The 8 Best Rat Traps
This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in August of 2015. For those of you with rat problems, any one of these traps may provide the solution to keeping your home rodent-free. We've selected models suitable for indoor residential use as well as some that are good for outdoor placement and commercial environments. Many are designed to kill as quickly and efficiently as possible, but there are also some reliable catch-and-release options available. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 07, 2021:
Over the years, we've had the opportunity to test out just about every imaginable style of rat trap in a variety of real-life conditions, including the subtropics of Hawaii, forests of Colorado, and deserts of California. While we don't have a ton of sympathy for disease-carrying, property-damaging rodents, it is worth noting that both glue traps and electric traps are incredibly inhumane and immensely unpleasant to work with. Neither style regularly kills mice or rats, electric models pretty much just don't work, and glue pads leave pests to die slowly of dehydration, usually making quite a bit of awful noise at the same time. So, we have removed our recommendations for either variety.
Otherwise, our selections remain largely the same. The Authenzo SX-5006 uses the same concept as the traditional Victor Original and slightly stronger Tomcat Snap, but the Authenzo also has a slightly superior design that's more likely to kill immediately. If you want something a little more humane, the Kensizer Live Cage and Havahart 0745 are both traditional cages, while the CaptSure Humane is designed specifically for small to mid-size rats. Alternatively, the Odesos Roller can be used as a lethal or non-lethal option; to end the rodents' reign of terror without having to release or kill anything yourself, simply fill the bucket about 1/3 of the way with water and leave it out overnight.
February 27, 2020:
When it's time to get in touch with your inner hunter, there are plenty of ways to do so with relative ease. The Victor Original is a time-tested option that's undergone few changes in past decades, although it has a tendency to jump around when triggered due to its lightweight wooden base. I've used the Tomcat Snap alongside it and gotten slightly better results without having to worry about hurting my fingers thanks to the Tomcat's easy resetting process. The Authenzo SX-5006 can be even more effective due its stronger spring, while the Nexxen Made2Catch offers adjustable sensitivity -- it's the only one we found with this feature -- and relatively sharp teeth that will almost assuredly finish off any small rodent invaders. Generally speaking, snap traps like these work very well, and for the most part they kill rats very quickly. If you have a lot of rats, or especially large ones, there may be instances where you need to provide the final killing blow. It sounds a bit gruesome, but tossing them in a bucket of water is probably the cleanest and simplest way to do so.
We also highlighted a couple alternative (and also, ultimately deadly) choices, although some people don't find them quite as humane. The Pestrax Zapper is an electric rat trap that uses a solid 7,000 volts to send them to the afterlife, though according to reports it's not always the most consistent. Then there's the Kingman Glue Board; as long as you're okay with offing the poor little buggers yourself, it's a non-toxic and effective solution. You see, while it doesn't kill the rats, it also dooms them, because it doesn't really let you release them.
So if you want to relocate your unwanted visitors without harming them at all, you'll need a more traditional trap. The Havahart 0745 is highly popular and made with thick stainless steel sides and wire, while the Trap Top Cage is a bit lighter and also slightly bigger. The only drawback to these is that if your infestation tends to stick to small spaces like cabinets and ceilings, they'll be tough to fit in the right spot. In that case, use the CaptSure Humane, which, unlike others like it, has plenty of holes to keep the furry fiends from suffocating.
And if you want something that can capture multiple rats in one night without having to be reset, the somewhat unconventional Pawmate Roller is worth a look. You'll have to provide your own bucket and, ideally, some ramps for the rodents to walk up, but if you've got a whole family of rats to get rid of and you don't want to hurt them, it's a worthwhile choice. You may very well end up with an entire bucket full of rats waiting for you in the garage when you wake up, which can be a bit harrowing, but is also well worth it.
Combating A Pesky Infestation
The snap trap is probably the most familiar, simple, and traditional type available.
Rodent infestations can be a real nuisance to any business or homeowner. Rats and mice have a way of multiplying when you least expect them, so the best way to combat the problem is to invest in a reliable trapping mechanism that is capable of taking care of these pests as quickly and as humanely as possible. However, it's important to realize that these rodents are intelligent creatures that are both aware and suspicious of their surroundings.
