We Tested 15 Mosquito Repellents, And These Kept Us Bite-Free
We asked literal bug experts to share their recs — and then we put these bug-banishers to the test.
Mosquito repellent is the categorical opposite of pheromone perfume. Unlike the latter, which attracts babes, the former bucks bugs.
True to its name, mosquito repellent uses a combination of active ingredients — like DEET or picaridin —to discourage insects from docking on your skin and feasting on your blood. The result of using these products is that whether you’re spending the day swimming, running, hiking, or BBQ-ing, without worrying about a gnat attack ruining your fun.
So which are the most effective mosquito repellents on the market? After testing 15 different products for over 600 hours and evaluating them on effectiveness, ease of use, smell, coverage, and value, we’re got the answer. Below, you’ll learn the best products for stopping itching and muting buzz before it starts — plus, get all your questions about DEET and how mosquito repellent works, answered.
Our Top Picks
BEST MOSQUITO REPELLENT OVERALL:
Off! Family Care Insect Repellent With Picaridin at Amazon
BEST FOR SENSITIVE SKIN:
EarthKind Stay Away Mosquitoes Insect Repellent at Amazon
BEST WITH DEET:
Off! Active Insect Repellent at Amazon
Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent at Amazon
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.