The 9 Best Roach Killers of 2023

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These roach killers are your best line of defense in the fight against roaches and other household pests.

<p>Real Simple / David Hattan</p>

Real Simple / David Hattan

You’ll want to act quickly if you find even one cockroach skittering around your home. These pests can transmit bacteria, and their droppings can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks, per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While it’s never a bad idea to contact a professional exterminator, there are some excellent products available that will quickly stop roaches in their tracks.

We researched and evaluated roach killers based on their effectiveness and ease of use, as well as how long their protection lasts and how safe they are for household use, especially when children and pets are involved. We also consulted Scot Hodges, pest expert and Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) at Arrow Exterminators.

“People often associate roaches with poor sanitation, which can have some truth to it, but anyone can get roaches in their home from a number of sources and/or they can simply enter from outside,” says Hodges. If you have only the occasional roach sighting, you might have success with the consumer products on the market.

“For roach control, a responsible approach will usually include the use of baits in some form or another,” he explains, noting that glue traps allow you to control pests and monitor the results. Most importantly, read all labels to confirm whether the product is safe to use in your household. Pets and children are especially of concern, though elderly members of the household and those with allergies should also be kept in mind, according to Hodges.

Combat Roach Killing Bait

Best Overall Roach Killer

Who it’s for: People who want to eliminate roaches where they’re nesting.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a more targeted roach killer to use only as needed.

If you want to evict cockroaches from your home completely, it’s not enough to go after just those you can see. You’ll also want to target them where they're hiding and breeding. Bait stations are the way to get to the center of the infestation.

The Combat Roach Killing Bait contains eight mess-free and child-resistant bait stations that don’t require much work to activate—just place them around sinks, behind toilets, near appliances, and any other spots that you’ve either seen cockroaches or think they might be lurking. Roaches will be lured to the bait station, where they take the bait and bring it back to their nest, creating a chain reaction.

Unlike other bait stations, this one from Combat has large enough openings to admit larger bugs. It’s a great option if you’d prefer a set-it-and-forget-it method of pest control. And thanks to a vapor-less, odor-free formula, you won’t be reminded that Combat is hard at work taking care of your pest problem. Just keep in mind that the stations do not come with adhesive on the bottom, so they have to be set on flat surfaces.

Price at time of publish: $13 for 8-pack 

Product Details:

  • Type: Bait station

  • Targeted Pests: Cockroaches

  • Duration: 3 months

  • Safe for Pets: No

Mighty Mint Roach Repellent Peppermint Spray

Best Natural Roach Killer

Who it’s for: People who want a roach killer spray that doesn’t use harsh chemicals.

Who it isn’t for: People who want odor-free pest control.

You don't want to go easy on cockroaches, but it's understandable if you feel uneasy about using harsh chemicals around your home. This 100 percent plant-based pest control spray uses peppermint oil as the defense against roaches. Spray liberally where you’ve seen roaches or think they might be crawling to repel and exterminate.

This natural pesticide is made from Northwest peppermint essential oil as well as other plant-based ingredients, including vegetable, palm, and soybean oils. When used as recommended, Mighty Mint claims its product is safe to use around your family and pets; however, essential oils, including peppermint oil, can be toxic to pets when ingested or exposed to skin, so you still need to exercise caution. It’ll smell much nicer—though it can be quite strong—than other chemical-based sprays. And while it’s not a chemical-based pest control spray, you’ll still want to keep a window open or leave the room after you've sprayed.

Price at time of publish: $19 

Product Details:

  • Type: Spray

  • Targeted Pests: Cockroaches

  • Duration: Not listed

  • Safe for Pets: Undetermined (essential oils can be toxic when ingested)

Raid Ant & Roach Killer

Best Spray Roach Killer

Who it’s for: People who want a targeted method for killing roaches on sight.

Who it isn’t for: People with larger infestations who want to kill roaches more systematically.

A spray of Raid is lethal on contact for roaches and carpenter ants, and it keeps working for weeks after the initial application. It’s inexpensive and very easy to use: Just shake it well and spray surfaces and other points of infestation. Just be sure to ventilate the room and then leave while the spray dries. There’s no unpleasant chemical smell—in fact, the lavender scent is rather pleasing, though it comes in a fragrance-free version, if you prefer.