In that sense, they won't necessarily approach an unfamiliar object or trap, especially if they see that another rat has already been captured. Some people also keep mice and rats as pets (in cages), so one must take this into account when setting any type of trap around the house. Doing so will keep a pet rat safe from harm while only baiting and trapping the animals that shouldn't be in the area.
There are several different types of rat traps available on the market, the most effective being the electronic variety. An electronic trap detects a rat's presence using its metal floor plates and delivers a high-voltage electric shock to the animal with the help of batteries. When a rat enters the trap (to find a non-lethal bait attractant) and steps on the plates, the rat completes the trap's electric circuit, triggering an electric shock to the pest. The shock typically lasts anywhere from one to two minutes to prevent the animal's heart from restarting. Some electronic traps offer remote operation designed to alert you when a kill has been made using a red or green light. When the rat has been eliminated, disposal is accomplished without having to touch or see the animal by sliding it into the trash.
Other types of rat traps include the snap trap, live trap, and adhesive trap. The snap trap is probably the most familiar, simple, and traditional type available. It operates using a combination of a spring mechanism and heavy metal bar designed to snap the rodent's neck when it comes into contact with bait. The snap trap is more dangerous to set than other types and is not always completely effective, nor is it considered the most humane way to solve the problem of an infestation. However, it is one of the cheapest options available.
A live trap catches the animal without actually killing it. Live traps usually take the form of metal cages that are also designed to leverage bait attractants. When the animal takes the bait, the bait mechanism triggers the cage's entry point to close, trapping the rat for safe transport away from the property. Glue traps are a bit safer to use than snap traps and they make use of non-poisonous, sticky glue spread over panels of cardboard to keep the animal from escaping. It is important to check glue traps often when humane disposal is a priority. This prevents the rat from starving to death on the trap and the animal can be taken to another location for safe release without having to kill it.
Keeping It Effective And Simple
The most effective rat trap really depends on the severity of the infestation and the type of solution one chooses to go with. If you have other pets around (e.g. dogs and cats), snap or glue traps aren't recommended, as they are both dangerous and annoying. If you absolutely have to set rat traps like these around pets, always use non-poisonous baits. Doing so will keep pests contained while posing a minimal danger to other animals.
Knowing how to properly set the trap can prevent injury to yourself and to your family.
Dogs and cats are usually too large to enter an electronic trap or to be injured by a small containment cage. That being said, keep an eye on your pup or kitty anyway. By contrast, if you're a business owner with a large infestation and the need to set traps outdoors around your property, then snap, live, or glue traps can work to your advantage to rid your property of pests quickly and cheaply. Research on the desired product is also important so that you become an informed consumer. Knowing how to properly set the trap can prevent injury to yourself and to your family.
The specific location of setting a trap is also important. Rats prefer dark areas where food is present. That said, kitchen corners and cupboards can be good places to set them. Finally, one must consider the type of bait they choose to use. Peanut butter and cream cheese baits are some of the safest types to use around pets, as they are non-poisonous and sticky, which will make it tough for a rat to escape.
A Brief History Of The Rat Trap
The very first patented (and lethal) trap took the form of a set of spring-loaded, cast-iron jaws called the Royal No. 1, which was patented by James M. Keep of New York in 1879. The classic spring-loaded snap trap, with which people are most familiar, was first patented in 1894 by William C. Hooker of Abingdon, Illinois. A British inventor named James Henry Atkinson patented a very similar device in 1898, which he dubbed the Little Nipper.
Atkinson's device was made with a weight-activated treadle as the tripping mechanism for a rodent's successful capture. It was capable of slamming shut in 1/38,000th of a second, a record that has never been beaten by any other snap trap. Atkinson sold his mousetrap patent in 1913 for one thousand pounds to Procter, a company that has been manufacturing the device ever since.
Up until 1996, more than 4,400 trap patents were issued, more than ninety-five percent of these being awarded to amateur inventors, which truly makes the trap a consumer's invention in almost every shape and type possible, electric or not.