8 Best Cheap Cat Litter in 2020

Owning a pet can be expensive, there’s no way around it. Though you may not want to skimp when choosing your cat’s food, there are some simple ways to save. Choosing an affordable cat litter brand makes a big difference in your monthly spending without negatively affecting your cat.

Most Affordable

Frisco Multi-Cat

  • De-dusting system
  • Excellent odor control

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Best Overall

Dr. Elsey’s Precious

  • 99.9% dust free
  • Hard clumping
  • Helps prevent moisture

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Most Popular

Tidy Cats Scoop

  • Protects against ammonia
  • Hypo-allergenic

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In this article, we’ll explore the subject of cat litter to talk about the most important factors to consider when shopping for cat litter. You’ll also learn some simple tips for making your litter go further and see our top picks for the best affordable cat litter.

How to Choose the Best Cat Litter


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When it comes to choosing a cat litter brand, there are many options to consider. Unless you have your heart set on an all-natural or alternative litter, you’ll probably end up going with clay litter simply because it is affordable. Though most clay litters look the same, they aren’t all created equal. Even if you’re shopping primarily by price, it doesn’t mean you can’t narrow down the options using other factors to make sure the litter you choose is a good one.

Here are the top 5 factors to consider when shopping for cat litter: 

  1. Price per pound. If cost is a concern for you, it’s best to compare the per-pound price of different cat litters rather than comparing the price for one container versus another. To find the per-pound price, simply take the full price and divide it by the number of pounds in the container. Cheap cat litter generally costs $0.30 to $0.50 per pound.
  2. Odor control. When price is your primary concern you should be prepared to make sacrifices in other areas, but odor control is not one you want to ignore. If your cat litter box smells dirty your cat may not want to use it, so choose a good cat litter and scoop the box often.
  3. Clumping ability. It’s largely a matter of preference whether you choose clumping or non-clumping litter but know that non-clumping litter is generally cheaper by the pound. Think about the value of convenience over cost when making your decision.
  4. Amount of dust. Dusty litter can make a mess, but it also has the potential to irritate your cat’s lungs, so be wary of cheap cat litters that have very fine particles or produce a lot of dust. Not only will it be a concern when filling and scooping the box, but when your cat digs as well.
  5. Grain and texture. Cats can be picky, so you may need to experiment with a few brands of affordable cat litter before you find one your cat likes. The size, shape, and texture of the grains affects how it feels on your cat’s feet when he’s in the litter box.

Now that you have a better idea what you’re looking for when shopping for cat litter, you may be wondering how to stretch your dollar a little further. Whether you own one cat or half a dozen, cat litter is going to be a reality of your life – there’s no way around it. That being said, there are some simple things you can do to minimize litter waste and maximize your investment.

Tips for Making Your Litter Go Further

One of the primary benefits of cats over dogs is that they do their business discretely in the litter box. While it’s great to avoid the hassle of having to put your pet outside a dozen times a day, it also means that your pet’s waste is kept inside the home. As a cat owner, you’ll find yourself trying to find the perfect balance between keeping the litter box clean for your sake as well as your cat’s and saving money by not having to completely replace the litter in the box every week.

Here are some simple tips for saving money and minimizing litter waste: 

  • Choose clumping cat litter and scoop the box often. Clumping cat litter absorbs liquid and forms a tight clump around the waste, separating it from dirty litter so you can scoop it away.
  • Place your litter box in a well-ventilated area to help control odor. When the litter box becomes dirty and smelly, your cat won’t be eager to use it which may mean throwing out all of the litter and replacing it completely. Keep the litter smelling fresh by scooping often and consider sprinkling it with baking soda to help absorb odor.
  • Use a litter-collecting mat under the litter box. When your cat hops out of the litter box, cat litter is probably going to stick to his paws and will end up on the floor. If you use a litter-collecting mat, you can simply pour the collected litter back into the box a few times a week.
  • Make sure you’re using enough litter. Not only does using enough litter ensure your cat has plenty of volume to dig around in, but it also means the top layer will clump together while leaving the bottom layer cleaner for longer.
  • Choose a slotted scooper rather than a solid one. Using a slotted scooper helps you remove clumps and dirty litter from the pan while allowing clean litter to fall back in to be reused. The scoop you choose may depend on the type of litter and how fine it is.
  • Scoop the litter box daily, or as often as possible. It’s a good idea to remove clumps at least once a day, not only for odor control, but to keep the litter box tidier longer.

