Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System Review: Enjoy Your Yard This Summer Without Being Eaten Alive

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The Lowdown

The Thermacell LIV Mosquito Repellent System can protect a large, customizable area from mosquitos and other pests. It can be turned on and off remotely, and it can even be controlled via a preprogrammed schedule. The active repellent has no smell, and it is safe for people and pets.

Overall
4

Pros

  • Set up is relatively straightforward
  • Repellent will last up to 100 hours before needing to be replaced
  • System can be turned on or off remotely with a few taps or by accessing your smart home assistant
  • You can set a schedule to control when the system turns on if you have a set routine
  • Repellent does not smell, does not have to be sprayed and is safe for humans and pets
  • Once the system is installed it can be left out all year long, year after year
  • You can try the system in your own yard for 100 days risk-free

Cons

  • The system maxes at five repellers per smart hub
  • Upfront cost is pretty significant
  • Refills are expensive at six for $120
  • Each repeller is connected via a wire which is an issue if you have a lot of hardscapes
Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System Review: Enjoy Your Yard This Summer Without Being Eaten Alive Listen to this article

I am one of the sweetest people in the world; at least, that’s what mosquitos think. Put me outside for more than ten minutes, and I’ll be covered with bites, which really puts a damper on enjoying the outside. Thankfully, I’ve now got the Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System; mosquitos are no longer a problem.

It’s true; mosquitos love me. As a result, whenever I’m going to be outside, I’ve long known to cover myself with bug spray that has Deet in it; I’ve tried the safer, natural mosquito repellents, and they have never worked. I’ve thought about hiring one of those pricey companies that promise to rid your property of flying pests, but the chemicals they use are expensive and dangerous for my dogs.

Judie had initially intended to review the Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System, but due to the unseasonably cool and dry weather her part of Texas has been experiencing this year, she hasn’t yet had any mosquitoes to test LIV with! I, on the other hand … well, let’s just say that when she asked if I would mind taking over the review since I have mosquitoes to test it with, I jumped.

“Maybe,” I thought, “this will be the solution I’ve been looking for and I can really enjoy being outside.” Has it done the trick? Let’s take a look.

Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System

We’ve been reviewing Thermacell products since 2011. Several years ago, I bought a Thermocell Patio Lantern. It’s a battery-operated mosquito repellant system that I’ve used on and off since then. The idea is fairly simple. The lantern has a rechargeable battery; when turned on, the batteries can power both a light and the bug repellant system.

Inside the lantern, a small mat is saturated with a repellent that is placed on top of the metal grill. When heat disburses the repellant from the mat into the air, a zone of protection is created. The chemical soaked into the repellent mat is a “synthetic allethrin formula is inspired by repellent extracts found in plants.” This repellant formula has been independently tested, and EPA reviewed for both safety and effectiveness; it is people and pet friendly.

Since I bought the lantern, Thermacell has expanded its offerings and developed new technologies. One, for example, uses a special replaceable fuel cartridge to heat the pad rather than a rechargeable battery. Another uses a small camping propane tank.

Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System Review: Enjoy Your Yard This Summer Without Being Eaten Alive

 

The Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System is based on similar technologies, but it takes things to a new level. LIV is a smart, integrated system that uses a hub, up to five repellers, and replaceable repellent cartridges. With them, LIV can provide consistent mosquito protection day in and day out. It starts working within minutes of being turned on, and Thermacell promises that even the most mosquito-infested yards will be no match for this system. 

Let’s start by looking at the repellers included with the LIV system. Made from metal, these repellers are designed to endure all sorts of weather, from the hottest summer day to the coldest midwinter freeze. Thermacell says that once the LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System is installed, it will be ready for use year after year.

So, while the LIV installation process we’ll walk through shortly may take some time, once it is done, the system doesn’t need to be adjusted or taken in at the end of the season. That’s pretty awesome.

The repeller’s top lifts off;  inside, there is a compartment for the repellent cartridges. Each LIV repellent cartridge offers up to 100 hours of protection, and a set of six replacement cartridges is $120.

The LIV repellent cartridge contains a 5.5% metofluthrin formulation that, when used in the Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System, provides extensive area mosquito protection.

The repellent is invisible and scent-free; there’s no spray put on your skin, no flames, and no mess. The system is people and pet friendly, and it will repel all types of mosquitoes, including those that may transmit Encephalitis, Chikungunya, West Nile Virus, and Zika Virus.

