Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Device

Editor: Cory McLaughlin

Just the Facts:
The Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Appliance in olive is good for camping, hunting, fishing, and outdoors around the house.
• Effectively repels mosquitoes, black flies, and other biting insects
• Virtually odor free
• Creates a 15 x 15-foot zone of bug-free comfort
• Has no open flames


Basic Description:
Thermacell® Mosquito Repellent Lanterns and Appliances are powered by a single butane cartridge. Butane provides the cordless, portable heat that activates the patented devices.
The heat generated by the butane cartridge is directed to a metal grill that is part of the design of the Lantern or Appliance. A small mat, saturated with repellent, sits on top of the metal grill. Heat vaporizes the repellent, allowing it to rise into the air.
The repellent is allethrin, a copy of a repellent that naturally occurs in chrysanthemum flowers. It repels mosquitoes, black flies, and no-see-ums, and will not harm humans or pets.
Within minutes after turning on the Lantern or Appliance, the repellent creates a 15 by 15-foot (225 square-foot) area of repellency, the size of an average deck, patio, or campsite. All Thermacell Mosquito Repellent products use the same refills, which contain both repellent mats and butane cartridges.


My Story:
Nothing can ruin a camping trip faster than bugs. Mosquitoes are a camper’s nightmare. They swarm in with an insatiable blood lust and have no concern for those on whom they feed. As if the itching wasn’t bad enough these winged spawns of Satan also carry disease. I know, I know, who wouldn’t want to cap off nice weekend out by the lake with a case of West Nile right? Well, call me crazy but I’m not going to sign up for that. So, what are you to do? There are lotions, sprays, candles, Tiki Torches, bracelets, and the list goes on. What do all of those things have in common? The smell. That god awful smell that lingers in your nostrils for hours. In the case of spray there is the burning eyes, wretched stench, and the oily feeling on your skin. Clothing becomes impregnated with the chemical defense is fit only for the woods. Those products do work to a point. They do help, some better than others, but they are all noxious and clearly have their downsides.

This is where the Thermacell comes in. I admit I have seen them on the outdoor channel and in stores and truth be told I always wrote them off as a gimmick. I mean, how could they really be any better than candles or anything else that is out there? Fortunately for my family my good fortune as a product reviewer landed a Thermacell on my doorstep. The first test was to be a BBQ at a friend’s cabin. It is a beautiful little cabin that sits in a timbered valley. Mill creek babbles on just 100 yards away and a backwater slough creates a small swamp that comes half that distance towards the cabin. It is a paradise for both man and beast…..O, and mosquitoes.

The Thermacell Appliance uses butane and a small pad that is saturated in repellent. The push of a button ignites the internal burner and heats a metal plate which intern vaporizes the repellent. Thermacell advertises up to a 15 foot diameter of repellent coverage. Common sense would tell you that in breezy conditions this is subject to change. The unit is compact, easy to use, and lasts up to 4 hours before the repellent pad needs to be changed. There is one extremely important thing that I left out. The Thermacell repellent is almost completely scent free. A person would have to be very close to the unit to detect even a light odor.

Our first night with the Thermacell was fantastic. For the first time in years we made it through a BBQ without a single bite. The trial run had been a success! My next adventure took me high into the Lakes Basin of the Eagle Cap Wilderness. We camped by the shores of lakes, creeks, swamps, and ponds. Mosquitoes were plentiful to be sure, but thanks to my Thermacell, I escaped the mountains without a single bite. I have to say I am sold. My only regret is that is has taken me this long to try this product. It just flat out works.

What could be done better?
To be honest the Thermacell is such a compact easy to use system I cannot see any real room for design improvement. I would like to see a clip added to the unit so that it could be attached to a belt or backpack. They do make a pouch style holder but it is nearly as expensive as the unit itself. As for the functionality of the unit I have to say that it seems to work as advertised. I recommend this product without reserve.

  • Functionality
  • Value
  • Ergonomics
  • Durability