12 Best Roach Killers on the Market for Apartments & Homes

Updated on by Jared Belson | Please note that there may be affiliate links on this page.

Not every roach killer that you spray on your deck or around your flower beds will be safe or as effective when used inside your home. The best roach killers for indoor use tend to have specific formulas and have different application methods, that are more suitable for use inside your home.

Whether you live in an apartment building or a house, it doesn’t matter. Eventually, some roaches will find you. And, if you don’t want them to move in and start a large colony, you should be aware of some products.

12 Best Roach Killers for Your Apartment / Home

If you want a proper cockroach gel bait, Advion offers these tube plungers in packs of four. It’s one of the easiest ways to apply gel bait in terms of precision and consistency.

Depending on how severe your infestation is, you may need to apply up to three or five spots of this gel per 10 linear feet. That should provide the type of attractant potency you need. If you’re only trying to bait a few roaches, you could use less than three spots.

To make sure you’re not overusing the gel, try to measure about .25” in diameter per application. When it comes to reliability, there’s no reason to worry. The main active ingredient, Indoxacarb, is a powerful attractant and effective roach killer.

As a result, it’s also one of the most popular ingredients for home use. Because this gel has plenty of carbs, which roaches love to gobble on, you may also be able to dispose of a few ant species at the same time.

  • Super simple application
  • Good value for money
  • Highly concentrated Indoxacarb formula
  • Effective carbohydrate attractant
  • No residual control effect

The Combat Roach Killing Bait comes as an eight-pack of bait stations. The stations have a child-resistant design, which is excellent, but they may not be entirely pet-proof. Due to the low profile of the stations, you can set them up in hard to reach places.

One of the best things about this bait formula is that it’s not an instant killer. That means that it’s a broadcasting poison that roaches take from the station and right back to the colony. In terms of maximizing spreading efficiency, you can hardly ask for more.

However, poison only works if a roach ingests it. That means it won’t work on unhatched critters. So, while it may interrupt the reproductive cycle, any laid eggs will still hatch eventually.

The good news is that the formula has a good shelf life, so you can leave the stations lying around for quite a while. But as far as creating poisonous roach droppings and carcasses, the Combat bait is not the best solution out there.

You should also know that this is one of the most affordable packs of roach killers, especially as far as bait stations are concerned.

  • Broadcasting slow-acting poison
  • Affordable roach killer
  • No need for activation
  • Potent even against the biggest roaches
  • Won’t solve your roach eggs problem

If you want something fast-acting, then your best bet is a roach killer spray. The Bengal Roach Killer has the right formula and comes in 11oz spray cans. Note that this is a dry spray, designed to penetrate deep into cracks and crevices, places where you’re likely to find high roach traffic.

Since it’s a Permethrin-based formula, you know it will be useful both on adults as well as eggs. It’s just a matter of spraying close enough to the nest to get the most out of it.

Although this is a professional-grade product, the manufacturer also sells it for residential use. And it’s safe to use, as long as you can keep your kids and pets away from treat areas for a few hours. I should mention that it’s essential to steer clear even though the formula is virtually odorless.

When sprayed in all the right places, it can help prevent reinfestation for up to six months. So, make sure you get it deep into areas you don’t clean regularly and where there’s a high chance of roaches nesting.

  • Good residual control
  • Odorless
  • Non-staining
  • Dry and deep penetrating spray
  • Not suitable for spraying soft fabrics, or even some carpets

Why are these tablets famous? Because they’ve been used successfully for so long, that the word genuinely makes sense on the label. These tablets are based on boric acid and also feature a potent roach attractant.

As such, they can speed up the extermination process considerably. A 6oz pack of Harris Famous Roach Tablets should contain 145 tablets. That means that you would have enough to treat up to 12 rooms.

The residual control effect varies, depending on the environment. The tablets preserve their potency best when used in dry places. That means that for areas like the kitchen, bathroom, or even a room with many plants, they won’t last too long.

Luckily, the tablets are easy to hide from pets and kids, though you’ll still be able to put them right in the path of your roaches. The best thing about them is that, in theory, they shouldn’t have an expiration date.