Safe for people and kids? Repels ticks AND mosquitos? Clean and undetectable when actively offering protection? Sign me up!!!

A heating element inside the LIV repeller activates the chemical in the repellent, which is then released into the air. The repeller effectively “clears” an area roughly 20′ in diameter around the repeller when active.

Theoretically, I could take several Thermacell’s home repellers and strategically place them around my backyard; with enough of them, I could have overlapping protection zones to make evenings outside more comfortable.

different Thermacell mosquito repellent systems

That would, however, be a hassle. After all, that kind of piecemeal system would require me to turn each repeller on individually; every time I wanted to go outside, I would likely get eaten alive while turning the repellers on and waiting for them to start working.

On the other hand, the Thermacell LIV Mosquito Repellent System lets you daisy chain up to five repellers. That means you only have to turn the system on once, and all five of the repellers will turn on simultaneously.

But it gets better.

At the heart of the system is the LIV Smart Hub. The Smart Hub, which must be plugged into a protected outdoor outlet, powers and controls the system.

When activated, the Smart Hub sends a signal and a charge to all of the repellers connected to it to turn them on.

But the Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System gets even better. Because the LIV Smart Hub is smart, it can connect to your home’s Wi-Fi. After it is connected, you can control the system with the free LIV app.

The simplest control mode is a simple On/Off. You can turn the system on from the safety and comfort of inside your home. Fifteen minutes later, the protected area should be free of mosquitos — and you don’t have to go outside until then!

Turning the system on and off remotely is also a benefit since it lets you shut the system off, even if you only remember to do so once you are back inside. The fact that you can so easily turn the system off is essential because the refills are expensive enough that you only want the system on when you need it to be. When they are off, the repellent will dissipate, meaning that it won’t harm beneficial insects like honey bees and butterflies. 

You can also set up a schedule so that the system is active only during certain times each day. For example, if you always have morning coffee and want to move your ritual outside, the system can turn on at 7 am and automatically turn off at 9 am.

Or, if you know that you like to swim each day at 2 pm, you can have the system come on at 1:45 and then shut off an hour later. If you have an established routine, the schedule is a great way to enjoy the outdoors mosquito-free without having to give it another thought. Keep in mind that you will go through repellent much more quickly if you take this approach. Finally, you can connect the LIV system to your Alexa Smart Home System and turn the LIV on and off by simply speaking to Alexa.

If you want to protect your front and back yards, you can purchase two systems and give each a different name. In that case, the app will let you decide which system to turn on before you head outside.

Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System Vocabulary:

  • The Smart Hub: Powers and controls up to five repellers; connecting to your home network will unlock LIV+ features. 
  • The Repellers: These are points of protection that should be placed near areas you use the most to protect larger or multiple locations.
  • The Repellent: Keeps the mosquitoes away; cartridges placed in repellers create protection zones that repel mosquitoes. 

As you set up the system, you can choose to use a heavy metal hardscape base or one of the spike bases if you are placing the repelled in a grassy or planted area.

This is what the $18 hardscape base looks like. It’s a great solution if you have an area that is completely paved over, or so you can quickly and easily move a repeller from its current location to a different place.

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

And this is what the spike base looks like.

 

Now we can talk about how I set up the Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System in my yard and my experience using it. 

Our backyard abuts a glen with a small brook flowing in the middle, which is one of the reasons our mosquito problem is as significant as it is. Although, given my history, it’s safe to say that I would still get eaten alive even without the nearby brook.

On one side of our backyard, we have a table with six chairs for dining. In another section, we have an outdoor sectional, and in a third area, we have some casual seating. All of this surrounds a pool. In other words, while our backyard isn’t exactly huge, it has enough different sitting areas that there is a sizable amount of space that needs to be covered.

Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System Review: Enjoy Your Yard This Summer Without Being Eaten Alive

The Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System is perfect for this situation since each repeller can cover up to a twenty-foot area. In other words, by measuring the distance between one repeller and the next, we could have each zone overlap just enough with the next to create a wall of protection around the entire space in our backyard.

Almost.

The layout Raina and I came up with was just a bit too large to be entirely covered by the largest, five repeller system Judie had forwarded me to review. We considered that much of our backyard was covered in pavers when designing the installation. That’s a challenge because a power cable connects each repeller to the next, which could become a trip hazard in the wrong spot.

