Last updated: August 7, 2021

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Rats can become a real problem. Whether in your own household or in the shop: as soon as food disappears into the corners, rats can track it down and become unwanted guests. Rat traps catch rats and render them harmless. The decision remains whether to catch the rat alive or not. There are different variants, depending on the place of use or need.

This rat trap test 2021 gives an overview of different types, sources of danger, price ranges and a trivia with the most frequently asked questions about rat traps. Whether you want to release the rat alive or dispose of the dead rat in the household waste depends on your purchase decision. The type of rat trap also determines how much you can and want to spend. You can find out which is best suited to your location in the guide.




The most important facts

  • Rat traps either catch rats and other small rodents alive, or kill them in various ways. This can be by poison, glue, electric shocks or by a snap.
  • Some rat traps are particularly suitable for households with children or pets, as they are not easily accessible. They are either locked with a key, or are only accessible to rats.
  • Simple food scraps can be used as bait. This could be cheese, sausage or nuts. But there are also baits to buy - these can only attract, or they can be directly poisonous. An appropriate box is very important for poisonous baits so that they are not accessible to children or pets.

The best rat trap: Our picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for rat traps

So that you know what to look for when buying, we have compiled the most important buying and evaluation criteria. In summary, these are:

The following is an overview of the purchase and evaluation criteria for a rat trap.

Installation site

Different rat traps have different installation locations. A basic distinction can be made between open and closed traps.

The open impact trap is unprotected and activates on small triggers. The closed traps (poison bait box and live trap) are only accessible to the rat by using the small entrance.

An open trap can also be dangerous in the garden if it is not supervised. Hedgehogs or squirrels can fall into it and die fatally. Therefore, it is safest to use it in the basement because there are fewer small animals there.

Rat trap place of installation
Live trap cellar, garden, possibly indoor
Impact trap cellar, possibly garden
Electric trap cellar, garden
Poison trap (bait box) indoor, cellar, garden

For hygienic reasons, beater traps are not recommended for the inner house. Bait boxes are the only sealed traps that are safe to use indoors. Live traps can be used indoors if pets and children are supervised.

Accessories

Some rat traps require accessories and further steps before the animal can be caught.

  • Food scraps or special baits (poisonous, or non-toxic)
  • Protective gloves to dispose of the rat
  • Disinfectant spray for cleaning up

A live trap does most of the work, as the animal still needs to be released into the wild. The "baiting" step must be done with all of them. Disposal is most hygienic with the poison trap and the electric trap, as no injuries occur.

Hygiene

All rat traps presented can be reused. For cost reasons, reusable traps are recommended, as rats and mice are usually not uncommon in households with a garden and cellar.

The traps are easy to clean and washable as they are made of plastic or stainless steel. Thus, any blood or fur residues can be removed immediately with gloves and disinfection.

Rat trap Hygienic
Live trap Medium-Hygienic: The live animal can be carefully released
Beat trap Unhygienic: The dead animal is injured and bleeds
Electric trap Hygienic: The dead animal is not injured and can be disposed of without touching it
Poison trap (bait box) Hygienic: The dead animal is not injured and can be disposed of with gloves

The beating trap leaves free access to the animal. As the bleeding animal lies freely on the floor in the beating trap, it can be unhygienic for humans and pets. Therefore, setting them inside the house is not recommended.

Strike traps are the most unhygienic because the rat bleeds. Electric traps are the most hygienic as the rat does not need to be touched during disposal.

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a rat trap

This guide answers the most frequently asked questions about rat traps. First, the advantages of a rat trap are explained, then a list of the most common types is given, and further questions are answered.

What is special about a rat trap and what advantages does it offer?

Rat traps can be used whenever a rat has been sighted in the house or garden. There are different variants that are used in different areas of application.

The preference of the buyer can also be taken into account: should the animal be caught alive or killed? A closed trap is better suited for indoor use than an open beater trap.

Rattenfalle

Rats can be a nuisance and endanger household members with diseases. A rat trap should be used as soon as a rat is spotted in the house. (Image source: Brett Jordan / Unsplash)

Again, there is a choice between live trap and poison trap. In most cases, the rat can be disposed of hygienically and poses no danger to the household.

What types of rat traps are there?

There are different types of rat traps, depending on the place of use and budget. Closed traps are particularly safe for indoor use with children, an open trap can be used very well in the cellar.

The trapping and killing methods also differ in each case. You can find a list of all rat traps here:

Live rat trap

A live rat trap catches the rat alive, as the name suggests. A bait is placed in a grid box and as soon as the lever on the bait is activated, the hinged wall slams shut.

The animal is locked in the box and the loud slap signals that something has been caught. The box can be lifted safely and opened in the wild so that the animal can run out.

Advantages
  • Animal suffering free
  • Quick success
  • Reusable
  • Missing catches can also be released
Disadvantages
  • Other small animals can also be caught (e.g. hedgehogs)

A live trap is the morally acceptable way to catch a rat. Hedgehogs and other rodents that mistakenly fall into the trap can also be safely released. Therefore, this trap actually has no disadvantages.

