The 10 Best Roach Killers to Keep Cockroaches Away from Your Home

The advion 383920 Cockroach Gel Bait system kicks roaches to the curb.

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Best Roach Killers to Keep Cockroaches Away

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When it comes to getting rid of the notoriously resilient (and, quite frankly, disgusting) cockroach, you’ll need the best roach killer to do the job swiftly, easily, and efficiently. Roaches are notoriously difficult to get rid of, so choosing a roach killer that actually works to eliminate these pests can seem like a mean feat—but it is possible.

We did our research and found the absolute best roach killers available to buy to keep your home free from these nasty creepy-crawlies. We also spoke to Judy Black, VP of Quality Assurance and Technical Services at top pest control services company, Orkin, LLC, about what factors to consider when looking for the best roach killer.

“The best strategy for the control of household cockroaches is to use baits,” Black tells BHG. “This type of control strategy is not quite as fast-acting, but is much more effective than aerosol sprays and liquid treatments in the long term.”

Our top pick for the best roach killer is the advion 383920 Cockroach Gel Bait. This commercial-grade roach killer set is easy to use, lasts a long time after application, and kills both German and American cockroaches upon contact. It’s also pet-friendly to keep your four-legged friends safe.

Best Overall: advion 383920 Cockroach Gel Bait

advion 383920 Cockroach Gel Bait

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This powerful, commercial-grade killer can be used both inside and outside of your home.
Keep in Mind: You have to wear protective gear when placing this bait around your home.

This industrial-grade roach-eliminating set from advion is our top pick for the best roach killer currently available on the market. Made in the USA, the formula in this insecticide can efficiently tackle residential or commercial areas with a high infestation problem. It’s even suitable for use in kitchens and other food-prep areas. Four syringes come in the set, and each tube is enough for application in up to five different spots.

After you’ve taken care of the inside or your home, you can also use this product outdoors, around the house, and in sheds and garages, too. In addition to the usual roach-attracting spots, like under sinks and in wall cracks, the best application is the four-corner method, which entails applying the product to every corner of each room. This product is highly appealing to unsuspecting roaches, so don’t be surprised when dead ones start appearing all over the place.

Price at time of publish: $40

Product Details:

  • Form: Gel
  • Time Needed to Work: Immediate
  • Efficacy Length: Three months
  • Targeted Pests: Most cockroaches, including German and American
  • Safe for Pets: Yes

Best Value: Spectracide Bug Stop Home Barrier

Spectracide Bug Stop Home Barrier

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: If general pest control is your concern, this formula kills ants, fleas, and spiders as well.
Keep in Mind: This spray is water-based, so it’s not effective in areas that get wet.

The Spectracide Bug Stop Home Barrier comes in a large, 1-gallon container to effectively cover even larger homes and outdoor areas—and you’ll still have some left over, making this the best roach killer for anyone on a budget.

This insecticide works quickly, killing cockroaches as soon as they come in contact with it, and it’s also effective on other insects too, including ants, spiders, fleas, and silverfish. As the formula is water-based, there’s no odor and it also won’t stain your floors or patio.

The container has a convenient handle and comes with a sprayer which is pretty much ready-to-use as soon as you set it up. You don’t have to mix a thing as the formula comes completely ready; all you have to do to get in terminator mode is unscrew the bottle’s cap, and pop in the included sprayer. The sprayer also makes it really easy to get in hard-to-reach areas, such as behind the fridge or stove, and in any cracks. The effects of this powerful insecticide can last for up to 12 months.

Just make sure to keep kids and pets away from the area until the spray has dried completely.

Price at time of publish: $13

Product Details:

  • Form: Liquid
  • Time Needed to Work: Immediate
  • Efficacy Length: Up to 12 months
  • Targeted Pests: Insects
  • Safe for Pets: Yes, only once dried

Best Gel: Maxforce FC Select Professional Roach Killer Bait Gel

Maxforce FC Select Professional Roach Killer Bait Gel

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This gel can kill cockraoches it never even comes into direct contact with, so it’s a great pick if you’re not sure about the source of the infestation.
Keep in Mind: Unlike other formulas, this one requires time to kill the roaches it comes into contact with, so patience is required.

Disturbingly, some cockroaches are what the pros call “bait-averse” meaning that they will actively avoid ingesting roach killer. Thankfully, the Maxforce FC Select Professional Roach Killer Bait Gel manages to trick even these more intelligent cockroaches (usually of the German variety) into having a little nibble.

