The best outdoor bug zappers of 2024

Fight the bite and keep away the insects that would like to bug you with these outdoor bug zappers.

Best overall

The Black+Decker Bug Zapper is the best outdoor bug zapper overall.

BLACK+DECKER Bug Zapper

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Best budget

The Ninonly Bug Zapper Light Bulb is the best outdoor bug zapper at a budget-friendly price.

Ninonly Bug Zapper Light Bulb

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Best handheld

The Anne Diary Bug Zapper is the best outdoor bug zapper that's handheld.

Anne Diary Electric Bug Zapper Racket

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When you’re ready to head outside, the last thing you want to do is get bitten or swarmed by insects, so having an outdoor bug zapper is a good idea. They make your insect-fearing companions feel more at ease and can give your uncovered food and drink a standing chance against buzzing bugs. But there are many styles to choose from that, and it can be hard to pick out which bug zapper best suits your needs. To do our part, we compiled this list of the best outdoor bug zappers.

How we selected the best outdoor bug zappers

Bugs aren’t just pesky; they can sometimes be dangerous. When it comes to outdoor bug zappers, you want something that works, but you also want ingenuity. The location of the zapper, its shape, and its functional style all matter. And, despite being weapons of death against our exoskeleton-having foes, the best outdoor bug zappers don’t look like death themselves. As a result, the following list of the best outdoor bug zappers represents a variety of styles and forms of zappers that also happen to be attractive to the eye.

The best outdoor bug zappers: Reviews & Recommendations

Purchasing one of the following outdoor bug zappers should make your yard less insect-friendly. As most have lights, these insect repellents should also improve the visibility of your porch or patio a bit. However, we still recommend these solar deck lights for a brighter, more sustainable option for that purpose. Be sure to check over the whole list to find a style that suits your needs.

Best overall: BLACK+DECKER Bug Zapper

Best overall

Black+Decker Bug Zapper

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Why it made the cut: With a large size and tough exterior, this will get the job done easily.

Specs

  • Form: Lantern
  • Size: 32 x 12 x 32 inches
  • Target species: Fly, moth, mosquito, gnat, wasp

Pros

  • Can choose between hanging or putting on table
  • Cleaning-free option
  • Tough, waterproof exterior

Cons

  • Dead bugs sometimes stick to zapping element

For a quick-killing machine with a hard, weather-resistant exterior, the BLACK+DECKER is a great choice. It can hang on your patio or sit on a table. This choice is important, too, because it’ll change how you choose to use the zapper. While on a table, you’ll want the collection tray placed in. However, if you hang the BLACK+DECKER over grass, you can leave the bottom collection tray off so bugs will fall to the ground directly, reducing cleaning. However, this is a powerful zapper, so sometimes a bug will burn directly on the element, meaning you’ll have to do a little cleaning (with the supplied brush) periodically.

Best cordless: BURLAN Solar Bug Zapper

Best cordless

BURLAN Solar Bug Zapper

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Why it made the cut: You’ll never need a cord if you let the sun do most of the work.

Specs

  • Form: Lantern
  • Size: 9.4 x 5.1 x 5.1 inches
  • Target species: Fly, mosquito

Pros

  • Charges via solar power or USB plug-in
  • Bright lamp on top adds to the ambiance
  • Quiet, 25dB zaps
  • IP66 water and dustproof

Cons

  • Needs consistent sun exposure

If plugging something in and dealing with cords bothers you, turn to the power of the sun. This is the best outdoor bug zapper with a solar charging panel that we could find. On a full charge—which can be achieved in 12 hours of direct sunlight—the top lantern, lighting, and mosquito killer can work for between 4 and 12 hours, depending on mode of operation.

Best for mosquitoes: Elechome Bug Zapper

Best for mosquitos

Elechome Bug Zapper

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Why it made the cut: This machine puts out a ton of special mosquito-attracting light.

Specs

  • Form: Lantern
  • Size: 5.35 x 5.35 x 11.6 inches
  • Target species: Mosquito, gnat, fly, moth, wasp, spider

Pros

  • Scientifically designed for mosquito attraction
  • Large killing area
  • IP66 dust and water resistant

Cons

  • Must USB-C charge

According to Pfizer, mosquitos kill more than 700,000 people each year. While we’re waiting for advanced mosquito control to deactivate their reproductive process, there are other things to try. While some are washing up with a soap mosquito repellent, others are turning to special wavelengths that attract mosquitos, which the Elechome Bug Zapper puts out in extreme degree. It’s also got a larger killing area than most lantern types, with its top exposed, allowing for more bug killing.

Best for patio: Endbug Bug Zapper

Best for patio

Endbug Bug Zapper

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Why it made the cut: The bottom-facing light on this zapper is a plus for any patio.

Specs

  • Form: Lantern
  • Size: 5.7 x 5.7 x 10.6 inches
  • Target species: Mosquito, gnat, fly, moth, wasp, etc.

Pros

  • Includes a bright light on the bottom to light your patio
  • Is IPX6 waterproof to ward off rain issues
  • Excellent bug attraction ability

Cons

  • Loud

The Endbug Bug Zapper is the best outdoor bug zapper for your porch or patio, as it provides excellent lighting for you and powerful killing for bugs. It’s a powerful 4,200V, so it kills quite effectively but is rather loud. Our advice is to hang it up high near the middle of your porch or patio area so you can get the maximum benefit from the provided light. However, if you do choose to put it closer to the edges, it’ll still be safe in the rain as it has IPX6 water resistance.