  • No real expiration date
  • Highly concentrated boric acid tablets
  • Bait attractant mixed in the formula
  • Very cost-efficient
  • Very toxic and must be handled and hidden with care

It’s such a cliché, but the Black Flag Roach Motel is the place where roaches come in, but they don’t get out. At least not medium-to-large ones, and at least not as long as the traps don’t get overcrowded with dead roaches and other pests.

The great thing about these bait traps is that they keep your house clean and dead roaches out of sight. That’s terrific, especially when to time-released poisons which have you sweeping dead roaches off the ground daily.

Each of the eight traps in the pack should remain potent for up to four months. How fast the motels fill up though, that’s a different story. It will depend on how heavy an infestation you have.

The downside is that you can’t just leave them lying around. While your pets might not get tempted to play with them, you can’t guarantee that your kids won’t either. So, it’s best to hide them regardless. That could be difficult in some locations due to the size of the traps.

  • Bait and trap roach killer
  • Decent “motel” capacity
  • Can trap huge roaches too
  • Keeps dead bugs hidden from view
  • The tall profile may make them tough to hide from kids

I find the Raid Max to be one of the best roach sprays, as it features one of the most versatile and easy to use delivery systems. It features a regular spray nozzle with a broad dispersal pattern for killing a bunch of roaches at a time. It also has an extension tube which can help you push the spray into cracks and crevices and other hard to reach places.

Because this is a non-staining spray, you can easily use it to treat on tile, wood, and any other hard surface. It’s not an odorless spray, so keep that in mind when applying it in small rooms.

What’s great about this spray is that it comes in packs of six, each can have 14.5oz of Raid’s powerful roach killer formula. If you’re looking to exterminate a large colony fast, this could be the way to do it.

Although the formula is supposed to last up to six months, it depends on where and how you use it.

  • Kills a variety of roaches and other insects
  • 2-in-1 applicator
  • Very easy to use
  • Non-staining
  • Shorter residual control effect than advertised

This formula comes in tubes, four per pack, to be exact. I like that they don’t need an additional plunger and that you can drip the gel easily through the built-in applicators.

While it’s legal to use this one almost all over the country, Californians can’t buy it, even though it’s quite a reputable roach killer for apartment and home use. That said, what’s great about it it’s that the formula contains an insect growth regulator.

That means that it not only kills roaches but also effectively disrupts their reproductive cycle and prevents reinfestation for a decent amount of time. Some argue that this is a somewhat targeted roach killer and that it’s most effective against German roaches, both averse and non-averse.

Still, I think it will dispose of other types just as quickly, even if you may need to apply slightly more of it to work. However, you should know that since this formula contains Abamectin, it can take up to a whole week before you see results.

  • Very efficient broadcasting poison
  • Contains insect growth regulator
  • Good residual control
  • Simple application
  • Works very slow and may not be suitable for severe infestations

If you’re familiar with my reviews, then you should already be familiar with my stance on natural insect killers. Even though I don’t think they’re the best, I’ll always recommend the ones that work. One such example is the Magma Home Pest Spray, which is an organic control formula for roaches and other insects.

The best thing about it is that it’s environmentally-friendly and safe to use around kids, pets, and adult humans. One spray bottle contains 16oz, which should give you good coverage. The formula is surprisingly fast-acting, but not nearly as long-lasting as advertised. However, since it’s non-toxic to humans and pets, you can reapply it whenever necessary.

Also, even though this article is about residential roach killers, I have to point out that this is an excellent outdoor roach killer, too. Lastly, it might be one of the best cockroach repellents for you if you want something that you can use it around all your plants.

  • Very safe to use
  • Doesn’t create fumes
  • Fast-acting
  • Non-staining
  • Not the best residual control effect

Although it has a slightly delayed effect, the Combat Max gel will start working in just several hours. Because of this, it’s much better suited for use inside homes than outdoors.

Indoors, roaches will likely have to travel less between the bait and the colony, thus ensuring the quicker spread of the poison.

Due to the gel texture of the formula, you can apply it in hidden and hard to reach places. I also think that the syringe applicator allows a bit more control than your standard plunger tube applicators, so that’s another plus in my book.