The formula has a trademarked Domino Effect® meaning that once one roach has ingested it, it will then kill off any other pests that it comes into contact with. This means that the cockroach won’t die instantly (it needs to be able to get back to its crew in order to pass the poison on), so it will take a couple of days till you start seeing results (up to eight days for American roaches).

Thanks to the syringes that come already filled with the insecticide, you don’t have to mix any ingredients and can easily access hard-to-reach areas. The formula can be used both indoors and out, but it does dry into an unsightly brown which is not much of an issue if it’s applied outside, in cracks, or behind large appliances. Once it is dry, it is safe for use in kitchen spaces.

Although it’s an extremely effective roach-killing product, it’s not pet-safe, so it’s best to avoid it if you have any furry friends running around.

Price at time of publish: $33

Product Details:

  • Form: Gel
  • Time Needed to Work: Immediate and ingestion
  • Efficacy Length: Up to one year (reapply as needed)
  • Targeted Pests: Cockroaches (German, American, oriental, brown, and smoky brown)
  • Safe for Pets: No

Best Spray: Raid Ant & Roach Killer

Raid Ant & Roach Killer Insecticide Spray-Fragrance Free - 17.5 oz
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

Why You Should Get It: For occasional use on cockroaches right in front of you, this easy-to-use spray version is your best bet.
Keep in Mind: This method needs to be reapplied frequently and is toxic, so you can’t use it around children or pets.

Thanks to the fast-acting Raid Ant & Roach Killer, there’s no need to pack your bags and check yourself into the nearest hotel as soon as you see a cockroach in the house (be honest, you’ve thought about it).

Unlike other roach-preventing killers, this spray can be used directly onto the critter, or in the little gap it’s managed to crawl into. One thing’s for sure, it won’t be coming out of that hole once you’ve sealed it off with this spray—it will simply kick the bucket on the spot.

While the product claims to also prevent roaches from reappearing, it’s not an overall protectant for heavily infested areas. Having said that, it’s a very tough roach killer you’ll definitely want around the house for emergencies, perhaps in addition to your long-term baits and traps. What’s more, this multi-purpose killer can be used on an array of other insects too, including ants, earwigs, household spiders, stink bugs, and even scorpions.

If you have a pet, you’ll want to make sure it can’t get into any room that you’ve applied this spray to, as it’s not safe for people or pets to touch.

Price at time of publish: $10

Product Details:

  • Form: Spray
  • Time Needed to Work: Immediate
  • Efficacy Length: Up to four weeks
  • Targeted Pests: 13 insect varieties including roaches, waterbugs, ants, spiders, beetles and scorpions
  • Safe for Pets: No

Best Trap: HOY HOY Trap-A-Roach Bait Glue Traps

HOY HOY Trap-A-Roach Bait Glue Traps

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: We appreciate that these traps can be stuck to other places besides the floor, making them safer for households with pets and kids.
Keep in Mind: They are a little bit finicky to set up, since you have to stick the roach food on an adhesive tab.

There are many perks to this economical HOY HOY Trap-A-Roach Bait Glue Trap set.

Firstly, it’s highly affordable and there are five traps in the set, meaning you can adequately prep all the important roach hideouts, like behind the refrigerator, the stove, and under your bathroom and kitchen sinks. It’s the best roach killer for anyone who doesn’t want to get their hands dirty, as you don’t have to apply any liquids or gels directly to your floors or sideboards. It’s also odor-free. In addition, the traps are safe to use around animals, as long as your pets can’t get directly to them. Thankfully, they come with sticky-tape on the back of each trap to enable you to stick it on the back of cabinets or even somewhere higher up, and out of the reach of pets and children.

The traps are only an inch high, meaning you can even slide them under cabinets. This product is best for those occasional roach sightings as opposed to a full-blown infestation. While the trapping method is not a long-term roach killing solution as the insects can’t escape in order to take the poison back to other roaches, you’ll definitely see a decline in the number of cockroaches you once had.

While you will have to deal with disposing of the traps with the nasties inside, there is a little tab on the top of each one so you won’t have to get too close to the corpses.

Price at time of publish: $10

Product Details:

  • Form: Trap
  • Time Needed to Work: Immediate
  • Efficacy Length: One month
  • Targeted Pests: Cockroaches
  • Safe for Pets: No

Best Powder: HARRIS Boric Acid Roach and Silverfish Killer Powder

HARRIS Boric Acid Roach and Silverfish Killer Powder

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: It’s easy to apply and highly effective, making it an affordable option that is ready to apply as soon as you get it.
Keep in Mind: Applying it requires a soft touch—too much powder, and the cockroaches will avoid it rather than walking over it.

