Rodent problem. Just the words alone send shivers down the spine of most homeowners. According to a National Pest Management Association survey, rodents invade approximately twenty-one million homes each winter, leaving behind millions of droppings as they do. In fact, nearly one-third of Americans have had a rodent problem in their home at one point or another. Around half of all infestations occur in the kitchen, basement, garage, or living room during the fall or winter.
Not only are these rodent infestations annoying, but they're also potentially dangerous to the health and safety of you and your family. Rats and mice can squeeze through coin-sized holes and love to chew through electrical wires, increasing the risk of an electrical fire. Plus, they're known to spread salmonella and disease-causing parasites like ticks, fleas, and lice. Not to mention the urine stains and rodent droppings that are left behind!
So to help you get your rat problem under control— or help you prevent a rat infestation from happening in the first place— we've rounded up the best rat trap, mousetrap, and pest control products on the market. But before you start shopping, you'll need to determine what type of rat trap is right for your home.
What are the most effective rat traps?
There are four different types of rat traps— snap traps, glue traps, catch and release traps, and electronic traps— each of which offers its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.
When most people think of a mousetrap, they think of a classic snap trap made with thick metal wires, a spring mechanism, and a small wood frame. When the rat takes the bait, the metal arm bar snaps closed, snapping the rat's neck and killing it instantly. These traps are affordable, relatively easy to set, and highly effective at their job— sometimes even too effective. Larger traps can hurt (and even break) fingers and paws, making them unsafe in homes with small children or nosy pets.
Though a simple glue trap is one of the most effective ways to catch and kill rats, it's also considered by many to be one of the most inhumane. Similar to a spider trap, glue trays are made of a flat plastic or cardboard piece covered on one side with incredibly sticky glue that immobilizes any rat, mouse, or insect that wanders across it. Unlike other types of rat traps, they don't actually kill the rodent and instead leave the animal to die slowly from starvation or dehydration.
Live animal traps are by far the most humane solution for a rodent infestation. These cage-like traps contain pressure-sensitive metal plates connected to a spring mechanism designed to snap the door closed. While they're more expensive and require you to relocate the animal, they are an extremely effective rodent solution that even the strictest vegans can use.
Electric and Electronic Traps
When it comes to killing rats, electric traps and electronic traps are one of the more humane options. Their simple design consists of a tunnel that leads to a baited area inside. Along the floor are pressure-sensitive metal plates that deliver a high voltage shock that kills the rodent instantly. Most electric traps require a few batteries, so you'll want to double-check if they're included with the product when you make a purchase.
How to Choose the Right Rat Trap
Now that you know the difference between different types of traps, it's time to determine which one is right for your household. Here are a few key factors to consider while you shop:
- Indoor use v.s outdoor use— If you plan to place the traps outside, you'll need to select a product that's weather-resistant and won't accumulate dirt and debris.
- Lethal vs. Catch and Release— Everyone is entitled to their own opinion towards killing rats. If you feel uncomfortable about killing animals (even when they're just small rodents), it's 100% okay to use a more humane option like a catch and release trap.
- Safety— It's crucial to remember that rat traps can be surprisingly dangerous despite their small size, especially in households with pets or small children. Avoid finger-pinching snap traps and toxic rat poison and stick to safer alternatives like electric shock traps and non-toxic baits like peanut butter or another enticing morsel food.
- Disposal— If the thought of disposing of a dead mouse makes you feel a bit squeamish, consider using a trap with an enclosed design with an external indicator.
- Budget— While some of the more traditional options like snap traps are incredibly affordable, single-use glue trays and modern electric traps can get a bit pricey when you're dealing with a large number of rodents.
The Best Rat Traps on the Market in 2021
Scotts Tomcat Rat and Mouse Killer is one of the most effective rat traps on the market. It's loaded with 30g of bait (enough to kill up to three rats) and has a see-through window that allows for easy monitoring of bait levels and dead rodents. The versatile traps are weather-resistant, making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Plus, they're safe to use around pets and small children.
If you're dealing with a house-wide infestation, you can't go wrong with this affordable six-pack of Feeke's Plastic Mouse Traps. They're safe to use both indoors and outdoors, contain no poison, glue, or toxic chemicals, and require no touching during disposal. The sensitive pedal only requires .03 lbs of weight to trigger it to snap its tooth-edged jaws closed. Plus, set-up is easy! Just set the bait of your choice in the bait cup and open the trap clamp.
If glue traps are your preferred rodent control method, try these Baited Mouse, Snake, and Rat Traps from the pest-control experts at Catchmaster. Unlike rat poisons and traditional rat snap traps, these non-toxic trays are safe to use around children and pets. Plus, they fold up into a tunnel shape to squeeze into tight spaces and dusty areas. The mouse traps are made in the USA and come in your choice of a six, eight, ten, or twelve-pack.
Gingbau's Live Cage Trap offers a humane way to eliminate rats, mice, and other small pests. The rectangular cage is constructed from sturdy galvanized steel with an auto-lock door that prevents caught rats from escaping once they're trapped inside. While the set-up process is easy, you will need to relocate the rodent a significant distance from your house to prevent it from coming back. The reusable rat trap measures 10.5 in x 5.5 in x 4.5 in, just the right size for small pests.
The simple but effective Tomcat Rat Snap Trap offers a budget-friendly way to solve recurring rodent problems. Unlike other mouse traps, these plastic snap traps can be used multiple times. Not only are they affordable, but they're safe, effective, and easy to use thanks to the trap's interlocking teeth, easy-set spring, and 'no-touch' disposal. Plus, they're safer to use around children and pets than traditional snap traps.