Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written before about all sorts of pest-control tools — including “non-smelly” mosquito repellents, expert-recommended tick repellents, and natural moth deterrents — here we’ve rounded up the best pens as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated bug zapper
With close to 2,000 five-star reviews from verified purchasers, this ZAP IT! bug-zapping racket is a favorite among reviewers looking for a simple, lightweight, easy-to-use bug zapper. Purchasers love that it conveniently charges via USB, and many say the built-in LED light on the handle helps them see what they’re doing in low-light conditions. More than anything though, reviewers appreciate that this straightforward bug zapper does exactly what it’s supposed to do. “This nifty device makes sure that one swat does them in for good,” writes one. “You don’t have to worry about swatting and hoping you knocked them out. This is the terminator. The ultimate destroyer of flies. Plus, the crackling sound once you swat them is oddly satisfying.” Another writes, “Want to feel like a God in a world of bugs from hell? Get yourself one of these stat!” One reviewer writes about trying many other mosquito-control approaches without success: “Tried blue lights throughout the house but those take days of continuous operation and only catch a small percentage. Clapping hands didn’t kill. Can’t get them with an electric fly swatter [because they’re too fast].” The one thing that finally worked was this bug-zapping racket. “Until mosquito-killing lasers develop, this is the next best thing.”
Best-rated (less expensive) bug zapper
Another bug-zapping racket, this model from Black Flag is powered by two AA batteries, which, according to one reviewer, “last forever.” And while many purchasers certainly appreciate the value, they say that the price has nothing to do with the quality. “This thing is super powerful! I bought one for twice the price at Bed Bath and Beyond and it was flimsy and cheap. This one is nice and sturdy and works great.” Others praise this bug zapper as simply fun to use, with one reviewer even saying, ”It turns bug swatting into an Olympic-level sport.” And since this bug zapper is battery-powered and relatively small and lightweight, one outdoor enthusiast likes to take it with them on hikes. “It zaps everything into oblivion so I can enjoy the outdoors without a cloud of relentless insects swarming around my head. I just wish my dog wasn’t startled by the POP sound each time a bug gets vaporized.”
And now, some micro-picks for every type of bug zapper you might be looking for.
Best outdoor bug zapper
Reviewers don’t hold back when describing this heavy-duty outdoor bug zapper, with one describing it as, “the Mac Daddy, the Mother, the Big Kahuna of bug zappers.” Another writes, “This thing is a monster,” and a third reviewer calls it “the nuclear option of bug killers.” Many note that this is substantially more expensive than other options, but they say it’s worth it. “Don’t let the price scare you,” advises one satisfied customer from who relies on this zapper during the “muggy and hot” Texas summers. “It’s more than the others but I promise you it will kill everything for miles and provide you with an insect-free evening outside.” Another reviewer from southwest Louisiana says, “It kills EV-ER-Y-THING that flies. Houseguests stand around in bug-free amazement and stare at the electric blue light of death as we watch and cheer (literally CHEER!) as bugs sizzle and fry, snap, crackle, and pop.”
Best indoor bug zapper
Reviewers say this bug zapper is a great solution for fruit flies, mosquitoes, or any other flying bugs that find their way indoors. “We live in an area where mosquitoes fly in every time we open the door to walk outside,” writes one purchaser, who was sick of being kept awake by the mosquitoes’ “high-pitched whirrrr.” After setting up this zapper inside, they happily report that it killed the mosquitoes: “It is bringing peace to my sleep.” Another reviewer says this was the only thing that helped rid their home of fruit flies. “I’ve had exterminators over, but that didn’t solve the problem. Had this on for the last 24 hours and they are no longer buzzing around. Wish I had found this months ago.” Others like this because it lets them kill flying insects without using chemicals or pesticides: “I felt I was polluting my indoor environment with sprays and it was only minimally effective. Further, sprays cause the insects to fall down everywhere — had to cover everything! Aspectec is a much neater, more sanitary approach.”
Best plug-in bug zapper
Purchasers appreciate the convenience and simplicity of this plug-in bug zapper, and even though it’s small, they say it’s very effective. “This little guy works wonders. When I received it in the mail, I thought there was no way this little plug-in could have any power to kill bugs. Boy, was I wrong,” admits one reviwer, who adds, “This thing has helped tremendously with mosquitoes.” Many users mention liking that this unit has a plastic guard, so it feels safe to use around children and pets, and “you won’t have to worry about getting shocked by accident.” Others note that it’s especially quiet, even when zapping bugs, and they love how easy it is to set up and clean. “We bought two and plugged them into our patio outlets. After a couple of days of wondering if they were worth the cost, we looked closely and saw that the bug catcher was full. Easy to empty, and a great value for the money.”
Best bug zapper for yellow jackets
Over two dozen reviewers specifically recommend this bug-zapper racket for the hazardous task of dealing with yellow jackets and wasps. “My husband and I have been using the Executioner for many years. We’ve tried other brands but none of them has the power of the Executioner!” While many say this is the best tool for dealing with these aggressive insects, they also advise caution: “Be careful, sometimes they are just stunned and get very angry.” According to an electrical engineer who owns this racket, part of what makes it so effective is the absence of any “protective screens,” which, while keeping users safe from accidental shocks, also “prevents a large number of bugs from reaching the active [electrocuted] area.” They go on to say this is “especially true for larger insects such as wasps.” Because of this, most reviewers recommend keeping this racket away from children, and being extra careful whenever using it. That said, experienced reviewers advise that if you’re dealing with yellow jackets or wasps, you want something potent, and that’s where the Executioner’s “heavy gauge” wires come in handy. As one purchaser puts it: “It’s a great weapon in the war on bugs. Delivers a stunning blow to yellow jackets.”