Have you ever heard of bug zappers? Well, they are a kind of device that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to attract insects. Then, the insects will enter its grid, where they are electrocuted and killed once drawn in. Sounds harsh, right?
But actually, bug zappers want to make your life easier and more peaceful by getting rid of annoying insect pests, especially those that give you itchy bites. Still, research shows that bug zappers may not help eliminate mosquitoes, particularly the female ones (that suck blood from humans), since they are not attracted to UV light.
Instead, they keep track of the carbon dioxide emitted by humans through breath, sweat, or body odors. Hence, even if bug zappers kill female biting mosquitoes, they may only be able to kill a small number because most bugs attracted to UV light are considered harmless and innocent.
Nevertheless, it does not mean that bug zappers exist for nothing. They can still be very helpful in some ways, even if they seem to not be that effective in killing mosquitoes. Besides, who says that it is only mosquitoes that can annoy you?
There are a bunch of other insects that can disturb your peace, and bug zappers can help you get rid of all of them. You just have to find the right product!
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Best Bug Zappers
If you’re in a hurry, here are links to the bug zappers reviewed in this guide. We go into more detail about them later on in this article.
|Flowtron BK-15D Electronic Insect Killer||Outdoor bug zapper. Uses Octenol attractant to kill more mosquitoes. 1/2-acre killing radius.||Check Price on Amazon|
|ThermaCELL MR-9S Mosquito Repellent Lantern||Creates an insect free zone. An alterntive to an outdoor bug zapper.||Check Price on Amazon|
|Zap It! Bug Zapper Rechargeable Fly Zapper||4000V grid. USB recharging cable. Can be used indoors or outdoors. Safety mesh, offers protection when the racket is electrified.||Check Price on Amazon|
|The Executioner Fly Killer Mosquito Swatter Racket||Battery Operated. Single layer grid for more efficient zapping. Ideal for indoor & outdoor use.||Check Price on Amazon|
|LiBa Zapper Electric Indoor House Zapper||Safety screen to prevent accidental shocks. Can be hung anywhere with the chain or placed on a flat surface. Two replacement bulbs included.||Check Price on Amazon|
|Aspectek 20W Electronic Bug Zapper, Insect Killer||Indoor zapper. Two replacement bulbs. Mesh screen to prevent accidental contact with the electrical grid. Easy maintenance.||Check Price on Amazon|
|Hoont Powerful Electric Indoor Fly Zapper and Bug Zapper||Protective grid. Easy set up-hang with supplied chain or place on flat suface. Removable tray makes cleaning easy.||Check Price on Amazon|
What is a Bug Zapper?
A bug zapper is an appliance that attracts bugs with UV light. The bugs are drawn to the center of the zapper, where they are electrocuted when they come into contact with metal grids. A tiny gap often separates two grids; when a flying insect touches the two grids, it completes the electrical circuit. With 2000V or more flowing through the insect, it is electrocuted and disintegrates or falls dead into the tray below.
Bug zappers are usually made up of:
- a metal or plastic exterior casing including a protective grid to stop children and pets from getting electrocuted
- UV light bulbs often fluorescent or LED
- Wire girds that surround the light bulbs
- A transformer that converts 120V into a charge of 2000V or more
- A collection tray that collects dead insects or insect parts
How to Choose the Best Bug Zapper?
In choosing the best bug zappers, you, of course, have to look into the quality. You can check the description or ask the manufacturer or the one selling in the store what materials it’s made of. Make sure these materials are durable and will ensure the longevity of the bug zapper.
It would be helpful to give it a try first before purchasing it, but of course, this isn’t possible, so it’s worth going through a few of the buyers’ reviews to see what they think. Some of the popular bug zappers have thousands of customer reviews, most of which are positive. But it’s always possible to get a faulty product, so it’s worth checking if the customer service is reactive.
You might also consider if you want an outdoor bug zapper that you hang outside your house, place on a flat surface, or a swatter zapper that looks like a racket, which you can use to go after flying bugs.
Another consideration is the sound the insects make when they are electrocuted. Some people may find this zapping sound annoying or distressing, so you may want a zapper that can be set up away from where people will be gathering or an indoor trap that will work silently.
Another way to choose the best bug zapper is to ask some of your friends what they are using. They may be able to refer you to the best brand of mosquito zapper they know that will not fail you in terms of killing mosquitoes and other insects.
Types of Bug Zappers
There are a few different types of bug zappers to keep your home or yard free of flying pests. They come in various shapes and sizes and can use different power sources.
Hanging bug zappers in the form of a lantern are often used outdoors. Some of these lanterns can be used indoors or outdoors. The bulbs in these zappers are vertical.
Box-shaped devices are usually used indoors; the bulbs are placed horizontally. These zappers can be hung on a hook or placed on flat surfaces.
