The 8 Best Bug Zappers of 2021

Practical, effective solutions for an insect-free space

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Best Bug Zappers

The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

If your outdoor seating areas are difficult to enjoy without bug bites and pestering flies, it might be time to look into a bug zapper. These electric pest control devices use bright lights to attract flying insects—like flies, mosquitoes, and fruit flies—and then kill them on contact. It sounds a bit brutal, but it's an effective way of reducing the number of insects in an area.

Bug zappers come in indoor and outdoor options in a variety of designs, including lanterns, swatters, light bulbs, and wall-mounted models. When sifting through zappers, it's important to consider whether each option is designed for indoor or outdoor use (or both), as well as the coverage area and the power source. Not sure where to start? We searched high and low to find standout insect-killing contraptions for every bug and every budget.

Here, the best bug zappers you can buy today.

Our Top Picks
Using a high-intensity UV light and an octenol attractant, this lantern lures bugs into the electrified grid.
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This indoor bug zapper attracts and kills moths, flies, mosquitoes, gnats, and wasps, and collects them in a removable tray.
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This bulb emits high-wavelength UV light and an electric charge to fatally attract insects buzzing around in your home.
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This rechargeable electric swatter features a 4,000-volt grid and extra-bright LEDs to attract and kill bugs.
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With this swatter, you can lure insects in and zap them in a single swoop—even in the dark, thanks to the small light.
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Best Solar-Powered:
Anysun Solar Bug Zapper at Amazon
This waterproof lantern charges in the sun and offers about eight hours of insect-killing power.
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Keep bug bites to a minimum with this zapper, which includes an octenol cartridge that attracts mosquitoes more than lights alone.
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Keep your food safe from flies with this powerful bug zapper, which can be placed directly on a table or hung a few feet away.
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Best Overall, Outdoor: Flowtron BK-40D Electronic Insect Killer

Electronic Insect Killer

Type: Lantern | Coverage Area: 1 acre | Power Source: Plug-in | Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor

What We Like
  • Large coverage area

  • Attractant cartridge included

  • High-intensity UV light

What We Don't Like
  • Louder than other models

In your ongoing bug battle, arming yourself with a Flowtron BK-40D will put you on the path to victory. Designed for outdoor use, this electronic insect killer uses a high-intensity UV light bulb to attract pests as far as an acre away in all directions. Once mosquitoes, biting flies, and other flying offenders make their way over, they'll be zapped immediately on the electrified grid.

You'll also get an octenol attractant cartridge for even more effective mosquito luring. This durable, polycarbonate, lantern-style bug zapper plugs into a wall. We recommend hanging it out of the way to attract nearby bugs away from your outdoor seating area (just bear in mind that you might need an extension cord since the power cord is somewhat short).

What Testers Say

"It takes about 30 minutes for the bugs to find the light attractive once it’s turned on. But when they do, the zaps start coming. In two hours, this machine killed several dozen mosquitoes and smaller flying bugs." — Kimberly Holland, Product Tester

Best Overall, Indoor: Aspectek 40W Electric Indoor Insect Killer

Aspectek 20W Electronic Indoor Bug Zapper

Type: Hanging | Coverage Area: 1 acre | Power Source: Plug-in | Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor

What We Like
  • Easy to clean

  • High-voltage metal grid

  • Attracts a variety of insects

What We Don't Like
  • Zapping sound can be loud

Looking for an indoor solution? Your best bet is the Aspectek Bug Zapper, a grid-style contraption boasting 40 watts of power and a one-acre range. Houseflies, mosquitoes, boxelder bugs, moths, gnats, and even wasps can be effortlessly controlled by the high-voltage metal grids.

As long as there's an outlet nearby, you can set this insect killer on your counter, shelf, or floor, or hang it up with the included chain and hooks. We also like that it's easy to clean—just remove the plastic tray from the bottom and wash away the leftover debris.

