Best Animal Traps Reviewed & Rated for Effectiveness
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Animal traps should be designed with the safety of the handler as well as the animal in mind. Even if you do not necessarily prioritize humane treatment of the caught animal (as you should as an outdoorsman) handling a frantic and injured animal can have disastrous results for you or anyone else involved in your operation. Well, designed options take this into account. More and more of these are becoming a humane means of capturing animals so specific features should be sought after.
A reliable way to carry it is one consideration. Moving is more of a concern with live animal catching when you are looking to relocate and release the animal. If you are hunting this may not apply to you. Having a good handle will ensure your fingers remain intact and you don't accidentally drop it and release the animal.
And speaking of releasing, make sure it has an adequate means to be opened without putting yourself or the animal in harm's way. Some have sliding backdoors or a handle on the door to release the animal quickly.
For people who aim towards the sports side of trapping, respecting your prey should be of the utmost importance. If not for the welfare of the animal at least for maintaining the quality of your catch. A lot of clamp style manufacturers have done away with brutal teeth styles in favor of smoother edged clamps that catch the animal without unnecessary harm. Some even incorporate swiveling components to keep the animal from breaking any of their appendages.
When considering an animal trap keep in mind your goals. Look for features that will make the experience the least stressful for you and your prey.
There are a plethora of styles that are used today. Most of the time the style you choose will depend on two things: what your catching, and why you're catching it. This list is comprised mostly of live cage styles that are used to relocate an animal. There are also foothold traps that can be used by sportsman if they are legal in your state.
Of the many types out there, some rise above the rest regarding humane usage. Things like snares are being discovered not to cause quick deaths as they may have been designed to do. However, many factors such as the direction of travel and size of the animal that triggers it are hard to calculate which leaves a critically wounded animal instead of one that was humanely killed. Reasons snare options are being phased out are kind of simple, strangulation is a horrible way for anything to die.
If your catching animals to relocate, cage styles are your best bet. They cause the least amount of stress for the animal and also for the handler. However, if you are catching them for sport a foothold style that has a smooth finished or padded clamp is easier to conceal on a game trail. They can also be set up in a series. It is important (and legally mandated in some states) to mark these if you use them. Marking them keeps other outdoorsman and hunting dogs safe while around the area.
Again, consider what works for you. Picking the right type can mean the difference between success and failure.
As with any purchase you make, you want to get your money out of it. A good product can repeatedly be used and perform as expected every use.
Look for ones that are resistant to the weather. Good options are rust and corrosion-resistant. Rust and corrosion resistance ensures that it remains in good working order and will not unexpectedly have pieces falling off of it while you are carrying an animal. The features also keep the user safe from things like tetanus.
They should also have an air of simplicity to them. If you have one and you can see exactly how it works, you can do regular maintenance on it to keep it performing at its best. Traps that are not sold rustproof can be modified to be so by painting, waxing or adding certain chemicals to the finish.
Personal safety should always be a priority no matter what you are doing. Protection is critical whether your catching to relocate an animal or if your catching for sport. It is always a good idea to have some PPE handy.
Professional animal handlers use thick gloves when handling most of the animals they catch. Thick gloves are a good idea for a few reasons. You have to try and understand how stressed and panicked an animal might become in the process of being trapped. For them, they might feel like they are fighting for survival. An animal in this state of mind will inflict damage on themselves if they think it means that they will ultimately survive a situation. What do you think they will do to the person catching them?
Always wear some thick gloves when handling an animal. Wearing gloves is especially vital if you are looking to relocate an animal. No matter how mundane or calm it may appear, a wild animal that has been caught can go from 0-90 in a second without warning. Hence the title "wild." It might also be a good idea to keep an animal control pole called a Ketch-All handy. These are the poles with a loop on the end that are designed to keep the animal away from the handler. You can also use a stick.
Other things like high topped boots and thick clothing will also do a lot to keep you safe from what you are catching.
10 Best Animal Traps
1. Havahart Woodstream 16
The Havahart company is dedicated to the humane aspect of catching animals. All of their products are designed to inflict virtually no damage to the caught creature. This will give the hunter ( and the caught animal) peace of mind when using products from Havahart. The 16-inch Woodstream 0745 is designed to catch small nuisance animals like squirrels and chipmunks.
No Sharp Edges
Keeping up with the Havahart tradition, this 16-inch option is designed with no sharp edges on the inside. This keeps the animal safe from harm and lets you release them elsewhere healthy and ready for relocation.
