Thermacell makes spatial repellents that work like diffusers to emit a repellent into the air and create a bug-free zone. This means you don’t have to douse yourself with smelly, sticky spray. The Thermacell Radius Zone Mosquito Repellent and the Perimeter System have become my most valuable tools for enjoying outdoor life.
The Radius is a compact and convenient device (smaller than my cell phone) that uses heat to vaporize a little vial of liquid repellent. The active chemical in the liquid is metofluthrin, which in numerous studies has proved to be an effective spatial repellent for mosquitoes. Metofluthrin has undergone thorough vetting by the Environmental Protection Agency and other regulatory agencies around the world, and it’s deemed safe for this intended use.
I bought my first Thermacell device after building a stock tank pool in my backyard last year. I love spending my evenings sipping a Lone Star while lounging on my flamingo float, but that’s also prime bug time. I tried lighting citronella candles around the pool, and I even bought a citronella plant. Those didn’t work.
But when I placed the Radius on a table by the pool, the mosquitos stayed away, and they have ever since. The exception is a windy day. All spatial repellents are basically useless in windy conditions, but the good news is, mosquitoes struggle to fly even in gentle breezes.
Ultimately, I was so impressed by the Radius that I surrounded the pool area with Thermacell’s Perimeter System. The devices look like small, plastic tiki torches, and they use butane to burn the same effective repellent found in the Radius. There’s also a new model, the Thermacell E55 Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller, that Wirecutter’s experts have been testing and are likely to recommend. I plan to buy that one too. This is probably overkill for a pool that fits just four adults comfortably, but it makes me feel better knowing nothing is getting near me.