With so many options to choose from selecting the right crab trap can be quite tricky. There’s a lot of variables to consider including where you plan on crabbing and what type of crab you are targeting so we decided to remove some of the guess work and give you a list of the five best crab traps for a variety of different circumstances.
- Promar Collapsible Crab Trap is the best value for your money.
- Best for Dungeness Crabs – Promar Heavy Duty Crab Pot w/ Complete Rigging
- Best for Blue Crabs – Promar Collapsible Crab Trap
- Best for Crabbing from a Pier – Protoco Standard Crab Ring
- Best for Durable Crab Pots – KUFA Stainless Steel Wire Crab Trap
- Best for All-In-One Crabbing Kits – KUFA Vinyl Coated Crab Trap Accessory Kit
Our Top Overall Pick
- Promar Heavy Duty Crab Pot w/ Complete Rigging is our top, all-around pick based on value, utility and durability.
|Promar Heavy Duty Crab Pot w/ Complete Rigging||Check Price|
|Promar Collapsible Crab Trap||Check Price|
|Protoco Standard Crab Ring||Check Price|
|KUFA Stainless Steel Wire Crab Trap||Check Price|
|KUFA Vinyl Coated Crab Trap Accessory Kit||Check Price|
Top 5 Best Crab Traps for Dungeness & Blue Crabs
1. Promar Heavy Duty Crab Pot w/ Complete Rigging – Best for Dungeness Crabs
- Made of vinyl coated steel.
- Three separate crab entrances.
- Comes with 100 foot lead line + PVC float.
- Excellent for Dungeness, Rock & Stone Crabs.
- Escape Ring Size: 4.25 inches each.
- Price: Check Price
The Promar Heavy Duty Crab Pot comes with everything you need to start catching Dungeness crabs – a three entrance vinyl coated steel trap, a 100 foot lead line, a PVC float and four arm harnesses for easy and smooth pulling. Unfortunately the size of the holes are a bit too big for blue crabs, so you’ll only want to use this on the west coast to catch larger Rock, Stone and Dungeness crabs.
This trap is fully compliant with current California and Washington laws to catch Dungeness crabs so you won’t need any modification to immediately start crabbing. You may also want to add a couple weights on the inside of the catch to ensure it drops quickly even in heavy chop without troubles.
Unfortunately, unlike other crab pots on this list this one cannot fold down for easy transport. You may also need to do some slight modifications to make it legal for Alaska and Oregon as the escape rings are a bit small to be legal, but that shouldn’t be too difficult. Be sure to check the regulations in your area to be sure.
- Comes with a 100 foot line, float and harness.
- Ideal choice for Dungeness, Rock and Stone crabs.
- The escape rings are of legal size for Washington and California.
- Vinyl steel coating ensures a long lasting construction.
- Will need plyers to increase the escape ring to be legal in Oregon and Alaska.
- Doesn’t collapse for easy storage.
2. Promar Collapsible Crab Trap – Best for Blue Crabs
- Size: 24″ x 18″ x 8″.
- Collapses to under one inch for easy transport.
- Very simple bait installation.
- Multiple entrances.
- The perfect choice for blue crabs!
- Price: Check Price
If you’re shopping for a collapsible crabbing trap specifically for blue crabs then look no farther! This trap features two ramp style entrances that allow the crabs to enter the trap but unable to leave with a bait bag built into the center. The collapsible design also allows you to carry multiple traps with easy without any excess clutter.
The Promar comes equipped with a drawstring bait bag, securing clamps and a handle for easy transportation. For the price, you won’t find a better blue crab trap on the market.
The biggest drawback for this trap is that it doesn’t tend to hold up very well and may require some repairs after multiple crabbing trips. Crabs tend to try to escape and will claw at the mesh causing slight damage over time but it’s nothing that can’t be repaired.
- Excellent choice for catching blue crabs.
- Collapsible for easy transportation and storage.
- Can be fully set up and baited in under a minute.
- Two ramp-style entrances.
- Doesn’t hold up as well as the steel alternatives.
- Larger dungeness crabs may damage the mesh.
3. Protoco Standard Crab Ring – Best for Crabbing from a Pier
- Size: 28″ diameter, 17″ high.
- Tarred mesh to prevent tear and rotting.
- Comes with small bait box.
- Made of stainless steel.
