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10 Best Budget Cat Trees in 2021 – Reviews & Top Picks

a tabby cat in a cat condo

Many cats benefit from a cat tree of some sort. These provide them with somewhere to climb, hide, and sharpen their claws. However, cat trees can be extremely expensive. Luckily, there are many budget options out there that may be suitable for your feline.

Many of these are smaller than your average cat tree. Therefore, they are only suitable for single-cat households unless you purchase multiples. However, at that point, it is often cheaper to purchase a larger, more expensive cat tree. These budget ones may also not be as tall, so they may not work as well for large cats.

Still, they can be suitable options in certain situations. Our reviews should give you an idea of what is being offered at the lower price points and what is the best option for your feline.

hepper single cat paw divider

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Frisco 24.8-in Heavy Duty Faux Fur Cat Tree Frisco 24.8-in Heavy Duty Faux Fur Cat Tree
  • Fluffy ball included
  • Wrapped in sisal rope
  • Includes a raised sleeping surface
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Frisco 20-in Faux Fur Cat Tree Frisco 20-in Faux Fur Cat Tree
  • Pom-pom toys
  • Thick plush material
  • Two pillars for scratching
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Frisco 52-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo Frisco 52-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo
  • Multiple levels
  • Five scratching posts
  • Private cat apartment
  • Frisco 48-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo Frisco 48-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo
  • Soft fabric
  • Multiple levels
  • Cat sleeping space
  • Frisco 38-in Cat Tree with Condo Frisco 38-in Cat Tree with Condo
  • Two scratching posts
  • Machine-washable cover
  • Lookout and sleeping spot included
  • The 10 Best Budget Cat Trees – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

    1. Frisco 24.8-in Heavy Duty Faux Fur Cat Tree – Best Overall

    Frisco 24.8-in Heavy Duty Faux Fur Cat Tree

    The Frisco 24.8-in Heavy Duty Faux Fur Cat Tree combines a wrapped scratching post and an elevated cat bed. It also includes a fluffy batting toy, which may encourage cats to play around the scratching posts. This cat tree performs many functions, making it one of the most versatile cat trees on this list.

    The bottom portion is wrapped in sisal rope, which is what most scratching posts use. This rope has a scratchable texture that many cats are attracted to, which encourages them to use this instead of your couches and other furniture. It feels similar to scratching tree bark, which is what wild cats would be scratching on.

    The bed is raised, which provides cats with a sense of safety. However, it isn’t as high as some other options. Therefore, it may not be suitable for cats that really like to climb. Instead, this tree is best for those that just need somewhere to scratch and sleep. The bed does have a removable and washable cover, increasing the longevity of this product.

    Based on these features, this is the best budget cat bed overall.

    Pros
    • Wrapped in sisal rope
    • Includes a raised sleeping surface
    • Fluffy ball included
    • Removable and washable cover
    Cons
    • Not raised that high

    2. Frisco 20-in Faux Fur Cat Tree – Best Value

    Frisco 20-in Faux Fur Cat Tree

    If you’re looking for an extremely cheap option, we recommend the Frisco 20-in Faux Fur Cat Tree as the best budget cat tree for the money. It is decently small, so it may not work for extremely large felines. Its small size is one of the reasons that it is so much cheaper than other options. However, it is great for smaller cats that simply don’t need a huge climbing structure.

    It has a simple sleeping bed on top that is 20 inches across. This should be large enough for most small to medium-sized cats to climb into. The bed is covered with thick plush material for comfort. The two pillars that hold up the bed are covered in natural sisal rope, providing your feline with a comfortable and suitable place to scratch.

    Dangling pom-poms encourage your cat to play in this area and use this cat tree. Of course, some cats completely ignore these toys, while others absolutely love them. This is also a neutrally colored cat tree, making it easier to fit into most house décor.

    Pros
    • Thick plush material
    • Two pillars for scratching
    • Pom-pom toys
    • Inexpensive
    Cons
    • Not suitable for large cats

    3. Frisco 52-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo – Premium Choice

    Frisco 52-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo

    If you have a little bit more money to spend but still don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for a cat tree, consider the Frisco 52-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo. This is a large cat tree, so it may be suitable for multi-cat households. It has multiple levels, providing your cat with more room to climb and explore. Dangling toys encourage your cat to play and move, wearing them out and helping them fulfill their exercise needs.

