The Best Rat Poisons of 2023

Keep long-tailed rodents from taking over your home with these effective rat poisons.

By Tom Scalisi | Updated Apr 12, 2023 1:02 PM

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The Best Rat Poison Option

Photo: depositphotos.com

For homeowners, DIYers, and renters concerned about rat infestations or prevention, the best rat poison can take care of the problem. If rats make it into a home, these edible poisons make their way into their systems, killing the rodent within a day or two.

Most rat poisons come in blocks that you can use on their own or in bait stations. Keep reading for the key features to consider when shopping and then explore the picks for the best rat poisons on today’s market. An in-depth review of the market and thorough product vetting went into assembling the list of top picks.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Just One Bite II Rat Poison Bar
  2. RUNNER-UP: Neogen Ramik Green Weather-Resistant Nuggets
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Tomcat Rat & Mouse Killer Disposable Station
  4. BEST FAST-ACTING: Victor Fast-Kill Brand Refillable Rat Bait Station
  5. MOST PET-SAFE: EcoClear Products RatX Pellets
  6. BEST FOR OUTDOORS: Tomcat All-Weather Bait Chunx
  7. BEST FOR RURAL AREAS: Tomcat Bait Chunx With Bromethalin
  8. BEST BAIT FOOD: Motomco Tomcat With Bromethalin Meal Bait
  9. ALSO CONSIDER: Just One Bite II Bait Chunks
The Best Rat Poison Option

Photo: depositphotos.com

Before You Buy Rat Poison 

Rats are carriers of a host of diseases, and a rat infestation should be taken seriously. Similarly, the use of rat poison is a serious matter. Always read and follow the warnings on the product’s label. Improper use could have unintended and tragic consequences for pets. Use rat or mouse poisons as directed.

Some folks may be fundamentally opposed to the use of rat poison; killing rats might disagree with their morals. Also, a scavenger may choose dead rats as an easy meal, which could then result in a poisoned scavenger. For some, the risk isn’t worth the reward. And with so much research on the topic, that stance is understandable.

Luckily, there are other options. For one, the use of rat repellents may prevent an infestation from starting, which means it’s possible to keep a home rat-free without having to kill rats. Also, for those who aren’t opposed to killing a rat but would prefer to protect their local ecosystem, rat traps are an option.

How We Chose the Best Rat Poisons

Choosing the best rat poisons is tough work. We had to perform scientific research to first familiarize ourselves with the different rodenticides and poisons, evoking high school chemistry class flashbacks.

Once we knew how these products worked, we dove deep into product research to pick out products we felt would meet our criteria and fit our expectations. Once we had a large pool of products, we narrowed them down based on methods, efficacy, and value. After throwing out the products that did not meet our criteria after all, we assigned awards to the winners based on their strengths. The result is a list of the best rat poisons, with a product for just about everyone.

Our Top Picks

There can be a lot to consider when picking a rodenticide. Below is a list highlighting some of the best slow- and fast-acting rat poisons on the market in their respective categories.

Best Overall

The Best Rat Poison Option: Just One Bite II Rat Poison Bar
Photo: amazon.com

For homeowners, DIYers, apartment dwellers, or maintenance personnel looking for a rat-poison solution to take care of tough rats in less time, the Just One Bite II 16-ounce rat bait is worth considering. These bait cake blocks contain bromadiolone, which can kill a rat in one night’s worth of snacking.

This pack of eight cake blocks will help eliminate pests such as Norway rats, roof rats, and house mice. These blocks are suitable for use indoors and outdoors, and they feature ridges that promote rodent nibbling and gnawing. These 1-pound bars provide plenty of long-lasting poisoning potential that a rat can’t steal and carry back to its nest. Do keep in mind that these blocks are toxic, so they need to be kept away from pets and children.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Anticoagulant
  • Speed: Fast acting
  • Toxicity: Toxic

Pros

  • Can kill roof rats, house mice, and Norway rats in a matter of days or even quicker if they consume a larger portion
  • Blocks have feature ridges to entice rats into nibbling
  • Large block design prevents the rat from stealing the block

Cons

  • Not as safe as some other comparable options; not pet- or child-safe

Get the Just One Bite II rat poison bar at Amazon or Ace Hardware.