Handheld bug zappers are in the form of a tennis racket. These racket zappers require some effort as you have to go after the bug that is annoying you. But they are very effective, and some consider chasing and electrocuting insects as a bit of fun.
Socket bug zappers are a sort of mini zapper that plugs directly into an electrical outlet. They work with UV light bulbs to attract insects, and as they have a less powerful electrified grid, they work more silently than the bigger zappers.
Bug Zapper light bulbs screw into light bulb fittings and can give ordinary light or UV light that attracts the bugs into the bulb, where there are killed by an electrified grid.
What to Look For in a Good Bug Zapper?
Effectiveness is one of the things you need to look for in a good zapper. Does it have enough high voltage to kill insects and not just stun them? Are they proven to kill insects or eliminate only those innocent and harmless insects but not the biting ones? That is something you must consider.
Also, you need to look for convenience. Is it high maintenance? A good bug zapper must also be easy to clean. There are a lot of bug zappers that contain removable and washable trays for you to quickly and effortlessly remove the dead insects electrocuted by the device.
Whatever bug zapper you choose, make sure you understand the maintenance needed. Usually, it will just be emptying the tray, brushing the gird, and very occasionally replacing the UV light source.
Placement – Indoors or Outside
Also, it must be clear where you can place it. Some are for indoor use only, (although if you have a dry sheltered place outside perhaps it can be used there), others are designed to be placed outside and there are a few that can be used indoors or outdoors.
You should also be aware that a bug zapper shouldn’t be placed in an area where food is prepared. Electrocuted insects can be transformed into a sort of mist containing insect parts that can transmit bacteria.
Most zappers don’t use chemicals and are completely safe, but some do use attractants to entice insects into the grid. Make sure any chemicals used are safe for humans and animals.
Most bug zappers have built-in safety features to stop someone who touches the grid from being shocked, usually in the form of a protective grid. This is important if you have small children or pets, as the electrified wires can give a painful electric shock.
Power – Plug-In, Battery, or Solar Power
The power source is an important consideration, depending on where you want to use your device and whether there will be people in the area you use the zapper. Having extension leads on the terrace, in the garden, or even in the house can be an extra hazard. Battery or solar-powered models can provide an alternative.
Check the consumer reviews to understand any problems other users might have had and, in case of problems, whether the customer service was reactive.
This is another important point to consider, many zappers are reasonably priced at around $40 or less, and their running costs are very little – some electricity and perhaps an attractant to replace every few weeks for some of the outdoor bug zappers.
In comparison, a propane mosquito trap that works by emitting CO2 can be much more expensive to buy if you want to trap mosquitoes. Also, the ongoing costs of running a CO2 trap are more important.
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Best Outdoor Insect Killer
Flowtron BK-15D Electronic Insect Killer, 1/2 Acre Coverage
Are you tired of all the insects pestering your home and annoying you? Well, why don’t you start with the Flowtron BK-15D Electronic Insect Killer to enjoy a bug-free life?
- High voltage insect electrocuting non-clogging grid
- Can cover areas of up to ½ acre
- One 15 watt bulb can be replaced without any tools
- Low running costs, no pesticides
- Operates instantly with uninterrupted and continuous service;
- Use a lure that should be changed every month
- Outdoor use only
The Flowtron BK-15D Electronic Insect Killer is a decorative lantern-style pest killer for outdoor use. Utilizes nontoxic ultraviolet light to eliminate flies, mosquitoes, and other flying insects. It can cover a 1.5-acre area. It is made with a solid polycarbonate plastic that gives a robust construction. The protective outer enclosure avoids accidental contact with the charged grid for pets, birds, wildlife, and children.
This product is considered one of the most energy-efficient insect killers as it requires only 15 watts of electricity to function.
In addition, there is a cartridge of slow-release octenol attractant bait, which increases effectiveness against mosquitoes and other biting flies. Octenol is a component of human respiration. The lure is heated when the zapper is on and is vaporized.
Like all bug zappers used outside, this will attract many beneficial insects and only a few biting pests. You will need to find a place to hang the zapper about 6 feet above the ground.
The users of this Flowtron electric insect killer are mostly delighted with its performance. Of more than 13,000 reviews, over 80% are 4 or 5-star reviews. But while most find it works great, there are others who see it as useless. You will still have to see for yourself if this insect zapper will kill annoying and biting bugs in your backyard.
Although the bug zapper does have a very short cord, like less than one foot, it is not a problem, as you will need an extension lead to position it at least 25 feet from where people gather.
Flowtron also manufactures two larger models if you have a bigger yard, the BK-40 for 1 acre and the BK-80 for 11/2 acres.
