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The Best Bug Repellents

Everyone should avoid bug bites, which are annoying at best and debilitating (or even lethal) in worst-case scenarios. For a bug repellent that’s safe and effective—and that won’t stink or leave a puddle of oil on your skin—skip the DEET and get a picaridin formula, like Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent. It’s the best bottle of bug spray we found after testing 23 repellents and talking to everyone from the EPA to the American Mosquito Control Association.

How we picked

  • EPA approval - EPA-approved repellents have undergone extensive safety and efficacy testing and can be trusted.
  • 20% picaridin - Most of our recommendations use a 20% concentration of picaridin, which offers long-lasting repellency for ticks and mosquitoes with none of DEET’s downsides.
  • Testing, within limits - We test our picks for usability, as opposed to efficacy, because the variables of environment, physiology, and bug behavior affect performance.
  • Spray matters - The best repellents have a nice, even spray that is easy to apply. The worst ones are spitty and messy, and can overspray or puddle up.

You can find the full article with Wirecutter's top repellent reconmendations, written by Doug Mahoney here.

LAST UPDATED

July 13, 2022

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Doug Mahoney

Wirecutter

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Even if you remember to wear insect repellent and regularly check yourself, it’s easy to forget that your pets are vulnerable to these sneaky critters, too.

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Choosing the right repellent matters: Our top products provided several hours of protection, and some of our lowest-scoring ones failed in as little as 30 minutes.

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