The Best Slug Killers of 2022

Treat the yard and garden with a slug killer to ensure that your lawn, flowers, and vegetables are protected from these slimy pests.

By Timothy Dale | Updated Jul 5, 2022 4:57 PM

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The Best Slug Killer

Photo: amazon.com

Slugs are great for cleaning up dead garden debris and providing nitrogen-rich fertilizer that can help your garden thrive, but when the population of these pests increases rapidly, you have an infestation on your hands that can destroy flower bulbs, eat seedlings, chew through leaves, and make a mess of your vegetable garden.

The best slug killer depends on several factors, including the active ingredient, the affected area, and whether you have kids or pets. The top slug killers listed below are a good place to start the search for the best slug killer for your yard and garden.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Monterey LG6500 Sluggo Wildlife and Pet Safe Slug Killer
  2. RUNNER UP: Natria 706190A Snail and Slug Killer Bait
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Garden Safe 4536 Slug & Snail Bait (HG-4536) (2lb)
  4. BEST METALDEHYDE: Southern Ag Snail and Slug Bait
  5. BEST SODIUM FERRIC EDTA: Corry’s Slug & Snail Killer, 3.5 lb
  6. BEST IRON PHOSPHATE: Bonide (BND908) – Garden Naturals Bug and Slug Killer
  7. BEST SULFUR: Ortho Bug-Geta Snail and Slug Killer, 3.5-Pound
The Best Slug Killers

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Slug Killer 

Slug killers are used to control slug infestations in your yard and garden so you can enjoy your flowers and any fruit or vegetables yielded from the garden without concern for slimy pests. Criteria to keep in mind when selecting a slug killer include coverage, form, ingredients, and several other features detailed below.

Coverage

The coverage of a slug killer refers to the area of effectiveness. Outside this space, slugs may still be drawn to the bait, but it’s less likely. The coverage is a product-specific feature that varies in range from 50 feet to more than 1,000 feet, so it’s important to read the product information and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for use.

Keep in mind that the coverage measurement provided by manufacturers refers to an area based on a specified amount of slug killer. To protect an area larger than the stated coverage, just use more slug killer, but be sure to apply the pellets or liquid slug killer according to the product directions.

Form

Slug killers usually come in one of two forms: pellet (or granular) or liquid.

  • Pellet slug killers, also referred to as granular, are the most common form for slug killers. The pellets are distributed evenly around the garden and then placed strategically in areas where water pools. The pellets can last for up to 40 days before they need to be replaced and are designed to be resistant to rain.
  • Liquid slug killers typically come in a concentrated form that needs to be mixed with water before treating the garden or lawn. They can be applied similarly to pellet slug killers; however, liquid formulas are more vulnerable to being washed away than pellets. It may be a good idea to re-treat the yard and garden after heavy rain.

Active Ingredients

Slug killers are designed with several different active ingredients, each intended to kill these invading pests but using different mechanisms with varying degrees of success. But, certain slug killers can be harmful to small children and pets, so it might make sense to steer clear of these potent products. Here are a few different types of slug killers to prevent unwanted infestations from happening.

  • Metaldehyde works by interfering with the mucus production ability of slugs, which slows their digestion and mobility, making them vulnerable to dehydration. Slugs affected by metaldehyde usually die within a few days. However, metaldehyde can be harmful to children and pets, so it isn’t the best option for parents of small children and pet owners.
  • Sodium ferric ethylenediaminetetraacetate (sodium ferric EDTA) destroys hemocyanin, which is a copper compound in the blood of slugs that helps to carry oxygen. This active ingredient takes 3 to 4 days to kill an affected slug, but it’s relatively safe for children and pets because vertebrates use hemoglobin for this function, not hemocyanin.
  • Iron phosphate damages the digestive tissue of a slug’s stomach and causes it to stop eating altogether. This type of slug killer may take up to 1 week to kill the slug, but there are no adverse human health effects from iron phosphate beyond slight to moderate eye irritation if it comes in contact with your eye. Iron phosphate is also safe for pets.
  • Sulfur has a similar effect on the digestive tissue of a slug as the damage caused by iron phosphate. However, it works at a faster pace and could take as little as 1 to 3 days to kill the slug. Slug killers that use sulfur aren’t a good idea for homes with kids and pets; if sulfur is ingested in high enough quantities, it can be harmful and even fatal.

