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The Best Bug Repellents

We’re currently testing two new sprays—Ben’s Tick Repellent and Proven Insect Repellent—and two new lotions, the Proven Mosquito and Tick Lotion and Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent.

For a bug blocker that’s safe and effective—and won’t stink or leave a puddle of oil on your skin—skip the DEET and get a picaridin formula like Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin. It’s the best bottle of bug spray we found after testing 15 repellents and talking to everyone from the EPA to the American Mosquito Control Association.

Read the full guide from Doug Mahoney on Wirecutter's website here.

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December 3, 2023

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Wirecutter

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Wirecutter’s mission is to recommend what really matters. Each year, we independently test and review thousands of products to help you find just what you need. Our goal is to save you time and eliminate the stress of shopping, whether you’re looking for everyday gear or gifts for loved ones.

We strive to be the most trusted product recommendation service around, and we work with total editorial independence. We won’t post a recommendation unless our writers and editors have deemed something the best through rigorous reporting and testing.

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Sawyer Insect Repellent is a versatile picaridin spray recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as safe and effective for most people. Our testers liked the evaporating smell and how the spray feels once it dries.

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Insects and arachnids that bite in self-defense instead of to feed -- such as yellow jackets, bees, wasps, hornets, certain ants or spiders -- cannot be repelled with insect repellents.

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The number of bug-borne diseases is increasing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the number of places they're spreading to is also on the rise.

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