There are at least 18 species of bats in the UK, but the gradual loss of their available habitats is causing their numbers to decrease. This is down to a number of factors, like newer houses having tighter-sealed roofing and the increase of built-up areas lowering the number of old trees.
Bats are nocturnal, so during the day they like to rest in dark and quiet spaces. In residential areas, this can often be in a roof or under a bridge. However, if these locations aren't available, a bat box can provide a healthy roosting environment for them to rest.
We've found the most suitable and purpose-built bat boxes available in the UK, so read on for our top picks. We've also included a guide on making the right choice for your space and how to position them most effectively.
What to look for in a bat box
The conditions inside a bat box should create a sort-of microclimate for the bats, and ensuring there's an appropriate amount of space for them to develop this environment will make the location more attractive to them.
Untreated wood, brick, stone and woodcrete (a mixture of concrete with sawdust) are ideal materials as they're thermally stable, providing insulation for the bats. Insulation is important for a bat's roosting needs, so it's essential to make sure the box is warm and draught-proof.
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The most common designs have thin slits for the bats to enter and a grooved ladder for ease of access. A rough texture inside is ideal, as the bats have something to cling onto to help them perch and move around comfortably.
Where is the best place to put a bat box?
Lack of sunlight is one of the most common causes for an unsuccessful bat box, so it's best to position it where it can receive around six to ten hours of sunlight a day. If you're able to, having multiple boxes in different positions will give the bats the chance to choose their best option based on their temperature needs.
Positioning the box as high as possible can be helpful, particularly if there's a clear flight path for access.
More info can be found at the Bat Conservation Trust.
Best bat boxes in the UK in 2022
Nestbox Co Eco Bat Box
The Eco Bat Box from Nestbox is made with a 100% recycled plastic shell (made from bale wrap from UK farms) that's been weather-proofed for long-lasting outdoor protection. The internal chamber is wooden, designed to be an ideal roosting space for bats.
The bat box is built to be insulated to suit the bats' needs, while the black paint helps to absorb more heat from the sun. There's also a grooved landing ladder to make it an easier access point. All of this is built into a structure that's said to be self-cleaning.
National Trust CJ Wildlife Glamis Bat Box
The Glamis Box from National Trust, with its big and bold bat symbol on the outside, is constructed to be an attractive roosting space for bats. Made from natural wood with an easy entry point and a grooved ladder, the bats should be able to easily find their way in.
Wildlife World Chavenage Bat Box
Wildlife World have been a longstanding producer of nesting habitats and feeders for animals. They have a strong focus on supporting natural habitats and the environment, making sure they only use FSC-certified timber and recycled materials where possible.
Their Chavenage Bat Box is a single chamber nesting box, made from natural timber, that'll be fitting for a variety of of species, from pippistrelle to noctule. It can be mounted on your wall or roof and is promised to be easy enough to install.
Chillon Woodstone Bat Box
Able to fit up to 15 common pippistrelle bats, the Chillon Woodstone Bat Box is a great choice to install around your home. It's made from a mix of concrete and wood fibres to provide that natural habitat attraction and good insulation for the bats.
The landing ramp and the box's interior are textured, helping bats to find their footing more effectively. The bat box is guaranteed for 10 years from CJ Wildlife.
Eco Rocket Bat Box
If your home isn't the most suitable to install a bat box, this Eco Rocket from Nestbox comes with a 4m-long aluminium pole - allowing it to be freestanding. It has a weatherproofed shell, made from 100% recycled plastic, protecting a wooden roost chamber within.
The roosting area runs around the pole, so bats can move around, adjust their position throughout the day and find their ideal micro-habitat inside.
Falkenstein Bat Box
The 18mm-thick wood of this Falkenstein Bat Box from CJ Wildlife helps to ensure the bats are protected from the weather in a well-insulated chamber. Plus, with an easy entry point and a grooved ladder, the bats should be able to view the box as a suitable roosting area.
Igor Bat Box Building Kit
Working on a project that aids the local wildlife can be tremendously rewarding, and if you'd happily spend the time to construct the box yourself, this kit includes everything you need to fully assemble the Igor Bat Box.
For more bat info, check out our Guide to British bats with facts, species, identification and locations.
Dan works across a range of Our Media's special interest brands. With a keen eye for what makes a product great, their expertise comes in handy when writing for publications like Countryfile, Science Focus and YourHomeStyle. Outside of work, their passion for creative culture pushes them towards music and the arts.