Best Animal Traps Reviewed & Rated for Effectiveness
It seems like with the advent of animal rights trapping has taken a back seat. It has been frowned upon and all over the net there are articles about the terrible acts. Still, there are plenty of people out there taking very safe and responsible actions in their process. They are using the most up to date technologies and products that hold animals in a very humane way. The best people are checking their cages regularly as well and not leaving animals out there to suffer. That said, for my trapper brethren out there I would love to take the time to review some of the best options on the market today. We will look these over based on several criteria.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research
Gravity action door
Ideal for nuisance animals
Trigger rod is on the outside
- Havahart Woodstream 16
- Havahart Woodstream 32
- Duke DP
- Duke 110 Body
- Amagabeli Professional
- Tomahawk Original Rigid 32
- Minnesota MB-550
- Duke 0470
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Animal Traps
1. Havahart Woodstream 16
Gravity action door
Ideal for nuisance animals
Trigger rod is on the outside
May need to calibrate trigger rod from time to time
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.Read more
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 their 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 Woodstream 32
Rust-resistant wire mesh
Prevents stolen bait
Difficult to release animals due to the door design
Yet another from the Havahart company is the previous product's bigger brother. This Woodstream 32-inch is the next best-reviewed item on the list and for good reason. This is designed to capture armadillos, cats, and similarly sized animals. It has a lot of features similar to the sixteen inches such as the trigger rod being on the outside.Read more
This is completely made from rust-resistant components. It keeps you and the animal safe. Live styles are often products that you can have for years. Since they are primarily used outside, especially ones this size, it is important that it stays mechanically sound and not rust away.
Some critters are smart. Sometimes instead of going in for bait, they just reach inside and grab it. Wire mesh surrounding it keeps this from happening and ensures that the animal must go into it. It also keeps you safe from the animal trying to claw at you while you are transporting it.
Cost and Value
The Havahart Woodstream 32" is a good buy for the price. It sits at around a medium range in terms of affordability. However, the door leaves something to be desired. You may have to use gloves or a long object to open the door to keep yourself out of harm's way when releasing the animal.
Easy to use
These are small and must be checked daily to prevent a ‘prisoner’ from dying
Household rodent issues can be humanely eliminated with these small products. It is beneficial for catching mice. It is an alternative to pesticides or snap options. This is a simple design that works.Read more
This is a humane means of removing unwanted mice. Air holes allow the animal to breathe. Sturdy plastic prevents other animals such as cats from penetrating it. It is safe around pets and children. No glue or poison is used. Because the animals are not killed, the product is endorsed by Animal Rights Organizations and Humane Societies in the United States and globally. Mice left for a few days can dehydrate and suffocate.
How It Works
Place peanut butter inside then open the spring door. When a mouse goes inside to eat the bait, a spring door closes, and the animal is stuck inside. The weight of the mouse triggers a fulcrum that closes the gate and captures the mouse. The mice are caught alive and unharmed. You do not have to touch the animal or the droppings. Take it outdoors and open the hatch by lifting the food compartment. After mice are released, it is cleaned and can be used again. Soaking them in diluted bleach water is recommended.
Cost and Value
There are two in a package. They can be reused. Mice can escape from more elaborate options. People who purchase these are amazed at how quickly they work. They are reusable, but people who use them say they will buy more if they wear out. It works as the instructions promise they will. They are easy to use.
4. Duke DP
Easy to set
May require some maintenance if trigger is sticking
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!Read more
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 other products 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
Multiple products in package
Durable metal design
More humane than foot hold styles
Challenging to set
Takes time to get animals to trigger them
The uniqueness of this item 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.Read more
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
Designed for large animals
No carrying handle
Products 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 product has a unique hook (not sharpened) that triggers it if the bait is accessed.Read more
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
12-gauge galvanized wire mesh
Various mesh sizes
Rear sliding door
Very sensitive trigger
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.Read more
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.