- Price: Check Price
The Protoco Standard Crab Ring is an inexpensive but still excellent bare bones crab pot that is made to last. It’s stainless steel coating and tarred mesh ensures you can safely use the trap time and time again without needing constant repairs. Keep in mind it only comes with a bait cage and the pot itself so you’ll need to buy the crabbing line separately.
The stainless steel is coated in a polyethylene substance which holds up well to the salt water and the tarred mesh ensures that the crabs won’t be able to damage it in any way. We strongly recommend the Protoco Standard for first time crabbers as it makes the whole process very easy and fun – just remember to also order a line as it doesn’t come with one.
While you may be able to find other crab pots at a cheaper price, they’re very unlikely to hold up after multiple trips as the mesh tends to rip and the ring itself can rust or become damage from the harsh salty conditions. It’s much smarter to pay a bit extra up front for a product that will last.
- Tarred mesh to prevent tearing.
- Polyethylene coating to prevent rust.
- Easily collapsible.
- A bit more expensive than other crab pots on the market.
4. KUFA Stainless Steel Wire Crab Trap – Best for Durable Crab Pots
- Size: 30″ diameter, 10″ high.
- Stainless steel frame.
- Two ramped entrances.
- Escape tunnels for smaller crabs.
- Doesn’t come with line or bait cage.
- Price: Check Price
This KUFA stainless steel crab pot is equipped with a dual entry ramp that’s attached to a tunnel that allows for easy access with no possibility of escape. Luckily smaller crabs can easily slip right by while leaving the larger ones trapped and ready for harvesting. The construction is very strong with special zinc-anode placement to prevent corrosion and heavy-duty welds at every joint with vertical reinforcement beams to ensure this trap will last for years to come.
Keep in mind this pot doesn’t come with all of the bells and whistles that some of the other traps on this list come with – it’s just the pot itself so you’ll need to buy the bait cage, crabbing line and everything else separately. It may seem a bit expensive given that it doesn’t come with any extras but when you consider how well built this pot is it makes sense.
- Extremely strong construction.
- Perfect for a wide variety of crabs.
- Comes with escape tunnel for smaller crabs.
- Doesn’t include bait cage or crabbing line.
5. KUFA Vinyl Coated Crab Trap Accessory Kit – Best for Multiple All-In-One Crabbing Kits
- Size: 24″ x 24″ 12″.
- Comes with two sets of traps and accessories.
- Comes with 100 ft non-lead sinking line & four arm harness.
- Made specifically for west coast Dungeness crabs.
- May require slight modification to be legal in some states – see local regulations.
- Price: Check Price
If you’re looking for a cost effective way to buy multiple crab traps and all the associated gear, then this is the choice for you. This comes with two vinyl coated steel crab traps and all of the necessary accessories including a crabbing line, bait bag and float. Depending on your local laws you may be able to legally use two traps per person and this is the ideal purchase if that is the case.
For what you get the price is actually very reasonable – this is an excellent non-commercial crabbing kit specifically made for Dungeness crabs. It probably won’t work that well for blue crabs as Dungeness crabs tend to be much larger and the gaps in the cage may be too big to successfully capture them. They’re also easily foldable which makes transporting multiple traps at a time a breeze!
As always when buying a steel crab trap you may need to make some slight modifications with a pair of plyers to ensure that your escape rings are the legal size. There is also no trap door on the top to get the crabs out so if that’s a legal requirement in your area you may need to look into buying a different trap.
- Comes two sets of 100 ft non-lead line, bait bag, float and harness.
- Made for west coast Dungeness crabs.
- Steel with vinyl coating.
- Foldable for easy storage.
- If you can’t use two traps per person there may be better options for you.
- You may need to increase the escape size with plyers for it to be legal.
- There’s no trap door for easy escape.
While you really can’t go wrong with any of the 5 crab traps on this list, we recommend the Promar Heavy Duty Crab Pot w/ Complete Rigging as the best overall based on it’s value and utility.
If, however, you’re looking specifically for a crab trap made specifically for dungeness crabs then you should probably go with the Promar Heavy Duty Crab Pot w/ Complete Rigging. And for blue crabs then we’d recommend the Promar Collapsible Crab Trap as it’s hands down the best option.