That said, the syringe only contains 2.1oz of formula. So, you won't get the best coverage or the best bang for your buck with this formula. But, for small-scale infestations, in one or two rooms, this should be more than enough. There’s no sense in letting too much of the product go to waste?

  • Accurate syringe applicator
  • Kills large roaches too
  • Easy to apply in tight spots
  • Long-term residual control
  • Not the most cost-effective formula per ounce

The Terro T500 contains six bait stations per pack. Each bait station has a window, which I think is very convenient. It will allow you to see exactly when to replace a station.

The design is somewhat discreet, so you’ll be able to blend it with your furniture to an extent. That said, once the stations fill up, the bugs will be visible. What is nice, however, is that the stations feature adhesive strips.

So, if you don’t want to place them on the floor, you can stick them at various heights, where you notice roaches traveling most often. Hence the multi-surface designation.

The bait seems to work pretty well, although the holes in the top cover of the bait stations may not be large enough to accommodate the biggest roaches. At least they’re small enough to prevent pets and kids from getting at the bait.

  • Good bait station design
  • See-through top cover
  • Six stations per pack
  • Adhesive strips on the sides for versatile placement
  • If you can see roaches inside then so can your guests

This gel has excellent value for money. The Invict Gold comes in four-pack tubes and features a very potent formula. If you need fast-acting bait, know that this one should work in up to 20 minutes.

Of course, this means that it doesn’t have the best broadcasting properties. However, the formula has decent residual control and should remain active long enough to dispose of newly hatched roaches too.

Rockwell Labs uses a proprietary mixture of food-grade roach attractants to guarantee that even the biggest roaches take the bait. What’s also great is that the gel doesn’t contain lots of allergens. That makes it safe to use in food storage areas, around plants, and, of course, in most homes.

The Invict Gold should work on all types of roaches. And, a little will go a long way, especially since roach droppings and carcasses will still contain the active formula.

  • Superior residual control effect
  • Controlled syringe applicator
  • Cost-effective
  • Contains very few food allergens
  • Not all roaches might make it back to the nest

The Hot Shot Ultra Liquid Roach Bait formula can solve your infestation in a matter of hours or days, as it is potent enough to take care of roaches of all sizes. The bait comes in bait stations, and there are six per pack.

Liquid baits are nothing new, but this Hot Shot formula is unique and acts as a potent food-grade attractant. Because this is a slow-release poison, broadcasting the toxin among the entire nest is guaranteed.

The bait station also features a functional design that doesn’t allow for spills. That said, you should still keep them out of reach of kids. Pets shouldn’t be attracted to this bait, and tipping the bait stations over, shouldn’t be a big issue.

What’s great about the formula is that once it starts working, it will affect unhatched eggs too. Thus, it interrupts the reproductive cycle while also preventing reinfestation and baby roaches roaming your house.

  • Affects adult and unhatched roaches
  • Dual-action bait
  • Odorless
  • Good bait station design
  • A dry climate might cause the bait to dry out fast

Types of Baits

There are three types of roach baits: dry, liquid, and gels. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, mainly depending on the environment inside your home.

For instance, liquid baits are the most efficient since they offer sustenance and water and are more likely to attract roaches. However, not all liquid baits hold up well, and some dry out very quickly.

Dry baits such as powders or tablets typically last a very long time. However, they may not always feature the best attractants.

Gel baits are the most versatile. You can use them easily without bait stations. You can apply them in cracks and crevices, given a suitable applicator, and they tend to be about as palatable as liquid baits.

Why Are Bait Stations Important?

Bait stations can serve various purposes. First and foremost, they can help keep the roach poison away from your pets and kids. Most bait stations only have a few access points, which are only big enough to accommodate roaches.

Secondly, some bait stations also double as traps and thus conceal dead roaches so that you won’t have to clean them off the ground regularly. Or worry that your pets might eat them.

Another reason you might want to use bait stations is to be able to use liquid baits safely. It’s not something you want to leave out in the open or pour on the floor.

Note that not all bait stations have the same design. There are two very cool features that I try to look for whenever possible - a see-through cover and adhesive strips on the sides.

