The choice of methods used for biodiversity assessments and monitoring are an important consideration for an effective inventory of species. There is little published data comparing trapping and active searching for reptile surveys. In this study we used data collected from 509 sites between 2000 and 2012 in Queensland’s tropical savannas to examine the relative success of trapping versus searching for surveying reptiles. Sampling comprised pitfall and funnel trapping, and diurnal and nocturnal active searching within a 1-ha quadrat over a five-day period. We used summary data, mixed model regression and Chi-squared tests to examine variation in abundance, richness, and frequency in captures. A total of 167 species representing nine families were recorded from 9986 captures or observations (3127 records from pitfall traps, 1813 from funnel traps and 5046 from active searching). Our results indicated that different methods were more appropriate depending on taxa (i.e., pitfall trapping for terrestrial skinks, funnel traps for Elapids), its habit (i.e., pitfalls or active searching for fossorial species, active searching for arboreal species) or rarity (i.e., Typhlopidae). We conclude that multiple survey methods are required for a full inventory of species; however, using the most appropriate method that address specific management questions in relation to target species or taxa, the reptile’s habit and different habitats being surveyed, should be a component in planning and approach to any research or monitoring.