Best Bat Houses

Updated May 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we tested

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

21 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
133 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best bat houses

Last Updated May 2019

Bats might make you think of Dracula – or black-clad kids who listen to Bauhaus – but there's so much more to these fuzzy flying mammals. One bat eats thousands of insects each night, and bats help pollinate plants.

Sadly, bat numbers are on the decline, and many species are in danger of extinction. By placing a bat house on your property, you can help boost their numbers. But first you need to figure out what to look for in a bat house and how to find the right one for your local bats.

We at BestReviews have done our research to bring you all the information you need. Check out our top recommendations, read our guide below, and you'll soon be in possession of the perfect safe haven for bats.

Around 50% of bat houses are occupied within a year, but it can take as long at three to five years for bats to move in. Choose a well-designed bat house and place it carefully to encourage occupancy.

Key considerations

Benefits of a bat house

Why buy a bat house? There are many benefits, for both the bats and for you. Here are some of them:

  • Many species of bats are endangered. Bats have lost a large amount of their natural habitat and roosting sites. Placing a bat house on your property gives them a safe and suitable spot to roost.

  • A bat house can help keep bats out of your attic. If you live in a place highly populated by bats, a bat house is an appropriate place for them to roost and can stop them from moving in somewhere you don't want them, such as your attic or barn.

  • Bats are a natural pesticide for your garden. Bats eat huge numbers of insects each night.

  • Bats are pollinators. In some areas, bats are important pollinators. For instance, the lesser long-nosed bat and the Mexican long-tongued bat are pollinators that spend part of the year in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

  • Bat guano is an excellent fertilizer. It also helps distribute seeds.

  • Bats are amazing creatures. If you like bats, you might simply enjoy having some living on your property.
     

Bat house construction

The overall construction of the box should provide the type of environment bats like. If it doesn't, they’re unlikely to move in, and they won't stay long if they do.

  • Draft-free: Bats don't like drafts, so your chosen bat house should be well constructed, without any gaps (except the entrance).

  • Warm: Bats like a warm, humid environment, so a well-insulated bat house is ideal.

  • Sealed top: The box shouldn't be opened (in fact, it's illegal in some places to open a bat house once bats have moved in), so there's no need for a removable lid or front panel.

  • Dry: Bats certainly don't like living in houses that leak, so the joints should be sealed to keep water from getting in.
     

Chambers

Bat houses have multiple slim chambers rather than one large chamber because bats prefer tight spaces. You can find bat houses with one to six chambers. Each chamber should be around 0.75 to 1.0 inch deep. While single-chamber bat houses are fine if you don't have much space or you’re on a tight budget, studies have found bats are more likely to move into larger, multi-chambered bat houses. If you want to attract mothers with pups or encourage breeding, you'll need a bat house with at least four or five chambers.

Size

In general, bats prefer large bat houses. You'll have the most luck attracting bats to houses with a chamber measuring at least 20 inches tall and 14 inches wide. They'll also need a landing area of up to half a foot long. If you don't have room for a bat house this large, you can make do with a more compact model, but bats might not move in as readily.

Material

The majority of bat houses are made of wood, but you can also find some made from molded plastic. Any wooden bat houses should be made from untreated wood (though the outside can be painted or stained) because bats are sensitive to chemicals. Molded plastic bat houses, though less common, are more durable and need less maintenance.

Gripping surface

All surfaces inside a bat house should be grooved or scored to give bats enough purchase. If they can't grip the inside walls effectively, it won't be a place they’ll want to stay. Alternatively, the inside can be covered with one-eighth- or one-quarter-inch square plastic mesh. However, some experts consider this inferior to grooved surfaces because the mesh can break over time.

EXPERT TIP

The bat house entrance size should measure about 0.6 to 0.8 inch – large enough for bats to enter but small enough to keep predators out.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

If you'd like a fun DIY project, you can find bat houses that come flat-packed for you to assemble.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

The open-bottom design of most bat houses means guano doesn't accumulate inside, but it will collect on the ground below, so don't place a bat house above doors, windows, paths, or decking.


Staff  | BestReviews

Bat house prices

The main factor that influences the cost of a bat house is size. However, you'll also pay more for the best, most well-constructed bat houses.

Small: Single-chamber bat houses generally cost between $30 and $50.

Medium: If you're looking for a larger two- or three-chambered model, expect to pay $50 to $100.

Large: The largest bat houses, with four to six chambers, tend to be priced between $100 and $200.

Tips

  • Pay attention to the color of the bat house. Darker colors absorb more heat, so they're good for areas where summer temperatures are lower. Black is good for areas that experience highs of less than 85°F in July, dark brown or dark gray where July temperatures are 85°F to 95°F, medium brown or gray where average temperatures are 95°F to 100°F in July, and light wood colors or white where July temperatures exceed 100°F.

  • Get the right house for the bats in your region. Although most bat houses are designed for a wide range of bats, some are specifically tailored to attract certain species. Check before buying, and also make yourself aware of the bats that live in your area. There's no point in buying a bat house made to attract endangered Florida bonneted bats when you live in the Pacific Northwest.

  • Check your bat house for other inhabitants. Sometimes other species move in before bats get a chance. Wasps are perhaps the main offenders. Regularly check the bat house and clear out unwanted guests (though in the case of wasps, you'll need to wait until the nest is empty).

  • Choose the best time to put up your bat house. While you can erect a bat house at any time of year, migratory bats are more likely to move in during the first summer it's there if you put it up before they return to the area in the spring.

Other products we considered

There are some excellent options that didn't quite make it into our top five. The Songbird Essentials Five-Chamber Bat House is certified safe by bat conservation experts. Its roomy five-chambered design means it's large enough to fit at least a couple hundred bats and even attract nursing mothers. The double-chambered Kenley Bat House was carefully designed according to research on bats' needs and preferences. It is naturally weatherproof and built to last. What stands out about Uncle Dunkel's Triple-Chamber Bat House is the bark front that mimics the type of habitat bats generally look for and helps encourage them to the bat house.

Look for bat houses that are approved by organizations such as Bat Conservation International.

FAQ

Q. How many bats can fit in a bat house?

A. That depends on a range of factors, including the size of the bat house, the number of chambers, and the species of bat you attract (different species have different roosting densities). Manufacturers often overestimate the number of bats that their houses can fit, so don't believe everything you read. We generally wouldn't expect more than 65 bats to roost in a single chamber.

Q. Where should I position my new bat house?

A. A bat house should be mounted high off the ground – at least 12 feet, but 15 to 20 feet is ideal – on a pole or the side of a building. Bats rarely use houses placed in trees. Trees aren't great for bats because predators can perch in the branches and wait for them to exit their house. Bats like warmth, so a bat house must be positioned in a location that gets plenty of sun. If you live in a cooler region, position your bat house in full sun. Partial sun is better in hot climates.

Q. How can I encourage bats to use my bat house?

A. Bats go where the insects are, so planting the type of garden that encourages insects – especially flying insects – will also encourage bats into the area. Bats need to live near water, too, so installing a pond, water feature, or even a simple bird bath can help.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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