Product test: Does the Thermacell mosquito repeller work?

Mosquitoes huge problem across Metro Detroit this summer

Mosquitoes are a summer nuisance, and have been even more annoying for Metro Detroiters amid lots of wet weather. We're testing a product called Thermacell that is designed to keep mosquitoes away.
Mosquitoes are a summer nuisance, and have been even more annoying for Metro Detroiters amid lots of wet weather. We're testing a product called Thermacell that is designed to keep mosquitoes away.

Mosquitoes are annoying and, if you’re living in Metro Detroit, they are everywhere this summer.

Because of all the rain that has hit our region over the last several weeks, the insects have an abundance of moist development sites to take advantage of -- and they are.

Thankfully, there are a number of products that claim to keep the mosquitoes at bay, but do they really work?

If you’re not a fan of bug repellant sprays, there are some things you can do to reduce the presence of mosquitoes on your patio.

“When you’re talking mosquitoes, the best thing you can do is limit the places where they can reproduce -- so, standing water” said entomologist Mark VanderWerp with Rose Pest Solutions.

Mosquitoes reproduce either in or near standing water, which can be found in several areas throughout your yard.

More: Michigan mosquitoes getting worse? Here’s how to find, fight them

VanderWerp says the popular citronella candles that claim to keep mosquitoes away don’t actually have much potency to them. He says the candles have “some effect,” but one would have to start a “small fire of citronella candles” to establish deck-wide mosquito protection.

With this in mind, our team went outside with VanderWerp to test out a different option -- the Thermacell Patio Shield -- to see if it would hold up to its promise.

The Thermacell sits on your patio with you and emits a repellant into the air. The product claims to form a barrier around those sitting near it.

We turned on the Thermacell and waited the 15 minutes required for it to form its shield. Once those 15 minutes were up, we noticed a big change: The mosquitoes that were flying around us minutes prior were now keeping their distance.

Our findings

We came to the conclusion that the Thermacell is an effective way to help keep mosquitoes away while outdoors.

The product is not exactly inexpensive, however: It sells for $24-$35, depending where you shop, but users will need to replace the repellant pads and the fuel cartridges. For 120 hours of protection, the average cost is about $40 more dollars.

The Help Me Hank team found that the Thermacell sells for the following prices at the following shops:

  • Dick’s Sporting Goods: $24.00–$34.99, depending on which color you buy
  • Bass Pro Shops: $24.99
  • Kohls: $33.29
  • Amazon: $34.99

Looking for a different option? Here are some more tips for keeping mosquitoes away.


Related: Let’s talk about Michigan mosquitoes: Are they eating you alive? Here’s what to know


About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.