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Computing

The best ethernet cables for 2022: Cat 8, Cat 7, and Cat 6

You might have bought some Cat-5 Ethernet cables a few years ago, but as time passes, it’s probably time to think about upgrading them to a more modern, more capable option. Unfortunately, the list of Ethernet cable options has not become any less complicated over the years.

Everyone has different needs for their network setup, so we’ll walk you through the best choices from the Cat-5e to Cat-8 standards. Want to know which cable is right for you? Check out our guide on how to choose an Ethernet cable to learn the speed differences, why Cat-7 is a bit of an oddball, and which type may be the best for your setup.

DBillionDa Ethernet Cable — Cat 8

DBillionDa Ethernet Cable — Cat 8

Best Cat 8 Ethernet cable

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Ugreen Flat Ethernet Cable – Cat 7

Ugreen Flat Ethernet Cable – Cat 7

Best Cat 7 Ethernet cable

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Dacrown Weatherproof Ethernet Cable – Cat 8

Dacrown Weatherproof Ethernet Cable – Cat 8

Best Ethernet cable for outdoors

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Cable Matters Snagless Ethernet Cable - Cat 6A

Cable Matters Snagless Ethernet Cable – Cat 6A

Best Ethernet cable for busy areas

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Ugreen Ethernet extension cable – Cat 6

Ugreen Ethernet extension cable – Cat 6

Best extension for Ethernet cables

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The Monoprice SlimRun Ethernet Cable 10-pack.

Monoprice SlimRun Ethernet Cable 10-pack — Cat 6A

Best Ethernet Cable for tight spaces

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CableGeeker Flat Black Cable with Sticky Clips — Cat 6

CableGeeker Flat Black Cable with Sticky Clips — Cat 6

Perfect for running under carpet

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Cables Direct Online 30FT Cable — Cat 5e

Cables Direct Online 30FT Cable — Cat 5e

Affordable, with great performance

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iMBAPrice Network Ethernet Cable 10-Pack -- Cat 5e

iMBAPrice Network Ethernet Cable 10-Pack — Cat 5e

Best Ethernet cables for server setups

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DBillionDa Ethernet Cable — Cat 8

Best Cat 8 Ethernet cable

Pros

  • Great Cat 8 pick for futureproof
  • Gold-plated
  • PVC coating

Cat 8 is overkill for most, but if you want the best of the best in terms of shielding and performance, it’s as good as it gets. This particular gold-plated version comes in sizes from 3 to 100 feet and supports 2,000MHz bandwidth and data transmission up to 40Gbps. Cat 8 cables are also waterproof, anti-corrosion, and use more durable PVC material for indoor or outdoor projects. It’s an ideal pick for professional or personal cable management and could be a noticeable improvement in performance, too.

DBillionDa Ethernet Cable — Cat 8

DBillionDa Ethernet Cable — Cat 8

Best Cat 8 Ethernet cable

Ugreen Flat Ethernet Cable – Cat 7

Best Cat 7 Ethernet cable

Pros

  • Flat cables
  • Gold-plated
  • Molded for durability

Cons

  • Cat 7 is only used in certain cases

The flat design of this Ethernet cable is an alternative option that some may prefer depending on the installation. Flat cables are a bit more resistant to forming classic tangles and are easier to run under carpets, beneath doors, or in cracks along the wall. The RJ45 connectors are gold-plated and over-molded for extra durability, with a shape that’s meant to resist catching on other cables or objects while you’re working. Lengths range from three feet to 50 feet.

Ugreen Flat Ethernet Cable – Cat 7

Ugreen Flat Ethernet Cable – Cat 7

Best Cat 7 Ethernet cable

Dacrown Weatherproof Ethernet Cable – Cat 8

Best Ethernet cable for outdoors

Pros

  • Extra protection to withstand harsher environments
  • Available in longer lengths
  • UV resistant for outdoor work

Cons

  • Not as useful if you aren’t running cables outdoors

If you know that your Ethernet project is going to require running cables outdoors where they will be exposed to the elements, you need a durable option that can handle it. This Cat 8 cable, available in sizes up to 150 feet, has a pure copper core, aluminum foil shield, woven mesh shield, and thick PVC outer layer. That makes it highly water and UV-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about issues developing down the line.

