It would be difficult to pick out the worst pest in the world but ticks would have to be either at or near the top on any list. They’re nasty, blood-sucking parasites that have the added bonus of carrying infectious diseases.
Some of those diseases are quite serious, such as Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Borrelia miyamotoi disease, and Powassan encephalitis which can potentially be fatal.
Beyond that, there’s the “ick” factor. Ticks are just plain creepy. Who wants to discover their dog is carrying around a tick or ticks sucking on Fido’s blood? Or worse, who wants to find a tick on themselves?
We’re going to cover the best tools for removing ticks and at the end, we’ll tell you which one is the best tick removal tool for dogs and which one is the best tick removal tool for humans.
In this Pest Strategies product review you can expect to learn:
- What are tick removal tools?
- Do they work?
- Which tick removal tools are best?
- And our overall #1 pick for both pets and humans
If you're short on time, you can click here to jump right to our top pick for tick removal tools.
Tick Twister Tick Remover Set
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TickCheck Premium Tick Remover Kit
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The Original Ticked Off Tick Remover
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The Original Tick Key for Tick Removal
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TickEase Tick Remover Dual Tipped Tweezers
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Tick Tornado ZenPet Tick Remover
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Majestic Bombay Sharp Needle Nose Surgical Tweezers
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Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
(updated as of 02/28/2020)
Pet owners will like the simplicity and ease of use of this tick removal tool. It pulls the ticks out without taking any pet hair with them. Slide the notch around the tick, give it a gentle twist then pull straight up.
There are two sizes per package for removing small ticks and large ticks. It pulls the ticks without leaving the mouthparts in the skin or rupturing the body of the tick. That reduces the risk of infection.
Top 8 Best Tick Removal Tools
What Are Tick Removal Tools?
Tick removal tools are mechanical devices for physically removing ticks from your skin or that of your pet(s). Just as you need a screwdriver for screws and a hammer for nails, so you need the right tool for pulling out ticks.
The old saying, “dug in like a tick” refers to the fact that ticks anchor themselves to their host so they can feed without being interrupted. They burrow their mouthparts into the skin, feed until they’re engorged, then drop off to begin molting or laying eggs.
A tick removal tool helps you remove the tick without breaking off their mouthparts and leaving them embedded in the skin where they can cause infections. The best tick removal tool will remove ticks without bursting them and getting their fluids all over you.
What Do I Need to Know About Ticks?
The normal life span for ticks is about two years. They are arachnids, related to spiders, mites, and scorpions. After feeding on blood, the female will lay eggs in the spring. The eggs hatch in the summer. The larvae hide in grass and rotting wood until they find a small animal to feed on.
Once they’re fed, they drop off and burrow into the leafy organic matter in the soil and spend the winter. The next spring they molt into nymphs and feed on medium-sized animals. Finally, they molt into adults later in the fall and begin feeding on larger mammals, including people.
After feeding, they mate and the next spring the female lays eggs, starting the whole cycle all over again. A tick larva is about the size of the period at the end of a sentence, while an adult can range from the size of a sesame seed to the size of a peanut.
Most ticks are facultative parasites, which means they can feed on any host species.
How Do Tick Removal Tools Work?
There are five popular methods for removing ticks. According to a government study, four of them don’t work and one does. The four methods that don’t work are:
- Suffocating them with petroleum jelly
- Suffocating them with fingernail polish
- Dousing them with isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
- Burning them with a kitchen match
The abstract of the study said the ticks treated by these methods stayed attached to the host for 12-15 hours or up to 3-4 days. The longer they remain attached, the greater the chance for infection from one of the diseases they carry, so these methods failed.
The CDC has published a list of tickborne diseases in the United States, along with a table for identification. It’s a lengthy list so any method of tick removal that fails should be avoided, no matter how popular it might be.
The Only Method That Works
Immediate, physical removal of a tick is the only method that works. Due to their small size, removing them with your fingers is often unrealistic. It can also be hazardous if the tick ruptures and squirts infected bodily fluids on you.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you need a physical tool, a pair of tweezers or a specially designed tick removal tool. The tools are designed to extract the tick’s mouth and head from beneath the skin (you read that correctly) without breaking them off. In other words, it removes them alive.
Once you’ve removed them, you should drown them. Don’t just drop them in a glass of water though. Surface tension may keep them top of the water until they can get out of it. Always push them down below the surface of the water to ensure they drown.
Check out the video below for a detailed look at how to safely remove a tick.
How Do You Find The Best Tick Removal Tool?
You come to Pest Strategies for answers. We have licensed pest control experts on staff who worked out in the field for 15, 20, or 25 years before coming here. They know how to get rid of bugs, what works and what doesn’t.
We take those years of experience and put them to work for you, recommending the best tools for the job.
Are Tick Removal Tools Effective?
Yes. Even when the ticks are securely dug in, extracting them with these tools can take as little as 15-20 seconds. It might sting a little, but it’s momentary and the site will begin healing once the tick is removed.
Removing them with your fingers often results in the mouthparts or head popping off and staying embedded in the skin. It kills the tick but you’re still left with a potential infection site until the rest of the tick is removed. Do it right the first time with one of these tools.
