Get Rid of Pesky Rodents with the Best Rat Traps (2023)

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Effective solutions to send rats packing

Get Rid of Pesky Rodents with the Best Rat Traps (1)By

Amanda Rose Newton

Get Rid of Pesky Rodents with the Best Rat Traps (2)

Amanda Rose Newton

Amanda Rose Newton is a pest specialist, reviewing pest control content for The Spruce's Cleaning Review Board. She is a board-certified entomologist and volunteers for USAIDs Farmer to Farmer program. Currently, she is a professor of Horticulture, an Education Specialist, and pest specialist.

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Updated on 06/08/23

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Get Rid of Pesky Rodents with the Best Rat Traps (3)

Rats can be more than just an occasional nuisance, causing plenty of damage inside and around your home. While this is never a fun problem to tackle (and often requires a professional to help) a rat trap can help you take care of a small issue, or let you know if you have a new problem to deal with.

To help solve the problem, we researched dozens of rat traps and evaluated them on effectiveness, ease of use, and capacity. Here are the best options to get these pesky rodents out of your house.

Our Top Picks

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In This Article

  • Our Picks

  • What to Look For

  • FAQ

  • Why Trust The Spruce

Best Overall

Rat Zapper Classic Indoor Electronic Mouse and Rat Trap


Get Rid of Pesky Rodents with the Best Rat Traps (4)

What We Like

  • Only requires AA batteries

  • Light indicates if a rat is inside

  • Contents are hidden from sight

  • Large size

What We Don't Like

  • More expensive than snap traps

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  • Needs cleaning between use

The Rat Zapper Classic Indoor Electronic Mouse and Rat Trap is an effective solution if you have a rat or another rodent causing havoc inside your home. The purple, tunnel-shaped trap is completely opaque so the contents are hidden from sight. Plus the LED light flashes red when a rat is inside, letting you know it's time to empty the trap without having to look. While it is just intended for one rodent, the trap is very easy to empty, as you just need to tip it over to dispose of the contents.

Although they are not included, four AA batteries should supply enough power to last for 20 encounters, according to the manufacturer, which is great if you have mice issues as well. Like many traps on this list, you will need to add your own bait. Also, this trap is big enough for larger rodents as well, but keep in mind that it is not intended for outdoor use. While it is more expensive than other options, we think it's still deserving as our Best overall pick, especially if you'd rather not see the inside of the trap, and want a reusable option that's easy to empty

Price at time of publish:$57

Type: Lethal electronic︱Dimensions: 12 x 4.3 x 4.5 inches︱Target Species: Rats, mice︱Capacity: 1 rat | Indoors or Outdoors: Indoors

Best Budget

Victor Rat Traps

Get Rid of Pesky Rodents with the Best Rat Traps (5)

What We Like

  • Inexpensive

  • Simple to use

  • Effective

What We Don't Like

  • Can pinch fingers when setting

Victor has been making the classic wood-and-metal snap trap for over 100 years! Inexpensive and straightforward, this is the classic choice for those looking to save money and who are familiar with using the design: You set the bait, set the trap, and wait for the result.

However, the trap can be difficult to set and is easy to trigger, meaning you can accidentally end up pinching your fingers. And, of course, disposal requires direct contact. But if budget is your prime consideration, we recommend this one.

Price at time of publish:$21

Type: Snap︱Dimensions: 2 x 3 x 1 inches | Target Species: Rats, mice︱Capacity: 1 rat | Indoors or Outdoors: Both

Best Glue

Catchmaster Baited Rat, Mouse and Snake Glue Traps

Get Rid of Pesky Rodents with the Best Rat Traps (6)

What We Like

  • Inexpensive

  • Includes multiple trays

  • Has floor anchors

  • Easy to use

What We Don't Like

  • Not reusable

Many people seek out glue traps because of their inexpensive price points and because they do not use rodenticides: They just trap the rat for later disposal. This is why glue-based traps remain a standard in pest control: They perform exactly as advertised.

This trap includes anchors to help keep it in place. Each pack in this product contains six traps that are effective for up to one year, offering the ability to use them as long-term monitoring tools.

