If your biggest pet peeve is getting eaten alive by mosquitoes during BBQ season, its high time to plan ahead.

Traditionally bug zappers are designed so bugs can fly to their doom from 360 degrees. Yes, it’s extremely effective, but with some backyard setups, it can draw more attention than you’d like. The sizzle of another annoying bug getting fried is satisfying, but let’s not make it the focal point at your luau, okay?

That’s where the PestZilla comes in. It rests against a flat surface so you can find the perfect spot so it’s out of the way while still attracting bugs away from you and your guests. You might hang it from the side of your deck or against the garage. What really sets it apart is it’s a free-standing device so setting it up just when you need it on the floor or patio stone are viable options. Whatever you choose, the logistics of finding a place for it is easier than with other designs.

The PestZilla provides protection from all kinds of flies and insects within an area of up to 6,000 sq. ft. This makes it good for smaller back yards in the city, however this specification isn’t as “robust” as market leader Flowtron. 6,000 sq. ft. works out to be over 1/8 acre. By comparison the entry-level zapper by Flowtron that costs about the same (BK-15D), covers an area of 1/2 acre.

While coverage may not be its forte the unit’s housing lives up PestZilla’s claim of being robust. The metal grill is noticeably beefier than most other zappers. And it’s well engineered too. The tray at the bottom catches dead pests and makes cleaning a painless task.

The manufacturer states that it’s for indoor use. And may be used outdoors in dry areas, such as under a roof. The unit is 20 watts which powers two blue UV bulbs.

The Verdict

The PestZilla UV Electronic Bug Zapper can be thought of as a form-factor zapper, or a good auxiliary device for covering strategic areas along with other zappers. The ability to place it on the ground when you need it is great for people that don’t see a reason to expose it to the elements more than necessary, which makes even more sense if your bug zapping needs are occasional.

If you don’t plan to set it on the floor and mounting against a flat surface isn’t necessary, there are better options. At this price point the Flowtron BK-15D is tough to beat for it’s superior coverage spec of 1/2 acre.

FC-8800There’s nothing better than enjoying a cool beverage on the patio and admiring your own slice of nature in the backyard. If there’s one thing that sullies the experience, it’s bugs. The closer to the wild you get, the bigger, nastier and more plentiful they become.

The Flowtron FC-8800 isn’t for everyone. With up to 2 acres of coverage this puppy is not for city folk. It’s the big kahuna of bug zappers sitting at the top of Flowtron’s line of fly control products.

It isn’t flies homeowners are most interested in zapping however, it’s annoying mosquitoes. So I’m glad to report the FC-8800 handles mosquitoes just as well. In fact this may be the ultimate bug zapper.

Understandably this unit is formidable in size measuring 27” in height and 12” in width and depth.

Due to the effectiveness the bottom bug catcher quickly becomes full. It’s not easy to remove and requires either a very strong grip or a pry tool. You’ll quickly tire of emptying it so most find simply removing the tray to be the best solution if you’re using it outdoors.

Flowtron recommends you place it 50-75ft away from the patio. This is a nice advantage of having such a powerful device. You don’t have to place to so close to your guests to solve the bug problem.

Ironically I’ve found people are amused by it and eventually gravitate towards it, especially when drinking is involved. It’s a sort of retribution for all those unsightly mosquito bites we’ve acquired over the years.

The Verdict

If you own a large plot of land or live near a lake and love chilling outside, you owe it to yourself and your guests to pick one of these up.

Probably the biggest benefit is you’ll never have to hear complaints about mosquito bites from the spouse or kids ever again. And just think how much you’ll save on bug spray (wink).

A bug zapper is a fairly simple electronic device. It isn’t a rocket ship folks. For that reason it’s surprising that so few companies can churn out a decent zapper. To get it out there from the start, a good portion of Stinger bug zappers are destined for the scrap heap. Although the UVB45 isn’t among the worst mosquito killers out there (that stuff is shockingly shoddy), picking one up a risky endeavour.

