Last updated: March, 2019

Personal Insect Repellers

Mosquito traps are great, but you can't take them with you to go camping, hiking, biking or on a picnic - the best defense for those situations is a good repellent. Not a fan of messy lotions and sprays? In the past few years several nifty personal repellent devices, targeting mosquitos and other insects, have come on the market. Some are wearable devices which you clip-on or attach to a belt holster, others are tabletop "lanterns".

These devices don't kill mosquitoes - they do nothing to permanently reduce your mosquito population, but they do create a small, temporary "no bug zone" (up to about 15' ) in the area around the device. For some repellers, weather conditions, such as a strong wind, will reduce the coverage area.

Most of these personal insect repellers use Allethrin - a synthetic form of the chemical Pyrethrin - a proven mosquito repellent with a good overall safety profile for humans and pets. The OFF insect repeller (by S. C. Johnson) uses a similar chemical called Metofluthrin. Allethrin and metofluthrin ARE however both toxic to fish - devices using those chemicals should not be used near fish ponds or aquatic life!

Make/Model Power Source
Active Ingredient(s)
Type and Coverage Features Price Range
Available from:
Battery or A/C Adapter
Popular - The Bite Shield uses the subtle scent of Geraniol (which smells like geraniums) to repel mosquitoes and other biting insects. This portable device covers a 15' area and weighs just 9.6 ounces . Can be used indoors or out. A/C adaptor sold separately.
Personal - Holster, 15' coverage.

Top rated product! Butane powered - heat activates and distributes repellent from replaceable pads. Several models available - basically just different colors and sizes, all using the same repellent method.

Click here for a rundown on the ThermaCELL products and how they work.

$20-$30 (optional holster sold separately)
Butane, AA Batteries
Tabletop / Hanging Lantern - 15 ft.x15ft coverage.

This rugged lantern, powered by 4 AA batteries and 8 LED's gives off pleasant ambient light. Heat from butane cartridges disperses the active ingredient from a replaceable repellent mat. There are 2 brightness settings and the lantern can also be used with the repeller off.

A similar model, the MR-9S, has the same features with a dark bronze color and a more attractive design.

See our ThermaCELL Lantern Review

Tabletop / Lantern - 15 ft. coverage.

Uses a candle to activate and disperse repellent from a replaceable pad.

also sold in multi-packs
A/C - 10' cord.
100% Natural plant oil repellent, containing geraniol and cedar oil.
Covers up to 2000 sq feet.

The Mosquito Sentry is the 'full sized' version of the Mosquito Sentry Portable, measuring 19" high by 11" diameter and weighing in at 11 lbs. It features 3 speeds, a remote, a built-in timer, refill warning light, tipover protection and automatic shutoff. One refill of the natural "green" repellent provides 20 hours of protection from mosquitoes and other biting insects. Covered by a 1 year manufacturer's warranty.

3 AA Batteries
Tabletop - up to 300 sq ft. coverage

The Buzzender tabletop diffuser is a mosquito repeller which provides coverage for up to 300 sq ft (approx 17' x 17'). Coverage area is smaller under windy conditions.

The active substance is geraniol - a plant-based insect repellent - with a cartridge delivery method. Each cartridge lasts up to 120 hrs. Unlike allethrin, geraniol is NOT toxic to fish!


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