- 1 How Does A Bug Zapper Work?
- 2 Do They Actually Kill Bugs?
- 3 Types Of Bug Zappers
- 4 Best Bug Zappers
- 4.1 Best Indoor Corded Bug Zapper:
- 4.2 Best Indoor Socket-Mounted Bug Zapper:
- 4.3 Best Outdoor Bug Zapper
- 4.4 Best Indoor/Outdoor Bug Zapper
- 4.5 Best Bulb Style Bug Zapper
- 4.6 Best Battery Operated Bug Zapper
- 4.7 Best Solar Bug Zapper
- 4.8 Best Bug Trap
- 4.9 Best Electronic Bug Repellent
- 4.10 Other Good Choices
While you might not need a bug zapper year-round, it’s a necessary device in most areas. Flying pests such as mosquitos and flies become irritating as the days grow longer and the weather gets warmer. But which is the best bug zapper to buy?
Today, we’ll examine how these insect zappers work and discuss the efficiency and different kinds that are widely available. We’ll go over some of the pros and cons of each type. Then I’ll narrow it down to the best options based on your exact needs.
Top Bug Zapper Picks:
- Best Indoor Corded Bug Zapper: Aspectek 20W Electronic Bug Zapper
- Best Indoor Socket Mounted Bug Zapper: GLOUE Bug Zapper
- Best Outdoor Bug Zapper: Flowtron BK-40D Electronic Insect Killer
- Best Indoor/Outdoor Bug Zapper: LumaPest 7 Watt UV Light Insect Killer
- Best Bulb Style Bug Zapper: LumaPest Insect Bug Zapper Bulb
- Best Battery Operated Bug Zapper: ENKEEO 2-in-1 Camping Lantern Tent Light Mosquito Killer
- Best Solar Bug Zapper: VENSMILE Solar Powered Bug Zapper
- Best Bug Trap: DynaTrap 3-Way Protection 1/2 Acre Insect Trap
- Best Electronic Bug Repellent: Amuoc Ultrasonic Pest Repeller
How Does A Bug Zapper Work?
These gadgets are actually super simple. They’re made up of a few parts:
- an exterior casing, also referred to as a housing
- a fluorescent light that attracts insects (usually ultraviolent light)
- wire electric grids inside the casing and around the light
- a transformer to create an electric charge
Occasionally, there are a few additional lure components to try to assist in drawing insects near.
When the light or other attractants catch the attention of an insect, it will move towards the light or attractant. This means it will go through the exterior housing and try to reach the light. The metal grid then electrocutes the bug.
Many zappers have catch trays to hold dead bugs that’ve been killed by the device. This makes cleanup of the dead insects easy.
Do They Actually Kill Bugs?
That depends on the type of insect that you’re trying to zap, actually!
While flies and moths are easily lured by the ultraviolet light, some insects are less interested. Often, we buy a zappers to deal with more than just flies. For me personally, mosquitos are also of concern. While they can be interested in the light, mosquitos tend to be more attracted to the smell of human sweat, or possibly carbon dioxide from your breath.
Because of insects that are drawn for alternate reasons, zappers nowadays often include pheromone lures or carbon dioxide emitters in addition to the light. That way, they will catch a wider range of insects. Finding a mosquito zapper with one of these added lures will work better overall.
There’s only one thing to be concerned about: many beneficial insects can be lured by that tantalizing UV light as well. Since many insects use UV markings on plants to know where to go, a light is like a beacon, just luring them closer. And, well, ZAP. It’s good to be mindful of the placement of your zapper to avoid harming your beneficial insect population.
Types Of Bug Zappers
There are a few key styles, so let’s go over some of the most common types.
Horizontal Light Zappers
These are typically large, boxy units intended for indoor use. A large mesh grid covers the two largest sides, allowing insects to enter and get zapped. There’s a number of different models on the market, but the most effective ones are in the 20 watt range.
Vertical Light Zappers
As the light bulb placement in these is vertical, this style of zapper is more easily made waterproof and thus can be used in indoor and outdoor settings. Many of these have a plastic exterior housing which protects the user from accidentally touching the charged metal grid inside. Because of the light placement, these can be made to look like lanterns or other more stylish light styles, instead of looking boxy and plain.
Bug Zapper Light Bulbs
Made to fit into a standard socket, this is a light bulb that also has a zapping component. Typically, these are intended for use in a sheltered location out of the rain, as they don’t have any additional protection. These are often used as a combination porch light. While they don’t offer much light for us, they do help kill off insects in their placement area.
Electronic Bug Repellent
These mosquito repellent gadgets are a little strange. Intended as an indoor electric mosquito repellent, these plug into wall sockets and emit a high frequency sound which is reputed to deter pests. It often seems to work on mosquitos and on pests such as mice, but appears to be less effective as an electric fly repellent.
