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Bug bracelets, tiki torches, and citronella candles can be great, but when the summer swarm of insects starts, you need to call in the big guns — a bug zapper.

The last thing you want when relaxing around a campfire or feasting on a backyard barbeque is to swat at mosquitoes as they leave your legs covered in itchy welts. A great bug zapper won’t just keep pests away — it will completely eliminate them from the area. Here’s how to find the best bug zappers and some of our favorite models.

How We Picked the Best Bug Zappers

Whether you want a compact portable bug zapper you can carry to the campsite or a robust indoor/outdoor model that will protect an entire party from pests, you’ll find an overwhelming number of options. Some are solid, but others are just junk. To narrow down the list of the best bug zappers, we dove deep, researching the nitty gritty specs and even trying out some zappers for ourselves. We looked for durable models that are effective at eliminating insects and can stand up to the elements. Plus, it’s important that they’re easy to use—bonus points if you just press a button.

Best Bug Zappers: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Black Flag Deluxe Bug Zapper

Best Overall


  • Weight: 4 pounds
  • Size: 18.5 x 9.29 inches
  • Power Source: Electric
  • Coverage Area: 1.5 acres


  • Impressive coverage area
  • Dusk-to-dawn sensor automatically transitions from day to night
  • Clip-on lure effectively targets mosquitoes


  • Short power cord
  • Lightbulb doesn’t last as long as others

If you’re trying to keep a variety of insects away from a large area, the Black Flag Deluxe Bug Zapper is your best bet. It boasts a coverage area of a whopping 1.5 acres and works to quietly kill wasps, yellowjackets, flies, moths, and more with a built-in UV black light. The zapper comes with a 30-day continuous-release octenol lure for drawing in mosquitoes, too.

The energy-efficient design is engineered to consume 30 percent less energy than other bug zappers and it features a dusk-to-dawn sensor to effectively target bugs when they’re at their worst. The only downside to the powerful 5,500-volt battery is that you’ll have to clean it often—it kills that many bugs. Fortunately, its incredibly easy to clean. It’s constructed with durable weather-resistant materials and comes with a 5-year warranty.

Best for Mosquitoes: Flowtron BK-15D Electronic Insect Killer

Best for Mosquitoes


  • Weight: 4.14 pounds
  • Size: 13.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Power Source: Electric
  • Coverage Area: 0.5 acre


  • Octenol cartridge effective at luring in mosquitoes
  • Durable weatherproof design
  • Modern lantern look


  • Pricey bulb has to be replaced every year
  • Power cord is only 9 inches long

While some (okay, many) bug zappers are eyesores, the Flowtron BK-15D Electronic Insect Killer is a more aesthetically pleasing choice. It looks more like a traditional lantern hanging on your back porch. Its 15-watt UV black light and zapping grid powered by a high-voltage transformer work together to take out the most annoying flying pests.

It also comes with an octenol cartridge to lure in mosquitoes, and the 30-day replacement cartridges are relatively affordable. While it gives off a slight humming sound while running, it’s much quieter than other models. It’s easy to use and maintain—you don’t even need any tools to replace the bulb. It sports a durable weatherproof design and comes backed by a 2-year warranty.

Best Indoor: Black + Decker Bug Zapper

Best Indoor


  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Size: 5.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Power Source: Electric
  • Coverage Area: 625 square feet


  • Lightweight waterproof build
  • Easy to clean with included brush
  • Hangs via built-in ring and included chain or stays sturdy on tabletop


  • Power cord is short
  • Only lasts for a few months

If you’ve got a bug problem both inside and outside, check out the Black + Decker Bug Zapper, which is effective at killing pests in the kitchen as it is around the campfire. The UV light attracts gnats, wasps, mosquitoes, and other insects and then kills them on contact. The waterproof unit weighs just 2 pounds, so you can either set it on a table or countertop, or hang it via the sturdy built-in ring and included hanging chain. The Black + Decker Bug Zapper also comes with a cleaning brush to go from filthy to bug-free in minutes. It’s whisper-quiet until it eliminates unsuspecting bugs, so you’ll hardly know it’s there.

Best Budget: Livin’ Well Bug Zapper

Best Budget


  • Weight: 2.38 pounds
  • Size: 13.18 x 6.31 inches
  • Power Source: Electric
  • Coverage Area: 1,500 square feet


  • Ultra quiet operation
  • Removable tray allows for easy cleaning
  • Long 6-foot power cord


  • No on/off switch
  • Lightweight construction doesn’t feel super durable

The Livin’ Well Bug Zapper offers a protection zone of up to 1,500 square feet from flying insects. That plus some great features in an affordable package make this pick our best budget choice. Even though there are cheaper bug zappers out there, the value of this one is tough to beat.

