The 10 Best Rat Traps

Updated May 15, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

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We spent 36 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. 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 designed for residential use as well as some that are good for outdoor placement and commercial environments. We've also included a few catch-and-release options, in case you're humanely-inclined. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best rat trap on Amazon.

10. Aspectek Reusable

9. Bell Labs T-Rex

8. Rat Zapper Classic

7. JT Eaton Jawz 410

6. Havahart 2-Door

5. PestNoMore Zapper

4. Trapro Humane

3. Made2catch Classic

2. Adoric Life

1. Victor Easy Set

Combating A Pesky Infestation

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 minimal danger to other animals.

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 for a trap matters as well. 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 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 most every shape and type possible, electric or not.


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Last updated on May 15, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.


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