ThermaCell Mosquito Repellent Pest Control Outdoor Lantern
Summertime means lazy days by the pool, cookouts with friends, and, unfortunately, mosquitoes. No one wants to be bothered by those pesky bugs, so we’re going to tell you about the ThermaCell Mosquito Repellent Lantern. This handy device safely creates a mosquito-free zone of up to 15 feet around it, perfect for relaxing outdoors without having to worry about being bit.
This isn’t a bug zapper but a repellent lantern that can help keep the mosquitoes away without killing beneficial insects. It’s included in this list in case you are concerned that you are harming the environment by killing insects indiscriminately.
- Provides a 15×15 or 225 feet zone of protection against bugs
- Works silently to repel flies, mosquitoes, and other flying and biting insects
- Lightweight and battery-operated
- It also serves as a cordless decorative patio light
- Consists of four LED lights and needs four AA batteries (not included) to operate
- It has one year warranty
The ThermaCell Mosquito Repellent Pest Control Outdoor Lantern has a functional and durable decorative design with four LED lights that provide excellent illumination. You can also install a butane burner cartridge by using the top of the unit that provides flame-free power to the repellant mats. These mats then use a chemical repellent called Allethrin, a synthetic copy of the natural repellent that chrysanthemum flowers have to keep away flies, mosquitoes, and other pests while remaining undetectable to humans and pets. In addition, you can use the butane burner for up to 12 hours, while the three mats work for up to four hours.
Some found it working one night, then not the next day. And even though it was working, it seemed ineffective in protecting them from insects, no matter how far or close it was. There were also complaints that it released a disagreeable odor, contrary to its odorless insect protection description.
The ThermaCell Mosquito Repellent Pest Control Outdoor Lantern is still recommended despite its disadvantages. It is the kind of repellent you would undoubtedly adore. It creates a 225 square foot area of protection employing a chemical copy of a repellent naturally found in flowers. Hence, you are sure of repelling flies, mosquitoes, and other pests with this lantern. It does not just serve as a repellent but as a decorative lantern too, with its durable and functional design. The four LED lights help to illuminate it, and the butane cartridge provides up to 12 hours of service. That makes a totally-worth-it product!
Best Racket Zapper
The Zap It! Bug Zapper – Rechargeable Fly Zapper
If you’re familiar with traditional fly swatters, you’ll appreciate the Zap It! fly zapper. Instead of squashing insects on walls or windows, this electronic fly swatter electrocutes the pests in mid-air with a simple touch. This insect swatter comes in 3 sizes-small, medium and large. A handheld option can always be useful, even if you have a UV insect trap or a wall-mounted bug zapper.
- 4000-volt grid
- Rechargeable lithium battery
- USB charging cable
- Activation button with LED light, so you know when it’s active
- Triple-layer of mesh to prevent accidental shocks
The Zap It! Mosquito Swatter Zapper is the most straightforward device to use in killing mosquitoes. Just press the button, swing, and it can zap any fly, bug, or wasp that touches its screen. It can be used indoors or outside when camping, hiking, or having a picnic and can even be used at night using the incorporated LED light. The swatter is an ecological way to kill annoying flying insects without resorting to harmful chemicals.
The USB charging cable means it can be charged anywhere you have a USB port. The charge lasts a long time; the manufacturer claims the battery offers 10,000 zaps when fully charged. The triple layer mesh protects from accidentally shocking others.
May not kill all insects with the first zap. Larger insects like wasps and some flies may be stunned or sent to the floor where they can still walk around. Several purchasers complained about the quality and that the racket didn’t work correctly.
The Zap It! swatter is a very popular item and has been sold thousands of times. OK, it may not kill larger flies or wasps with the first zap, but it has a vast majority of positive reviews making it one of the best bug zapper rackets on the market. It can be used indoors or outside and provides a little fun too!
See my full Zap It! rechargeable bug zapper racket review.
The Executioner Fly Swat Wasp Bug Mosquito Swatter Zapper
Are you tired of using your bare hands or getting any object at home to swat and kill the flies you see? All you need is a swatter zapper. And with that, you can start with the Executioner Fly Swat Wasp Bug Mosquito Swatter Zapper!
- Durable and made out of ABS Plastic, not just some brittle recycled one
- It comes with two AA batteries
- Approved and passed with trading standards
- It has top quality and is built to last
The Executioner Fly Swatter or bug zapper racket is the easiest device to kill mosquitoes. Just press the button, swing, and it can zap any fly, bug, or wasp that touches its screen. It can do its job by having a single instant zap layer that measures 1.2 mm of Zinc Steel Grill made of ABS plastic. You are also sure that you are getting a quality product since this swatter has been tested to over 100,000 zaps, making it very high-quality electronics.
Some noticed that it does not entirely do its job of electrocuting insects. Some insects are too tiny, and they can escape all the waving of this swatter. And some were not that happy since they could not make use of this product for a long time. After a few uses, it failed to function, and thus, this swatter could not redeem itself to prove that it does kill insects, not just stun them.