It uses a high-efficiency UVA bulb to attract a wide range of bugs and kill them quickly with 4,000 volts of power. The removable tray quickly unscrews for easy cleanup and is large enough to hold insect attractants. The bug zapper can function on a tabletop or hanging from the attached ring.

Livin' Well bug zapper sitting on back patio
I was very impressed with how quiet the Livin’ Well bug zapper is. Emily Kantner

I plugged in this bug zapper on my back patio and wouldn’t have known it was working if it weren’t for the glow coming from the bulb—it’s that quiet. In less than an hour, I saw all the dead bugs stacking up inside, proving just how effective it is at pest control. The Livin’ Well Insect Zapper was also designed with safety in mind to keep little fingers out of the zapping grid. Note: While it has an IPX4 rating, the lightweight plastic design doesn’t feel like it would stand up to harsh conditions or drops.

Best Portable: Zaptek Bug Zapper

Best Portable


  • Weight: 7 ounces
  • Size: 3.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Power Source: 2,000mAH rechargeable built-in battery
  • Coverage Area: 250 square feet


  • Compact battery-powered design
  • Both solar and USB charging
  • Doubles as a flashlight


  • Not effective for mosquitoes
  • Charge doesn’t last long on bug zapper mode

When you’re camping off-grid, you need gear that’s easy to transport and doesn’t need electricity to run (unless you’re bringing a power bank or portable generator, of course). Enter the Zaptek Bug Zapper, which weighs just 7 ounces. The compact design features a built-in rechargeable battery so you can keep the bugs off no matter where you go. It can fully charge within three hours via USB or soak up the sun while you explore with the included solar panel. It’s advertised to offer up to 20 hours of battery life.

The Zaptek Bug Zapper even doubles as a flashlight with multiple brightness modes up to 6,000 lumens. It boasts noise-free operation and will stand up to the abuses of the backcountry, thanks to its IPX6 rating.

What to Consider When Choosing a Bug Zapper

Coverage Area

Some bug zappers offer a personal zone of protection, while others can keep an entire campground from getting eaten alive. Consider where you’ll be using your bug zapper and how large of a protection zone you’ll need.

Power Source

Are you trying to keep pests away from your backyard party or prevent bugs from biting you in the wilderness? Depending on your answer, you might be better served by an electric bug zapper or a rechargeable option. If you’ll be able to plug in, consider cord length and energy efficiency. If you need a portable model, look for one that offers a generous battery life and/or solar charging options.


Any item meant for the outdoors should be durable enough to handle some level of the elements. The most reliable bug zappers will be water-resistant, feature high-quality materials, and come with a warranty should something malfunction.

Effectiveness for Different Species

Are all bugs driving you crazy around the campfire or just the mosquitoes? Evaluate a bug zapper’s effectiveness on different types of pests and consider one that offers an octenol option if you’re dealing with skeeters.

Maintenance and Ease of Cleaning

A good bug zapper will get loaded up with insects pretty quickly, so it should be easy to clean out on a regular basis. You’ll also eventually have to swap out bulbs in most models, so search for one that allows for tool-less replacement.


Q: How does a bug zapper work?

Most bug zappers feature a light that draws in insects and causes them to fly into an electric grid. They’re usually electrocuted and die immediately. Depending on the species, power level, and type of bug zapper, the insects will collect inside or completely disintegrate on contact.

Q: Are bug zappers safe to use around children and pets?

Some manufacturers recommend placing bug zappers off the ground 20-40 feet away from people to prevent any safety issues. Most models feature openings that are large enough to allow bugs in but too small for children’s hands or pet’s paws. Generally, bug zappers are safe to use around children and pets when used properly according to manufacturer instructions.

Q: Do bug zappers work on mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes are not attracted to UV light. So while most bug zappers are effective at killing some insects, they’re not as effective at targeting mosquitoes on their own. Adding a mosquito lure such as octenol can help draw in mosquitoes and make bug zappers more effective for these pests.

Best Bug Zappers: Final Thoughts

The best bug zappers will make quick work of insects and keep your yard or campsite pest-free for hours. If you’re on the hunt for a great bug zapper, we highly recommend the Black Flag Deluxe thanks to its large coverage area and powerful yet energy-efficient design.

Why Trust Us

For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.