No items found.

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.

LAST UPDATED

October 29, 2023

Written by
Photo thumbnail Blog Author

Popular Science

Media Mentions from Popular Science

Popular Science has been demystifying the worlds of science and technology since 1872. We explain the inner workings of the phone in your pocket, explore world-changing innovations, and examine everything from the marvels of deep space to the secret lives of staples like bread. We deliver an engaging, approachable, and inclusive look at emerging technologies and scientific advances. Daily, PopSci unpacks the science behind the top current news stories, dissects the latest technology and digital trends, and helps readers life smarter, safer, and happier through clever DIY projects.

Explore More Content

Media Mentions

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

James Wong
Freelance Writer

Media Mentions

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

Laura Fenton
Contributor

Media Mentions

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