About electric rat traps
A quick breakdown of electric rat traps
Electric rat traps work on a very simple principle – they have a similar design to rat cages, but once the rodent gets inside the trap and steps on the plates in front of the bait, a sensor triggers and shoots the rodent with a powerful jolt of electricity. Ideally, the electric zap is strong enough to kill the animal instantly, leaving it no time or opportunity to escape.
Unfortunately, a lot of zap traps are simply not powerful enough and don’t manage to kill the rodents quickly enough.
Aside from the electric jolt that kills the rodent, there really isn’t much more that goes into the making of an electric rat trap. They have bait cup at their backside, just as rat cages do. They are easy to empty as all you typically need to do is take the trap and slide the dead animal off of it, often without even having to touch or look at it. This is very convenient for the user, but it needs to be mentioned that the rat trap still needs to be cleaned after each usage.
Are electric rat traps mess-free?
Most product descriptions of rat zappers make a point of how mess-free they are, which is true if you compare them to something like a snap rat trap or a glue rat trap. But still, an electrocuted dead rat isn’t exactly “mess-free” and there’s plenty of burned fur, skin, and often blood that needs to be properly cleaned after each kill if you want other rodents to want to get into the trap afterward.
After all, mice and rats are highly intelligent animals as much as we often dislike them and you can’t expect getting rid of rats if the trap stinks of their dead brother or sister.
Furthermore, leaving the corpse in the trap for too long before emptying it can also have the added effect of attracting the attention of other rodents. If you don’t empty the trap soon enough, the smell and the sight of the dead animal will catch the eye of the other animals around and they will learn to avoid the trap. Even just the sound of the zap is often enough to attract the attention of other mice and rats.
To avoid this “learning effect” as much as possible you’ll need to do three things:
- Empty the trap as soon as it triggers and kills the rodent
- Clean it as well as possible
- Place the trap in a new location
How do electric rat traps compare to other rat killing or catching alternatives?
High-quality electric rat traps are no doubt more humane and more effective than the traditional snap rat traps or the monstrous glue rat traps. However, lower quality rat zappers can prove to be is inhumane and even more ineffective than glue or snap traps, so be careful with your purchase.
As far as no-kill traps are concerned, good ones are, obviously, still more humane than zap traps (as they don’t kill the animals) and they are often more effective than zap traps as they can catch multiple rats at once, depending on their model.
The benefit of zap traps to no-kill traps is that disposing of the dead rats is much easier than disposing of alive ones.
Electric rat trap buying guide
To properly find the right trap of a high enough quality your best bet is to either ask a professional or read as much consumer reviews as your time allows. We wish there was a better way, but with new electric rat trap models being made every year online reviews remain the best way for the average user to distinguish the higher from the lower quality products. User reviews can be tricky to read as they are often subjective, imprecise, incomplete, or just plain wrong.
Industry reviews, on the other hand, are usually full of much more information and much more comprehensive, which makes them more informative. However, they can sometimes have a rather strong bias which makes them hard to trust.
Regardless, a detailed and extensive read of both types of reviews is a good way to get a grasp of the niche and know what you’re looking for. Another good marker of distinguishing between good and bad electric rat traps is by looking at their brands. This isn’t a surefire way to make a decision as even famous brands can produce subpar rat traps and even unknown brands can make outstanding products, but it is a good starting point. The brands we’d recommend include: PestNoMore, Rat Zapper, Victor, Pestrax, PestZilla, Hoont, Abco, and others.
Of course, there are some minor differences between different best rat traps that you might want to consider when making a choice. Here’s a quick list of the ones you might want to keep in mind:
- Do you want a trap that’s strictly for indoor use or for both indoors and outdoors use? Technically speaking all-electric rat traps should be viewed as indoors only, but some products claim to be used outdoors as well. We’d strongly recommend that you use any such product with caution when placing it outside – make sure that you put it on an elevated surface that can’t be flooded and under a roof that will keep it from getting wet.
- Do you want the option of an AC cable and adapter or do you want to use the trap on batteries only? Power adapters aren’t always usable anyway since you want to place your trap strategically where it has the highest chance to catch a rodent and that isn’t always near a power outlet. Still, if you can make good use of a nearby power outlet this can be a good option.
- Do you want the “kill chamber” to detach from the main body or not? This doesn’t make that much of a difference as either way you get to easily slide the dead rat off the container into the trash. And either way, you’ll still need to clean the container properly before using it again however detachable kill chambers are often easier to clean.
- Do you want your electric rat trap to come with a mobile app? Mobile apps make it much easier to find out when your trap has caught prey and save you the time of frequently going to the trap to check it out. Very few models come with these options, however.
- Size matters. Try to find out how large are your rodent pests to figure out how big of a trap you’re going to need – there’s no need of buying an enormous trap for small mice but buying a small trap will stop you from catching a big rat. Also, keep in mind that a big but weak trap may fit a large rat but not be able to kill it. Instead, the rodent will either manage to escape and not enter the trap ever again or will take minutes to die in a slow and agonizing manner.
