Whether you’re trekking through the backwoods or stepping out in the backyard, you need protection against insects and bugs. With an alarming amount of insect-borne diseases and the pain and annoyance that comes with getting bit, a good insect repellent is crucial for keeping these pesky critters at bay. Here are our top picks for warding off the bugs so that you’re better able to enjoy your time in the outdoors.
Best Overall: Coleman Insect Repellent With 40% DEET
If you want to step outside in any situation with the knowledge that you’ll be protected, this Coleman insect repellent is a safe bet. With 40 percent DEET, it wards off just about every pesky insect you’ll find in the outdoors. Users love its easy application and the fact that it stays effective even after sweating.
Best Value: Cutter Backwoods Insect Repellent
If you want standard bug-spray protection, you can’t go wrong with the Cutter Backwoods repellent. This aerosol spray contains 25 percent DEET and works wonders at keeping away mosquitos, gnats, ticks, fleas and other unwelcome insects. Reviewers rave that it works great but warn that it does have a very strong scent.
Best Insect Repellent Lotion: Repel Sportsmen Max Formula Lotion 40% DEET
The Repel Sportsmen Max lotion wins big points from reviewers because it is easy to pack and apply and is consistent at repelling insects. This lotion has a strong smell, but many reviewers are quick to note that the smell is worth it because the product works. It goes on just like sunscreen and claims to keep the insects at bay for up to 10 hours.
Best Ultrasonic Insect Repellent: Crioxen Ultrasonic Mosquito Repellent
If you’d rather avoid scented lotions and sprays altogether, the Crioxen Ultrasonic repellent is a good alternative. This device easily clips on to whatever you’re wearing, and it’s small enough that you can carry it around easily. Reviewers love that it consistently keeps mosquitoes and other insects away from an area as large as 300 square feet.
Best Insect Repellent Wipes: Cutter All Family Mosquito Wipes
It can be difficult to apply bug repellent safely and effectively on sensitive areas like the face and ears, which is why these Cutter mosquito wipes are so useful. These convenient wipes are effective, nongreasy, and come in a resealable pouch so they can be used repeatedly. They are also a very convenient way to apply repellent to babies and small children.
Best Plug-in Repellent: BRISON Ultrasonic Pest Repellent
Are you dealing with insects indoors? The BRISON Ultrasonic Pest Repellent plugs into a wall outlet and emits a high-frequency sound that only insects and pests can hear, driving them crazy so that they’re not willing to take up residence in your home. Reviewers note that you do need one of these devices for each room in your home. However, it’s a worthwhile purchase because it works.
Best Dry Repellent: Cutter Dry Aerosol
Applying a greasy, oily spray to your skin can be one of the most unappealing things about using insect repellent. That’s why this Cutter Dry aerosol spray is so popular. It’s unscented, isn’t oily or greasy, and can be used on both skin and clothing. Its dry application is a winner with users, who also state that it’s extremely effective at keeping the insects at bay.
Best Repellent Netting: Benvo Mosquito Repellent Head Net
Slathering yourself in sprays and creams isn’t necessary for insect protection. As an alternative, opt for this Benvo Mosquito Repellent Head Net. The head net slips right over a hat and is an excellent choice if you’re gardening in the yard or camping and sleeping under the stars. Users love that the mesh netting is small enough to keep out pesky gnats.
Best Insect Repellent for Animals: Farnam Flys-Off Fly Repellent
People aren’t the only ones plagued by insects. Keep your animals protected from pesky bugs with the Farnum’s Flys-Off ointment. Because it is a thick, sticky ointment, this product works best for outdoor animals who are generally bothered by insects. Users say it is very effective at keeping various types of flies away from their dogs, horses and ponies.
Best Natural Repellent: BUGGINS Natural Insect Repellent
If you’re looking for an insect repellent that’s made with natural ingredients, the BUGGINS Natural Insect Repellent fits the bill. It’s DEET-free, made with plant-based ingredients like peppermint and lemongrass, and has a natural vanilla fragrance. Reviewers report that it’s especially effective at repelling smaller insects like black flies and gnats.