What Testers Say

"The zapper’s ultraviolet light appears to be quite attractive to bugs of many sorts, from gnats and flies to mosquitoes and beetles. In two hours, our test collected nearly 20 bugs." — Kimberly Holland, Product Tester

Best Budget: Gloue Bug Zapper Light Bulb

Bug Zapper Light Bulb

Type: Light bulb | Coverage Area: Not listed | Power Source: Electric | Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Easy to use

  • High-wavelength light

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't work as well for houseflies

With the Gloue Bug Zapper Bulb, you can turn virtually any old lamp into an insect-killing device. This is a great option for any areas inside your home where you don't want to use pesticides, poisons, or chemical sprays.

This bulb emits LED ultraviolet light at a high wavelength and delivers an electric charge through its built-in metal grid—a fatal attraction that kills mosquitoes, fruit flies, gnats, and other insects on contact.

Best Racket: Zap It! Electric Bug Zapping Racket

Electric Bug Zapping Racket

Type: Racket | Coverage Area: Not listed | Power Source: Rechargeable battery | Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor/Outdoor

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Rechargeable battery

  • Ergonomic design

  • Safety features

What We Don't Like
  • Not as effective for larger insects

When it comes to electric swatters, Zap It! is tough to beat. This ergonomically designed mesh racket runs on a rechargeable lithium battery and switches on with the press of a button. You can swat the occasional housefly or wasp that wanders into your home and kill it mid-air.

When the 4,000-volt grid activates, extra-bright LEDs will ignite to attract vexing insects. We like its three-layer design to prevent accidentally shocking yourself or your loved ones. All the same, leave the swatting to adults to protect kids from a painful jolt.

Best Budget Racket: IDS Cordless Electric Bug Swatter Racket

Cordless Electric Bug Swatter Racket

Type: Racket | Coverage Area: Not listed | Power Source: AA batteries | Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor/Outdoor

What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Handheld design

  • Portable

What We Don't Like
  • No safety grid

Even if you already have a lantern or wall-mounted zapper at home, it's always good to have a handheld option at the ready. This racket runs on two AA batteries (not included). It lights up to lure in bugs, then zaps them in a single swat. While it doesn't have a multi-layer safety grid, it's notably effective at killing a range of flying insects. Just be careful not to touch your own skin or those around you—the resulting shock wouldn't be pleasant.

Best Solar-Powered: Anysun Solar Powered Bug Zapper

Solar Powered Bug Zapper

Type: Lantern | Coverage Area: 538 square feet | Power Source: Solar | Indoor/Outdoor: Indoor/Outdoor

What We Like
  • Portable

  • Multiple modes

  • Energy-saving design

What We Don't Like
  • Zapping sound can be loud

The Anysun Solar Powered Bug Zapper uses a purple light to draw in gnats, flies, no-see-ums, and mosquitoes, then exterminates them in its electric grid. 

This waterproof lantern-style insect killer takes about three hours to get a full charge and lasts about nine hours. While it charges in the sun, it can actually be used for indoor or outdoor use. Weighing just a little over one pound, it's also notably lightweight and portable.

Best for Mosquitoes: Black Flag 2,000-Volt Bug Zapper Insect Killer, Includes Black Flag Mosquito Octenol Lure

Black Flag 2000-Volt 1/2 acre Bug Zapper Insect Killer, Includes Mosquito Octenol Lure

Type: Lantern | Coverage Area: 0.5 acres | Power Source: Plug-in | Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor

What We Like
  • Special mosquito lure

  • Powerful

  • Easy to clean

What We Don't Like
  • Short power cord

Mosquitoes can be a real nuisance, and they aren't lured in as effectively by UV light alone compared to other flying pests. If you're mainly looking to reduce the number of mosquitoes in your space, consider a zapper that uses octenol, like this Black Flag 2,000-Volt Bug Zapper. One lure will last about a month, so you should only need to replace it a few times to get through the season.

One unit can cover about half an acre. The company recommends placing the zappers about 20 feet away from where you spend your time—so not only are you zapping bugs, you're also attracting them away from you, your family, and your guests.

