Do you have a mouse in your house? Many of us do. But excepting the ones that are famous and found at theme parks, or the cute ones that outsmart cartoon cats, nobody wants these little rodentiae to live with them. That’s when you search for the best mouse trap you can find.
From humane and kind varieties to those which cause lasting harm (to the mouse, not you), these gadgets span a wide range of styles. They also have a wide range of reliability. Today we’ll look at mouse traps that work and find you an end to this tail– er, tale!
Our Top Picks On Amazon:
- Catch & Release Trap: Catcha 2 Piece Humane Smart Mouse Trap
- Electronic Trap: Victor M250S Electronic Mousetrap
- Snap Trap: Snap-E Mouse Trap
- Glue Trap: Trapper Max Mouse & Insect Glue Boards
- Budget Trap: Victor EZ Set Mouse Trap
- Mouse Repellent (Scent-Based): Fresh Cab Botanical Rodent Repellent
Types Of Mouse Traps
As I said above, there’s quite a variety of mouse traps. Here are the most common types on the market and how they work.
Catch And Release Traps
For people who are uncomfortable with the idea of killing a mouse, catch and release traps are the best choice. These traps are available two ways. Clear versions allow you to see the mouse caught within. Opaque ones hide the mice from view, but you should be able to hear them moving around.
While catch and release traps are great because they’re a one-time purchase and reusable, there are some drawbacks.
For one, you have a mouse or multiple mice that you need to re-home. Unless you live in a rural area or have easy access to a wilderness area, setting these free in the yard just means it’s a matter of time before the mouse moves back in. Mice are surprisingly smart, and it’s hard to catch a mouse in the same trap twice.
Another issue is that once mice have been in your trap, it needs to be fully cleaned and sterilized once you’ve let the mouse go. Until you release them, they’re stuck in there, and they don’t have access to a mouse-restroom. In addition, mice may not go where the scent of other mice is lingering.
These can be extremely effective, but many people want a simpler option. So let’s explore other types.
An electric mouse trap provides a sudden shock of electricity, usually supplied by a battery, that will quickly and humanely end a mouse’s life. These traps are also extremely effective. Once caught, there’s no need to worry about where to take the mice, simply dispose of the carcass.
These traps also have some drawbacks. Since most are battery-operated, a dead battery will not eliminate the mouse. You’ll need to be sure to change the batteries regularly.
Due to the nature of the trap, cleaning it is a bit more complex. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully to be sure not to damage the trap or get a nasty shock.
One of the perks of these over some varieties of live trap is that they are almost always opaque, and they’re pet-friendly (well, unless you have mice or small hamsters). Your cat can’t see inside and can’t get inside it at the mouse. Most have a lit sensor on top indicating a successful catch.
Traditional and effective, snap traps have been in use for over a century. These spring-loaded traps are what most of us think of immediately when we consider mouse traps.
While there are varieties that are easy to clean now (unlike many old-fashioned wooden traps), the SNAP sound that happens when the spring is triggered can become irritating. Many people dislike the sound and would prefer not to hear it.
And unlike electronic mouse traps, snap traps may or may not kill the mouse, depending on the position that it was in when the trap was sprung. It may only injure the mouse. Suddenly, you have a live mouse in pain to deal with, and that can be a major hassle.
Another issue will arise if you have cats, dogs, ferrets, or any other mobile pets. It’s just as easy for Fido to spring a mouse trap as it is for the mouse. And dogs really, really like peanut butter.
Cats are even more at risk. As they’re naturally hunters, they may smell residual mouse scent on the trap and bat at it, getting it snapped on their paw. Some of the more forceful varieties can seriously injure a cat’s paw, and that means you’ll be taking a trip to the vet.
Don’t forget the potential risks to small children, especially those who are in the phase where everything gets picked up and put in their mouth. And for that matter, even you might find it hurts if you’re setting the trap and it accidentally springs.
But with these caveats, the reasons these traps are still in common use today are simple: they’re very effective, and they’re very cheap. You can have a dozen mousetraps for the price of one or two other traps. For people with a large mouse problem who don’t have kids or pets, these are quite useful!
I am not a big fan of glue mouse traps. These have an extremely sticky material on them which catches not only mice, but roaches, crickets, and other insects.
It also catches your cat, your dog, the bottom of your shoe, any dust in the air, and pretty much anything that lands on that sticky surface. Whatever you do, don’t place these in a high-traffic area!
Whether these are humane or not is a matter of debate.
These are a live mouse trap, and so your little rodent will indeed be caught alive. But it will be struggling to separate itself from the sticky surface. Mice have been known to chew a paw off to escape.