Runner-Up

The Best Rat Poison Option: Neogen Ramik Green Weather-Resistant Nuggets
Photo: amazon.com

The Neogen Ramik weather-resistant bait nuggets are worth a look for folks who need a slow-acting poison in a large, affordable quantity. These pellets use diphacinone, which is a slow-acting anticoagulant for eliminating pesky mice and rats within 4 or 5 days. Neogen uses food-processing technology to create a fish-flavored bait that won’t lose its potency or flavor.

A 20-pound pail of Neogen Ramik nuggets provides plenty of refills for bait traps, so it’s easy to stay on top of a persistent rat problem. The nuggets can be used inside and outside, thanks to their weather-resistant formula. They’re effective against rats, mice, and meadow voles, but they’re not safe for pets or children.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Anticoagulant
  • Speed: Slow acting
  • Toxicity: Toxic

Pros

  • Fish-flavored nuggets attract and keep rats nibbling; suitable for large- and small-scale infestations
  • Kills rats and mice in just 4 to 5 days
  • Weather-resistant formula; can be used for indoor and outdoor rat infestations

Cons

  • Not as safe as some other rat poison options; not pet- or child-safe

Get the Neogen rat poison at Amazon or The Home Depot (4 pounds).

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Rat Poison Option: Tomcat Rat & Mouse Killer Disposable Station
Photo: amazon.com

While putting blocks of poison around a foundation may be effective, it isn’t as safe as using bait stations like this product from Tomcat. This disposable station comes prebaited for easy handling, requiring you to simply place the station (without touching the poison) wherever the rat may travel.

Tomcat uses its bromethalin blocks, providing doses of acute toxins at every feeding, the accumulation of which kills rats. Each bait block can effectively kill up to 10 rats and mice, and the see-through lid allows you to check the amount of bait left without handling the station. It’s important to recognize that stations are dog- and child-resistant, not dog- and childproof, so care should still be taken to keep pets and children away.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Acute toxin
  • Speed: Slow acting
  • Toxicity: Toxic

Pros

  • No need to touch the bait block; safe during the application process
  • See-through lid allows for easy checks for dead rats
  • Kills up to 10 rats; perfect for both small and large infestations

Cons

  • Design is dog- and child-resistant, not dog- and childproof

Get the Tomcat disposable station rat poison at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

Best Fast-Acting

The Best Rat Poison Option: Victor Fast-Kill Brand Refillable Poison Bait Station
Photo: amazon.com

The Victor Fast-Kill Brand refillable rat bait station has a large plastic see-through body that is equipped with two bait blocks. It’s a heavy-duty rat poison and bait station in one that’s effective after one night’s feeding. Refilling the station is easy: The cover slides apart, allowing you to easily access the bait.

This refillable bait station comes with bait refills and disposable gloves, so it’s easy to refill the station safely. It features two entry points and an interactive tunnel, which encourages mice and rats to stay and eat. After a single night, bromethalin—a fast-acting acute toxin—can poison rats with a lethal dose. While the product itself is child-resistant, this product is toxic and requires care around pets or children.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Acute toxin
  • Speed: Fast acting
  • Toxicity: Toxic

Pros

  • Features 2 entry points and an interactive tunnel; perfect for small- and large-scale infestations
  • Bait blocks included for added convenience and user-friendliness
  • See-through body for checking the amount of bait left or for a rat’s body
  • Comes with additional refills and disposable gloves for safety

Cons

  • Child-resistant, but should still be used and placed carefully

Get the Victor rat poison at Amazon, Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, or Tractor Supply Co. (10 block).

Most Pet-Safe

The Best Rat Poison Option: EcoClear Products RatX Pellets
Photo: amazon.com

Folks who would prefer to keep their pets or children safe while still ridding themselves of mice and rats should give EcoClear Products’ RatX rat poison some consideration. This product takes advantage of rats’ unique biology, preventing them from hydrating after ingestion, while still being safe for other animals.

