How to find the best bug vacuum
If you are trying to get rid of insects in your home, there are better options than a rolled-up magazine or the bottom of a shoe. Bug vacuums make it easy to catch those pesky critters without ever having to get too close for comfort.
These handy tools are used to trap insects, usually without harming them. This makes them a smart and eco-friendly no-kill solution. Most bug vacuums are lightweight and easy to manage.
Our favorite is the Trimax BigZooka WB100 because of its powerful suction and manual operation that doesn’t rely on batteries. However, there are many great models available. Keep on reading to find out everything you need to know when choosing a bug vacuum.
What to consider when buying a bug vacuum
Types of insects
The kind of insects you plan on catching will dictate which model is best for you. Consider factors like suction power and the diameter of the nozzle opening. Models with extremely strong suction can harm delicate bugs, while those with tiny nozzles will be ineffective against large spiders, palmetto bugs and similarly sized insects.
Kill or no-kill
Bug vacuums are available in kill and no-kill models. Most purpose-made bug vacuums are of the no-kill variety and have transparent catch chambers. Models that kill bugs are often similar to general-purpose vacuums and offer very powerful suction. Usually, these are only intended for bed bugs, dust mites and other small insects.
If choosing a model that kills insects, consider the extermination method. Standard methods are crushing, electrical charges, UV exposure and heat. The extermination method should be both practical and humane.
Most bug vacuums require a power source. This can be either with batteries or an electric outlet. Battery-powered options are a good choice for those who don’t want to be tethered to an outlet and toy models that children may want to use outdoors. There are also some manual vacuums available that rely on a pumping action from the user.
Not all bug vacuums are intended to be used as pest control tools for adults. Some are designed as toys. These are often lightweight and brightly colored. They also have additional features that make them more enjoyable for children, such as a removable examination chamber with a magnifier.
Features to look for in a good bug vacuum
For a big vacuum to be effective, it needs strong suction. The stronger the suction, the less chance there is of an insect getting away. However, if you plan on using the vacuum on delicate insects, it is essential not to choose too powerful of a model; otherwise, you risk harming or killing them.
Most people would prefer to keep a healthy distance from creepy crawlies. Choosing a model with an extended nozzle will allow you to stay far away from the insects you are trying to catch. Just keep in mind that the longer the nozzle of any given model, the more storage space it will require.
Secure containment is an essential aspect of no-kill models. The last thing you want is the bugs crawling right back out. Look for models that offer a reliable closure method for when the suction stops. Some may be automatic, while others require the user to slip a cap over the end or rotate a knob.
If you plan on hunting under furniture and in other dark spaces, a model that offers built-in illumination can be beneficial. This allows you to see your prey, even if it scurries under your couch.
How much does a bug vacuum cost?
Bug vacuums vary significantly in price whether you are buying a toy, a tool for home use or an industrial model. You can expect to find toy options between $15-$30. Tools for home use can range from $25-$75. Powerful industrial models often cost well over $100.
Bug vacuum FAQs
Are bug vacuums effective on all types of bugs?
While you can use bug vacuums on a wide variety of insects, they aren’t suitable for all types of bugs. You should never use them on butterflies because the nozzles will damage their delicate wings. You also need to consider the specific model you have chosen. Manual and battery-powered vacuums won’t work well on ants, bed bugs and other tiny insects. Conversely, high-powered industrial vacuums usually aren’t well suited to larger bugs.
Can I just use a regular vacuum instead of a bug vacuum?
Standard vacuums are not ideal for bugs because they lack a secure containment method. This means insects can simply crawl right back out once the suction stops and is especially true of bagless models. If using a vacuum with a bag, containment might not be a problem, but there is no method for releasing the bugs.
What is the best bug vacuum to buy?
Best overall bug vacuum
What you need to know: An effective and reliable model, the BugZooka relies on a manual pumping action, so you never have to worry about running out of batteries.
What you’ll love: It features an extendable nozzle that keeps you a comfortable distance away from your prey.
What you should consider: The trap door is fragile.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Best toy bug vacuum
What you need to know: This toy model is a good choice for kids looking to explore the world around them. It features a magnified chamber to examine their catch and a built-in LED.
What you’ll love: The bright colors and handy belt clip help ensure it never gets lost.
What you should consider: It’s prone to breaking if subjected to rough treatment.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Best bug vacuum for dust mites and bed bugs
What you need to know: If looking to rid a home or hotel room of bed bugs and dust mites, there are few better options. This machine offers powerful suction and comes with several attachments.
What you’ll love: You can use it as a traditional vacuum for standard cleaning.
What you should consider: Some may find it heavy to carry around as they work.
Brett Dvoretz is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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