Punch rat trap

A beat rat trap is equipped with a bait. When the bait button is activated, the trap snaps shut and crushes the animal. The animal can then be disposed of with gloves in the household waste. However, this will cause open wounds.

Advantages
  • Safe kill
  • Quick success
  • Reusable
Disadvantages
  • Animal is killed
  • Bloody wounds are unhygienic

However, this rat trap is not entirely hygienic, as bleeding wounds occur and the rat lies free on the floor.

Poison rat trap

A bait box with poison can be locked with a key. The rat runs in through the small entrance and is poisoned. There are no wounds and the box is safe from children and pets

Advantages
  • Hygienic
  • Reusable
  • Safe for household use
  • For indoor use
Disadvantages
  • Animal will be killed
  • Incorrect storage of poison can be dangerous

A more hygienic way to kill a rat is to use a bait box. The dead rat is not accessible because the box is locked.

Electric rat trap

Similar to the poison trap, the electric trap kills without injury. If the rat taps into the cone-like trap, an electric shock is triggered. The dead rat can simply be disposed of in the household waste without having to touch it.

Advantages
  • Hygienic
  • Easy disposal of the rat
  • Safe killing
Disadvantages
  • Animal is killed
  • Possible source of danger for children's hands and pets' paws

This option is even more hygienic than the bait box because the dead animal does not have to be touched. But free access to the electric shocks can become a problem for the household.

Who are rat traps suitable for?

Rat traps are suitable for all households and shop owners who have discovered a nuisance rat. They can be used both indoors and outdoors.

Closed rat traps are particularly suitable for households with children and animals, while open traps can be used very well outside.

The type that suits you best depends on whether it is used indoors or outdoors - and whether you want to kill the rat or not. Decide where it will be used and how you prefer to dispose of/release the rat.

The live trap is not very dangerous because the bars are tight. However, small pets (e.g. rabbits, guinea pigs) should remain in their cage for this time and children should be warned.

How much does a rat trap cost?

There are also different types of traps for different budgets. Prices can vary from market to market, so it may be worth comparing or seeking advice locally. If you choose by budget, you can find your price range here:

Rat trap Price range
Live trap Circa 15 - 35€
Strike trap Circa 10 - 30€
Electric trap Circa 30 - 100€
Poison trap (bait box) Circa 10 - 30€

An electronic trap can be the most expensive as it requires electricity. Strike traps and bait boxes are the cheapest as they are uncomplicated to use.

How safe are rat traps for humans and the environment?

Rat traps can pose various hazards to household members. Serious injury or poisoning can occur if the trap is not used or stored properly. We have a list of the possible dangers here:

Rat trap source of danger
Live trap risk of injury to children's arms
Impact trap very high risk to (children's) hands and pets if the activation button is touched
Electric trap risk to children's hands as the trap is open
Poison trap (bait box) very high risk to small pets. Poison bait lying open very dangerous for children and pets

Careful handling of poisons and open traps is the top priority. Closed traps can be used indoors without danger as far as possible. Older children must be educated under all circumstances and young children must remain supervised while the trap is active.

What baits are used?

Many different baits can be used. These are food for humans or rodents. Since rats are attracted to people's food scraps, you can't go far wrong in your choice of bait. Here is a list of the most common baits:

  • Bacon
  • Cheese
  • Cooked pasta or potatoes
  • Rodent food
  • Bought (poison) bait

It doesn't have to be store-bought bait. Food scraps, which are not dangerous for the environment or humans, are usually sufficient. If you want to be on the safe side, you can also buy special baits at the DIY store.

Simply placing poison bait loose without an appropriate box is very dangerous for humans, animals and the environment!

What alternatives are there to rat traps?

There are only a few alternatives to the rat traps mentioned above. They are less successful or very dangerous. The bucket trap does not guarantee a catch, as the rat must first climb to reach the bait.

The sticky mat is very dangerous for any kind of small animals, paws or shoes. It is susceptible to soiling and, moreover, the rats die very painfully and slowly.

Alternative Description
plank / bucket trap A plank that is attached to a bucket. Bait is placed on the plank and the rat falls into the bucket.
Sticky trap A sticky mat is laid out on the floor, rats get stuck immediately and die. Very dangerous for pets and children.

If you want to be on the safe side, you should use one of the traps mentioned above. The traps presented guarantee a quick and safe death of the rat - or a safe catch.

If the precautionary and hygienic measures are observed, nothing can go wrong.

Rattenfalle

Rat traps in the garden should be safe for children and pets. Poison should not be left lying around freely and a beating trap should never be allowed near hands or paws. (Image source: Peter Idowu / Unsplash)

Conclusion

A rat trap becomes useful when a rat endangers the health of the family or shop guests, or spreads in the garden. There are several ways to kill a rat - but only one to catch it alive. Both a live trap and a beat trap are in the same, low price category.

The most important thing is that family members are not endangered by the trap. A beating trap can be very dangerous for paws or curious hands. Children must be educated or supervised, pets must remain in the cage for the period or not have access to the basement or garden.

Image source: TAECHIT / 123rf

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