The 4 Best Mosquito Repellent Devices

Handy, portable options for all your outdoor gatherings.

by Masha Vapnitchnaia
Originally Published: 
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There are many gadgets that claim to safeguard your outdoor space from pesky bugs, but the best mosquito repellent devices feature an odorless, DEET-free based repellent (either allethrin or metofluthrin). Not only will these compact and portable gadgets provide a silent, mosquito-free zone of protection of at least 15-feet around them, they have also been evaluated by the EPA for safety and effectiveness. Choosing the right one for you will come down to where you'll use your device the most and how much you want to spend.

What To Look For In An Outdoor Mosquito Repellent System

There's one company that immediately stands out in the category: Thermacell. The brand's signature and award-winning technology — which uses an internal fuel source to vaporize a repellent-infused cartridge — is not only effective, it's completely fragrance-free and much safer than a candle or a coil as there's no open flame to worry about.

Though all of the Thermacell models work basically the same (they all offer 15 feet of protection around them), the biggest difference you'll find (besides size) is the power source. Fuel-powered repellers tend to be the most affordable, but they require the purchase of both a butane cartridge and repellent mats to work, so you will need to consider the cost of those refills into your overall budget. However, as long as you have refills on hand, the invisible mosquito forcefield will remain steady for hours on end, making them an ideal pick for more remote activities like camping, fishing, or hiking.

A battery-powered repeller comes at a slightly higher price tag, but it buys you the convenience of a rechargeable fuel source and the added safety of an auto-off timer. You will still need to factor in the cost of replacement repellent cartridges, though. And since your operation time is limited by your battery life — unless you're set up near an outlet, that is — this pick is probably best suited for home and backyard use.

With all that in mind, you can spend more time enjoying the great outdoors (sans lotions, sprays, or itchy bites) with one of the best mosquito-control devices below!

Shop The Best Mosquito Repellent Machines

In a hurry? Here are the top picks for mosquito-repellent devices.

  1. The Overall Best Fuel-Powered Mosquito Repellent Device: Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repeller
  2. The Overall Best Battery-Powered Mosquito Repeller: Thermacell Radius Zone Mosquito Repeller (Gen 2.0)
  3. The Most Portable Mosquito Repellent Device: Thermacell MR450 Portable Mosquito Repellent
  4. A Mosquito Repellent Device That Doubles As An LED Lantern: Thermacell Patio Shield Lantern


The Overall Best Fuel-Powered Mosquito Repellent Device

With a sleek, colorful design and a very affordable price tag, you won't mind setting this Thermacell mosquito repellant device out on your back patio or taking it with you on a picnic. The cylindrical unit uses DEET- and fragrance-free allethrin to keep mosquitos away. A butane fuel cartridge inside the device heats up small pads infused with the repellent. In the box, you'll get one butane cartridge, which will last up to 12 hours, and three blue repellent mats, which are effective for up to four hours and will conveniently turn white once they've stopped working. Fuel cartridges and mat refills are available in affordable bundles, offering 12-300 hours of protection. The stylish device comes in tons of colors and has almost 40,000 reviews.

One reviewer wrote: “this works GREAT!! it keeps the mosquitos away. I use this often and it hasn't let me down. whether I'm on the back porch at dusk or in my garage working out. I had my doubts about how affective the Thermacell would be, but they definitely work.”

Dimensions: 3.4 x 3.4 x 6.5 inches | Zone of protection: 15 feet |


The Overall Best Battery-Powered Mosquito Repeller

Though it's more expensive than the pick above, the more compact Thermacell Radius device is unique in that it works with an included rechargeable (via a micro USB port) lithium-ion battery as its power source to heat the repellent, so you won't need to buy any fuel refills. Once fully juiced up, the Radius device will keep your area protected for up to six-and-a-half hours (though it can remain on while it's charging, too). This is the only model on this list with an optional auto-off function that when selected, will turn the device off after 120 minutes, ensuring your repellent is never wasted.

