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In this report

Insect Repellent: Ratings of Sources

Total of 30 Sources
May 2013
Best Insect Repellents
by Editors of
Our AssessmentThis is an update of an earlier report that compares the effectiveness of eight products. 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent 8 (which contains 25 percent DEET) scores 98 out of 100 in'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.
July 2010
Best Way to Keep Bugs at Bay
by Editors of
Our AssessmentEditors at test 10 products containing DEET, picaridin, lemon eucalyptus oil or IR3535 and natural products containing other plant oils. Bug repellents are tested with two species of mosquito common in the U.S. as well as with deer ticks. Six of the products provide protection for seven hours or longer and have equivalent ratings for likely causing damage to certain materials they come in contact with. Editors provide a description of the odor and feel of the best insect repellents, but don't weigh those factors into the overall ranking.
Insect Repellents: Use and Effectiveness
by Editors of
Our AssessmentThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides a useful guide and search function on how long EPA-registered repellents will work and how they should be used. The EPA also has information on ways to keep bugs off without using insecticides, like covering up.
Dec . 2009
Insect Repellents
by Editors of Consumer
Our AssessmentThis New Zealand publication compares a product containing 30 percent DEET to five mosquito repellents without DEET on four volunteers. Although the brands included in the test are not sold in the U.S., the results are interesting as a comparison of types of insect repellents. The DEET product provided seven hours of protection, while the two products containing 25 percent picaridin lasted two to three hours. The three natural insect repellents kept mosquitoes at bay for only about an hour. (Insect repellents sold in the U.S. contain a maximum of 20 percent picaridin.)
Laboratory Evaluation of Mosquito Repellents
by Donald R. Barnard and Rui-De Xue
Our AssessmentThis 2004 study by the Journal of Medical Entomology tests four synthetic mosquito repellers and eight natural insect repellents in a laboratory against three species of mosquitoes. Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent, a natural insect repellent, was the most effective on average. BiteBlocker Herbal Insect Repellent Spray, another natural insect repellent, tied for second with Autan and Off! containing 15 percent DEET.
6. National Institutes of Health
As of June 2013
Household Products Database -- Pesticides
by Editors of National Institutes of Health
Our AssessmentThe National Institutes of Health provides a database of bug repellents where you can look up ingredients and check the health rating on specific brands. Product information includes a material safety data sheet with a health rating (from 0 to 4, the lower the better). Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent has a health rating of 2 (moderate), while DEET insect repellents range from 2 down to 1 (slight).
July 26, 2005
Bug Off! Which Mosquito Repellents Work Best?
by Andria Lisle
Our AssessmentAndria Lisle informally tests nine bug repellents at backyard cookouts and on the bluffs of the Mississippi River. The products are selected after consultation with experts, including a dermatologist and an epidemiologist, and ratings are given for effectiveness, ease of application, and practicality. Off! Botanicals (now discontinued), Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent, and Off! Deep Woods Insect Repellent are the three top-ranked products.
July 30 , 2008
A Buzzworthy Review of DEET-Free Bug Repellents
by Editors of
Our AssessmentIn this non-clinical review, editors compare five natural insect repellents, stating that "all of the products performed fairly well when it came to keeping bugs away." The reviewer picks Buzz Away Insect Repellent for its peppermint scent. EcoSmart dries fast and is a close second for its "not unpleasant citronella scent." She dislikes All Terrain Herbal Armor Insect Repellent, Avon Skin So Soft Bath Oil and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent.
9. Backpacker Magazine
June 2007
Bug Off!
by Berne Broudy
Our AssessmentThis is a useful comparison test of 15 mosquito repellents. The tests use a standard protocol (with a cage of mosquitoes, measuring time to the first bite), but the downside is there is only one test subject. The review is still helpful, however, because it evaluates other factors, such as scent and skin feel, as well as effectiveness. Sawyer MAXI-DEET and 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent were effective for six hours, and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent lasted four hours.
10. Good Housekeeping
May 2009
Insect Repellents
by Editors of Good Housekeeping
Our AssessmentEditors describe five types of repellents that create a barrier against mosquitoes rather than using skin application. It isn't clear if the efficacy rates provided are based on testing by Good Housekeeping or simply manufacturers' claims, or how these products were selected.
Not dated
Alternative Mosquito Repellents
by Editors of
Our explains the difference between and effectiveness of several natural insect repellents including oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR3535, catnip and citronella oil. states that "conventional mosquito repellents containing higher concentrations (23.8 percent) of DEET or picaridin offer the best protection.
Clothing Factory-Treated with Permethrin
by Editors of
Our AssessmentThis article from the EPA describes the background and use of permethrin, "currently the only insect repellent used for factory treatment of clothing." It has been used for the military since 1990 and is deemed safe by the EPA.
Canadian Recommendations for the Prevention and Treatment of Malaria Among International Travellers
by Editors of Public Health Agency of Canada
Our AssessmentThis is an informative fact-sheet on how travelers can prevent malaria risk, and offers Canadian guidelines on types of insect repellents. (Unlike the U.S. which states that DEET is safe on children over two months old as long as it's 30 percent or less, Canada recommends that children under 12 not be exposed to concentrations of more than 10 percent. Canada's public health agency endorses DEET as a "first line of defense", then oil of lemon eucalyptus, then soybean oil. It also refutes the claims that certain other devices and products like wristbands with insect repellent work.
May 7, 2009
Insect Repellents
by Editors of Which?
