Gadget of the week is a new column that reviews available technologies that may be more tangentially related to BlackBerrys than what you regularly see on BerryReview. The focus for the column is the BlackBerry lifestyle–making everyday life easier and more efficient by employing simple-to-use and hopefully affordable technologies. This week’s review definitely stick to that theme and makes life a ton easier if you have a cat (or if you like to poop in a box). Feel free to post your favorite LOLcat in the comments. If you have any suggestions for upcoming articles let us know!
Gadget of the Week: ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Litter Box
The Pitch: Pets can be awesome, but cleaning up pet poop daily can really make you second guess whether the cuddlyness is worth the hassle. ScoopFree changes all that. ScoopFree is a litterbox that can detect when your cat enters and leaves the box. Once a predetermined amount of time passes after the cat does its business and leaves the box, ScoopFree sifts through the litter to clean the poop. The poop is stored in a closed container that hides any odor. You can leave ScoopFree for about a month before cleaning it–reducing cat cleaning from 365 times a year to 12.
The Details: ScoopFree actually sits atop cardboard trays filled with FreshStep crystals. The crystals are blue in color and small in size–making the open ScoopFree box look like a calming water color painting. The crystals absorb liquid, making poop sifting the only job ScoopFree really has to do. At the end of the month the whole tray can be discarded, so you never really have to even clean that out. Also, unlike some litter, the crystals don’t puff up a cloud of smoke whenever moved (I hate that).
Does it Deliver? Amazingly enough, ScoopFree does everything it promises. Because of the sensor that detects when the cat is in the box, there have not been any showdowns between the cat’s ninja claws and the iron sifters. The actual bars of the sifter are spaced liberally apart, so they sometimes miss small things, but not enough to make it an issue. The poop hiding mechanism hides the site and the smell of poop. I literally only cleaned it once a month.
Bang for the Buck: The unit itself isn’t so expensive. However, if you buy the FreshStep trays once a month for it can run you $45-50 for three trays–making the overall cost of operation significantly higher. But there are some tricks. You can buy a hard plastic tray that can be cleaned and reused (on Amazon.com for $39.95). Alternatively, the white cardboard trays are coated with a glossy finish, making them slightly more durable then their recycled blown counterparts. This allows you to empty the supposedly disposable tray once a month and just refill it with FreshStep crystals. You can buy 8 pounds of crystals at target for $13–enough for two months or more. By avoiding buying the trays, your monthly cost for all the poop-cleaning work saved comes to about $6.50.
Final Verdict: All in all, if you are sick of cleaning poop, or are debating getting a cat because you don’t want the work, the ScoopFree litterbox could be the right choice for you!