Best handheld: Anne Diary Electric Bug Zapper Racket

Best handheld

Anne Diary Electric Bug Zapper Racket

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Why it made the cut: The racket head swivels, letting you cover the scariest bugs safely.

Specs

  • Form: Racket
  • Size: 17.5 x 9.7 x 1.5 inches
  • Target species: Wasp, bee, fly, mosquito

Pros

  • Long handle keeps you away from dangerous pests
  • Auto zap mode while in stand
  • Swivel head provides maximum safety
  • Simple USB-C charging

Cons

  • Auto zap mode depletes battery in 5 hours

If you have really scary insects like bees, wasps, or hornets, you’ll want to be more proactive in your killing. Waiting for the bug to mosey into a light just won’t cut it. That’s why you should try out the best bug-zapping racket, this one from Anne Diary. You can swivel the zapping head to be parallel with the surface the offending insect has lit on, then cover it. This method keeps you safe and gives the insect no escape. When not in active use, you can turn on a passive zapping mode as well, but we only recommend this if the Anne Diary is plugged in, as the power drains after about five hours.

Best indoor/outdoor: PRODCA Bug Zapper

Best indoor outdoor

PRODCA Bug Zapper

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Why it made the cut: The small size of this bug zapper makes it great to tuck into a kitchen or bedroom corner, too.

Specs

  • Form: Lantern
  • Size: 3.8 x 3.8 x 5.5
  • Target species: Mosquito, fly, gnat, bee, moth, etc.

Pros

  • Small size fits anywhere
  • Can be made to be discreet
  • Lamp light for better outdoor vision
  • IP66 water- and dust-resistant

Cons

  • Not great for all indoor pests (such as fruit flies)

Though a lot of the best outdoor bug zappers could technically be used indoors, you wouldn’t necessarily want them to be there. They’re big, can’t be placed just anywhere, and scream to others that you have an insect problem. As a result, we like the more discreet nature and size of the PRODCA, which can do great work on the porch, but also be tucked away in a kitchen corner when you want it to be.

Best budget: Ninonly Bug Zapper Light Bulb

Best budget

Nononly Bug Zapper Light Bulb

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Why it made the cut: This is the best bug-zapping light bulb you can get.

Specs

  • Form: Light bulb
  • Size: 3.14 x 3.14 x 6.3 inches
  • Target species: Fly, mosquito

Pros

  • Small, convenient form
  • Sloping trap stays clean
  • Multiple modes
  • Long lifespan

Cons

  • Must be put into a lamp

Most of the best outdoor bug zappers cost between $35 and $60 apiece, depending on current deals available. That can be frustrating if you want many of them or aren’t ready to spend a lot on bug zapping. Light bulb-style bug zappers, then, are a great option, though they tend to have worse functionality. The Ninonly has high-quality zapping, multiple lighting modes, and a sloping inside that helps bugs fall out after death. As a result, it is one of the best cheap outdoor bug zappers… if you have a lamp available.

What to consider before buying outdoor bug zappers

Outdoor bug zappers might seem relatively straightforward, and they are, but there are still some things to consider before buying one. The most important thing to consider is the form of the zapper.

  • Lantern styles are the most popular as they can be hung or placed on tables, add light and ambiance to the area, and are good passive killers that work well on porches and while camping.
  • Handheld “electric fly swatters” are another style, great for targeted killing, but suffer in that they typically are made for consistent pest removal.
  • Finally, light-bulb bug zappers are cheaper and simple to install, but these mini zappers typically don’t have as much killing power as the other styles.

You should also consider how easy the zapper will be to clean. The best outdoor bug zappers typically have at least one mode or feature that allows bugs to fall out of the zapping area, reducing cleaning. Powerful bug zappers may also burn insects directly to the zapping element, requiring you to clean it directly. It is highly recommended to review real customer experiences with cleaning if this is a concern for you.

FAQs

Q: How much does an outdoor bug zapper cost?

An outdoor bug zapper will cost anywhere from $20 to $65. You should expect to pay about $35 on average for the best outdoor bug zappers if you are willing to wait for a sale and about $55 otherwise.

Q: Can I leave a bug zapper on all night?

You can leave a bug zapper on all night in most cases. Typically, they are made to be used for the whole night. Please read the instructions of your bug zapper to double-check your specific case, however. You may also wish to bring your bug zapper inside at night when it is storming if yours does not have high-quality weather resistance.

Q: How long does a bug zapper last on average?

A bug zapper should last five or more years on average. Obviously, the quality of the build, the environmental conditions of where it is placed, and usage frequency will affect the overall lifetime of the product. Most bug zappers also have replaceable bulbs, which will extend the lifetime of the product.

Final thoughts on the best outdoor bug zappers

The best outdoor bug zappers all have one thing in common; they will remove pests from your environment eventually. Whether you go for a powerful light source that attracts insects quickly or a handheld racket that lets you seek them out, you should feel more secure in your outdoor environment with one of the above products.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

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John Alexander

Contributor

John Alexander is a contributor at Popular Science, with a specialty in Buyer's Guides. He was formerly a biologist, working as an assistant in laboratories before moving onto education and, finally, writing. In addition to Popular Science, his work has appeared in WIRED, DigitalTrends, and HeadPhonesty.