If you’re looking for nationally acclaimed pest control services backed by decades of reputation, your best options are Orkin or Terminix. Which one is better for your specific needs? This side-by-side comparison will help you choose the best pest control company for your home or business.
For more top-rated pest control companies, see Pest Gnome’s picks for the 9 Best Pest Control Companies this year.
Orkin vs. Terminix: Side-by-Side
|Centipedes & millipedes||✓||✓|
|Rodents (mice, rats, etc)||✓||✓|
|Stinging pests (bees, wasps, etc)||✓||✗|
|Wildlife (raccoons, opossums, etc)||✓||✓|
|How many states serviced?||47 (Not available in AK, SD, WY)||45 (not available in AK, MT, ND, SD, VT)|
|Serves commercial properties?||✓||✓|
|Service plans offered|
|Eco-friendly options?||✓||Only in some cases|
|Better Business Bureau rating||A+||A+|
|Online instant quotes?||✓||✓|
|Online portal for scheduling, billing, etc?||✓||✓|
|24/7 customer support?||✓||✓|
|Additional services offered|
|Sanitation||✓||Only for commercial properties|
|Lawn treatments for pests, weeds, and diseases||Only available in FL||✗|
On the whole, Orkin offers more than Terminix. Terminix serves fewer locations, treats fewer pests, and offers fewer additional services.
While both companies have some eco-friendly options available, Terminix covers only certain situations. Orkin, on the other hand, offers customized Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs that reduce the use of pesticides for anyone who wants to go that route.
But there are some cases in which Terminix might be the best choice for you. For example, if you live in Wyoming, you can get service from Terminix but not from Orkin. Or, if you have a problem with scorpions, you should call Terminix because Orkin doesn’t treat scorpions. Plus, Terminix has a quarterly service plan and Orkin doesn’t.
Terminix might also be the right call if you’re dealing with termites. Both companies offer termite control, but termites are Terminix’s specialty.
Orkin is the oldest and largest pest control company in the United States. It’s been in business for more than 120 years, and a stellar reputation has followed it through the decades.
One reason for the company’s impressive reputation is the training program every technician must go through before going on the job. During training, technicians practice simulations of more than 50 pest control scenarios. The extensive program has received recognition from Training magazine as one of the best in the country.
Thanks to this training, Orkin technicians can handle more pests than most other pros, including bed bugs and termites that require specialty treatment. Orkin will inspect your home (though the inspections aren’t free) for any current pests or problem areas that could lead to critters in the future, then develop a customized pest control plan to protect your home.
If you want something more environmentally friendly than traditional pest control, you can opt for an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan, which involves finding ways to control your pests without harming other organisms (such as wildlife or pollinators) or damaging the environment.
In addition to pest control, Orkin offers other services to help protect your home. Orkin will install insulation and gutter guards, correct excess humidity and moisture in your home, and treat lawns (only in Florida) to prevent weeds, lawn pests, and fungal diseases. Orkin also sanitizes both homes and businesses to get rid of all kinds of pathogens, including the virus that causes COVID-19.
How to get an instant quote and order service online
To find out how much pest control or another service would cost, you can get an instant quote on Orkin’s website in seconds by plugging in a little information about your situation.
Instant quotes aren’t available for certain services that vary with each unique situation, such as termite or bed bug treatments. For a quote on these services, you’ll probably have to get an inspection first.
When you start the instant quote process, you’ll see a screen where you enter your home address, the size of your home, and the size of your yard.
Then, you have to select whether you have a specific pest problem or if you’re looking for a general prevention plan. If you need treatment for a specific pest, you’ll need to collect some basic information about the infestation first. You’ll see a screen asking where and when you’ve seen the pest.
After inputting all your information, you can choose between a one-time targeted treatment to deal with your single pest or a regular prevention plan that targets many common household pests.
Here’s an example of the comparative prices of one-time vs. regular service. This example is based on a 3-bedroom/2-bathroom home with a medium-sized yard.
Once you select a plan on Orkin’s website, you’ll be able to pay and schedule your first visit. Orkin has an online customer portal where you can manage your plan and schedule services in the future.
Fair warning: If you fill out the form for an instant quote but don’t order service right away, you should expect a follow-up call from Orkin within a few minutes.
47; not available in AK, SD, or WY
Ants, Bed Bugs, Beetles, Centipedes & Millipedes, Cockroaches, Carpenter Ants, Crickets, Earwigs, Fleas, Flies, Mites, Mosquitoes, Moths, Rodents, Silverfish, Spiders, Stinging Pests, Stink Bugs, Termites, Ticks, Wildlife
- Oldest pest control company, with more than 120 years of experience
- Highly acclaimed training program for technicians
- Greatest variety of pests covered
- Most services offered outside of pest control
- Eco-friendly options available
- Relatively expensive compared to similar services
- Inspections aren’t free
Upped Their Game in Customer Communication: “If I ever had any questions, I can call the Lincoln office and get some commentary from them, and the technicians that come to visit. They’ve upped their game in terms of communication to the customer.”
