ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent Appliance
When insects really bug me—like when they make a visible, palpable presence in the air—I want more than bug-resistant clothing, I want an insect force field.
Enter ThermaCELL, which makes devices designed to protect small areas from flying insects. ThermaCELL’s Mosquito Repellent Appliance uses a disposable butane cartridge that fuels a heating element underneath a wafer or “mat” of alletherin, a natural insecticide found in chrysanthemums. One cartridge and three mats included with the lantern delivers 12 hours of protection. A replacement pack of butane and mats costs $7 (or less with higher quantities)—a bit expensive for trips longer than a weekend.
In my testing, ThermaCELL wasn’t quite the force field I’d hoped for. The device—slightly larger than a TV remote and about as heavy—worked better the longer it was on, saturating the air and area with alletherin. But, at best, the airborne substance simply thinned the herd of insects. And the bugs that did get into the 5-foot radius around the device still landed on me and bit my arms and legs when they weren’t covered.
Watch one tester's unfortunate trial with the ThermaCELL. It's not pretty.
Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Appliance
Weight: 8 oz. with butane
Price: $26 - $32 Thermacell.com