To find the best mosquito and other bug repellents, we looked first at laboratory tests conducted by ConsumerReports.org and the Journal of Insect Science, which show how long different products can protect against mosquitoes and ticks. Then we examined background information from the EPA and the CDC to evaluate the safety of different bug-repelling ingredients.
We also looked at reviews from actual users at retail sites like Amazon.com and REI.com. These helped fill in the details on how bug sprays work in real-life conditions – how they feel, how they smell, and whether people experienced side effects after using them. Based on all this information, we offer our picks for the best insect repellents with DEET, the best natural insect repellents with oil of lemon eucalyptus, and the best choices for kids.