The Best Rat Repellents of 2023

Ultrasonic and scent-based rat repellents are safe and humane solutions for ridding a home of rodent invaders.

By Tony Carrick | Updated Apr 18, 2023 1:50 PM

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The Best Rat Repellent Option


Piles of small rat droppings, scratching noises in the walls, tiny footprints on a dusty shelf, and holes chewed through food containers are all telltale signs that rats may have taken up residence in a home. While poisons and traps are effective means for offing these little pests, lethal solutions aren’t always feasible for households with pets and children. Rat repellents offer a solution that’s safer, natural, and more humane.

These products are either scent-based or sound-based solutions for keeping rats away. Pellets, packets, and sprayers drive rats away by emitting strong odors that do not bother humans but that rats can’t tolerate. Ultrasonic repellents emit sound waves that humans and pets can’t hear but cause rats auditory distress.

This guide will outline the advantages and disadvantages of these nonlethal rodent remedies and recommend the best rat repellent products for any property.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Fresh Cab Botanical Rodent Repellent
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Victor M756K PestChaser Rodent Repellent
  3. BEST ULTRASONIC: Neatmaster Ultrasonic Pest Repeller Indoor Repellent
  4. BEST SPRAY: Natural Armor Peppermint All-Natural Rodent Shield 
  5. BEST FOR CAR: Loraffe Under Hood Rodent Ultrasonic Rat Repellent
The Best Rat Repellent Option


How We Chose the Best Rat Repellents

We researched the most sought-after rat repellents in their respective categories and discovered that the best options are determined by their type, coverage area, longevity, ease of use, and other special features included by top brands.

After extensive product research, we included options in our list of top picks that were made with all-natural or nonlethal materials to deter pests humanely. Our selected top picks are either scent-based or ultrasonic and cover indoor and outdoor spaces of 8 square feet to 4,000 square feet to meet different user needs. As for effectiveness, some of our top picks are capable of deterring pests for up to 5 years.

Finally, we were sure to select options that were easy to use; in most cases, this meant either a single application or a single plug-in unit. Plus, select options come with LED strobe lights, multiple sound settings, or built-in sprayers for added convenience and effectiveness against rat infestations.

Our Top Picks

Below are our choices for the best rat repellent products in packet, pellet, spray, and ultrasonic forms. While these products may employ different means, they will all help drive rodents from a property.

Best Overall

The Best Rat Repellent Option: Fresh Cab Botanical Rodent Repellent

Many rat repellent solutions don’t just keep rats away; they’re also offensive to humans (we’re looking at you, mothballs). This botanical isn’t just an effective rodent repellent; it also functions as an air freshener. Fresh Cab Botanical Rodent Repellent’s main ingredient is balsam fir oil, which is an appealing scent to humans but encourages rodents to steer clear of a homestead. This is an all-natural rat repellent and is thus safe for use inside the home and easy on the environment.

Fresh Cab is super easy to use: Simply place a pouch or two in every room (one pouch treats about 8 square feet) to create an effective rat-repelling barrier. Although Fresh Cab is one of the more effective means of keeping a home rodent-free, it’s also one of the pricier options because it may take 20 pouches or more to protect larger homes. Fresh Cab comes in packs of 4 and 24 pouches.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Scent-based
  • Coverage area: 8 square feet per pouch
  • Longevity: 30 days
  • Ease of use: Easy


  • Balsam fir essential oils deter rodents but act as an air freshener for humans
  • All-natural ingredients; suitable for homes with children and pets
  • Each pouch covers 8 square feet of space; suitable for small or large spaces


  • Needs to be replaced more frequently than comparable options

Get the Fresh Cab rat repellent at Amazon or Tractor Supply Co.

Best Bang For The Buck

The Best Rat Repellent Option: Victor M756K PestChaser Rodent Repellent

Ultrasonic sounds cannot pass through walls, which is why outfitting an entire home with plug-in ultrasonic devices for each room can get pricey. Victor’s set of six ultrasonic PestChasers offers terrific value for the money: There are enough gadgets here to outfit an average-size home, and they each have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years. This set offers very good value because it costs about the same as a single ultrasonic device from another manufacturer.

When plugged into a standard electrical outlet, each unit emits a high-frequency noise that is loud enough to cover an average-size room, thereby deterring any rat problem. The sound is inaudible to humans but irks rodents. The units are low profile, measuring less than 2 inches by 2 inches, and emit a soft blue glow—they’re essentially a rat repellent and night light in one compact device.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Ultrasonic
  • Coverage area: Average-size rooms
  • Longevity: 3 to 5 years
  • Ease of use: Easy


  • Comes with 6 units; can prevent rat infestations in a whole home
  • Lasts for 3 to 5 years without replacement; just leave it and forget it
  • Inaudible to humans; will not cause any noise pollution in a home
  • Low-profile, and each device only takes up 1 electrical outlet


  • No specific square footage is listed for the total coverage area

Get the Victor rat repellent at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Tractor Supply Co.