Price at time of publish:$15

Type: Glue, nonlethal ︱Dimensions: 10 x 5 inches︱Target Species: Rats︱Capacity: 1 rat | Indoors or Outdoors: Indoors only

Best Snap Trap

Tomcat Rat Snap Trap

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Get Rid of Pesky Rodents with the Best Rat Traps (7)

What We Like

  • Reusable

  • Easy to use and place

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like

  • Results aren't concealed

Tomcat is one of the oldest manufacturers in the rodent control market. Their Indoor/Outdoor Rat Snap Traps are ideal when you likely have many rats to contend with and need to set traps indoors and out. Using plastic instead of classic metal allows for more design choices. In this case, that resembles clamping alligator jaws, which are intended to keep rats in place with less chance of escape.

The updated setting-up-bait process avoids putting delicate fingers in harm's way. (You can arm it with your foot if you choose.) Plastic, which doesn't rust, also extends the shelf life. However, just as in the metal-and-wood variation, sometimes the jaws don't deliver a lethal blow, and the results aren't concealed.

Price at time of publish:$10

Type: Snap︱Dimensions: 3 x 8.6 x 5 inches︱Target Species: Rats︱Capacity: 1 rat | Indoors or Outdoors: Both

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Best Multi-Rat Trap

RUGGED RANCH RATTR The Ratinator Multiple Catch Live Rat Trap

Get Rid of Pesky Rodents with the Best Rat Traps (8)

What We Like

  • Reusable

  • Pet and child tamper-resistant

  • Easy setup

  • Trapped multiple rats

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive

  • Large footprint

If you are positive you have a rat infestation, a multi-trap is likely your best bet. A spring floor causes the door to close behind trapped rats. The Ratinator is tamper-resistant, making it ideal for households with pets and children.

Made of plastic, the trap weighs less than many other live traps (9 pounds), making it easier to transport over large distances and set up. While not as sturdy or cost-effective as metal traps, it is a great option for those trying to trap more than one rodent, so they can have a new home elsewhere.

Price at time of publish:$92

Type: Nonlethal trap-and-release︱Dimensions: 16.5 x 26.5 x 6 inches︱Target Species: Rats︱Capacity: 21 rats︱Indoors or Outdoors: Both

Best Repellent

Rodent Sheriff Ultra-Pure Peppermint Spray

Get Rid of Pesky Rodents with the Best Rat Traps (9)

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What We Like

  • No traps

  • Also repels ants and raccoons

  • Eco-friendly

What We Don't Like

  • Hard to check performance

Eco-friendly, you can apply this repellent in a variety of places, from garages to attics. Rodents, like many other pests, tend to find strong-smelling plant oils displeasing, making it possible they will avoid your home.

While this is not the ideal solution in a situation that calls for extermination, a repellent might be an option alongside a trapping program to offer an extra layer of support.

Price at time of publish:$28

Type: Spray repellent︱Dimensions: Not applicable︱Target Species: Rats︱Capacity: Multiple rats︱Indoors or Outdoors: Outdoors

Final Verdict

Our Best Overall pick is the Rat Zapper Classic Indoor Electronic Mouse and Rat Trap because it is reusable, conceals the contents, and alerts you when it's time to empty the trap. If you want a more affordable option, our Best Budget pick, Victor Rat Traps traps the rat and can be thrown away when used.

What to Look for in a Rat Trap


The design of the rat trap directly influences its effectiveness, and so does whether you prefer a lethal or nonlethal option. It's also important to choose one that suits your space, the number of rats needing containment, and the cost. Glue or snap traps, like the Victor Rat Traps might be best for saving money, whereas a bait station might serve someone with multiple rats to remove.

Indoor vs. Outdoor

Your choices may be limited by where you intend to use your trap. When using a trap indoors, look for products that are said to be safe for pets and people and are tamper-proof. Glue and wood traps don't often fare well when exposed to the elements and lose effectiveness as a result. Most live traps, especially those made of metal, are designed exclusively for outdoor use. However, our Best Multi-Rat Trap option, the Rugged Ranch Ratinator Multiple Catch Live Rat Trap, is made of plastic and is designed to be used outdoors to trap rats and relocate them to another area.


Most traps, including snap and glue types, are set up to capture single rats. You may have to purchase more than one if you seek to control multiple rats. Some traps, especially those featuring bait stations, are designed to handle and trap several rats at once.


  • How do rat traps work?