This product’s active-ingredient formula includes corn gluten and sodium chloride. Once the rat eats the poison, these materials swell and prevent the rat from drinking, killing them by dehydration. Unlike most pets and children, rats are unable to vomit, which is why this product is the most pet-safe product on the market. Do note, however, that there is zero conventional poison in RatX, which means the rat has to ingest enough of the rodenticide to effectively kill it. It’s also suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

Note: While this is one of the most pet-safe products on the market, it is designed to kill. Use only as directed and not in households with children or pets with digestive issues or other health concerns that could prevent them from safely vomiting ingested pellets.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Dehydrator
  • Speed: Slow acting
  • Toxicity: Nontoxic

Pros

  • Zero-poison nontoxic formula; the safest option for use around pets and children
  • Ample quantity provided; can take on a small and large rat problem
  • Versatile construction; suitable for indoor or outdoor use

Cons

  • May not be safe around some children or pets; use on a case-by-case basis

Get the EcoClear Products rat poison at Amazon or The Home Depot.

Best for Outdoors

The Best Rat Poison Option: Tomcat All-Weather Bait Chunx
Photo: amazon.com

Rats can just as easily become a problem on a farm or in the backyard as they can in a city. These bait chunks feature food-grade active ingredients that attract hungry rats, and diphacinone to poison them after several feedings. The 1-ounce bait chunks are mold- and moisture-resistant, so you can place them in bait stations along barn or garage foundations, indoors or out.

The peanut-flavored bait chunks have very low wax content, which makes them extra palatable to rats. They have center holes that you can place over a peg, nail, or screw, which will keep greedy rats from walking away with these tasty Tomcat bait chunks. While the downside is that this product could require several feedings, it also prevents rats from becoming aware of the poison.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Anticoagulant
  • Speed: Slow acting
  • Toxicity: Toxic

Pros

  • Mold- and moisture-resistant formula can be placed in garages, sheds, and more
  • Low wax content to make them more palatable to rats and other rodents
  • Hole built into the chunks for hanging over a nail, screw, or peg

Cons

  • Requires several feedings but will prevent rats from becoming aware

Get the Tomcat all-weather rat poison at Amazon or Tractor Supply Co.

Best for Rural Areas

The Best Rat Poison Option: Tomcat Bait Chunx With Bromethalin
Photo: amazon.com

Ridding rats from a barn or old house can get expensive, particularly for home dwellers with one or two voracious rats consuming a chunk of bait each night. Tomcat’s Bait Chunx allows rats to nibble a lethal dose of food but kills them before they eat more.

Tomcat Bait Chunx administers a dose of bromethalin (an acute toxin) that builds up in rats’ bodies, shutting their organs down after 2 days. Each pail has 64 bait blocks that can be used in Tomcat feed stations. The bait blocks have center holes that keep them in place over a nail or peg, which prevents rats from knocking the bait down or taking it with them.

Note that due to the potency of Tomcat’s bait chunks, they’re only suitable for use in agricultural and rural settings.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Acute toxin
  • Speed: Slow acting
  • Toxicity: Toxic

Pros

  • Works in 2 or more days; perfect for those who want infestations gone quickly
  • Center holes keep the block in place; can also be hung if required
  • Plenty of bait blocks (64-count) for taking care of small and large infestations

Cons

  • Only suitable for agricultural and rural areas due to potency

Get the Tomcat Bait Chunx with bromethalin rat poison at Amazon or Lowe’s.

Best Bait Food

The Best Rat Poison Option: Motomco Tomcat With Bromethalin Meal Bait
Photo: amazon.com

The oat-and-grain formula in Motomco’s Tomcat meal bait is appealing to rodents, and that’s a good thing. Rat poison has to be pretty appetizing to get a rat’s attention—the idea is for the rats to eat the poison instead of other food sources. This poison meal bait contains bromethalin, an acute poison that kills rats in about 2 days. While it does require more than one feeding to kill rats, the 5-pound container holds an ample supply to handle a persistent issue.

