Cockroaches find their way into houses, apartments, sheds, and even vehicles, and can quickly become a full-blown infestation. Unfortunately, cockroaches are incredibly resilient creatures and cannot be eradicated by ordinary bug killers.
For these situations, you need a quality roach killer that either kills on contact or brings poisons back to the nest, killing the infestation completely. Whether you are looking for roach bait stations or spray killers, there are many options for making your home roach-free. Read on to find out which products are the best roach killers on the market and return your home to a place of peace—not pests.
- BEST OVERALL: Combat Max 12 Month Roach Killing Bait
- BEST VALUE: Raid Ant and Roach Killer
- BEST SPRAY: Bengal Gold Roach Spray
- BEST TRAP: Black Flag Roach Motel Insect Trap
- BEST GEL: Advion Roach Pest Control Gel
- BEST FOGGER: Raid Concentrated Deep Reach Fogger
- BEST FOR SMALL INFESTATION: Rockwell Labs Invict Gold Cockroach Gel
- BEST FOR LARGE INFESTATION: Raid Double Control Small Roach Baits and Egg Stopper
Types of Roach Killers
Roach killers come in several different variations, with the most popular and effective being traps, gels, sprays, and foggers.
- Traps are one of the most common roach killer products, with so-called “roach motels” as a go-to for treating infestations. Some traps feature a bait within an enclosed space containing poison, such as hydramethylnon, effectively luring and killing the roach. Other designs use a one-way door to trap roaches inside, without using poison. This design isn’t as effective as poisoned traps, but it does offer the benefit of being safe for children and pets.
- Gels are substances that are attractive to roaches, containing a powerful insecticide known as fipronil. Attractive scents and tastes lure the roaches to the poison. After eating it, they go back to the nest and die, where they are then consumed by other roaches. This seals the roaches’ fate as the poison spreads through the nest. Gels can be easily applied on the ground, walls, behind appliances, or inside cupboards. You can use gels in conjunction with traps for better results. However, households with children and pets should take precautions by avoiding placing gels in easy-to-access areas.
- Sprays are handy for covering wide surface areas and spraying into crevices that traps and gels can’t reach. Sprays normally use pyrethroid chemicals to shut down the roach’s nervous system. These substances kill most insects that have come in contact with them in less than a day. Although, some roaches have been known to live for up to two weeks after treatment.
- Foggers, otherwise known as a “bug-bombs”, are cans of pesticide that you place in a room and open to activate. The can releases a steady stream of gaseous poison that seeps into the cracks and crevices of your home that are out of sight and otherwise inaccessible. Foggers generally use pyrethroids to attack the roach’s nervous system in the same way that sprays do. You need to cover all foods, cooking implements, and cooking surfaces before using the fogger, and vacate the home for a minimum of four hours after using it.
What to Consider when Choosing the Best Roach Killer
When choosing the right roach killer, there are a handful of factors to keep in mind before you buy.
Length of Efficacy
Length of efficacy refers to how long the roach killer will continue to work requiring replacement. A roach killer’s length of efficacy depends on two things: how quickly the active ingredient breaks down and how much of the product you apply. Most roach killers have a minimum efficacy period of approximately one month and a maximum efficacy period of two years. Big infestations will call for additional traps, as the poison will deplete quickly if a large number of roaches are eating it. Always check and follow the directions on the package for when to replace roach killers.
The types of pests that a roach killer will eliminate depend on the active ingredient in the product, the type of product used, and the bait used to lure the pests. Some larger traps use a glue sheet that can trap anything from small insects, like ants, to mice or rats—and everything in between.
Because roaches are so adept at surviving, most roach killers use high levels of pesticide that can kill a wide variety of other pests, such as bees, ants, hornets, mice, spiders, rats, and silverfish. For this reason, it’s important to keep your pets and kids away from roach traps and areas where you’ve applied roach killer, thereby avoiding trips to the hospital or vet clinic.
Ease of Use
Another factor to consider when you are selecting gel baits, roach bait stations, or any other means of killing roaches is how easy or difficult the solution is to apply and use. The best roach killer needs to be able to end roach infestations quickly, but it should also be relatively simple to use. Not only does this help keep you safe from accidental poison ingestion, it also improves the chances that your selected pest control approach is actually killing roaches.
