The 8 Best Mouse Traps
This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in August of 2015. If you have a rodent problem in your home or workplace, one of these mouse traps will take care of the critters in a snap — literally, in many cases. For those of you with gentle souls, we’ve also included humane catch-and-release options that will leave mice uninjured. Just make sure to be careful as you set them and remember where you place them, so you don't accidentally injure any digits. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 28, 2021:
This round of updates saw the removal of the Vensmile Live Catch and Snap-E 6-Pack because they're identical to and slightly more expensive than the CaptSure Original and #1 choice Authenzo SX-5006, respectively. We also want to point out that the Tomcat 062610, while highly effective, do not kill or really even injure rodents that much, and as such leaves them there to be dealt with when the trap is found. This is especially important to keep in mind because actually killing a mouse isn't everyone's cup of tea. We also want to warn against wasting any of your time with electric traps. They're wildly inhumane, remarkably ineffective, and especially difficult to clean.
Also bear in mind that larger rats may need a more specialized rat trap for peak effectiveness.
February 12, 2020:
Multiple reports suggested that the Bell Labs Protecta Sidekick is incredibly difficult to open, making it highly frustrating to use. We removed this item. We also eliminated the Aspectek Glue because of ineffectiveness and the Harris Humane Catch & Release since it tends to suffocate mice (which is inhumane and defeats the purpose). We dropped the Hux Eye Easy Set from the rankings as well as it was no longer available.
We added a new humane trap to the list in the CaptSure Original. It’s made with plenty of airholes to keep rodents alive once caught, and we noted that it’s available in a large size for those targeting bigger creatures, like rats or shrews.
The Authenzo SX-5006 seems to be the most comprehensive solution — it’s very durable, has a high success rate, and poses minimal risk to your fingers during the setup process. You can easily dispose of the mice without touching them as well.
Green Bottle Catch A Mouse Before you throw those empty plastic bottles in the recycling bin, consider saving them for use with this innovative trap instead. To prepare the Catch A Mouse for action, you screw the cheese-shaped trap to the opening of the bottle (which contains some sort of bait), then wait for a mouse to enter. Once inside, it’s not getting out until you release it. greenbottleusa.com
Cruelty Free Trap You can eschew the violence inherent in traditional traps with this humane option, which uses gravity to catch hungry mice. Simply place the end of the tunnel against a wall with a small amount of food inside, and when the critter ventures in for a snack, the trap will tilt, causing the door to close. crueltyfreeshop.com
Become The Mousemaster
Little did I know that where there are one or two mice, there are likely dozens.
I lived in a frat house in Meadville, PA for a few years in college, and in addition to significantly bolstering my immune system by exposure to incredible amounts of germs, I became something of an expert on mouse traps. At first, it was a cute visitation from one or two mice who would sweetly scurry across my carpet. Little did I know that where there are one or two mice, there are likely dozens.
We tried a few different traps throughout the weeks leading up to our most successful capture period, which we turned into a contest. The vermin didn't know what hit them as we began our official 2007 Mousemaster Capture Competition. The rules were simple: You could only place traps in your own bedroom, and you had to have another member of the competition verify the capture and removal of each mouse.
At the end of the one-week competition, I came in second with 15 mice. First place went to a guy with 17, and third and fourth place tied with 12 mice each. That's 56 mice caught in a week in one large house. If you've seen even one mouse anywhere in your home, you need to set some traps. What kind of trap you utilize will depend a lot on you and the rodents in question, as there are essentially three categories of trap for you to consider.
First, you have your glue traps. These give off pheromones or certain food scents, and many mice will run across them without thinking twice about it. The glue ensnares their weak little legs and sticks them there to starve. Second, there are your snap traps, a category that includes the classic, spring-loaded wood and metal mouse traps as well as the modern plastic type. These snap closed with tremendous force when a mouse, lured by a piece of food placed within the trap, triggers a pressure sensor and its mechanical release.
The last type of trap on our list is more humane by design, and this is the non-kill version. A piece of food lures your mouse into a small enclosure, the door to which closes automatically behind him by the same mechanism that would cause a snap trap to crush him. Then, you're free to set him loose into his original habitat.
For our Mousemaster competition, we used snap traps across the board. We wanted the mice dead, and the glue traps seemed unnecessarily torturous. Using the same type of trap for each competitor also kept the contest at a more even keel, which is why the numbers ended up so close in the end.
Whatever your proclivities for mouse capture, there's something on this list for you to use. It's important to ask yourself exactly what level of carnage you can endure, however, as each category presents you with different kinds of cruelty or difficulty.
You're giving them a better chance than they'd have being crushed by a snap trap, but not by much.
The reason we thought the glue traps were too cruel was their slowness. A mouse would most likely get his feet caught first, which would mean a slow and brutal starvation death, at best. At worst, he would try to gnaw the areas of the glue trap around his stuck feet, tearing out whiskers on the glue and eventually getting his head stuck in a position that would only be appropriate in a horror film about a haunted Twister board. Then, he would starve to death.
Catch-and-release traps are fine if you're willing to drive a few miles away from your home to release the mice into a new habitat. Otherwise, it might just find its way back into your house. You'll recall that these animals are particularly adept at mazes. We need to be clear about this, however; if you release a mouse into a foreign habitat, the chances of it succumbing to predators or to lack of adequate water, food, or shelter are quite high. You're giving them a better chance than they'd have being crushed by a snap trap, but not by much.
Snap traps are probably the most humane method in the end, as they almost always ensure a clean, fast demise with little to no pain. The problem with these is that they aren't always as effective among the cheaper brands. The best of them, however, like the ones we used in our competition, are always reliable. They might snag a mouse by the tail or a leg now and then, which would necessitate your intervention, but this would be a rare occurrence. In my case, the competition took place in the dead of winter, so I simply dropped live but broken mice in the snow, letting cold numb the pain and take them off to the big sleep.
Improving On Perfection
Mousetraps are about as old as mice. You could classify any tool used to aid a human in the capture of a mouse as a mouse trap, though in its most recognizable form, the device reaches back to James Henry Atkinson's Little Nipper, patented in in 1897. According to the patent, this trap snapped shut in just 38/1000ths of a second, which ought to have closed the door on any and all further advancements.
The thing about a good idea, though, especially one that sells, is that most people think they can do it better. That's why, since the US patent office began issuing patents in 1838, there have been over 4,000 patents awarded for different classes of mousetrap.
No matter what style you look at, though, the basics are all in place. Lure the mouse with the promise of food and have it trip some kind of device, whether latched, spring-loaded, sticky, electrifying, or explosive in nature, and your mouse problem will be solved.