    There are five scratching posts in all. This makes it easier for more cats to use at once, but with more surfaces to scratch on, it can also make the cat tree last longer. A private “cat apartment” provides a place for cats to hide if they need privacy. Some cats absolutely love this feature, while others don’t. If you have multiple cats in your home, the odds are that at least one will fall in love with it.

    A fleece covering is featured throughout much of the scratching post. Where the sisal rope is not, this soft covering is. This provides a soft material for your cat to cuddle into. Unlike most scratching posts, this one comes in many different colors, so you can choose one that best matches your home.

    Pros
    • Multiple levels
    • Five scratching posts
    • Private cat apartment
    • Soft faux fleece material
    • Quite tall
    Cons
    • Expensive

    4. Frisco 48-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo

    Frisco 48-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo

    The Frisco 48-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo is somewhat expensive, but it comes with many different features. There is a perch for cats to jump onto at the top, as well as a private hiding spot. The multiple levels make it easier for more than one cat to use at once, so it is particularly helpful for multi-cat households. With five scratching posts, it is good for cats that love to scratch, as well as homes with many different cats. The material will also last longer than most other options, as the use gets spread out more.

    A soft fabric covering covers most of the cat tree. This material is soft and comfortable, allowing the cats to snuggle while they sleep. The scratching post also has sisal, which is the usual material used on cat trees. This feels similar to tree bark, making it the perfect option for cats to scratch.

    Dangling toys are perfect for cats that love to play. It also encourages cats to use the scratching post instead of expending their energy elsewhere.

    Pros
    • Five scratching posts
    • Multiple levels
    • Cat sleeping space
    • Soft fabric
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • May not work for larger cats

    5. Frisco 38-in Cat Tree with Condo

    Frisco 38-in Cat Tree with Condo

    For the price, the Frisco 38-in Cat Tree with Condo is a great option. It has three different tiers for your cat to play on. It can be used for multi-cat households, though it is best if you don’t have more than three cats.

    There is a lookout that also functions as a bed on the top and at the bottom, a sleeping “apartment” for your cat. There is plenty of room in between for your cat to run and play. A pom-pom hangs from the top level to give your cat something to play with. The perch cover is removable and machine washable, so you can easily spruce it up as required. However, there are also only two scratching posts, which may not be suitable for felines that like to scratch. If your cat is a serious scratcher, they may go through this scratching post quickly.

    Overall, this scratching post is great, though it isn’t necessarily as good as some others at the same price point. It has a different design than most, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is better.

    Pros
    • Machine-washable cover
    • Two scratching posts
    • Lookout and sleeping spot included
    Cons
    • Expensive for what it is
    • Only suitable for smaller cats

    6. Yaheetech 51-in Plush Multi-Cat Tree & Condo

    Yaheetech 51-in Plush Multi-Cat Tree & Condo

    For some people, the Yaheetech 51-in Plush Multi-Cat Tree & Condo may not be a budget option. It is more expensive than some other budget cat trees. However, it does have many features going for it. It can be used in multi-cat households due to its multiple levels and many hiding places.

    However, this tree is designed for smaller cats or kittens. The spaces aren’t that big, which can be a problem if your cats are large or even medium-sized.

    It does include a tunnel for burrowing and sleeping, as well as a climbing ladder for scratching and playing. Sisal rope is included throughout the scratching post, providing high-quality and durable areas for your cat to wear down their claws. The whole thing is made with particleboard and plush fabric, which makes it lightweight but decently durable.

    For the price, this cat tree is a bit smaller than we would have liked.

    Pros
    • Many different levels
    • Multiple hiding places
    • High-quality design
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Only suitable for very small cats or kittens

    7. Frisco 28-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo

    Frisco 28-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo

    At first glance, the Frisco 28-in Faux Fur Cat Tree & Condo may seem like a great option. However, it is extremely small. It is only suitable for single-cat households, as it cannot handle more than one cat. It includes two scratching posts, but these are short. Some cats may be unable to use it properly if they are too large or tall.