While some did not like how this handheld bug zapper failed to kill insects, most were still happy with it, making it highly recommendable. For one, it is a racket swatter, meaning you can hold it and attack insects that you see. It gives you more control in killing bugs since you go after the bugs you choose. With this one, you hold the racket, chase the insects, and then kill them.
Best Indoor Bug Zapper
LiBa Zapper Electric Indoor House Zapper
If you’re one of those people who seem to attract mosquitoes no matter what, you’ll love the Liba indoor bug zapper. This little device is easy to use and can zap away mosquitoes in seconds. So if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get rid of mosquitoes inside your home, the Liba is the perfect solution.
- Small, only 10×15 inches, so it can easily be moved from room to room
- No pesticides, just a UV light to attract the bugs and a powerful grid to electrocute them
- Protection grid to prevent accidental contact
- Easy to place in different positions with the chain for hanging on a wall or placed on a flat surface
- 90-day warranty
This bug zapper will kill flying pets with no chemicals, which means it is safe for you, your family, and your pets. Easy to set up and move to different locations in your house. The powerful electric grid will kill various insects, and the removable collection tray is easy to clean. Some purchasers report excellent customer service.
This bug zapper makes a loud noise when zapping, which means it’s unsuitable for bedrooms and is only for indoor use. Larger insects may only be stunned and not killed after touching the grid.
The LiBa indoor insect killer is a good bug zapper, and most purchasers are delighted with the results. Due to the loud sound when an insect is electrocuted, it is not recommended to use this in bedrooms, but it is an excellent choice for other rooms in the house.
Aspectek Electronic Indoor Insect Killer, Mosquito Killer, 20W UV Bulbs
Aspectek’s Electronic Indoor Insect Killer is perfect for those who want to get rid of mosquitoes and other pests in a quick and effective manner. This device uses ultraviolet light to attract insects, then traps and kills them using an electrical grid. The Insect Killer is easy to use; just plug it in and let it do its job! It also has a low power consumption, so you can use it without worrying about your electricity bill. Plus, the sleek design means it will fit nicely into any room.
- Consists of two 10W ultraviolet (UV) bulbs that emit powerful attractant UV rays that draw in mosquitoes, flies, and other flying insects
- It has a powerful coverage area that entices insects to the machine where 2,800 volts ‘zap’ them
- No need for potentially harmful sprays or pesticides; eliminates bugs quickly without the messy and sticky sprays and poisons
- Easy to set up, it can be hung on a wall or placed on a flat surface
- Very little maintenance; the dead insects are caught in a tray which has to be emptied from time to time; the grid is largely self-cleaning but may need to be brushed to remove any large insect remains
- A mesh cage gives protection against accidental electric shocks, making it safe for use in your home
The Aspectek Electronic Indoor Insect Killer has a protective cage to prevent accidental contact with the grid. Its electronic grid is also very powerful; plus, it collects dead insects by using a removable and washable tray. Can be hung on a wall or placed on a flat surface. It comes with two UV bulbs to replace burnt-out bulbs. 30-day money-back guarantee
It may make a loud noise when zapping insects. Some of the zapped insects may fall outside the collection tray.
Most buyers are delighted with this bug zapper. Over 12,000 reviews on Amazon, and more than 85% are 4 or 5-star reviews. So this is definitely recommendable. Indeed a great buy!
Hoont Powerful Electric Indoor Fly Zapper
Do you have a mosquito problem in your house? Well, if you want to get rid of them once and for all, you could check out the Hoont Powerful Electric Indoor Fly Zapper. Easy to use – just plug it in and wait for the mosquitoes to start zapping!
- Powerful 2800V grill
- Insects attracted by 2x10W ultraviolet bulbs
- It can be hung on a wall to keep the zapper out of reach of children and pets
- The device is for indoor use but can be used outdoors, where it will stay completely dry
The Hoont bug zapper provides a pesticide and chemical-free method of dealing with flying pests in the house. Easy to clean with a removable tray to dispose of the dead bugs. Ready to plug in and use out of the box, it can be set up on a flat surface or hung on a wall. It covers an area of 6000 sq ft and can be used 24/7.
This zapper may make a loud pop as it’s exploding an insect, you may find this annoying at first, but this is common with electric insect killers. The main complaint from users is that it stopped working after a short time, and they had trouble contacting the sellers.
A bug zapper that can be endorsed when it works, most purchasers are happy with this device. However, if you have any problems contacting customer service seems complicated. The Hoont website states, “if you are not completely satisfied with your purchase for any reason, you may return it to us for a full refund,” which is great, but then they say, “All returns must be postmarked within ten (10) days of the purchase date.” This is clearly not long enough; some similar indoor bug zappers offer a 90-day warranty.