Litter Robot 3 Open Air Litter Box With Connect For Animal Shelters Review

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Litter Robot 3 Open Air

The Litter Robot 3 Open Air is an automatic litter box that is ideal for cat owners and animal shelters to use for maximum efficiency and cleanliness. It has been my desire to use this product for a long time so I could compare and contrast it to other hooded boxes and automatic boxes I have used in the past.

This is the only hooded litter box that I would suggest for use since other hooded boxes =are too crowded and small for most cats. Too many automatic litter boxes become quickly clogged or break easily in comparison to the Litter Robot 3 Open Air which does not have this problem because of the patterned cleaning system.

I have utilized the Litter Robot with a ton of different cats in the home environment and in the shelter environment with great success. I found that even the least confident cat or the most curious cat will take to the robot with patience and minimal training when needed. Giving them the proper amount of time to adjust is invaluable when it comes to training your cat to anything new or novel.

What Comes In The Box:

  • Completely assembled robot
  • Carbon filter (inserted)
  • Three litter liners
  • Quick guide
  • Manual
  • Returning instructions
  • Cool meow sticker

Litter Robot Pros and Benefits

The Litter Robot is designed to be used by multiple cats at the same time and will save you about fifty percent on your annual cat litter cost if used correctly. I have found this to be the case with my 15 cats and in the animal shelter that I work at.

I enjoy the fact that I will never have to scoop the box again with this many cats because scooping four times a day with the amount of cats I have is a work out. The box will automatically and accurately remove the big clumps and preserve my clean cat litter at the same time.

This box is perfect for the shelter environment because it will save time for the shelter staff to do more important things like behavior modification or adoptions. This would be the perfect addition for a roaming room with multiple cats. The automatic cleaning cycle will also cut down odor for visitors and help prevent them from seeing soiled litter while visiting which can be dissuading. The goal of any shelter should be to remove any objects or items that can make the visitor think that the shelter is dirty even if it is not realistic for it to be completely spotless at all times. There will eventually be that customer who freaks out because a cat just used the box and no one was around to clean it.

The color of the litter box is very elegant and will blend in well with any shelter or home decor without much effort. The built in rubber mat and lip extender are designed to reduce litter spillage. Preventing the scatter of litter is a big benefit since shelter staff might not immediately catch spillage or have to the time to clean it up with the traditional box setup.

Rubber Mat

Many shelter managers will be excited to hear that this product is made exclusively in the United States and comes with an 18 month warranty. The 90 money back guarantee will allow you to try this product without a full commitment. It is my guess that you will not want to return this product after you experience the full potential of the robot.

My favorite update to the Litter Robot 3 Open Air is that it will work for any cat who falls between 5 pounds and 20 pounds. Please note that this box is no ideal for cats below 5 pounds and should be ran manually until they are at least 5 pounds.

I have had a variety of big sized cats from the shelter use this box without an issue as well as my own large cats. This box is spacious enough for even a Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest Cat. The cats at the shelter and at my own house have plenty of room to dig, bury, and turn around.

Control Panel:

  • Sleep mode action
  • Built in night light
  • Control lock
  • Filtration system
  • Waste drawer vents
  • Modify wait times
  • Off/on button
  • Lip extender
  • Rubber mat
  • Indicator light

The Litter Robot is completely user friendly and can be set-up in under 30 minutes at the most without a single tool or prior knowledge. The machine only requires electricity and clumping cat litter for it to work properly. Everything else needed for operation is included. The wait time can be adjusted to 3, 7, and 15 minute intervals after a cat eliminates in the box.

Timing Indicator

The built in night light will aid your shelter cats or your own cats in finding the litter box at night. I find that some cats will urinate outside of the box because they cannot see the box or find it which is a big reason behind my love for the night light feature. This can be especially helpful if the cats have poor night vision or are elderly and have poor sight. This function can even be helpful for elderly people for finding the box.

The indication light on the control panel will help you to understand when the waste drawer is ready to be emptied. The machine will run only 3 more cycles after this light kicks on. This can be much easier to access if you have the connect upgrade for your Robot.

Ready and Cycling

The 8 hour sleep mode option is ideal for light sleepers because it will stop the box from cleaning while you are sleeping. This can be changed from the control panel buttons. The machine sound is not even that loud when it runs so it is not likely to wake you up if it does happen to run by some chance.

The control panel lock is beneficial for the owner or shelter that houses cats who might be mischievous enough to access or use the control panel buttons by themselves.

The machine has a built in accessory battery back up option that an individual or animal shelter can purchase for their machine. This is a perfect add on for people who cannot afford for their machine to go offline. The Robot can operate up to 48 hours for 2 cats with 10 cycles per day even in the midst of the power outage.

Litter Robot Dimensions

Litter Robot Dimensions

The depth of the Litter Robot globe is exactly 20 inches from front to back with the widest point inside of the globe being approximately 20 inches across. The fully assembled robot is 24.1 inches in width, 29.2 inches in height and 26.7 inches in depth.