    Rat traps work differently depending on their type. Traditional “snap” traps employ a metal or plastic switch that trips a clamp-down bar when noticeable pressure is applied. Humane traps also may feature pressure-activated plates, but instead of metal bars, they trigger the doors to close behind the animals. Glue traps are the simplest designs, catching rats walking across the sticky surfaces.

  • Where should you place a rat trap?

    Follow manufacturer directions for location. Keep in mind how visible you want the trap to be. For indoor placement, along floorboards, inside cabinets, or in pantries are ideal locations. Outdoor traps are best suited to stables, barns, or alongside fences or structures.

  • What kind of bait do you use in a rat trap?

    No matter how effective the trap, it doesn't lure a rat without the right bait. Like humans, rats prefer sweet, fatty, salty, non-natural foods. While different types of rats have different preferences, you can hedge your bets by choosing a bait that hits multiple taste profiles like:

    • Peanut butter
    • Bacon
    • Cheese
    • Dried fruit
    • Hot dogs
    • Any combination of the above

Why Trust The Spruce?

This round-up was written by Amanda Rose Newton, a certified entomologist specializing in urban and industrial pest management. To make this list, Newton researched dozens of options, evaluating them on effectiveness, ease of use, and capacity.

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Get Rid of Pesky Rodents with the Best Rat Traps? ›

Fruit and berries — Out of all the foods rodents consume, their top two loves are generally fruits and berries. In the wild, rats and mice consume these foods at every opportunity. Therefore, raspberry and blackberry bushes — as well as apple and pear trees — can serve as magnets for the animals.

What food is irresistible to rats? ›

Fruit and berries — Out of all the foods rodents consume, their top two loves are generally fruits and berries. In the wild, rats and mice consume these foods at every opportunity. Therefore, raspberry and blackberry bushes — as well as apple and pear trees — can serve as magnets for the animals.

What is the most effective rat trap? ›

  • BEST OVERALL: Tomcat Rat Snap Trap.
  • BEST HUMANE: Gingbau Humane Rat Trap.
  • BEST ELECTRONIC: Rat Zapper RZC001-4 Classic Rat Trap.
  • BEST GLUE: Catchmaster Heavy Duty Rat Trap Glue Trays.
  • BEST NONTOXIC BAIT: EcoClear Products 620102, RatX All-Natural.
Mar 2, 2022

When rats avoid traps? ›

Rats are neophobic, meaning they are afraid of anything new and unfamiliar in their environment and this includes traps. If it's been a few weeks and you're aren't having any luck with your trap, you might need to give it more time. Rats may avoid traps for some time until they feel familiar enough with them.

What do professionals use to get rid of rats? ›

Professionals get rid of rats using one of a few methods: traps, baits, pesticides or fumigation. Each method has pros and cons, and some pest control companies may recommend combining techniques to rid your home of rodents completely.

What is strong bait for rats? ›

Nut butter's is a very effective bait because the strong nutty smell is enough to attract rodents. Other baits like chocolate, seeds and nuts, marshmallows and gumdrops, deli meat, pet food, fruit jam, and soft cheese are also effective in luring mice out of their rat nest.

What attracts rats fast? ›

They are fond of walnuts, almonds, and peanut butter. All fallen fruit and nuts should be regularly removed and discarded in the trash.  Rodents also feed on bird seed, snails, garden vegetables and dog droppings. Store pet food in metal containers with tight fitting lids.

How can I make my rat trap more effective? ›

To increase your odds of catching the critters, place traps inside closets, as well as under any furniture — like sofas, chairs, or even cabinets — sitting along the walls. A clever way to lure rats into traps is to cut a hole on each side of a shoebox and place it along a suspected rat path with a baited trap inside.

Are rats smart enough to avoid traps? ›

Unlike mice, they're fairly intelligent and can often outsmart traps set for them, said American Pest Control's Rick Arendt. “If they see something unusual in their environment, they shy away from it,” Arendt said. “So a lot of times, for a snap trap, we do what's called 'pre-baiting.

How do I get rid of rats forever? ›

How to Get Rid of Rats Permanently
  1. Check for Signs of Entry. First we recommend that you check for signs of entry. ...
  2. Seal and Secure all Entry Points. ...
  3. Eliminate all Food Sources. ...
  4. Remove Rat-Friendly Environments. ...
  5. Bait with Rodenticides. ...
  6. Install Multiple Traps.
Mar 11, 2022

How do I get rid of rats indefinitely? ›

But if you want to get rid of rats in your house, or your attic, ceiling, walls, or any other part of a building, you have to find their entry holes and install a steel repair that will block them outside permanently. This is not an easy process, but it is the only effective way to solve a rodent problem permanently.