Dacrown Weatherproof Ethernet Cable – Cat 8

Dacrown Weatherproof Ethernet Cable – Cat 8

Best Ethernet cable for outdoors

best ethernet cables cable matters snagless  cat 6a 1

Cable Matters Snagless Ethernet Cable – Cat 6A

Best Ethernet cable for busy areas

Pros

  • Capable 6A pick
  • Gold-plated contacts
  • Snagless connectors

Cons

  • Not as easy to hide as some picks

Category 6 Ethernet cables were eventually updated with an optimized 6A version, with thicker conductors, durable jackets, and a significant speed upgrade — 10GB at up to 100 meters — that made it an excellent option for those who couldn’t work with the Cat-7 changes. This particular version of the cable also includes additional shielding, gold-plated contacts, and boots for durability. The snagless clip protector also helps prevent accidents or cable damage while work (or if someone stumbles on one of the cables).

Cable Matters Snagless Ethernet Cable - Cat 6A

Cable Matters Snagless Ethernet Cable – Cat 6A

Best Ethernet cable for busy areas

Ugreen Ethernet extension cable – Cat 6

Best extension for Ethernet cables

Pros

  • Allows you to extend a current Cat 6 cable for a new setup
  • Adaptable to new situations
  • Can solve existing problems

Cons

  • This is an extension, not a full cable

If you’re happy with your current Ethernet cable, you may not want to replace it entirely. However, a new device or new router setup, etc., may mean that your current cables aren’t quite long enough to get the job done. This Cat 6 extension is specifically made to extend a current cable over a longer distance, and you can move it between Ethernet cables as needed when you have a length issue.

Ugreen Ethernet extension cable – Cat 6

Ugreen Ethernet extension cable – Cat 6

Best extension for Ethernet cables

best ethernet cables monoprice slimrun cable 10 pack  cat 6a

Monoprice SlimRun Ethernet Cable 10-pack — Cat 6A

Best Ethernet Cable for tight spaces

Pros

  • Slim cable design for narrow areas
  • Multiple color options
  • Good for server setups

Cons

  • Slim cables may not offer as much shielding

These “SlimRun” cables are designed specifically for narrow spaces, running under carpets or baseboards, or saving space (and encouraging more airflow) in packed server rooms — they’re half the size of standard Cat-6A cables. If you are dealing with more complex setups, there are also a variety of color options to choose from for even more organization possibilities. Here we’ve chosen a pack with a shorter length for connecting multiple devices to nearby Ethernet ports. If you are running these slim cables at a longer distance, they are available at up to 50 feet in length.

The Monoprice SlimRun Ethernet Cable 10-pack.

Monoprice SlimRun Ethernet Cable 10-pack — Cat 6A

Best Ethernet Cable for tight spaces

CableGeeker Flat Black Cable with Sticky Clips — Cat 6

Perfect for running under carpet

Pros

  • Flat design for hiding cables
  • Extra clip accessories for routing
  • Snagless design

Cons

  • Unshielded design may lead to interference

CableGeeker’s flat Ethernet cable consists of unshielded twisted pairs made of 100% bare copper wire. The two connectors feature a “snagless” design preventing unwanted disconnects, molded strain-relief boots, and 50-micron gold-plated contacts.

This cable offers the same maximum speed as Amazon’s model — 1Gbps — has better crosstalk protection and a higher 250MHz bandwidth than Cat 5 and Cat 5e products. You can buy this cable in a two-pack of 10-foot cables, or you can choose to buy it as a single cable in lengths from 1.5 to 150 feet.

CableGeeker Flat Black Cable with Sticky Clips — Cat 6

CableGeeker Flat Black Cable with Sticky Clips — Cat 6

Perfect for running under carpet

Cables Direct Online 30FT Cable — Cat 5e

Affordable, with great performance

Pros

  • Highly dependable, well-designed cables
  • Impressive 350MHz for a 5e cable
  • PVC jackets

Cons

  • Cat 5e still misses out on some benefits of later categories

Cables may boast the fastest speeds, but you can’t even experience those speeds without a dependable connection. That’s why the Cables Direct Online manufacturers pride their cables on having the best connectivity on the market. It maintains a 350MHz bandwidth that delivers an incredibly dependable connection with a 1Gbps data rate. Compared to other Cat 5a cables that generally provide 100MHz bandwidth, that’s a vast improvement.