    Technically, this cat tree includes three different levels. However, these levels are small, and the whole tree isn’t that tall. That said,  it is covered in a soft plush material everywhere but the scratching posts, which are wrapped in sisal. This is plenty soft enough for your cat to snuggle in while they sleep.

    While much of this cat tree is a high-quality material, it is simply too small to work for most cats.

    Pros
    • Three levels
    • Soft plush material
    • Two scratching posts
    Cons
    • Extremely small
    • Only suitable for one-cat households

    8. IRIS Plush Cat Perch with Toy

    IRIS Plush Cat Perch with Toy

    The IRIS Plush Cat Perch with Toy has a unique design. It has a lookout platform on the top that your felines may enjoy laying on or jumping from. The perch is large, so it can work for medium-sized cats. It also has a small area around the center with a ball for your cat to play with. A dangling toy provides your cat with plenty of play opportunities.

    However, this perch is extremely small and isn’t ideal for multi-cat households. If you live in a smaller house, though, this may be quite suitable. It is also assembled easily, mainly due to its small size. It can withstand quite a bit of scratching and use, though typically only by a single cat. Otherwise, it can wear down quickly.

    The smallness of this perch makes it a bit unstable. When your cat is perched on top of it, it may fall over, especially if your cat jumps. Therefore, it is not suitable for extremely active cats that may want to climb and jump around on the perch. It is also a bit less durable than most other options. It probably can’t withstand extensive use.

    Pros
    • Dangling toy included
    • Compact
    Cons
    • Not that stable
    • Less durable than some other options

    9. Tiger Tough Scratching Post 22.5-in Faux Fur Cat Tree

    Tiger Tough Scratching Post 22.5-in Faux Fur Cat Tree

    Compared to some other cat trees, the Tiger Tough Scratching Post 22.5-in Faux Fur Cat Tree is quite small. It is obviously only made for a single small cat or kitten. A singular perch allows your feline to get off the ground, making it a better option for cats that like to be up high. However, it isn’t ideal for felines that like to climb, jump, and play. It can easily tip over if a full-grown cat jumps off the top.

    The whole thing is covered in a plush fabric, which allows your cat to snuggle while they rest. The scratching post area is covered in a sisal rope, which is a natural and enjoyable material for cats to scratch. It also includes a spring-loaded ball, which is fun for your feline to play with.

    The main problem is that this scratching post just isn’t suitable for large cats. It is best for kittens, but they will likely outgrow it quickly. There are also problems with the hardware required for this scratching post. It doesn’t always seem to come with the correct items. It can also be difficult to put together due to the factory-machined parts not fitting together correctly.

    Pros
    • Plush fabric
    • Raised platform
    Cons
    • Not suitable for larger cats
    • Installation problems reported

    10. TRIXIE Badalona 42.75-in Plush Cat Tree & Condo

    TRIXIE Badalona 42.75-in Plush Cat Tree & Condo

    The TRIXIE Badalona 42.75-in Plush Cat Tree & Condo is a simplified cat tree. It includes three different levels, with two perches for your cat to hang out on and a sleeping area on the bottom. It doesn’t include any toys, but this may not be a problem if your cat doesn’t play with toys much, anyway. The scratching areas are made of sisal, which is durable and loved by many felines. It is also covered with a soft fabric that your cat can snuggle in while sleeping.

    The recommend pet weight for this cat tree is up to 12 pounds, which should cover everything but the largest cats. However, this cat tree can get wobbly even with medium-sized cats that are well within this range. It works best for kittens, as adult cats can easily knock it over. It isn’t durable in the least. It can easily break after falling down a few times, which is something to keep in mind if you have anything but a small cat.

    Many users reported that this cat tree seems to tilt even without a cat on it. It obviously isn’t as high-quality as some other options out there. The material seems cheaply made, and the whole design just doesn’t work well.

    Pros
    • Three levels
    • Two scratching posts
    Cons
    • Not that stable
    • Poor design
    • Only suitable for small cats

    hepper cat paw divider

    Buyer’s Guide

    When you’re on a budget, it can be difficult to choose the correct cat tree for your feline. It may mean catching deals and compromising on a few features.

