What We Like
Rechargeable for no-plug use
Portable so can be taken anywhere
UV light isn’t overwhelming
Doubles as a white-light lantern
What We Don't Like
Battery might not last all night
Small grid traps dead bugs
Big bugs might not get zapped
Stationary bug zappers are great if you’re stationary, too. But if you like to move about your backyard, a campground, or anywhere outdoors, you will lose any protection from a fixed insect killer. That’s where the Stinger Cordless Insect Zapper Lantern might come in handy.
Not only is the lantern rechargeable—a three-hour charge nets you three and a half hours or more of continuous use—but it’s light enough you can tote it with you as you move about the yard or campground. To see if the UV-emitting lantern could keep bugs away, we tested the unit for hours outside in a moderately wooded yard that’s rich with gnats, flies, mosquitoes, and more. Is this lantern worth the price tag for a bug zapper that’s on the smaller side? Read on to find out.
Setup: After a charge, it’s a one-click process
Straight from the box, you can use the insect killer if you leave it plugged into an outlet. If you want to use it as a portable device, you’ll first need to give it a three-hour charge. Every other element of the zapper is in place when you get the unit, so there’s no assembly required. Just make sure the bug-trapping drawer in the bottom of the unit is secure. The drawer acts as a safety latch, and if it isn’t fully inserted, the lantern won’t turn on.
The lure isn’t permanent—it needs to be replaced about every 30 days—and each replacement bait piece is about $10.
This insect zapper can be used without the included bait, Nosquito Octenol Lure; as the name implies, it contains octenol, a chemical that attracts biting insects. In our tests, we used the lantern for one hour without the bait, and in the second hour, we added it. The bugs we captured appeared to be equally attracted to the lights before and after the addition of the lure. The lure also isn’t permanent—it needs to be replaced about every 30 days—and each replacement bait piece is about $10.
Design: It has a bonus white light
If you need a lantern for seeing the path in front of you and not clearing a path in the mosquitoes, this insect zapper works as a white-light lantern, too. On the power switch, you toggle to one side for the black light insect-attracting light, and you toggle to the other side for the white light.
When it’s in bug-zapping mode, the light is strong—it certainly attracts bugs—but it’s not overwhelmingly bright like some other bug zappers we tested. It didn’t hurt our eyes to have this near us while walking or sitting outside.
On the power switch, you toggle to one side for the black light insect-attracting light, and you toggle to the other side for the white light.
A stout metal ring at the top of the lantern can be used to hang the device if desired, but its broad base makes it equally sturdy on a table, bench, or ground. We tested it on an outdoor dining table, about 4 feet above the ground and 15 feet from the nearest structure. Even with the uneven texture of the tabletop, this zapper remained stable.
Performance: Highly effective in a small area
The insect zapper’s manual says the unit can cover 900 square feet. The yard in which we tested was much smaller. We saw great results with bugs being attracted to the zapper as it sat about 6 feet from us. The manual recommends no more than 10 to 14 feet between humans and the zapper for the best coverage.
The lantern is on the smaller side, but it still drew a great deal of attention from the flying bugs. Even small gnats were drawn into the ultra-violet bulb and zapped to their end. After they’re zapped, bugs are supposed to fall into the pull-out drawer at the base of the lantern—and most do. Unfortunately, the space between the light bulb and the wire grate around it is small, so some larger bugs, like flies, get caught and don’t fall into the trap. We used a flexible plastic-coated wire to remove these zapped pests.
Some larger bugs, like flies, get caught and don’t fall into the trap.
The drawer is very handy for removing the collected bugs while keeping your hands clean, too. We found the easiest way to clean out the bugs was to bristled brush to gently scrub away the bugs from the drawer.
The manufacturer promises at least three and a half hours of continuous use. The zapper lasted the entire two hours of our test and could have gone longer. One or two mosquito bites still popped up the morning after our tests, but all in all, it provided wide coverage.
Safety: Difficult to reach active elements
The center light bulb sits behind several layers of protective netting, both plastic and metal. Though not impossible, it would be difficult for children or animals to reach the bulb and the surrounding wire frame. Because this device can be moved so easily, you can put it out of reach of anyone who should steer clear of it for safety reasons.
Price: A worthy investment for those who spend time outside
Some larger bug zappers might make more of a splash when zapping the flying pests, but this petite lantern-style insect killer gets the job done. The fact it’s rechargeable and portable is icing on the cake. With a price as approachable as $30, we think it’s well worth the investment.
Stinger Cordless Insect Zapper Lantern vs. Flowtron BK-40D Electronic Insect Killer
One of the key selling points of the Stinger insect zapper is how portable it is. If you’re not resting in your backyard, you can take it with you to the front yard or to the campground on the weekend. The Flowtron BK-40D Electronic Insect Killer, which we also tested, can’t be moved so easily. This unit must hang from a hook and be plugged into an electrical source at all times. You certainly could take it with you to an event or weekend at the lake, but it doesn’t offer the same portable benefits as the Stinger zapper.
However, for roughly $30 more, the Flowtron insect killer provides insect protection and zapping for an acre of land. The Stinger unit covers just 900 square feet. If you have a large yard and want one device to rid your tranquil space of pests, you might look for one with more land coverage.
- Product Name Cordless Insect Zapper Lantern
- Product Brand Stinger
- MPN BKC90
- Price $29.99
- Product Dimensions 5.75 x 5.75 x 12 in.
- Material Plastic, glass, metal
- Area Coverage 900 sq. ft.
- Bulb Wattage 2W
- Device Wattage 2.8W
- Grid Voltage 2,000V
- What’s Included Zapper, power cord, 1 Nosquito Octenol Lure
- Warranty 1 year, limited