The best roach killers and traps in 2021

  • Outside, cockroaches are pretty harmless as far as we humans are concerned, but the second they break our trust and come into our homes, they need to go — and fast.
  • The most effective answer to a roach infestation for most spaces is the Combat Max 12-Month Roach Killing Bait because it continues working long after that first trespasser is dead and gone.
  • We also like roach killers from Raid, Advion, Black Flag, and Ortho. 
  • Read more: The best bug sprays and repellents

If your goal is complete and total global eradication of the cockroach, sorry, but you’re probably choosing a losing battle. Some variety of roach ancestor has been extant for about 320 million years, which means that these resilient pests survived the event that killed off the dinosaurs. 

But if you’re trying to keep your home or business roach-free, then we can help. Some of these roach killers and traps get the job done on contact, while others allow a roach to transport poison back to the nest and spread it to the lot.

The best combination for your infestation will probably be two or three of these products, considering the resilience of your foes. But don’t worry, even though they have a few hundred million years of history over us humans, we’ve developed much larger brains, so we can figure out how to achieve and maintain a roach-free property.
Quick pro tip: proper food storage and waste disposal are your first (and most effective) line of defense.

Here are the best roach killer and traps you can buy:

  • Best roach killer overall: Combat Max 12-Month Roach Killing Bait
  • Best roach killing spray: Raid Ant & Roach Killer Insecticide Spray
  • Best roach killing gel: Advion Cockroach Gel Bait
  • Best roach trap: Black Flag Roach Motel Insect Trap
  • Best roach perimeter spray: Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer

Updated on 2/2/2021: We stand by our picks from this summer and are planning on testing the Terro Garbage Guard this spring.

The best roach killer overall

You can place discreet Combat Max 12-Month Roach Killing Bait stations all around your home to create a virtual shield against roaches that will remain effective for up to a year.

Pros: Long term efficacy, great low price, discreet and easy use

Cons: Not effective against larger roach species

If you’re trying to deal with an infestation of common small roaches, you probably don’t want to do so by keeping a can of insecticide at the ready at all times. You do, however, want your home to be a cockroach killing ground at all times, and  Combat Max 12-Month Roach Killing Bait stations can make that happen.

These compact, discreet black discs can be placed in cabinets and drawers, under the fridge, behind the toilet, and just about anywhere else you want, and each of the 18 stations per box is loaded with enough roach poison to remain effective for up to a year in most circumstances.

The low cost and long lifespan (so to speak) of these bait stations are certainly selling points, but so too is the ripple effect of their efficacy. Once an individual roach has ingested the Fipronil insecticide within the station, they will unwittingly transport lethal doses of the stuff back to the nest, potentially killing many more roaches and speeding the demise of the entire local population.

We don’t like to lean on shopper reviews, but in the case of roach-killing agents, there’s a wormhole (beware) that’s worth going down, and most of the hundreds of reviews we combed through came with 5-star ratings. One said that “within a day” of setting out the stations he “no longer saw live roaches.” Another said, with a bit of humor, that his “only regret is that the roaches can’t feel [his] hate.”

The best roach killing spray

Sometimes, you get up close and personal with a cockroach. When you do, kill it fast with a can of Raid Ant & Roach Killer Insecticide Spray.

Pros: Kills almost instantly, pleasant scent, effective against myriad pests

Cons: Not a long-term pest solution

If your entire plan for dealing with a serious roach problem involves spraying every insect you see with insecticide, then you can count on having a roach problem for many years to come, friend. Treating the issue means killing off the bugs you can’t see, which will vastly outnumber the individuals spotted scurrying to and fro. Sorry to tell you that, but it’s the truth.

However, as part of a comprehensive roach eradication campaign, it’s invaluable to have a kill-on-contact spray at your disposal, and Raid Ant & Roach Killer Insecticide Spray is certainly that. One quick spritz of this surprisingly inoffensive lemon-scented formula and that roach making a beeline for a crack in the wall is dead meat.

This spray can also be used to treat areas of known roach activity, making them temporarily lethal to insects passing through, though the spray lacks the ability to render an exposed insect deadly to others like many baits do. 


The best roach killing gel

You can apply Advion Cockroach Gel Bait exactly where you want it, even in the smallest cracks and crevices, and you can count on roaches bringing its lethal formula back to the nest.

Pros: Long-lasting killing action, irresistible to roaches, good for heavy infestations

Cons: Labor-intensive application process

The process of using Advion Cockroach Gel Bait isn’t as simple as planting a few bait stations around the house, nor is it as easy as just spraying every insect you see. But while there’s a more laborious initial undertaking involved, this stuff more than makes up for the effort required in its extreme lethality to roaches.

It is highly effective for two reasons, the first being the fact that the carboxylate insecticide is simply very deadly to insects. The second reason is that the brand has come up with a blend of ingredients that roaches find irresistible.

Using the included applicator tips, you can spread lines or dots of this gel wherever you have seen roaches in the past or where you suspect they may be lurking. It can be squeezed into cracks in the wall, corners of baseboards, behind trashcans, and anywhere else in your home you see fit for treatment. The gel is also rated for use on boats, planes, or on any other vehicle that might have developed a roach infestation, such as your own car.


The best roach trap

The Black Flag Roach Motel Insect Trap not only kills cockroaches, but it keeps the dead ones contained and out of sight.

Pros: No dead roaches littering the floors, no dangerous chemicals, effective for weeks on end

Cons: Traps get grisly-looking over time

When you have a roach problem, your primary objective is to kill off the bugs and end the infestation. But with many products, that means days or even weeks of finding dead roaches all around your home or office. Granted, dead roaches are better than living ones, but cleaning up those insect carcasses is hardly pleasant. When you use the Black Flag Roach Motel Insect Trap, the roaches die out of sight and then remain that way, forever entombed within these compact traps.

Rather than relying on poison to do the dirty work, Black Flag Roach Motel Insect Traps use a sweetly scented and highly sticky substance that lures the insects into the cardboard box and then traps them fast, causing them to soon perish through lack of sustenance. This seems cruel, but don’t worry, they can’t process existential plight. Just don’t spend too much time looking into one of these things, because it gets macabre in there pretty fast, at least in the eyes of those of us who can ponder death.

The best roach perimeter spray

If you apply Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer liberally enough around the outside of your home, you may never have to deal with roaches inside.

Pros: Large volume for price, creates a long-lasting barrier, good for indoor and outdoor use

Cons: Electric spray nozzles sometimes fail after minimal use

Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer is both a quick-killing and a longlasting formula, and it can be used inside and outside of your home. As a spot killing solution, you simply squirt a bit on any hapless cockroach you find running across your floor. But this stuff is best used to create a defensive perimeter against infiltration. Seeing as it comes in a gallon-sized container with a powered spray wand, go ahead and apply a heavy dose around your property.

If you already have a bad roach infestation, it’s a good idea to go ahead and apply a thin line of Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer along baseboards, under cabinets, under doors, and so on. Just don’t spray it where kids or pets will come into contact with the area until long after it has dried.

As part of infestation mitigation, or to proactively ward off a roach approach, spray the formula all around the outside of your house, and lay it on thick. Hit the windows and doorframes, the crawlspace, the garage, and so forth. In most conditions, the barrier you lay down will last for months. Oh, and that lethal fence you create is also effective against ants, spiders, silverfish, and more.

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