Our AssessmentEditors at Which? magazine in the U.K. test 19 mosquito repellents. 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent 12 Lotion lasts longer than any of the other products and is one of the few tested products available in the U.S. One drawback to the test is that only a single person's arm is used. The two wristbands and one patch product fall near the bottom of the chart in effectiveness.
March 11, 2010
Sawyer Clothing Insect Repellent
by Nancy Griffith
Our AssessmentThis is an in-depth review from a single tester who used Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Repellent regularly in her outdoor adventures. Griffith says the product repels mosquitoes well and seemed to hold up nicely through six washings, but finds it doesn't resist gnats.
As of June 2013
Mosquito Repellent
by Contributors to
Our AssessmentDozens of mosquito repellents have been reviewed by consumers, but few have accumulated more than a handful of reviews. Those include Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent Spray which has over 200 reviews and Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent, which receives an average of four stars from over 100 users who highly recommend this natural insect repellent.
Sept. 19, 2012
Natural Mosquito Repellents
by Cathy Wong
Our recommends but doesn't test Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent, but cites solid evidence from numerous reputable lab tests that the product is highly effective. Many of the studies are dated, which is true for much of the research available on bug repellents. However, many of the products still have the same formulas as when the studies were released.
As of June 2013
Insect Repellent
by Contributors to
Our AssessmentThe outdoor gear retailer sells a variety of bug repellents for extended outdoor activities. In addition to providing ratings for products, many REI reviewers include valuable insights as to how the products perform in more rugged environments. DEET and other chemical repellents like Sawyer Permethrin Clothing Insect Repellent are more popular on this site.
As of June 2013
Sawyer Permethrin Insect Repellent for Clothing
by Contributors to
Our AssessmentBass Pro Shops customers give Sawyer Permethrin Insect Repellent for Clothing a 4.9 out of 5 rating in about 30 reviews. Many reviewers are impressed by the repellent's ease of use and its ability to ward off ticks.
April 16, 2012
2012 Bug Repellent Cheat Sheet
by Editors of
Our reviews and compares several insect repellents "free of DEET, parabens, phthalates, PEG's (polyethylene glycols,) sulfates, dioxanes, propylene glycols and synthetic fragrances." The editors test many of the products, including Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent, which the editor endorses for its effectiveness and "great" scent and Bite Blocker, which editors say is reasonably effective.
21. Allure
July 1, 2010
Avoiding and Treating Mosquito Bites
by Kate Sullivan
Our AssessmentThis is an informative but short article on keeping away pesky insects based on an interview with a dermatologist, who endorses Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent and California Baby Natural Bug Blend for their natural formulas. However, tests aren't conducted and there aren't many details on the products.
Aug. 28 , 2012
Keeping Bugs at Bay: Does Bug-Repellent Apparel Actually Work?
by Tom Barlow
Our writes a helpful article detailing the benefits of synthetic permethrin clothing, noting that the U.S. military in Afghanistan uses it. There isn't much written on individual products, but the author states that Sawyer Permethrin Insect Repellent "effectively deters mosquitoes, ticks, flies, fleas, and other annoying and dangerous insects for six weeks or through six washings."
As of June 2013
Insect Repellent
by Contributors to
Our publishes ratings and reviews submitted by users of dozens of insect repellents. Many top products generate between 10 and 40 reviews, including Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent and 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent which both receive an above average rating of 4 out of 5.
As of June 2013
Off! Smooth and Dry Insect Repellent Reviews
by Contributors to
Our AssessmentOFF! FamilyCare Insect Repellent Smooth & Dry both receives an overall rating of 80 out of 100 from approximately 20 users. Reviewers like the way it feels and smells, but wish it was effective for a longer period.
August 30, 2012
Top 8 Insect and Mosquito Repellents
by Wendy Bumgardner
Our AssessmentThis is only one of many reviews and articles about mosquito repellents by various guides. This article merely ranks eight mosquito repellents without providing insight as to why one is better than the others. Only the top-rated insect repellent, Cutter Advanced, gets a short review. Bumgardner says it "is truly odorless." It's not clear whether the testing she refers to is her own.
Not dated
Review of Off! Smooth and Dry Insect Repellent
by Faith Lawless
Our AssessmentFaith Lawless,'s makeup guide, gives OFF! FamilyCare Insect Repellent I Smooth & Dry a perfect 5-star rating after applying it on herself and testing its effectiveness in her garden. She praises the "nice, fresh scent" and says it kept all flying insects away. She was pleased to see this bug repellent didn't mar the self-tanner she had applied the day before.
Not dated
Off-the-Shelf and Homemade Natural Insect Repellents
by Annie B. Bond
Our AssessmentGood Housekeeping's The Daily Green website provides a useful guide to homemade and commercial natural insect repellents, naming Buzz Away Extreme one of its picks. The products haven't been tested, however, and the write-ups are very short.
Not dated
Ultimate Guide to Bug Repellent for Kids
by Andrea Cooley
Our endorses Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent for its long-lasting effectiveness, but the write-up is short and does not appear to test Repel or any of the other products. Bite Blocker's herbal repellent, Cutter Advanced Insect Repellent and others are also recommended.
Not dated
Ultimate Guide to Bug Repellent for Kids
by Andrea Cooley
Our endorses Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent for its long-lasting effectiveness, but the write-up is short and does not appear to test Repel or any of the other products. Bite Blocker's herbal repellent, Cutter Advanced Insect Repellent and others are also recommended.
30. Outside Online
Aug. 6, 2012
Gear Guy: Q: Do Bug-repellent Cell Phone Apps Work?
by Bob Parks
Our AssessmentThis is a helpful, short Q&A about the effectiveness of bug-repellent cell phone apps. The outdoor-enthusiast magazine Outside reports that they do not work, and that their noise may actually attract bugs. It recommends Columbia Sportswear and ExOfficio for insect repellent clothing, however.

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