Rats. They’re unsanitary, destructive and incredibly annoying. Whether you have rats inside or outside your home, you already know how frustrating they can be. Unfortunately, rats are a common pest in the United States, infesting both urban and suburban territories throughout
There are many products and methods you can use to get rid of rats, but some of the most common and effective tend to be rat traps. But with the abundance of rat traps available, how do you know which ones are best?
Don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve done our research and have found the best rat traps for both inside and outside to help you get rid of those pesky rats once and for all.
Let’s get started.
Rat Traps vs Mouse Traps – What’s The Difference?
Rats are larger than mice, and the traps that work for them must also be larger and stronger.
Most people have mouse traps on hand whether they are the small, standard mouse traps, sticky traps, live traps or bait traps. Unfortunately, many mouse traps will not work for rats.
Rats are much larger than their smaller mouse counterparts and thus they are often much stronger. Standard mouse traps, regardless of the type, may not be enough to capture, kill or stop a common rat.
Furthermore, you may wind up simply injuring the rat with mouse traps and leaving it to die slowly elsewhere in your home, which is certainly not the humane or sanitary thing to do.
When it comes to catching rats, a larger rodent trap is the ideal way to go. Many rat traps are also suitable for other animals as well like squirrels, pesky chipmunks, voles, moles and more.
Of course, like all pest control methods, there are pros and cons that any homeowner should be aware of before choosing which rat traps are best for them.
Keep reading to learn more.
The Pros and Cons Of Using Rat Traps
Some rat traps use chemicals and poisons which can be dangerous to people, pets and even the environment.
There are several different types of rat traps and each come with their own list of pros and cons. The most common rat traps include:
- Poison Baited Rat Traps
- Catch and Release Rat Traps
- Lethal Snap Rat Traps
Poison Baited Rat Traps
Poison baited rat traps often use chemical poisons, though not all of them do. Some traps use natural methods that are toxic to rats while they are safe for humans and pets.
Still, there are pros and cons to using poison baited traps.
Pros include the effectiveness. Poison baited traps are highly effective in stopping rats in their tracks. However, sometimes the poison does not work right away and can lead to rats dying in walls, air vents, attics or crawl spaces where their odor can cause serious problems.
Furthermore, some poison baited rat traps may leave rats to die slowly and painfully. Many people object to this and feel this isn’t humane. If you are looking for a more humane way to kill rats, then we suggest going for either catch and release rat traps or lethal snap traps that kill rats quickly.
Catch and Release Rat Traps
Catch and release rat traps are ideal if you’re looking to remove the rats without harming them. We all know rats are incredibly intelligent, and it’s unfortunate they cause us such grief when they invade our property.
But even if you are a fan of rats, it’s important to keep in mind that wild rats can carry serious and harmful bacteria. They are capable of transmitting deadly diseases like rat bite fever, salmonella and hantavirus.
If you’re against killing the invading rats, we suggest removing them with catch and release traps. These traps allow you to lure and capture rats without harming them so you can remove them from your property.
However, catch and release rat traps require more maintenance than other rat traps on this list. You must bait and set them, check them a few times a day, and then release any rats you catch at least five miles away from your residence to ensure they cannot find their way back.
Furthemore, when using catch and release traps, remember you’ll likely have to continue using them over a period of time. You very rarely only have one rat on your property, and it will be important to catch them all to prevent them from reproducing.
This is one of the reasons lethal snap rat traps are the most popular and widely used.
Lethal Snap Rat Traps
Lethal snap rat traps are larger rat traps that are specifically designed to quickly kill large rodents like rats. Some of these traps do pose a risk to children and pets, although many come with tamper-proof packaging that encourage the rat to go inside before snapping down.
Depending on your lifestyle and who lives in your home, you do have the option of buying rat traps that are safer and less dangerous for children and pets.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of those we recommend.
Rat Traps That Are Safest To Use Around Kids and Pets
The best rat traps to use around children and pets will be traps that don’t use poisons or that include tamper proof packaging.
Using rat traps and especially rat traps that are equipped with baited poisons can pose some serious risks to young children and curious animals. For that reason, it’s important to do plenty of research and invest in rat traps that are not only effective but also safe.
Regardless of how safe rat traps are, we still suggest monitoring young children and pets while these traps are in use and placing these traps in areas where pets and kids will not be able to easily access them.
Tomcat Child and Dog Resistant Rat Trap
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First on our list of kid and pet safe rat traps is a trap by TomCat. This product includes one disposable trap and bait that comes in tamper-proof packaging. It can be used both inside and out and, for your convenience, the trap comes pre-loaded with a lethal bait.
Though the order only includes one station, it has the ability to kill up to 10 rats at a time, making them highly effective for larger infestations.
Still, while this trap is child and dog resistant, it’s important to keep in mind it still includes a lethal bait inside. Place these traps out of reach of children and monitor youngsters and pets when you know they will be playing in areas where these rat traps are set.
EcoClear Non-Toxic Rat Pellets for Rat Traps
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If you’re worried about your children or pets getting into even tamper-proof rat traps and bait stations, you might consider using a bait that is non-toxic just in case. The above bait by EcoClear is a rat poison that is non-toxic to children and pets. It is also safe for the environment.
