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The Best Mosquito Repellents of 2023, Tested

CEO Tinh Phung
Summer is here, and with it comes the annoying presence of mosquitoes. These tiny insects can quickly ruin your outdoor fun with their incessant buzzing and itchy bites. But fear not, for I have tested...

Summer is here, and with it comes the annoying presence of mosquitoes. These tiny insects can quickly ruin your outdoor fun with their incessant buzzing and itchy bites. But fear not, for I have tested numerous mosquito repellents in the mosquito-infested woods to find the best ones that are highly effective and user-friendly. Here are my top picks:

How to Choose Bug Spray

Repel 100 comes in a convenient sized bottle DEET is an effective ingredient for repelling mosquitoes. Scott Einsmann

When selecting a mosquito repellent, there are two key factors to consider: the ingredients and the application method.

DEET vs. DEET Free Repellents

Mosquitoes locate humans by detecting carbon dioxide and body odor. They use their feet to taste our skin and find a spot to bite. Most mosquito repellents work by disrupting the mosquito's sense of smell. DEET, an ingredient found in many repellents, is highly effective at disrupting the mosquito's ability to pinpoint our location. Even a low concentration of 20% DEET can deter mosquito bites. However, it's important to note that higher concentrations, such as 70% or more, provide longer-lasting protection.

While DEET is effective, it can have side effects such as skin irritation and gastrointestinal discomfort if swallowed. Fortunately, there are other natural and chemical ingredients available that repel mosquitoes with fewer side effects. Picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, and Permethrin have all been found to be effective alternatives to DEET. However, it's crucial to read the product descriptions carefully, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Application

Once you have chosen the active ingredient, consider how you will apply the repellent. The application method depends on the clothing you're wearing and the area you need to protect. If you're wearing shorts and a t-shirt, a spray with wide coverage, like an aerosol or pump spray, is ideal. But if you're wearing long pants and a long shirt, especially if they've been treated with Permethrin, a lotion or small pump bottle is sufficient.

Best Mosquito Repellent: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Coleman Insect Repellent SkinSmart

Key Features

  • Protects Against: Mosquitoes
  • Odor: 2
  • Application: Aerosol spray
  • Size: 6 ounces
  • Active ingredients: 20% IR3535

Coleman SkinSafe is the best overall mosquito repellent

Coleman Insect Repellent SkinSmart, with its active ingredient IR3535, is a top choice for overall mosquito protection. It offers effective protection for approximately three hours and has a minimal odor. The aerosol dispenser makes it easy to apply to the whole body, although shaking the bottle before use is necessary to prevent intermittent dry sprays. It leaves no uncomfortable residue and dries quickly, allowing you to enjoy your outdoor activities without interruption.

Best for Backyards: Thermacell EX90

Key Features

  • Protects Against: Mosquitoes and gnats
  • Odor: 1
  • Application: Turn on device
  • Size: 4.5 x 4 x 2.5 inches
  • Active ingredient: Metofluthrin

If you're looking for backyard protection without the hassle of citronella candles or bug zappers, the Thermacell EX90 is the perfect choice. This device creates a protective bubble within 15 minutes of activation, providing a 20-foot mosquito-free zone. Powered by a rechargeable battery, it offers up to nine hours of protection on a single charge. However, it is not suitable for hunting or windy conditions.

Best Bug Spray: Repel 100

Key Features

  • Protects Against: Mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, and fleas
  • Odor: 5
  • Application: Pump
  • Size: 1 fluid ounce
  • Active ingredient: DEET 98.11%

For heavy-duty protection against mosquitoes and ticks, Repel 100 is a great choice. Its high concentration of 98.11% DEET provides long-lasting effectiveness. The pump applicator allows for easy application, though it may not cover the entire body adequately. Keep in mind that DEET has a strong odor and is not a natural product. However, if you don't mind the scent and want maximum protection, Repel 100 is a reliable option.