How To Use A Tick Removal Tool
An engorged tick, full of blood, needs to be pulled from as close to the host’s skin as possible. The best tick removal tool will have a V-shaped notch with thin edges. You placed the wide end of the notch around the tick and slid the tool forward until the tick is caught in the smallest part of the notch.
Then you gently but firmly pull up until the tick is extracted from the skin. Since the pressure is coming from beneath the tick, there’s no danger of popping them and squirting their fluids all over the place.
Are Tick Removal Tools Safe Around My Pets And Children?
Yes, as long as you remember that many of them have pointy tips. Don’t jab or poke at the ticks. Use the tool according to the instructions that come with it and your children and pets will be fine.
Best Tick Removal Tools Reviewed
This is the most popular tick removal tool on the market because it is simple and easy to use. It pulls the ticks out without pulling hair along with them. Slide the notch around the tick, give it a gentle twist or two to loosen it, then pull straight up.
There are two sizes in each package so you can remove small ticks as well as large ones. It extracts the ticks without leaving the mouthparts in the skin or rupturing the body of the tick, which in turn reduces the risk of infection.
This stainless steel tick remover and tweezers set works for people and pets alike. The tweezers should be used for removing small nymphs and deer ticks while the “fork” tick removal devices should be used for larger ticks. The kit includes a leather carrying pouch.
It safely removes ticks such as deer ticks and dog ticks that carry rocky mountain spotted fever and other diseases. TickCheck is based in Pennsylvania, in the United States, so you know the quality will be excellent.
There is an included tick identification chart so you know what kind of ticks you’re dealing with.
This tick removal tool is shaped like a measuring spoon with a v-shaped notch in the bowl-shaped end. Slide the bowl along your dog’s skin until the tick’s body is caught in the notch then roll it back on the bowl of the tool and it will remove ticks in one smooth motion.
This tool is six inches long and comes three to a package in orange, white, and red. The bowl on the end catches the live ticks when you pull them out and the smooth, rotating action ensures the head of the tick doesn’t get left in the skin.
These key-like removal tools come three to a package. They’re made from high-strength anodized aluminum and come in brilliant metallic colors. They don’t look like a tick removal tool so you can keep one with you without embarrassment.
The top side is clearly labeled so you know which side should be facing up when you remove a tick. The tear-shaped slot on each one tapers to a point. Slip the large part of the tear over the tick, slide it down to the point then lift up.
Originally made for pets, the slot tends to catch pet hair in it but it’s perfect for human skin, making it the best tick removal tool for humans.
This stainless steel, dual-tipped tick removal tool meets the CDC recommendations for tick removal with tweezers then goes beyond that with a slotted fork on the other end to pull the tick away from the bite area without squeezing it.
Where other kits include two different tools, TickEase combines them into one. The stainless steel construction ensures it will be durable and lasting. Each tip is bent in the opposite direction from the other for safety and ease of use.
Some customers have complained that the end of the tweezers didn’t always close or align properly.
The Tick Tornado comes with two sizes in the package, one size for nymphs and small ticks, the other for larger ticks. Both are bright green with a keyring hole on the end keeping it on a keyring or lanyard.
Using it requires a gentle twist and pull. The CDC recommends not twisting when extracting ticks but we’ve never had a problem doing it that way. Using this tick removal tool gets the entire tick without leaving any mouthparts behind.
It’s made of plastic. It was designed in the United States but not manufactured here. The raised circular ridges on the handle make it easy to grasp so it doesn’t slip when you’re using it.
This tick removal tool used tempered steel in its construction. It’s small and nearly flat so it can be carried in a man’s wallet. It includes a tick identification card, a 5x magnifier, and a pull-chain loop.
The business end doesn’t have any sharp edges so there isn’t any danger of poking or cutting yourself or your cat, dog, or horse. It’s incredibly flat so you can get the slot under the ticks to pull them out. It’s made in the United States.
The CDC only recommends using tweezers to remove ticks so we’re including these surgical tweezers in our list. The stainless steel tweezers have a green, non-slip cover on them and the tips come to an ultra-fine point.
The points meet perfectly and can slide under and around ticks to pull them out. The fine point on them is sharp enough to be dangerous so be careful with them.
Our Top Pick for Pets: Tick Twister Remover Set
This is our recommendation for the best tick removal tool for dogs. It’s simple and easy to use. It includes two sizes so you can get as many different ticks as possible.
It was designed by a French veterinarian and made from injected polymer plastic for years of reliable use. It’s also easy to clean when you’re done.
- Made from injected polymer plastic
- Durable and recyclable
- Removes the whole tick
Our Top Pick for Humans: The Original Tick Key for Tick Removal
This is our recommendation for the best tick removal tool for humans Made from high-strength anodized aluminum, in brilliant metallic colors, this tool doesn’t look like a tick removal tool.
The tear-shaped slot tapers to a point. Slip the large part of the tear over the tick, slide it down to the point then lift up. It’s perfect for use on human skin.
- Resembles a key holder
- Bright metallic colors
- Made of high-strength anodized aluminum
Final Thoughts On Tick Removal Tool
There’s no reason not to have a tick removal tool close at hand, and all these are small enough to take them with you. Slip one in your pocket and say good-bye to ticks.
Other Tick Guides
Curious about other tick-related products? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.