We Test the ThermaCell Outdoor Lantern

We Test the ThermaCell Outdoor Lantern

Butane-heated insecticide strip drives away flying pests for up to four hours.

Last spring we got one of ThermaCell's new Outdoor Lanterns to test since we're outdoors a lot and have interest in new products that claim to make life easier. The lantern is a combination LED light and insect repellant device. One can use the light or the repellant function, or both.

I figured the "research" wouldn't be too complicated, it either would keep mosquitoes away or it wouldn't.

ThermaCell's new outdoor lantern provides a soft white LED light, at the same time it makes life miserable for flies and mosquitoes.

So, I sat near the pond in my front yard after sundown several weeks ago on a quiet evening watching the full moon rise over the adjacent pond dam. The reflection of the moon climbed into the water near the dam and swam across toward me and up onto the lawn before the buzzing began and the "hits" began battering my bare legs as I sat in a lawn chair enjoying the natural nutrition of pure water, hops and grain.

With "contact" made I started the butane burner in the ThermaCell by turning the power on and clicking an igniter. The flame inside heated an allethrin strip on the top of the lantern. I sat it down upwind of me although the breeze was nearly calm. Almost immediately the buzzing and biting ended … and for 20 more minutes not a single "hit"

I was convinced, but wanted to put the lantern to another test, in what I knew to be tougher conditions.

Over the weekend of July 31-August 1, I sat outside the camper near Raccoon Lake in Centralia, Ill., at the National Boat Racing Association's national championships. After sundown, under an E-Z-Up canopy at the card table, my wife and I were fighting houseflies right and left -- until I fired off the ThermaCell. Again, almost immediately NO houseflies, and again, 20 minutes or so passed and no more insect problems, flies or mosquitoes!

This is one product that gets a real thumbs up from me. The allethrin strips (allethrin is a synthetic form of pyrethrum) last four hours, while the butane cells in the lantern are good for up to 12 hours (or three strips). Both the strips and butane cartridges are available at Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

The ThermaCell carries a retail price of $31.99.

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