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Shopping Guide for Best Bug Zappers

Nothing beats a beautiful summer night, enjoying a warm breeze on your deck or in your yard with friends and family. Until uninvited guests show up in the form of flies, mosquitos, and other pesky insects, of course. Whether they’re the biting kind or not, bugs can put a damper on a fun evening outdoors.

Bug sprays are laden with chemicals, which can raise a variety of health concerns. Bug zappers are an ideal alternative. Zappers can keep the insect population in your yard under control without harsh pesticides. Finding the right bug zapper can be tricky, though. There are several types to choose from, and certain features and range of coverage can make one zapper a better fit for your yard than another.

At BestReviews, we never accept free products or perks from manufacturers. We purchase products off the shelf like you do, so our reviews are always honest and unbiased. We conduct extensive field and expert research and interview real-life customers, too. Our goal: to simplify shopping for you.

If you’re ready to buy a bug zapper, check out our top five recommendations in the matrix above.

For in-depth info on how to choose the best zapper for you, just keep reading.

The grid in a bug zapper typically generates 2,000 volts or more, which is enough to pass through an insect but not cause sparks in the air.

Bug Zapper vs. Bug Spray

  • With a bug zapper, you can get rid of many different insects quickly.

  • A zapper requires no personal involvement. You don’t have to worry about accidentally stumbling upon a hive or nest — or getting up close and personal with creepy-crawlies — in your quest to get rid of the pests around your home.

  • While you can add chemicals to some bug zappers to increase their effectiveness, you can operate a zapper without any chemicals at all.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Flowtron Diplomat Fly Control Device

Design

Measuring a substantial 12x12x27 inches, the Flowtron Diplomat Fly Control Device is definitely designed for commercial insect control. The unit’s outer shell is made of heavy-duty plastic that has been rated for both indoor and outdoor use. The electric grid is coated with chrome. Therefore, it is extremely resistant to rust and should provide reliable service for years. The Flowtron Diplomat is designed to handle large swarms of night-flying insects with ease.

Types of Bug Zappers

Types

Insect Traps

An insect trap lures insects to the device with light, and then a vacuum sucks them into a chamber. The bugs remain trapped in the zapper until they eventually die of dehydration.

You must empty the inner unit periodically.

Insect traps are a good indoor option. There are no popping sounds when the pests are trapped.

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BestReviews
Types

Electronic Zappers

An electronic zapper also uses light to lure bugs to the device. However, instead of trapping the insects, an electronic zapper electrocutes them when they touch the unit’s electrical grid. There is usually a tray at the bottom of the zapper that catches the debris.

Flowtron
Flowtron
Hoont
Stinger
Eliminator
Bug Zapper Weight
Types

Electric Swatters

An electric swatter is usually shaped like a tennis racket and runs on batteries. It features an electric grid that electrocutes insects when you wave the swatter at them. A swatter is portable, so you can take it with you on the go.

DID YOU KNOW?

The first device to use elements of the modern bug zapper appeared in a 1911 issue of Popular Mechanics. But the first zapper wasn’t patented until 1932.

What to Look For When Buying a Bug Zapper

Considerations

Indoor/Outdoor Use

While nearly all bug zappers are designed for outdoor use, not all models are meant for indoor use. Look for a zapper that can be used in the area where you plan to install it.

Some models are designed for both indoor and outdoor use.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Stinger Cordless Rechargable

Range

The Stinger Cordless Rechargable has a relatively limited range of 625 square feet. As such, it is best suited for moderate indoor or outdoor use. The manufacturer recommends a minimum distance of 10 feet from any human activity. The Stinger Cordless is an ideal chemical-free insect killer for backyard picnics and pool parties.

Considerations

Noise Level

Because they use electricity to kill insects, many bug zappers emit a low humming noise during operation. When pests are killed, there may also be a popping sound. If you’re planning to use a zapper indoors, you’ll likely want one that’s as quiet as possible.

Considerations

Chemical Attractants

Because light doesn’t attract all flying insects, such as mosquitos and other biting species, you may want to look for a bug zapper that comes with a chemical attractant or repellent or lets you add one.

DID YOU KNOW?

Chemical-free bug zappers are a safer, healthier alternative to traditional insect sprays.

Considerations

Design

Bug zappers come in a variety of designs, but it’s important to choose a model that is enticing to a variety of flying insects.