The HARRIS Boric Acid Roach and Silverfish Killer Powder is a great way to kill cockroaches and keep more from cropping up. The company has been around since 1924 and is well-known for its bug-busting formulas.

This powder is affordable, easy-to-use, and comes ready for use straight out of the box. It’s made from 99 percent boric acid, which is the key deadly ingredient that (morbidly) affects the roach’s nervous and digestive systems, swiftly killing it. However, while the roach will be attracted to this bait, it won’t be tempted to eat it—bear with us; it works in another, clever way.

While you may, upon the first sight of a roach, want to sprinkle this stuff everywhere, too much of it will actually make cockroaches walk around it and avoid getting poisoned. Since it’s not a yummy roach bait, per se, you have to apply just the recommended amount—a light puff of the bottle is all that’s needed for a thin layer of dust to cover the desired surface. The way it works is that the cockroach will, unwittingly, walk over the dust, then go home and lick itself clean, thereby ingesting the poison. In the meantime, it will have also taken the powder to its friends, so they can all meet the same gnarly fate.

Price at time of publish: $19

Product Details:

  • Form: Powder
  • Time Needed to Work: Up to 72 hours
  • Efficacy Length: Weeks to months, as long as it is kept dry
  • Targeted Pests: Cockroaches, palmetto bugs, waterbugs, silverfish
  • Safe for Pets: No

Best Multipurpose: Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer

Ortho Home Defense Insect Killer

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: The most varied option on this list, its your best pick if roaches aren’t the only bug you’re trying to send packing.
Keep in Mind: Pests need to come into direct contact with this pick for it to work, so you’ll need to apply it thoroughly to keep any from sneaking through.

This large container of Ortho Home Defence Insect Killer can be used both indoors and around the perimeter of your home, making it our top pick for the best roach killer for multipurpose use.

It can kill a plethora of over 130 insects, including roaches, ants, fleas, ticks, and spiders, and comes ready to use. The easy applicator wand sprays the product accurately, and exactly where you want it to go, and the best part about it is that it dries extremely quickly, meaning that it’s safe for use around pets too (once dry, of course).

There’s no odor to it and, as long as it’s applied on non-porous surfaces, the product won’t stain the floors or walls either. It works by not only killing insects upon contact, but creating a bug barrier that stops them from getting into your house. A single application can impressively last for up to 12 months.

If you have a serious infestation, this product can’t get to the root of the problem as it kills bugs on the spot, therefore doesn’t allow them to transfer the poison back to their hideouts. However, it’s excellent at preventing roaches from getting in if you apply it to all perimeters.

Price at time of publish: $19 for 170 oz

Product Details:

  • Form: Powder
  • Time Needed to Work: Immediate
  • Efficacy Length: Up to 12 months
  • Targeted Pests: 130+ insects, including cockroaches, spiders, stink bugs, house centipedes, millipedes, beetles, scorpions, silverfish, earwigs, fleas, and ticks
  • Safe for Pets: Yes, once dry

Best Natural: EcoLogic Ant and Roach Killer Aerosol

EcoLogic Ant and Roach Killer Aerosol

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: If the fumes of traditional sprays bother you, this pleasant-smelling, essential oil-based pick might be a good option.
Keep in Mind: Applications are only effective for a few days at a time, and the formula kills on contact, so you’ll need to reapply often.

If you’re desperate to get rid of trespassing bugs, but don’t like the idea of releasing harmful chemicals into your home, it may feel like a bit of a conundrum. Insect killing sprays are known for being toxic with strong, cough-inducing smells, but natural remedies, like this EcoLogic Ant and Roach Killer Aerosol, have thankfully burst onto the scene to kill insects in a more environmentally and human-friendly way. It has a cinnamon scent which is actually rather pleasant, and nothing like your typical insect spray.

Though it's made from natural ingredients like cornmint oil, cinnamon oil, and clove oil, it still has a powerful insecticide in the form of lemongrass oil that can kill roaches and other insects immediately upon contact. The aerosol allows you to powerfully spray the product into crevices, under appliances, and in hard-to-reach corners, and it’s safe around pets as long as you allow it to properly dry first.

This is not a means of infestation control, but can certainly stop stray roaches dead in their tracks.

