The 7 Best Insect Repellents to Ward Off Ticks, Mosquitoes, Fleas, and Pesky Bugs
Repel mosquitoes, ticks, and other pesky insects.
Flies, mosquitos, and ticks can dampen any outdoor excursion, especially on a hot summer day. A short hike can quickly become a swat fest when the bugs are out, and there’s nothing worse than having to shoo mosquitoes and flies away while using GPS to navigate a trail.
Thankfully, the U.S. military developed a nifty little chemical solution to handle these annoyances: insect repellent. DEET and permethrin work to camouflage your body and kill bugs on contact, so you don’t have to flail your arms around in the woods.
Whether you’re having a backyard gathering, planning a picnic, or hiking the Appalachian Trail, these insect repellents keep the bugs at bay.
The Best Mosquito Repellents
- Best Overall: Cutter Backwoods Insect Repellent (2-Pack)
- Best Lotion: Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent Lotion
- Best for Home Use: Thermacell E55 E-Series Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller
- Most Natural: Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent
- Most Powerful: Ben’s Max Formula Tick and Insect Repellent (2-Pack)
A 20% DEET Premium Controlled-Release Lotion will work well against mosquitoes, but Dr. Zimring says he prefers the 20% Picaridin lotion since it also protects against ticks, gnats, chiggers, and flies. (In both instances, he recommends Sawyer brand.)
Part of spending time outside means battling ticks, mosquitoes, and other biting insects. For this, Nelson swears by permethrin.
And out of the products we tested, Dr. Zeichner highly recommends Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent.