While they don’t typically bite or act as vectors of disease, gnats can be a nuisance when they invade your home or garden. They often show up in warmer weather and are attracted to rotting fruit, trash cans, and decomposing food particles in your drains. They also tend to make homes for themselves around houseplants.
While there are a few DIY solutions for getting rid of gnats, off-the-shelf gnat traps are easier to set up and don’t require leaving bowls of wine or apple cider vinegar around your house.
Choosing a gnat trap might seem like a simple decision, but there are actually a number of considerations to weigh. Before making a purchase, learn about some of the most important features to consider when shopping for gnat traps—and discover some of the best options on the market for your home.
- BEST OVERALL: FENUN Fly Traps, Gnat Trap, Moth Traps
- RUNNER-UP: Safer Brand Houseplant Sticky Stakes Insect Traps
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Faicuk 20-Pack Dual-Sided Yellow Sticky Traps
- BEST FOR HOUSEPLANTS: Gideal 12-Pack Dual-Sided Yellow Sticky Traps
- BEST SMALL: Stingmon 12-Pack Sticky Fruit Fly Trap and Gnat Traps
- BEST OUTDOOR ZAPPER: Hemiua Bug Zapper for Outdoor and Indoor
- BEST INDOOR ZAPPER: ASPECTEK Powerful 20W Electronic Insect Killer
- BEST WITH FAN: Katchy Indoor Fly Trap
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Gnat Trap
While it’s easy to assume that all insect traps perform similarly, a number of factors affect their functionality. The best gnat traps are affordable, effective, and unobtrusive. Keep reading to learn about some of the most important qualities to consider when shopping for the best gnat trap.
There are several different styles of gnat traps. Each has its benefits, and some types will work better inside a home than others. Most gnat traps fall into two main categories: physical traps and electric traps.
- Physical traps are the simplest and most affordable option. They typically consist of a sheet of sticky paper that is placed in an area where gnats are congregating, and the gnats then get stuck to the paper. Each sheet is disposable and cannot be reused. Because of this, they’re typically sold in multipacks.
- Electric traps and zappers use electricity to lure in and kill gnats. While some are solar powered or rechargeable, many usually plug in for power. Some feature a bright light that attracts the gnats and zaps them with an electrical current that kills them instantly. Other versions feature fans that suck the insects inside. Electric traps must be cleaned periodically but are reusable.
While there are a number of options for insecticides designed to target gnats and other pests, these products contain toxic chemicals that could be harmful to members of a household.
Most popular sticky traps on the market are made with nontoxic materials, but both physical and electric gnat traps should be kept out of reach of small children and household pets.
Disposable sticky traps are less environmentally friendly than electric traps because they get discarded after use. One downside of electric traps placed outdoors is that they may attract and kill other beneficial insects—like beetles and fireflies—while targeting gnats.
Inside and Outside Use
Both physical and electric gnat traps can theoretically be used either indoors or outdoors to reduce your gnat infestation. Typically, however, electric traps are used outdoors to kill gnats before they invade a home. If gnats seem to be entering your home through the back entrance, for example, it’s best to hang an electric trap near the door.
When purchasing an electric gnat trap for outdoor use, be sure to choose a waterproof model to ensure it’s protected from the elements. Physical traps are the better choice for indoor use because they’re less obtrusive and don’t make the whirring or zapping noises of electric traps.
Our Top Picks
Now that you’ve learned more about gnat traps, it’s time to start shopping. These recommendations for gnat traps consider type, environmental friendliness, whether it’s appropriate for indoor or outdoor use, and additional features. The following top picks include some of the best gnat traps in a range of different categories.
This high-tech electric bug trap uses seven different light wavelengths to attract a variety of flying insects. It cycles through these wavelengths in 15-minute intervals to take care of all the unwanted pests in a house. It even simulates human body temperatures so that pests will fly toward the trap rather than swarming around people. As bugs are drawn in by the light, a fan sucks them into the trap where they land on a disposable sticky glue board.
These traps are powerful but compact at 8.5 inches tall and 5.3 inches in diameter, allowing them to be easily moved from room to room. Choose from either a black or white casing to best match a home’s decor. It features a 4-foot-long power cable and comes with 10 glue boards.