Traps are a simple method for killing roaches and they are relatively straightforward to set up and use. Gels and sprays must be applied to crevices, cracks, and other areas around the home where roaches commonly lurk. Foggers are the least user-friendly option because these bug bombs require a lot of preparation beforehand and a lot of cleanup afterward to ensure that your home is roach-free and poison-free.
Boric acid powders can be used indoors or outdoors, but powders can be messy and difficult to clean up indoors, so it may be better to stick to using boric acid outdoors or in isolated areas of the home to avoid accidental contact or ingestion. An easy way to determine if the roach bait stations, gel baits, or pest control sprays are working is to look for dead roaches in the vicinity of your roach killer.
Bait Type and Ingredients
Roach bait comes in two main types and can include fipronil, hydramethylnon, indoxacarb, or boric acid. The first uses a mixture of sugar (to attract the roaches) and poison (which kills the insects quickly). This method is frequently seen in roach motels and other traps that are intended to kill the roach on the spot.
The second type of bait uses a similar mixture of sugars to attract the roaches, but the death process is slower. This form of bait uses a delayed transfer toxic action that kills the roach over several days. During this time, the roach leaves poison-laden feces around the nest that other roaches consume. After the roach dies, the other roaches also eat the corpse, transferring the poison throughout the nest. This style of bait is very effective for handling an ongoing infestation.
When treating a roach infestation, you need to first consider your safety and the safety of your family and pets. Roach traps and gels can be attractive to pets and kids due to their bright colors, sweet smells, and sweet taste. Sprays can be absorbed through the skin, and foggers create a toxic space for several hours after use.
Child- and pet-friendly roach killer alternatives are available, but they tend to be less effective than regular roach killer products. These safer options use methods to trap, kill, or repel roaches, such as by using one-way doors, glue paper, and ultrasonic pest repellents that you place around the home to drive insects away.
When comparing options to find the best roach killer for your pest problem, you’re sure to find a number of nice-to-have features. For example, the bulbs and designs of some wall-mounted ultrasonic repellents allow them to double (occasionally even disguise them) as plug-in night lights.
For other products, such as powdered roach baits, certain application methods may prevent the substance from breaking down as quickly as pre-mixed alternatives. While not essential, the convenience that they offer may be a tie-breaker when choosing between two solutions.
Our Top Picks
With those buying factors in mind, we chose the best roach killers available, also taking into account price, effectiveness, and reputation.
The Combat Max Roach Bait Station includes 18 bait stations that should be set up under sinks, behind toilets, appliances, and any other locations where roaches roam. Once set, they remain effective for up to 12 months before they need to be replaced. The bait contains fipronil, which is ingested and slowly begins killing the roach.
As a nest killer, the fipronil is transferred through the roaches’ cannibalistic behavior, eventually eliminating the entire nest. The hard plastic casing acts as a minor deterrent for kids and pets, but the bait stations should still be kept in less-accessible areas.
- Type: Trap
- Active Ingredient: Fipronil
- Length of Efficacy: 12 months
- Includes 18 bait stations
- Effective for eliminating the nest
- Can be used for up to 12 months
- Hard plastic case helps protect kids and pets
- Large infestations will require new baits sooner than 12 months
Get the Combat roach killer on Amazon and at Walmart.
Don’t fill the home with the nauseating smell of chemicals while treating an ant or roach infestation. Instead, opt for Raid Ant and Roach Killer, which is manufactured to kill bugs on contact while leaving behind an outdoor fresh scent. The ant and roach spray takes effect immediately and has a relatively short period of efficacy, lasting just four weeks after treatment.
However, the active ingredients in this spray, imiprothrin and cypermethrin, ensure the death of any affected bugs. It works on a wide variety of insect and bug types, including ants, roaches, crickets, earwigs, spiders, silverfish, stink bugs, and multicolored Asian lady beetles.
- Type: Spray
- Active Ingredient: Imiprothrin and cypermethrin
- Length of Efficacy: 4 weeks
- Includes 3 cans of roach spray
- Effective for ants, roaches, silverfish, earwigs, and more
- Affordable price
Get the Raid roach killer on Amazon and at Walmart.