These pellets kill rats quickly and humanely without making them suffer and are easy to use and apply to rat traps that hold baits.
Because these rat pellets are specifically made to kill rodents, there is a very little chance they will harm other, unintended animal targets.
Kat Sense Covered Rat Trap
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Last we have the covered rat trap by Kat Sense. This trap is designed to prevent accidental triggering and has multiple entrances to catch multiple rats at a time.
These rat traps are recommended for those with children or pets in the home as they reduce the chances of going off on little fingers or pet noses if handled.
Another benefit to these traps is that they reduce human contact with the pest. Once the rat is caught and killed, it is easy to dismantle the trap and dispose of the rat before resetting it.
The Best Catch and Release Rat Traps
Catch and release rat traps allow you to capture and release the rats without harming them.
As we mentioned above, catch and release traps are ideal for those who are looking for a humane and lethal-free way of removing the rats from their home and property. Different catch and release traps are designed to be used both inside and out while others have specifications.
Before using a catch and release trap, make sure you read the directions carefully and check the traps often upon setting them.
If you have cats or other small animals like rabbits, squirrels or chipmunks in the area you don’t wish to catch and remove, try placing these traps only in areas you have noticed heavy rat activity.
Rockbirds Catch and Release Trap
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We are big fans of this catch and release rat trap by Rockbirds. This trap is reusable, humane and harm-free. It allows you to catch multiple rats at once and includes a handle for safe transport when removing the rats from your home.
The metal is also smooth on the inside so it will not accidentally harm or scratch frightened rats who have been caught. The trap works when baited and allows rats to enter but not escape again.
These kinds of rat traps can be used both inside and out and are reusable to help you catch all the rodents invading your property.
Harris Catch and Release Rodent Cage
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One of the more common and basic live rat traps is the above catch and release trap by Harris. This trap is designed for rodents like rats, mice, chipmunks and squirrels. It is humane and safe to use, though it only catches one rodent at a time.
We do not recommend this trap if you’re dealing with multiple rats unless you plan on ordering more than one.
That said, these rat traps can be highly effective and are relatively affordable and easy to use. You can use them both inside and out and simply bait them with peanut butter to lure the rats inside.
Once you catch the rats, be sure to take them at least five miles away from your residence before releasing them.
The Best Lethal Rat Traps
Some lethal rat traps use poisons and chemicals while others use snap traps.
Using lethal rat traps are some of the most popular options you have when it comes to rat removal methods. For the most part, these traps are quick, effective and reusable.
Of course, and as we mentioned above, some of these traps can pose a danger to children, pets and even adults who are not being careful as they set them. When looking for the best rat traps for you, be sure to do plenty of research and read the reviews.
If you do have children or pets in the home, place any lethal rat traps that could potentially harm them out of reach and check them often.
Kat Sense Rat Snap Trap
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As we mentioned above, snap traps are some of the most commonly used rat traps. The above snap rat traps by Kat Sense are effective, cheap, reusable and humane, killing the rats quickly and efficiently.
They are easy to set and can be used inside and out, though they are not tamper resistant or child and pet safe. Use these traps with caution as they could also snap on other unintended targets like chipmunks or squirrels if not placed properly.
You can order these rat traps in sets of two, six and eight depending on the severity of your rat infestation.
Classic Metal Rat Traps
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Most of us are familiar with the classic snap rat traps made of wood and metal, but your dad’s old rat traps have gotten an upgrade.The above traps by Made2Catch are designed to humanely and effectively kill rats on the first snap.
Simply bait and set them, placing them in areas where you notice the most rat activity. Of course, like some of the snap rat traps on this list, the above trap is not kid or pet resistant and should be used with caution around children and pets.
UCatch Tunneled Rat Snap Trap
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One of the safest snap rat traps for those with children and pets is the above tunneled rat trap by UCatch. This trap has a child and pet safe trigger and will not set on anything but rats. Furthermore, the trap is tunneled, and the rats must go inside before the trap is triggered.
This trap is easy to set and use and is designed to be used specifically indoors. Simply set it where you have noticed the most rat activity and check it morning and night to be sure you dispose of any rats that have been caught.
Getting The Most Out Of Your Rat Traps
Bait matters, but so does placement and understanding what the rats in or around your home are attracted to.
Rats have specific habits and lifestyles, and often build nests out of reach of people and predators. It can be difficult to catch them all at once, so experts recommend you try and identify the source of your rat problem before setting traps.
To get the most out of your traps, be sure to follow the below tips.
Properly Bait the Traps
Regardless of which types of rat traps you use, all traps are going to require some form of baiting in order to successfully catch the rats in question. The good news is that rats are attracted to all kinds of human foods, so baiting them is relatively easy.
Most people find that using peanut butter, cheese slices and even meats like pepperoni or hot dog can help lure rats into a trap.
When using snap traps, be cautious and read the directions before you bait it to ensure you don’t get injured.