    Usually, cheaper cat trees are smaller and more suitable for single-cat households. If you have multiple cats, this may be a bit of a problem. In this section, we help you figure out what features are actually important to you and the ones that you can safely skip.

    Size

    The size of the cat tree often has a direct effect on the price. Usually, the cheaper the tree, the smaller it is. However, this isn’t always the case; you can find several large cat trees that aren’t that.

    Larger cat trees are typically necessary for homes with multiple cats. Smaller cat trees are simply not made to withstand many cats. They will break and wear down too fast. If you have more than one cat, you’ll likely need to spend a bit more on your cat tree simply because it needs to be bigger.

    You also have to consider your cat’s playfulness. If your cat likes to run around and jump, a smaller cat tree likely won’t be able to withstand this sort of play. It may easily knock over and won’t have enough levels to promote the kind of play that your cat needs.

    Durability

    Even if you’re purchasing a cheaper cat tree, you don’t have to compromise on the quality. Many budget cat trees are perfectly capable of being used for an extended period, as long as the appropriately sized cat is using them. Many are made with the exact same materials as more expensive cat trees, they’re just smaller.

    Preferably, the scratching post area should be wrapped in sisal rope. This is a durable material that can withstand scratching. It is often attractive to cats as well, which means they should choose to use it instead of your furniture.

    You shouldn’t feel the need to purchase a less-durable cat tree simply because you’re on a budget. There are many high-quality options out there that are perfect for most cats.

    cat lying on a cat tree

    Toys Included

    Many cat trees include toys of all sorts. These allow the cat to play and encourage activity around the cat tree. If your cat is a bit confused about what they’re supposed to be doing with the cat tree, these toys often make it clear.

    The toys can come in many different shapes and sizes. Pompom-type balls are the most common. These are usually hung from higher levels so your cat can bat at them. If you know that your cat likes a particular type of toy, consider finding a cat tree that has one.

    If your cat likely won’t use the toys, though, there is no reason to consider them when making your decision.

    Comfort

    Many cats will use their cat tree to sleep and relax, as well as scratch and play. It is important that there are plenty of places for them to cuddle up and snooze — or just one good place if your cat is the only feline in the household. Some cats will prefer their sleeping spaces to be raised. Others will prefer them low to the ground so they can easily access it. It is important to know your cat’s preference when choosing a cat tree.

    On a budget, you likely won’t be able to get a huge tree with all the possible bed types. However, you can get a cat tree with your particular cat’s favorite sleeping area. If you have multiple cats, you may need to spend a bit more to get a tree with multiple sleeping areas.

    You should also pay attention to the fabric covering the cat tree. It should preferably be soft but still provide your feline with plenty of traction. Otherwise, they may easily slip and slide when trying to play.

    Stability

    If your cat is going to run and jump on a cat tree, it is important for it to be stable. Otherwise, it can easily tip over when your cat plays on it. Not only does this remove your cat’s ability to play on it (and they might become scared of it), but it can also lead to the tower breaking. Usually, trees with poor designs are more likely to tip over than those that are built solidly. If you think that a cat tree looks like it won’t be stable, you’re probably right.

    This is especially important if you have active or large cats because they are more likely to tip over a cat tree than mellow or small cats. However, even if your cat just wants to sleep, some trees simply aren’t made to hold up a cat on the top level.

    hepper cat paw divider

    Conclusion

    For most people on a budget, we recommend the Frisco 24.8-in Heavy Duty Faux Fur Cat Tree. It is simple and inexpensive, but it serves its purpose well. A bed is on top to provide your cat with a comfortable spot to sit, while the post is wrapped in sisal to provide an area for scratching. This cat tree can also be used with cats that are somewhat large, which can’t be said for most budget trees.

    If you need something extremely inexpensive, we recommend the Frisco 20-in Faux Fur Cat Tree. It is a fairly basic cat tree and can only fit small cats and kittens. That said, it is a great option if your cat falls into either of those categories. Its cheapness is largely due to its size. It is made of high-quality materials and quite stable.

    We hope that our reviews have helped you determine the best budget cat tree for your feline. There are many inexpensive cat trees out there, and many of them are higher quality than you might think.


    Featured Image Credit: Chewy

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