Rats are just about the last thing any homeowner wants to deal with, but if you’ve got a rodent problem, tackling it head-on with rat traps is the only way to prevent a full-blown infestation.
When most of us think of rats, it conjures up images of dank dungeons, the bubonic plague, or maybe the New York subway, but the reality is rats can be a problem just about anywhere. They’re not only a nuisance that will infiltrate your food supplies, make a mess in your basement or garage, but they also carry a host of diseases that can be harmful to your health.
In fact, humans have been trying to eradicate rat infestations for about as long as recorded history, without much success. Luckily, there are now a wide variety of rat traps to suit your needs, whether that’s indoor or outdoor, lethal or nonlethal, and mechanical or electronic.
I’ll break down some of the best rat traps on the market today, so you can eliminate any rodent problem before it gets out of hand.
Quick Answer: 6 Best Rat Traps
- Best Snap Trap: Authenzo Rat Traps 6 Pack
- Best Classic Snap Trap: Victor Easy Set Rat Traps (4 Pack)
- Best Electronic Trap: Rat Zapper Classic Rat Trap
- Best Glue Trap: Kingman Prime Rat Trap
- Best Live Catch Trap: Faicuik Heavy-Duty One-Door Cage Trap
- Best Outdoor Rat Trap: Redtop Rat Bait Station 2 Pack
Types of Rat Traps
When you think of rat or rodent traps, you probably think of those classic wood snap traps with a thick wire closing mechanism. While these traps can certainly be effective, modern traps have come a long way in terms of safety, effectiveness, and ease of usage.
Let’s take a look at some of these in more detail.
The snap trap is the classic rodent trap that we’re all familiar with. It consists of a wood or metal base with a powerful spring-loaded wire metal closing mechanism. The trap works by releasing the catch as the rat nibbles on the bait, causing the metal closing mechanism to snap shut on the rat’s head. The spring is strong enough to deliver a powerful killing blow to the rat – snapping its neck and killing it nearly instantly.
This type of snap trap is highly effective at disposing of any rats and rodents in the area, but can also be dangerous if you’ve got small children or pets around. These spring-loaded traps are powerful enough to cause serious injury to pets and even break fingers.
There’s also a newer version of the classic snap trap that works by suffocating the rat rather than breaking its neck. These traps are typically made from durable plastic and don’t have the same amount of closing force as classic snap traps do. This means they can be used in homes with kids and pets without worry.
Glue Board Traps
Glue traps are a highly effective way of trapping rats, mice, and other rodents, but have their own set of drawbacks. They work by trapping the rat or mouse in the glue – which causes it to panic and try to escape – further entangling it in glue. The rat then dies slowly of suffocation or starvation.
Because rats and mice have poor vision, they get around using by following the edges of walls, baseboards, and other straight lines. Glue traps places in these locations can work well, especially when other trap types aren’t getting the job done.
These traps will inevitably attract other things besides rodents, and will trap ants, other bugs, dust, and can be a major pain if you get one stuck on a finger. Because of this, these traps will need to be replaced every so often once they get too dirty.
While these traps are highly effective, they are criticized by some for being unnecessarily inhumane.
Electronic traps are a newer innovation that cleanly and humanely kills rats in an instant. They use a tunnel design that guides the rodent towards bait at the end. As it enters the tunnel and steps on the metal plate inside the trap, an electric circuit is completed, sending a high-voltage shock through the animal’s body, killing it instantly.
This voltage level is lethal to rats and other small rodents but is not enough to harm children or household pets. Once the trap has been deployed, some form of indicator light is tripped, so you’ll know when you need to dispose of the pest.
Live Catch Traps
If the idea of killing rodents doesn’t appeal to you, then a live catch trap can be a good option. These traps consist of small baited cage with a pressure-sensitive trip plate that automatically shuts the gate when a rat steps on it.
These traps won’t harm the animal, so you’ll need to take it somewhere far enough away that it won’t come back. As this is the same type of trap used to catch squirrels, rabbits, and other small critters, don’t be surprised if you end up trapping something other than a rat!
Best Rat Traps
Best Snap Trap
- 15 grams of trigger pressure activates the trap.
- Each set comes with 6 traps.
- Made from durable, long-lasting ABS plastic.
- The mechanism allows you to empty the trap without coming in contact with the pest.
Eliminate the chances of injuring your fingers with these highly effective and sensitive rat traps. They feature a number of improvements over classic snap traps – making them safe to use in households with small children and pets.
The traps feature a bait mechanism that eliminates the need for adding new bait each time you re-set the trap. This means you can fill the bait holder with peanut butter once and catch several rats/mice without needing to refill it.
The trap mechanism also allows you to empty the trap without touching the dead rodent – simply depress the rear of the trap over a trash can and the pest is gone!
Best Classic Snap Trap
- Each set comes with 4 traps.
- The adjustable trigger can be set to firm or sensitive.
- Expanded trip petal increases catch rate.
- Traps come pre-baited.
The Victor East Set trap uses the classic wood snap trap design but adds an improved larger trip pedal to increase the odds of success. The expanded size means your catch rates will increase, as the trap can be activated by a rodent taking your bait or by accidental contact as they scamper across the floor.
The traps come pre-baited with a scent, but also have the option of adding bait to increase your odds. You also have two options for setting the trigger, a firm and a sensitive, allow you to tailor your trap to the rodent at hand.
Once you’ve caught a rat in your trap, you can toss the trap, or remove the rodent and reset the trap to use again.
Best Electronic Trap
- Safe to use around kids and pets.
- Dispatches rat with a powerful and deadly shock.
- Works anywhere indoors.
- Flashing red indicator light lets you know when you’ve got a kill.
- Powered by 4 x AA batteries.