Best Ultrasonic

The Best Rat Repellent Option: Neatmaster Ultrasonic Pest Repeller Indoor Repellent

For homeowners who don’t want scented repellents and don’t mind spending a little more to solve their rat problems, this ultrasonic pest repeller from Neatmaster is an excellent option. It measures less than 5 inches tall and about 3 inches wide and plugs into a standard wall outlet to deter any rat problem.

One of this unit’s main advantages is that it can be set to one of three ultrasonic sound frequencies. The green and blue settings are for minor to moderate rat problems. At these levels, the Neatmaster emits sounds that are inaudible to humans. The red setting is for severe rat infestations, and the sound emitted is audible to humans and pets. Colored LED lights indicate which setting is activated. Remember that ultrasonic waves do not pass through walls, so users will need a Neatmaster device for every affected room.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Ultrasonic
  • Coverage area: 80 to 1,200 square feet
  • Longevity: Unlisted
  • Ease of use: Easy


  • Plugs into a standard wall outlet; low profile means it won’t take up a lot of space
  • Comes with 3 integrated sound features: green (light), blue (medium), and red (heavy)
  • Simply set and forget; requires little to no maintenance for treating pest problems


  • The red setting is audible to humans as well as pets; may not be suitable for some homes
  • Ultrasonic waves do not pass through walls; multiple units may be required for different rooms

Get the Neatmaster rat repellent at Amazon.

Best Spray

The Best Rat Repellent Option: Natural Armor Peppermint All-Natural Rodent Shield

The active ingredient of Natural Armor’s spray-on solution is peppermint oil, which drives rodents crazy but leaves a pleasing aroma behind for us humans. Applying the spray to areas where rats and mice enter the home, including doors, windows, vents, pipes, and cracks, will create an effective barrier against rats and other rodents. This product does not contain chemicals, so it’s safe to use around pets and children and isn’t harmful to the environment.

Natural Armor comes in a 128-ounce bottle, which includes a trigger sprayer for application. One bottle covers about 4,000 square feet. While this product will not stain woodwork or furnishings, it will leave an oily residue on surfaces.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Scent-based
  • Coverage area: 4,000 square feet
  • Longevity: Unlisted
  • Ease of use: Easy


  • Peppermint essential oils are an all-natural rat repellent; suitable for homes with children and pets
  • Can be applied indoors or outdoors for added protection and convenience
  • Comes with ample quantity for small- to large-scale rat infestations
  • Does not leave any residue or discoloration on wooden surfaces or furnishings


  • Unknown how long the effects of this product last; may need to be frequently reapplied for best results

Get the Natural Armor rat repellent at Amazon.

Best For Car

The Best Rat Repellent Option: Loraffe Under Hood Rodent Ultrasonic Rat Repellent

Rats and mice can wreak havoc on an automobile, chewing through wiring or even building a nest inside the vehicle. Loraffe’s device repels rodents by deploying a two-pronged strategy: It emits a high-pitched sound and flashes three LED strobe lights, and rats detest both the noise and the lights.

This repellent installs under the hood of a vehicle and attaches to its 12-volt battery via a simple two-wire installation. The emitter uses minimal battery power but will automatically shut itself off if it senses that the battery’s voltage has dropped below 10.5 volts. Note that this product is not suitable for hybrid electric vehicles.

Product Specs 

  • Type: Ultrasonic
  • Coverage area: Unlisted
  • Longevity: Unlisted
  • Ease of use: Easy


  • Prevents rodents from tampering with a car’s wiring or building a nest
  • 2-pronged strategy integrated; produces a high-pitched sound and LED strobe lights
  • Installs easily; attaches to a 12-volt battery with 2-wire installation
  • Automatically shuts off when battery drops below 10.5 volts


  • No longevity or coverage area is listed; may not suit some users’ preferences
  • Not compatible with any hybrid electric vehicles

Get the Loraffe rat repellent at Amazon.

Or, DIY Your Own Rat Repellent

Making a version of whatever it is users are seeking is thrifty, and it can be natural and low waste. Not to mention, it’s very Bob Vila! This section covers how to make a comparable rat repellent with household products. One of the most tried-and-true DIY repellents is made with ammonia and vinegar. Simply fill a household spray bottle with 1 cup of ammonia and 1 cup of vinegar and spray on cracks, walls, floors, and other areas where rats and other pests can enter the homestead. Though the scent can be overpowering in small spaces, this is an effective way of deterring rats from entering a home.

