Mosquitoes are irksome at best and deadly at worst. Some carry diseases and/or the risk of provoking severe allergic reactions. They make summer months and outdoor recreation just plain dreadful. Enter repellents; cue the trumpets and widespread relief. Here is our list of the 10 best mosquito repellent options, replete with product info, features and benefits. We’ve listed the products according to price, lowest to highest.
10. Repel 100-Percent Deet Pen Size Pump Spray
Repel is a leading name in mosquito repellents, and its 100-percent Deet pump spray does not disappoint. The high percentage of Deet protects you for up to 10 hours, and the pen size fits snugly into your pocket or backpack without adding any weight. It’s great for spot protection, like your neck, ears or any exposed skin.
This product is ideal for brief excursions during mosquito season. However, with only 1/2-ounce and 1-ounce sizes available, this is not the long term repellent to take with you on an extended mountain hike or camping trip. It just won’t last that long. Luckily, this is currently an Amazon add-on item, which means it ships for free with qualifying orders over $25.
9. All Terrain Herbal Armor Natural Insect Repellent
If you’re trying to avoid Deet, give All Terrain Herbal Armor a try. It’s Deet-free, hypoallergenic and non-irritating — safe for sensitive skin and children. The all-natural herbal ingredients are clinically-proven to be effective. This formula is also resistant to sweat and water.
Owing to its gentle natural ingredients, each application only repels mosquitoes for about two to three hours, so you have to reapply periodically to maintain protection. This is perhaps the best mosquito repellent for backyard get-togethers, picnics or times when periodic reapplications won’t inconvenience you too much. Although not often on sale, this item comes in three sizes that are fairly cheap.
8. Maxi-Deet Insect Repellent
Maxi-Deet Insect Repellent by Sawyer Products is an odor-free 98-percent Deet formula that offers up to 10 hours of protection. It repels mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, fleas and gnats, and you can use it simultaneously with Sawyer Permethrin for maximum tick protection.
This formula is safe on your skin, or you can spray it liberally on netting and clothing. As of 2017, there are 2-, 3- and 4-ounce pump spray bottles available and a 4-ounce continuous spray bottle. The latter is on the pricey side. This is currently an Amazon add-on item.
7. Citronella Essential Oil
Citronella Essential Oil by Plant Guru is undiluted therapeutic grade for optimal protection against mosquitoes. There are three sizes: 5-, 10- and 30-milliliters. Steam-distilled and made in Sri Lanka, citronella works by masking the odor of the carbon dioxide and lactic acid you exude, which is how mosquitoes locate you.
Citronella is also non-toxic, which makes this one of the best mosquito repellents if you’re trying to avoid carcinogens. However, it’s not nearly as potent as Deet and requires frequent, generous applications. It might irritate sensitive skin, and its unsafe for pregnant women. It’s not eligible for Amazon Prime.
6. Deter Insect Repellent
Deter Insect Repellent is yet another natural Deet-free formula in a 1-ounce travel-size bottle. Plant-based and cruelty-free, this product contains a patent-pending botanical formula. It is clinically proven to protect you for about six hours from common biting insects, making it the best mosquito repellent without Deet.
This product is an add-on, and the manufacturer offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if your’re not fully satisfied.
5. Natrapel Mosquito Tick and Insect Repellent Wipes
Natrapel Mosquito Tick and Insect Repellent Wipes enable you to apply this product directly to your skin in hard-to-spray spots, creating a tight layer of protection. This product is Deet-free, containing 20 percent of an active ingredient called picaridin, which is CDC-recommended as an effective alternative to Deet.
Natrapel is also safe on gear and won’t melt fishing line, jackets or other synthetic fibers. Each individually wrapped wipe fits perfectly into backpacks, pockets or purses. This product is Prime-eligible, which means free two-day shipping. Drawback: this pack only contains 12 wipes, so each pack only goes so far, and then you must replenish.
4. Badger Balm Anti-Bug Balm
Anti-Bug Balm by Badger is a mixture of lemongrass, cedar, rosemary and citronella essential oils in a base of organic castor and extra virgin olive oil. It wards off mosquitoes and soothes skin. This product is family-friendly, and the 3/4-ounce tin slips easily into backpacks and rucksacks.
This product is also Deet-free and Prime-eligible.
3. Cutter Backwoods Insect Repellent
Cutter is a longtime leader in the insect repellent industry, and this product is its standard formula in a pump spray bottle. The Cutter Backwoods Insect Repellent bottle has a 360-degree swivel spray knob, so you can apply it from any angle.
This formula is sweat-resistant and 25 percent Deet, which protects your from mosquitoes for five to 10 hours. This is convenient for ball game days or nights at the State Fair. The brand name is synonymous with reliability and efficacy.
2. Off! Active Insect Repellent II
Off! Active II has a fresh scent and contains 15 percent Deet, which should effectively repel mosquitoes for a few hours
The formula is non-greasy, safe on skin and clothing, and won’t leave stains. It repels biting insects, including mosquitoes, horse flies and gnats. It is specifically sweat- and moisture-resistant, so it’s likely the best mosquito repellent to apply for outdoor sports. Unfortunately, it’s not Prime-eligible
1. Best Mosquito Repellent – Repel Permethrin Clothing & Gear Insect Repellent Aerosol
Repel Permethrin tops this list with its permethrin repellent. Unlike Deet, permethrin kills mosquitoes on contact or shortly afterward. It is odorless, extremely potent in small quantities, and it continues to kill mosquitoes for up to two weeks after application.
Drawback: permethrin is not safe on your skin. You must only use it to spray clothing and gear. Luckily, it’s safe to use with Deet repellents. As a result, this product might prove costly, since you have to stack it with a repellent that is skin-safe.
You also have the option of reserving this product for your gear and clothing when you have additional gear that covers your exposed skin, such as netting. Currently this is an add-on item, and orders on single cans and 6-can cases are Prime-eligible.
Mosquito repellents alleviate the danger and inconvenience of bites and disease transmission during mosquito season. The best mosquito repellent for you is the product whose repelling ingredients and intensity match your personal requirements, schedule and lifestyle. If you want to get rid of scars before going to the beach, you might also like our list of best scar gels. What do you think of our list? Please share your thoughts on our recommendations, or feel free to suggest any stellar items we neglected to mention.