The 10 Best Tick Repellents To Keep You Bite-Free Summer
Learn how to keep yourself off the menu with these great tick repellent sprays, creams, and wipes.
Medically Reviewed by Michael Menna, DO
Fact Checked by Richard Scherr
Heading out for a hike in the wilderness this season? You might have a few uninvited guests tagging along on your clothes and hiking gear. As temperatures start to rise, ticks and other blood-sucking pests become more active. Thankfully, there’s a wide variety of repellents that can make you a whole lot less appetizing to those bothersome seasonal arachnids.
Tick bites aren’t just irritating and itchy—they can also lead to infections or even disease, like Zika virus and Lyme disease. A good tick repellent will keep ticks away for several hours without reapplication. The most popular repellents use chemical or natural ingredients that confuse a tick’s sense of smell, preventing them from recognizing you as a potential food source.
To find the best tick repellents, we talked to experts in the health and entomology fields to learn how these repellents work, which ingredients are most effective, and how to reduce your risk of attracting ticks. If you’re planning to soak up the sun and explore the outdoors, these repellents will prevent any new eight-legged buddies from coming home with you. A physician from our Medical Expert Board reviewed the content in this article surrounding tick repellent use and tick bites for accuracy.
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.