Motomco’s Tomcat can be used in a variety of applications, including bait traps and stations, loose piles, and burrows. Be sure to place the bait down inside the burrow to keep birds and other wildlife from coming into contact with the poison.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Acute toxin
  • Speed: Slow acting
  • Toxicity: Toxic

Pros

  • Works for bait traps, stations, burrows, or in loose piles
  • 5 pounds of poison; suitable for clearing out small to large infestations
  • Oat-and-grain formula to appeals to rats; keeps rats nibbling

Cons

  • Requires careful placement, as it is toxic to birds and other wildlife

Get the Motomco rat poison at Amazon or Tractor Supply Co.

Also Consider

The Best Rat Poison Option: Just One Bite II Bait Chunks
Photo: amazon.com

Removing Norway rats, roof rats, and house mice can be a challenge for most rat poisons, but not the Farnam Just One Bite II bait chunks. This 8-pound box of rat poison is capable of killing all of these rodent varieties within just 5 days with its bromadiolone-based formula.

Each granule has nibble ridges to encourage rats and mice to eat while deterring infestation from insects due to its S-methoprene treatment. Though it is on the pricey side, these bait chunks are suitable for killing and preventing a range of large and small rodent infestations.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Acute toxin
  • Speed: Slow acting
  • Toxicity: Toxic

Pros

  • Versatile formula; suitable for killing Norway rats, mice, and roof rats in just 5 days
  • Ample quantity provided; can kill rats of small to large quantities
  • Nibble ridges; encourages eating and chewing for effective killing

Cons

  • Chunks should not be placed anywhere near people or pets

Get the Just One Bite II bait chunks rat poison at Amazon.

Or, DIY Your Own Rat Poison

Making a version of the thing users are seeking is thrifty, (can be) natural, and low waste. Not to mention, it’s very Bob Vila! Though making rat poison may seem like a daunting task, it can actually be an easy feat. One of the simplest ways to do it is to mix one part flour or sugar and one part baking soda and leave it out where rodents frequently scurry. Not only is this option effective for killing rats, it is also safe for use around children and pets.

Alternatives to Rat Poison

Preventing mice and rats from entering a home or causing problems can be done without handling rat poison. For those who prefer a natural and nonlethal approach to rodent control, filling in cracks and holes around a home regularly can prevent rats and other rodents from entering. For yard or outdoor infestations, you can rely on humane rat traps like the Catchmaster 72MAX Pest Trap, which catches the rat instead of killing it. Finally, you can also rely on more tried-and-true methods like adopting a cat to do the rat hunting.

Jump to Our Top Picks



Our Verdict 

There are other common rat poisons, including Neogen Havoc Rodenticide and Motomco Tomcat Liquid Concentrate. However, they do not meet our sustainability guidelines and are not recommended in our top picks due to their use of active ingredients like Bitrex, which emits a powerful chemical smell. As some users may know, Bitrex can be nauseating to humans and pets, and the chemical can be overwhelming and harmful.

What to Consider When Choosing Rat Poison 

There are a few important factors to consider while deciding which rat poison is best for a situation. Keep in mind that a lot of rat poison works gradually, requiring at least a few days of successful feeding to affect rats.

Types of Poison

There are a few types of rat and mouse poison referred to as rodenticides. These include calcium releasers, acute toxins, and anticoagulants.

  • Calcium releasers and acute toxins are the least messy options. Calcium releasers increase the amount of calcium in the bloodstream, which causes rats’ internal organs to shut down.
  • Acute toxins release small amounts of poison into the bloodstream over a short period until the amount of poison in the blood is lethal.
  • Anticoagulants can be particularly gruesome, both for rats and for those people who have to dispose of the rat carcasses. These poisons inhibit blood clotting, causing internal bleeding until the rat expires.

Toxic vs. Nontoxic 

Make no mistake: Poisons are toxic. The difference between toxic and nontoxic rat poisons has nothing to do with their effects on rats. It refers to poisons’ toxicity to humans and other animals. Few poisons are categorized as nontoxic, and to be sure, you should handle them carefully. Read these poisons’ warning labels and use them appropriately.

