Ultrasonic Pest Repellers: Do They Work? A Complete Guide

Removing pests from houses, garages, and lawns is a battle that involves employing an arsenal of weapons including toxic chemicals. However, most people don’t like using such chemicals and are seeking better alternatives such as ultrasonic pest repellers. But do these ultraconic repellents work? 

Despite manufacturer marketing of ultrasonic pest repellents as effective against pests like roaches, spiders, and rodents, these claims have proven to be hot and miss. Many of these devices sell from $2 to $60.

However, in individual consumer product testing, the devices showed little to no difference between each other despite the cost. While these product testings are not absolute, numerous lawsuits have been brought against some ultrasonic pest repellant manufacturers for false advertising.

It, therefore, means that there are certain things that you should consider while selecting your product of choice. For instance, you should only purchase from a reputable manufacturer. 

This article will look at whether ultrasonic repellents work and whether they are safe or have side effects. 

What Is Ultrasonic Pest Control? 

An ultrasonic repellent is an electronic pest control device developed to emit high-frequency short-wavelength sound waves. The concept here is that even though the sounds are high-pitched for humans to hear, pests and rodents who are in sync with high-frequency sounds can comfortably listen to them. 

The ultrasonic repellent sound waves trigger an audiogenic seizure response. In addition, several pesky insects, including bed bugs, mosquitos, wasps, and animals including rats, squirrels, and mice, are known to respond to the response. 

If the plug-in ultrasonic repellent works, insects and animals are likely to exit your property. You can therefore live in a pest-free environment without using chemicals. 

After buying an ultrasonic repellent, you need to plug it into an electrical outlet for it to start working. They come in both cordless and corded forms. 

An ultrasonic repellent that requires electricity provides a broader range than the one that doesn’t. However, no repellent options can travel through walls. You’ll therefore need multiple devices if you would like to cover several rooms. 

Do Ultrasonic Pest Repellers Work?

The question of whether ultrasonic repellents work or not is on the minds of many people. There is no hiding the working principles of the repellents sounds fantastic. That you can kill pests without applying any chemicals, could this be true?

The question of whether ultrasonic repellents work can be subjected to a debate. When these devices rose in popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) initiated enforcement against six ultrasonic repellent manufacturers. The companies were accused of making false claims of what their products could achieve. 

In 2001, FTC required that retailers and manufacturers only make claims on what their products could achieve if they can back the claims with scientific evidence. 

However, it has been 20 years since the occurrences, so have the ultrasonic repellents improved? Furthermore, are retailers and manufacturers adhering and complying with their responsibility to make only valid advertising claims? 

However, like any other product, it matters a lot where you buy ultrasonic repellents. Several reputable companies have a proven record of creating ultrasonic repellents that are both effective and eco-friendly. 

However, you are also likely to come across copycat companies in the industry to make money. It’s therefore upon you to do more research about a product before buying it.

How Long Do Ultrasonic Pest Repellents Last?

An ultrasonic repellent lasts for an average of 3-5 years. For you to notice if an ultrasonic repellent is working, check whether the LED light on the product is lit. 

A lit product means it’s on and working. If the red light isn’t glowing anymore, then the product isn’t working. It means replacing the repellent with a new one. 

Can Ultrasonic Repellents Harm Pets?

As we have seen earlier, humans can’t hear ultrasonic repellents because they function at higher sound frequencies. But could pets such as birds, cats, dogs, others be affected by ultrasonic repellents? 

Let’s begin with dogs. Most dogs aren’t affected by waves from ultrasonic repellents. The dogs might hear the sounds, but they won’t have any adverse effects on them. However, if you own a dog with a nervous disposition, it might get stressed. 

There are signs that you can watch out for to determine whether the dog is affected. For instance, your dog is stressed if it seems confused and runs around trying to find the location that the sound is emanating. A dog can also start to bark or whine. However, if a dog ignores the sounds completely, there is non need to worry. 

Birds and cats shouldn’t be bothered by ultrasounds either. However, just like dogs, you should closely monitor these pets anytime you introduce an ultrasonic repellent. 

It would help if you understood that several types of ultrasonic repellents could highly affect birds and cats. The products could also affect other pets, including rabbits and hamsters. 

How Much Do Ultrasonic Pest Repellents Cost?

An ultrasonic repellent can cost something between $10 to $100. There is a wide range of prices because you’ll get various options to choose from on the market. Most of the time, they come in packs of six, four, or two devices. The number that you buy can therefore impact the price. 

Second, various products serve different functions and purposes. Some target specific pests, while others are designed to chase out any pest. The kind of pest or rodent that the device keeps off also determines the price.

Another critical factor that determines the price of an ultrasonic repellent involves the features of the device. For instance, an ultrasonic repellent that claims to reach at least 7,000 square feet currently goes for $60 on Amazon

The product also lets you target specific rodents and pests. You can also shift the high-frequency sounds to confuse the pests further. You’ll also get a one-year warranty for this product. 

If you are looking for a cheaper option, you can still get a six-pack product on Amazon, going for $9.99. However, the challenge is that it can only operate within a range of 800 to 900 square meters. Such products are therefore only suitable for indoor use. In addition, you can only use them after plugging them into an electrical outlet. 

If you’re seeking more control over placement, you can go for middle-range products. These products go for as little as $25 and come with a cord. So you can use it even in the outdoor environment if you don’t have any outlets there. 

What Does Science Say about the Repellents? 

