The 6 Best Bug Zappers to Save Your Summer Soirées and Barbecues (2024)

The 6 Best Bug Zappers to Save Your Summer Soirées and Barbecues (1)

Every summer reminds us that bugs love warm weather just as much as we do. While there’s not much more you can do than run away from a swarm of gnats on a sunset stroll, there is a solution to keeping flies, mosquitoes, and other pesky insects from ruining outdoor gatherings like backyard barbecues and bonfires. Enter bug zappers.

Unlike insect repellents that deter pests from biting people, these devices kill bugs due to their ultraviolet lights that draw them into the high-voltage metal grid that causes electrocution. Yes, it sounds harsh, but they remove mosquitoes from your area (and prevent them from multiplying) rather than just scaring them away to return another time. If you want a mosquito-free summer, keep scrolling to shop our list of the best bug zappers on the market.


  • It has a large coverage area and doesn’t require a lot of hands-on cleaning.


  • It’s louder and brighter than others, but you can place it far from your seating area while reaping the benefits of a bug-free setting.

This bug zapper is our best overall pick because it has a large coverage area of up to an acre, a self-cleaning design, a limited two-year warranty, and a high-intensity ultraviolet light to attract pests. The lantern is designed to withstand weather conditions and doubles as a decorative light for your outdoor space.

If the concept of dead bugs makes you shiver, this is the gadget for you. After the insects hit the electrified grid, the remains fall to the ground instead of into a removable tray you’d have to clean yourself. Not only does this work in your favor, but it’s also environmentally friendly.

The device is on the louder side, but thanks to its range of coverage, you can place it away from your entertaining space, whether a fire pit, patio furniture, or tent. It’s important to note that it needs to be plugged into an outlet to operate, so you might want to purchase an extension cord.

  • Type: Lantern
  • Coverage Area: 1 acre
  • Power Source: Corded electric

Best Value

Livin' Well Bug Zapper

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  • It’s extremely quiet, built to last 10,000 hours of use, and at a reasonable price.


  • The cleaning process isn’t as simple as self-cleaning models, and you’ll most likely need to buy an extension cord and a studier hook for hanging and plugging in.

For about half the price of the model above, this bug zapper is an excellent choice for those wanting to spend less but still buy a quality device. Though it has a significantly lower coverage area at 1,500 square feet, it’s surprisingly very quiet, so you can place it closer to your patio without being bothered by loud zapping noises every time a bug flies into it. Like the Flowtron BK-40D, it features an attractive lantern design and requires an outlet for its 6-foot cord, so you’ll probably need an extension cord.

The light lasts up to 10,000 hours, so depending on how often you plug it in, it’s suitable for years of use. It comes with a small hook for hanging, but you might want to consider getting a shepherd’s hook for a sturdier foundation.

This one doesn’t have the luxury of self-cleaning grids. After the bugs are eliminated, they fall into the detachable tray. Luckily, the tray doesn’t need to be dumped multiple times in one night due to its roomy size, and when it’s time, it’s a quick and easy process. Simply twist the tray off the bottom, discard the remains on the grass, and rinse before putting it back on.

  • Type: Lantern
  • Coverage Area: 1,500 square feet
  • Power Source: Corded electric

Best Splurge

Flowtron MC9000 Residential Bug Fighter

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  • It’s a solid choice for those who live on acreages or for commercial use.


  • It’s pricey and not necessary for smaller outdoor spaces.

We recommend this heavy-duty bug zapper if you live on a farm, an acreage, or somewhere close to a wooded area. This device is from the same brand as our top pick at a much higher price, but it's worth it for places where the mosquito population prevents you from enjoying summer nights on the porch. Plus, it’s great for restaurant patios, butcher shops, and outdoor weddings to keep flies away from food.

The are a few key differences between the Flowtron MC9000 and the Flowtron BK-40D. First, the former features 120 watts of black light energy, while the latter has 40 watts, meaning the MC9000 has three times the power to attract insects. Another distinction between the two is their coverage: the MC9000 has a 2-acre radius compared to 1 acre. Lastly, this one is larger and heavier, at 13 pounds, and has highly durable stainless steel grids.

Thanks to the self-cleaning grids, this bug zapper requires minimal maintenance. The manufacturer recommends hanging it 6 feet above the ground and 25 feet away from your entertaining space so you and your guests don’t have to worry about walking over dead bugs.

  • Type: Lantern
  • Coverage Area: 2 acres
  • Power Source: Corded electric

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Best Cordless

Koosa Solar Bug Zapper

The 6 Best Bug Zappers to Save Your Summer Soirées and Barbecues (5)


  • This portable bug zapper is ideal for outdoor activities, as it’s cordless and easy to charge.


  • The handle can become flimsy, but that’s expected with frequent use.

Those who don’t want to mess with an outlet should consider this rechargeable bug zapper. It’s perfect for camping trips, picnics, and backyards without access to an outlet; plus, we love that the light doubles as a lantern to help you get from place to place in the dark.