Though they may not kill a human or pet, exposure to high doses of chemicals in nontoxic poisons causes serious side effects, like flushing and a drop in blood pressure. For these reasons, keep nontoxic products in the same safe areas that would be typical for toxic rat poisons to be stored.

Slow-Acting vs. Fast-Acting

There is a considerable difference between slow-acting and fast-acting rat poisons, and it’s not just the amount of time it takes for a rat to die. Fast-acting poison will kill a rat faster (with a proper dose) than a slow-acting poison, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Fast-acting poisons are suitable for significant infestations because they can quickly kill many rats within a day or two. However, rats can learn to avoid fast-acting poisons if they see other rats become sick after eating them. Slow-acting poisons don’t affect rats right away, which means they won’t make a correlation between the food they eat and feeling ill.

The California legislature is trying to ban the use of fast-acting rodenticides altogether. The reason? A rat that dies from fast-acting poison will have high levels of poison in its carcass, potentially poisoning the next animal that comes along and eats it. This could start a dangerous cycle that affects wildlife several links up the food chain.

Required Dosage 

Poison dosage has less to do with how much bait to put out and more to do with how much a rat has to eat before succumbing to the poison. How much rat poison to use depends on whether the poison is fast- or slow-acting.

Fast-acting poison requires fewer doses of poison, and some rats with voracious appetites can consume a lethal dose in 1 day. Slow-acting poisons require repeated feeding over a few days before enough toxins build up to kill the rat.

If a DIY exterminator is unsure of how much poison to put out, the product’s packaging will have directions and recommended dosages.

Ease of Use 

Like most rat traps, rat poisons are easy to use because rats are attracted to them. Since rodenticides take time to work, leave them out for several days to give rats time to consume them. It’s best to purchase products that are easy to handle and replace when needed.

Several rat poisons on the market are compatible with feeding stations that you can refill when they run low on bait or the bait ages and loses its effectiveness. Bait stations like the Redtop 2-Pack Rodent Bait Station allow you to refill the trap with liquid poison or pellets. Other stations, like the Tomcat Rat and Mouse Bait Station, use block-type poisons.

Tips for Using Rat Poison Safely

When handling rat poison, be sure to wear gloves at all times and wash your hands afterward. Handling poison probably won’t expose you to enough of it to become critically ill, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t store rat repellents or poison anywhere a pet can get to it. Many of these poisons are attractive to animal noses in general, and a curious pet may try to get to the package’s contents. It’s best to store the package in an airtight container, out of animals’ reach. Of course, rodenticides should also be kept out of the reach of children. It’s a good idea to store rat poison in a garage or shed to keep it away from curious kids.

Finally, remove other food sources from the area to be treated to get the rats to concentrate on the bait. This includes livestock feed, human food, and pet food. Edibles that distract rats from the rat poison will minimize the poison’s effectiveness.

  • Wear gloves while baiting rat or mouse traps and wash hands afterward.
  • Store unused rat poison in an airtight container where pets and children can’t get to it.
  • Remove competing food sources so rats only eat the poisoned bait.

FAQs

If you have some questions about the best rat poison, don’t worry. The following section outlines some of the most frequently asked questions about rat poison and how to get rid of rats properly. If there is still a lingering question that isn’t addressed, contact the rodenticide manufacturer or a local poison control center.

Q. How does rat poison work?

There are a few types of rat poisons. Some overload the bloodstream with calcium to shut down rats’ organs. Other poisons kill rodents slowly throughout a few feedings. Some rat poisons use anticoagulants to cause internal bleeding.

Q. How long does it take to kill rats with poison?

Fast-acting poisons can kill a rat with a single night’s feeding, but it may take 2 or 3 days before the rat dies. Slow-acting poisons may take a feeding or two and can take 4 or 5 days before the rat dies.

Q. What if my pet eats rat poison?

If your pet eats rat poison, call your veterinarian right away. The sooner your pet is treated, the less likely it is that permanent damage will occur. If at all possible, identify the active ingredient in the poison (or bring the poison’s container with you) so the vet can administer proper care.

Why Trust Bob Vila

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.