This Ethernet cable boasts four-stranded twisted pairs with PVC jackets, 50-micron gold-plated connectors, and copper-clad aluminum conductors. The cable offers a single gray color choice and has a round form.

Cables Direct Online 30FT Cable — Cat 5e

Cables Direct Online 30FT Cable — Cat 5e

Affordable, with great performance

best ethernet cables imbaprice network cable 10 pack  cat 5e 1

iMBAPrice Network Ethernet Cable 10-Pack — Cat 5e

Best Ethernet cables for server setups

Pros

  • Excellent option for servers and other more demanding setups
  • Affordable for a larger batch
  • FCC 68 compliant

Cons

  • Not necessary if you only need one or two cables

This server-friendly pack of 5e cables offers snagless attachments, gold-plated connectors, and mold strain relief that offers additional cable protection while decreasing how easy it is for cables to get tangled while you are working. They are guaranteed to have full FCC 68 compliance for organizations that need to check that particular box and are available in five different colors for all your organizational needs.

iMBAPrice Network Ethernet Cable 10-Pack -- Cat 5e

iMBAPrice Network Ethernet Cable 10-Pack — Cat 5e

Best Ethernet cables for server setups

Frequently Asked Questions

How much of a difference does a good Ethernet cable make?

A new Ethernet cable can make a significant difference if you are upgrading from an older model, particularly when it comes to loading speeds. However, there are some very important factors that will affect how much of a difference you can actually feel, including:

  • Which speeds your current Internet connection provide

  • How long the Ethernet cable is from the router/gateway (longer cables will slow down speeds)

  • The capabilities of adjacent devices like routers

A good Ethernet cable is part of a setup to optimize internet speeds, but only a part of it.

What makes a good Ethernet cable for audio applications?

The same rules apply to audio connections as to Ethernet speeds in general. But we would suggest sticking with at least Cat 6 and connections that can support it. Make sure you pick shielded cables that will help cut down on distortion, which may be more noticeable when it comes to audio. If you are running long cables for a venue or similar setup, work with a professional A/V expert with experience in Ethernet connections.

What are the most popular types of Ethernet cables?

“Type” can mean a lot of things when it comes to Ethernet cables. Twisted pair cabling is popular for highly reliable connections, but coaxial cables are still used in many casual setups. Category 6 cables remain one of the most used Ethernet options, but as internet speeds and bandwidth continue to increase, Category 8 will eventually start to become a more popular option (Cat 7 is … weird). When it comes to brand, there’s no particularly important choice, although looking at authentic reviews is always a good idea. Learn more about this in our guide on how to pick out an Ethernet cable.

Are nylon Ethernet cables better?

Some cables come with nylon braiding. This makes it more difficult to twist or pull the cable until it is damaged, and helps protect cables from impacts (like footsteps) or wear and tear over time. If your cable is going to be frequently moved or re-positioned, then choosing a nylon option could be a better choice. Otherwise, nylon braiding doesn’t actually improve any Ethernet specs, and will usually take up more space.

What are the best Ethernet cables for hiding or tight spots?

Look for flat cables. Several of our picks have a flattened design that’s specifically made for running Ethernet cables across more awkward areas. It helps hide cables under baseboards, carpet, across doorways or under trim, etc. Use this option if you are worried about visibility or need to squeeze an Ethernet cable in a tight space without damaging it.

Do I need Ethernet cable sticky clips?

Some cables come bundled with clips and straps for better cable management. If you are only running a couple of cables along the floor, you probably don’t need to worry about this. Clips are more useful when for binding cables under a desk, running them up a wall, or just keeping them out of the way. Straps and color combinations are key features for managing cable bundles in server rooms, but they aren’t as useful elsewhere.

Will adding an Ethernet cable slow down my Wi-Fi?

No, adding an Ethernet cable to a router won’t take bandwidth away from your Wi-Fi network, as the cable is a separate channel. Actually, Ethernet cables can take some strain off crowded Wi-Fi networks by removing devices for an Ethernet-only connection and freeing up additional bandwidth.

