Are you looking for the best rat traps in 2019? Then you've come to the right place.
In this Pest Strategies product review you can expect to learn:
- What the best rat trap is
- The best way to bait traps
- Some do's and don'ts
- Where traps should be positioned
- How to keep rats from stealing the bait
- The pros and cons of each type of rat trap
Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
(updated as of 12/28/2018)
Of all the rat traps we researched and reviewed, our top pick goes to Classic Metal Rat Traps.
Because of its classic, timeless design that has been proven to work year after year, decade after decade. It's quick, painless, and humane. The animals won't suffer.
And because the all-metal construction is much more resistant to absorbing smells than other traps made from wood and plastic. It is easy to clean, set, and reset.
Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your rat problem?
Top 5 Best Rat Traps
Short on time or just want a quick answer?
Check out our list below for a summary of our results. Keep on reading to learn more about rat traps.
- Classic Metal Rat Traps (our top pick)
- Live Animal Humane Trap (our second best choice)
- Electronic Humane Rodent Zapper
- Victor Metal Pedal Rat Trap
- The Ratinator Multiple Catch Live Rat Trap
Rats have been a problem for mankind since the beginning of time. They've infested ships, homes, warehouses, churches, temples, municipal buildings, commercial buildings, public forums, and the palaces of kings worldwide.
They carried deadly diseases during the Middle Ages, such as the bubonic plague, AKA, The Black Death, and in large numbers they can devastate entire crops in the field. To call them a pest would be a huge understatement.
So naturally, people have been trying to eradicate them ever since. With zero success by the way.
Let's be clear about something. Rodent control – rats, mice, squirrels, etc. – isn't about eliminating or eradicating them, that's impossible. You're never going to wipe them out.
That's not what this guide is about.
Instead, it is about keeping them under control and not letting them wander around your house and make themselves at home. When rats enter your property, they are killed in short order.
Our reviews below will lay out the best traps, but before that, we're going to give you some information on how to use the traps effectively.
Where Should Rat Traps be Positioned?
Setting traps in the right position takes a bit of detective work. Rats and mice have extremely poor eyesight.
In fact, if they were human they'd be declared legally blind. In order to compensate for their lack of vision, they will use their vibrissae (whiskers) against objects in their environment the same way a blind man uses his cane.
They will move slowly through their environment, staying close to walls and stationary objects to “map out” the location of everything around them.
As they move along, close to the walls, the oil on their fur leaves dark stains called rub marks. Once they've established a pathway or route through an area, they'll stick to it.
This is where you want to place your traps.
Use a flashlight and get down on your hands and knees to find where the rub marks are. You won't find them on every wall, or every length of wall, so you'll have to do a bit of investigating.
Once you have found the rub marks, you'll know where to put the traps.
What are the Dos and Don'ts in using traps?
Do put them right next to the wall so they'll be sure to encounter them as they retrace their route around and through your house.
Don't put the traps out in the middle of the room. They'll be unlikely to run into them.
The following video will give you important tips in setting rat traps.
What Should You Know About the Rat's Sense of Smell?
Rats and mice have a very acute sense of smell. If you smoke, when you handle a piece of cheese or other bait you're going to use, the cigarette smell will transfer from your fingers to the cheese.
Humans can't detect such a small amount of scent, but rats can. When they smell the smokey odor from the cigarettes they'll turn around and leave bait untouched.
Our second set of Dos and Don'ts
For this reason, you should always wear a pair of disposable latex gloves when handling any rat trap. This will prevent any odors on your hands from transferring to the trap or contaminating the bait.
The gloves will also protect you when you're removing a dead rat from the trap. There may bodily fluids on the trap or the dead animal that you don't want touching you.
Some of those fluids may contain dangerous bacteria or viruses. Wearing gloves will protect you from them.
Rats also use their sense of smell in another, very interesting way. Rats will smell each other's breath to determine what kind of food is safe to eat.
If they smell cheese on another rat's breath, and the other rat is still alive and healthy, it tells them the food is safe to eat. When they encounter that same food, later on, they'll remember smelling it on the other rat and know they can eat it.
Our third Dos and Don'ts
Do put bait on unset traps for a few days. Let them get used to eating the bait off the trap – and surviving to pass it on in their breath to other rats.
This will help them overcome their shyness around new items in their environment (the trap) and “spread the word” about the bait you're using.
Once you've baited the trap(s) for several days and they've eaten it, then you can start setting the trap(s) and expect to get some immediate results.
Read Also: What's the best way to deter wasps?
What Baits Should be Used With Rat Traps?
Rats are omnivores the same as humans are, so they'll eat practically anything we will; bacon, fruit, eggs, peanut butter, even pet food.
Spicy food won't attract them very much, and the burning may keep them away from it in the future if they try it. You should use foods that have a strong odor so they can smell it from a distance and be drawn to it.
Dos and Don'ts in using baits with rat traps
However, rats are notorious for stealing bait from traps without setting them off. There is a simple way around this problem.
If you're using hard food as the bait, tie it to the trigger of the trap with string, thread, or fine wire so the rats can't simply take the bait and walk off with it.
It will force them to tug and twist at it to get it off the trigger, which will set off the trap.
If you're using peanut butter or some other soft food as your bait, don't put a big glob of it on the trigger.
Instead, smear a thin layer on the trigger so they'll wind up licking the trigger. This will move the trigger and set off the trap.
Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your rat problem?
Top 5 Best Rat Traps Reviewed
As a quick recap, here are the 5 rat traps we looked at. Our #1 pick went to the Classic Metal Rat Traps.