Best Lotion: Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent Lotion

Key Features

  • Protects Against: Mosquitoes
  • Odor: 2
  • Application: Rubs into skin
  • Size: 4 fluid ounces
  • Active ingredients: 20% Picaridin

Sawyer Picaridin Insect Repellent Lotion offers a lotion-based alternative to traditional spray repellents. It is particularly useful for applying to areas that are difficult to spray, such as the face, hands, and ears. This odorless lotion can last up to 14 hours, making it perfect for extended outdoor activities. However, it may not be convenient for covering the entire body.

Best for Treating Clothing: Sawyer Permethrin

Key Features

  • Protects Against: Mosquitoes, ticks, chiggers, and fleas
  • Odor: 1
  • Application: Spray on clothing
  • Size: 24 ounces
  • Active ingredient: Permethrin

Sawyer Permethrin is an excellent choice for treating your clothing and gear to repel mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects. While it doesn't provide direct skin protection, treating your clothing with Permethrin offers long-lasting effectiveness. Once applied and dried, it can repel insects for up to six weeks or six washes, making it ideal for outdoor adventures in tick and mosquito-infested areas.

Best Indoor Mosquito Trap: Katchy Indoor Insect Trap

Key Features

  • UV light, fan, and glue trap
  • Dimensions: 9 inches tall and 5.5 inches wide
  • Weight: 15.2 ounces

The Katchy Indoor Insect Trap is a sleek and effective solution for keeping mosquitoes and other flying insects at bay inside your home. Its UV light attracts bugs, and the fan sucks them into a glue trap, where they remain trapped. This device is easy to use and comes with four glue boards, a USB power cord, and an AC plug. Place it near areas where bugs are likely to gather, such as fruit bowls or garbage cans, and enjoy a mosquito-free living space.

Best Portable Device: Thermacell MR450 Armored Mosquito Repeller

Key Features

  • Protects Against: Mosquitoes and gnats
  • Odor: 2
  • Application: Turn on device
  • Size: 7.8 x 2.9 x 1.8 inches
  • Active ingredients: D-cis/trans allethrin

When you're on the go, the Thermacell MR450 Armored Mosquito Repeller is a reliable companion for mosquito protection. This compact device uses a heating element and repellent mat to create a zone of protection around you. It works effectively against flying biting insects and provides up to 12 hours of protection. Although it requires occasional refilling of fuel and repellent mats, it is a convenient and easy-to-use option for outdoor activities.

Best Natural: Murphy’s Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Mosquito & Tick Repellent Spray

Key Features

  • Protects Against: Mosquitoes and ticks
  • Odor: 2
  • Application: Pump
  • Size: 4 fluid ounces
  • Active Ingredient: Oil of lemon eucalyptus

For those seeking a natural alternative, Murphy's Naturals Lemon Eucalyptus Oil Mosquito & Tick Repellent Spray is a great choice. While it may not offer the same level of effectiveness as chemical-based repellents in highly infested areas, it provides decent protection in relaxed bug conditions. This non-greasy spray has a mild scent and is free of harsh chemicals. It's an excellent option for use at home, by a campfire, or in conjunction with other mosquito control measures.

Best Device for Backpacking: Backpacker Mosquito Repeller

Key Features

  • Protects Against: Mosquitoes
  • Application: Attach to fuel canister and light
  • Size: 2 x 2.5 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 4 ounces
  • Active ingredients: 21.97% D Cis Allethrin

Backpacker Mosquito Repeller is specially designed for backpacking adventures. This lightweight device attaches to your isobutane fuel canister and creates a 15-foot protection zone. It has no scent, making it ideal for use in the backcountry. With up to 90 hours of protection on a 4-ounce canister, it's a convenient and reliable option for keeping mosquitoes at bay during your outdoor expeditions.

Conclusion

With the best mosquito repellents listed above, you can now enjoy the great outdoors without the annoyance of mosquito bites. Whether you're looking for overall effectiveness, backyard protection, bug spray, lotion, clothing treatment, indoor traps, portable devices, or natural alternatives, there's a repellent to suit your needs. Stay protected and have a mosquito-free summer!

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