At first sight
Highly effective at repelling mosquitoes from large outdoor areas A robust app makes the system nearly foolproof Expandable Attractive and durable industrial design
Expensive, both upfront and for its consumable repeller Optional accessories are also expensive Monitoring the repeller level may not be accurate Only connects to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks
The high cost of this mosquito repellent system, both initial and ongoing in terms of consumables, is offset by its sheer effectiveness.
Price at time of review
$699.00 (plus $54 for three optional hardscape bases)
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Thermacell retail price $699.00
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Mosquitoes are much more than annoying pests. They can infect humans with diseases, including Zika virus, West Nile virus, encephalitis, and many others.
Thermacell has long offered devices that effectively repel flying insects from small outdoor areas, and now its Wi-Fi-connected Thermacell LIV system is here to protect large, and very large, outdoor living spaces too. We have found it to be very effective, but it is also expensive.
I have a small garden so I tested the system at my daughter’s house. A small stream runs through the back of her property and the family has been infested with mosquitoes in the summer, to the point where no one could enter the yard without being swarmed and suffering multiple bites within minutes.
Updated May 19, 2023: This review was originally posted on July 22, 2023. This update brings back a new side mount option for LIV Repel units. Thermacell has also introduced new, larger refill cartridges that are expected to last 100 hours each.
Less than 15 minutes after installing and activating the Thermacell LIV system on her 40 x 15 foot raised rear deck, there was no sign of mosquitoes. My daughter has been running the system for the past two months and she tells me that she has never failed to deter leeches. The family has since been able to enjoy cookouts and meals on the deck without worrying about bites.
Is Thermacell LIV effective in repelling mosquitoes?
The good news is that Thermacell LIV is highly effective at repelling mosquitoes, even in large areas. The bad news is the high price, both up front and over time in the form of consumables. But before you get there Thatlet me explain the components that make up the system and how it works.
The Thermacell LIV system consists of a central hub that plugs into an outdoor electrical outlet and connects to your home Wi-Fi network (2.4GHz networks only). Then wire the cylindrical LIV repellers to the hub using the low voltage wires provided. Only the first repeller connects directly to the hub; the rest of the stations connect to the first in a linear fashion. Finally, you’ll install the robust LIV app on your mobile device.
The weatherproof hub plugs into an external GFCI outlet and can be wall mounted. The repellers are manufactured from a cast aluminum alloy and measure 9.5″ x 3.5″ x 3.5″ (HxWxD). These come with stakes for setting up the repeller stations in a lawn or flower bed, or they can be screwed directly into a deck or similar surface. For this review, Thermacell has provided a hardscape base ($18) for each repeller. Thermacell now also offers a side mount base (pictured above) that can be attached to the vertical side of a structure; for example, a deck or your house. These side-mount bases are also priced at $18 each.
Each repeller is rated to cover a 20-foot radius by vaporizing a liquid chemical known as metofluthrin. Thermacell describes metofluthrin as a “synthetic molecule inspired by a naturally occurring chemical” and says the chemical is registered by the EPA for use in children’s and food preparation areas. It’s also safe for pets. The repeller comes in a hemispherical plastic cartridge that fits inside each repeller.
Is it possible to configure more than one Thermacell LIV system?
Each LIV hub can support up to five LIV repellers. If you need to protect a very large area that requires more than five repellers, you can deploy the second and subsequent hubs, each with up to five additional repellers. Each LIV hub and its associated repellers are identified as zones within the app. Zones are controlled independently, but all repellers in each zone will be turned on or off – you cannot control individual repellers.
Thermacell says each repellent cartridge should last 40 hours, and the app should report the level of repellent remaining in each zone, not each repellent, because the consumption rate should be the same for everyone. We found that this measure was not all that reliable. There is no sensor to monitor the actual level of repellent in the cartridge; instead, the app tracks the system’s operating hours and calculates a burn rate to determine how much you repel Should they remain in the cartridges.
It is possible, however, that the cartridges we received with our review unit were leaked during transport and therefore did not arrive at their full capacity. Thermacell told us this had happened with some early shipments, and while we didn’t see any obvious losses with our lot, we may have missed it.
How do you know that a Thermacell LIV system is working?
Each LIV repeller has an LED light ring that illuminates in a chasing pattern while the system is booting and illuminates solid when the system is providing active protection. You can customize the brightness and color of the light ring using three presets: Day White, Dim White, or Thermacell Blue, or you can choose a custom color from a color wheel. Whatever color and brightness you choose, it will apply to all repellers in that area.
The system can be turned on and off using a button in the app. You can also set a timer to turn the system on, and once it’s on, you can set a timer to turn it off.
If you really wanted to, you could schedule on and off times based on calendar dates and times, though you’d have to live a highly regimented life to make it worth the risk of needlessly burning a lot of repellent.
The app can also be programmed to notify you when the system has warmed up, when the system has been active for more than three hours, when the repeller level is low, when a scheduled operation starts and ends, and when the system detects a malfunction .
How much does Thermacell LIV cost?
As I mentioned, the bad news about a Thermacell LIV system is its cost. The $699 starter kit reviewed here consists of a LIV hub, three LIV repellers, three 10-inch aluminum stakes for placing the repellers in the ground or a lawn, three 24-foot low-voltage wires for connecting the repellers to the hub and enough repellent for a season. A six-pack of repeller cartridges costs $120, which is a good time to remind yourself that Thermacell claims each cartridge should last 40 hours. Thermacell has added a set of larger LIV repellent cartridges in May 2023. These are expected to last 100 hours each and are priced at $250 for a set of six.
Perhaps recognizing that consumers may be skeptical of Thermacell’s efficacy claim, the manufacturer offers a 60 day satisfaction guarantee. To quote Thermacell: “If you’re not 100% convinced it allows you to spend more time outdoors doing what you love, pack it up and return it to us for a full refund. Simple as that.”
Thermacell also sells a number of additional accessories for the system, including a 10-inch-wide base for installing a repeller on hardscape ($18), a side mount for installing a LIV repeller on a fence or wall (also $18) and 10- and 24-foot low-voltage extension cords ($11 and $15, respectively).
In addition to the three repeller starter kit, Thermacell sells four and five repeller starter kits for $799 and $899, respectively. Additional hubs cost $169 each, and additional repeller units are priced at $149 each. So unless you have a very small area to cover, buying a starter kit is cheaper than building an a la carte system. If you don’t want to do the work yourself, Thermacell can put you in touch with its network of professional installers; click on the previous link for more information.
Thermacell LIV is expensive, but it’s worth it
If you have a serious mosquito problem or are very vulnerable to diseases that insects can transmit, Thermacell LIV will keep them at bay. It’s safe, effective, and much more comfortable than dousing your body with insect repellent. Its biggest drawback is its initial cost, which will be even higher if you need expensive accessories, and the ongoing cost for repellent refills. Let’s hope those prices come down as Thermacell recoups its R&D investment.
Updated May 19, 2023: This review was originally posted on July 22, 2023. This update brings back a new side mount option for LIV Repel units. Thermacell has also introduced new, larger refill cartridges that are expected to last 100 days each.