- Do you want the trap to have a door that closes when the trap is sprung or not? In the ideal scenario, this doesn’t matter as the zap is meant to kill the animal on the spot. Weak traps fail at achieving this, however, and some animals are able to escape before the zap has managed to finish them off. That being said, you don’t want to get a weak trap anyway, so the trap door should be inconsequential. An effective trap door on a weak zap trap just ensures that it will function as a torture chamber.
How to use electric rat traps
Well, that’s not quite so. For starters, the main principle for other traps goes here as well – location, location, location. Mice and rats like to walk around in the dark but they generally keep to the edges and corners of the rooms they are in. So every time you set up a trap you’ll need to be mindful as to where you’re setting it up. A poorly placed trap will catch much fewer rodents than a well-placed one.
Additionally, you should make sure that you empty the traps as quickly as possible after they are sprung. A dead rodent that’s left in the trap for too long will catch the attention of other rodents in the area and they can quickly learn to avoid the trap.
How to catch more rats?
A key thing to remember when hunting rats or mice is that they are actually highly intelligent animals. Treat the hunt as an actual hunt and not just as setting up traps for pests. Roaches are stupid, rats – far from it. Rats learn from their own experience as well as from observing others, they are cautious, and they are known to evaluate situations before going in.
The trick to catching as many rats as possible is to use their intelligence and behavioral patterns against them.
Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind:
- Place the traps next to walls or fences where the rodents are running, with the opening being as close to the vertical surface as possible
- At first, leave the trap turned off for a couple of days. This will give the rats a couple of nights to dare to get close to the trap, to get to know it and to feel comfortable with it
- After every couple of successful uses, leave the trap turned off again. This will once again reassure the animals that it is actually safe to walk into it. You can play even more mind games with them by placing bait in the turned off trap
- Change the location of the trap every several uses (and repeat the whole set up process), as the rats will eventually learn to not go near it in its original location
If you’re not having much of a success, you can set up a video camera with night vision, pointed at the trap and review the recordings to see what’s going wrong
Trap cleaning tips
Lastly, but also most importantly, you should remember to clean the trap properly after each use. That’s something that ads won’t tell you, but cleaning after dead rats isn’t easy. Even though rat zappers kill them relatively cleanly, an electrocuted rat still leaves quite a mess behind it. Properly cleaning the trap is vital as otherwise, no other rodent will want to get near it.
To efficiently and safely clean the trap, follow these steps:
- Put on a mask and rubber gloves
- Turn off the trap
- Remove the trap’s batteries
- Take the trap and a trashcan outside
- Damp a lint-free cloth with hot water and start wiping the inside of the trap. Use several cloths if necessary
- Leave the trap to dry off for a while
- Reinstall the batteries and load it with a new bait
- Place the trap back to its location or to a new one
Still, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows – rat zappers need to be cleaned extensively after each kill as rats are intelligent enough not to go into a trap that stinks of a dead rat. Even though rat zappers clean without blood and mess, the smell of an electrocuted rat is strong enough to be hard to clean, so prepare your good rubber gloves. Additionally, rats are generally very intelligent animals, so, if you leave a dead rat for too long in the rat zapper, chances are that the other rats will see it and remember not to go inside even if you clean it properly.
This leads us to another benefit of electric rat traps, however, as they are much easier to keep an eye on. Some come with their own app that connects directly to your mobile device, while most others have indicator lights and sound signals that alert you every time a rat has been caught and killed. This allows for easier maintenance and faster turnaround.
And while rat zappers are lauded as more humane than snap or glue traps, there are still the concerns that lower-quality electric rat traps are not actually that humane. When the rat zapper is not powerful enough it can often either not kill the rodent with the zap or let it escape or instead – zap the rodent for minutes, frying and killing it slowly in the most horrific way imaginable. To avoid this, make sure that you’re buying a rat zapper that is true of a high enough quality – even if you don’t care about how the rats die one quick zap is simply more effective and efficient than a continuous zapping for several straight minutes.
So, to wrap things up, here are our Top 3 suggestions once again:
- The Victor Electronic Rat Trap is a large and powerful rat zapper that can easily catch and kill even large rats and rodents. Each set of 4 “C” batteries is enough for up to 50 clean rat kills. More interestingly, the trap also comes with its own app which connects to your mobile device and alerts you every time the trap has been sprung. The app can also work with multiple traps and keeps track of each trap’s kill streak and battery life separately.
- The Abco Tech Electronic Humane Rat Zapper is a large rat trap that kills its victims with powerful 7000v bursts of electricity. This is enough to fall even the largest rat in seconds. The trap is easy to empty as all you need to do is slide the lid off and drop the rat wherever you want.
- The PestZilla Electric Rat Trap is also large enough to take care of even large rodents and is also powerful enough to kill them in seconds with its 7000v of power. The trap can work on either battery or through its 5 feet long plug-in adapter. Either way, it is a powerful and humane option for any home or storage area.