Longevity

The longevity of a slug killer refers to the maximum length of time during which the slug killer will remain effective at luring and killing slugs. Beyond this point in time, the slug killer may still have some potency, but it is significantly reduced and will continue to decline in efficacy. Typically, a slug killer will last for up to 30 to 40 days; however, this depends on the specific product.

Check the product information and the manufacturer’s directions to determine the slug killer’s longevity, but also keep in mind that weather conditions can be an influencing factor. Pellets are resistant to rain and running water, but freezing temperatures can reduce their effectiveness. Liquid slug killers aren’t affected by freezing temperature changes, but heavy rain can wash them away.

Safety

Any time a pest problem is being treated, safety should be a primary concern, especially in homes with kids or pets. Children can find, handle, and eat slug pellets that have been applied to the garden if parents aren’t watchful.

The same situation can occur with pets that are left out in the yard unattended. Liquid slug killers don’t carry the same risk because they seep into the ground quickly and don’t draw attention, but pets can still lick or eat the soil, ingesting the slug killer.

Slug killers that use sodium ferric EDTA and iron phosphate as active ingredients are relatively safe for children and pets; however, metaldehyde and sulfur products can be harmful, and even fatal, in large enough quantities.

Our Top Picks

The products below have been selected based on coverage, form, and the active ingredient. They also take into account the longevity of the product, safety concerns, and overall quality. These products are among the best slug killer options for keeping your yard and garden protected.

Best Overall

The Best Slug Killer Option: Monterey LG6500 Sluggo Wildlife and Pet Safe Slug
Photo: amazon.com

This package of pellet slug and snail killer is an excellent choice for homes with kids or pets because its active ingredient is iron phosphate, which has very minor health effects in humans, cats, dogs, and other small pets. The slug killer still should not be handled or consumed, but it isn’t likely to cause lasting harm to humans. However, iron phosphate is very effective at destroying the digestive system of slugs, killing the pests within a week.

The slug killer lasts for up to 40 days after the initial application, and the 2.5-pound container comes with enough slug killer to treat an area up to 5,000 square feet in size. This is based on a ratio of 0.5 to 1 pound of slug killer per 1,000 square feet. The slug killer isn’t affected by rain, so the potency shouldn’t change even after heavy rainfall.

Product Specs

  • Form: Granules
  • Key Ingredient(s): Iron phosphate
  • Coverage Area: 5,000 square feet

Pros

  • Safe for homes with pets and children
  • Lasts for 40 days
  • Withstands rain

Cons

  • Not safe around children and pets immediately after application
  • Some users report limited rain resistance

Get the Monterey slug killer on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Runner Up

The Best Slug Killer Option: Natria 706190A Snail and Slug Killer Bait
Photo: amazon.com

The slug killer has a wide range of effects that can stretch from 1,500 to 3,000 feet, based on a ratio of 0.5 to 1 pound of slug killer per 1,000 feet. It can be applied by sprinkling the pellets carefully from the package using the twist-cap spout. The narrow opening makes it easy to control the flow of pellets from the package so the user doesn’t unintentionally pour too much or too little slug killer.

The iron phosphate slug killer is a good option for homes with kids and pets because this active ingredient is relatively harmless to humans and common household pets, like cats and dogs. After application, the pellets can remain effective for between 3 to 4 weeks before needing to be replaced, even after periods of heavy rain.

Product Specs

  • Form: Granules
  • Key Ingredient(s): Iron phosphate
  • Coverage Area: 1,500 to 3,000 feet

Pros

  • Twist-cap spout
  • Kills slugs and snails
  • Safe for use around children and pets
  • Stays effective for 3 to 4 weeks
  • Rain-resistant

Cons

  • Some users report limited rain resistance and mold

Get the Natria slug killer bait on Amazon or at Ace Hardware.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Slug Killer Option: Garden Safe 4536 Slug & Snail Bait (HG-4536) (2 lb)
Photo: amazon.com

The 2-pound package of slug baits is an inexpensive option that contains enough slug pellets to adequately protect up to 4,000 feet of yard and garden. The formula can be used on the lawn, around flowers, in vegetable gardens, and near fruit trees without any ill effects to the plants or to humans that may eat fruits and vegetables grown at home. This is due to the active ingredient, iron phosphate, which doesn’t cause lasting harm to humans or pets. However, it should be kept out of reach because it can still result in nausea and mild to moderate eye irritation.

