Cat litter is the unsung hero of the cat owner’s world. Poor quality litter does little to cover scent or even poop, and some will do little more than cover the bottom of the litter tray.
Good cat litter minimizes odor, is comfortable for your cat to use, and clumps so that it is easier to skim clean. It should also be cost-efficient because you will need a steady and regular supply of the stuff.
You may also want to ensure that the litter you use is environmentally friendly. Natural litter may be made from recycled and used natural materials, rather than trees and plants that have been grown specifically for the purpose.
Clay and wood pellet litters remain the most popular option, especially when buying on a budget, but there are many other materials now available, including silica gel and paper pellets, enabling you to choose the litter that best fits your needs and your litter tray. Using our reviews, you can identify the best cat litter according to price, clumping ability, odor control, cost, and other factors.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Dr. Elsey's Unscented||
|Arm & Hammer Litter Scented||
|Tidy Cats Scented||
|sWheat Scoop Unscented||
10 Best Cheap Cat Litter – Reviews 2021
1. Dr. Elsey’s Clumping Cat Litter – Best Overall
Dr. Elsey’s Clumping Cat Litter is a medium clay litter. It has heavy granules that won’t track through the house on your cat’s paws. It controls odor from urine and feces, and it prevents liquids from getting to the bottom of the tray. The clay clumps easily and once clumped, it doesn’t break down, which means that you can remove used areas of the tray litter without having to do a full empty every time your cat pays a visit.
The hard-clumping clay litter is virtually dust-free, so it’s suitable even for those who suffer from allergies or have an allergic reaction to clay dust. It also comes in a selection of bag sizes, with the largest being more than ample for a multi-cat household.
2. Frisco Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter
Frisco Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter is an unscented clay litter. It is cheap, especially when purchased in large bags, and it has a special formulation that minimizes odors around the house. The granules clump quickly, which helps prevent liquid from reaching the bottom of the tray and should prevent the hard concrete-like layer that can set at the bottom. It is also designed to be low tracking so your cat won’t spread it around the house, into the carpet, and onto the furniture. This is also suitable for automatic litter boxes that sift and clean themselves.
This is a natural clay litter which means that some dust should be expected, but this bag produces more than others, which can affect sensitive eyes, whether they are the cats’ eyes or the owners’.
3. Arm & Hammer Slide Scented Clumping Clay Cat Litter
This clay cat litter from Arm & Hammer claims to be 100% dust-free and to slide straight from the litter tray when it is time to clean it out. Dust is a major problem with clay litter. Not only is it unpleasant to have clouds of cat litter dust near the litter tray, but it leaves surfaces looking dirty and grimy, and this isn’t restricted to the area immediately around the litter tray. As your cat stands in the litter and then walks around your house, they will leave dusty paw prints behind, not to mention small clumps of litter.
Because Arm & Hammer Slide Scented Clumping Clay Cat Litter clumps quickly and solidly, it means that the litter will slide out when it is time to clean. No need to chip away at solid litter remnants, or wipe edges down where it has become stuck.
Unfortunately, this is an expensive litter and it does little to combat odors, despite having a somewhat chemical odor itself.
4. Purina Tidy Cats Non-Clumping Clay Cat Litter
Tidy Cats Non-Clumping Clay Cat Litter from Purina is a really cheap cat litter. It is a non-clumping formula, which means that it should be easier to clean up because it won’t form a concrete layer on the bottom or sides of the litter tray. It also has a deodorizing system so that it masks the scent of cat urine and feces, while Purina claims that this formula is dust-free.
Unfortunately, the non-clumping formula means that urine gets to the bottom of the tray, and isn’t soaked up the litter. Ultimately, this means that the ammonia smell of cat urine will get through, usually within a day of adding fresh litter.
5. sWheat Scoop Clumping Wheat Cat Litter
sWheat Scoop Clumping Wheat Cat Litter is made from natural wheat. As such, it is considered safe for accidental ingestion so is ideal for kittens and senior cat owners. It clumps quicker than clay, so it does a better job of controlling odors and is easier to clean up, whether you’re performing a quick scoop or a full tray change.
Wheat doesn’t go hard when it clumps, either, so you won’t be left chipping the hardened remnants of litter from the bottom of your litter box. As well as being made from wheat, this litter is environmentally friendly because it is 100% biodegradable.
Unfortunately, wheat is more expensive than clay, and this is one of the more expensive litter options. It also doesn’t form a solid clump, like clay, which can actually make it harder to clear up and means that it will take a lot more effort to remove areas. Its lack of clumping also means that the litter does not do as good a job of preventing or minimizing odors.
6. Okocat Wood Clumping Cat Litter
Okocat Wood Clumping Cat Litter is made from ethically sourced plant fiber. It is completely biodegradable and you can even remove and flush it, a single clump at a time. The wood fibers used in the litter naturally gather liquid, which traps odor and prevents the smell from getting around the rest of the house. This means that there are no chemicals added to the litter to prevent or mask unpleasant smells.
The fibers also clump quickly, and once clumped they stay clumped, which makes them easier to clean and remove. The wood pellets have been dedusted before packaging, which minimizes the dust that this litter creates.