In addition to ants and roaches, this Raid indoor spray also takes on a variety of other insects, including water bugs, Palmetto bugs, silverfish, crickets, spiders, stink bugs, and a variety of beetles. And given the spray’s low price point, it’s a good idea to keep a can on hand should any of them show up uninvited.

Price at time of publish: $5 

Product Details:

  • Type: Liquid spray

  • Targeted Pests: Cockroaches, waterbugs, palmetto bugs, ants, silverfish, carpet beetles, crickets, earwigs, household spiders, multicolored Asian lady beetles, stink bugs, scorpions, and black widow spiders

  • Duration: 4 weeks

  • Safe for Pets: No

Syngenta Advion Cockroach Gel Bait

Best Gel Roach Killer

Who it’s for: People with bait-averse cockroaches.

Who it isn’t for: People who aren't looking for a heavy duty product.

Not all cockroaches are the same, which means that cockroach baits are, unfortunately, not one-size-kills-all. The Advion Cockroach Gel Bait, on the other hand, is known to target many of the most stubborn cockroaches, including German, American, Australian, and Asian species. Its formula combines a proprietary gel with other ingredients that are irresistible to cockroaches.

The bait is non-repellent, so rather than keep roaches away like many sprays do, it lures them in. Cockroaches take the bait, then share them with their friends back at the nest, so your pest problem won’t be an issue for much longer.

You can use this bait both indoors and outdoors. Just apply a few spots about every 10 feet to build your defense, and be sure to keep pets and children away from it, as it’s rather strong stuff. In fact, it’s potent enough to be used on commercial and industrial infestation sites—even airplanes and trains—as well as in homes.

Price at time of publish: $50 for 4-pack

Product Details:

  • Type: Gel

  • Targeted Pests: Cockroaches

  • Duration: 3 months

  • Safe for Pets: No

Harris Boric Acid Roach Powder With Lure

Best Powder Roach Killer

Who it’s for: People who want a roach killer that’s not as messy as gel, especially for high-traffic areas.

Who it isn’t for: People who want something that kills on contact.

This boric acid-based formula lures roaches in so that they die within 72 hours after taking it back to the nest and sharing it with others. As long as the powder is kept dry after applying, it keeps on fighting for weeks. It’s not just good for cockroach combat, either; it's also effective against silverfish, water bugs, and Palmetto bugs.

If you've never used a powder before, you’ll learn quickly with this product. Each squeeze creates an effective barrier to keep cockroaches and other insects like silverfish out.  It has an extended straw that enables the powder to get into hard-to-reach areas, so it’s great to use along baseboards and other spots that sprays or baits can’t access. Although this product is EPA-registered for use in homes with people and pets, we’d caution pet parents that boric acid can cause poisoning if ingested.

Price at time of publish: $16

Product Details:

  • Type: Powder

  • Targeted Pests: Cockroaches, palmetto bugs, water bugs, and silverfish

  • Duration: Not listed

  • Safe for Pets: No

Hot Shot Liquid Roach Bait

Best Liquid Roach Killer

Who it’s for: People who want a quick-acting roach killer that’s easier to apply than gels or powders.

Who it isn’t for: People who want a non-liquid bait that can be carried back to the nest.

Not all liquid roach killers come in spray form. Liquid roach bait makes it easy to quickly set up a line of defense against roaches, including the ones that you can’t see. Roaches can live up to a month without food, but can only go seven days without water. Thus, they typically enter homes in search of water sources in the bathroom or the kitchen. This bait is attractive because it contains both food and water, so cockroaches enter the bait station for a lethal dose.

The bait, which attracts both small and large roaches, is guaranteed to work within hours, killing both roaches and the eggs they carry. It’s much easier than having to apply spray or powder. All you have to do is place one of the bait stations on a flat surface where you've seen roaches or you think they might have been, like inside cabinets and closets, under sinks, and behind appliances. It comes with six bait stations, so you can scatter them around your home. The bait station comes with a viewing window, so you can check to see whether the bait is still present. Just note that the stations don’t have adhesive, so they need to be placed on a flat surface.