The UVB45 has a sleek, futuristic look. This stems from the fact that most zappers currently on the market were designed in 80s. The grill is curved while we are used to seeing straight grills and boxy designs. Unfortunately the build is plasticky and not particularly tough.

A 40-watt black light is employed to attract pests. Stinger claims it attracts 40% more insects than a conventional light. It releases a smell similar to that of a mammal via the Octenol lure. People are often wowed by the lights on bug zappers, not realizing the importance of scent. The UVB45 does a good job of attracting mosquitos.

Since this is a recent design it has some pretty advanced electronics inside. A built-in sensor detects the amount of light outside allowing the unit to turn off during the day (when mosquitos aren’t a threat), and turn on at night.

The Stinger UVB45 covers 1 acre of land admirably as advertised. On an especially humid night it pulled in 20-30 mosquitos, plus a few moths when I tested it. They also offer the UV801S which covers 1 ½ acre and the FP15 which covers ½ an acre.

One advantage this unit has to more classic designs is quieter zapping. Then again that can be a disadvantage if you draw amusement from hearing your mosquito death box at work.

It kills well when it’s working, but don’t expect it to do that for long. The Achilles heel of this unit is its reliability. Commonly it will go dead after only a few months of use. People usually wrongly assume that the light burned out, so they buy another only to find it still doesn’t work. Often the starter is the culprit and since you can’t change it out yourself without and engineering degree, you’ll need to send it back to Stinger. The company is pretty good about the initial replacement but if your second unit dies, you’ll probably be out of luck.

Manufacturing errors and poor electronics aside, the exterior isn’t tough enough to cut the mustard. When a device is sitting outside it has to be able to take a beating. Now of course it is not a good idea to leave your zapper out in the rain, but it does happen. Flowtrons seem to be able to take a moderate shower without going belly up. With a Stinger you probably won’t be as lucky.

Review Verdict

The Stinger UVB45 has its good points. It isn’t as obtrusive when it zaps bugs which can be a plus when you have guests. It has a relatively cool feature that turns on and off according to the amount of light outside.

Sadly there are huge reliability shortcomings that negate any of the advantages. You’re playing the zapper lotto when you buy a Stinger. You might get a good one or you might get a unit that breaks down in two months. Why risk it?

I’ll make this simple. There is no reason to buy the UVB45 over a Flowtron.

People new to the world of mosquito and bug extermination often mistake the Dynatrap for just another “bug zapper.” As the name implies, it isn’t. The DT1000 is a trapping device. It stops bugs with a totally different mentality. Think of traditional zappers (from Flowtron at least) as Rambo with a big machine gun. This device is a ninja lurking in the shadows. It kills the baddies all the same, but unlike the Flowtron you aren’t constantly reminded that an insect holocaust is underway.

Here’s how the Dynatrap works. Pests find their way in via the mesh at the bottom of the unit. Under the top lid are two lights. This generates the warmth and UV rays that send flying insect its way. Even during the brightest periods of the day, the light somehow succeeds in attracting pests. Down from there, near the middle of the cylinder, a fan blows downward. CO2 (carbon dioxide) gas is released, which is irresistible to mosquitoes. Pressure from the fan makes it nearly impossible for bugs and mosquitoes to escape. The insects die silently.

Let’s take a look at the pros to the trapping approach versus zapping. First off, the Dynatrap DT1000 is much less intrusive.

I’ll be the first to admit that it can be entertaining to watch and listen to bugs meet their fate while nursing a beer on the patio. Even though it’s lower life forms we’re talking about here, it’s politically incorrect hillbilly fun. The problem is some of your more refined guest may not dig the distraction, especially if the zapper is close to where people are socializing.

In addition, zappers give off a smell when a bigger bug or cluster of small fries get barbequed. Personally, I don’t mind it. Picky folks may dislike the phenomenon while eating.

The cost of running a Dynatrap is moderate; a set of replacement bulbs are only $10. Unlike the Flowtron, replacement attractant cartridges aren’t necessary. Somehow the funnel is able to keep producing CO2 gas, which the mosquitoes “get high” on. Forgive me, I’m not a scientist.