Trigger on the Outside
Some live animal options have the trigger release on the inside. This leaves it vulnerable to an animal thrashing and could damage the product or the animal. The Havahart 0745 has the trigger on the outside to keep it protected so you can use it over and over again without worrying about damage from the animal.
Cost and Value
For its size, the Havahart Woodstream 16" is set at an average price. Havahart has designed its products so that little to no harm is caused to the animal. This fact alone should make you feel good about using this.
2. Havahart 1079 Large 1-Door
The Havahart brand advertises itself as the humane option to capture what it calls ‘nuisance’ animals. And for them, that means stray cats, small dogs, and animals about up the size of a large opossum. The trigger is located outside of the trap so the animal remains secure, and safe inside the trap.
Smooth Internal Edges
We like this particular features because it ensures that the animal isn’t going to be able to hurt itself while it’s in the trap. No doubt an animal stuck in here is going to panic, but this trap is built to keep animals from hurting themselves. And if you’re looking for the humane option than Havahart makes the trap for you.
Comes Fully Assembled
For the mechanically challenged this trap coming fully assembled is a big sigh of relief. Just get it shipped and it’s all ready to go out of the box. And once it’s up it’s easy to operate and simply put it gets the job done. Set it in the right place and be rewarded with the pesky raccoon safely trapped the next morning.
Cost and Value
This trap is really quite affordable. Add to that that it’s all set up and ready to go out of the box and this is one attractive product. Havahart doesn’t skimp on quality but this simple trap is going to do the job without too much damage to your wallet.
3. Kensizer Animal Humane Live
Kensizer is making an incredibly cheap entry into the market with this humane animal trap that safely holds onto the animal and its non-toxic design ensures the animal isn’t going to chew on or eat anything that will hurt the animal. We also like the simple pressure plate design.
The whole goal is to safely trap the animal without hurting the poor thing so we like the fact that Kensizer spent a lot of time designing this trap to make sure the animal inside doesn’t get hurt. It does this making sure there aren’t any bars that are going to trap tiny paws or sharp edges.
Lightweight but Durable
The aluminum construction ensures that this trap isn’t going to be so heavy you can’t lug it around with you, even when there’s an animal inside. But that doesn’t mean that the trap isn’t strong. In fact, the mesh construction ensures that the animal inside won’t be able to bite through bars or wiggle it’s way out.
Cost and Value
The price of this trap is impressively low. In fact so low that we spent a fair amount of time looking for things that might suggest that this wasn’t only an inexpensive entry but also cheap. But, we couldn’t find anything to suggest that this trap won’t work exactly as advertised.
4. Duke DP
You'll see Duke quite a few times on this list. They are a well-known brand for seasoned hobbyists and professional trappers alike. The product is designed specifically for coons. It is very safe to use and extremely durable. Just fill it with bait, set it, and get your coons!
One of the main worries of someone catching animals is the safety of himself and his best friend. Steel jaw style options are not picky about what they snap shut on. For this to work, the animal must reach inside for the bait. This makes it nearly impossible for a dog to ensnare itself. Sadly they are not cat-proof so if you are using this around an area where you suspect a cat it is recommended that you use an alternative bait that isn't appealing to felines. Like sweets.
Do No Harm
This product grabs the animal's leg after it has reached inside and tripped the trigger. It does not break a bone or even break the skin. However, a panicked animal that is stuck may do some harm to itself so it is recommended that you take care of it promptly for maximum humane effect.
Cost and Value
This is priced a tad higher than some of the animal traps listed. However, it is designed to be very efficient and safe so paying a few extra dollars might be worth it to you (and your dog).
5. Duke 110 Body
The uniqueness of this trap for animals is that you are receiving 6 products at this price. They are also available to buy singularly if you ever lose or have to replace one.
These are very simple body options designed for mink and weasel as they collapse better on these long-bodied animals. The full jaw-spread on these is 4.5” by 4.5”
These are standard and are made of very durable metal which is a plus. In the reviews, I saw a lot of comments about these working well once you learn how to set them properly. That said there may be a bit of learning curve on these when it comes to set up. It was also mentioned that they are very reliable though they may take a while for the animals to be caught in them. Not sure if the design when set creates something that warns the animals or if it's simply a matter of the area.
Cost and Value
These are a very affordable option. You can either buy them in singles or in a 6 pack for a bit of a discount. If your trying to catch long-bodied animals, the Duke 110 is a great option for your consideration.
6. Amagabeli Professional
Traps that have a plate trigger work well if you have an animal that trips it when going after the bait. Some animals though, such as cats, are more mindful when they walk. They may just step over such a trigger. This professional-grade trap has a unique hook (not sharpened) that triggers it if the bait is accessed.