In the end, the cat litter you choose is largely a matter of preference. While some cat owners prefer to stick to a single brand, you may be able to save money by taking advantage of sales and buying bulk clay cat litter. Read on to see our top picks for some of the best cat litter brands you should consider.

The Best Affordable Cat Litter in 2020

It’s difficult to say whether any one brand is truly the best cat litter because there are a lot of factors to consider. Some cat owners simply prefer non-clumping over clumping cat litter and some cats are picky when it comes to the scent or texture of their litter. To help you find the best cheap cat litter for your needs, we’ve assembled a list of affordable picks from a variety of different brands.

Here are our top picks for the best cheap cat litter: 

Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra Unscented Cat Litter

When it comes to high-quality cat litter, you’ll often find the prices to be higher as well but that simply isn’t the case with Dr. Elsey’s. This unscented clumping clay litter is 99.9% dust-free and low tracking, offering superior odor control at a price under $0.50 per pound. This multi-cat formula forms hard clumps on contact, locking away odor and making scooping a breeze. It comes in three sizes which is great for value, particularly in multi-cat households, and has a medium grain size that appeals to most cats. It is even a good choice for sifting and mechanical litter boxes.

Pros: Low dust and low tracking, superior odor control, hard-clumping action, unscented formula

Cons: Fairly heavy, may stick to the bottom of the box

Frisco Multi-Cat Unscented Scoopable Cat Litter

If affordability is the name of the game, Frisco is the brand to choose. This brand offers several cat litter formulas including this unscented clumping clay litter. Frisco cat litter features a proprietary de-dusting system used to reduce dust and the all-natural clay forms hard, tight clumps for easy scooping. You’ll also be glad to know this litter is hypoallergenic, completely free from added fragrance, dyes, and plant proteins. Frisco cat litter offers excellent odor control and is low-tracking for a mess-free household.

Pros: Very affordable price, neutralizes odors on contact, forms hard clumps, easy to scoop

Cons: Fairly heavy litter, only comes in 20-pound and 40-pound bags

Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Scented Clumping Clay Litter

Formulated for long-lasting odor control, this Tidy Cats recipe offers guaranteed Tidy Lock Protection. This clumping formula locks away odors on contact, forming hard clumps that are easy to scoop away. It features a refreshing scent and triple odor protection against urine, feces, and ammonia. This cat litter is extremely absorbent, helping keep your cat comfortable and your litter box dry. Plus, it comes in four different sizes ranging from a 14-pound jug to a large 40-pound bag.

Pros: Long-lasting odor control, manageable jugs or lidded pail, ideal for multi-cat households

Cons: Contains some artificial fragrance, may not absorb large volumes of liquid as well as some brands

Arm & Hammer Double Duty Scented Clumping Clay Litter

Perfect for multi-cat households, this Double Duty formula from Arm & Hammer offers advanced odor control that fights stubborn odors on contact. This cat litter is fresh-scented with moisture-activated baking soda which helps keep odors under control for days at a time. Plus, with a 99% dust-free formula your cat can breathe easy. True to Arm & Hammer’s reputation, this litter forms tight, hard clumps that are easy to remove and which reduce tracking, all at an affordable price.

Pros: Fights odors on contact, moisture-activated baking soda, 99% dust-free formula

Cons: Contains some artificial fragrance

Fresh Step Multi-Cat Scented Clumping Litter

Powered by the fresh scent of Febreze, this Fresh Step cat litter is an affordable choice for multi-cat households. This extra-strength formula is 99.9% dust-free and delivers 10 days of continuous odor control, guaranteed. Thanks to the inclusion of ammonia block technology, this formula completely neutralizes urine odor while the clumping benefits trap moisture. The low-dust formula helps your cat breathe easy while the paw-activated fresh scent keeps litter box odor at bay. You’ll also enjoy the benefit of ClumpLock technology which ensures tight, hard clumps with no crumbles.

Pros: Scented with Febreze, 10 days of odor control, ClumpLock technology for easy scooping

Cons: Contains some artificial fragrance, some find the scent too strong

Scoop Away Complete Performance Fresh Scented Clumping Litter

Packaged in 10.5-pound resealable bags, this Scoop Away formula is a great option for multi-cat households as well as single cat households. This clumping formula forms ultra-tight clumps that lock away moisture and odor, making scooping the litter box easier than ever. Made with plant extracts, this formula traps and eliminates odor for up to 10 days with the help of a fresh scent. This clumping clay litter is made with a low-dust formula and paw-activated fragrance as well.