Scientists have questioned the efficiency of ultrasonic repellents. For instance, a study was carried out at Kansas State University some time back on ultrasonic repellents. The study focused on several insects to analyze the effect of the products on repelling the insects. The results of the study were as below: 

  • Ants and spiders were not affected
  • Yellowjackets and cockroaches received marginal results
  • For cat fleas, only one of the three products worked
  • Crickets had two out of four products working

The study concluded that the specific brand or product type and the type of pest to be controlled affected the effectiveness of the ultrasonic repellent. You can acquire a full report on the same here.

Are They Safe, and Do They Have Side Effects?

Ultrasonic repellents are among the quickest ways of dealing with pests that invade homes now and then. However, rodents, bed bugs, cockroaches, and ants can lead to several harms if not controlled. The harmful effects include bites, skin rashes, infections, and allergies. 

Some of the viruses transmitted by pests and rodents include hantavirus, rotavirus, salmonella, among others. Pests, therefore, don’t only affect your health but also damage your wires, kitchen apparel, and furniture. 

Different companies are known for selling effective and reliable ultrasonic repellents. The repellents can liberate pests from your home immediately after application. Since the repellents are easy to apply and light, you need to plug them into an electric outlet for them to start working.

Therefore, they will emit high-frequency waves that will prevent pests and rodents from settling, nesting, or entering your home. In addition, since electronic repellents make the surrounding areas uncomfortable for pests, they will flee those areas for a friendly environment. 

Even as these ultrasonic repellents maintain popularity, many people are questioning whether they have any side effects or not. Humans are generally sensitive to sound exposure. Does being subject to high-frequency repellents affect their emotional or physical state?

Several scientists from the Acoustical Society of America carried out a study on the effects of exposure to ultrasonic repellents. They found that the devices didn’t have any significant adverse reactions or effects on humans. 

The human ear can’t detect waves emitted by ultrasonic repellents. However, the most sensitive people might experience problems after prolonged exposure. 

Some people have in the past reported challenges or eye irritability and headaches that they link to long-term exposure to ultrasonic repellents. 

However, the safety of an ultrasonic repellent and its lack of side effects directly depends on the product’s model and manufacturer. To select a safe and best ultrasonic repellent, check the requirements below:

  • The name of the manufacturer
  • The quality of the model
  • Power requirements
  • Range of frequency
  • The production date
  • User reviews

The safest ultrasonic repellents that won’t lead to side effects are without question those developed by reputable manufacturers. It means that they have undergone several trials and are created from high-quality materials. 

The Name of The Manufacturer/Producer

There are ultrasonic repellents that have a proven record of being fast, safe and effective when it comes to freeing your home from rodents, insects, and bugs. It’s therefore important that you purchase an ultrasonic repellent from a reputable manufacturer that guarantees a quality product that has passed approval and safety procedures. 

The Quality of The Model

Different ultrasonic repellent models have different materials and components that affect their quality when repelling pests. Therefore it’s important that you not only buy from the best retailer and brand and choose a model that meets your needs and purpose.

For instance, if you want to limit the adverse effects, select a model that considers the type of accommodation, manufacturer’s recommendation, the size of your space, and the scale of the problem. For example, one model could be great in your bathroom or kitchen, while another could do fine in large venues and industrial buildings. 

Power Capacity

You can reduce the possible side effects of ultrasonic repellents by checking their power capacity. For instance, there is no need to buy larger capacity repellents if you’re targeting smaller venues. 

The Frequency Range

As we have seen earlier, the high-frequency range of ultrasonic repellents is the reason why animals and humans can’t hear them. Humans generally hear at a frequency of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. However, ultrasonic repellents are above 20 kHz most of the time. 

The Production Date

As with every ultrasonic repellent, ensure that you only buy a product that is up to date. Products that are developed with up-to-date technologies are considered safer and effective.

User Reviews

Finally, one of the most important things you can do is check for user reviews online before purchasing an ultrasonic repellent. Although you might fail to see people talking about the adverse effects of certain ultrasonic repellents, several people will point out the positive aspects of a model or brand.

The positive reviews from consumers will affect the ratings of a product. Therefore, always go through reviews before purchasing any repellent. 

Are There Considerations While Buying an Ultrasonic Repellent?

Yes, there are several things that you should consider while selecting an ideal product for your needs:

The Price of the Product

Before you buy any ultrasonic repellent, the first thing you should check is the price. First, however, you should note that price is a factor of the distance covered and the product model or brand. Most of the time, the higher the price, the better the quality and effectiveness of the product. 

Distance Covered

We recommend that you go for an ultrasonic repellent that offers full coverage. It will save you the cost and provide effective performance. For instance, a corded repellent can cover over 5000 square feet. 


Always buy ultrasonic repellents that are free from toxic chemicals and odors. Taking caution will enable you to avoid harm. 


Before you buy a repellent, check and assess the room that you want to apply the product to. You can then get the perfect size for your space.

Power Consumption

You wouldn’t want to get a device that consumes a lot of power and increases your power bill. The purpose is to get rid of rodents and pests economically by checking the repellent’s energy. 


According to a popular YouTuber named Shawn Woods who tests a variety of mouse and rat traps states that these devices do not work with mice and rats. You can view his video below.

An ultrasonic repellent offers alternative pest control approaches to other types of options such as traps and chemical poisoning. In addition, the technique is eco-friendly because instead of killing and trapping pests and rodents, it scares and repels them. 

However, before you buy a repellent, several factors are considered, as we have illustrated above. There are several affordable and effective options on the market that you can select from depending on your need. We hope that you manage to repel pests and rodents successfully without harming your family or pets. 

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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