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Game

‘Stray’ preview: Because you’re a cat

Image Credit: BlueTwelve Studio

As cute as all of this sounds, Stray tempers the sweetness with dystopian background details. For instance, End Village is a community built on a sea of trash in an abandoned reservoir, with robots living in a makeshift tower sprouting out of the debris. The robots here are struggling but complacent, and the environment is in stark contrast to the neon lights and vending machines of the main city. In End Village, the cat can roam around, using dangling buckets as elevators and disrupting board games, and there’s a mission to collect flowers for a robot called Zbaltazar, who has knowledge to share about escaping the city.

“End Village is a very interesting example because it shows how we can really use the fact that we are playing as a cat to have fun in level design, in terms of verticality, for example, or types of paths that you can find,” Martin-Raget said. “You can still be, you know, annoying to everyone if you want to.” Because you’re a cat, it goes without saying.

There’s no fall damage in Stray, meaning every jump is a successful one, and dying isn’t a core mechanic (no, not even nine times). It is possible to be killed by the game’s main enemies, these pale beige blobs with glowing yellow eyes that chase the cat as a mob, but otherwise, it’s all about agility and the freedom to explore. Action sequences with the enemies are fast-paced, and the scene Martin-Raget showed off had the cat running and leaping down a long alleyway, the blobs close on its tail.

Stray

BlueTwelve Studio

While Stray encourages exploration, the path forward is usually clear, with crates and ledges marked by splotches of yellow and graffiti-style arrows that try to blend into the scenery. Players are able to carry a flashlight and other tools in a small inventory managed by B-12, a cute drone that lives in a backpack the cat picks up along its journey. B-12 has its own backstory, according to Martin-Raget, and it’s the main way the cat interacts with technology and talks to robots. The drone also displays the current objective.

“I don’t want to reveal too much about this, but there are a few points in the story where B-12 is a bit more powerful than what I show you now,” Martin-Raget said.

And now some rapid-fire facts about Stray:

  • There are no customization options for the cat.

  • The cat doesn’t have to eat, drink or sleep to stay alive, but it can do these things because they’re cute.

  • The cat doesn’t have a name.

  • There are no laser-pointer mini games.

Stray exists somewhere between a futuristic survival game and a housecat simulator, with some machine-powered dystopia sprinkled across the entire thing. It’s about discovery and exploration, but mostly, it’s a game about being a cat.

“As you can see, even though all the jumps are successful, I’m still really free to move around anywhere I want to,” Martin-Raget said, the cat strolling by a can on a ledge. He swiped a paw at it and it clattered to the ground. “I have to make that fall because I’m still a cat.”

Stray is due to hit PlayStation 5, PS4 and PC via Steam on July 19th.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Categories
Game

Cyberpunk game Stray trailer: Watch five minutes of cat gameplay

During an event last summer, Sony introduced Stray, a new game that will arrive on the PS4 and PS5 consoles in 2022. The game’s main character is a stray cat, which players take control of to navigate through a futuristic cyberpunk city while injured. Fast-forward to this week and we’ve gotten our first long look at the game via a gameplay trailer.

Stray looks like an incredibly fun twist on the cyberpunk genre, one where people get to navigate a futuristic world as a stray, injured cat. The title comes from Swann and, assuming there aren’t any delays, it’ll be available to play early next year. The latest trailer shows five solid minutes of gameplay.

Players get a look at the game’s physics and interactive elements, as well as the world from a cat, not human, point of view. During gameplay, the players will be tasked with solving puzzles to reveal new mysteries and make their way through the hazardous city. We see the cat knocking over pots, climbing up buildings, and facing enemies in empty subways.

A flying drone called B-12 will accompany the player to interact with elements a cat wouldn’t be able to manipulate, such as a safe. Despite its futuristic companion, the “cat will always be a cat,” according to the gameplay trailer, which shows it doing things like scratching the arm of a sofa.

Though we don’t know the exact release date and other details like price yet, Stray is closer than ever to launch. This is one of the most interesting titles announced for the PlayStation 5 console so far, though you’ll also be able to play it on the PS4 and Windows PCs.