Pros: Resealable bags, eliminates odor for up to 10 days, low-dust formula, tight clumps

Cons: Contains some artificial fragrance, may track more than some litters

Cat’s Pride Premium Fresh & Clean Scented Non-Clumping Litter

If you’re looking for a simple and inexpensive cat litter that gets the job done, this Cat’s Pride non-clumping litter is affordably priced under $0.30 per pound. Made from high-absorbing clay with 7-day odor control, this litter is low-tracking and low-maintenance. This cat litter is formulated from moisture-activated absorption technology that traps odors on contact without the use of overpowering fragrance. Plus, the low-dust and low-tracking formula helps keep your house clean.

Pros: Provides 7-day odor control, very affordable price, fresh and clean scent

Cons: Contains some artificial fragrance, doesn’t form clumps

Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Scented Non-Clumping Cat Litter

Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance Scented Non-Clumping Clay Cat Litter, 40-lb bag

Another affordable option in non-clumping litter, this 24/7 formula from Tidy Cats is priced under $0.30 per pound. Formulated for powerful odor control, this is a 99.6% dust-free formula that absorbs moisture quickly and efficiently to keep your cat dry and comfortable. This cat litter features an extended-release deodorizing system as well which keeps odor at bay, extending the life of your litter. It works around the clock, making it a great option for multi-cat households as well.

Pros: Extended-release deodorizing system, affordably priced, great for multi-cat households

Cons: Contains some artificial fragrance, doesn’t form clumps

Yesterday’s News Original Unscented Non-Clumping Paper Litter

If you’re trying to avoid clay litter, Yesterday’s News offers an affordable alternative: paper litter. Made from recycled paper pellets, this cat litter is an eco-friendly choice. By using recycled paper, Yesterday’s News offers a cat litter that is 99.7% dust-free and 3 times more absorbent than clay. The formula is natural, low-tracking, and unscented which makes it good for your cat and for the environment. Plus, it is surprisingly affordable, priced at just $0.66 per pound.

Pros: Made from recycled paper, 3 times as absorbent as clay, eco-friendly alternative litter

Cons: Doesn’t form clumps, paper pellets may stay damp

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What can I use instead of cat litter? Cat litter is really the best option for the intended purpose, but there are a few cheap alternatives you can use in a pinch. Shredded paper or wood shavings are both decent options. Sand works as well but tends to compact to a fair degree which may make it difficult to dig through. Food options like rice and oatmeal can be used short-term but they tend to swell with moisture and come with the risk of attracting insects, mold, or bacteria with long-term use.
  2. Where can I buy cheap cat litter in bulk? If you’re wondering where to buy cat litter, there are plenty of options. You can find it in grocery stores, drug stores, big box stores and pet stores as well as online. When it comes to saving money on cat litter, it’s often a good idea to buy litter in bulk. If you want to buy bulk clay cat litter, try scoop-your-own options at the pet store or buy bulk containers at discount stores like Costco. You may also find inexpensive litter at places like Tractor Supply Co.
  3. Is clumping cat litter better than non-clumping litter? Whether you choose clumping or non-clumping litter is largely a matter of preference, but there are some factors to consider. Non-clumping litter tends to be a little cheaper, but you’ll probably need to empty the box entirely on a weekly basis to keep odor under control. Clumping litter generally offers better odor control and you can minimize litter waste by scooping daily to remove clumps, preserving the clean litter for a little bit longer.
  4. How many litter boxes do I need? It is generally recommended that you have one litter box per cat with one extra. Having an extra litter box or two may reduce the amount of daily scooping you have to do, but it also means keeping more litter boxes full. If you’re able to find cheap cat litter that works well, however, it may end up saving you money by avoiding having to empty and refill the litter box as often.
  5. What’s the best cat litter for multiple cats? If you have more than one cat, your primary concern will be odor control. With more than one cat, you’ll need to scoop the litter box at least once a day to remove clumps and consider replacing the litter on a weekly basis, depending how many litter boxes you have. Look for a cat litter designed for multiple cats because these tend to offer stronger odor control.

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