Also keep in mind that most baits rats are attracted to will be baits that pets are attracted to. This is something to note when baiting rat traps, especially if you are using snap traps or lethal poison traps.
Pay Attention to Placement
Rats usually have a few entry and exit points they use when coming to and from their nest. If you can, work to locate these entry and exit points and place traps where you notice the most rat activity.
Look for signs of rat droppings and listen for sounds like scratching and chewing. Placing rat traps in the proper locations where rats are most likely to find them will help increase your chances of catching and removing these problematic pests.
Timing – Do You Have A Rat Nest?
While many rats prefer to breed during the warmer months, it is also true that rats can reproduce all year-round. This is especially true if rats have nested inside your home. When setting rat traps, it’s vital to make sure you don’t have a rat nest with babies.
If you do, it will be important to locate the rat nest and remove the infants along with the adults. Otherwise, when you catch and kill the adults you will leave the babies to die in their nest. Not only is this inhumane, but it is also unsanitary and will leave you with a horrible dead rodent smell that can take weeks to dissipate.
Follow Through After You Set The Traps
Regardless of which types of rat traps you choose to use, each trap will require a bit of maintenance and follow through. Upon setting your traps, be sure to keep an eye on them.
Many people find that checking on the traps morning and night is the best plan of action and helps ensure that any rats caught are quickly removed before they begin to decompose. For catch and release traps, checking the rat traps twice a day will also allow you to remove the live rats and reset your trap for any other rats in your home or on your property.
Even once you think all the rats have been removed, it’s still a good idea to set traps around your home for a few days or even weeks. This will help confirm whether or not the rats are truly gone.
Alternatives To Rat Traps
Investing in a pet cat or even just using kitty litter can help keep rats at bay.
Not everyone prefers to use rat traps when it comes to pest control and rat removal. While rat traps are common and effective, they also come with their fair share of pros and cons, as we discussed above.
If you prefer to use alternatives to rat traps, you’re in luck. There are plenty of options available that are both safe and inexpensive.
One way to deter rats is to prevent them. If you’re an animal lover, consider investing in a furry friend. Cats are age-old enemies of rats and will not only help you get rid of current rat issues but can help prevent future ones from recurring.
If you aren’t in a position to adopt a cat, you can always borrow used kitty litter from someone you know. Using kitty litter is an effective way to repel rats simply by scent.
And speaking of scent, many people also find that essential oils are a successful option for rat removal. Oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, citrus, cedarwood and tea-tree oils can work in conjunction with rat traps and other methods to help rid your property of these rodents.
You may also invest in products like ultrasonic sound repellents and rat sprays. We have listed two of our favorite products for you to consider below.
Ultrasonic Pest Repellent
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Ultrasonic sound repellent machines are simple to use and extremely low maintenance. You just plug them in and let them be. These machines work by emitting an ultrasonic sound that is highly irritating to pests like rats and mice but completely harmless to people, children and pets.
Best of all, ultrasonic pest repellents are safe and humane. They don’t harm the pests and simply irritate them enough to cause them to leave. The ultrasonic pest repellent above not only works for rats but also for spiders, roaches, centipedes, scorpions and more.
Natural Armor Peppermint Rat Repellent
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Another option and alternative you have to using rat traps is a rat repellent spray. The above spray by Natural Armor uses essential oils like peppermint oil to repel rodents like rats and mice.
This repellent is made with natural ingredients for rat removal and is safe to use both indoors and out. It is completely fine to use around children and pets and works continuously upon being sprayed.
Tips On Preventing Future Rat Problems In Your Home
Repair any holes, cracks or crevices in and around your home.
Just because you’ve managed to remove the rats from your property does not mean you are out of the woods. Just like the common cold, rats are a recurring issue that must be consistently prevented.
To best prevent rats, make sure you keep up with routine home maintenance. Caulk and seal any potential entry and exit points around your home to ensure rats can’t easily gain access again.
Rats commonly get into homes by climbing trees and finding vulnerabilities in roofing or chimneys, so it may be a good idea to grab a ladder and check out your roof.
We also suggest doing a bit of landscaping. Keep vegetation at least three feet from your home’s siding and trim back branches that provide easy access to your roof or chimney.
Another way to prevent rats is to keep your home tidy and organized. Avoid clutter, even in attics and basements, and keep storage items in sealed plastic bins as opposed to cardboard boxes.
And remember, all rat infestations begin outside so it’s a good idea to make your yard less hospitable to rodents. Keep your lawn cut short and reduce clutter around your home’s perimeter. Trim back bushes and shrubs, and clean out garden sheds.
You might even consider inviting rat predators to your yard like birds of prey. Hawks and owls can help keep rats from coming around, as can predator decoys like false owls.
For more ideas on how to prevent rats and avoid having to use rat traps, watch this video we found on Youtube.
And there you have it – these are the best rat traps for every home and occasion, according to our experts.
Now we want to hear from you. Do you think rat traps are the best option for rat removal, or would you opt to use alternatives like kitty litter, rat sprays or ultrasonic sound machines?
Which rat removal methods have worked best for you in the past? Leave us your opinion below in the comment section.
Thanks for reading!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.