  • Light

Styles that use light attract many flying insects, such as moths, mayflies, crane flies, and beetles.

  • Chemical

If you want to attract biting insects, such as mosquitos, you’ll need a zapper that lets you add chemical attractants.

  • Electric

If you choose a zapper that electrocutes insects, make sure it’s designed to protect you from accidental contact, so you don’t injure yourself when it’s in use.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Bug zappers don’t pose much of a fire hazard. However, always connect the zapper to GFCI-protected receptacles, and make sure that the cord doesn’t get wet or frayed.

Considerations

Range

A bug zapper’s range is a very important feature. You need a zapper with a large enough range to cover the area where you want to eliminate bugs. However, many homeowners make the mistake of purchasing a zapper with a range that is too large, which only attracts insects from neighboring yards and areas, instead of killing the pests that are already present.

You can find bug zappers with ranges from square feet to acres. Measure your yard, and choose a model with a range that fits the area you’re trying to protect. Keep in mind that you can increase the range of a bug zapper by using chemical attractants or repellents.

EXPERT TIP

Measure your yard. Purchase a bug zapper with a range as close to your yard’s size as possible. You can also increase the range of a bug zapper that uses light to attract insects with multiple light bulbs and/or bulbs with high wattages.


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Considerations

Timer

Some bug zappers are equipped with a timer, which turns the device on and off on a programmed schedule.

If you don’t want to worry about forgetting to turn the zapper on or off, this can be a handy feature.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Flowtron Diplomat Fly Control Device

Performance

The Flowtron Diplomat Fly Control Device’s advertised outdoor range is an impressive two acres, due in large part to the amount of attractive light generated by its three UV light bulbs. When used indoors, the Diplomat’s range is around 1,200 square feet, making it ideal for barns, factories, and commercial kitchens. The UV lights are bright enough to illuminate an entire porch or room, so we recommend placing it at a distance of at least 25 feet from any human activity.

Tips and Tricks for Using a Bug Zapper

  • A bug zapper is designed to attract insects in order to trap or electrocute them, so you shouldn’t place it on your deck or in your yard’s sitting area. You’ll only wind up bringing more bugs to the area where you hang out. Instead, place it at least 15 to 20 feet from where you usually sit.

  • The best height for your zapper depends on the main insects you’re targeting. House flies fly low, so you should position the zapper three to four feet off the ground to snag them. For small fruit flies, you’ll want to hang it at a height of four to five feet. Hang traps five to six feet off the ground to target mosquitoes.

  • If you’re using a bug zapper indoors, keep it away from the door and window sightlines, but still nearby, to handle any bugs that sneak inside. If the zapper’s light is visible from outside, it may wind up drawing pests into the house.

  • You should clean out your bug zapper at least once a week. If you leave dead insects in the zapper, they may attract scavenger bugs.

  • To avoid drawing insects to the very spot you don’t want them, place a bug zapper at least 15 to 20 feet from your outdoor sitting area.

CAUTION

Never place a bug zapper near an area where food is prepared. Food can easily be contaminated with bacteria and viruses that are released when insects are killed.

How Much Should I Pay for a Bug Zapper?

Bug zappers vary in price based on type and range of coverage. In general, expect to pay between $10 and $300.

  • Inexpensive

For a simple battery-operated electric swatter, you’ll usually pay between $10 and $25.

  • Mid-Range

For an electric insect trap, you’ll usually pay between $20 and $50.

  • Expensive

For an electric bug zapper, you’ll usually pay between $50 and $300.

If you want to move a bug zapper between your yard and home, select one that’s designed for both indoor and outdoor use.

FAQ

Q. Do electric bug zappers kill mosquitoes?

A. Unfortunately, mosquitoes and many other biting insects aren’t attracted to light. However, that doesn’t mean a zapper isn’t capable of killing mosquitoes. If they fly close enough to the device, they’ll suffer the same fate as insects attracted to the light.

Q. How large should a bug zapper’s range be?

A. The proper range for a bug zapper depends on the size of your yard. If you purchase a zapper with a range that’s larger than your property, you’ll wind up attracting insects from neighboring yards instead of controlling the population you already have.

Q. What features can make a bug zapper more effective?

A. A timer can be very handy. It will turn on the bug zapper so it has time to work before you actually go outside. Depending on what insects you want to target, you may also want a bug zapper that lets you use chemical attractants to help lure bugs that aren’t drawn to the zapper’s light.

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