The waste drawer found in the base of the machine is only 12.5 inches in width, 5 inches in height, and 16 inches in depth. The oval entryway of the machine is 10.25 inches in width and 15.5 inches in height.

Step By Step Cleaning

The Litter Robot will run through a comprehensive process after your cat has eliminated in the box so it is completely clean and ready for another cat to use.

Step 1: Elimination Time

The cat will now enter the box and eliminate inside of the box. The robot will know when your cat is inside of the robot and when he is gone so that the robot can clean up appropriately.

The robot will work with nearly any type of clumping cat liter without problems. You can even use a biodegradable cat litter with the biodegradable bags for optimal recycling.

One primary concern for my own cats and for the shelter was that the rubber would not hold up to routine cat digging but it seems rather indestructible even with the cats who dig for a long time after eliminating.

Step 2: Timed Cleaning

The timer will start right after the cat has left the Litter Robot which will allow the litter to clump up prior to the actual cleaning cycle. The robot can accurately detect when a cat inside or outside of the robot based on a built in weight-sensitive cat sensor.

When weight is detected inside, the globe will then cease to rotate and stop rotating as a security feature. The timer will start for the cleaning cycle once the weight is removed from the robot as previously mentioned. You may manually stop a cleaning cycle by pushing any of the three buttons on the machine if you need to immediately stop it.

It would be beneficial for you to know that there is no electrical parts, sharp objects, or moving parts that can put your cat in harm. There is a very comprehensive safety mechanism in place that will prevent the machine from cleaning when your cat is inside. Entry from any cat will turn the motor off temporarily.

Step 3: Globe Rotation and Sifting

The robot globe will sift gradually and will begin to rotate. The machine utilize the patented sifting system to separate the clean litter from any clumps. The shield will prevent clumps from becoming stuck to the sides or to the walls.

Plastic Shield To Remove Clumps

The sifting system combines flawless rotation, precise timing, and gravity to process the waste instead of pulling the clumps with rakes. Other commonly used automatic boxes use the rake system which often will lead to mechanical failure or blockage.

Step 4: Waste Drawer Function

The filtered cat litter is preserved while the waste is being dumped into the carbon-filtered waste drawer which is found in the base of the unit. You can expect to empty your waste drawer every 10 days for a single household and more frequently if you have multiple cats.

Clean Waste Drawer

Your waste drawer is furnished with infrared emitters and sensitive sensors that detect the level of waste after every cleaning cycle. The blue light will flash on the control panel when the waste drawer is full. Then you simply just pull on the drawer to pull it out so you can empty the liner.

The waste drawer was specially designed with cleanliness in mind and health in mind. The growth of mold is prevented which will control litter box smell which can be deterring to visitors. The carbon filter will go above and beyond in isolating any other litter box odors that visitors might encounter with a normal litter box setup.

Step 5: Home Positioning

The robot globe will now return to the default position which will leave a clean level of cat litter for use. Ensure that there is a sufficient amount of cat litter left in the box or the sensor will have trouble detecting when it is time to clean.

Training Your Cat To Use The Robot

Many cats will be slow to enter the robot at first because they are naturally cautious of anything new. Nervous or frightened cats will take longer to adjust to the robot than outgoing and calm cats.

Nervous cats may completely reject the robot at first which can happen. It is my goal to help you with getting them acclimated to it in a gradual manner.

Step 1 is to avoid scaring your cat while they are adjusting to a new box. This type of problem can be prevented by having your robot switched to the off position for a couple of days.

You need to wait about 7 full minutes for waste to clump before turning the machine on at which point the robot will perform the cleaning cycle. The cleaning cycle will last around 2 to 3 minutes which is referred to as the semi-automatic cleaning mode.

The third step is to make the old boxes a little less attractive to your cats. You never should just take the old box away but you will want to work toward phasing them out. Allow waste to accumulate in the old box so he will be much more likely to seek out less smelly boxes. This should be motivation for your cat to try the Litter Robot.

Step 4 is to relocate the old boxes closer to the Litter Robot. Pour a scoop of the old cat litter on top of the new cat litter in the robot which will smell familiar. You want to implement a bait and switch technique at this point. Remove the old box when it is completely soiled or full of waste once you want to complete the bait and switch.

You will have to be creative and use all of the strategies mentioned for success in teaching your cat to use the Litter Robot. I have seen people go as far as covering the Robot in cardboard. This will work because we know that cats are drawn to cardboard boxes like bees are drawn to honey.

Maintenance Needs

There is not any special accessories or equipment needed for installation or ongoing maintenance but you can use 13 gallon trash bags or grocery bags in place of the custom liners sold specifically for the Litter Robot.

