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7 Best Electronic Bug Repellents (Camping and Outdoor Living)

Posted in: Camping Gear, Insect Repellent, Outdoor Tips

Biting bugs will take the fun out of any outdoor adventure. In this post, you'll learn about the best electronic bug repellents and killers – including battery and corded options. These are great for camping and backyard living – killing or repelling mosquitoes, black flies, gnats and more.

best electronic bug repellent

Have young children? Here are the best insect repellents for babies.

7 Best Electronic Bug Repellents: Camping and Home

There’s nothing like getting away into the great outdoors. The fresh air filling your lungs, nothing but the sound of the cicadas (and perhaps the children arguing with each other… you can’t have it all).

The one thing that would make it all perfect? If the great outdoors didn’t come with an unlimited supply of buzzing, biting, creepy crawlies.

In times past, people used to rub themselves in bear grease to keep mosquitoes, ticks, and other nasty pests at bay. While you’re welcome to have a go if you can get your hands on some bear grease, thanks to technology we have lots of other options that don’t involve dousing yourself with animal fats.

While in most places these repellents should all work well for you and your family, it goes without saying that if you are going into an excessively populated mosquito or pest area, repellents alone will not be enough to totally avoid bites. You should also use a recommended repellent spray and avoid leaving skin exposed. In addition, if you are entering a malaria area, or areas that carry a risk of contracting other mosquito borne diseases, you should seek the advice of a doctor about how to best protect yourself.

Best electronic mosquito repellent

More reading: Campers Guide to Essential Oil Bug Repellent: Mosquitoes, Ticks, and Fleas 

The following are my personal picks of both battery powered and plug in repellents.

4 Battery Powered/Rechargeable Repellents

These four electronic insect repellents are perfect for primitive (outback) camping where you don't have access to an electrical outlet. Just charge these up and you're ready to go!

1. Best for Outdoor Lounging

  • Thermacell MR-GJ Portable Mosquito Repeller
  • Weight: 10.4 oz
  • Dimensions: 6.2 x 10.8 x 2.3 inches
  • Coverage: 15 x 15ft
  • Active ingredient: Allethrin, a synthetic version of a naturally occurring repellent in chrysanthemum flowers.

This portable, battery powered repeller claims to work in a 15ft x 15ft radius, with barely any odor. It does not have an open flame so it is very safe to use around prying children and hyperactive dogs. The set will last you for 12 hours, if you need repelling for longer you will need to buy refills.

Check current price on Amazon.

They come in a variety of colors, including camo, for those of you out camping with those street smart mosquitoes (or for the hunter in your life).

The main criticisms of this item if you’re using it out in the wild with the “skeets”:

  • It’s not as effective when it is windy or when you’re on the move
  • For persistent bugs you may have to back up with some DEET
  • Doesn’t seem to phase gnats
  • It is on the expensive side due to requirements for refills

Overall, this is a popular repellent that is generally very effective and I would recommend it for those who plan to spend a lot of time sitting outside in a particular area, for example, around a table or campfire.

2. Best For Mosquito Repellent

  • OFF! Clip On Mosquito Repellent Fan
  • Weight: 0.8 oz
  • Dimensions: 1 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Coverage: Meant for personal use
  • Active Ingredient: 31.2% Metofluthrin

The OFF! Clip On Mosquito Repellent Fan is a portable, battery powered repellent that you can clip on to your clothes or backpack, or for a child, to their stroller, to keep bugs at bay.

Although they do not specifically detail the coverage, it is designed for individual use, and to be kept on or around the person it is to protect – as an alternative to spray repellents.

Check current price on Amazon.

Although it is advertised as a product you can use on the move, it is definitely less effective on the move and much feedback suggests that it’s not effective when moving, so I would probably recommend it for the individual who is irresistible to mosquitoes and always gets eaten the most. If you are one of these unfortunate individuals, maybe clip on a couple.

3. Best for Inside of Tents

  • Enkeeo 2-in-1 Camping Lantern Tent Light Mosquito Killer
  • Weight: 200g
  • Dimensions: 3.46″ x 5.08″
  • Coverage: 16 ft x 16 ft
  • Active Ingredient: None, uses UV light

This repellent also doubles as a lantern! Super! Question is, does it do its job repelling bugs? Well, people certainly love it as a lantern, and the users are surprised at it's effectiveness at killing mosquitoes, gnats and moths.

Check current price on Amazon.

It is the widest covering repellent on the battery powered list, and works without chemicals, so this is a bonus for the chemical free family. In zapper only mode it will run for 15 hours, with a 2-4 hour charge time. It charges by USB and so it’s useful if you’re camping and have the car and you can plug it in there for a couple of hours. Then when it gets dark you can use it as both a lantern and a mosquito repellent in your tent. Another notable benefit of this device is that it is waterproof. Score!

4. Best for Outdoor Evenings

  • Stinger Cordless Rechargeable Insect Zapper
  • Weight: 3lbs
  • Dimensions: 5.75 x 5.75 x 12 in
  • Coverage: 25ft x 25ft
  • Active Ingredient: none, UV light

The Stinger Cordless Rechargeable Insect Zapper offers the largest coverage of the battery operated/rechargeable devices. The benefits of this device include that it has a sturdy and well made design and will generally last a few years so although one of the more expensive rechargeable options here, it will probably give you your money’s worth.

