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The 17 Best Low-Cost Cat Litter Boxes

You may be forgiven for thinking that purchasing a cat litter box is a good idea.

The basic idea is that you fill a rectangular plastic tray with a substrate material that you scrape out once it's full of urine and feces.

There are, however, high-sided boxes, front-opening trays, and top-opening trays. Sifting boxes and even mechanical and automatic self-cleaning litter boxes are available.

For something that appears to be so straightforward, there are numerous options.

Furthermore, because there is no standard sizing, what is offered as a large or jumbo tray may be too tiny for larger cats, making it critical to check real dimensions.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) has reviewed of the best low-cost cat litter boxes, which will gather your cat's waste without breaking the bank.

Reviews

Van Ness High Sides Cat Litter Pan – Overall Winner

  • Size: 21.25″ x 17.75″ x 9″
  • Box Design: High-Sided Pan
  • Plastic and recycled materials are used.

The Van Ness High Sides Cat Litter Pan is available in large or gigantic sizes, with the enormous offering greater value for money if you have a large enough cat and adequate floor area.

It is a sturdy box constructed of a combination of plastic and 20% recycled materials, and its dimensions make it suitable for really large cats.

The polished finish makes cleaning easier because debris and dust brush off more quickly and do not become trapped in the plastic, as can happen with a contoured or textured finish.

High-sided litter trays can provide extra protection for cats while they’re doing their business, but they also make it much more difficult for the cat to kick and flick litter out of the sides when they’re covering up.

They can even keep tiny dogs from reaching over and eating the contents, and the fact that the Van Ness High Sides Cat Litter Pan has a higher front than most other trays helps to prevent this.

This is our pick for the best overall budget cat litter box due to its low price and nice design, but it won’t suit numerous cats or the largest breeds.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Litter flicking is prevented by high sidewalls.
  • Cleans effectively

Cons

  • Jumbo cats should not be used.
  • It will not accommodate multiple cats.

Best Value Van Ness Cat Litter Pan

  • Size: 14.88″ x 18.38″ x 5″
  • Pan box type
  • Plastic and recycled materials are used.

Another litter tray by Van Ness is the greatest budget litter cat litter box for the money. This one is inexpensive for the huge tray, however it is only suitable for medium cats, which is a common issue with litter trays.

Aside from the tray height, it is the identical model as the high-sided variant above, but for around half the price. Van Ness items are created in the United States, and this model is composed of polished plastic and recycled components as well.

Some cats dislike the high-sided walls of other versions because they can make them feel confined. This is especially problematic if you have numerous cats and one is agitated while the tray is being used.

A really fair bargain for a decent tray, however the sizing leaves something to be desired.

Pros

  • Very low cost
  • Polished plastic is simple to maintain.
  • Recycled materials are used.

Cons

  • Less than the size implies

Sifting Cat Litter Pan by Arm & Hammer – Premium Choice

  • Size: 18.88″ x 15.21″ x 7.86″
  • Sifting Pan is the box type.
  • Material: Plastic

The Arm and Hammer Sifting Cat Litter Pan features three trays: two solid and one with relatively large holes.

The sifting tray is designed to sit on top of the solid tray. When it’s time to empty it, you lift and sift the tray with holes, similar to panning for gold.

The litter falls through the perforations, while the solids and clumps remain in the sifter and may be readily discarded without the need to shovel or pick up dirt.

This is slightly more expensive than regular trays, which is to be expected given that it includes three plastic trays rather than just one.

This large pan is not ideal for bigger cats, and you must purchase a suitable sized litter to ensure that it fits smoothly through the holes. If the litter does not absorb urine well, it will collect in the tray beneath as well.

Pros

  • Sifting eliminates the need for scooping.
  • For added convenience, two solid pans are included.

Cons

  • Big cats can’t fit in there.
  • Ideal litter conditions are required.
  • Urine may collect in the bottom tray.

Nature’s Miracle Corner Cat Litter Box with High Sides

  • Measurements: 23″ x 26″ x 10″
  • Type of Box: Corner Pan
  • Material: Plastic

While most litter trays are rectangular, and thus naturally fit snugly into corners, some of the space may be deemed wasted, and the litter tray does not fit symmetrically into the space.

A corner litter tray is triangular in shape, but it has rounded corners. The right angle of the triangle sits in the corner of the room, taking up less space yet not projecting too far away from that location.

The Natural Wonder The Advanced High Sided Corner Cat Litter Box by Just For Cats is a triangle corner box.

It is suitable for almost all cat breeds and features a high-sided construction to prevent litter from being thrown around the room. Although it has a smaller front part, it is still higher than most other box sides.

The difficulty with the corner design is that two of the corners are very impossible to scoop, therefore if any particles or liquids go into those corners, a thorough wash will be required to remove everything.

