Nothing ruins a good time like pesky bugs. The best bug zappers help keep bugs at bay, whether you’re indoors or outdoors, and choosing the right one can provide just the right amount of coverage for your hangout spot.
Bug zappers typically lure bugs in with UV light that then zaps them, but light doesn't attract all bug species, particularly mosquitoes, and some compensate for this by adding octenol, a pesticide and toxin-free pheromone that attracts the pesky bug.
Indoor bug zappers tend to be quieter and have a tray to catch zapped bugs, but in order to ensure it doesn't keep you up at night, it's important to consult reviews and get a sense of the level of audible buzzing you'll hear. Outdoor bug zappers are powerful enough to handle the greater number of bugs found outside, and keep in mind these units are usually designed to be hung, which requires a sturdy shepherd hook or a strong tree branch that can handle its weight. Outdoor bug zappers also tend to cover more ground, with some covering up to an acre, which is ideal for a larger yard. This level of coverage can be so effective that you wind up attracting more bugs than would ordinarily be in your yard, so as a rule of thumb, keep it about 25 to 30 feet away. You can set and forget most bug zappers for a while, but there's another option you may prefer for immediate action on bugs. A racket-style bug zapper only works in your immediate vicinity but is effective for instantly getting rid of a bug that's bothering you.
With all this in mind, here are the four best bug zappers, so you can enjoy your patio, backyard, or home again. Each one is highly rated on Amazon, and most of them have thousands of reviews touting their efficacy.
1. The Best Indoor Bug Zapper
This highly rated indoor bug zapper has a 4.7 star rating on Amazon with a sleek design that comes in black or grey and removable sticky sheets that capture and trap bugs. This nontoxic device emits ultraviolet LED light that attracts insects like mosquitoes, gnats, and even flies, according to reviewers.
This pick has a 12-hour and 6-hour timer and should be left by the source of your bug issues for 12 hours or more the first time you use it. Its removable tray and sticky glue pads make it a cinch to clean and reviewers confirm that it is quiet and that it's only audible when you are quite close to it. It comes with a USB cord for recharging.
A helpful review: “The UV lights are bright, and the fan pull feels strong enough to trap gnats, fruit flies, and mosquitos. I put it by the trashcan where I was having a problem and they all seem to have disappeared! But I checked the 'sticky paper' that I placed inside the unit... and yep, it definitely caught one of them!"
2. The Best Bug Zapper For Big Yards
The Flowtron bug zapper is another popular one with over 7,000 reviews; it impressively covers up to an acre of outdoor space, and keep in mind the electrical cord is only about 11 inches and you'll likely need an extension cord to properly hang this. Just be sure to hang this one about 25 feet away from where you usually sit in your backyard, so the bugs aren't attracted to your spot. This weatherproof zapper works even in the rain, and an octenol attractant cartridge is included to help specifically with mosquitoes.
A helpful review: “Mosquitoes love me. I normally can't venture outside without getting covered in mosquito bites almost immediately. This is our second summer using the Flowtron with Octenol attractant and I can actually spend time in my back yard without being attacked by mosquitoes! [...] The Octenol attractant is important and needs to be changed every 30 days. The light is very bright and you occasionally hear a bzzzt when a moth bumps into it, but it's mostly silent and effective and covered with dead mosquitoes.”
3. The Best Bug Zapper For Small Outdoor Spaces
If you're trying to protect a smaller patio or yard from bugs, you may not need a device that provides an acre of coverage, but this outdoor bug zapper is just right. It covers half an acre and attracts mosquitoes, flies, gnats, wasps, and moths using a nontoxic UV light. It comes with a durable ring and chain if you want to hang it up, but it also has a base that you can place on patios or tables. It's also easy to clean: slide out the removable tray, empty it, and use it over and over again. Like the previous pick, some reviewers say the electrical cord is not very long and you may need an extension cord.
A helpful review: "We hung it on our back deck. We went from killing 4-5 flies a day in our kitchen (which opens onto the deck) to none! We can use our deck again. We keep it on day and night. The flies are almost completely gone, mosquitoes seem to be gone as well. It has even zapped some pesky bees. It has helped with the gnats, but not completely. Definitely worth the purchase and we're thinking about getting another for our pool area (we have a large yard)."
4. The Best Bug Zapper Racket
If you want to take a more active role in pest control, try a bug zapper racket that a number of reviewers report is fun to use. Think of this as a powerful upgrade to the traditional fly swatter that can also get rid of mosquitoes and other bugs; hold the on button and swing at a bug to zap it. Several reviewers report after whacking a few bugs that others tend to stay away.
With over 4,000 reviewers, shoppers commented they love this set of two smaller rackets so they can keep them in a couple of bug-prone areas either inside or outside. A mesh layer on the racket provides protection from fingers getting zapped. The racket recharges via USB, but you won't need to do that much since a single charge can power up to 10,000 zaps, according to the manufacturer. Reviewers also report this pick is more effective than similar battery-powered ones.
A helpful review: "I really did not know what to expect when I ordered these allegedly bug-defeating racquets, but I was pleasantly surprised when I charged them up and waited in ambush for my long-time, persistent enemies: flies and mosquitoes! I really like to sit out on our deck on these late Summer afternoons (our deck's not screened in). [...] I had to douse myself with insect repellant or roll up a newspaper and prepare for war — but not anymore! Now I simply reach for "the Hammer" (my racquet's nickname), arm it by moving the safety button to on, and wait for the right moment to send flying insect monsters to the promised land!"