Bengal Chemical Gold Roach Spray lasts for six months after application. Simply spray the odorless and non-staining formula into cracks and crevices where roaches hide, and allow the poison to be carried back to the nest on the bodies of the roaches.
An insect growth regulator breaks the life cycle of the cockroaches by sterilizing the adults and preventing immature roaches from reaching breeding age. This spray is also effective against ants, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and spiders.
- Type: Spray
- Active Ingredient: Permethrin and pyriproxyfen
- Length of Efficacy: 6 months
- Kills adults and prevents reproduction to kill the nest
- Odorless and non-staining
- Remains active for up to 6 months
- Penetrates cracks and crevices to find hiding roaches
- Not suitable for homes with kids or pets
Get the Bengal roach killer on Amazon and at Walmart.
Roach motels have been go-to roach-ridding products for years, and with Black Flag’s Roach Motel Insect Trap, it’s easy to see why. The trap contains no pesticides, making it safe for any room of the house and for use around kids or pets. A powerful lure is combined with a strong adhesive on the inside of the trap, drawing roaches in, where they become stuck and die.
Once one side is full, flip the trap over and fill up the other side before discarding it. As is the case with most traps, the product is effective for minor infestations, but major infestations likely need a stronger alternative.
- Type: Trap
- Active Ingredient: None
- Length of Efficacy: Until the trap is full
- Safe for homes with kids and pets
- Strong adhesive snares roaches
- Powerful lure attracts roaches to the trap
- 6-trap value pack
- Doesn’t treat large infestations
Get the Black Flag roach killer on Amazon and at Walmart.
Advion Roach Pest Control Gel can be applied under appliances, sinks, in cupboards, or even outside, but be sure to keep it beyond the reach of pets and kids. Roaches consume the indoxacarb in the gel, which inhibits sodium ion entry into their nerve cells and results in paralysis and death.
The included plungers and tips make application quick and easy, and the formula has been approved for use on boats, planes, or any other vehicle with a roach infestation. This nest-killer lasts for up to two years and is effective against roaches, ants, fleas, and ticks.
- Type: Gel
- Active Ingredient: Indoxacarb
- Length of Efficacy: Up to 12 months
- Included application plunger and tips
- Useful in homes, on boats, planes, and other vehicles
- Can be used for up to 12 months
- Kills up to three roach generations in one feeding
- Not suitable for homes with kids or pets
Get the Advion roach killer on Amazon and at Walmart.
Raid Concentrated Deep Reach Fogger is a powerful solution to an ongoing roach problem. You need to take safety precautions when using this product by vacating the space to be fogged for a minimum of four hours. The fog disperses throughout an entire room and seeps into the most difficul- to-reach cracks and crevices.
The cypermethrin in the fog is a fast-acting neurotoxin that kills roaches quickly and lasts for up to two months before requiring another application. While the health risks posed by this product may be concerning, the guidelines are devised to keep you as safe as possible. This fogger is highly effective, making it worth the hassle of covering all surfaces and vacating the premises for a few hours.
- Type: Fogger
- Active Ingredient: Cypermethrin
- Length of Efficacy: 2 months
- Includes three foggers
- Kills with a fast-acting neurotoxin
- Works for up to 2 months
- Penetrates deep into cracks and crevices
- Home must be vacated during use
Get the Raid roach fogger on Amazon and at Walmart.
Recurring roach problems are very common in apartments and condos where it’s impossible to control the cleanliness of the neighbors. Rockwell Labs Invict Gold Cockroach Gel uses the active ingredient imidacloprid to eliminate roaches that take the bait, but the poison takes about 20 minutes to work. During this time, roaches often retreat to the nest, where their newly dead body is consumed by other roaches, making it possible to spread the poison quickly through the colony.
This roach gel comes with four full tubes and it’s made with uncommon attractants, so users won’t need to worry about roaches avoiding the bait. Apply the gel inside or outside in areas frequented by roaches, but just keep in mind when you are selecting areas for application that the gel is harmful to kids and pets.
