The Bottom Line
Skeeter Beater magnetic vehicle window screens make an interesting product. They're based on a very simple concept, and that often makes for the best user experience. In my case, I'm not overwhelmed by their wonderfulness and I'm a little disappointed in their performance in breezy conditions, but I will keep them in my truck for those times when I need to sack out in it, or when I want to leave the windows down to keep it cooler when it's parked out in the sun.
All in all, it's a product worthy of consideration, and when installed the Skeeter Beater does keep the bigger bugs out.
- Non-permanent; goes on with magnets.
- They fold up nice and compact and store in the provided drawstring storage bag (one bag per pair).
- They keep the bugs out, when they stay in place.
- Doesn't fit well on vehicles that have VentVisors over the windows.
- Sometimes come loose in windy conditions.
- The magnets are non-abrasive, but the screens may gather grit that will scratch your paint.
- Magnetic vehicle window screens, to allow air circulation without letting any bugs in.
- Available in a number of models, and designed for vehicle doors that have steel all the way around the window.
- When properly in place, you can freely open and close your vehicle doors.
- No-see-um mesh will block even the smallest critters. Small bugs can, however, sneak past any gaps around the edges.
- Available in gray or camo. At press time, the camo pattern offered was Realtree Marsh.
- At press time, MSRP is $35.95 for a set of two. Some single screens available for $18.00 each.
Guide Review - Skeeter Beater Magnetic Vehicle Window Screens
The Skeeter Beater is an interesting product, which works if the wind doesn't blow.
To fit my 2001 Chevy 1500HD crew-cab truck, I procured two pairs of Skeeter Beaters. Model names have changed since then, but mine are labeled Expedition for the front windows, and Yukon for the rears. The rear ones would fit fairly well, but because I have VentVisors over my windows, they come up a bit short on the bottom.
The Expeditions for the front windows are oversized for my truck, but they work much better than the rears. It's better to have them a little larger than they need to be, rather than "just big enough."
For my first test, I simply placed them over the open windows of my truck while some friends and I were at a rifle range. It was a little breezy that day, and the results were disappointing: The rear screens kept coming loose at the bottom. I would hate to depend on these things to keep the bugs outside. You never know when a gust of wind will expose your tender hide to all the local insects.
There are gaps between magnets where the screen material can (and does) lift away from the vehicle. I'm sure these spots could allow small bugs to get past them, and in extreme cases smaller skeeters could slip past the guards and suck your blood. But it will definitely keep out most of the bugs, when the weather is calm.
There's not much more to be said. Stronger magnets might help prevent the wind problem, but they'd definitely be harder on your paint job. I'll use my Skeeter Beaters when the weather's calm, but when I'm planning a trip I'll have to consider that a breeze may force me to change my plans. In short: I'll use them, but I won't depend on them.
- Russ Chastain