The Tick and Mosquito Project


Best Mosquito Killers: Zappers, Magnets, and Swatter Rackets

Sometimes, you want to take more aggressive measures to reducing mosquitoes than putting on a little mosquito repellent. We can take precautions to try keep mosquitoes out of our yard, but we cannot control the mosquitoes in the general environment, coming over from neighboring properties, or simply in the air because it might be peak mosquito season.  That is where some other alternatives come in to play, like mosquito rackets, mosquito magnets, and bug zappers.

That is when you start playing offense instead of just defense.  Products built for going on the offensive against mosquitoes include zappers, magnets, and swatter rackets, also known affectionately in the mosquito control circles as simply “mosquito killers.”

More than 100 products from 50 companies are available when it domes to magnets and killers, and each claims to be the perfect one for the job. This guide features the products which are safe, reliable, and effective killers of the mosquitoes and flies.

There are three main types of mosquito killers which are available in the market. Here is our comparison.

Quick Overview of Your Options:

  • Mosquito Magnets:  Expensive but effective.  Can cover up to 1 acre.  Use sophisticated technology to attract and eliminate mosquitoes.  The most expensive option.
  • Mosquito Rackets:  Inexpensive, but they only work when you are working too.  You swat mosquitoes like you are playing tennis.  Only effective for mosquitoes within reach.
  • Mosquito Zappers:  The same bug zappers that have been around since the 80’s.  Cheaper than magnets, but cover less range. Also known as a mosquito trap.


best mosquito killer
Mosquito magnets are a bit more involved, but can work well on a patio or near a pool

These products are easily the most effective mosquito killers available in the market. The reason it is called mosquito magnet because it attracts mosquitos like a magnet. Generally, the mosquitos detect a human by the carbon dioxide we release during respiration. The magnet, on the same principle, emits carbon dioxide, along with heat and moisture.

They are also the most expensive of the options on our list. A magnet can be a great option for someone who has the budget and a defined area in which they are trying to rid of mosquitoes, but buying a mosquito magnet is not a casual purchase.

Think of a mosquito magnet as being an industrial-strength mosquito tool.

What a magnet does is basically tricks the mosquito into believing that it is approaching a human.  When the mosquito gets near, the vacuum pump sucks the mosquito inside and the mosquito dies.  If you are looking to truly exterminate the mosquitoes in an area, it is a brilliant idea, and probably the best route if you have a space that absolutely needs to have mosquitoes controlled.

These mosquito magnets come in different models.

Patriot Mosquito Magnet

Find here on Amazon. The reason the Patriot magnet is at the top of our list is its portability and affordability. As compared to other propane-powered models, it is the smallest machines available in the market. It works by releasing C02, moisture, and heat to attract mosquitos. Once they get near, they are trapped. It works very silently and has no odor. The biggest benefit of Patriot magnet is that it can be used to kill other insects as well. It can cover an area of up to one acre. The disposal of the killed mosquitos is very easy, and you will never have to lay hands on their dead bodies.

This unit runs on propane, so you will need to make sure the tank doesn’t go empty.  While it is not a cure-all for mosquitoes (you will need to take measures to keep mosquitoes out of your yard) it will make a huge dent in the number of mosquitoes in a definable space, like on a patio or play area.


  • Effective when using the right lure for your area
  • Actually attracts and kills mosquitoes, unlike others that only address mosquitoes in the immediate vicinity


  • Expensive
  • Requires propane refills

Independence MM3200

This model works the on the same principle as Patriot does. It emits carbon dioxide, heat and moisture to attract the mosquitos. Once they are trapped inside a rigid net, they die. However, it has few features as compared to Patriot. It has a medium sized net which needs to be changed every 21 days. The benefit of Independence MM3200 is that it is cordless and runs on batteries giving an elegant look to your yard. It can withstand tough weather conditions.