Techs Notice Things That Need to Be Fixed: “They always take care of the problem and they’ve done a very effective job at helping to control pesky ants. One of their best features, besides controlling pests, is when they’re walking around the house, they notice things that need to be fixed.”
Everything Went Well: “When the techs came, they ran around the whole house, did everything, and gave me written instructions as to what things I should do to help. They were very nice, cordial, and left their note. Everything went well.”
Terminix has been around for more than 90 years. The company started out specializing in termite control, then expanded services over the years to include many common household pests.
Terminix’s technicians are still the best pros to turn to for a termite infestation because they have more advanced training and technology to rid your home of this feared pest. Terminix was the first company to hold a patent for termite control, and its methods have continued evolving ever since.
Now Terminix is the only major pest control provider with a specialized treatment for drywood termites, a separate species that behaves differently from your standard subterranean termites. Drywood termites are common in tropical and subtropical climates, especially Southern California, Florida, and Hawaii in the U.S.
Round-the-clock pest control service also sets Terminix apart from competitors. Technicians are available 24/7, so they can work around your schedule in case you need to or would like to be at home for the treatments.
Customer support is also available 24/7 by phone or through online live chat. With the live chat feature, you can get help identifying pests in real time before you book your first service.
If you’re looking for environmentally conscious pest control, Terminix may be able to provide it in some scenarios. The EcoControl program reduces the use of pesticides, but it’s only available for commercial properties, not homes. Terminix also offers a natural alternative for mosquito control.
Aside from pest control, Terminix installs attic insulation made with 85% recycled materials, repairs damaged crawl spaces, and installs systems to control humidity in your home (which helps prevent termites and other pests). For commercial properties, Terminix also offers Disinfectix, a site disinfecting service that can eliminate the virus that causes COVID-19, among many other pathogens.
Big news: Some things may change for Terminix in the near future, as pest control giant Rentokil is acquiring Terminix.
How to get an instant quote and order service online:
Getting an instant quote from Terminix is simple.
First, click on “Prevent a Problem” or “Treat a Problem” (depending on what you’re looking for) at the top of the website’s home page to reveal a drop-down menu. Click on the specific service you need from that menu.
Clicking on a service will bring you to a page devoted entirely to that service. You’ll see information on what the treatment includes, and as you scroll down, you’ll find a “See Pricing” button.
As with Orkin, quotes for specialty pests like termites and bed bugs will require an inspection. But Terminix’s inspections are free. If instant quotes aren’t available for a particular service, you’ll see a button that says “Schedule a Free Inspection” instead.
Click on “See Pricing” for either the quarterly or one-time service option. No matter which you choose, you’ll get a quote for both, so it doesn’t matter which one you click. When you click “See Pricing,” you’ll be prompted to enter your address. Put in your address and click “Continue,” and your instant quotes will appear.
If you want to order a service, click “Add to Cart.” You can go through multiple pages and add multiple services to your cart. Once you’ve added all the services you need to your cart, click the cart icon in the top right corner of the screen.
From your cart, you’ll be able to enter your billing information and schedule your first service. If you use Terminix again in the future, you can use the online customer portal for billing and scheduling.
An added bonus of Terminix’s instant quote process is that you won’t be hounded with follow-up calls if you put in your information but don’t order service.
45; not available in AK, MT, ND, SD, or VT
Ants, Bed Bugs, Centipedes and Millipedes, Cockroaches, Crickets, Earwigs, Mosquitoes, Moths, Rodents, Scorpions, Silverfish, Spiders, Termites, Ticks, Wildlife
- Termite specialists
- Technicians available for appointments 24/7
- Pays for termite damage repairs while you’re on a regular plan
- Limited eco-friendly alternatives
- Some customers have had problems with billing
Happy Customer for 30 Years: “I’ve been a Terminix customer for 30 years and the quarterly technicians have mostly been great. … My home Terminix person calls me, comes, does her job, and always asks me if I need anything extra.”
No Sign of Pests: “Whoever comes out is always very nice, and since having Terminix, I haven’t seen pest activity in the house at all. The bill keeps changing though, which is weird.”
Haven’t Had Ants Since I Hired Terminix: “I like the automatic nature of the service of Terminix. They come and do it on a regular schedule. … I hired Terminix, haven’t had ants since. I’m getting what I’m paying for.”
Buyers Guide to Choosing a Pest Control Company
Pest control companies differ in the regions they serve, the pests they will control, and much more. If you’re having a hard time choosing between Orkin and Terminix, dig a little deeper into the factors discussed in this buyers guide.