It is also more expensive than the typical rectangular alternatives.

Pros

  • The design fits perfectly into the corner.
  • High fences keep stray rubbish at bay.
  • Size is adequate.

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Cleaning all corners is difficult.

Basic Cat Litter Pan by Petmate

  • Size: 22.05″ x 16.6″ x 6.5″
  • Pan box type
  • Material: Plastic

The Petmate Basic Cat Litter Pan is not advertised as a high-sided litter box, but at 6.5″ tall, it certainly qualifies.

Unfortunately, it has similarly high edges all the way around, which means there is no lowered entry, making it difficult for some cats, particularly kittens and seniors, as well as those with joint and muscular difficulties, to easily get in and out of the tray.

It’s a jumbo box, so it should be large enough for larger breeds, and one end of the box has an expanded rim to facilitate picking up the tray easier without unintentionally catching the litter and its contents.

The plastic is quite thin, and it attracts litter dust because it is more textured than some of the polished designs, but if you have a large cat who will not tolerate high walls and scatters litter contents all over the floor, it could be the right choice for you and is reasonably, if not brilliantly, priced.

Pros

  • Excellent big size
  • One end has an extended handle.
  • Reasonable cost

Cons

  • Dust collector
  • Plastic that is thin
  • There is no reduced entry.

Senior Cat Litter Box KittyGoHere

  • 24″ x 20″ x 5″ Dimensions
  • Pan box type
  • Material: Plastic

The KittyGoHere Senior Cat Litter Box is available in a variety of colors and two sizes, all of which are generous in comparison to other similarly branded cat boxes.

The tray has very low sides and one side that is even lower, making it ideal for older cats and those with movement concerns.

These low walls serve a purpose in that any cat may clamber in and out, but they also mean that litter can seep out of the box and if your cat toilets against the side, there will be leaking on the surrounding floor, thus we recommend purchasing some form of tray or paper to put underneath it.

The box is pricey, costing more than even the sifting litter trays on our list, and aside from having shorter walls, it lacks the characteristics that justify the high price. If your cat has trouble getting into standard trays, this is the appropriate option.

Pros

  • It is appropriate for cats with limited mobility.
  • It is suitable for kittens.
  • Dimensions that are generous

Cons

  • Expect a lot of litter and floor accidents.
  • Expensive

Disposable Litter Box Kitty’s Wonderbox

  • 17″ x 13.5″ x 4″ Dimensions
  • Disposable box type
  • Paper and recycled materials are used.

The Kitty’s Wonderbox Disposable Litter Box is an interesting concept in that it is intended to be used for up to one month before being discarded.

Disposables, which are available separately or in a pack of three for a lower unit price, can be beneficial if you’re traveling or staying somewhere briefly.

Alternatively, disposables can be useful if you foster cats. However, while a single disposable tray appears to be reasonably priced, the expense of refilling it even once a month quickly adds up, and within two or three months, you could have purchased a nice plastic litter tray.

Because the trays are small, they are not suitable for all cats but are ideal for kittens. The size also allows the disposable to be placed within a huge plastic tray, however the roughness makes good cleaning difficult, and you won’t want to leave litter there for a month without cleaning.

Pros

  • Disposable items require less cleaning.
  • Can be stored in a plastic tray

Cons

  • Over time, it becomes costly.
  • Cleaning is difficult.
  • Small

Van Ness Cat Litter Pan with Enclosure

  • Size: 21.5″ x 17.75″ x 18″
  • Covered Tray is the box type.
  • Plastic and recycled materials are used.

Another litter tray by Van Ness that, like the others on the list, is constructed of plastic and contains 20% recycled materials. It is a covered litter tray, which means it has a lid and a door to keep odors and litter contained within the box.

It has adequate proportions, but many cats may refuse to relieve themselves inside a cocooned shell, especially if they are frightened or if you have numerous cats who try to share at the same time.

The enclosed design raises the cost, and the door is readily broken. The latches that keep the lid in place are not as secure as they should be, which allows your cat to easily knock the lid off and defeat the purpose of the covered tray.

Pros

  • A covered tray might help to keep odors at bay.
  • Large dimensions

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lid latches are readily broken.
  • A covered tray design will not appeal to all cats.

Buyer's Guide: Selecting the Best Low-Cost Cat Litter Boxes

At its most basic, a cat litter box is simply a plastic tray. It has a litter substrate, such as clay or wood litter, into which your cat enters, performs its thing, and usually hides the evidence.

Indoor and outdoor cats can benefit from having a tray at home, and it is recommended that one litter tray per cat plus one extra be provided.

The trays can be placed in various places of the house so that all of your cats have a place to relieve themselves.