  • Works effectively when setup correctly


  • Less common than the Patriot; harder to find complimentary supplies and parts

A note about mosquito magnets

While mosquito magnets can be a great device for controlling mosquitoes in defined areas, their technology is still evolving.  We are hopeful that future models will have longer battery lives, and more smart features.  Our suggestion is to use them when you really need to get rid of mosquitoes in a defined space — when your kids are playing in the sandbox, or when you are throwing a dinner party on your patio.  But there is no replacement for controlling the mosquitoes in your yard through organic and fundamental means.

MOSQUITO RACKETS (aka Mosquito Swatters)

mosquito swatter mosquito racket
A mosquito swatter racket allows you to swing at mosquitoes, and zap them when you make contact.

Mosquito rackets are shaped like tennis rackets, but they are not just ordinary swatters. These are powered by batteries and designed to give an electric shock whatever comes in contact with the paddle. It is made as an alternative to the sprays which may be hazardous to the environment. They come in various price ranges and can be used against all type bugs.

Mosquito rackets have an advantage over the mosquito magnets of being affordable — you can usually find them for $30 or less. However, the racket will kill the mosquitoes, so if you are simply looking to repel them a racket might be overkill. Mosquito swatter rackets can also be useful for other bugs, such as flies or boxelder bugs — so they are often a multiple-use tool.  We have even heard of people using them on moths or wasps.  Following are the best swatters available in the market.

Zap-It Fly Swatter / Mosquito Racket

There are lots of mosquito rackets and electric fly swatters on the market these days, and lots of them seem to come and go.  One that appears to be standing the test of time is the Zap-It racket.  Reliability is key, and the Zap-It shows that it is a go-to device not only for mosquitoes, but also for flies and even smaller bugs like fruit flies and gnats.

The racket weighs-in at just over a pound, giving it more substance than other rackets on the market but also easy enough to carry around and maneuver without making your arm tired or giving you tennis elbow.  Two lithium-ion batteries power the racket, without those you will not have any electrical current which is the main event on this device.

The batteries are rechargeable, so you will want to use the batteries that are sent with the racket, not something out of your battery drawer.

The Zap-It works well on everything from flies to yellowjackets to mosquitoes to boxelder bugs.  Because of the mesh design and how the current runs through the mesh, it can also be effective against extremely small critters like fruit flies.

A common question is if there is a shock if a person touches it.  Yes, there is, but it is not severe.  You will feel something, though, as there is no safety feature that would allow the racket to identify what is human skin vs. a bug.  You might want to be sure it stays out of the hands of rambunctious kids who might find this to be a fun new play weapon.

We think this is the best swatter on the market right now. You can find it here on Amazon.


  • Intuitive to use
  • Highly portable and handy in multiple situations
  • Works on other bugs like flies and wasps


  • Can break if used incorrectly (when hitting surfaces)
  • Doesn’t attract mosquitoes, just kills them


They work on the same principle as that of zapper rackets, but you don’t have to use them manually. They can be placed anywhere, attract mosquitos and are killed by electric current on the plate.  They also do a great job with flies, if that is a problem in your yard.

Bug zappers have the downside of giving off a loud “zap” sound every time a bug is killed, as they do their job with electrocution….. So think twice if you are looking for something to give you a peaceful dinner spot on your back patio!  However, if you are looking for something that can do the job and kill mosquitoes, gnats, and flies, the zapper has been around for decades and works pretty well.

Bug Zapper & Electric Indoor Insect Killer by LiBa

mosquito zapper and killer best
Bug zappers have been around for a while, and tend to work in smaller areas. picture: the Flowtron.

Find here on Amazon.  This device is intended specifically for indoor use as an indoor mosquito repellent alternative.  It uses a 365 nm wavelength of light to attract the bugs that can’t resist this kind of light. This wavelength has been proven very successful for attracting the insects. It is the most powerful zapper available in the market with a power of 2800 volts.  It won’t do as much as the magnets above, but it works in a smaller area.  Again, it is meant to be used indoors and works well inside a house, cabin, shed, tent, or garage.  One thing to keep in mind is that the “zap” is audible and can startle on occasion, so it might not be ideal for sleeping quarters during the night time.