Is it better to trap or poison rats? ›

If the infestation is already large, rodenticides are by far the best option. For that reason, if you have a large infestation and don't have the certificate required then it is best to work with a qualified pest control company as soon as possible.

What does baking soda do to rats? ›

Baking soda combines with the stomach acids to produce carbon dioxide gas which rats are unable to tolerate. In turn, it builds up within their system and eventually causes internal blockage and rupture. Soon enough, you will have the rat-free environment you always deserved.

Why is my rat poison not working? ›

You need a fresh set because you have a higher probability that it might have expired. It's also possible that various factors, such as the storage conditions, might have reduced its effectiveness. Using expired rodenticide in such cases will help the rodent develop resistance to that particular toxin.

What is the best homemade rat poison? ›

All you need to do is mix 2 – 2 and a half cups of ammonia, 100 – 200 mL of water and a 2-3 spoonful of detergent in a bowl. Then, put it to places where rats are usually seen. The smell of ammonia is very pungent that it instantly kills rats. 4.

What scares rats the most? ›

Rats cannot tolerate smells such as ammonia, mothballs, peppermint oil, crushed cayenne pepper, and pepper spray due to their intensified sense of smell. Clean and uncluttered homes and yards scare rats due to the lack of food and places to hide, as well.

Where do rats go during the day? ›

If they aren't coming around during the day, where are they hiding? Rats prefer to hide in places that are tucked out of the way and that aren't often disturbed. Outdoors they will hide under piles of debris, under trash piles, in dumpsters and trash cans, in trees, and in sewers.

Why is peanut butter not working in my rat trap? ›

When you put the mouse bait—whether that's peanut butter or cheese—on top of the trigger pedal, a mouse may be able to grab the food and scurry away. That's because the trap isn't activated as quickly when you place the bait there. Instead, try putting your bait underneath the pedal.

How many rat traps should I set? ›

Do place multiple traps. Set single traps in more than one location to increase the chances of a rat encounter. Don't place traps where children or pets may come in contact with them.

Why do rats suddenly appear? ›

Odors and smells that come from pet waste, pet food, garbage containers, barbecue grills, birdfeeders, and even from unharvested fruit and nuts from plants can attract rats and mice. Good sanitation habits can effectively improve the prevention of attracting rodents in your yard.

Where is the best place to put a rat trap? ›

Put the baited end of the trap next to the wall so it forms a “T” with the wall. Rodents prefer to run next to walls or other objects for safety and do not like being out in the open. Place traps in areas where you have seen mice or rats, nesting materials, urine and droppings, nibbled food, or gnaw marks.

What are the disadvantages of rat traps? ›

Rats and mice are tempted by lures placed within the trap. Once they're in, the trap will spring and the rodents will be unable to escape. The main disadvantage comes from the fact that rodents can needlessly suffer if you don't check on the traps once or twice a day.

How long does it take to get rid of rats with traps? ›

It generally takes roughly 3 days to one week to get rid of rats with rat poison. Mechanical traps can sometimes take a few days to trap rats because the rodents may be wary of the trap. A pest control professional can remove rats in as little as one day to a few days depending on the size of the infestation.

Are rats harder to get rid of? ›

Rats are Harder to Control

It's just a fact -- rats are vastly more difficult to effectively get rid of than mice. Rats can, for example, eat the lure from a mouse trap without triggering it (and even if it does go off, a mouse trap usually doesn't strike with enough force to cause a fatal blow).

Is peanut butter good for rat traps? ›

Peanut butter makes an easy rat lure that most people already have in their pantry. A scoop or dollop of the spread can serve as a highly attractive bait, since it gives off an intriguing odor that rats easily detect. Another perk of peanut butter? It's also a non-toxic option.

What does rats hate? ›

As it turns out, there are several smells that these pests cannot stand, which means you can use them to your advantage. But what exactly do mice and rats hate to smell? Mice can be kept away by using the smells of peppermint oil, cinnamon, vinegar, citronella, ammonia, bleach, and mothballs.