The slug killer takes about 3 to 6 days to kill slugs and snails in the surrounding area and will continue to be effective for up to 3 weeks. Simply scatter the pellets around the garden during the evening when slugs and snails prefer to travel, and then check back in the morning to see the results.

Product Specs

  • Form: Granules
  • Key Ingredient(s): Iron phosphate
  • Coverage Area: 4,000 feet

Pros

  • Suitable for lawns, flowers, and vegetable gardens
  • Can kill slugs and snails in 3 to 6 days
  • Stays effective for over 3 weeks

Cons

  • May have a messy application method; no precision spout

Get the Garden Safe slug & snail bait on Amazon, The Home Depot, and Tractor Supply Co..

Best Metaldehyde

Best Slug Killer: Southern Ag Snail and Slug Bait
Photo: amazon.com

For those that prefer a heavy-duty approach, the Southern Ag Snail and Slug Bait could be just the thing. This powerful metaldehyde formula requires sparse sprinkling to be effective, so the 20-pound bag should last for a long time or cover up to 1,500 feet of lawn and commercial space as well as greenhouses and gardens.

This pick is also rain-resistant and OMRI-listed for effectiveness. But, due to its high toxicity, this option is not safe for use around children and pets.

Product Specs

  • Form: Granules
  • Key Ingredient(s): Metaldehyde
  • Coverage Area: 1,500 feet

Pros

  • Concentrated formula
  • OMRI-listed
  • Ample quantity provided
  • Rain-resistant
  • Safe for lawns, commercial spaces, greenhouses, and gardens

Cons

  • May be harmful if used incorrectly
  • Not safe for homes with children and pets
  • Pricey

Get the Southern Ag bait on Amazon.

Best Sodium Ferric EDTA

The Best Slug Killer Option: Corry's Slug & Snail Killer, 3.5 lb
Photo: amazon.com

The slug killer uses sodium ferric EDTA as an active ingredient, which is relatively safe for use around kids and pets. It kills both slugs and snails faster than iron phosphate, so it’s a good option for quickly tackling a large infestation. The Corry’s Slug & Snail Killer comes in a 3.5-pound container, ensuring there is enough product to treat an area of up to 17,500 square feet or to address a smaller area several times.

The slug killer pellets should be applied once every 2 weeks until the slug infestation is resolved. The pellets will lure and kill any nearby slugs, taking about 3 to 6 days to kill affected pests. Safe to use in vegetable gardens and areas surrounding fruit trees, this slug killer remains effective after heavy rain.

Product Specs

  • Form: Granules
  • Key Ingredient(s): Ferric EDTA
  • Coverage Area: 17,500 feet

Pros

  • Suitable for small and large slug infestations
  • Kills slugs and snails within 3 to 6 days
  • Safe to use near vegetable and fruit gardens
  • Rain-resistant

Cons

  • Requires more reapplication than comparable options

Get the Corry’s slug & snail killer on Amazon, The Home Depot, and Lowe’s (1.75 pounds).

Best Iron Phosphate

Best Slug Killer: Bonide (BND908) - Garden Naturals Bug and Slug Killer
Photo: amazon.com

With a versatile formula and an easy-pour lid, the Bonide slug killer is a great option for protecting lawns, flower gardens, vegetable gardens, and fruit trees from a variety of pests. This product comes with 1.5 pounds of slug killer pellets that can be used to cover between 1,500 to 3,000 square feet, luring in slugs, snails, earwigs, sow bugs, pill bugs, and cutworms with the combination of iron phosphate and spinosad.

The slug killer is safe to use in homes with kids and pets, though users should avoid contact with eyes and clothing during application because the slug killer can cause mild to moderate eye irritation. One treatment with this slug killer will last for up to 4 weeks within the treated area. After 4 weeks, determine whether the infestation has been resolved or if the garden should be treated again.

Product Specs

  • Form: Granules
  • Key Ingredient(s): Iron phosphate and spinosad
  • Coverage Area: 1,500 to 3,000 feet

Pros

  • Kills slugs, snails, earwigs, sow bugs, pill bugs, and cutworms
  • Safe for homes with kids and pets
  • Lasts for over 4 weeks

Cons

  • Pricey compared to similar options
  • Limited quantity compared to other options

Get the Bonide bug and slug killer on Amazon.

