3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent 12 Lotion

Best insect repellent

  • Protects up to 12 hours
  • Slow-release DEET formula
  • Water- and sweat-resistant
  • Contains no alcohol
  • Not recommended for children
  • Must be washed off after use
Where to Buy

Bottom line

3M Ultrathon is a great option for adults who want long-lasting, thorough protection against mosquitoes, ticks and other insects. It's popular with outdoor enthusiasts and in studies proves to be as effective as many products with much higher DEET levels. 3M Ultrathon is also is water- and sweat-resistant.


A strong DEET formula great for adults, not for kids. If you're going to be outdoors for long periods of time, experts and consumers say that 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent is an excellent bug repellent is the best for keeping away mosquitoes and ticks even in bug-prone regions like Florida, Southeast Asia and Central America. The high concentration of DEET (34 percent) and slow-release formula helps this lotion last for up to 12 hours.

One avid mountain biker who praises it says it's most effective when thoroughly rubbed into the skin. 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent is higher than the 30 percent level recommended for children, however. Because of the high price, some users choose to use Ultrathon sparingly.

Feel and smell

'Greasy' lotion is water and sweat resistant. 3M Ultrathon encapsulates DEET in a polymer, which makes it water- and sweat-resistant and safer to use by limiting absorption into the skin. However, some users say while it's easy to apply, the lotion is greasy and sticky and leaves a waxy film that can be difficult to get off. Unlike other DEET products, it doesn't contain alcohol, which can irritate skin and lead to greater absorption.

As is the case with all products containing DEET, it should be washed off after returning indoors. Products containing DEET can also damage plastic or painted surfaces; one consumer advises using the back of your hand to apply 3M Ultrathon. Ultrathon is also available in an aerosol with 25 percent DEET and in a pump spray with 19 percent DEET.

Where To Buy
3M Ultrathon SRL-12 2 Oz Insect Repellent Lotion - 2 PACK

 (671 reviews)
Buy new: $19.99 $18.70   8 New from $16.99

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Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent 8 (which contains 25 percent DEET) scores 98 out of 100 in ConsumerReports.org's lab tests, tying with Off Deep Woods Sportsmen II, Cutter Backwoods Unscented and Off FamilyCare Smooth & Dry for effectiveness against two types of mosquitoes and ticks.

Review: Best Insect Repellents, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, May 2013

2. Backpacker Magazine

Although this review is fairly old, many of the products are still available. After 15 repellents are tested on a lone subject using a tank holding 200 mosquitoes, they are ranked according to effectiveness. 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent 12 lasts for six hours and ties for the top spot with Sawyer Maxi-DEET, which contains 98 percent DEET. The review also provides feedback on how each mosquito repeller smells and feels on the skin.

Review: Bug Off!, Berne Broudy, June 2007

3. Which? magazine

Which? magazine in the U.K. performs consumer-product testing similar to ConsumerReports.org in the U.S. Editors recommend 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent among three other repellents after conducting laboratory testing on 19 products. Ultrathon is effective for seven hours, which is longer than any of the other products. This is shorter than the manufacturer claims, but only one test subject was used, and effectiveness can vary from person to person.

Review: Insect Repellents, Editors of Which?, May 7, 2009

4. Amazon.com

3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent receives an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars from about 100 users at Amazon.com (in addition to another listing with similar results.) Most users say it's highly effective and seems to be truly long-lasting and water resistant. Several reviews report it works well against insects in tropical countries.

Review: 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion, 2-oz, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2013

5. REI.com

3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent is one of the bug repellents sold by this outdoor retailer. Approximately 30 users give it an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars. Users say it's effective but expensive and feels greasy on the skin.

Review: 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent – 34 Percent DEET – 2 fl. oz., Contributors to REI.com, As of May 2013

6. Drugstore.com

Drugstore.com publishes user ratings and reviews of bug repellers. There are just over a dozen reviews for 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent, but they're overwhelmingly positive with the product earning 4 out of 5 stars. One user notes it's easier to apply to the face than sprays, but contact with the eyes should be avoided.

Review: Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion, Contributors to Drugstore.com, As of June 2013

7. Travemed.com

This informational guide from Massachusetts-based doctors specializing in travel medicine provides in-depth information on insect repellents and travel safety. While it does not review or outright endorse any particular product, 3M Ultrathon, which is effective for up to 12 hours, is listed as the longest-lasting insect repellent.

Review: Insect-Bite Prevention, Editors of Travemed.com, As of June 2013

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