These are not your standard electric zappers, though. They don’t kill the pests. They just keep them at bay! Sometimes that can be more useful. However, it’s recommended that you don’t use these if you keep rodents as pets. Most dogs and cats do not seem to hear the high-frequency sound that they emit.
I know that a trap is not a zapper. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include the mention of traps in this piece. While we’ve got an extensive piece on mosquito killers that lays out the top traps, it should be noted that there’s a number of great trap options available right now!
With these, you won’t hear the constant “Zzzzzzt!” sound. Instead, the light lures the pests into the trap and they simply cannot escape once inside. Wait until the trap fills up with dead insects, and then dispose of them at your leisure.
Models like the DynaTrap shown above are incredibly effective both on daytime and nighttime pests. The UV light is generally only useful during the dark hours of the night, but the CO2 lure and the fan will suck other pests like biting flies inside and eliminate them easily.
Best Bug Zappers
Best Indoor Corded Bug Zapper:
This specific Aspectek indoor model bis the one that I find myself using the most often, and for good reason: it works. Made in a horizontal light style, it is boxy and visually not much to look at, but for sheer functionality it’s worth its weight in gold.
The Aspectek has an outer shielding which protects you from accidentally touching the charged mesh within. Its pair of bulbs are replaceable when they burn out. A catch tray on the bottom captures most of the dead insects, although I do find that some escape containment. Because of this, it’s best to place this in an area which is easy to clean up.
It can be hung up by two small hooks placed on either side, or used as a standing model. I find myself using it as a standing model more often, as it can be placed near entrance points for the house easily.
For me, this is the best indoor bug zapper, but it will win no awards for its visual appeal. If you want something stylish in your house, there’s other options out there. But if you want to kill bugs, get this.
Best Indoor Socket-Mounted Bug Zapper:
I have to admit that I’m not a fan of socket-mounted insect zappers. For me, they’re always inconveniently placed, and don’t take advantage of insect travel paths. Most bugs tend to zoom around at a slightly-higher level off the ground than the average wall socket.
But if you’re going to be traveling and want a zapper in your hotel room, or you want smaller zappers in multiple rooms around your house, the GLOUE is a great item. It’s designed to be compact, so you will need to clean dead insects out of it with surprising regularity. And it works, although the placement still can be inconvenient – be sure to put this on a wall where there’s nothing in front of it, so the bugs can easily find the light!
All things considered, this is a great electric bug zapper for people with low levels of insects. And as far as socket-mount zappers go, this is definitely the best indoor bug zapper.
Best Outdoor Bug Zapper
It’s hard not to sing the praises of the Flowtron electronic insect killer. With up to an acre of coverage, this thing kills bugs like a dream. It comes with an Octenol attractant that lures in mosquitos, and its UV light does wonders at drawing all manner of other flying critters.
Fair warning, though: the Flowtron really does draw all sorts of bugs, so if you want to relax in your yard, you’ll want this at least 25-30 feet away from where you plan to be. Otherwise, you may find yourself surrounded by all of the bugs who’re being enticed by the attractant or the light. Suddenly, you’ll discover you’re on the mosquito’s menu too!
Seriously, though, if you have a large outdoor space, this is perfect for you. There are models which have half-acre coverage or less as well, if you’ve got less space to cover. The Flowtron will keep the pests away from you so that you can properly enjoy stargazing in your yard without being eaten alive.
Best Indoor/Outdoor Bug Zapper
While this is not the strongest in terms of wattage (the Aspectek beats this one quite easily), this LumaPest model still does its job. Its vertical tube alignment allows for a more streamlined look visually, and a screw-off catch basin at its base catches most of the bugs it kills.
This is one of the top bug zappers on the market, but it does not handle everything. Large moths will be drawn to the light but will have a hard time making it inside due to the narrow spacing in the outside housing. While it handily takes out flies, from fruit flies all the way through big horseflies, it sometimes has a harder time luring some mosquito species.
Its shape enables it to be easily hung lantern-style in most environments. However, this is an electric insect zapper that does need to be plugged in, and its 6′ cord means you’ll probably need it relatively close to the house if using it outdoors. Indoors, of course, it’s easy to place and use.
Despite some small faults, this is still a very functional model and well worth spending your money on. Plus, it has a great warranty – if you have a problem, simply contact the manufacturer!
Best Bulb Style Bug Zapper
My personal preference is to avoid bulb-style zappers. After all, they need to be screwed into a light socket, which means that they’re right there in your personal space. And the closer that you are to your zapper, the more likely it is you’ll get bit by an insect that’s drawn to it.
But I can’t dispute that these are handy killers. For people who’re apartment-dwellers and find that they have insect problems on their balcony, placing one of these up high on the wall or in the balcony roof may deal with the majority of their pest issues. LumaPest makes one of the best outdoor bug light bulbs on the market, and it works extremely well.
