Hexbug Cat Toy Review

Product: Hexbug Cat Toy (Nano Nitro)

Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon

My Rating: 5 out of 5

5 stars



Hexbug Cat Toy (Nano Nitro) Product Overview

The Hexbug Cat Toy is a cool set of automated vibrating bugs for entertaining your cat.  These bugs are designed to work on hard surfaces like wood floors or tile. The bugs are essentially a counterweight with some flimsy little rubber legs and as the counterweight rotates it makes the bugs bounce erratically across the floor.

This results in an unpredictable path of movement which is ideal for entertaining your feline friends.  While you can buy all sorts of Hexbug toys this particular set is a package of 5 and comes in a variety of different colors.

All of the bugs have the exact same functionality, the only difference is the specific color. If you order them from Amazon you’re likely to get a random variety of colors as opposed to the specific colors right on the box, but I’ll freely admit that the color really shouldn’t have any impact on your cat’s ability to play with the toys.

My General Take:

My personal opinion, as someone who has a home that is all wood floor or tile, is that these are amazing cat toys. There’s a few reasons for this.

They provide randomness.  A lot of hands off or automated cat toys perform the exact same action over and over resulting in a very predictable pattern that your cat tends to get bored of incredibly quickly.

When your cat gets bored your cat ignores the toy. While you can of course rotate new toys in a cycle to maintain interest it is far easier to provide a toy that has randomness built right in!

Another major perk is the fact that they are almost completely automated.  If you have an open space you can flip them on then they’ll bounce around while your cat bats them all over the place. They are designed to right themselves when knocked over sideways or even upside down so that your cat won’t end up bored after one or two quick swipes at them.

On top of that each Hexbug Cat Toy has proven very durable. They’ve taken a solid beating from both of my cats and kept on ticking. Check out my full video review below if you’re interested.

I will admit there are a few items worth noting from a negative standpoint. First and foremost the Hexbugs are pretty small.  This means that your cat can easily pick them up and start chewing on them and potentially tear them to shreds or eat them.  I’d be less concerned for the toy itself and more concerned that your cat would accidentally eat part of the toy (especially the battery) that could cause some serious illness.

I’d recommend you keep an eye on your cat while they play with the Hexbugs. The only other item I’d call out is that if you have a house that isn’t some form of hard or solid floor (tile or wood) then these bugs will not work at all. I repeat, if your house is fully carpeted you’ll need to find an alternative. A large plastic tray of some sort will work fine so long as it has very short sides (half an inch even would contain the bugs).

I’m incredibly happy with my purchase of these toys and would definitely recommend them to others.

The Pros:

  • They require zero setup, they come fully functional right out of the box. They have one simple on off sliding switch to operate them.
  • They provide a completely random pattern that keeps your cats engaged and entertained for long periods of time.
  • You can easily run multiple Hexbugs at the same time to entertain multiple cats.
  • You can easily design your own mazes or castles with cardboard to keep your cats guessing on where the bugs will go.
  • The Hexbugs have proven incredibly durable and have taken consistent beatings from my cats for months.
  • Changing out the batteries is simple and cheap. Given the cost of the bugs themselves you’ll want to replace the batteries.

The Cons:

  • They don’t operate at all on floors that are not solid. If you have all carpeted floors you’ll need a large plastic tray or a large cookie sheet. I’ll freely admit this does limit the fun for you and for your cat, but it works.
  • Even though they are automated you should monitor any play sessions:
    • You’ll ensure you can find the bug once your cat is finished playing.
    • You’ll make sure the bug doesn’t sneak some place you can’t reach it. One of mine ended up under a cupboard and took hours to die.
    • You’ll ensure the bugs are not chewed up or swallowed on accident.
  • They do easily get batted under couches and chairs which often means you have to dig them out.
  • They are a bit pricy to get started, but the amount of time that my cats have spent playing with them makes it well worth the investment.

What’s In the Box:

This is one of those products were you can see every single thing in the box given the way it is packed. There are 5 Hexbugs in the package and they do come with the batteries included and already installed. They are fully functional right out of the packaging. There’s nothing else in there.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What surfaces do they work on?
    • They will only work on hard surfaces like wood floors, tile or linoleum.
    • If you have carpet they will not work on the carpet.
    • If you’re still interested you can use something like a large cookie sheet or a large tray of some sort to contain the bugs in a carpeted home.
    • This set of bugs will not climb in the mazes (which are more geared toward humans anyway).
  • Do these bugs climb?
    • This set of Hexbugs is not designed to climb. These Hexbugs are geared as cat toys and thus don’t need climbing capabilities.
  • Do the Hexbugs come with batteries?
    • Yes, each Hexbug comes with a battery already installed.
  • How long do the batteries last?
    • My experience is that the Hexbugs will operate for quite some time on a brand new battery out of the box. I haven’t measured myself, but I’d estimate a few hours at least.
  • Can I replace the batteries if they die?
    • Yes, you can absolutely replace the batteries yourself.
  • What type of batteries do they take?