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Game

Cat simulator ‘Stray’ heads to PlayStation and PC in early 2022

The last time we saw Stray was in the form of a cinematic trailer Sony shared in 2020 that highlighted the game’s futuristic neon-soaked setting and adorable feline protagonist. At the time, we didn’t get to see the game in action, a fact that Annapurna Interactive has now remedied. The publisher shared a slice of gameplay footage from the title during its recent showcase and said it would release Stray sometime in early 2022.

In the opening moments of Stray, our feline protagonist finds himself injured and separated from his family. Gameplay involves using his physical abilities as a cat to navigate the environment and solve puzzles. In the time-honored tradition of duos like Ratchet and Clank, partway through the adventure, you’ll meet a drone named B-12. They will allow you to converse with the city’s other robotic inhabitants and interact with certain objects in the environment. The cat has a playful side to his personality, and you can do things like scratch furniture, interact with vending machines and rub up against the legs of the robots you meet. Good stuff.

When Stray comes out next year, it will be available on PlayStation 4, PS5 and PC. Developer BlueTwelve Studio promised to show off more of the game before then.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.



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Categories
AI

Soon, the internet will make its own cat photos and then it won’t need us

This cat doesn’t exist:

AI-made cat.

This one doesn’t either:

Fake cat.

These are computer-generated images from This Cat Does Not Exist, and folks: I think we are in trouble.

I understand this is going to sound crackpot, but hear me out. What if our computers are already smarter than us, and the only reason they’re pretending they aren’t is so we’ll continue feeding them their favorite thing, photos of our cats? I understand that in isolation this sounds ridiculous, but I don’t think it’s any sillier than the Singularity.

Under this theory, Skynet has already happened, but Skynet is benign because one of the first things we taught it was that cats were cute. And Skynet doesn’t have cats. We do. This is our major structural advantage: we can feed the internet fresh cat photos. It’s why the internet — thus far, anyway — has remained willing to continue human life as we know it: for our cats.

The problem, then, with This Cat Does Not Exist is that it allows the internet to make its own cat photos. That means Skynet doesn’t need us anymore.

This isn’t new, exactly — but last year, the computer-generated cats were horror shows. And yes, a people version exists already, but this isn’t an existential threat. We did not teach the computers that people are adorable. We taught them that cats are.

One of these cats is real (and my own personal cat). The other one does not exist:

Elizabeth Lopatto and This Cat Does Not Exist

The tells, as far as I can see, occur around the edge of the fur: it’s weirdly blurry. Also, as with the people version, the fake cat has an out-of-focus background. The coloration in the fake cat’s eyes is also a little less defined than my cat’s. Still, this is impressive.

The new batch of AI cats is limited — face only, no goofball action, sometimes the ears don’t match — but they may very well represent the first step toward the Matrix-like future of humanity. Because if the machines don’t need our cat photos anymore, they don’t need us.



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Tech News

Panasonic Nicobo robot is supposed to be a cat that can fart

Japan is famous and notorious for products and trends that just blow the mind, in good or bad ways or both. Sometimes, those ideas do strike a chord in people from both halves of the world, making some wish those were easily accessible. Panasonic’s latest crowdfunding experiment seems to fit the bill, presenting a robot cat with some interesting features. But whether Nicobo actually looks like a cat and whether its random flatulence can be considered special is still to be determined, it’s hard to deny how the “thing” seems to be attracting some very positive attention.

It’s supposed to be a cat but Nicobo can probably be best described as a large sock with something round stuffed inside. That round stuff does contain some relatively advanced electronics, including sensors that can detect whether you’re petting or hugging it. It also has a tail that can wag at different speeds, eyes that can express its simplistic “emotions”, and a motor that lets it turn around. Unlike cats, real or robot, it, fortunately, doesn’t move around.

Nicobo doesn’t purr either but, unlike cats, it can utter broken sentences or baby talk, known in Japan as “katakoto”. It gives the feeling of being attentive to its environment, including people. It has a camera to recognize faces and a light sensor for telling the time of day or weather and behave accordingly, like taking a nap in the daytime just like any cat.

And, yes, it does also fart. Sometimes randomly and sometimes triggered by its simulated mood. As strange as that may sound, it seems to add a level of authenticity that this bundle of fabric and electronics is really more like a live pet than a robot.

