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Does Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Work? A User’s Review

by | Knowledge Bombs


So, does Thermacell Mosquito Repellent work? Well, after 2 months of use, I can tell you without any doubt that they’re one of the most effective bug repellents I’ve ever tested.

I know what you’re thinking; mosquito season is upon us, and you need to find a way to keep them off of your skin. If you’re like me, and you hate smearing your whole body with bug spray, you’re in luck.

Thermacell has been recently accoladed with a number of published studies. These studies talk in detail about Thermacell’s near-perfect efficacy at repelling mosquitos. Naturally, I went out and bought two different models in hopes they live up to the hype.

In this article, I’ll take you through everything you need to know about Thermacell devices. From their exceptional mosquito-repelling abilities to some minor inconveniences, I’ve got it all covered here.

Let’s get started!


Does Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Work?


Thermacell Mosquito Repellents use Allethrin for most of their devices and Metofluthrin for the Thermacell Radius and E55. Both are synthetic insecticides that are derived from pyrethroids that are naturally extracted from Pyrethrum flowers.

Pyrethroids, in general, are widely considered to be the most effective mosquito repellents. I looked up various published studies for both compounds and was pleasantly surprised.

Metofluthrin was shown to be up to 97% effective at reducing mosquitoes’ land rates after just 30 minutes of operation. Additionally, the American Mosquito Control Association labeled Metofluthrin as “extremely effective” at repelling mosquitos from the protection sphere of the diffuser.

Allethrin has also received its share of recognition. Acta Tropica, a specialized journal in infectious diseases, conducted an extensive comparison between most mosquito repellents found on the market. It concluded that Thermacell’s devices using Allethrin were superior at repelling mosquitoes and minimizing their biting pressure than the competition.

The more I researched Thermacell devices, the more convinced I was that they were unparalleled in terms of performance. However, one thing remained for me to reach a verdict, and that’s to test them for myself.


Testing Thermacell Radius on My Porch


In the middle of summer, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy to sit on my porch. Not only is it constantly infested with hungry mosquitos, but it also enjoys its fair share of black flies.

Thermacell says it takes 30 minutes for you to notice a difference; 15 minutes in, I could already see their numbers had dwindled. I came back 45 minutes later and sat on my porch worry-free for the first time since I bought the house. I couldn’t even spot any black flies at all. Incredible!

Am I satisfied with my purchase? Absolutely. However, I did notice that having a fan on made the repellent considerably less effective. Not to mention, I did find a couple of bites on my arms and legs after I went in. It seems no repellent is 100% effective, but no repellent I’ve tested came as close as the Thermacell.

So, now that we know Thermacell is effective, let’s take a look at its safety.


How Safe Are Pyrethroids?


When pyrethroids were first marketed for spatial repellents, they were met with skepticism over their health risks.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Pyrethroids are, indeed, neurotoxic, and can be fatal if administered in high doses. However, the way Thermacell vaporizes the chemical makes it practically unlikely to pose any risk to public health.

For example, the American Mosquito Control Association notes that you’d need to be subjected to “at least 100-fold higher concentrations” to impose any danger on mammals and birds.

Thermacell also uses diluted pyrethroids, vaporizes in small amounts, and is EPA-approved.

You need to be careful if you own cats or fish, though. As allethrin is toxic in small doses and can be fatal to cats if they inhale too much of the chemical.

Thermacell warns us to keep our pets away from the vapor and states that bees can also be harmed by exposure to the chemical.

Finally, because Thermacell uses heat to vaporize the pyrethroids, it’s best to keep it away from children’s reach.


Does Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Work? Product Line and Ease of Use


How you use your Thermacell device will vary from product to product. Here are some of the most popular models around.

  • Radius Zone
  • Thermacell E55
  • Patio Shield
  • Thermacell MR450

All devices work using the same heating mechanism. However, the Radius Zone and E55 are powered by Li-Ion batteries, whereas the Patio Shield and MR450 are powered by butane cartridges. The butane-powered devices use repellent mats, whereas the battery-powered devices use repellent cartridges.


Radius Zone Vs. E55



Both the Radius Zone and E55 are quite similar, but in my experience, the E55 is the superior option to buy. It comes with the same battery life, a simpler user interface, and a much larger protection area.

The thing about the E55 is that it’s the newest offering by Thermacell. They’ve tweaked the design of the internal heating system and added indicator lights to see when it’s turned on. The repellent cartridges also come with a higher concentration of metofluthrin (5.5% versus 4%), which should be more effective at deterring flying insects.


Patio Shield



The Patio Shield is similar to the E55 in terms of performance but requires butane to work. Keep in mind that the E55 is still superior in terms of area of protection. The UI of the Patio Shield is a little hard to navigate, too.





The MR450 is a device that looks similar to a remote control. Its armored design makes it able to withstand any fall damage. It was made with portability in mind and can offer you mosquito protection on the go. I just wish they came with batteries instead of butane cartridges.

If you’re planning on using the MR450 for hiking, it won’t be effective at all. Don’t forget that you need to be stationary and allow the area to saturate with the chemical in order to be protected.


Value and Long-Term Costs


The cost of your Thermacell repellent will also vary according to the model and frequency of use.

Battery-powered devices are generally more expensive but don’t require you to buy butane packs every week. You’ll only have to buy the 40-hour repellent refill for rechargeable devices.



On the other hand, fuel-powered devices will need you to buy butane packs and repellent mats. A single butane pack will last you for 48 hours, whereas you can choose repellent mats that last from 12 hours to 300 hours.

In my opinion, I prefer battery-powered devices for the lower overall cost. My coworker insists butane devices are much more convenient. After all, they don’t require constant recharges, which is something that drives him crazy sometimes.

I did the math, and although my coworker has a point, putting down an extra $100 every month for butane packs seems unreasonable. You can try a rechargeable device and see how you like it. If you don’t, Thermacell has a very responsive support team for refunds and you can easily swap your model for a butane-powered one.


Does Thermacell Mosquito Repellent Work? Conclusion


If you’re thinking about buying a mosquito repeller, my advice is, don’t waste your time and money on anything other than Thermacell.

Thermacell is truly one of the most impressive repellers I’ve ever tried. They’re proven to work, have exceptional customer service, and pose no threat to your health. Just make sure to keep your pets away from it.

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