ExcitedCats is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

10 Best Cheap Cat Litters in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Ultra Unscented Clumping ClayCat 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 cheapest cat litters and the best cat litters according to price, clumping ability, odor control, cost, and other factors.

thematic break

A Quick Comparison of Our 2021 Winners

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Dr. Elsey's Unscented Dr. Elsey's Unscented
  • Feature iconEliminates odors
  • Feature iconClumps and stays clumped
  • Feature iconGood value in large bags
  • Second place
    Frisco Unscented Frisco Unscented
  • Feature iconLow tracking formula
  • Feature iconEliminates odors
  • Feature iconCheap
  • Third place
    Arm & Hammer Litter Scented Arm & Hammer Litter Scented
  • Feature iconClumps quickly
  • Feature iconNo dust
  • Feature iconSlides out when it’s time to clean
  • Tidy Cats Scented Tidy Cats Scented
  • Feature iconReally cheap
  • Feature iconDust-free formula
  • sWheat Scoop Unscented sWheat Scoop Unscented
  • Feature iconMade from wheat
  • Feature iconEnvironmentally friendly
  • 10 Best Cheap Cat Litters

    1. Dr. Elsey’s Clumping Cat Litter – Best Overall

    Dr. Elsey's Precious Cat Ultra Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter

    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.

    Pros
    • Eliminates odors
    • Clumps and stays clumped
    • Good value in large bags
    Cons
    • Sets on the bottom of the tray
    thematic break

    2. Frisco Multi-Cat Unscented Clumping Clay Cat Litter

    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 cheap clumping cat litter 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’.

    Pros
    • Low tracking formula
    • Eliminates odors
    • Cheap
    Cons
    • Dustier than advertised
    thematic break

    3. Arm & Hammer Slide Scented Clumping Clay Cat Litter

    Arm & Hammer Litter Slide Multi-Cat 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.

    Pros
    • Clumps quickly
    • No dust
    • Slides out when it’s time to clean
    Cons
    • Doesn’t control odors
    • Expensive
    thematic break

    4. Purina Tidy Cats Non-Clumping Clay Cat Litter

    Tidy Cats 24-7 Performance Scented 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.

    Pros
    • Really cheap
    • Dust-free formula
    Cons
    • Non-clumping
    • Poor odor control
    • Needs frequent changing
    thematic break

    5. sWheat Scoop Clumping Wheat Cat Litter

    sWheat Scoop Multi-Cat Unscented 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.

    Pros
    • Made from wheat
    • Environmentally friendly
    Cons
    • Poor odor control
    • Doesn’t clump
    • Expensive
    thematic break

    6. Okocat Wood Clumping Cat Litter

    Okocat Original Premium 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.

    Pros
    • Biodegradable
    • Can be flushed, gradually
    • Dedusted before packaging
    Cons
    • Still dusty
    • Pricier than clay
    • Tracks very easily
    thematic break

    7. Purina Yesterday’s News Non-Clumping Paper Cat Litter

    Yesterday's News Original Unscented 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.

    Pros
    • Recyclable
    • Not too expensive
    • Decent at minimizing odor
    Cons
    • Doesn’t clump but becomes a mushy mess
    • Difficult to clean
    thematic break

    8. Naturally Fresh Clumping Walnut Cat Litter

    Naturally Fresh Multi-Cat Unscented 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.

    Pros
    • Natural
    • Recyclable
    • Does a decent job of odor control
    Cons
    • Doesn’t clump
    • Very dusty, despite claims
    • Not cheap
    thematic break

    9. Fresh Step Febreze Scented Clay Cat Litter

    Fresh Step Febreze Scented Non-Clumping 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. This budget cat litter 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.

    Pros
    • Cheap
    • Febreze scent works well at first
    Cons
    • Febreze only lasts for a short time
    • Large granules
    • Dusty
    • Tracks through the house
    thematic break

    10. LitterMaid Corn Cob Litter

    LitterMaid Premium Scented Clumping Corn Cat 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 budget cat 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.

    Pros
    • Relatively cheap
    • Made from corn cobs
    Cons
    • The unnatural scent is not for everyone or every cat
    • Doesn’t clump well
    • Clumps fall apart
    • Tracks easily
    thematic break

    Buyer’s Guide: How to Find the Best Cheap Cat Litters

    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.

    Material

    Various materials can be used for cat litter, including:

    • Clay – Clay can be clumping or non-clumping, depending on the brand and type of cat litter you buy. This is likely the most popular material used and purchased. It’s cheap and the clumping variety makes it easy to remove urine-soaked litter. Clay tends to be dusty and it isn’t biodegradable. It is also recommended that you do not use this material for kittens because they play with it and may ingest it. Eating too much clay litter can cause a serious and potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal blockage.
    • Wood – The second most commonly used cat litter material is wood. Specifically, pine wood. It may come from a sustainable source, but if this is important to you, then you have to check that the packaging explicitly states that it is made from recycled or reused sources. Pine is popular because it has a natural odor that is definitely preferable to cat pee ammonia.
    • Paper – Gone are the days of lining a cat litter tray with yesterday’s newspaper. Or so you thought. Paper pellets look similar to wood pellets, apart from the obvious color difference. They are made from recycled newspapers, magazines, and even phone directories. They are considered environmentally friendly, can be recycled after use, too, but they do not do a good job clumping and may not offer very good odor control.
    • Natural Materials – As well as wood, other natural materials can be used to make cat litter. Corn husks and walnut shells are some examples. These tend to have a natural scent that can do a very good job of masking urine and feces smells. Just because something is natural does not necessarily mean that it is effective, or even environmentally friendly. Check the quality and reviews of these to ensure that they are effective.
    • Silica – Silica crystal cat litter will not appear in a list of cheap cat litters because it is considered the premium option and costs more than other materials. It is, however, highly absorbent and can last for a very long time without needing to be changed or cleaned. It also offers excellent odor control.

    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 paw divider

    Conclusion

    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.

    thematic break

    Featured Image: Dr. Elsey’s, Chewy