The device comes with batteries, so it’s ready to use as soon as it arrives, and it has two easy ways to stay charged — solar energy and most standard USB chargers. During the day, the sun keeps it charged via solar panels on the top of the lantern, and at night, you can plug it into a USB port and have a full battery within three hours.

There aren’t many downfalls to this cordless bug zapper other than its handle can become flimsy over time. But overall, it’s compact, portable, and easy to use at home or on adventures.

  • Type: Lantern
  • Coverage Area: 2,100 square feet
  • Power Source: Rechargeable battery

Best Handheld

Faicuk Handheld Electric Racket Bug Zapper

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  • This electric fly swatter allows you to target bugs instead of relying on the device to lure them in.


  • It’s not an effective choice for people with large populations of bugs.

Think of this bug zapper as the ultimate fly swatter. It might not be as convenient as the ones that hang there and do the work for you, but it’s a fuss-free device for people with small outdoor areas, who don’t deal with major pest problems, or who want a compact indoor option. It doesn’t require an outlet, is easy to target individual annoyances, and rings in under $15.

This simplified version of a bug zapper ditches the light component and adds a handle with a button you push when you’re ready to hit your target. Hold it like a standard fly swatter or tennis racket, get as close as possible to the insect, and push the switch to finish the job. Though it has safety features, it’s not suitable for children.

  • Type: Racket
  • Coverage Area: N/A
  • Power Source: 2 AA batteries

Best for Indoors

Aspectek Electronic Indoor Insect Killer

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  • This device allows you to ditch chemical sprays while keeping your home free of flies, mosquitoes, gnats, and more.


  • It’s not the most attractive device to place inside your home.

If you’re like us, you fantasize about evenings when the temperature is so perfect you can open your windows and let fresh air in. But, of course, this simple life pleasure usually allows bugs to enter your home. To keep dinner time free of pesky flies, we recommend adding one of these indoor bug zappers to your kitchen or any other room you notice insects.

At about 15 x 12 inches, it won’t take up too much space and can either sit on a table or hang on a wall with the included chain. We love its simple installation and how you can turn it on and off at the press of a button.

It operates quietly, enabling you to eat and relax without disturbing zaps in the background, and it’s easy to remove the detachable tray to dispose of the bugs. Overall, it’s a great alternative to spraying chemicals around your home.

  • Type: Hanging or countertop
  • Coverage Area: Not listed
  • Power Source: Corded electric

Our Favorite

We chose the Flowtron BK-40D Electronic Insect Killer as our best overall pick because it has a large coverage area for big backyards and patios and requires minimal maintenance. We recommend the Koosa Solar Bug Zapper for camping and picnicking, as it’s cordless, portable, and easy to charge.

Factors to Consider

Indoor Versus Outdoor Use

Some bug zappers can be used indoors and outdoors, while others are only designed for one location or the other. Our list consists of all types of bug zappers, including lantern-style models for patios and porches, electric fly swatters for quick targets indoors or outdoors, and freestanding options for kitchens and other rooms inside. If you live somewhere that gets hit hard with mosquitoes, flies, and other flying insects, grab a few to place in different rooms inside your home in addition to one for your yard.

Coverage Area

Indoor models can have a shorter radius than outdoor ones. The lantern-style bug zappers on our list offer coverage ranging from 1,500 square feet to 2 acres. Due to the various ranges, this type of bug zapper tends to be the most popular, as it’s suitable for many outdoor spaces. Look at the wattage if the product description doesn’t specify the coverage area. Typically, the more power they have, the wider the radius.

Power Source

There are corded, rechargeable, battery-powered, and solar-powered bug zappers. You’ll find that many lantern-style models are corded, which is nice because you don’t need to replace batteries, but also inconvenient if you don’t have a nearby outlet. Rechargeable and solar-powered options are great for picnics, camping, and other outdoor activities where you’ll have to carry it to and from your vehicle or home and most likely won’t have access to electricity.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What insects do bug zappers work on?

    Bug zappers work on all flying insects, including mosquitoes, flies, gnats, and others. While they primarily kill biting insects, they can attract beneficial bugs like ladybugs, butterflies, and moths. With that said, be cautious about what insects end up in your tray or on the ground to ensure you’re device is doing more good than harm.

  • Can you leave a bug zapper on all night?

    Yes. In fact, it’s a good idea to leave bug zappers on all night because that is when they are the most effective. If you want to save electricity, turn them off during the day when fewer biting bugs are out and about. Bug zappers are weatherproof and unlikely to cause fires (as likely as any other electrical device), but we recommend checking on them in the morning if left on all night.

Our Expertise

Food & Wine Associate Commerce Editor Bridget Degnan has four years of experience writing, editing, and testing products for many Dotdash Meredith brands. She lives in the outskirts of Des Moines, IA, and knows first-hand how frustrating mosquitoes can be in the summer. For this article, she researched top-rated bug zappers on the market and used her expertise to determine our favorites.

The 6 Best Bug Zappers to Save Your Summer Soirées and Barbecues (2024)


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