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Best Bug Zapper Rackets

Updated October 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 16 Models Considered
  • 8 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 135 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best bug zapper rackets

    Last Updated October 2018

    Most people love sitting outside on summer nights, appreciating the great weather and beautiful sunsets. At the same time, nobody likes having flying insects interrupt their relaxation time. Unfortunately, the outdoors and insects are inseparable during the summer. You want to enjoy your time outdoors, so eliminating insects is a top priority. If you prefer to avoid using harsh chemicals and sprays around your home, a bug zapper racket is a nice alternative.

    This device works equally well indoors or outdoors. Best of all, you might even improve your tennis swing in the process. (Just don’t kill so many insects that you develop tennis elbow.)

    We at BestReviews can help you find the best bug zapper racket for your needs and budget. Please continue reading our shopping guide to learn all of the different features of these effective bug-killing devices.

    All bug zapper rackets kill most types of flying insects, although you need a lot of voltage to kill larger insects.

    How a bug zapper racket works

    A  bug zapper racket, also called an electric fly swatter, is a simple piece of hardware. It looks a lot like a small tennis racket with a handle and a large head (or paddle) area. It uses the same insect killing process electrocution that you’ll find in a stationary bug zapper that you hang outside. But this is a fully manual device. It doesn’t attract bugs; you have to swing the racket to hit and kill them.

    Bug zapper racket technology

    The racket head consists of crisscrossing horizontal and vertical wires that form an electrical grid that carries from 500 to as much as 4,000 volts of electricity. When electricity is moving through the wires, it electrocutes any insect that comes in contact with at least two wires at once. The wires in the grid of the racket are close enough to each other that most insects will touch at least two wires when the racket contacts them.

    Power

    Bug zapper rackets run off batteries, with a switch to power on the racket. To activate the electrical charge, you press a button as you swing the racket. When you release the button, the grid is no longer electrified. This is a nice safety feature that helps to avoid receiving a slight shock if you should accidentally touch the grid.

    Swing

    Many people make the mistake of trying to use this device like a flexible plastic flyswatter, but the hard plastic racket could crack if it collides with a hard surface.

    Instead, you use the bug zapper racket like a tennis racket, swinging it through the air. If you strike a flying insect, you’ll hear the zap that indicates a successful connection. To kill an insect that’s sitting on a hard surface, swing the racket through the air above the insect without contacting it. This will likely cause the insect to fly upward directly into the path of the racket.

    Cleaning up

    Zapped insects will leave a bit of residue that you’ll need to sweep up. If part of the insect sticks to the racket, you’ll need to turn off the device and remove this residue for the racket to work optimally.

    EXPERT TIP

    Swing the racket carefully. Most of these devices are made of brittle plastic that could crack if it hits a hard surface.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Keep the bug zapper racket away from flammable liquids and gases. The electrical charge could cause a fire.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Bug zapper racket features to consider

    Although most of these devices look the same, there are a few differences beyond price that set them apart. These features can help you pick the right model for your needs.

    • Maximum voltage: A bug zapper racket that delivers more voltage will be able to kill larger bugs, such as wasps. A racket with less voltage may only be effective at killing smaller insects while stunning larger ones.

    • Power light: Some rackets have an LED light to indicate when the zapper is powered on and ready to use. Some models also use this light to let you know the current battery charge level.

    • Activation button: After turning on the racket, you press a button to activate the electrical charge on many models. This is a nice feature because it reduces the chances of an accidental shock.

    • Head size: A larger racket head gives you more killing space, which means your swing doesn’t have to be as precise.

    • Grid size: The size of the spaces between the horizontal and vertical wires in the grid affects the size of insects you can kill. The insect must make contact with two wires at one time to receive the electric shock. A bug zapper racket with smaller spaces in the grid will be more effective at killing small insects.

    • Battery type: Some bug zapper rackets use rechargeable batteries, which you’ll typically plug into a USB adapter to charge. Charging can take up to eight hours. Other rackets run off alkaline batteries that you’ll have to replace as needed.

    • Plastic guard: Some rackets have a plastic guard on the back to protect you from making contact with the wires. However, if you swing the racket backhand, the plastic guard will also prevent insects from contacting the wires.
    DID YOU KNOW?

    Many bug zapper rackets use an LED light to indicate when the unit is activated.

    Bug zapper racket prices

    On average, a bug zapper racket costs less than a stationary bug zapper that uses a bright light to attract insects. You can expect to pay between $5 and $35 for one.

    Inexpensive: The least expensive bug zapper rackets cost between $5 and $15 and typically carry up to 1,500 volts of electricity. These have a smaller head than more expensive models, and most run off alkaline batteries.

    Mid-range: Bug zapper rackets that cost between $15 and $35 carry up to 5,000 volts of electricity. These rackets have larger heads, making it easier to connect with a flying insect. These rackets are also more durable, meaning they won’t crack as easily if you hit a hard object.

    Extra costs: The only ongoing cost you’ll have with this product is batteries. Many bug zapper rackets run off of two C or two AA batteries. Models that run off a rechargeable battery built into the racket are more cost effective over time.

    Because of the design of this device and the lack of harsh chemicals, you can use the racket indoors as well as outdoors.

    FAQ

    Q. Will I receive a dangerous shock if I touch the electrified grid on the racket?

    A. If the insect zapper racket is powered on and active when you touch it, you will receive a painful shock. But the racket’s electrical charge isn’t dangerous to humans, so it will only sting for a few seconds. However, small pets or young children could be injured by this shock. And if there is any type of flammable liquid, spray, or lotion on your body when you touch the racket, you could receive serious burns, so care is required.

    Q. Will the bug zapper racket work in wet conditions (or if I accidentally leave it outside in the rain)?

    A. Most models of zapper rackets will not work as effectively if they’re wet. However, as long as the unit has not been submerged in water and its electrical system still works, it eventually will return to normal. Just allow the unit to air-dry completely and it should work again. If the interior of the battery compartment is wet, remove the batteries and allow the compartment to air-dry.

    Q. Do I need to keep the racket grid clean?

    A. With most models, you will notice problems if insect residue sticks to the racket. This residue draws electrical charge because the racket treats the residue as a live insect, so it will drain the battery. To clean the racket, turn it off and gently tap it against a hard surface or wipe it clean with a dry towel.

    Q. What insects are affected by the bug zapper technology?

    A. You can kill most kinds of flying insects using the racket. Commonly, people attack mosquitoes, house flies, gnats, and fruit flies with this type of device. If you have a more powerful racket that delivers a bit more voltage, you can kill wasps, moths, and horse flies, too. To kill small insects like gnats and fruit flies, you need a grid that has small gaps between the wires.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Kyle
      Kyle
      Writer
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer
    • Michael
      Michael
      Writer

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