- Type: Gel
- Active Ingredient: Imidacloprid
- Length of Efficacy: 3 months
- Includes four tubes of gel
- Takes just 20 minutes for roaches to start dying
- Uncommon attractants prevent bait aversion
- Effective indoors and outdoors
- Not safe for homes with kids and pets
Get the Rockwell Labs roach killer on Amazon and at Walmart.
Sometimes one method of pest control just isn’t enough to deal with large infestations, which is why Raid offers this two-in-one system to kill adults and prevent reproduction. The child-resistant bait stations each contain two different foods that will kill adult roaches, so users don’t need to worry about bait aversion.
Additionally, this product comes with Raid Egg Stoppers, which is a type of roach control treatment designed to sterilize any roaches that don’t eat the bait. This ensures that the adult roaches will either die from consuming the poison bait or be unable to reproduce eggs and increase the population of the nest. Just remember that the larger the infestation, the more bait stations and Egg Stoppers will be necessary to eliminate the colony.
- Type: Trap
- Active Ingredient: Avermectin B1 and (S)-Hydroprene
- Length of Efficacy: 3 months
- Child-resistant bait stations
- Effective for eliminating the nest
- Three types of sterilizing treatments
- Includes traps and egg stoppers to kill and prevent reproduction
- Large infestations will require 12 to 15 bait stations
Get the Raid Double Control roach killer on Amazon and at Walmart.
Tackle roach infestations for up to 12 months with this 18-pack of Combat Max Roach Bait Stations, or if you are dealing with both roaches and ants, handle the problem with Raid Ant and Roach Killer.
How We Chose the Best Roach Killers
Putting together a list of the best roach killers was less of a challenge to find quality products and more of a challenge to sift through the wide variety of viable choices to find the top roach killers to eliminate infestations. Not every infestation is the same, so not every roach colony will respond to the same treatments. With this in mind, it was important to have a range of pest control solutions available, including traps, sprays, gels, and foggers.
Another top consideration was the effectiveness of the product, including the length of efficacy, ease of use, and the active ingredient. Sprays, foggers, and other roach killers with near-instant effects were researched as useful solutions for handling visible roaches and even spraying in narrow cracks and crevices.
Extensive research was also necessary to look into various traps, gels, and other nest killers that specialized in wiping out an entire nest or colony of roaches, instead of just the ones you can see. The final selection included products with a clear effect against roaches and a balance of the different roach killer types.
To learn more about effective pest control options for eliminating roach infestations, take a look at the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about using a roach trap, roach baits, and other roach killers.
Q: How do you find a cockroach nest?
In order to get the best results from a roach trap or roach baits, you should try to apply the roach killer within close proximity to the cockroach nest. The most common places for a roach nest include behind refrigerators, in cracks and crevices, under furniture, and inside the baseboards. They like warm, humid environments that are close to food and water supplies.
Keep in mind that a roach nest is more like a colony, so when you find one, it will probably have several live roaches, a few dead roaches, lots of roach droppings, and old egg cases. To help locate the nest, look for signs of roach droppings. They are very small and look like coffee grounds or black pepper.
Q: Is it better to spray or bait roaches?
Roach baits are more commonly used in homes with children or pets because the bait can be placed inside a roach trap to help prevent accidental ingestion. Baits can also last for a significant period of time before needing to be replaced, like some gel baits that can last up to two months.
Sprays aren’t useless, though. They kill on contact better than any other roach-killing method. However, beyond attacking visible roaches or visible roach nests, sprays are limited in their use. This is because roaches are rarely out in the open where a human could take advantage of the situation with a can of roach spray.
So, if you want a long-lasting solution that could eliminate the infestation entirely, opt for a roach bait, but if you are looking for a product that can kill a roach on contact, then a spray is the right choice.
Q: How long does it take to get rid of roaches?
Unfortunately, there is no set time period to get rid of roaches. Seeing just two or three in the open could indicate that there are hundreds nesting nearby, which will take more time to kill than just a few roaches that haven’t had time to seek out a proper nesting space.
The important thing is to continue treating the roach infestation until you are sure that the problem has been handled. This could take a week or it could take several months, so be prepared for an extended fight to get rid of this resilient pest.