This well-engineered electronic rat trap quickly, cleanly, and humanely dispatches mice, rats, and other pests with a powerful and deadly shock. The trap works well anywhere indoors that’s not exposed to the elements, making it perfect for attics, garages, basements, and sheds.
The unit uses smart circuit technology that senses when a rodent enters the trap. Once inside, the rat steps on the pressure plate, which completes the circuit, sending a continuous 2-minute shock through the rodent to ensure it’s finished.
After the trap has caught a rat, an indicator light on top of the trap flashes red to let you know a rat is inside. Then, simply tip the trap over into the trash for no-touch no-see disposal.
The trap is powered by 4 AA batteries, which provides 20 kills before you need to replace the batteries.
Best Glue Trap
- Highly effective at catching rats and other pests.
- Non-toxic and safe to use around children and pets.
- Extra-strong glue formula in addition to larger and heavier construction.
Glue traps are highly effective at catching rats, and make a great choice when other trap types aren’t getting the job done. These traps utilize an extra-strong glue formula along with a larger and heavier design that ensures added strength, stability, and effectiveness.
The traps are non-toxic and safe to use around children and pets.
To set up the trap, simply unpack from the packaging, place a piece of bait in the middle of the trap, and place it in a high traffic area. When a rat is caught in your trap, simply dispose of it and replace it with a fresh trap.
In addition to catching rats, these traps are effective at catching mice, roaches, snakes, and spiders.
Best Live Catch Trap
- Constructed of galvanized steel to prevent rust and corrosion.
- Ultra-sensitive trip plate.
- Smooth internal edges prevent the critter from harming itself.
- A sturdy handle guard prevents contact with the trapped animal.
If you’re looking for a trap that humanely catches rodents for relocation – then you’ll have a hard time beating this bad boy. It features a gravity-action door activated by an ultra-sensitive trip plate which traps the animal safely and humanely.
Close-set wire mesh keeps the critter from escaping, while smooth internal edges keep the animal safe and prevent it from harming itself. The galvanized steel cage is built tolast and can be used both inside and out without worrying about rust or corrosion.
In addition to catching rats, the trap can also be used effectively to catch small critters like chipmunks, squirrels, weasels, and voles.
Best Outdoor Rat Trap
- Tamper-resistant rat traps.
- Works with all types of bait: bait block rods, pellets, or liquid.
- Two 2.2” access holes on either side of trap.
- Made from durable high-density plastic.
Ideal for outdoor use, these bait station traps are highly effective at eliminating rats, mice, and other pests. They work a little differently than other traps, operating as a station for them to feed on poisoned bait.
The trap is designed to let the rats feel comfortable feeding in and utilizes two 2.2” access holes on either side of the trap. This allows them not to feel trapped while feeding, which increases feeding behavior.
The trap itself is made from high-density plastic, and is lockable to prevent pets and non-target species from getting into it. It can also be attached directly to a permanent structure for added security. Any type of bait can be used, including bait blocks, pellets, or liquids.
Keep in mind this type of trap will allow other small rodents to feed on your poisoned bait as well, so it may not be appropriate if you don’t wish to harm other critters.
How to pick the right rat trap?
As you can see from the above reviews, there’s a wide variety of different rat traps to consider. The best trap for your particular situation will depend on the size of the infestation you’re dealing with, whether it’s indoors or outdoors, and if you want to kill the buggers or merely trap them.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Use
The first thing to consider when choosing a rat trap is whether you plan to use it indoors or outdoors. Some traps, due to the particulars of their design, can only be used indoors.
Glue traps generally only work indoors or at least in a covered area, as rain and moisture can render the glue ineffective. Electronic traps also are limited to indoor usage, as electricity and water don’t mix. Traditional wood snap traps can be used outside, but will weather quickly, and can become useless over time as moisture causes the wood to warp and the metal to rust.
Newer plastic snap traps are a good option for outdoor traps, as well as cage traps that capture the rodent alive. You can also use a bait station style trap outdoors to great effectiveness.
Number of Traps
The number of traps you’ll need will directly correlate with the number of rats you’ve got to deal with. As not every trap will be successful, you’ll want to create as many opportunities to catch your prey as possible.
The rule of thumb is generally 3 times more traps than rodents. As you probably don’t know exactly how many rats or mice you’re dealing with, it’s a good idea to go with more traps rather than fewer.
Lethal vs. Non-Lethal Traps
If you’re not into killing rodents, then you’re options will be more limited. Glue traps, electronic traps, snap traps, and bait stations all result in killing your quarry, so you’re best option is a live-catch cage trap.
These traps are often used by homeowners for catching squirrels, chipmunks, voles, and other rodents, but can work equally well for rats. Once you’ve caught one in your cage trap, you’ll need to take it to another location at least 2 miles away from your property to release it.
If you’re a bit squeamish about killing mice or rats, keep in mind there are traps that will kill them swiftly and humanely. Electronic traps and snap traps kill them pretty much instantly, so there’s no unnecessary suffering.
Safety is another important consideration when you’re buying traps. The last thing you want to happen is crushing your finger inside a trap and heading to the hospital. This is especially true if you’ve got small children or pets around the house.
Most traps are safe to use with kids and small pets, but be careful with classic snap traps – as these can result in broken fingers when used improperly.
No one likes dealing with rats. But if you’ve got a rat problem then you’ve got to get rid of them. Luckily, that doesn’t mean you have to come into contact with them.
Newer traps enable you to catch and kill a rat, then dispose of it, without having to touch it or in some cases even look at it. This makes your job much easier and allows even the most squeamish folks to deal with a rat problem on their own.
Electronic traps are incredibly easy-to-use as well as being effective and clean. Modern snap traps are also easy to use and enable you to dispose of the rat without touching it with your hand.
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