There is a great deal of variety among crab traps and it’s worth comparing the requisite features before making a purchase. That’s why we wrote this buyer’s guide so you can determine which elements are most important before you buy a crab trap.
Selecting the Right Type of Crab Trap
There are several different types of crab traps and the best one for you largely depends on where you plan on crabbing and what size crabs you can expect to catch. For first timers we strongly recommend a crab pot as it’s very easy to setup and storing and transporting is a breeze. For more experienced crabbers, a box trap is ideal as it will last quite a bit of time and you can leave it for longer periods of time without having to worry about the crabs escaping.
For more information you may want to visit our Types of Crab Traps page to see the full list.
Traps for Different Crabs
In the United States the two most common crabs are the east coast blue crabs and the west coast dungeness crabs. Since both crabs are significantly different in size you’ll want to select a trap that is specifically designed to catch each type depending on where you plan on crabbing.
Since blue crabs are quite a bit smaller at 7 inches you’ll need a trap with smaller gaps in the caging or mesh that prevent them from escaping. Dungeness crabs on the other hand can reach up to 10 inches so if you try to use a trap designed for a blue crab they may not be able to enter. Pay close attention to the entry/escape holes to ensure that the crab can even enter the trap!
Laws and Regulations
There are a variety of municipal, local and state ordinances that you are required to follow when crabbing. Unfortunately that list is simply too big to display here so you’ll want to check the official state laws page and ensure that your trap is legally allowed in your region. Keep in mind that even if you purchase a trap you may need to use a pair of plyers to increase the size of the escape rings to be compliant with local regulations.
Durability and Construction Quality
The ocean can be very harsh on stainless steel and cause significant rusting over a long period of time. That’s why we recommend you stick with a vinyl coating steel that helps prevent a lot of the corrosive damage caused by the saltwater. If you plan on picking up a crab pot, keep in mind that some larger crabs may cause tears in mesh netting that may require repairs. That’s why we recommend either a wire-reinforced netting or a tarred netting that won’t easily tear or rot away.
Where You Plan on Crabbing
Depending on where you plan on crabbing it’s recommended that you use different types of traps. For instance, if you plan on crabbing off a pier then a crab pot is ideal as it’s very easy to setup and you know it’ll work. For deeper waters, a box trap is preferred as you can be sure it’ll function at the bottom of the ocean without problem.
Be sure to check whether or not the manufacturer offers a warranty on the item you intend to purchase. While Amazon should cover broken or defective items upon delivery, it’s up to the manufacturer as to whether they will provide a replacement after it’s been used. Compare different crab trap sellers to see if any of them will offer replacements in the event it breaks from normal use.
Even if everything works properly, you may discover you’ve ordered the wrong crab trap for your needs which may require a return. Be sure to check with the vendor before purchasing to see if they will allow a return and if so, under what circumstances.
Shipping is easily one of the most annoying costs associated with making online purchases. Be sure to compare the shipping costs to your location prior to making a purchase so you don’t end up spending more than you bargained for.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which crab trap is the cheapest?
If you’re shopping for the lowest priced crab trap you can find then we recommend the Promar Collapsible Crab Trap. Of all the crab traps we’ve reviewed, none of the others can beat it’s price.
How do crab traps work?
That depends entirely on the type of crab trap that you want to use. Crab pots, for instance, work by unfolding flat on the bottom of the ocean and allowing the crab to walk harmlessly over the mesh netting to get at the bait box at the center before becoming trapped when the trap is pulled to the surface. Box crab traps on the other hand function much differently and typically consist of 2-4 entrances that are just large enough to let the crab in without allowing them to escape. Crab snares on the other hand are usually cast from a fishing pole and rely on loops that retract when the crab pulls on them to prevent escape.
What bait should I use in my crap trap?
There are lots of options – chicken, rotting fish and even dog food can work in a pinch. The general rule of thumb is the smellier the better. We have a page specifically dedicated to determining the best crab bait that we recommend you check out.
Should I go crabbing during high or low tide?
Crabs are mostly mobile during a period known as slack water which is just a fancy way of saying either high or low tide. During transitions crabs tend to get pushed around by the tide so they are less likely to get caught in your trap, but once the tide stabilizes you should be good to go!
How long should I leave my crab trap in the water?
The general rule is 6-8 hours. Keep in mind that crabs are cannibalistic and will start to feed on each other if left for too long.