There’s no concern about it lacking power, too. As long as your bulb socket is on, your bulb has ample killing force for anything which it might encounter. It’s quiet and extremely weatherproof. So if you’d like a bug zap bulb that works, this is a great pick for you!
Best Battery Operated Bug Zapper
Extremely portable, the Enkeeo is designed for people who love the outdoors. Easily hung inside a tent while camping, this model can act as both a traditional light source or a mosquito-killing machine. Completely waterproof, you can easily rinse off any insects it’s killed. It’s lightweight and easy to carry in your gear, yet has sturdy construction.
Enkeeo promises 15 hours of uninterrupted mosquito-killing time on its zapper setting, or up to 20 hours of light when used as a standard lamp. If you’re looking for a battery operated model, this is the best for your money.
Best Solar Bug Zapper
One of the best things about the VENSMILE is that while it is a fully-solar option, it has a backup USB charger. If you need uninterrupted zapping capability, that can be important, especially on those unexpectedly cloudy days!
This model requires eight hours of solar charging time daily to refill its 1200 mAh battery. Once full, it has two modes of operation: standard light, or bug-zapper light. You can simply flip a switch to decide which you want to use.
As far as any negative points, the only one that I can see is that solar bug zappers tend to not have as good killing force as the corded or socket-mount models. This is generally due to the battery size. However, this will still do a handy job killing most irritating insects and keeping your space bug-free.
Best Bug Trap
If you have a problem with your bug population, this insect trap is a great way to go. DynaTrap’s insect trap catches mosquitos, moths, biting flies, stink bugs, and a whole host of other pests within its lured confines.
For the nighttime insects, a glowing UV light will draw them steadily closer to the trap. Once in range, a CO2 producer will entice insects to come right up to the trap, and then its whisper-quiet fan will suck them straight inside.
But it’s not only meant for nighttime pests! This also works well on daytime pests, and can easily suck in wasps and hornets, yellow jackets and Asian beetles, ensuring that you’re at no risk of being bitten or stung no matter when you’re outdoors.
You will not have that satisfying ZZZZZZZT! sound notifying you of the insect’s demise, alas. That’s not the nature of a silent killer like this trap. However, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that no matter what, the bugs won’t bother you. And that’s a plus.
Best Electronic Bug Repellent
Inside your house is not a place for insects, and Amuoc understands that. That’s why there are ultrasonic pest repeller options that can help keep pests from ever entering your residence.
Emitting a high-pitched sound that human ears can’t hear, this system will repel a wide variety of pests, and not all of them are insects. While it claims to handle mosquitos, roaches, ants, spiders and flies, the manufacturer also promises to keep rats, mice, and lizards at bay. If you have a pet hamster, this device is not for you!
It does not kill the pests. Instead, it makes them uncomfortable enough that they just don’t enter the residence. And sometimes, that’s enough. If you want a solution that keeps your home free of pests, consider the Amuoc electronic pest repellent. Pair it with an outdoor bug zapper like the Flowtron, and you’ll never see a bug again.
Other Good Choices
An unusual model, this LumaPest tabletop model can be used as a zapper or as a non-zapping insect catching device. A small fan will suck insects out of the air and down into a catch container, where they will starve and die. If needed, simply plug it in and it’ll easily take out larger insects like moths or wasps, too.
Very few models on the market are designed in a way that makes them moth-compatible, and so if you find that your nighttime pests tend to be of the larger variety, invest in this device. Similarly, it draws mosquitos due to its unique water tray. Mosquitos which are looking for a breeding location will seek out stagnant water, and when they near this trap, they’re sucked right in.
It’s a great alternative to the more traditional insect zappers, and well worth every penny!
Similar to the Aspectek, the PestZilla is a horizontal bulb model. I’ve owned one of these in the past as well, and for me, the real difference between the two comes into play if you plan on hanging it.
Where the Aspectek has hanging hooks on the outsides of the unit, the PestZilla has them on top of the unit. It can more easily tilt on its chain than the Aspectek does. If you plan on hanging up your device, opt for the Aspectek model.
But if you tend to set yours on a flat surface like I do, you’ll find that the PestZilla is just as functional as the Aspectek. It’s also cheaper in terms of pricing. Both are 20-watt devices, both kill bugs equally well. The only caution I have is how it hangs.
With a promise of 1200 square feet of coverage per device, the Vensmile electronic pest repeller is another great model. Its “Pest Reject” system uses ultrasonic sound to deter a wide variety of insect pests as well as rodents.
For me, the only difference between this and the Amuoc device is that Amuoc gives you four devices for only a little bit more than the price of two Vensmile units. That’s twice the coverage range, and twice the protection against furry or winged intruders. But if you’ve got a smaller space to cover, or don’t want that many devices running in your house, this is a great option!
As with the Amuoc, one caution: if you have pet mice, rats, or hamsters, don’t get one of these. It’ll drive them nuts.
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Last update on 2019-11-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API