Cats, on the other hand, can be picky, which is reasonable when they need to go to the bathroom. Some people want a lot of space, while others prefer a smaller space.

Some cats prefer to be covered and away from the prying eyes of people, while others become uncomfortable when they are hemmed in.

Types of Litter Boxes

Choosing the best budget cat litter box begins with determining which type is best suited to your and your cats’ needs, with the following alternatives being the most frequent.

Standard Tray

The majority of low-cost litter trays are standard trays or boxes. They are rectangular and flat, with rounded corners to make them easy to clean.

They are composed of plastic and have some kind of wall. These trays are cheap because they are simple and will accommodate the majority of cats in most scenarios.

High-Sided Tray 

However, some cats dig feverishly in their litter tray, both when they enter and when they leave.

This can make your space look like one big litter tray, and it’s especially uncomfortable when you stand on a soggy piece of ejected woodchip.

It’s probable that the cat not only flicks out the substrate, but also its contents. As the name implies, high-sided trays have higher sides.

They may not totally eliminate the problem of stray litter, but they can assist. You may need to make sure there is one lower end since if your cat can’t easily get in and out, it’s possible they won’t bother.

Rectangular trays

Rectangular trays can fit in the corner of the room, but they protrude from the corner, which is inconvenient if space is restricted.

Corner trays are trapezoidal in shape and fit perfectly into a wall corner. The only issue with these trays is that the scoops are square, so you won’t be able to get straight into the tray’s corners.

They are also more expensive than the standard rectangular models.

A covered tray

A covered tray includes not only tall sides but also a roof and a swinging door that your cat may open to get in and out.

The tray’s lid is secured using latches similar to those seen on hard cat carriers, and you must ensure that these are not too loose or too simple to access or the cover may come off, negating any benefits.

A covered tray is ideal for cats who need a lot of seclusion, but it can be too claustrophobic for certain worried cats.

Sifting Tray

A sifting tray has many layers, one of which has small holes.

The mechanism is built such that when you shake the slotted tray, the litter falls through into another tray, leaving clumps and solids that may be readily disposed of.

Make sure you pick a litter that is meant for that tray, else the pieces may not fall through without some coaxing.

Disposable Tray 

Disposable trays are often constructed of paper or cardboard and are intended for short-term use. Some claim to last up to a month before needing to be thrown, while others claim to last only a week or two.

These can be placed within a bigger plastic tray to act as a litter tray liner, making cleanup easier and faster. They’re also great for traveling with because you don’t have to wipe the tray before putting it back in the trunk of the car.

Size of the Litter Tray

Check the size of the litter tray you’re considering buying to ensure your cat can fit in, turn around, and do its business comfortably.

Although most trays have descriptive size names ranging from small to large, these cannot usually be relied on because there is no universal sizing reference.

A jumbo tray from one manufacturer may only be the same size as a large tray from another, and so forth.

A dish that is too tiny increases the chances of your cat going missing and causes litter to be kicked out into the floor. A huge one will take up more room than necessary.

Cleaning Ease

The majority of trays are composed of plastic. Some have a textured finish, which gives the tray a more matte appearance, but dust and debris can become trapped in the texturing.

When this happens, odours linger and cleaning the tray becomes much more difficult. A polished finish guarantees that liquids run off, dust does not accumulate, and solids are easily removed.

Consider avoiding ridged trays for the same reason.

Where Should a Litter Tray Be Stored?

Animals in the wild are most vulnerable when they are prone and toileting. While your cat is unlikely to be attacked by wolves, they may experience anxiety while toileting.

Choose a handy location for you, ideally up against a wall and providing your cat a good field of view around them. This should remove any worries and allow your cat to go freely.

Placing the tray in your bathroom is a fantastic alternative because you can simply maintain the floor around it clean, and all odors are contained to the same area of the house, regardless of who was responsible for them.

How Do You Get Cat Litter to Stop Smelling?

There will always be some odor from cat litter, but there are techniques to significantly decrease it. Make sure to clean up periodically and as soon as you discover anything in the tray.

Scoop once a day and wash once a week. Place them in a well-ventilated place and think about adding baking soda to the litter to help neutralize odors as soon as they appear.

Conclusion

Choosing the correct litter tray will help prevent unwanted odors and ensuring that your cat is at ease doing its business, whatever that business may be.

Choose the type of tray that is the right size for you and your cat.

Use BestForPets‘ (bestforpets.org) reviews of the best low-cost cat litter boxes to help you locate the best one for your needs and use the guide to assist you in making a final decision.

The Van Ness High Sides Giant Litter Box is reasonably priced and simple to clean, but if you’re on a limited budget, the Van Ness Cat Litter Pan is even less expensive while providing many of the same benefits.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher

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