Wrapping It up:

I bought the Hexbug Cat Toy (Nano Nitro) 5 pack on a whim thinking they might be fun for a few minutes, I never expected that I’d get as much use out of them as I have today. So far they have proven to be my go to toy. They are hands off and it is easy to keep an eye on your kitties while they play. Compared to other automated toys they have significant advantages, the two key things that come to mind are:

  • The random patterns work far better than the auto laser pointer systems that I have seen at work.
  • They are incredibly durable, many of the string tossing systems I’ve used have been torn apart by my cats very quickly.

Could Hexbug do anything better? The one key item I’d call out is that it’d be awesome if you could set a timer of some sort on them. But if you’re watching your cats play with them it shouldn’t be a problem anyway.

If you’ve used these Hexbugs at home and have any experiences with them you’d like to share please comment below or shoot me a note at Craig@StuffCatsWant.com so I can update this article to reflect your thoughts.


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16 thoughts on “Hexbug Cat Toy Review

  • September 18, 2017 at 3:32 am

    Hi Craig,

    I love these hex toys. They look perfect for my cat, but also for my 7 year old to play with. I think it could be very distracting. I would have liked to see more information on the battery being used for the hex bugs, even a nice tutorial on how to do that would be a plus. Only saying this because it might not be a common battery to change out and you would probably need a special tool. If you could clarify that would be great.

  • September 18, 2017 at 4:00 am

    These look pretty awesome! I don’t think I saw any measurements though? About how big are they? It’s awesome that they come 5 in a pack… as cat toys tend to get lost under couches and beds haha And as much as I love entertaining cats, it’s nice to be able to sit back and have them entertain themselves! It’s a win-win. Thanks for sharing!

    • September 19, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      Haha, I was going to include measurements but then I figured ‘Nobody really looks for those do they?’ Guess I was wrong!

      The toys are about an inch long and maybe a half an inch tall and a third of an inch wide.


  • September 18, 2017 at 4:12 am

    Excellent toy for a cat. I have a cat, and she is always looking for something to play with. It seems like movements activate their brains and they will check out what it is. “They are designed to right themselves when knocked over sideways or even upside down,” I like that, so you don’t have to be around when the toy gets knocked over.
    I will check this toy out. Thank you very much.

    • September 19, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      You are absolutely right, cats love things that move because it triggers their hunting senses. They are a riot to watch, my favorite is still the pre-pounce but wiggle.

  • September 18, 2017 at 7:39 am

    Thanks for your recommendation! I’ve been searching for a suitable toy for my friend’s cat and I think this one is a good choice. She has tiled floors so there shouldn’t be any problem for the toy to work. I only wished that it could turn off on its own. Otherwise, it looks like a fun toy for cats.

    • September 19, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      Yeah, that is my concern as well. I do wish I could leave them for only 15 minutes and then they’d flip themselves off. Some other automatic toys do that, but it isn’t very common.

  • September 18, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    This is perfect timing! I was looking for something to amuse my son’s cat as she loves toys and easily gets bored with the same toy. This looks like the perfect one for her. Like you say, I don’t believe the color will matter so much as the fact that they will jump around all on their own. I am looking forward to getting these. I think they will be a great toy!

    • September 19, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      Glad you found the article helpful, lucky timing! 🙂 Let me know how the toys work out.

  • September 18, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Wow, these toys are definitely great for active cats! Thank you for the demonstration on the video which gives me some idea what to expect. I like the fact they randomly go places including coming back to the cat (and making a noise!) so that the cat has to laser focus on these toys! Your cat seemed also enjoying the vibration of the toy when it flipped over, so even though it got stuck, some cat can still enjoy them.
    What do you think giving them out all 5 toys? Is it too much or do your cats handle all 5 toys together?

    • September 19, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      I don’t think all 5 toys would be too much for my cats, but it would definitely be too much for me to keep track of. If you had some sort of ring or a smaller area to keep all 5 I’d say go for it. As is you’d end up spending a ton of time chasing the toys to make sure they don’t end up stuck under the couch or something!

  • September 19, 2017 at 4:30 am

    This is very interesting. This little cat toy sounds like a lot of fun. Thank you for the awesome article. I enjoyed reading it!

    • September 19, 2017 at 1:32 pm

      Glad you found it interesting and enjoyed it, thanks for reading.

  • September 24, 2017 at 12:17 am

    Wow, looking at these toys, it looks like Kitty will have tons of fun with these. For me, one of the most important feature is that it is ready for playtime straight out of the box. Most of my home is carparted, with the exception of the kitchen and the basement, so it wonderful to know that there is an option for carpet use. Thanks for sharing your review.

    • September 24, 2017 at 1:32 pm

      Good luck with the toys, I hope that your cats really do enjoy them. Be careful they don’t sneak under your stove in the kitchen. They’ll usually come out, but they might come out with a boatload of dust bunnies one top of them haha! That’s what happened when one of mine made it under there.


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