These physical traps use sticky paper like many of the other models on the market, but they have a unique design that makes them look ornamental rather than purely functional. The kit includes seven stakes, each of which has four clips for attaching small, petal-like pieces of sticky paper. They can be easily inserted into potted plants either indoors or outdoors.
This trap is designed to attract whiteflies, fungus gnats, thrips, and fruit flies due to its yellow color. The traps are disposable, but the stakes can be reused over and over again.
These dual-sided sticky traps from Faicuk come in an economical 20-pack and include wire ties so they can be placed wherever they’re needed. For indoor plants, simply affix the trap to a stick and place it in the planter. The adhesive surface is waterproof, so they’re usable either indoors or outdoors. Each trap is 6 by 8 inches, though they can be cut into smaller pieces as needed.
These traps attract gnats as well as other insects like aphids, leaf miners, thrips, whiteflies, blackflies, mosquitoes, and midges. The manufacturer recommends one trap per 25 square feet for the best results.
Many physical traps simply consist of sticky sheets of paper that need to be attached to something, but these traps from Gideal feature triangular spikes at the bottom. They don’t require any additional setup and simply can be inserted into a planter or directly into the earth outdoors. The material can be used outdoors year-round and resists moisture, UV rays, and heat.
Each trap is 9.05 by 3.5 inches, and this set includes 12 butterfly-shaped sheets, though larger multipacks also are available. They’re useful for infestations of whiteflies, fungus gnats, blackflies, thrips, fruit flies, and midges.
If the goal is finding a more subtle option for indoor houseplants, this 12-pack of traps is a great choice. Each one is 5.5 inches tall and 4 inches wide, so they are small enough to be easily tucked away out of sight. The tops are shaped like flowers and butterflies, adding a cute, decorative touch. The sharp bottoms allow them to be easily inserted into the soil without any wires or ties.
While they’re an excellent pick for indoor use, they work just as well outdoors since they’re waterproof and UV resistant. They are meant to attract both gnats and fruit flies.
This bug zapper is completely waterproof, which is ideal for outdoor use. It is designed to attract mosquitoes, moths, flies, and gnats using a 15-watt light bulb and covers an area as large as 1,500 square feet.
While the plastic housing prevents accidental contact with the electrical grid, it’s still best to place this zapper in a location where it can’t be accessed by pets or young children. A ring at the top allows it to be easily attached to a tree or overhang, though it can also be placed on any flat surface. Additionally, this model is safe to use indoors.
While bug zappers are often used outdoors to stop flying insects from making their way inside, sometimes it’s too late for preventative action. This model is designed for indoor use and features a mesh screen which prevents household members from making accidental contact with the electrical grid. It will kill gnats as well as mosquitoes, flies, and other insects.
It can be hung using the included mounting system or simply placed on a shelf, table, or another flat surface. A removable plastic tray collects the dead bugs and is easy to clean as needed. The zapper comes with two replacement ultraviolet bulbs.
While bug zappers can technically be used indoors, the zapping sound that gives them their name can be a bit off-putting. This electric trap from Katchy, however, uses a fan to draw in flying insects, which become stuck on the glue board inside the device. The glue board is disposable, and Katchy sells replacement ones.
It’s designed to work for mosquitoes, gnats, moths, and fruit flies, but it won’t work for larger insects like blackflies or houseflies. Simply turn on the machine, and choose from two power modes: standard and low. Make sure there are no lights on in the room for best results.
FAQs About Gnat Traps
Now that you know more about gnat traps, you might still have questions about how these devices work and how they should be used. The following are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about gnat traps to help you get the most out of your purchase.
Q. What type of trap should I get?
If your gnat infestation is largely indoors, a multipack of sticky traps may be the best option. If gnats and other pets are present outdoors, consider an electric zapper.
Q. What attracts gnats to traps?
Electric traps use fluorescent light which attracts bugs at night. Sticky traps are usually made from yellow paper, which is said to attract gnats and other bugs. Both kinds are supposed to be placed in areas where gnats are already assembling.
Q. How long does it take for gnat traps to work?
Once installed, both physical and electric gnat traps should start to work immediately.
Q. Are gnats and fruit flies the same?
While gnats and fruit flies may look similar, they aren’t actually the same type of insect. The common fruit fly is technically called Drosophila melanogaster. A gnat, on the other hand, refers to a large collection of flying insects that come from the Mycetophilidae, Anisopodidae, and Sciaridae families.