Coated Wire Mesh
This wire mesh has a black coating on it that keeps it safe from the elements while outdoors. This can also be used inside and is easy to clean. The mesh has smaller openings than other options of its size which you save you from getting clawed at. This also prevents creatures, such as coons, from reaching inside to get the bait. This also means it is suitable for catching other pests like birds.
Feel the Tension
One thing that is immediately noticeable about this is the unique door design. While most products rely on gravity to close the door, this option has a spring-loaded door that shuts it quickly and efficiently. The springs also serve as a secondary means of keeping it shut.
Cost and Value
This good quality product is priced slightly above the medium price range for products its size. With features such as a spring-loaded door and weatherproof mesh, you will not be upset about spending a few extra dollars for a rugged product.
7. Tomahawk Original Rigid 32
Tomahawk is hands down the leader of the live animal catching industry. They have been creating live animal products for almost 100 years and have been perfecting their offerings ever since they began. They have their own sponsored animal control officers and offer things other manufacturers don't like education plus a multitude of accessories, personal protective equipment, and specialty products. They even have animal-specific options such as their feral cat models.
Built to Last
The 12-gauge galvanized mesh incorporated into the design makes this very sturdy and easy to carry. There is something to be said about the leeway other options have when you are carrying them. Moving these, especially if something is in them, can be an anxiety-producing event. Some lesser designed options feel like they could give away if you are moving it with an uncooperative animal inside of them. Not Tomahawk options. They are rigid and very well constructed.
Easy to Use
Like most Tomahawk products, this model has a sliding back door. This allows you to bait it from the back and not have to reach in from the front and around the trigger mechanism. This also allows you to easily release the animal with having to get your hand right next to it.
Cost and Value
Tomahawk builds products that they hope you only have to buy one time. They are designed for years of use. That is why they typically are set at a higher price point. While paying more does not always sound appealing, consider how much you would spend buying cheaper options that lack quality over and over again.
8. Trapro Large Collapsible
This trap is going to safely capture almost anything that’s bothering your garbage, your backyard or your garden. It’s on the bigger side so it will safely capture something as large as an opossum and then let you dispose of it safely. We also like the collapsible design and the fact that it’s easy to assemble.
Unlike some of the other entries on this list, this trap is made with galvanized steel which not only ensures that it’s going to last but also that it’s going to stand up to bad weather, and rust.
The safety trigger is fast and the trap is well made enough that no animal, no matter how panicked is going to be able to get out of this trap. And not only that but the trigger closes in micro-seconds which makes sure that once it’s triggered, the animal is staying in the trap.
Cost and Value
This is a mid-range trap but we like the fact that you’re getting steel construction a well-designed trap and a humane way to get those nuisance animals out of your yard.
9. Minnesota MB-550
If Batman were an animal catcher, he would carry the Minnesota Brand MB-550 Offset. It is a well built and portable option that can be used for a variety of animals.
With cast jaws, this has the power to hold tight and the crunch proof swivels to allow the animal the ability to move around once caught. This is an impressive design and a beautiful look as well.
The reviews on this model are short and sweet it is a powerful product that is ready for battle right out of the box. Many mentioned how readily it caught the ‘elusive coyote’ and held on tight. These have the power that you might be looking for.
Cost and Value
The price of this is comparable to the quality of the trap itself. Though the Minnesota Offset prices best on Amazon in comparison to other online outlets. Even if this was twenty dollars more, we believe you should buy it.
10. Duke 0470
The Duke 0470 hits a more traditional note when it comes to these products. It is a jaw style that clamps down on the animal. These are easy to conceal and use and can be set up in numbers along a game trail. Make sure your dog doesn't go near them though.
Traditional Animal Catching
This model comes in two sizes and features the circular clamp style design. It's a very strong design and though I wasn't thrilled with one of the comments about this being able to hold an animal for two weeks or more it did speak to the durability of the product.
If you are an animal catch who respects the animals you are after you will be pleased to know that this is a clamp but does not have the sharp jaws that other options. I would give this smooth holding design thumbs up for its humane features. Clamping styles do not necessarily need sharp teeth to hold an animal. It is possible to humanely catch your targets and not employ one that inflicts damage to the animal. The smooth design on the clamp ensures that the animal will be held in place and not suffer needlessly.
Cost and Value
If you get your hands on one of these you will be spending under ten dollars for a small game size. Though, this was also very well-reviewed for its ability to catch the large game as well. On the whole, I think you have a great value in the Duke 0470. It is also available to buy in a 6-pack.