Price at time of publish: $10 for 6-pack

Product Details:

  • Type: Liquid bait

  • Targeted Pests: Cockroaches

  • Duration: 3 months

  • Safe for Pets: No

Black Flag Roach Motel

Best Roach Trap

Who it’s for: People with pets and children who want a pesticide-free roach killer for small infestations.

Who it isn’t for: People with large infestations who need to solve the problem at the source.

The Black Flag Roach Motel tag line that says it all: “Roaches check in, but they don't check out.” These aptly named roach traps are indeed not the most hospitable to cockroaches, as they invite them in, never to reemerge. That’s the real beauty of the Roach Motel: You won't see dead bug carcasses around your place like you will with sprays, powders, and other baits.

Aside from roaches, the Roach Motel also welcomes Palmetto bugs, spiders, crickets, scorpions, water bugs, and other creepy crawlers. Here’s how it works: A lure tempts the roaches inside, where they become permanently stuck to the heavy glue on the surface. When the trap is full, you can flip it over and use the other side. Then, all you have to do is get rid of the trap and the dead bugs without a fuss or a mess. Despite the lethal nature of these traps, they don’t emit harsh odors nor do they contain hazardous pesticides, so they’re safe for pets. It comes with a money-back guarantee, so you can feel even better that your bug problem is soon to be under control.

Price at time of publish: $5

Product Details:

  • Type: Trap

  • Targeted Pests: Cockroaches, water bugs, palmetto bugs, spiders, crickets, and scorpions

  • Duration: Varies

  • Safe for Pets: Yes

Terro Multi-Surface Roach Baits

Best Roach Bait

Who it’s for: People who want bait stations that can stick to vertical surfaces and contain slow-acting poison to kill more roaches.

Who it isn’t for: People with larger infestations who don’t want to be limited to a handful of bait stations.

Cockroaches are rarely solo sightings, which is why you’ll need multiple points of attack to stop an infestation from occurring. This six-pack of baits makes it easy to cover a large surface area and create a defensive barrier against these critters.

Don't be alarmed if you see more roaches at first when you first put this bait out; it’s just doing its job. The baits attract roaches, who take the protein-based lure and bring it back to the nest where they share it with the rest for disastrous results (for them, not you). The poison is slow acting, allowing the roaches to share it with as many of its mates as possible. The bait stations are designed discreetly so you can tuck them away into corners—they even come with adhesive strips so you can stick them to vertical surfaces, such as on walls under cabinets, or behind appliances. The see-through window lets you see how much of the bait remains, so you’ll always know when it needs to be replaced.

Price at time of publish: $11 for 6-pack

Product Details:

  • Type: Bait station

  • Targeted Pests: Cockroaches

  • Duration: Varies; use see-through window to monitor bait supply

  • Safe for Pets: No

Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer

Best Multipurpose Roach Killer

Who it’s for: People who want a long-lasting insect spray for both indoor and outdoor use.

Who it isn’t for: People whose bug problem hasn’t yet reached full-on infestation.

When you've got a big cockroach problem at home—or you're not exactly sure what insects you're dealing with—it’s imperative to take action quickly. This 1.1-gallon jug is your weapon of choice for securing the perimeter of your home both indoors and out. This powerful spray is designed to provide long-term bug defense—up to 12 months—when used as directed.

This bug spray is meant for use against some of the most common household bugs, including roaches, ants, beetles, spiders, fleas, and ticks. This large container contains enough repellent to be sprayed liberally throughout your home, such as in the corners of kitchens, bathrooms, and basements, as well as outside the house, especially around doors, windows, and other cracks. The continuous-spray spout makes it easy to apply with just the touch of a button, so it’s easy to walk around spraying wherever you've seen bugs or think they might be lurking. The spray won't stain or emit odors, so you’ll have a virtually invisible bug barrier for up to a year.

Price at time of publish: $20

Product Details:

  • Type: Spray

  • Targeted Pests: Cockroaches, ants, spiders, fleas, ticks, scorpions, beetles, silverfish, centipedes and millipedes

  • Duration: Up to 12 months

  • Safe for Pets: Yes, after spray has dried

Final Verdict

The Combat Roach Killing Bait is our top choice among roach killers. It’s inexpensive and easy to use—just place the bait stations on surfaces and in corners where you have seen insects lurking or suspect they might have been. You don’t have to worry about the messiness of sprays and powders; it’s more of a set-it-and-forget it type of treatment, though we understand that it’s likely hard to forget that you’ve got a roach problem! Still, you can rest somewhat assured that the bait will lure those critters in for “food” that they’ll take back to their nest to share for a (hopefully) final meal.

