Pros: Makes litterbox cleaning easier, really seals in smells.
Cons: A bit bulky, can be tricky to use, commitment to buying refills.
What is it and how does it work?
The Litter Locker is a cat litter storage system that allows you to quit making daily trips out to the garbage with your cats doo-doo in hand. Its similar in concept to some diaper pails Ive seen (e.g., the Diaper Genie)-- its basically a long roll of plastic bagging set up on a reel-to-reel sort of system. You clean the cat box, drop the clumps in the top, turn the crank, and it rolls the mess up into a hermetically sealed stink-free ball inside the pail, which can be stored for up to two weeks or until it gets full. When its time to empty, you open the case, cut off the tube of bagging with the built-in cutter, lift out the central spindle holding two weeks worth of sealed-up messes, tie a knot in the end, cart it out to the garbage, tie a new knot in the remaining bag tubing, and keep going.
(The name Litter Locker Plus is something of a misnomer, as there is no regular version available. This is the only product of its kind that Ive seen.)
Does it really keep the smell contained?
Definitely yes. We have three cats and two large litterboxes in our spare bathtub, and we clean them twice a day. Our biggest odor problem came not from lack of cleaning the box, but from the paper lunch sacks full of waste waiting to be taken out. My computer, where I spend significant amounts of my leisure time, sits about five feet away from the litterboxes, and when theres a smell problem going on, its hard for me to miss! So Im really persnickety about keeping that area clean and stink-free. Weve been using the Litter Locker for about five weeks, and Ive noticed a significant improvement in the olfactory quality of the area. Its not like it smelled all the time before (I just said Im persnickety, and I wasnt kidding), but the frequency of problems has taken a huge drop. In fact, I dont think Ive noticed a single odor problem since we started using it, so I guess it has a 100% success rate! Perhaps more importantly, Im pretty sure that a guest walking into this room would never know there are two litterboxes in the bathroom. That is, unless they looked and saw the litter all over the floor, ha ha!
After about five months of use, I have found that when I empty the Litter Locker, there is a bit of a smell while carrying it out, and the central plastic spindle has absorbed some odor over time, so it obviously doesn't keep 100% of the smell in. But it is still effective at keeping the bathroom from smelling noticeably bad.
How much does it cost?
The Litter Locker retails at most places for anywhere from $20 (Petsmart) to a whopping $55 (QVC), but you can get it from Petguys.com for only $16.99 plus shipping. It comes with one bag cartridge, but after that you have to buy refills. Refill cartridges run $9-10 at most places, but again, you can get them from Petguys.com for $5.49 plus shipping. I recommend stocking up to save on shipping. Between our three cats and twice-daily box cleanings, our first cartridge lasted about one month. Official sites claim one cartridge will last two months with one cat.
Other points worth noting
One issue is where to put the Litter Locker-- we keep our litterboxes in a very small bathroom, and I was hoping to simply slip it into the space between the toilet and the bathtub, which is only a few inches wide. Unfortunately, the Litter Locker is a little bigger than the average bathroom trash can, and has a rounded shape as well, so it wont always fit into those tight spaces where you might want to put it. We were able to make room for it by sliding the litterboxes over in the bathtub, and putting it right in the tub next to them. Without the luxury of a spare bathtub, I dont know what we would have done. Its dimensions are 14 x 9.75 x 15.25, so make sure you know where youre going to put it and that you have room.
It can be a little tricky to learn to use at first, and emptying it and resetting the bag is a bit of a chore until you get the hang of it. Because you only have to deal with it a couple of times a month, its easy to forget exactly how to do it.
It has an auto-lock feature that stops the crank when youve turned it far enough to seal in the current mess. This is designed to keep you from wasting bagging by turning too much. In order to unlock it the next time, you have to turn it back a little to release it, then keep turning in the normal direction. It can get a bit wonky, so sometimes I have trouble turning it. It doesnt help that I can never remember which direction to turn it.
The more often you clean the box, the faster you go through bagging, so it kind makes you less inclined to clean the box as often as maybe you should. The directions say that when it becomes hard to turn, its time to empty it; however, it always seems kind of hard to turn to me, so I have trouble telling.
It also comes with its own litter scoop and a storage compartment for it. The storage compartment pops out for cleaning. The scoop is a pretty good quality scoop, and is now the one I usually use.
Should cat owners buy it?
If you dont mind carting your cats waste out to the garbage daily, and youre not worried about whether the garbage reeks or whether the litterbox area reeks while the waste is waiting to be taken out, then by all means skip this product. However, if you are anyone else, run-- dont walk-- to get yourself a Litter Locker!
Update: After three years of use, one of the spindle arms on my Litter Locker broke. I called the customer service number listed on the refill cartridges, and they shipped a replacement part at no charge, no questions asked. Awesome!