We figured it out, but there was a bit of a gap in the protection. Were LIV able to handle six repellers, we would have been golden. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, and, try as we might, we couldn’t get complete coverage. Even if we could position it for full backyard coverage, we would have had to leave cables sitting on top of some of the pavers (the trip hazard mentioned above). We could lift the pavers and bury the wires, but that sounded like a huge task.

So we found another way to cover all of the critical areas that need protection. We divided the five repellers into two groups. 

The first area would use three repellers to keep bugs away from the fire pit, the outdoor dining table, and the comfy reading chair. Here’s how that layout would look.

Where the three Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System repellers will go

Each circle indicates where one of the three repellers has been placed.

Here is a closeup of the repellers’ placement.

The three LIV repellers are enough to cover all three areas cohesively, and the smart hub is hidden behind the fence that keeps the pool mechanics out of sight. It is a clean setup, and once the cables are buried (a task for when I have a few free minutes), they will pretty much disappear.

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The remaining two repellers will be placed closer to the house near the outdoor sectional we recently got.

Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System on a hardscape base

This way, the seating area near the house is covered as well as the two chaise loungers and the grill.

Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System on a hardscape base

This approach allows us to have mosquito protection in all the main sitting areas and keeps me protected when I’m outside grilling or smoking. The only issue is that I will need to purchase a second smart hub because we have split the five repellers into two sections.

At $169, a second smart hub is not inexpensive, but in the long run, it is less than hiring a company to come every few weeks and spray poison; it’s also safer. Plus, if using this system means I can comfortably be outside more often this summer, it will be worth every penny.

There’s an additional advantage to splitting the system like this; if all five repellers were connected to the same smart hub, they would all be on or off simultaneously and could consume more repellant than necessary.

With this design, I can turn on the two repellers by the couch when I want to sit outside and read and only use repellent from those two repellers. In the long run, it will hopefully let the repellent last longer.

The Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System kit with three repellers is $699 and is enough to cover a 945 square-foot area.

The kit with four repellers is $799 and can cover up to 1,260 square feet.

And the kit with five repellers is $899 and can cover an area that is almost 1,600 square feet.

 

 

Before I installed the LIV Mosquito Repellent System, mosquitos were just beginning to make their presence known. So far, the system seems to be working as promised, as I can enjoy my time outdoors without getting eaten alive. I’ll be using the LIV system extensively throughout the summer and will update this post as I gain more experience using it. Right now, though, this seems to be the solution I have been looking for.

The Thermacell LIV Mosquito Repellent System can protect a large, customizable area from mosquitos and other pests. It can be turned on and off remotely, and it can even be controlled via a preprogrammed schedule. The active repellent has no smell, and it is safe for people and pets.

Once installed, you only need to deal with the system directly when the repellent pods run dry. While neither the LIV system nor the refills are inexpensive, Raina and I calculate that we will have saved money in just a season or two compared to what it would cost to hire one of the mosquito abatement companies.

Most importantly, with this system in place, I can finally spend more time outside without covering myself with Deet or simply putting up with arms and legs covered with mosquito bites.

The Thermacell LIV system has the potential to make this a summer where we can spend more time than ever together outside. After two and a half years of a pandemic, that’s a very good thing.

If this sounds like something that might work for you, you can give the system a risk-free trial for 100 days; Thermacell says that if “you’re not 100% convinced it lets you spend more time outside doing what you love, pack it up and return it to us for a full refund. Simple as that.”

The Thermacell LIV Smart Mosquito Repellent System starts at $699 for the 3-repeller starter kit; it is available directly from the manufacturer.

UPDATE: From June 24 through June 26, Thermacell will be offering 25% off all LIV Starter Kits (excluding additional refills/accessories). Use the promo code: FREEDOM25.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Set up is relatively straightforward; Repellent will last up to 40 hours before needing to be replaced; System can be turned on or off remotely with a few taps or by accessing your smart home assistant; You can set a schedule to control when the system turns on if you have a set routine; Repellent does not smell, does not have to be sprayed and is safe for humans and pets; Once the system is installed it can be left out all year long, year after year; You can try the system in your own yard for 100 days risk-free

What Needs Improvement: The system maxes at five repellers per smart hub; Upfront cost is pretty significant; Refills are expensive at six for $120; Each repeller is connected via a wire which is an issue if you have a lot of hardscapes

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.