What is the quickest rat killer? ›

FASTRAC BLOX with the active ingredient, Bromethalin, is Bell's fastest-acting rodenticide formulation. An acute bait, FASTRAC gets unsurpassed rodent acceptance and control, killing rats and mice in 2 or more days after consuming a toxic dose.

How do you get rid of rats that keep coming back? ›

It's a three-step approach.
  1. Don't feed rats. Limit their food source by placing trash in covered metal or heavy duty plastic trash containers. ...
  2. Remove rats' shelter. Indoors, replace wooden basement floors with poured concrete. ...
  3. Keep them out.

What do rats hate to walk on? ›

Peppermint Oil

On a cotton ball use no more than 5 drops of 100% peppermint essential oil. Spread the oil on areas that you want rats to avoid, in your case, around the garden.

What foods do rats enjoy the most? ›

Some of a rat's favorite treats include:
  • Seeds.
  • Sweets.
  • Bread.
  • Cooked pasta.
  • Cooked rice.
  • Cereal.
  • Grains.
  • Mealworms.
Oct 25, 2022

Which food smell attracts rats? ›

Rodents balance their love of carbohydrates with an appetite for proteins, including cheeses, peanut butter and a variety of meats. The aroma of cooking meats brings rodents scurrying. They are also just as attracted to the smell of rotting meat and grease.

What is a rats Favourite food trap? ›

Peanut butter might be the best bait out there, for a few reasons. Peanut butter is sweet, aromatic, sticky, and salty, and fatty. Rats like to eat it—they'll go out of their way to get it. Because rats love peanut butter so much, they'll lick clean any surface that is covered with it.

What is the best food to get a rat? ›

A balanced diet for rats
  • Give them some variety - rats are omnivores, so you can supplement their diet with small amounts of fruit, vegetables, cooked egg, grains and seeds. ...
  • Avoid harmful foods such as onion, citrus fruits, walnuts, rhubarb, grapes, raisins and chocolate.
  • Avoid sugars and high-fat foods such as dairy.

What is a rats Favourite snack? ›

Cooked legumes (never raw), fruits (no apple seeds or avocado) small amounts of cooked meats, cooked grains, low fat cottage cheese and cooked eggs. Leafy, green vegetables. Snacks or treats: Supreme treats, toast, yoghurt, dried fruit.

What are 3 things rats eat? ›

So, specifically, what do rats eat? In the wild, they'll often feed on grains, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables. They might also eat smaller animals or insects, though this may be less common because it calls for hunting.

What foods are toxic to mice? ›

Grapes/raisins, chocolate, avocado, garlic, onion, rhubarb, coffee, tea, alcohol, and walnuts must not be fed as they are toxic to mice. Lettuce should be avoided as it can cause diarrhoea in mice [4].

What is the number one scent that rats hate? ›

Some people have found that they can deter rats from coming onto their property by using certain smells and aromas. The most effective smells are essential oils, specifically; peppermint, castor, and citronella.

How do you trap a smart rat? ›

Bury an unset rat trap beneath the sawdust. Place an enticing food trail leading to the box, and place the food on top of the sawdust including directly over the trigger. Once the rat has habituated to the box and is actively taking the food, install only one food piece directly to the trap trigger and set the trap.

How do you lure a rat out of hiding? ›

There are two effective ways to drive rodents out of hiding: using food bais to attract them outside and utilizing repellents to force them out of the nest. If you choose to bait them, bait like peanut butter will attract them outside in no time.

Do rats take poison back to nest? ›

The answer is no, rats do not take poison back to their nest. Rats cannot carry the poison in their mouth, so they are not able to bring it back with them.

What is the best food to catch mice or rats? ›

Instead: Pick Bait Mice Crave Forget the old cartoon image of mice eating cheese. The rodents are primarily nut and seed eaters, so the mouse trap bait they are most strongly attracted to is peanut butter or hazelnut spread. Their hunger for calories also entices them to try chocolate.

What is the best food to catch mice and rats? ›

Tiny bits of peanut butter or soft cheese have always worked well. Stick a pinch or two of marshmallows, gum drops or beef jerky to the trigger and the trap will spring when mice take a bite. When female mice gather nesting materials in fall and winter, dental floss, yarn and twine attract them to the trap.


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