It is recommended to check the litter robot level every time you empty out the waste drawer so the litter does not drop too low. I find it helpful to add just a few cups of clumping cat litter after every cycle followed by flattening the litter to meet the fill line. The fill line is convenient so that you do not add too much litter or too little litter.

Cat Litter At Fill Line

The bed of cat litter does not need to be swapped out weekly if it remains clean. The Litter Robot has an impeccable sifting system that preserves the optimum amount of cat litter. I usually replace the cat litter every 4-6 months but you may be able to wait longer than that based on the number of cats that you own.

Wi-Fi Connect App

The Litter Robot Connect upgrade to the Open Air Litter Robot literally transforms the robot. This update will give you the ability to control and monitor your new robot from your iPhone or Ipad device with an existing Wi-Fi network. Do download the LR Connect App as well.

You will be given a detailed report in graph form on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to track defecation and urination habits. These trends can help you quickly identify problems based on if there are changes to the trend. This can be an indispensable way to rule out medical problems in shelter cats or your own cats.

Key App Features:

  • Adjusting wait times
  • Night Light
  • Lockout control panels
  • Power off and on
  • Reset the guage
  • Reset to default
  • Sleep mode
  • Activate cleaning cycle

It is simple to upgrade a Litter Robot 3 Air into the Litter Robot 3 Air Connect. You only need to purchase the upgrade from the website and install it which will take about 30 minutes. The upgrade installation kit will explain each step you need to follow and provide pictures so you have a good point of reference.

I like to use this system to monitor the community cats from the office which is a good distance away from the Litter Robot to ensure that the cats are going in the boxes properly. I also do not have to make many trips to and from the community room to make sure that they are using the box or to empty it out.

Cleaning The Litter Robot

Disinfecting the Litter Robot is quite easy since it is not too hard to take this machine apart or reassembling it. No special equipment or supplies are needed to clean it. You want to prepare for cleaning by running one empty cycle, unplugging the machine and pulling it away form any walls. You can now start taking it apart for cleaning.

I advise that you clean the globe twice per year and wipe down the globe with a damp cloth when it becomes dirty or sooner if you swap out cats often in your community cat rooms. I use a Trifectant rag to wipe down the machine but I would never use bleach or any other harsh disinfectant.

The waste drawer can be soaked completely in disinfectant but the bonnet and base cannot be submerged as they contain metal and electronics in them. You can remove the bonnet by pressing and releasing the latches on both sides so that you do not get it wet while cleaning the rest of the machine. You want to avoid any parts of the machine that does contain metal or electronic pieces. You can vacuum excess cat litter if you need to prevent litter streaking.

You should check your DFI lenses which is located inside of the waste opening in the base of the unit to ensure it is cleaning and working correctly. Left over debris may confuse the lenses into thinking the waste drawer is full when it is not. You can rinse out the carbon filter with tap water or you can order a replacement on the official website.

Allow the machine to completely dry before assembling the machine back together. Replace the waste liner and line up the black key on the back of the machine prior to turning it on. Latter may clump prematurely if you don’t allow the machine to dry completely.


The robot is an appliance which is built with stability, durability and safety in mind. The robot will require little if any maintenance throughout the lifetime of the machine. The Litter Robot is made of industrial-grade components. There is handles built into the sides of the machine for easy moving or handling.

The customer service is well trained to help you with any problems that you run into for your Litter Robot. Contact customer service by visiting their website and clicking the contact button found on the menu bar.

Review Conclusion

I recommend that this litter box be used for shelters that are too busy to scoop frequently or for employees who cannot have contact with feces. The box is also helpful for days that the shelter has to shut down and cannot afford to hire employees for. This box is ideal for pregnant people or for people who have a bad back and cannot bend down multiple times a day to scoop the box. Another group of people this box would be ideal for is people who are very hygienic and have to be cautious about touching the litter box such as individuals with Crohn’s disease or an immune disorder.

The Litter Robot provides a noticeable and substantial improvement over any other hooded or automatic box in terms of odor control and preventing a machine blockage. The sifting system in the box does not use a rake which is the primary problem in other boxes that eventually lead to machine failure. I like to recommend this product to potential adopters and friends who could take advantage of this time saving device. I have even thought about having an additional unit on hand for potential foster parents who are very busy people.

Lucas In The Litter Robot

98-99% of cats will adapt to using the machine without a problem in under one month if they are given time and patience. Reassurance in the way of cat treats and catnip will certainly help speed up the process. All of my cats have caught on in under just two weeks with the tips provided in acquainting your cat to the box that I provided above.

Use Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Clumping cat litter or cat attract which can help entice the cat to the robot over another box. You may choose to buy a ramp to help reduce spillage and spread if you have a cat that is only jumping into and out of the box without using the rubber mat.

  • Durability - 10/10
  • Features - 10/10
  • Uniqueness - 10/10
  • Cleaning - 10/10
  • Ease of Use - 9/10
  • Aesthetics - 8/10
  • Packaging - 10/10
  • Value - 9/10
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