  • Made In: China
  • Key Strengths: Exceptional moisture retention and longevity

Pros:

  • Tested and proven to offer superior absorbency
  • Doesn’t contain any added fragrances
  • Provides excellent odor control
  • Comes in 4.5-lb packages for easy use with automatic litter boxes

Cons:

  • May be prone to tracking and scattering
  • Tends to be relatively dusty

According to the company, this litter has the highest measured absorbency of any crystal litter on the market. Its moderately-sized, consistent crystals capture and lock in urine and odors without creating a lot of dust or tracking across the house.

Customers like it, too.

Amazon reviewer Stephen H. Smith went beyond the average customer to find out how this litter stacks up. Smith, a self-described techie, conducted detailed absorbency tests of several crystal litters, both at home and in a lab. After comparing the test results, Smith says that Just the Crystals litter outperformed the rest.

At the end of his long review, Smith concluded that “Sometimes the originator of an idea figures how to keep its customers over the long haul by sticking to the basics…high quality design, enhanced quality control and superior customer service. These seem to be the hallmark of this company and until such time as this changes, I will remain a long time loyal buyer of their Premium products. Premium is a word that should describe a benchmark in an industry that has none.”

At over $4 per pound, this litter is among the most expensive products on the market. But based on its proven performance and 600-plus customer reviews, Just the Crystals looks like an investment worth making.

Best Budget: PetSafe ScoopFree Premium Sensitive Crystals

Product Info:

  • Type: Silica Gel Crystals
  • Price per Pound: $1.88/lb
  • Made In: China
  • Key Strengths: An economical, long-lasting litter

Pros:

  • Among the most economical crystal cat litter you can buy
  • Holds liquids and neutralizes odors well
  • Moderately-sized crystals are cat-friendly and effective
  • Free of dyes and perfumes

Cons:

  • Dustier than some other crystal cat litters

If your priority is saving money and getting a great value, it’s hard to beat this litter from PetSafe.

If you have one cat, the cost of this litter breaks down to about $0.28 per day or just over $8 per month. With some silica gel litter—Pretty Litter, for example—costing as much as $35 per month, that’s a great deal.

Though this product is intended for use with the PetSafe ScoopFree automatic litter box, it’s compatible with any traditional litter box.

The litter has medium-sized crystals and, according to customer reviews, sends up some dust when poured into the box. Once it’s in the box, the litter appears to hold liquids and odors well, though some reviewers say it didn’t last for the promised 30 days.

Best for Senior Cats: Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Senior Cat Litter

Product Info:

  • Type: Silica Gel
  • Price per Pound: $3.31/lb
  • Made In: China
  • Key Strengths: Designed to encourage senior cats to use the litter box

Pros:

  • Made without irritating additives
  • May help to keep senior cats cleaner
  • Has a sandy consistency that cats like
  • May help to encourage cats to use the litter box

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Some reviewers say the litter is dusty

This silica gel litter is marketed for senior cats. Dr. Elsey’s claims that this quick-drying, ultra-adsorbent litter will help keep seniors clean and healthy while addressing litter box avoidance. It contains a “natural herbal attractant” that may encourage cats to revisit the litter box.

The litter has a fine, sandy texture that’s easy on sensitive paws, but brings with it the biggest complaint you’ll hear from customers—it’s dustier than some other, more coarse, products.

The litter seems to adsorb urine effectively and seems to provide good odor control. It’s expensive, but if you’re looking for a litter that appeals to cats who’ve started avoiding the litter box, this Dr. Elsey’s product may be a good choice.

Best for Multiple Cats: FreshMAGIC Large Chunk Style Crystal Cat Litter

Product Info:

  • Type: Silica Gel Crystals
  • Price per Pound: $1.87/lb
  • Made In: China
  • Key Strengths: Large, chunky crystals don’t track as much as smaller-grained litter

Pros:

  • Has non-tracking granules
  • Doesn’t produce much dust
  • Can handle plenty of urine and lasts for a long time

Cons:

  • Some cats won’t like the large granules

This litter from Fresh Magic has large, chunky crystals that track less than finer, sandier products.

Though this litter isn’t the right option for every cat or household—those with sensitive paws may prefer something sandier—it has a reputation for excellence. The crystals adsorb plenty of urine and, according to customer reviews, control odor well.

The litter appears to last for about a month per cat, which is about average among the best crystal cat litter on the market.

Best Clumping: Ultra Pet Clumping Crystal Cat Litter, White Crystals with Multicolor Crystals

Product Info:

  • Type: Clumping Silica Gel Crystals
  • Price per Pound: $2.59/lb
  • Made In: China
  • Key Strengths: A good option for those who prefer a clumping product

Pros:

  • Forms cohesive, easy-to-scoop clumps
  • Offers good odor control and adsorbency
  • Has small, comfortable granules

Cons:

  • One of the most expensive crystal cat litter products you can buy

Crystal cat litter is typically a non-clumping product, but some are formulated to form scoopable clods. This product aims to maximize the litter’s effectiveness by pairing superior odor control and moisture retention with the ability to clump. A clumping litter allows you to remove urine as well as feces.

This product creates crystalline, crusty clods that are easy to scoop out of the litter box. Though the company recommends scooping twice a week, reviewers say that once-daily scooping works better. Customers praise its odor control and longevity.

Because you’re removing the urine daily, you’ll need to top off the litter regularly.

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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