Best for Flies: Black + Decker 36W Electric Bug Zapper

36W Electric Bug Zapper

Type: Lantern | Coverage Area: 1 acre | Power Source: Plug-in | Indoor/Outdoor: Outdoor

What We Like
  • Large coverage area

  • Easy to clean

  • Works day or night

What We Don't Like
  • Small holes may not let large bugs through

Got flies? Say, "Shoo, don't bother me," with Black + Decker's Electric Bug Zapper. This high-voltage lantern can be placed on any flat surface on your patio, porch, or deck or hung up using the included chain and ring hook.

The UV light lures in flies and other bothersome bugs, day or night, and kills them instantly. Cleaning is a breeze: Just pull out the tray, empty it out, and wash as needed with the included brush.

Final Verdict

The best bug zapper for outdoor use is the Flowtron BK-40D Electronic Insect Killer (view at Amazon). With a high-intensity UV light, an octenol cartridge, and an electrified grid, bugs are effortlessly lured in and immediately zapped down. If you're dealing with indoor pests, your best bet is the Aspectek 40W Electric Indoor Insect Killer (view at Amazon). This versatile zapper can be hung or placed on any flat surface and kills flies, mosquitoes, moths, and gnats with ease.

What to Look for in a Bug Zapper

Indoor or outdoor

Although many manufacturers make bug zappers that can be used both indoors and outdoors, some machines are only suitable for one or the other. Be sure to check the packaging to ensure the bug zapper you’re buying works for your space. Indoor-only bug zappers are not powerful enough for outdoor use, and outdoor models often don’t have a tray to catch dead insects (yuck!). 

Coverage area

The efficiency of a bug zapper is the most important measure of success. In general, the more powerful the wattage of the UV light, the wider the range of the bug zapper. If you have a small backyard, you may not mind a smaller range, since a large range will actually attract bugs from neighboring homes into your space before zapping them.

Insects

Contrary to popular belief, bug zappers aren’t very effective tools for eradicating mosquitoes. If this is the goal, make sure you choose a model fitted with an octenol packet, which attracts the insect better than a UV light does. 

FAQ
  • How do bug zappers work?

    Bug zappers emit bright light (usually from UV bulbs) to attract flying pests. Insects are lured into a high-voltage metal grid at the center of the device, where they're killed through electrocution. Some bug zappers also use octenol, a known mosquito attractant, to help draw in biting insects and cover a larger range.

  • Are bug zappers safe?

    Bug zappers are generally safe to use. Many have multi-layered mesh grids to prevent accidental shocks and burns while still allowing insects to pass through. As for the ultraviolet light, the wattage is strong enough to attract bugs but typically not strong enough to be harmful to humans, especially when you keep roughly a foot or more of distance from the light.

  • How do you clean a bug zapper?

    Some bug zappers are self-cleaning, meaning the bugs drop out from underneath, so all you have to do is sweep them up from the floor or ground. Many lantern-style insect killers have removable trays on the bottom, which you can pull out and wash with soap and water. As for electric rackets, you can use a brush or cloth to remove dead bugs from the grid.

  • When should you use a bug zapper over a bug repellent?

    You should use a bug zapper instead of insect repellent anywhere you want to avoid pesticides or other chemical formulas. For this reason, they're great for inside the home. Additionally, a bug zapper can kill certain pests that a repellent may not keep at bay, so it's a great way to increase your protection both indoors and outside.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Theresa Holland is a seasoned commerce writer with several years of experience covering outdoor living and cleaning products. She's been contributing to The Spruce since 2019, where she writes about a wide range of home goods. You can find more stories by Theresa on Verywell Mind, Byrdie, and MyDomaine.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Shimoda M, Honda K. Insect reactions to light and its applications to pest managementApplied Entomology and Zoology. 11 October 2013; Volume 48 (4):413-421. doi: doi.org/10.1007/s13355-013-0219-x

  2. FAQ: Do Bug Zappers Work? The American Mosquito Control Association.

  3. Ultraviolet Radiation. Health Physics Society.

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