summer

This Genius Device Finally Stopped Me From Being a Mosquito Magnet, and I’ve Taken it Everywhere (Bonus: It’s on Sale!)

updated Jul 3, 2023
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Credit: Thermacell

My mom used to say that I got so many mosquito bites because I was so sweet. I know, cute, right? Well, decades later, I’ve gotten decidedly less sweet, but mosquitos still love me just the same. It doesn’t exactly help that I’m based in Puerto Rico, where I’ve lovingly named “Mosquito City.” It’s no wonder that I’m always on the lookout for ways to keep those pesky bloodsuckers at bay. From contraptions that trap and zap to eco-friendly sprays, I’ve tried dozens of “solutions” — some fantastic, others not so much. That’s why I was so excited to try the Thermacell E55 Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller.

Kitchn’s former lifestyle director Lisa Freedman wrote about how Thermacell’s game-changing Patio Shield gave her ravaged ankles some much-needed relief during the summer, so I had high expectations. The E55 works similarly, but with major technological enhancements that make it even more powerful, portable, and versatile. It’s like a diffuser, but with an odorless, harmless-to-humans mosquito repellent in place of essential oils. Just charge the base of the device with the included USB cable, pop in a liquid repellent cartridge, and press the “on” button. After heating up for a few minutes, the E55 will dispense an almost undetectable vapor that wards off mosquitos within 20-feet of its location.

Gone are the days of lighting an overpowering citronella candle, coating your skin with sticky bug spray, or breathing in potentially toxic chemicals. The device is rated for outdoor use only and should be kept away from open food. Thermacell’s technology is independently tested and EPA reviewed for safety, but the manufacturer warns that the active ingredient is toxic to cats, bees, and fish.

Credit: Amy Gordon

The pod-like machine works up to five and a half hours on a full charge, and each cartridge refill lasts up to 12 hours, so I was able to get many uses out of the E55. I first used it on my porch near my hammock where I read after work (when I can at least) before it gets dark, which also happens to be prime time for hungry mosquitos. My MO has been to either wear long sleeves and pants or wrap the hammock around me like a cocoon, but with the Thermacell E55, the only thing I needed to do was make sure it was charged. I settled into the hammock in a tank top and shorts, with a book in my hand and a bare leg hanging over the side. Before I knew it, an hour of uninterrupted reading had passed by without that awful chirp of mosquito wings flying by my ear. It was bliss.

Next, I moved the E55 to my gardening table, the biggest mosquito-related trouble spot for me. Last year, I took up planting herbs and vegetables as a new hobby, but little did I know that my legs would wind up looking like I had chickenpox from so many bites! I’ve been wearing leggings to garden this year, but they’re not the most practical attire in 90-degree heat. So I put on a pair of shorts, grabbed the Thermacell, and got my hands dirty. I still wound up with a couple of bites, but nowhere near the usual horror show. That’s a win as far as I’m concerned.

Credit: Amy Gordon

If you couldn’t tell by now, one of my favorite things about the E55 is its portability. You can easily move it around your outdoor space as needed, and even toss it into your beach bag or picnic basket (just put the cap on the cartridge first to prevent leaks) to keep yourself protected wherever you unpack it — and not just from mosquitos, either. I brought it to the beach with friends, and we were all shocked that we weren’t getting attacked by gnat-like no-see-ums around 4 p.m. Seriously, one friend even ordered his own E55 on the spot! Since there’s no odor, I’ve also brought it to outdoor parties and strategically sat near it all day long.

As someone lives in an area with tons of mosquitos and is prone to bites, the tiny-but-mighty Thermacell E55 has come in so handy. I’d gladly pay full-price for the gadget, but thankfully, it’s on sale right now — time to grab some more!

Buy: Thermacell E55 Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller, $34.98 (normally $39.99)