Door action triggers easily
Easy to set up
Nice size, not too big to be stored
The instructions are in Chinese, diagrams are helpful
This is a well sized product having a reliable mechanism for catching rodents and squirrels. It catches animals that other methods have failed to do. It works well for rats. You get a high-quality product that works.Read more
This product does not cause any injury or kill the animals. It is easy to release the captured pest. Animals that are caught unintentionally are released without harm also. No glue, electricity, sprays, chemicals, or poisons are used.
Easy to Use
It is safe around pets and children and can be used indoors or outdoors. These products have become the easiest and most efficient means of catching pesky animals quickly. It takes only seconds to set up. AB brand products have a patented locking mechanism that ensures animals do not escape. Using these products is an effective and safe way to capture live animals without causing injury or death.
Cost and Value
After they are released, this product can be reused which is a money saving aspect. A customer who purchased this claimed to do the Happy Dance because it was so easy to set up and release animals.
9. Minnesota MB-550
Powerful and sturdy design
Ready to use right out of the box
May require rust proofing
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.Read more
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
Needs some tweaking before use
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.Read more
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 a whole, I think you have a great value in the Duke 0470. It is also available to buy in a 6-pack.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
A good product is one that is 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 products 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 these products 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 your catching it. This list of best products 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 products 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.
Products that are not sold rust proof can be modified to be so by painting, waxing or adding certain chemicals to the finish.
Take care of your gear and it will take care of you.
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.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
If you are setting the classic clamp style, look to the Minnesota Brand Offset or the Duke 0470. These both bring the classic clamp style with reliability to boot. Much differentiates even these two models, but either will get the job done for you. Other trappers may be in the business of the caged capture of their animals and in that realm, you have two very special options in the Tomahawk and the Havahart Woodstream 32 which are both sturdy options that will over you a live humane catch option that is not possible with the crushing power of any other style.
Depending on what you are after the size is very important. Size affects your ability to cover the product and camouflage it. These products are sold in different sizes based on what you are looking to catch. While you could catch a squirrel in something designed for a coon, the size of the product would be impractical for your goals plus it would be more difficult for the trigger to be tripped.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What do I look for in a quality product?
The best products are going to be made up of reliable metals and have very few reviews about issues with damage or damage upon receipt. Also, I like to see options that survive sometime in the field as well. The dark reality of catching animals is that they are struggling for their lives. You better have the power in your product to hold them. Depending on what kind of animal you are wanting to catch, it should also be something you are comfortable having both indoors and outdoors. This is especially true for nuisance animals such as squirrels or possums which might be trying to make a home in your attic or crawl space.
In considering the construction look for features that will make your life easier such as rear sliding doors for releasing the animal and something that you can hang on to when you are carrying it. This is more important for live animal options. You do not want to grab the cage by the wire mesh and leave your fingers exposed to the animal. If a cage does not have a handle other means may be used to carry the cage such as a gloved hand or wrapping it in a blanket.
q: How do I know if it is humane?
If animals are made to suffer, then no one wins. As hunters, trappers and general outdoorsman, we should have the utmost respect for the prey we stalk and our number one goal should be a humane and quick death. These cages must show that they will not cause more suffering than necessary. Look for claims by the company or the humane nature of their products and look at the products themselves. Obviously, if a clamp style has razor sharp teeth it is not going to be the most humane. On a live animal style, pay attention to what is on the inside. Sharp edges or protruding components may be dangerous for a scared animal.
A humane option is important for more than just the animal you wish to catch. If you have pets or kids, they could accidentally set off one of these. Be sure you get one that you wouldn't be scared to have gone off on something you care about. Especially if you are using it in or around your home.
q: How do I assemble this?
If a product is a struggle to set up that should count for something and it shouldn't be something good. No one wants something that takes 20 minutes to set and needs 2 tools to get it done. There is much to be said about the convenience of assembly.
Many come preassembled and have instructions or user guides. If they do not the internet is a great source of information and there is bound to be a youtube video somewhere of someone using or assembling it. Another factor in the assembly to consider is how easy it is to set and access bait. I personally have had many frustrating experiences tripping the trigger plate on live animal styles because I had to completely extend my arm inside of it to put the bait where it needed to go. It is also important to know how to open it to release the animal. Some rise above the others in this aspect.