Now let’s turn our attention to the cons.

This style of trap simply isn’t as effective as a Flowtron BK-40D or BK-80D zapper. This is what “kills” the Dynatrap DT1000 for me. If your yard is swarming with mosquitoes you may still have to wear bug spray on your body. Given, the situation improves two fold but it still isn’t perfect. With a Flowtron BK-80D next to the patio, I’d be surprised if I got one or two mosquito bites. I’m trying to keep my mind open to new approaches, and not be a zealot for Flowtron. However, I can’t warm up to a product that is more expensive yet not as good, no matter how non-obtrusive.

Although the replacement bulbs are cheap, they don’t last long. Some batches are better than others. This can get really annoying because installing isn’t particularly painless. Big honking zapper lights may be more costly, but it’s generally worth it. I’m a “set it and forget it” type guy.

Cleaning is required every couple of weeks. The marketers at Dynatrap claim that cleaning their product is easier than with a zapper. The truth is both types can be a pain to clean if you let your device get gunked up.

Review Verdict

This is one of the better insect exterminator devices out there. It’s a very well-engineered and thought out unit. Its best merit is its unobtrusiveness; at a party people might not even notice it, while they will definitely notice the sights and smell of a zapper.

Condo or apartment dwellers with an outdoor balcony are the only group I’d recommend this to without reservation. The problem with the Dynatrap DT1000 is that it doesn’t work as well as competing zappers. Unless you are married to the idea of a silent device, get a Flowtron BK-80D instead.

mosquitoesIn a world full of difficult choices it’s comforting to find clear winners every now and again. There aren’t too many makers of electric bug killers out there. Flowtron, Koolatron, Stinger, Dynatrap and Westinghouse products make up the majority of the market. Out of the bunch, Flowtron consistently makes zappers that get the best ratings in user reviews. Meanwhile the strongest competitor Dynatrap* is lucky to release a model that rises above mediocrity.

The problem with lesser zappers is consistent. Most of the stuff out there doesn’t last. If you read the reviews on Amazon.com you’ll find that offerings from Stinger and Koolatron in many cases don’t last more than a few months before the bulb burns out or the unit dies completely. Replacements are not cheap so including such shoddy bulbs out of the box is unscrupulous.

Another much cited issue with cheaper zappers is that there is a tendency for the devices to clog. If you have a good amount of bugs around your property you may need to clean it out every half hour. That just isn’t practical. You’re outside to enjoy the weather and relax, not mess around with a crappy bug zapper.

Flowtron offers three popular models. They are much the same, the only difference being size and coverage. The priciest and most powerful model covers 1-1/2-Acre while the smallest member of the family covers 1/2-Acre. Prices range from about $40 to $85.


flowtronlgThis is one of those cases where more power is better no matter the size of your lawn. Since the biggest model has a powerful 80-watt bulb it is a more effective killer. The BK-80D more efficiently self-cleans since the mosquitos sizzle quickly. You`ll still have to open it up and clean up bug remains every now and again but less so than with smaller zappers.

The big one is the Rambo of bug extermination. At certain points it zaps with rapid fire like a machine gun as bug tend to more together as a swarm. You`ll see a tiny smoke cloud go up in the air and will smell sweet victory.

A good zapper is a cheap source of entertainment when you are enjoying a few drinks on the patio. Yes it is a touch sadistic but you can`t help but be amazed at how eager mosquitos are to die. Just make sure to keep it far from the door so you don`t have a bug convention swamping around it.

Pros: Low-maintenance, extremely powerful.

Cons: Sometimes kills insects that are not pests such as moths and ladybugs.

Overall getting a Flowtron is a no-brainer. Just make sure to get one of the larger models so it can handle any situation that is thrown at it. Tons of bugs often approach the light all at once. The 80-watt version is the best if you can afford it. If not, the BK-40D is pretty good too.

*It’s important to note that the popular Dynatrap DT1000 is not a zapper but a trapping device. A fan blows downwards to trap insects inside the retaining cage.