Price at time of publish: $8

Product Details:

  • Form: Aerosol
  • Time Needed to Work: Immediate
  • Efficacy Length: Needs reapplication every few days
  • Targeted Pests: Cockroaches, ants, spiders, black widows, crickets, and ticks
  • Safe for Pets: Yes

Best Liquid: Hot Shot HG-95789 Roach Killer

Hot Shot HG-95789 Roach Killer

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: These traps use a unique liquid bait to make them even more attractive to cockroaches.
Keep in Mind: You’ll need to keep an eye on the liquid level on these traps to make sure they stay effective.

Did you know that roaches often come into a house to look for water in addition to food? Apparently, they can survive quite well without food for up to a month, but, when it comes to water, they can only go without for seven days. With that useful information in mind, the clever Hot Shot HG-95789 Roach Killer includes both food and water bait, serving as a delicious and satisfying last meal (drink included) for a cockroach. The poison can kill even monstrous-sized roaches, and kills their eggs, too.

There are six of these bait stations included in each pack, which work out quite economical at under $1.50 per unit. They’re really easy to use, too; simply place the baits wherever you’ve seen a cockroach, or in common bug hangouts, like under sinks and cabinets. You’ll have to check up on the stations once a month to make sure they’ve still got bait inside (if not, you know that the cockroaches have been having a field day). Once empty, simply replace it with another bait station.

Price at time of publish: $11

Product Details:

  • Form: Liquid bait stations
  • Time Needed to Work: A few hours
  • Efficacy Length: Three months
  • Targeted Pests: Cockroaches
  • Safe for Pets: No

Best for Outdoors: TERRO T901-6 Ant Killer Plus Multi-Purpose Insect Control

TERRO T901-6 Ant Killer Plus Multi-Purpose Insect Control

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: An outdoor deterrent like this one can keep roaches from ever making their way into your home—and it works within just 24 hours.
Keep in Mind: You will need to soak the granules with water to activate them after sprinkling them around your home.

If you’re lucky enough to only see insects in the yard, you won’t really need to bring any insecticide into the house. However, even if you don’t have an indoor roach problem, protecting your outdoor area against cockroaches and other insects is also a great way to ensure they don’t manage to get in.

These TERRO T901-6 Ant Killer Plus Multi-Purpose Insect Control granules are made for outdoor use, and come in a handy resealable bag that you simply tip upside-down and shake-it-all-around for easy application.

Within a day, cockroaches, ants, fleas, silverfish, and a whole load of other insects will start dropping like flies. As opposed to other outdoor insecticides, you don’t have to prep it or mix it with water first, and you won’t have to use a spreader or sprayer either. You will, however, have to lightly water the area after you’ve spread the granules in order to activate the formula.

It’s advised to apply the TERRO T901-6 all around the outer foundations of your home, creating a perimeter that bugs can’t cross (well, they’ll certainly try, but it won’t end well for them).

Price at time of publish: $9

Product Details:

  • Form: Granules
  • Time Needed to Work: Within 24 hours of contact
  • Efficacy Length: Two months
  • Targeted Pests: Most insects, including ants, fire ants, cockroaches, fleas, crickets, earwigs, millipedes, mites, palmetto bugs, silverfish, and sow bugs
  • Safe for Pets: Debatable

The Bottom Line

The best roach killer, based on our research, is the advion 383920 Cockroach Gel Bait; a commercial-grade roach killer set that is easy to use and lasts months after application. It can kill all sorts of cockroaches, including the American and German variety, and it’s even safe to use if you have pets or kids.

What to Know About Roach Killers Before Shopping

Form

There are many different forms of roach killers that each have a different way of working and application process. For serious problems, you may need to bring in a professional. However, if you opt to manage the cockroaches yourself, Judy Black, VP of Quality Assurance and Technical Services at Orkin, LLC, recommends going for ready-to-use sprays, dusts, or baits specifically labeled for in-home use. “You must always read the label of the product you are going to use, as products labeled for exterior use may not be suitable to use indoors,” she tells us.

Black also gave us the lowdown on each different form of roach killer:

Gel baits: According to Black, gel baits are the best roach killer option. These are available as either plastic bait stations or gel formulations that come in plastic syringes. The baits contain insecticide-laced foods that cockroaches eat. Once they eat the bait, the roaches spread it to other cockroaches through feces or contact. The typical way to apply the treatment involves placing small dots of bait into cracks and around other places where they are located. However, bait stations are also available that you can place around the house.