  • Meant for indoor use only
  • Replacement bulbs widely available


  • Not meant for outdoor use
  • Can be loud

FlowTron Bug Zapper/Insect Killer

Find here on Amazon.  When it comes to outdoor bug zapper use, the “tried and true” for us is the Flowtron (pictured to the right).  To attract the mosquitoes, this uses a combination of sight (the ultraviolet light) and well as scent (Octinol, a USDA-tested chemical) to get mosquitoes in close range.  The product claims to cover 1 full acre, which is an impressive range.  While we have not tested its range, it seems to be the most effective of all the pure zapper in terms of the reach it has.  Like the LiBa product, the Flowtron’s “Zap” is audible and can be a little startling, so if you are trying to keep bugs away from, say, a romantic outdoor dining patio, you might be better off splurging on a Magnet.  Also, it has a shortish cord, so you will want an extension cord to plug it in (it is not battery operated).  But if your goal is to keep skeeters away from you while you work or relax outside, this is a great product.

All of these options – magnets, rackets, and zappers — are useful if you need to reduce the mosquito population but it is too late to get them at the larvae stage.  If you are able to nip them in the bud earlier, think about some of the preventive steps you can take to reduce the mosquito population.

Knowing how abundant mosquitoes can be, though, it might not hurt to use both tactics — get the larvae, and control the population when they are adults as well.  In your immediate environment, the goal is to reduce the mosquito population so that you can keep you and your family safe, so take whatever steps are necessary.


  • Works well for outdoor use
  • Attractive on a patio or porch
  • Very good coverage


  • Needs to be cleaned frequency during heavy bug periods (will not work when full)

Mosquito Killer FAQs

Can I use the mosquito killers indoors?

It depends on the products.

Magnets should not be used indoors, they run on propane and are most-definitely for outdoor use only.

Rackets can be, but be sure you have enough room to safely swing them, of course.

Zappers are a mixed bag.  Some are intended for indoors use, but those with the Octinol or other scent emitted should only be used outside.  On the zappers, keep in mind the light is very bright and the “Zap” sound can be loud, so indoor use might not be desirable.  Generally speaking, we are typically not trying to kill mosquitoes indoors. We prefer to repel or prevent indoor mosquitoes, so we minimize the harmful chemicals or aggressive action of a mosquito killer inside.

Do these zappers, magnets, and rackets kill anything other than mosquitoes?

Yes.  These products are built to electrocute any small flying creature that will come in contact with its grid, which means it will kill other insects.  Sometimes this is good, other times it perhaps is not.  These products can take care of flies, fruit flies, yellowjackets, wasps, box elder bugs, and other nuisance pests.  Unfortunately, the products will also kill things you might want to keep around, like bees or butterflies.

Is a Mosquito Racket dangerous for humans?

No. Mosquito rackets provide such low voltage that humans will really not be harmed by them.  Of course, anything with electricity needs to be used per the manufacturer’s instructions, and turning any tool into a weapon is never condoned. But the amount of electrical current required for a mosquito is so minor that humans and pets alike should be safe around them.

How are mosquito killers powered?

Most magnets and zappers are plugged-in to an outlet, and powered that way.  Some zappers and all rackets are powered via batteries that will need to be replaced or charged.  Some products can also be solar-powered, which is a great option if you don’t want to check batteries often or do not have easy access to an outlet.

Should I worry about knock-off products on the market?

Yes.  With the success of such products, there are many copycats who make unproven, or even inferior, products.  The products we recommend above are not fly-by-night.  They are made by manufacturers who have proven an ability to make good products and provide adequate customer service, otherwise we would not be comfortable recommending them.

Are there alternatives that will not “Zap”?

The mosquito magnets, noted above, don’t have the startling “zap” that is offputting to some people.  They have more of a continuous airflow and tend to be quieter.  The other option is a Tiki Torch, which when couple with the right tiki torch fuel, will reduce mosquito populations in a limited area.

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