Jump to Our Top Picks

Our Verdict 

There are other common rat repellent options including Just One Bite II Rodent Rat Bait Cake Blocks, Neogen Ramik Weather-Resistant Bait Nuggets, and Victor Fast-Kill Brand Refillable Poison Bait Station. However, they do not meet our sustainability guidelines and are not recommended in our top picks due to their lethal deterring methods. Each of these products aims to kill pests rather than deter them, and they use chemicals in the process, which may not be ideal for some users’ preferences.

What to Consider When Choosing a Rat Repellent

Ahead, discover the pros and cons of ultrasonic and scent-based rat repellents and learn about the important considerations—including coverage and longevity—that shoppers will want to think about before purchasing one of these humane pest solutions.


There are two types of rat repellents: scent-based and ultrasonic repellents. Scent-based products are sold as sprays, pellets, or packets. They work by dispersing a strong smell, usually peppermint or pine, that rats and mice dislike. Liquid sprays are applied to areas where rats enter the home, such as door frames, windows, cracks, and crevices, leaving behind an oily residue. Packets are small pouches of dry ingredients that are ideal for positioning around the exterior or interior of a home.

Pellets are infused with a mix of nonessential oils and other odiferous ingredients. With pellets, users can fine-tune how much of the product is distributed—a sprinkling of pellets in smaller spaces, such as a drawer or cabinet, and larger quantities in a garage or bedroom.

Ultrasonic pest repellents use sound to send rats packing. Their sound waves are inaudible to humans but irritating to rats. Indoor ultrasonic devices are plugged into a standard wall socket and are similar in size to a plug-in air freshener. Ultrasonic waves cannot penetrate walls, so more than one unit may be required to treat an indoor infestation. Purchasing enough of these devices to treat an entire home could be costly, depending on the size of the home.

Outdoor ultrasonic repellents are essentially small transmitters that are attached to stakes and powered by a solar cell. Users drive these stakes into the ground just as they would solar walkway lights. These devices typically cover a radius of about 40 feet.


Scent-based repellents use natural ingredients—typically aromatic essential oils, such as peppermint, cinnamon, spearmint, and balsam—to drive off rodents. While the scents from these oils are offensive to rats, most homeowners rather like them. In a way, these fragrant oils can double as air fresheners. Packets and pellets use dry forms of these oils, while sprays typically dilute the liquid forms.

Unlike rat killers or mothballs, scent-based rat repellents don’t contain harsh chemicals or poisons, making them safe for use around humans and pets. They’re also safe for the environment.


Both scented and ultrasonic solutions have limited ranges. Scented sprays are only strong enough to cover the immediate area where the spray is released. Pouches are more potent and typically cover up to a 125-square-foot area. Pellets’ coverage ranges vary depending on how many pellets are used. A few pellets may be enough to treat a small closet, while a handful can create enough scent to protect a whole shed.

Most ultrasonic waves can travel up to about 40 feet or until they encounter a structure or other solid object. Using an ultrasonic device to remedy a rat problem inside a home usually requires multiple units because these sound waves cannot pass through walls.

Working Time and Longevity

Rat repellents work fast. Scent disperses quickly into the air, and the irritant drives rats away almost as soon as they encounter it. Ultrasonic repellents begin to work as soon as they’re plugged in, and the sound waves carry to where rats are hiding. A household can expect results from rat repellents within days if not hours.

The length of time these rat-revolting products last has a lot to do with which product is used. Scent repellents eventually wear out but will continue to work after humans can no longer smell them. Expect them to be effective for 6 weeks or more. Rats have a more developed sense of smell than humans do, which is why strong odors such as mint and pine are so offensive to them.

Though ultrasonic devices may cost more at the outset, they will last much longer because they rely on electricity or solar power to relay an audio tone—there’s no product to run out of. Ultrasonic repellents can last for several years before they wear out.


If you’re wondering how nontoxic repellents can rebuff rodents from the property or are trying to determine if rats have invaded your home, read on for answers to these important questions.

Q. What are the signs of a rat infestation?

Numerous warning signs indicate there might be a rat infestation on your property. The most common evidence is rat droppings. A single rat can produce up to 40 droppings per night, so this is one of the best ways to identify a rat problem. You might also notice damage to walls and food containers, which could be signs of rats chewing through walls and packaging to get food or gain access to the home. Other indications include scratching noises in the walls or ceilings and tiny footprints in dusty areas.

Q. What are natural repellents for rats?

Essential oils are some of the best natural rat repellents. Rats have a highly developed sense of smell, which makes strong odors such as pine oil, cinnamon oil, and even peppermint oil offensive to them. Cayenne pepper, cloves, and a mixture of vinegar and ammonia will keep rats away as well.

Q. What frequency keeps rats away?

Ultrasonic sound waves with frequencies above 20 kilohertz cause rats auditory stress, thus warding off the pests.

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.