Keep in mind that this is the only Thermocell device that uses a special liquid-based Metofluthrin cartridge (instead of a pad) as its form of repellant, which you click into a slot at the top. To avoid any potential leaks, it may be best to keep this unit on flat surfaces only instead of toting it on a backpacking expedition. With your purchase, you get one 12-hour repellent cartridge, but you can also grab longer-life refills, which offer up to 40 hours of bug security. Get it in black or vibrant blue.

One reviewer wrote: “This product works fantastic. We were outside at night and there was no wind, no light, no fire no smoke. When one was within 15 feet or so from the device there were no mosquitos. When walking 30 or 40 feet away we were getting eaten alive.”

Dimensions: 3.1 x 1.9 x 3.3 inches | Zone of protection: 15 feet |


The Most Portable Mosquito Repellent Device

This extra-portable Thermacell mosquito repellent can be clipped to your belt for hands-free protection that goes where you go. A butane fuel cartridge (one included) heats up and disperses the allethrin in a small mat, creating a mosquito-free zone. Each cartridge lasts up to 12 hours and the device comes with three mats, each working for up to four hours. This gadget also has a notable ZoneCheck function, which gives a visual indication to let you know when a zone of protection has been created around you.

Just like all the other fuel-powered devices on this list, standard refills for both the cartridges and color-fading mats are available in bundles, offering 12-300 hours of protection.

One reviewer wrote: "We use these constantly for hunting the swamps and marshes of southeast La and they help big time. You'll learn just how much when the bugs are bad and you forgot to bring it. Just as the instructions say, use fresh pads (you don't need a new pad if it still has dark color to it), don't expect it to work in high wind, and give it a few minutes to give off that barrier of protection and it really will cut down on the bugs.”

Dimensions: 7.8 x 2.9 x 1.8 inches | Zone of protection: 15 square feet |


A Mosquito Repellent Device That Doubles As An LED Lantern

In addition to a bug shield, this Thermacell lantern also emits a soothing, LED-powered glow. The device uses allethrin to deter bugs and is fueled by a butane cartridge. As with other similar devices above, this pick comes with the standard 12-hour fuel cartridge and three repellent color-fading mats, each lasting approximately four hours (and you can buy refills in bundles, offering 12-300 hours of protection). Tip: You can use on the battery-powered light (three AAA batteries are not included) with or without the repellent function.

One reviewer wrote: “I was skeptical because I have tried other things, but this thing works. There is no smell. It's easy to use. Mosquitoes don't like it. I like the handle on it because I often carry it with me when I'm walking the dog, and it doubles as a good light source.”

Dimensions: 4.75 x 4.75 x 8 inches | Zone of protection: 15 feet |


You May Also Like: A Mosquito Repellent Hoodie

Made with permethrin, another synthesized chrysanthemum extract similar to allethrin, this ExOfficio hoodie provides a way to wear your protection from mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and other bugs. The ultra-lightweight, cotton-blend hoodie is machine-washable and the repellent is effective through 70 washes. It's available in ten colors and comes in sizes XX-Small - XX-Large.

One reviewer wrote: “I throw this hoodie (and there are other colors) on over a shirt when hiking or dog walking during mosquito season. Definitely works to keep the bites down. On particularly buggy days, the hood is really helpful.”


You May Also Like: These Reusable Repellent Bracelets

These DEET-free Mosquito Guard bracelets are infused with essential oils, like citronella, lemongrass, and geraniol that are most commonly used in natural mosquito repellents. They're great for kids, but also stretchy enough for adults to use comfortably. Though the research on band-type mosquito repellents has found them to be less effective than lotions and sprays, because they concentrate repellant in one small area, Amazon reviewers have found creative ways to try to make them more potent by wearing them around ankles, upper arms, or even around a cup to keep bugs at bay.

One reviewer wrote: “My 2 year old gets eaten alive by mosquitos and has sensitive skin so spraying her down with bug spray every time she wants to go outside gives her a rash. Used these today outside and she didn’t get hit once! Super happy to have them.”

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