The Scoop: Many couples dream of the perfect outdoor wedding — perhaps on a beachside cliff or in an open meadow overlooking rolling hills. But, when that day finally comes, a swarm of biting insects could turn those visions into an itchy, annoying mess. That’s why Thermacell designed technology that keeps bugs away without using harmful chemicals. Anyone who’s entertained outdoors or spent time hunting, camping, or hiking knows how bothersome biting insects can be. Thermacell offers a better way to control those bugs without having to cover yourself in a fog of chemical-ridden sprays.

Many couples spend time daydreaming about their perfect outdoor wedding. Maybe the altar will face a vista overlooking hills filled with trees that turn from dark green to golden amber as the sun rises over them. The bride and groom will stand beneath an archway covered in vines and flowers that seemingly grow from the ground. Sunlight will peek through the treetops, and softly fall on fabric-draped seats from which their friends and family members will watch the nuptials.

What they don’t envision, though, are uninvited guests that often show up to those outdoor weddings: mosquitoes, no-see-ums, and biting flies. Those flying insects can be more than just an annoyance for their guests — they can be unhealthy. The World Health Organization estimates people contract up to 500 million cases of mosquito-borne diseases each year.

To protect couples, guests, and their beautiful wedding memories, Thermacell designs repellent products that can disinvite all of those insect wedding crashers. The technology is housed in portable energy sources that protect a radius around the device with a pleasing floral scent. And users can turn it off when not in use.

The Thermacell logo

Thermacell can help people repel biting insects at their outdoor events with its non-spray repellent products.

Just a few Thermacells placed around an outdoor wedding can safeguard the area — and keep guests from fogging up the ceremony with bug spray.

Most of the sprays, creams, and incense on the market are filled with chemicals, including the barely pronounceable diethyl phthalate and N-Diethyl-3-Methylbenzamide (DEET), according to the American Mosquito Control Association. In addition to the unappealing smell, the chemicals can stay on your skin long after you’re out of the woods. But Thermacell eliminates that need with no scent or health risks.

“Our product is a DEET-free, scent-free, and no-spray area repellant, compared to chemical products that you actually have to spray on your body and your skin,” said Joe Risi, Thermacell’s PR Account Manager. “Our technology vaporizes into the air and creates an area around you that’s protected, rather than applying protection on your skin.”

Heated Coil Technology Repels Insects Without Bug Spray

Thermacell was founded 20 years ago, inspired by the same technology used in portable hair curlers. A small, butane-powered system heated the coil on those curlers so you could style your hair on the go.

So, Thermacell transferred that technology to its repellent system. Similar to a barbecue lighter, the butane ignites a heat source in a small vessel, which then heats a pad soaked with synthesized chrysanthemum flowers. That floral scent releases into the air up to 15 feet around the system.

“Mosquitos, gnats, and no-see-ums hate that scent,” Joe said. “It’s an area repeller in the basic sense of the word.”

Over the years, Thermacell’s popularity has grown dramatically, and it’s now available in all 50 states and Canada at a variety of major retailers. It’s also currently the top repeller for sale on Amazon and sold in 29 countries, Joe said.

The devices can be lifesavers for party planners tasked with creating a relaxing, beautiful entertainment space outdoors. Joe said he used eight for his outdoor wedding during summer 2019, and his parents frequently use Thermacell when they’re entertaining on their deck in the Hamptons.

“It creates a space where you wouldn’t normally go outside,” he said. “You can finally enjoy those places without having to put on DEET or any other product on your body.”

Along with health concerns, bug repellents that use DEET can also cause your clothes to deteriorate. Because the spray stays on the fabric, it can cause it to degrade, he added.

A Team That Loves Connecting in Nature

Thermacell products were initially created with the hunting community in mind. While hunters had a great need to repel mosquitoes and other biting insects, deer, turkey, and other animals have an extremely sensitive sense of smell. Those sprays were giving the hunters away.

“The focus was the core outdoor and hunting market. But that has shifted in the last 15 years to now a mass market of people who garden, hunt, or enjoy entertaining in outdoor spaces,” Joe said.

Those spending time outside appreciate the long-lasting, on-demand qualities of the Thermacell system. The butane cell lasts for 12 hours, and the soaked pads last for four hours. To heat the pad, you press the button and wait five minutes. When you’re ready to leave an area, you can just turn the system off.

Photo of Thermacell team members on bikes

The Thermacell team is full of people who love outdoor activities — including biking.

The team behind the Thermacell product line is full of those outdoorsy types. Based about 45 minutes outside of Boston, the 35 people who work at Thermacell all enjoy using the product.

“Everyone is super active — cyclists, hikers, and runners. Thermacell is a great company to work for,” Joe said.

In fact, Joe said there are plenty of success stories over the years from people who swear by their Thermacells. The team has even heard feedback from people who have gone outside, realized they’d forgotten their Thermacell, and turned around to go back home and get it.
According to Joe, the reason Thermacell is so popular is that its products simply work. And since the Environmental Protection Agency certifies its products, the company has to live up to the high standards of federal regulations.

Thermacell: A Variety of Products for Any Outdoor Situation

Thermacell offers numerous repellent system options for a variety of outdoor activities — from reading a book on the back porch to hosting a large outdoor wedding. The company also offers many portable repeller options and makes a backpacker model and a repellent camp lantern.

For larger parties, Thermacell’s patio shield options are designed to be both stylish and effective. Plus, the compact devices don’t use open flames or smoky candles, so your guests won’t have to worry about safety risks, either.

One of Thermacell’s most popular models is called the Radius Zone, which has a slightly different technology. Instead of butane-powered heat, it uses a lithium-ion battery.

“You obviously can’t travel with a lighter in your bag internationally. This system has a different chemical component and a different heat source,” Joe said. “You can charge it with a USB, and you can travel with the product and have that same area protection. If you are on a beach in Costa Rica and you’re worried about mosquitoes, you can have this literally anywhere you go, and you’re protected.”

More people are discovering and using Thermacell as a way to enjoy more time together outside. Its products make areas that were once off limits (especially in those dusk hours when the bugs come out) perfect places to enjoy a romantic cocktail or watch the sunset with that special someone.