Dust/powder: “Homeowners must track the pests’ activity to find the right harborage spots to place a very light layer of powder roach killer,” Black says. The dust adheres to the cockroach as it passes over it and, while grooming itself, the insect will then ingest the dust. “Correct application is key,” warns Black. “Improper use has the potential to cause problems for the residents. Avoid placing dust in piles and always follow the label.”

Liquid and aerosol residuals: These products are specifically formulated to be used in cracks and crevices, and under appliances, cabinets, sinks or closets. The pest must rest on a treated surface to absorb an effective dose. Aerosols typically have instant results but they don’t last a long time, and are more for immediate use if you happen to spot a roach and try to chase it down.

Cockroach foggers: Foggers are a form of pest control that releases a mist of pesticides into the air. Typically, the fogger is placed on a table or chair, and the user activates it by pressing a button or removing a tab on the top of the can. You must follow all label instructions to reduce exposure to people and pets when using this method. “Although it’s easy to use, it isn’t an effective method at getting rid of cockroaches,” Black tells us. “We do not recommend this method for homeowners or even professionals.”

Time Needed to Work

The time a roach killer needs to work depends on the format of the product. While an aerosol and liquid pesticide can kill a roach as soon as the little critter comes into contact with it, it’s not very effective at killing the rest of its clan. Meanwhile, when it comes to baits, once a cockroach has found and consumed it, it typically dies within 1 to 3 days, and, in that time, it will have taken the poison back to its brood to better target the infestation.

Efficacy Length

Again, a roach killer's efficacy length depends on which product you are using. An aerosol’s effect doesn’t last long, perhaps a few days, whereas a more professional bait system can last around three to six months before you need to reapply it.

Targeted Pests

Many roach killers can get rid of other types of insects, too. These include ants, fleas, crickets, spiders, earwigs, millipedes, silverfish, mites, palmetto bugs, and sow bugs. Each product usually has a list of the pests that it is able to exterminate, so make sure to read the label before you assume it will solve all of your pest control issues.

Extent of Infestation

If you have a serious cockroach infestation on your hands, and want to take care of it yourself without bringing in a pro, you’ll need to opt for a strong, commercial-grade roach killer, and make sure to reapply it regularly as advised. For lighter situations, you can still use these strong products, but it won’t be necessary to reapply as often.

If you’re seeing an odd cockroach here and there, perhaps weeks apart, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your home has an infestation, so a can of roach killer spray could suffice. However, having a good roach killer bait system in place can ensure that the one cockroach doesn’t get to multiply.

Safe for Pets

Not all roach killers are safe to use around pets, or even kids. Many roach killers say they are pet-safe, but it’s important that the proper guidelines are followed. For instance, a pet-safe roach killer could be harmless to pets only once it has dried, so pets should be safely confined until it has. “Always read the label before applying products in areas where there will be pets,” says Black. “If the label is not clear to you, call the consumer hotline noted on the label to gain clarity or contact a professional who will know pet-protecting protocols.”

Your Questions, Answered

When should you use a roach killer?

If you are seeing cockroaches around the house, there’s no time like the present to get cracking with a good roach killing method. For general prevention, early spring is typically considered the best time to get your home protected from all manner of pests.

Black advises that, when it comes to cockroaches, prevention is better than cure. “Insecticides should be used as a last resort, and as a complement to available pest management methods, such as sanitation and exclusion,” says Black.

How do you use a roach killer?

There are various ways to eliminate cockroaches, and each different product has its own application method. Roach killer should be applied to any cracks and corners where the cockroaches can gain access to the house.

Baits and traps can be left in areas that cockroaches like to hide, such as behind the refrigerator or stove, in cabinets and the pantry, along baseboards, and underneath the bathroom and kitchen sinks. Sprays and aerosols can also be used in these areas for more immediate roach-killing action, and directly onto the insect itself if you can manage it.

Can roach killers be used for other insects?

Insect killers are typically clearly labeled for the pest they can be used on. Many roach killers are also able to kill an array of other insects too, like ants, spiders, and earwigs, so always check the label for clarification if you’d prefer a multi-use insecticide for tackling more than just roaches.

Who We Are

This article was written by Kat de Naoum, who has over ten years of commerce writing experience. Kat is also the commerce editor-at-large at Thomas-Xometry, the leading U.S. online platform for supplier discovery and product sourcing. For this article, Kat reviewed multiple roach killers, researching factors such as each product's form, length of efficacy, time needed to work, price, and whether it’s safe for pets. She also consulted Judy Black, BCE, the VP of Quality Assurance and Technical Services at Orkin, LLC, a top American residential and commercial pest control services company.

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