The 5 Best Bed Bug Heaters
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in April of 2015. Good night, sleep tight, and don't let the bed bugs bite. But if they do, one of these heaters will take care of the problem swiftly and effectively. You'll be able to kill all of those annoying pests without the need for any harmful pesticides or other chemicals. They're particularly useful for sanitizing clothing if you have recently traveled to less-than-clean locations. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
February 18, 2020:
While there aren't a whole lot of options on the market for safe and effective bed bug removal, the few heat-based models out there are probably among the best. Of course, you're trading the dangers of short- and long-term chemical exposure for the dangers of localized extreme heat often feeding off a pair of circuits at the same time, so it's important to remember that there is a small fire hazard involved if you use them carelessly.
Carefully employed, however, these can be very effective, and our ranking is mostly organized in terms of power and efficacy, though the cost of the Prevsol Heating BBHD-8 did hold it back somewhat. It's an industrial option to be sure, but it's overkill for most families' needs and electrical bills. The ZappBug Room Treatment Chamber is likely the better choice for whole room treatments, though it's important to note that you'll still need a way to treat any bugs or eggs that have made it into carpeting. Tearing it up and disposing of it is the best option here, but not always a viable one for renters. The Dr Infrared DR-122 was another large-sale option, but issues with the company's material durability have been raised with almost every one of their models, leading us to remove them from the ranking entirely.
There are also more compact options for frequent travelers or thrifty thrift shoppers who want to clean the clothes they bring in from outside, like the ZappBug Packtite.
Tiny Little Terrors
Creating that kind of heat environment for a home is nearly impossible, though, and where it is possible it's prohibitively expensive.
Few things in the first world are more stultifying, more degrading, than a close encounter with bed bugs. As common as they are, there's a weight of shame associated with their arrival, as though you failed somehow to protect yourself, to maintain a baseline of cleanliness that could have kept the little jerks at bay.
If you've had bed bugs, you know nothing could be farther from the truth. It doesn't matter how clean or how careful you are; they find a way in. The biggest problem with bed bugs though, is that long after you've recovered from the emotional and social scars (many victims will experience a few weeks or months of ostracizing from their friends and family), you still have to contend with a loss of stuff.
First, they take away our good night's sleep. Then, they take away our precious things. Your vinyl collection? Infested. Your shelves of books that you slaved over reading and communing with the authors thereof? Infested. The two stuffed animals that your grandmother gave you when you were seven years old, which are the only things you kept to remember her? Infested.
More often than not, you have to get rid of everything. The risk of a few eggs surviving here and there is just too great. These heaters, however, offer you a solution to save your most valuable, emotionally significant items.
As resistant as bed bugs are to insecticides and other chemical treatments, they can't escape the heat. If you simply expose the bugs and their eggs to a temperature of 113 degrees Fahrenheit or more for at least 90 minutes, the lot of them – 100 percent of them – will be destroyed.
Creating that kind of heat environment for a home is nearly impossible, though, and where it is possible it's prohibitively expensive. While your space is treated with spray or another chemical, you can take your most important things and load them into one of these bed bug heaters, turn up the juice, and cook those punks into oblivion.
Save Your Stuff
I have a lot of books. Altogether, my library is a thing of which I'm extremely proud. I could say the same about my vinyl collection, but that's more about quality than quantity. I probably have fewer than 100 albums, but each one is a killer.
Then, there's the clothing. When I turned 25, I had a job that made me more money than I'd ever seen, and I'd just discovered men's fashion. I've grown out of that phase for the most part, but much of its acquisitions still remain in all their overpriced glory.
The financial blow would only be superseded by the emotional toll it would take on me.
If I got hit with a bed bug infestation, I'd be more than loathe to lose all these things I've acquired over the years. The financial blow would only be superseded by the emotional toll it would take on me. Given how much stuff I'd want to save, it would behoove me to invest in a bed bug heater with the most internal space.
When you're evaluating one heater over another, think about how much stuff you actually need to salvage, and how much time you'll need to do it. I could, in theory, use the smallest heater on our list to save all my stuff, but that would probably take days, maybe even weeks to accomplish.
Of course, the bigger and more effective the heater, the more expensive you can expect it to be, so I'm going to propose something radical for you and me both. What if we took the opportunity afforded to us by these bed bugs as just that: an opportunity. Maybe I could live with only 25 of those 100 albums. Maybe I could live without the books I've already read and don't intend to ever reread.
I'm not saying dump all your stuff, strap on a sheet and some sandals and wander the desert in search of ascetic enlightenment. I'm just saying that if you don't think you can afford the most expensive solution on our list, you could always get a smaller one and free yourself from a modicum of your materialistic baggage.
An Awful And Triumphant Return
Bed bugs have been with us for as long as there have been beds. Before that, they were just bugs, lumped into a classification of lice and other infesting species that drank our blood and caused us incessantly to scratch.
Bed bugs have been with us for as long as there have been beds.
Beds didn't really become a thing until the ancient Egyptians and – at a historical parallel – the Scottish filled and topped boxes and surfaces with soft, supportive materials. Bedding, however, independent of the idea of a bed, reaches back almost 80,000 years to a cave in South Africa. Of course, in the case of such ancient, prehistorical bedding, we mean little more than a pile of straw and leaves, but the intent was there.
While beg bugs have been hanging around with us for many thousands of years, we almost completely got rid of them in the developed world. In the 1940s, there were next to no cases of bed bugs anywhere in western Europe and the United States. Since then, however, as international travel increased, and as a result of government bans on certain insecticides and increased resistance to others by the bed bugs themselves, their numbers have been back on the rise.