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What's the Best Mosquito Repellent? How to Buy the Right One for You

Picking up a few bug bites used to be one of summer's rites of passage. But actually, shielding yourself from ticks and mosquitoes is just as important as wearing sunscreen. "People used to hate to wear [insect] repellent, or say, 'Oh, I don't care about getting bitten,'" says Walter S. Leal, Ph.D., a chemical ecologist and professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis. While it's hard to determine why mosquitos decide to bite some people and not others, using a mosquito repellent can effectively lower your bite tally this summer and also keep you safe from the diseases they carry, including Zika virus, West Nile virus, malaria, Chikungunya virus, and dengue. Some will also shield you from other disease-carrying insects like ticks, which transmit Lyme's Disease.

Whether you'll be spending your summer hiking and camping, hanging in the backyard, or lounging at the beach, protect yourself and your loved ones from pesky bug bites with the 10 best mosquito repellents. Here, you'll find top-rated options that have thousands of glowing reviews, plus our handy guide for finding the right one for you.

Best Overall: Off! Deep Woods Mosquito Repellent Spray

Best for Hiking: Adventure Medical Ben's 100 Max DEET Tick & Insect Repellent Spray

Best Wipes: Repel Sportsmen 30% DEET Wipes

Best for Sensitive Skin: Sawyer Controlled-Release Repellent Lotion

Best Long-Lasting: Sawyer Picaridin 20% Continuous Spray

Best Smelling: Natrapel 20% Eco Insect Repellent Spray

Best for Backyards: Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

Best OLE Option: Repel Lemon Plant-Based Eucalyptus Insect Repellent

Best for Babies and Kids: Babyganics Natural Insect Repellent

Best for Pets: Vet's Best Mosquito Repellent for Dogs and Cats

If you interested in learning more about how to buy the right mosquito repellent for you, continue to read Lauren Oster's complete article here


December 3, 2023

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Sawyer has an alternative [to DEET] made with Picaridin, which works just as well without spoiling your clothes.

James Wong
Freelance Writer

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Zinzi Edmundson, the founder of Treehouse newsletter, who gardens in Maine, suggests spraying your shoes, especially (she uses Sawyer’s permethrin).

Laura Fenton

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I carry bottles of water, but I also have a Sawyer squeeze water filter. Also, if it’s cold, make sure you sleep with your water filter in your sleeping bag, so it doesn’t freeze.

Shilletha Curtis