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Best insect repellent: bug sprays, lotions, wipes, essential oils

Don’t let pests run—or ruin—your life. The best insect repellent will keep your skin protected and ward off bug-borne illnesses.

Whether we’re in the middle of nature or in the comfort of our own homes, rude, biting bugs can wreak havoc on humans and pets, like scores of Davids going up against a single Goliath. Effective bug control begins with the best insect repellent. It’s a proactive way to keep the critters away before they leave their mark on our sensitive skin or do more serious damage. But it can be overwhelming to browse through rows of sprays, lotions, wipes, bracelets and even electronic insect repellent. We’re here to help you find the repellents that really, genuinely work.

  • Best DEET insect repellent: OFF! Deep Woods Insect & Mosquito Repellent
  • Best picaridin insect repellent: Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent
  • Best babies insect repellent: Cutter Mosquito Wipes
  • Best insect repellent for dogs: Wondercide Flea, Tick, and Mosquito Spray
  • Also great: Thermacell E55 Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller

What to look for in the best insect repellent

So how do you go about choosing the best insect repellent your money can buy? There’s a wide variety, which vary in effectiveness, application style, and whether their effects are scientifically proven. (Mosquito repellent bracelets, for example, are an option, but experts are not unanimously sold on their effectiveness.) Read more about what insect repellents work best for you written by Jeremy Helligar here.

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October 29, 2023

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Popular Science

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While young babies should be protected with clothing and netting (not chemicals), older babies and children should use a suitable repellent to help avoid bites, discomfort, and insect-borne illnesses.

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