With a see-through cover, you can monitor the bait situation and replace it as it gets depleted. Adhesive sides mean that if the bait station is not too heavy, you can stick it to various surfaces. Also, it means that you won’t have to put it only on the floor. Some roaches come from above, not below.

Aerosolized Delivery Systems

A roach killer spray can usually be one of the fastest ways to kill the roaches you can see. All spray cans and bottles should have a wide enough dispersal pattern so that you can treat large areas simultaneously.

But, I also recommend looking into more versatile applicators. A wand applicator can be a terrific tool when exterminating roaches on your own. Think of all the cracks, crevices, corners, holes, and every other tight place where the pests might come and go through.

A wand applicator can shoot out a concentrated jet that’s narrow enough to enter all those places and get in deep. That’s one way to target any nests that you know about, that are behind walls, under floors, and so on.

Residual Control and Why You Need It

The best residual control that you can get is through an insect growth regulator or IGR. That’s a substance that attacks even unhatched eggs. Therefore, it disrupts the breeding cycles of roaches, as well as other insects.

When this happens, you won’t have to worry about any new roaches popping up from their eggs after you’ve dispatched all the adults in a colony.

But this is not the only type of residual control. Other roach killers and roach population control substances don’t attack eggs. However, the poison can remain active in the dead carcasses of adult roaches for a long time.

Therefore, any new roaches that spawn will come in contact with the poison from either roach droppings or adult carcasses and thus have a very short lifespan.

Of course, not all poisons work like this. Some remain active only for a short time. That’s usually the case with aerosolized formulas.

Fast-Acting vs Slow-Acting or Time-Released Roach Killers

Choosing between the two depends on the level of the infestation. A very severe infestation may call for you to employ both types of roach killers.

A fast-acting formula can start working anywhere between a few seconds to a couple of minutes. These are highly aggressive and highly concentrated products that kill roaches on sight.

Time-released roach killers are, on the other hand, designed to target the colony’s nest. With a slow-acting poison, infected roaches carry the poison with them back to the hive. From there, they can spread poison to others that haven’t gone anywhere near wherever you’ve sprayed or laid down the bait.

My Take on Natural vs Synthetic Roach Killers

I have nothing against keeping a toxin-free household. But I wouldn’t be doing my job if I wouldn’t share my thoughts on natural roach killers, and insecticides in general.

They have many advantages besides being safe to use around kids, pets, and even directly on plants. They usually smell nice, don’t stain, don’t burn through the fabric, and are not that expensive overall either.

But, roaches are very resilient insects. Unlike ants, spiders, wasps, termites, and many other small critters, these can survive substantial damage. I find that most organic roach killers don’t pack a strong enough punch to deal with the biggest roaches.

I also think that the residual control from this type of formulas is severely lacking. Of course, on the upside, using a natural solution means that you can put bait down anywhere, anytime, and spray as often as you need to.

That said, it may not be the most cost-effective and time-efficient way to go about exterminating your roach colony. However, it is the healthiest.

Main Ingredients

Most roach killers use Permethrin-based formulas, in various concentrations, of course. Indoxacarb is another popular main active ingredient in roach killers. It is a much more potent ingredient, and it doesn’t take a high concentration of it to get the job done.

However, Indoxacard is much less common in roach killers designed for residential use, specifically for its higher toxicity.

Fipronil is not a bad alternative either. Even a concentration as low as .05% is enough to disrupt the central nervous system even in the largest of roaches. It can lead to death in up to 24 hours, depending on the size of the critter. It also has a higher transmission rate than other similar active ingredients.

Boric acid is another popular choice, though used less often these days. Boric acid is a known desiccant and is toxic too. But, it’s not particularly harmful to humans and pets unless consumed in larger quantities.

You’ll likely find it either in tablet form or in gel or paste form and masked by various proprietary combinations of attractants.

Always Use the Best Product You Can Afford

Roaches can multiply like crazy, so there’s no reason to postpone applying a treatment if you spot only a few of them. Even with all the great variety of products on the market, sometimes it can be tough to kill a large colony. Therefore, I recommend you hit the ground running and arm yourself with the best roach killers you can find.

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