It also includes the option to purchase bait traps to include alongside the zapper function. It is also relatively lightweight considering how well made it is.

Check current price on Amazon.

The downsides to this product? The battery life is not the most effective, with charges lasting between 3-8 hours, and it doesn't work well in the daytime (too much competing light). This is not necessarily a deal breaker given the fact that most nasties come out from dusk onward but if you’re in a “mosquitoes all the live-long day” kind of situation it’s probably not the best solution for you.

Electronic bug repellent

More reading: Here are some homemade insect repellents (they're all natural!).


4 Plug-in Repellents

These next four options all require an electrical outlet. So you might consider these for your backyard, or a campground with electrical service. Of course, if you have a generator or power inverter, you can use these just about anywhere.

1. – Best for size

  • X-Cheng Bug Zapper
  • Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 8.7 x 8.2 x 3.6 inches
  • Coverage: Unknown
  • Active Ingredient: None, uses combination of UV, air suction and electric shock to kill pests

The X-Cheng is a very popular plug-in insect repellent. It is more accurate to say it attracts and destroys rather than repels, but it has the same effect; you do not get bitten by mosquitoes. This device can be used inside or outside (as long as you have access to an electrical socket).

Check current price on Amazon.

The device is reasonably priced, is well built and is small enough that you will probably find many locations in or outside of your RV where you can pop it without it getting in the way. The added benefit is that there are no chemicals to be found so you don’t have to worry about sharing a contained space with it!

Some downsides include, as with other “zapper” type devices, the limited usability during daylight hours and the noise that it makes as it zaps bugs.

2. Best value

  • GLOUE Bug Zapper Electronic Insect Killer
  • Weight: 1lb
  • Dimensions: 3.7×2.55×2.36 inches
  • Coverage: 52sqft
  • Active Ingredient: None, UV and electric shock

The Gloue Bug Zapper Electronic Insect Killer is our best value choice. It is reasonably priced, very compact plug-in insect repellent. It plugs straight into the socket, so the good news is, no cords lying about.

A word of caution: if you have kids who put their fingers into everything, they’re probably going to do this with the Gloue and depending on where your socket is you might not be able to put it out of reach.

Check current price on Amazon.

It also warns users to ensure they disperse the charge with a screwdriver before cleaning otherwise it will give you a shock (this is supported by some reviews online). This to me seems like a bit of a design flaw; I don’t know about you, but I am not keen on getting a shock from “Sparky” the bug zapper because I forgot to touch it with a screwdriver first before cleaning.

3. Best for tabletops and picnic tables

  • Pest Soldier Bug Zapper
  • Weight: 3.65lbs
  • Dimensions: 15.6 x 11.9 x 4.3 inches
  • Coverage: Unknown
  • Active Ingredient: None, UV and electric shock

Pest Soldier claims to be the top selling indoor insect killer in the US. It offers a 12 month warranty period which is very reassuring and it is also very quiet when running.

The downside? It is very loud when killing an insect. This is consistently reported in reviews, particularly mentioning pet dogs being scared by the noise!

Check current price on Amazon.

4. Best for Overall Performance

  • Bug Zapper & Electric Indoor Insect Killer
  • Weight: 4.2lbs
  • Dimensions: 15.4 x 12.4 x 3.9 inches
  • Coverage: Unknown
  • Active Ingredient: None, UV and electric shock

LiBa offers a 36 month warranty and 90 day return and full refund guarantee. Although it is on the more expensive side, this device is an Amazon best seller for bug zappers.

It is the “crème de la crème” of bug repellers and you can see why based on benefits like that.

Check current price on Amazon.

Downsides of this product again seem to be the loud noise that it makes when zapping bugs, and the short cord length, however this can easily be solved with an extension cord. Despite its higher price I really like this bug zapper.

Although it really does depend what you’re looking for, in my opinion it is definitely worth purchasing the LiBa bug zapper over the Pest Soldier. Having the extended warranty with the LiBa is definitely a benefit, particularly if you are using the device heavily.


Final Thoughts

On a final note, it is important to be clear that there is no one miracle device that will rid you of all your bug problems, and depending on where you are, and what the bugs are like, you may need to experiment with one, or a variety.

If you are in a very heavy bug populated area, you will need to supplement repellent devices with bug repellent spray, long sleeved clothing, and citronella candles. Consider having enclosed spaces where you can relax while camping. Examples could be an enclosed shelter with screens or ensuring your tent has an outside space with screens.

First Aid Supplies for Bug Bites

Finally, always know what bugs and potential diseases are prevalent in an area you are entering and carry a small first aid kit to ensure you are prepared for any nasty insect bites. I would recommend including:

  • Anti-inflammatory/anti-histamine medicine
  • Pain relief tablets
  • Hydrocortisone cream
  • Antiseptic cream/ointment
  • Sterile wipes
  • Tweezers
  • Adhesive bandages

If you are prepared and have a variety of repellent methods, you are likely to have a much more enjoyable, bug free (or bug minimal) camping trip.

Here are some more important survival gear items.


Your Turn

How do you avoid and/or execute the biting bugs? Share your tips and tricks in the comments.

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Meet the Author

Dena Haines

Dena Haines is co-editor of GudGear - and is working to make it the best resource for outside gear. She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with Bryan and Dena.

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