Even when it can’t escape, this kind of trap does not dispatch your rodent to mouse heaven. You will need to devise a way to free it humanely elsewhere without getting bitten. Alternately, you can take the matter into your own hands to prevent a long, slow struggle and eventual dehydration or starvation.
It’s no surprise that while these are very effective in the right situation, they’re also incredibly troublesome to deal with. If you are not squeamish and are creative enough to find a solution to deal with the mice once caught, I’ll include at least one good glue trap for you.
The best trap is to not have to trap the mice at all, or so say the makers of mouse repellents.
There are two basic types of mouse repellents: ultrasonic or scent-based. Ultrasonic mouse repellents emit a high frequency which deters mice from moving into the house at all.
Scent-based are meant for enclosed areas like sheds or closets, and tend to have an aroma which mice dislike. Often, these are essential oils such as balsam fir, peppermint, or cinnamon oil, so they’re not unpleasant to us.
Some people swear by these repellents as the best thing for their homes. Others claim that they are more show than effectiveness. It seems as though they may work for some mice, but not for all mice, and it’s hard to say conclusively if it will work for you.
However, there is something to be said for not having to empty your mouse traps, so there’s certainly no harm in trying these out. If they work for you, fantastic!
It should be noted that the ultrasonic varieties are also reputed to work for mosquitoes, roaches, and other insects.
What’s The Best Bait For Mouse Traps?
We all associate mice with cheese. After all, it’s shown in every cartoon! But in all honesty, mice seldom eat cheese, preferring nuts and seeds.
Since most nuts or seeds don’t stay in place, I recommend using something like peanut butter, almond butter, or hazelnut spread as a bait. You don’t need much.
In fact, too much might enable the mouse to eat most of it without springing the trap! Use a dollop that’s no larger than the size of a pea for the best mouse bait.
When temperatures drop, mice are also looking for stuff to warm up their nests. In addition to that little bit of food, you can add bits of cotton ball, scraps of yarn, or other soft and fluffy nesting material as an additional lure.
If you’re using snap traps, try to gently wrap the trigger bar with your nesting fluff. That gives you the best chance of catching the mouse, no matter whether they’re after the fluff or food bait. For any enclosed traps, you can just place both inside.
Remember to try to keep your scent off of the bait itself. Wear a pair of food prep gloves to put the bait in place so there’s no residual human smells lingering that might scare the rodent away from the trap.
But What About Commercial Baits?
There are a number of gel baits available on the market. Some come in a syringe style, others in squeeze bottles. These all claim to be better than peanut butter.
And yet, the biggest problem with these is that mice know what they want. They’re going to go for the thing that looks and smells like food, not the one that just smells reminiscent of food. Many people have reported difficulties getting even a glance from a mouse with commercial baits.
If you have a peanut allergy, it might be worth trying out a few gel attractants. But honestly, I’d just use almond butter or hazelnut butter instead. It’ll lower your cost, and whatever you don’t use for mice you can just eat!
Where To Place Mouse Traps
Mice are naturally shy creatures, and they tend to stay on the outskirts of a room rather than risk being seen in a wide open space. They’re also inclined to slide through crevices, behind shelves, or underneath things to stay hidden.
Placing your mouse traps at the base of the wall is a good idea, but if you’re uncertain where your mice may lurk, start by not setting the traps and simply baiting them with some delicious-smelling peanut butter. You will be able to tell by which bait is eaten where the mice commonly move through.
Pre-acclimating the mice to the traps has an added benefit. If they’ve stolen bait off of a trap once or twice, they’re less hesitant to approach the trap later, and they become easier to catch.
Remember that mice are small little animals. They can squeeze through 1/4″ gaps when they’re young and grow up inside your house. So make sure to place traps near any gaps in baseboards or odd cracks in the walls.
Looking for droppings or chewed locations will also help you determine locations to place your traps. It’s better to err on the side of too many traps than too few, so if you find lots of evidence, put them everywhere necessary.
Keep in mind that where there is one mouse, there’s likely a whole lot more. Mice reproduce very quickly. You will need more than one trap, and you’ll want your traps to be fairly close together.
You might even want multiple kinds of trap to try to catch the most rodents possible. Keeping them unfamiliar with what dangers may be lurking for them makes it easier to catch them.
Best Mouse Trap Reviews
Best Mouse Trap – Catch And Release
Catcha 2 Piece Humane Smart Mouse Trap
This is an extremely simple-to-use catch and release trap. Simply lift the release door, dab a dollop of peanut butter on the spring tray, set it, and close the release door. Put it in place, and once a mouse steps on the tray to get its treat, the door whips closed behind it.
