Do you have a robot vacuum that handles tracked cat litter?
August 3, 2021 5:59 PM   Subscribe

I love my robot vacuum, but it just doesn't do a good job of picking up tracked cat litter. It just doesn't suck it up well. If I could switch to a robot vacuum that picks up tracked cat litter, I would have to use the big vacuum a lot less often. Do you have a robot vacuum that handles cat litter well?

The robot vacuum mostly works fine except for the litter, so I don't want to upgrade without being sure that the new one will do a better job with it. That's a lot of money to waste on hope!

We're talking mostly hardwood floors (with one large living room rug) and individual tracked litter particles. They're currently using clay litter, though my current robot vacuum didn't do any different with lighter litters either.

I don't need any fancy programming options or anything, just something that moves around and vacuums so I don't have to.
posted by Kutsuwamushi to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
We have a very basic Coredy robot vacuum that does a good job with litter on our hard floors and a woven rug. It doesn’t clean plush rugs as well, so we still use a regular vacuum on those. I think we paid around $150 for ours, which doesn’t have any programming options, just the on button and a home button. We love it, and run it nearly every day because we like to go barefoot and hate stepping on kitty litter!
posted by marypoppins at 6:14 PM on August 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

What model do you currently have? I have a refurbished Roomba 675 and it works great with litter around the litter box. It even picks litter up out of the litter mat we have. I'm using ScoopAway litter, and it's a lighter litter.
posted by deezil at 6:19 PM on August 3, 2021

There's a definite difference in quality levels between various makes and models of robot vacs, so you may be doing yourself a disservice if you are simply thinking of a robot vac as something that "moves around and vacuums so [you] don't have to." You typically do get better programming options with the better vacs, but you also get better performance. This doesn't mean that moving to a better model within the make of robot vac you have will make a difference, but it might. Switching makes may also make a difference.

It would help to know what you currently have.
posted by jgreco at 1:01 AM on August 4, 2021

We have a Deebot N79 which I understand to be pretty basic and no-frills - sort of the economy level of robot vacuums. It does a fine job picking up the cat litter tracked out of the litter boxes. We have three cats and four litter boxes and use non-clumping clay litter. We use high sided litter boxes which means there isn’t a lot of litter on the floor in the first place.

We’ve had the robot for maybe 5 years? It has been basic and reliable during that time, although it has needed some replacement parts (new battery, roller brush, filter, etc). The replacement parts were fairly inexpensive and easy to swap out. The most annoying thing is having to clean the roller brush pretty much every time, but we have three people with long hair in our house, that’s not the robot’s fault.
posted by fancyoats at 4:02 AM on August 4, 2021

We have a Eufy 11S which is a pretty good robot hoover for the price. But probably more important is the cat litter we use, which is the World’s Best Cat Litter (that’s literally the name of the brand).

It’s great stuff - clumps really well, doesn’t get soggy or smell bad, neutralises odour and if you scoop it regularly it lasts for aaaages. Our two cats regularly track (mostly dry) litter out of the box and the robot picks it up no problems. It’s pricy relative to other brands, but it costs about the same once you factor in how slowly we go through it, relative to other brands.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:28 AM on August 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

We use a Roomba 960 on wood floors with World's Best Cat Litter which is a corn-based cat sand and a little lighter than clay. The Roomba, when properly maintained, has no trouble getting it up. The only time it becomes an issue is if I've been lax about doing PM on the robot.

I do fit the robot with aftermarket filters which are cheaper and flimsier. These weaker filters seem to allow a bit more suction, but even with the OEM part fitted cat sand was not a problem. The Roomba earns her keep.
posted by majick at 7:45 AM on August 4, 2021

In addition, If you can put the litter box on a towel or mat, that can help quite a bit.
posted by theora55 at 9:54 AM on August 4, 2021

We also have a Eufy 11 and use the World's Best Cat Litter. It really works great. We have mostly hardwood, but it also does well on our area rugs.
posted by hydropsyche at 1:08 PM on August 4, 2021

Response by poster: I'm looking at the recommendations so far, but if you're using a lighter litter than I am*, I'm not sure I can justify spending $150+ if it won't work on heavier litter. Have any of you used your robot vacuums on heavier clay litter?

I'm not planning on changing the litter. (I used to use World's Best but switched because it wasn't working for other reasons.) Also, I have a litter box and litter mat that reduces tracked litter already - I'm not asking for advice about how to reduce tracking.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 4:06 PM on August 4, 2021

Best answer: Old 500-series Roomba here (all over craigslist around the $50-100 mark), using clay litter with no problems. What sort of vac do you have? I'm wondering if your vacuum motor might be wearing out.
posted by FeatherWatt at 4:47 PM on August 4, 2021

Response by poster: It's an iLife, which a former roommate bought on sale and then left to me when he moved out. It's never worked well on litter, but it's a cheap brand, which is one of the reasons I thought upgrading or changing might be worth it.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 5:35 PM on August 4, 2021

Best answer: Have any of you used your robot vacuums on heavier clay litter?

We stopped using clay for other reasons, and only did it for a couple of months, but I don't recall the Roomba 960 having trouble at all with it during the period where we were. Our Roomba only gets bad at picking up stuff when it's unmaintained, which sometimes happens with busy schedules and forgetful humans.
posted by majick at 6:36 PM on August 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

Have you tried replacing the little rotating brushes? You can get replacements here. That might be worth a shot before you buy a whole new vacuum.

I have the basic Eufy model and it does a good job although I still have to sweep out some litter that's kind of under the litter box and in the corners of the closet where we keep it. So nothing will be perfect but I would expect that just about any robot vacuum on the market now should be able to handle picking up litter. And, for me, the heavier stuff actually gets picked up easier as the light stuff can sometimes just get blown around as the vacuum comes close to it.
posted by dawkins_7 at 10:42 AM on August 5, 2021

Best answer: We have a Roborock S4, three cats, and five boxes of clay litter (Tidy Cat - hah!). Our house is all hardwood floors, with two, large area rugs only in the living room. VMO (the vacuum) does a pretty good job of keeping the clay litter sucked up. We've been happy with it.
posted by infodiva at 12:32 PM on August 5, 2021

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