Best Sulfur

The Best Slug Killer Option: Ortho Bug-Geta Snail and Slug Killer, 3.5-Pound
Photo: amazon.com

With a potent sulfur-based formula that kills and controls slugs and snails within 1 to 3 days after being affected, Ortho slug killer is made for use in greenhouses, lawns, vegetable gardens, and around fruit trees. This slug killer comes in 2-pound, 3.5-pound, and 6-pound packages, so users only need to purchase as much slug killer as necessary for the size of their yard and garden.

The slug killer pellets can be applied to the garden easily through the screw-top nozzle that has a narrow opening to control the flow of pellets. This slug killer remains effective for up to 3 weeks, even after heavy rain. However, sulfur-based products are harmful to pets and children, so this slug killer isn’t the best choice for pet owners and parents with young kids.

Product Specs

  • Form: Granules
  • Key Ingredient(s): Sulfur
  • Coverage Area: 7,000 feet

Pros

  • Kills snails and slugs in 1 to 3 days
  • Suitable for use around greenhouses, lawns, and gardens
  • Comes in multiple quantities
  • Screw-top nozzle; easy to apply
  • Works for over 3 weeks

Cons

  • Some users report poor effectiveness
  • Pricey compared to similar products

Get the Ortho snail and slug killer on Amazon.

Our Verdict

If you are searching for the best slug killer available, our top pick is the Monterey granules. This product is made with a powerful iron phosphate which can be used on properties with children and pets and it lasts for over 40 days. Or the Garden Safe slug and snail bait is an affordable alternative that covers over 4,000 feet of space and works in just 3 to 6 days.

How We Chose the Best Slug Killers

We researched the most sought-after products for slug control in their respective categories and discovered that the best options are determined by their form, ingredients, coverage area, ease of application, and other special features included by top brands.

While searching for the best slug killers available, the most popular type among users was the granular options for their effectiveness and ease of use. Made with powerful iron phosphate, sulphur, ferric EDTA, and spinosad, these formulas are able to deter slugs, and even snails, within 1,000 to 17,000 feet and within a number of days.

As for ease of use, select products included in our list come with precision applicators. Plus, many of the above formulas are safe to use in homes with children and pets.

FAQs

Read on to find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about slug killers and how to use them to keep pests out of your yard and garden.

Q: Are slug killers safe around my pets and children?

Any pest-killing product should be kept away from kids and pets. Even if the active ingredient won’t cause significant harm, these are toxins designed to kill; in high enough quantities, slug killers have been known to be fatal to small pets.

Metaldehyde slug killers are the most dangerous type. Although sodium ferric EDTA and iron phosphate slug killers shouldn’t be ingested or handled, it’s less likely they will cause lasting harm.

Q: How do I apply slug and snail killer?

Applying slug and snail killer to the garden is an effective way to get rid of slugs. And it’s a quick process that isn’t difficult for DIYers to handle on their own. Follow these simple steps to treat your garden.

  1. Before doing anything else, read the instructions on the product packaging, as well as the manufacturer’s recommendations for use, to ensure that you follow all safety requirements.
  2. Water the garden beforehand, especially if it hasn’t rained for a few days and the ground is very dry.
  3. Sprinkle an even layer of pellets from the box to create a perimeter around the garden. If you are using a liquid slug killer, you will follow the same process, except you will be spraying the solution. Keep in mind, you want to sprinkle or spray as close to the ground as possible to avoid getting the slug killer on the leaves of the plants.
  4. After surrounding the garden, apply additional bait to particularly moist areas of the garden where water tends to pool.
  5. Leave the garden for 24 hours, then check back the next day. Remove all visible snails, as they can continue to lay eggs even when they are paralyzed by the slug killer.
  6. Repeat these steps as necessary.

Q: How often should I put down slug pellets?

Slug pellets are only needed when there is an active slug problem in your garden. During an infestation, pellets should be applied once every 30 to 40 days in order to keep out slugs.

Q: Will slug pellets kill rats?

It depends on the type of slug pellets and how much the rat consumes. If they chow down on enough metaldehyde slug killer, then they will eventually die, but it won’t happen quickly since this pest killer isn’t designed for mammals.

Sodium ferric EDTA and iron phosphate products are even less effective against rats, so if you have a real rat problem, invest in rat traps or rat poisons.