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Why you want this: When it comes to mosquito repellents, there are admittedly an endless number of products to choose from. But there is a certain sci-fi appeal to a device that creates an invisible insect shield around you. The Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repellent is a sleek-looking metal column that uses a fuel cartridge to expel a compound called allethrin, a synthetic form of a natural repellent found in chrysanthemum plants.
What the experts say: In Slate’s recent piece on the best tools for keeping mosquitoes at bay, two outdoor experts recommended the Thermacell Backpacker, which uses the same technology as the Patio Shield but runs on camping fuel canisters rather than a cartridge. Tim Dube, the owner of Capitol Hill Outfitters, says that the Thermacell effectively creates a bug-free bubble around you, likening the effect to that of a citronella candle but without the open flame and mess.
What the people say: Works well even with high bug density. (“I am very pleased with the Thermacell mosquito shield. We basically live in a swamp with so many mosquitoes. I am always trying to find natural insecticides, and this product works great. Put it on 15 minutes before outdoor activity and the mosquitoes stay away. We may have had one or two come around but that was it.”)
The Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repellent is now $28, or 20 percent off the original price.