Rat and Mouse Traps vs. Baits. Which Are Better?

When you need to get rid of mice or rats fast, it's nice to have options.

When you have mice or rats in the house, you just want them gone. Pronto. So the next question is, what's the right way to do the job—with a rat or mouse trap or a bait station? The answer may surprise you. The best method to control your mouse or rat problem really depends on your preference.

Ask yourself these questions when deciding between a trap or bait station:

  • Can you stand seeing a mouse once it has been caught?
  • Would you rather just treat an area and forget about it?
  • Do you need to keep the control device away from small children or pets?

Think about your personal needs when it comes to getting rid of mice and rats, then read on to discover the best solution for you.


When using traps, you'll need to dispose of the rodent once the trap does its work. There are different trap options available to meet your particular needs, including traditional wooden traps, newer easy-set spring traps, and glue traps.

Mechanical Traps

While not necessarily child- or pet-proof, mechanical traps have an excellent reputation for effectively killing mice and rats, and they’re inexpensive and easy to use. The Tomcat® Press ‘N Set® Mouse Trap and the Tomcat® Secure-Kill® Rat Trap are designed to be easy to set and kill rodents quickly.

If you don’t want to see the mouse once it has been caught, the Tomcat® Kill & Contain® Mouse Trap is a great option, plus it's designed to keep fingers and paws from being snapped. Mechanical traps should be placed along walls or in corners where rodent activity has been noticed, and baited with peanut butter or a special bait gel such as Tomcat® Attractant Gel.

Glue Traps

Glue traps, like the Tomcat® Glue Traps with Eugenol For Enhanced Stickiness, are a good, pesticide-free option for holding the rodent in place when it scurries across its surface. They are also a good option if you’re concerned about fingers or paws being snapped in mechanical traps. Once a rodent is caught in a glue trap, it will usually die of dehydration or suffocation.

Live Traps

Also known as humane traps, no-kill traps, or catch-and-release traps, live traps allow you to catch mice in your house, garage, or shed and then release them safely and humanely somewhere far from your home and their nests. Mice usually venture 10 to 30 feet from their nest, while rats will travel 100 to 300 feet from their nest looking for food. For a problem with a single mouse, use the Tomcat® Live Catch Mouse Trap. For large infestations, use the Tomcat® Multi-Catch Mouse Trap, which captures up to 10 mice at once.

Bait Stations

Bait stations are a very effective form of mice and rat control. The rodent enters a bait station and nibbles on the bait block, which contains a type of poison, then leaves and dies in 1 to 2 days (so you won't find dead mice or rats in the bait station). Mice are curious nibblers. If they encounter a potential new food source, they'll try a little and go away, then come back and try some more. Rats are more cautious and may take longer to try the bait. 

Bait stations should be placed anywhere you've seen signs of rodent activity. For an easy-to-use, no-mess solution to eliminate rodents, try pre-filled, disposable bait stations, like the Tomcat® Rat & Mouse Killer Disposable Bait Station - Advanced Formula or the Tomcat® Mouse Killer Disposable Bait Station - Advanced Formula. Each 4-oz. bait block will kill up to 10 rats*, and every 1-oz. bait block will kill up to 12 mice*. For rodent infestations, Tomcat® also offers refillable bait stations for rats and mice.

Which Works Best?

Mouse and rat traps and baits are both effective, so it really comes down to preference. Once you decide on which rodent control product (or combination of products) best fits your needs, be sure to follow the directions on the label, and take steps to make your house less attractive to pests. That means sealing up holes and cracks and storing food properly. To find out more about keeping your house free of mice or rats, see our article on How to Keep Mice and Rats Out of Your House.


Recommended Articles