Be sure to take a look at the Live Animal Humane Trap too. It is a good option for those you who don't want to kill them, just get them out of your house.
Always remember to be careful handling rat traps.
This is a pack of 4, fully galvanized, rat snap traps. Built on the classic design, but with a metal base plate instead of wood, they are durable and reusable.
These heavy-duty traps sport a powerful spring for fast, humane killing action so the animal doesn't suffer.
Each trap is 6.6” long and 3.5” wide. The galvanized metal won't rust when it's used outside, and the metal base won't warp as wood can often do in moist or humid conditions.
They can be used and reused for years to come without breaking or wearing out like plastic traps. The metal also won't absorb human smells.
Wipe it down with a damp rag before each use to eliminate any lingering odors that might keep the animals from approaching the trap.
Incidentally, these traps aren't made in China, they're made in the Czech Republic by a company called made2catch.
The spring is strong enough to require some caution when setting it. It can cause serious injury to your hands and fingers. The trigger is sensitive enough to catch all but the most clever rats.
AB Traps built live traps for those who don't want to kill any rats but don't want them hanging around the house either. These 10.5" x 5.5" x 4.5", all-metal construction traps will get the job done.
The instructions, written only in Chinese, include a diagram clearly showing how it is supposed to be set and used.
It is so straightforward that a complete novice could figure it out in just a few minutes at the most. After that, set it out and wait for the sound to alert you that a rat has been caught.
The trigger is far enough back in the cage that the animal won't be hurt when the door closes. Some cages are too small and the animal can be injured or seriously wounded.
Then you have to kill it anyway, defeating the purpose of a live trap. With this one, you don't have any danger of that happening.
Once they're caught, it is simplicity itself to take them out somewhere and let them go. Be aware though, the metal is a bit thin and larger, stronger animals might be able to get out.
Its all-metal construction ensures it won't warp or twist due to humidity or moisture, and the galvanization keeps it from rusting. Wipe it off between each use to remove any human smell from it, then reset it again.
ABCO Sports, headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, has come up with an effective trap that electrocutes rats and mice, squirrels and chipmunks, killing them quickly and humanely without the use of poisons or touchy traps that snap your fingers.
We're not sure how a sports equipment company branched out into the pest control field, but they've delivered an excellent product.
It comes with 4 D-cell batteries that will kill the animals, or you can use the included A/C adapter if you have an outlet near the target area where you want the trap to be positioned.
An indicator light lets you know it is active, but the trigger mechanism is recessed so it can't be accidentally activated.
Once an animal has been killed, a blue flashing LED, along with beeping noise, alerts you to empty the trap. To empty it you just pick it up and tilt it to slide the animal out into the trash.
Rest it by turning the power off then turning it back on again. Before turning it back on, wipe it out with a damp cloth and rebait the trigger.
Although the D-cell batteries are reasonably strong, there are some reports of animals getting away after being zapped on the battery power. Get an extension cord if you have to, but plugging it in is advisable.
Victor, based in Pennsylvania, has been a recognized name in pest control for over 100 years. This is the original snap trap with a wood base, in a pack of twelve traps.
These traps are built from environmentally friendly wood, along with a galvanized metal trip petal, spring, and hammer.
These traps are easy to use. Bait the trip petal, pull the hammer back, and set the bar. Keep your fingers clear of action of course.
The powerful spring on this trap is strong enough to kill rats quickly and humanely, but it is also strong enough to cause serious injuries to your fingers or hands if you get careless around it. Only hold it by the sides of the wooden base.
After each kill, remove the rat and wipe it off with a damp rag. Remove the old bait as well.
Wipe off the trigger and put in fresh bait. Then position the trap where the rats will be sure to run into it again.
You get 12 traps in the package so you can set them out everywhere, but without having it cost you an arm and a leg. These are very cost efficient!
Made by Rugged Ranch, from Vista, California, this trap catches up to 21 rats at a time. It doesn't use any poisons and it catches the rats alive so they can be safely transported far away from your home or office to be released into the wild.
Why kill them if you don't have to, right?
But single animal traps have to be emptied after every animal gets caught, whereas this trap can stay in place, catching multiple rats at a time. This is a huge time saver and the convenience can't be overstated.
You don't have to worry about getting your fingers caught in a snap trap and there aren't any concerns about accidentally shocking yourself with an electric trap either.
This is an elegant solution to the age-old problems of rats and what to do about them. The rugged metal construction is rust resistant and tough enough to keep the rats where they belong – trapped.
The interesting part about this trap is that the presence of trapped rats is not a discouragement to other rats that come along. All they see is other rats in a small area that smells good.
They don't realize their buddies can't get out so they push their way in and get trapped with them.
When transporting the trap you'll need to cover the trap with a cloth otherwise they'll go crazy in there.
There are a lot of rat traps on the market.
They all have their good points and bad points, but the tried and true design that has stood the test of time is also the simplest.
- Its all-metal construction gives it strength and stability.
- It won't warp or rot in wet weather conditions, so it can be used inside or outside.
- The galvanization keeps it from rusting.
- Simplicity plus durability is a winning combination in anyone's book.
A close second is the Live Animal Humane Trap because it is completely humane.
It doesn't kill the animals or even injure them at all. If that appeals to your sensibilities, this is the trap for you.
Other Rat Product Reviews and Guides
Curious about other rat related products and guides? Check out our other detailed articles to help you deal with your pest problems.