Bug spray

The best insect repellants to keep you from bites this summer


Insects are the bane of my existence. I’ve tried a lot of bug killing gadgets, and while they work and recommend them, there’s one thing you’ll need regardless: bug spray. Choosing the right insect repellant can be difficult. There are a few things to watch out for. First of all, chemical makeup is important: you need to decide if you want one that uses DEET, picaridin, or that is all natural. The method of application is also a determining factor, as some prefer aerosols to pump sprays and vice versa. Finally, the size of the bottle is everything: do you want something that you can keep in your pocket, or something to leave right by the door? To help you answer these age-old questions and find a bug repellant you love that actually works, we’ve rounded up some of our proven favorites.

Best overall: Sawyer 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent

The longest duration: Ranger Ready Picaridin 20% Repellent against ticks and insects

The most natural: Goo Green Bugs Disappear

Best DEET option: Repel 100 Insect Repellent

Best vaporizer: Ben’s tick repellent

Best value: Disabled! Deep woods

Best Overall: Sawyer 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent

My personal favorite bug repellant has to be this one. It doesn’t use DEET, but “has a 20% picaridin concentration, which is as effective as DEET, and you don’t have to worry about whether it’s bad for you.” It is also easy to apply. I find pump sprayers work better than their aerosol counterparts because you’re less likely to spray too much. Instead, the latter’s pump sprays superior insect repellant evenly and precisely, for maximum protection. ”

Best feature: Beyond not using DEET and having a great pump-up vaporizer, my favorite thing about this vaporizer has to be the size. At first, you’d think you’d want the biggest bug spray on the market to just put it on. But the truth is, you don’t need so much, and what is more important than the quantity is access and convenience.

Longest Lasting: Ranger Ready Picaridin Repellent

Scout contributor Steven John loves this bug spray for almost too many reasons to count. Besides being long lasting (12 hours), it’s easy to apply, uses picaridin instead of DEET, and most importantly, is fragrance-free, so you don’t feel all disgusting even though you’re protected from insects. .

Best feature: This is one of the longest lasting sprays we have tried. Spray it once and you are ready for the day.

The most natural: Goo Bugs Be Gone

Editor-in-Chief Jillian Lucas loves Green Goo Cream because it helps keep itchy from mosquito bites in case you have one. But with this bug spray, you probably won’t. It’s all natural, so it doesn’t have picaridin or DEET. Instead, it contains yarrow to reduce skin irritation, peppermint which provides a cooling and soothing sensation, and it’s all enriched with lemongrass. It smells good and doesn’t leave you clingy which is a win, a win.

Best feature: If you don’t want to use DEET, this all-natural option is the way to go.

Best DEET option: Repel 100 insect repellent

This bug spray uses DEET, but still has a pump spray, which is better for application compared to aerosol. This way you get a nice, even coat of spray instead of building up on your skin leaving you all oily. It also comes in a small bottle so you can take it anywhere.

Best feature: If you are a DEET fan, this pump spray will cover you better than an aerosol and easily protect you from mosquitoes.

Best spray: Ben’s Tick Repellent

This bug repellant has a 20% picaridin and DEET-free formula, which I personally love because it works, but doesn’t let you worry about chemicals that may or may not be bad for you. He has an aerosol seeker, which I don’t like, but some do. It is marketed against ticks, but it is also excellent against mosquitoes. It’s good for spraying upside down so you can get on your feet, which mosquitoes in my experience love.

Best feature: The aerosol seeker (for some!). This will cover you up and help you get back on your feet (which for me is a place where I get bitten a ton).

Best price-performance ratio: Off! Deep woods

If you want to take the DEET and aerosol route, Off! makes a good insect repellant. The dry touch technology it offers solves the problem of too much aerosol spray on your skin, and it is not oily or oily. It’s also 25% DEET to ward off any bugs in your way.

Best feature: For some, it’s quantity over quality. That’s not to say it’s not a high-quality bug repellant – it is – but this two-pack will help ensure any trip outdoors is free from insect bites.

Scouted selects products independently and prices reflect what was available at the time of posting. Sign up for our newsletter for more recommendations and check out our coupons site for more offers. If you buy something from our posts, we may earn a small commission.


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