With these, you’ll need to check daily to make sure you have no rodents caught, or else you risk finding a dead mouse in your trap. They are easily cleaned with some dishsoap and water, and can be fully submerged.
The only possible drawback is aesthetic. If you don’t want to see the little mouse in the trap, there are opaque traps on the market which might work better for you. However, I honestly recommend the see-through types like this. A simple glance will tell you if the bait’s intact and if you have a new mouse visitor.
To me, this is the best mouse trap variety out there, because you don’t have to worry about disposing of a carcass appropriately. But you do still need somewhere to drop off the mouse that won’t bother the neighbors, so be prepared for that!
Best Mouse Trap – Electronic
Victor M250S Electronic Mousetrap
The Victor electronic mouse trap is one of the more reliable electronic traps on the market. It takes 4 AAA batteries, and should kill up to a hundred mice on a single set.
A handy on/off switch allows you to turn it off when it’s not needed to spare battery power. In addition, the M250S has a kill chamber which is easily removable so that you can dispose of the waste simply and clean it if necessary.
A green light indicator will be on for up to a week after a kill, letting you know you should empty the unit.
While these seem a bit pricey from the outset, you shouldn’t have to replace anything but batteries. Getting a 4-pack is the best value for this style of trap, as it works out to basically one trap for free. As long as you ensure the batteries are functional, these will work for a very long time.
Best Mouse Trap – Snap
Snap-E Mouse Trap
Made from polystyrene and steel, this trap is fully submersible for cleaning purposes. There are two bars on the trap – a kill bar, and a set bar. In addition, there’s a trigger plate.
Place a dollop of bait in the bait cup, pull the set bar back to set it, and then carefully place the trap in a mouse path. When it triggers, the kill bar will trap the mouse, allowing you to pick it up by the set bar for disposal. You shouldn’t have to touch the mouse.
This is an upgrade from traditional wooden traps which often got stained by the bait or other materials. Since it’s so easy to clean, you’ll have it good as new in no time. And they’re quite reasonably priced, which is also good.
Best Mouse Trap – Glue
Trapper Max Mouse & Insect Glue Boards
If you really want to use a glue trap, this style is extremely good. For mice, it’s advised to put them out flat, but they can be bent into a tube to catch cockroaches, crickets, or other insects.
There’s no need to apply a bait to this board, as it has a peanut butter aroma that will lure mice straight to it. Once they step onto the sticky surface, they will be caught.
However, you’ll need to check your traps regularly. Mice have been known to chew through the cardboard to try to free themselves, and you don’t want them to escape! You’ll also need to find a humane way to dispatch the mouse to the afterlife.
Avoid using these if you have pets that might also get stuck to them, but otherwise, this is an effective means of catching mice that simply refuse to approach other trap types.
Best Mouse Trap – Budget
Victor EZ Set Mouse Trap
If the budget is a bit tight but you’re starting to see mouse droppings and evidence of chewing, this is what you want.
Traditional in style, this classic wooden trap has a scented trip plate. I still recommend using a tiny dollop of peanut butter, but the plate itself should lure mice closer.
I’m not going to say that this is the best mouse trap for all situations, because it’s not. But if you just need a solution right now, this is a time-proven method of dispatching rodent pests.
And the price is low enough that you may be able to just throw out the trap once it’s been used, rodent and all!
Best Mouse Repellent – Scent-Based
Fresh Cab Botanical Rodent Repellent
Like most scent-based repellents, Fresh Cab relies on an essential oil to keep mice and other rodents at bay. In this case, it’s the pungent aroma of balsam fir, backed up by rosemary, lavender, clary sage, fir, cedar, lemon, grapefruit, eucalyptus, and patchouli.
In other words, it smells like an herbalist’s shop. It’s not an unpleasant aroma to humans, but it’s believed to deter mice.
How it works and whether it’s effective is unclear. It may mask the scent of possible mouse food, or it may be too pungent for a mouse’s little nose. Some users report great results, where others say the mice didn’t even seem to notice.
One thing has been noted: those who report it worked do emphasize the importance of replacing them every couple of months as the scent dies down. In addition, it’s best used indoors. This will not help you outside.
Still, there is a lot of evidence that various essential oils help keep pests at bay, and I know I’ve had some great experiences using them for that purpose. If having a nice herbal aroma sounds appealing, try it out. And if it works for you, be sure to let me know!
In the end, whether you want to send your warrior mice to Valhalla or gently release them in a field, there’s a plethora of options available. No need to build a better mouse trap – just buy one!