The Best Rat Poisons of 2022

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

By Tom Scalisi | Updated Jun 20, 2022 5:41 PM

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The Best Rat Poison Option

Photo: depositphotos.com

For homeowners, DIYers, and renters concerned about a rat infestation or who want to take preventive measures, the best rat poison can take care of the problem. If a rat makes it into a home, these edible poisons attract their noses and taste buds, compelling them to eat. The poisonous chemicals inside these baits make their way into the rat’s system, killing the rodent within a day or two.

Most rat poisons come in blocks that users can use on their own or in bait stations. They can purchase poisons in large quantities to provide many options for intruding rats. Keep reading to learn about what to consider when buying rat poison and why our top picks are among the most effective available.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Just One Bite II 16 oz. Rodent Rat Bait Cake Blocks
  2. RUNNER-UP: Neogen Ramik Weather Resistant Bait Nuggets 116300 
  3. BEST FAST-ACTING: Victor Fast-Kill Brand Refillable Poison Bait Station
  4. MOST PET-SAFE: EcoClear Products 620101, RatX
  5. BEST FOR OUTDOORS: Tomcat All Weather Bait Chunx, 4 Lb
  6. BEST FOR RURAL AREAS: Tomcat Bait Chunx Pail 4 Lb
  7. BEST STATION: Tomcat Rat and Mouse Killer Disposable Station
  8. BEST BAIT FOOD: Motomco Tomcat with Bromethalin Meal Bait, 5 Lb
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 these products 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 absolutely 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 also an option.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Rat Poison 

There are a few important factors to consider while deciding which rat poison is best for a situation. Keep in mind that most rat poisons don’t take effect immediately, requiring at least a few days of successful feeding to affect rats.

Types of Poison

There are a few types of rat 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 of time 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, one 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 in.

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 the course of 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 

Most 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 the user 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 users to refill the trap with liquid poison or pellets. Other stations like the Tomcat Rat and Mouse Bait Station use block-type poisons.

Our Top Picks

With all of these variables at play, 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

Just One Bite II 16 oz. Rodent Rat Bait Cake Blocks
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 Rodent 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 cakes measure 4.5 inches by 6 inches by 1 inch and weigh 1 pound each, providing 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 rats in just 1 night
  • Blocks feature ridges to promote nibbling
  • Large blocks prevent the rat from stealing the block

Cons

  • Not pet- or child-safe

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

Runner-up

The Best Rat Poison Option: Neogen Ramik Weather Resistant Bait Nuggets 116300
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 that will kill 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. Neogen Ramik Weather Resistant Bait Nuggetscan 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 to attract and keep rats’ interest
  • Kills rats slowly to prevent others from becoming aware
  • Weather-resistant

Cons

  • Not pet or child safe

Get the Neogen Ramik rat poison on Amazon or at The Home Depot (4-pound pouch).

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 Poison 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 users to easily access the bait.

This refillable bait station comes with six 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 rats to stay and eat. After a single night, the 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
  • See-through body for checking the amount of bait left
  • Comes with refills and disposable gloves

Cons

  • Child-resistant but should still be used carefully

Get the Victor Fast-Kill rat poison bait station on Amazon or at The Home Depot (with 20 blocks).

Most Pet-Safe

The Best Rat Poison Options: EcoClear Products 620101, RatX
Photo: amazon.com

Folks who would prefer to keep their pets or children safe while still ridding themselves of 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 meal and sodium chloride. Once the rat eats the poison, these materials swell and prevent the rat from drinking, killing rats 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

  • The most safe option for use around pets and children
  • Zero-poison, nontoxic formula
  • Suitable for indoor or outdoor use

Cons

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

Get the RatX all-natural rat poison on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Best for Outdoors

The Best Rat Poison Options: Tomcat All Weather Bait Chunx, 4 Lb
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 ingredients that attract hungry rats, and diphacinone to poison them after several feedings. The 1-ounce bait chunks are mold- and moisture-resistant, so users 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 users 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
  • Low wax content to make them more palatable
  • Hole for hanging over a nail, screw, or peg

Cons

  • Requires several feedings but will prevent rats from becoming aware

Get the Tomcat rat poison on Amazon or at Tractor Supply Co.

Best for Rural Areas

The Best Rat Poison Options: Tomcat Bait Chunx Pail 4 Lb
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
  • Center holes keep the block in place
  • Plenty of blocks (64-count)

Cons

  • Only suitable for agricultural and rural areas due to potency

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

Best Station

The Best Rat Poison Options: Tomcat Rat and 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 a bait station like this product from Tomcat. This disposable station comes pre-baited for easy handling, requiring the user to simply place the station wherever the rat may travel without touching the poison.

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

Product Specs 

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

Pros

  • No need to touch the bait block
  • See-through lid for easy bait checks
  • Kills up to 10 rats

Cons

  • Child- and dog-resistant, not child- and dog-proof

Get the Tomcat Rat and Mouse Killer rat poison on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Best Bait Food

The Best Rat Poison Option: Motomco Tomcat with Bromethalin Meal Bait, 5 lb
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 with Bromethalin Meal Bait can be used in a variety of applications including bait traps and stations, loose piles, and in burrows. Be sure to place the bait down inside the burrow to keep birds and other wildlife from coming in 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
  • Oat-and-grain formula to appeal to rats

Cons

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

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

Our Verdict

Those looking for a quick fix to a rat infestation should consider Just One Bite rat poison for its efficiency and size. However, for those looking for a more pet-safe approach, check out RatX all-natural rat poison for its nontoxic formula.

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 was a list of the best rat poisons, with a product for just about everyone.

Tips for Using Rat Poison Safely

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

Don’t store rat 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 in order 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 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. 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 over the course of 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.