How to Shop for Roach Killers Like a Pro


Roach killers come in various forms, including sprays, powders, baits, and traps. Some are meant to repel pests by forming a barrier that they can’t cross; this is a good option for securing the outer perimeter of your home. But if they’re already in the house, you’ll want to stop them in their tracks with a trap, spray, or powder or kill them in their nest with a bait.

While it might be tempting to use a bit of everything, read labels carefully to avoid having treatments counteract one another or worse, causing harm to the members of your household.

Ease of Use

Read all labels and instructions carefully first before attempting to use any roach killer or repellent. While most formulas are easy to use—some are as simple as placing a bait on a surface or spraying a corner—what complicates matters is where you suspect your visitors are hanging around. Sprays and powders are easy to get into hard-to-reach places, while baits are an effective set-it-and-forget-it solution.


While some roach killers do indeed kill on contact, others might take hours or even a few days to stop cockroaches. Ultimately, the most effective roach killers are the ones that kill off the nest, which stops the bugs from breeding and thriving.

Keep in mind, too, that some baits and traps, while effective, might make you see more cockroaches at first. That’s because to do their job, these products will have to lure them out of hiding first to either trap them or send them back to their nests with a deadly snack to share with the others.


Assuming you’d prefer not to allow roaches and other pests an open invitation back to your home, you’ll need to pay attention to how often you’ll have to reapply/replace the roach killers. See-through baits like the Terro Multi-Surface Roach Baits make it easy to see how much bait has been consumed so you know when to replace it.

Scot Hodges, Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) and vice president of professional development/technical services at Arrow Exterminators, says that aerosol sprays generally have the shortest residual life, plus they can be more expensive ounce per ounce, especially if you go through a lot of product per application.


The type of roach killer you buy should zero in on the offending insects without causing harm to the rest of the members of your household. Read labels carefully before you purchase anything. “Some formulations are inherently less toxic to non-target species or mammals,” says Hodges. “For example, baits typically are a lower-risk product but take more knowledge to use since you need to get it where the roaches are nesting usually.”

Questions You Might Ask

What kills roaches permanently?

Swatting at or stomping on a single cockroach solves a single problem. But when it comes to taking care of cockroaches permanently, you’ve got to get to the root—or rather, the nest—of the situation. That’s why many baits are particularly helpful; they lure cockroaches, who then take the poisonous “food” back to the nest to share with the others. Killing off the nest prohibits them from breeding and fueling the infestation.

Roaches and other insects won’t be as tempted to come into your home when their food source is shut down, so you’ll also want to keep your space as clean as you can, which includes proper food storage.

What do professionals use to kill roaches?

In general, Hodges says pro exterminators use what is called an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy to kill off insects. This includes identifying the insect in question, inspecting for the source of the infestation, and then choosing the right treatment based on this information.

But knowing what that treatment is will be of little help to you at home. “Just because you have a scalpel does not mean you are a surgeon,” warns Hodges. “Having or knowing what professionals use would have little benefit if you do not have the training, experience, and knowledge that professionals must have to treat successfully.”

Hodges says that whatever home method you’re using, read and follow all instructions for the best results. Don’t apply beyond what is the suggested amount to avoid harming non-target members of your household. “Increasing the strength or amounts applied will rarely provide better results, and it can have unintended consequences,” he says.

How long does it take to stop a cockroach infestation?

The roach killers on our list take anywhere between a few hours to a few days to kill off cockroaches. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll stop a full-fledged infestation with just one application of whatever bait, spray, or trap you’re using. To stop an infestation, read instructions carefully to see when you should reapply sprays and powders or replace bait to ensure that you are providing your home with a continuous barrier against bugs.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Barbara Bellesi Zito, a freelance lifestyle writer based in Staten Island, New York. To compile this list of best roach killers, she researched products from top brands while considering factors like effectiveness, ease of use, and safety. For expert advice on what consumers should know when purchasing roach killers, she consulted Scot Hodges, pest expert, Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE), and vice president of professional development/technical services at Arrow Exterminators.

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