It is more expensive than a lot of the other options on our list, but it does tend to get stuck in paws and tracks around the house. Despite having been dedusted, it also has a lot of dust that quickly escapes the litter once poured. It is also quite an unpleasant feeling and not all cats will be comfortable walking on or using this litter.
7. Purina Yesterday’s News Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter
Purina Yesterday’s News Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter is made from recycled newspaper, which means that they are better for the environment than clay litter. Paper is also, according to Purina, three times more absorbent than clay. It doesn’t clump, however, so this is a non-clumping litter.
It is virtually dust-free, so is suitable for sensitive cats and owners, and it is reasonably priced, although it is still a little more expensive than most clay litter options. The litter is comfortable on your cat’s paws and it shouldn’t track through the rest of the house.
It does a decent job of preventing and minimizing odor, but because it doesn’t clump, it just becomes a bit of a mushy mess and it can be difficult to clean up properly. While this operates as an affordable, recyclable cat litter, it could be easier to clean.
8. Naturally Fresh Clumping Walnut Cat Litter
Naturally Fresh Clumping Walnut Cat Litter is made from natural walnut shells. It uses a malodor counteractant to beat the smell of urine and feces, and it is better at naturally beating bad smells than almost all other natural litters.
It is labeled as dust-free, so it should be suitable for cats and humans with allergies, but we found that there was still a considerable amount of dust. Although it does clump, minimally at first, the clumps do not last. So, unless you scoop immediately, it will require frequent changes and cleaning. Also, the shells easily get in your cat’s claws which means that they will track all around the area and are difficult to prevent getting in the rest of the house.
9. Fresh Step Febreze Scented Clay Cat Litter
Fresh Step Febreze Scented Clay Cat Litter is an affordable, non-clumping clay cat litter that has been scented with Febreze air freshener to try and cover the smell of urine and poop. It also contains activated carbon to further aid in odor prevention, and this material also helps to keep the weight of the litter down.
The Febreze reacts to your cat’s scratching when they try to cover up their business, which means that the fresh smell is released every time they use the litter box.
While the Febreze scent works well initially, it loses potency and after a few days, the smell has all but gone. At this point, the smell of your cat’s pee and poop will start to get through. It is also a powdery litter, which is not only bad for sensitive cats and owners, but it will cause a mess in and around the litter tray and can be trodden through the house. Also, the granules are quite large and tend to get stuck in the cat’s paws.
10. LitterMaid Corn Cob Litter
LitterMaid Corn Cob Litter is made from corn cobs. The corn has been heat-processed and LitterMaid claims that it will absorb twice as much liquid as clay litter. They also claim that it is 99.9% dust-free and that it creates small, tight clumps that are easy to lift from the litter.
The litter is scented, and the smell will not be to everybody’s taste. Cats can be picky over their litter tray and its condition, and if your cat doesn’t like the smell of LitterMaid Corn Cob Litter, they may find somewhere else to go. Also, it does not clump well, and the clumps that it does create fall apart when scooping. It also tracks very easily, and this combination means that you will end up with a smelly trail of wet litter through your house.
Buying cat litter means choosing the material and deciding whether you want clumping or non-clumping. Some litters also offer extra features, such as additional scent to help mask the smell of urine and feces, but the material and the clumping nature of the litter are the most important factors.
Various materials can be used for cat litter, including:
Clumping or Non-Clumping?
Whatever material you buy, you will see both clumping and non-clumping options. With clumping litter, when it gets wet or soiled, the individual grains will clump and stick together. This clumping tends to prevent the smell from escaping, and it also makes it easier to clear or clean the litter tray. However, clumping litter is usually dustier than non-clumping, especially when it comes to clay, and it can cost more than non-clumping options.
Cat litter serves a vital purpose in the typical cat owner’s life. It is used to soak up urine and gather feces. It can also stop their smell from pervading around the house. To achieve this, manufacturers use a variety of different materials from clay to pine, and from silica crystals to corn husks. Each material has its benefits and pitfalls, and many cat owners have their own ideas of which material and which brand of litter is best. We hope that our list of reviews of the best cheap cat litter brands will help you find the one that best fits your needs.
We found Dr. Elsey’s Clumping Cat Litter to offer the best combination of affordability, odor control, and clumping, while Frisco Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter is cheap and easy to clear up while minimizing fuss and odors.
Featured Image: Dr. Elsey’s, Chewy
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- 10 Best Cheap Cat Litter – Reviews 2021
- 1. Dr. Elsey’s Clumping Cat Litter – Best Overall
- 2. Frisco Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter
- 3. Arm & Hammer Slide Scented Clumping Clay Cat Litter
- 4. Purina Tidy Cats Non-Clumping Clay Cat Litter
- 5. sWheat Scoop Clumping Wheat Cat Litter
- 6. Okocat Wood Clumping Cat Litter
- 7. Purina Yesterday’s News Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter
- 8. Naturally Fresh Clumping Walnut Cat Litter
- 9. Fresh Step Febreze Scented Clay Cat Litter
- 10. LitterMaid Corn Cob Litter
- Buyer’s Guide