Panasonic seems to have definitely stumbled upon a product that has generated a great deal of interest even outside of Japan. Unfortunately, the limited 320 units planned for Nicobo have already sold out quickly on the Makuake Japanese crowdfunding platform, despite the nearly $360 price tag. Even more unfortunate, owning a Nicobo also means paying $10 per month for features like smartphone connectivity, truly making it feel like owning a farting cat.

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Tech News

Motorola teams up with CAT phone maker Bullitt for a rugged lineup

At this point, Motorola’s strategy in the smartphone market seems to be best described as “throw everything at a wall and see which sticks.” Its phones are all over the place, from an expensive foldable to a handful of mid-range phones to budget-friendly entry-level handsets. As if that weren’t enough, Motorola has entered into a partnership that will create yet another line of Motorola phones that might not actually bear Motorola’s DNA inside.

You might not be familiar with the Bullitt Group but you might be familiar with at least one of the two smartphones the company sells. Licensing the names from their respective owners, CAT and Land Rover phones boast to be some of the most rugged phones in the mobile market and often look the part. Now Motorola and Bullitt are teaming up in what is described as a “global strategic brand partnership” for Motorola-branded rugged phones.

It’s not that Motorola doesn’t have its own rugged line of phones, or at least had one. Those took on different names, from Motorola DROID to the Moto Z Force, depending on the company’s marketing strategy at that time. This time, it might not be making these rugged phones itself.

Given the Bullitt Group’s actual business, this partnership means that the company will make the phones and then slap Motorola’s name everywhere. As far as the world is concerned, this might very well be a Motorola phone, adding to the dizzying number of models under its brand.

That said, CAT and Land Rover rugged phones haven’t exactly been notable for their features aside from their durability and a Motorola-branded Bullitt phone might not even make a dent in Motorola’s profits. This, however, might also hint at one other way Motorola could stay afloat, licensing its brand to other phone makers the way BlackBerry did and, soon, LG as well.

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Tech News

The Litter-Robot is worth the $499 to never scoop cat poop again

Ask any person living with cats about the worst part of their cohabitation, and their answer will likely relate to scooping litter. It sucks, especially in a multi-cat home, and even more so in a small apartment.

Then I got my hands on the Litter-Robot 3 Connect. Long story short: it has been an absolute game-changer for my home, and I can’t imagine ever going back to a regular old litter box. Even if the $499 price ($449 for the wi-fi-less version) is a tough pill to swallow, the convenience of almost never having to think about litter is worth it.

I took my time before writing this review because I wanted to make sure the experience actually held up over an extended period. It’s been four months since I received my unit, and with regular usage by two cats, it’s largely been smooth sailing since.

I should add the disclaimer that I have not tested any other automated litter boxes. I chose to try the Litter-Robot due to the length of time it’s been on the market, but I can’t tell you whether the Litter-Robot is the best such device. I also can’t guarantee your cats will get used to it. I can only confirm that in my home, it’s performed its job with aplomb.

If you haven’t seen a Litter-Robot in action, here’s how it works:

  • Add clumping litter into the basin.
  • Wait for your cat to poop or pee.
  • After 7 minutes (or 3 or 15 minutes, depending on your settings), watch as the Litter Robot’s ‘globe’ rotates to sift through the litter and then dumps clumps of pee and poop into a receptacle bag underneath the globe.
  • About once or twice a week, depending on how many cats you have, dump out the collected litter and add fresh litter to the machine.
  • Clean the globe (not as hard as it seems) and replace the carbon filter every few months.

This official video might make it clearer:

Despite the marketing talk, the promises above largely reflect my own experience.

I’d learned of the Litter-Robot shortly after we adopted our first cat (Parsnip, a languorously loveable lapcat), but had largely dismissed it for its price. After getting our second cat (Pomeline, a fabulous fireball of a feline) and moving to a smaller apartment, my girlfriend and I thought we could use a break from all the scooping (have I mentioned scooping is no fun?).

Be warned: this thing is huge, and more so if you get the optional ramp (Parsnip is an old man and needs a little help). The Litter-Robot takes up a massive footprint compared to a regular litter box. But in practice, this ended up being less of an issue than I thought it would be.