Location, Location, Location
First of all, make sure the company you want to hire serves your area. Don’t assume you can get service in your specific town or subdivision just because the company has technicians in your state. Go to the website and enter your address to check. Service area might make the decision between Orkin and Terminix for you.
Next, check whether the company offers treatments for the pest you’re dealing with in your home or business. Many general pest control companies can’t handle specialty jobs such as termite control, bed bug treatments, or wildlife removal. In this case, Orkin and Terminix both cover all three of those.
However, there’s still a difference in the types of pests covered by each company.
The following pests are covered by Orkin but are not covered by Terminix:
- Carpenter ants
- Stinging pests (bees, wasps, etc)
- Stink bugs
Only one type of pest, scorpions, is covered by Terminix but is not covered by Orkin.
Aside from all the pests a company can control, you should find out if its technicians have a specialty. If their specialty aligns with your needs, they are probably the best choice for you. In the case of Orkin vs. Terminix, only Terminix has a particular specialty, which is termites.
Customer reviews are your best friend when choosing any contractor. If you’re going to let a stranger into your home, you want someone with a good reputation among other homeowners.
Instead of trusting only the reviews posted on a company’s website, where the marketing team can curate reviews to lean positive, look for reviews on third-party sites, such as Yelp, Nextdoor, and the Better Business Bureau. On these sites, you can find reviews for your local branch of national companies like Orkin and Terminix.
The final deciding factor in choosing a pest control company is the price of services. If you have two companies that both serve your area, both have expertise in the specific pest you’re dealing with, and both have great customer reviews, this is where those instant quotes come in.
Orkin and Terminix are both high-quality companies, but as you can see from our instant quote examples, Terminix is typically a little more affordable. Where Orkin’s regular preventive plan would have cost $45.50 per month for our example home, Terminix’s comparable plan would cost $33 per month.
So, if both options look good to you, and you still can’t decide, get a quote from each company and compare the prices.
FAQ About Pest Control
1. Should I do pest control myself?
In some cases, DIY pest control is easy and affordable. For example, if you’ve seen a few ants, cockroaches, or spiders around, you can probably wipe them out yourself without hiring a pest control pro.
However, there are many cases in which you absolutely should not attempt to do pest control yourself.
If you suspect you have termites living in your walls, for instance, you need someone with expertise. Otherwise, you risk damaging your home’s structure.
Bed bugs are another pest that requires special knowledge and equipment.
Also, removing raccoons, opossums, or other large animals can be dangerous if you don’t have the proper training.
2. How much do pest control companies charge?
The cost of pest control is highly subjective. It depends on the cost of living in your area, the size of your home, the severity of the pest infestation, and the type of pest itself. Different pests require different methods, and some of those methods are more expensive than others.
For a general ballpark idea of how much you might pay an exterminator for your specific pest problem, take a look at our example instant quotes.
For a 3-bedroom/2-bathroom house, Orkin charges $45.50 per month for a preventive pest plan and $284 for a one-time treatment for something simple, such as ants. For the same home, Terminix charges $33 per month for a regular plan and $249 for a simple one-time treatment.
Expect your costs to be higher than these examples if:
- Your house is larger than 3BR/2B
- You have termites or bed bugs
- Cost of living is generally high in your city
Expect your costs to be lower than these examples if:
- Your house is smaller than 3BR/2B
- You live in a rural area where the cost of living is low
3. What do exterminators use?
Professional pest control technicians have access to pesticides/insecticides that the general public doesn’t because they require a license to use. Some commercial-grade pesticides are:
- Pyrethroids and pyrethrins, which paralyze many types of insects
- Piperonyl butoxide, which is added to other insecticides to make them more effective because it interferes with the insects’ ability to metabolize nutrients
- Hydramethylnon, which is a slow-acting poison used in baits for colony insects such as ants
Your exterminator may or may not use the pesticides listed here. Once again, different pests call for different control methods, so it all depends on what pest you’re trying to get rid of. If you want to know what specific products your exterminator is using in your home, you can ask the technician when you book your first service.
DIY Pest Control
Before you shell out the high cost of hiring Orkin, Terminix, or another pest control company, you might want to take a crack at simple pest infestations yourself.
You’ll find advice on how to deal with many common household pests on Pest Gnome’s Pest Control page. Some examples:
- How to Get Rid of Spiders
- How to Get Rid of Fire Ants
- How to Get Rid of Mice
- How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
- How to Get Rid of Cockroaches
But when DIY methods aren’t enough, who ya gonna call? This comparison can help you decide between the two best pest control companies in the nation, Orkin and Terminix. If you want to weigh additional options, see our ranking of the 9 Best Pest Control Companies.
Pest Gnome participates in Terminix’s affiliate program and may earn revenue from connecting you to Terminix for pest control.
Main Photo Credit: Pixabay