When spending time outdoors, you're always prone to insect bites and bad bugs that are swarming around. While the instant pain of a bug bite is a piece of cake, the diseases, burns, or itchiness that may follow afterward ends up being a real game-changer. And trust us, you don't want to be a part of it, those insects are going to beat you at their own game. So, what do you do? How do you save yourself from insects, especially mosquitoes during the hot summer months? Well, you rely on an insect repellent to protect you from these not-so-cute angels of darkness. However, since not all insect repellents are effective, it makes it challenging to know which exact product you should be going for. Fortunately, our team did the work for you and narrowed down some top-of-the-line recommendations for the best insect repellents in 2021 to ensure that you can get back outdoors and face the bad bugs head-on.
No matter how modern and fancy-looking your house or apartment is, it can still be a comfy home to some unwanted guests. Flies, cockroaches, mosquitoes, you name it - insects are a problem that many homeowners struggle to deal with each day. Read on to find out how to pick the best insect repellent so you can make your home intolerable for these bugs.
What Is An Insect Repellent?
Insect repellents are substances that prevent insects and pests from landing on surfaces. The type of repellent varies and depending on the product, you may be able to utilize them in different ways. Some repellents function as sprays and can be used to kill or repel insects mid-air, whereas others require application on a surface such as skin or garments to be effective.
Why Do You Need An Insect Repellent?
Insect repellents work in different ways to keep your home bug-free.
They keep insects away
As their name suggests, they prevent pests from entering an area or landing on a surface. Insects are more common than you think, and chances are, there are a couple of them just lying about in your room right now. Of course, most of them are harmless, and won’t really affect your daily life, but insects such as flies, mosquitoes, and cockroaches can cause health problems down the line if kept unchecked.
Insect repellents serve as a barrier that keeps the insects like flies and mosquitoes at bay. They won’t be able to enter a room as the environment is too hazardous for them to stay in.
They kill insects
While they are known as insect repellents, these substances are completely capable of killing insects as well. The chemicals in insect repellents are designed to kill the bugs, which is what makes those insects stay away in the first place - they can sense and smell the danger. This allows you to be more aggressive and actually exterminate the bad bugs yourself instead of waiting for them to come.
Of course, this purpose is limited to repellents that can be applied directly to insects, such as sprays. An insect repellent cream or lotion, for instance, isn’t really good if you want to kill insects, as it can only be applied to the skin to keep the bugs away.
They’re cheaper than hiring exterminators
Exterminators can be a great solution to bug problems at home, but this costs quite a bit of money and time. You also won’t be able to stay home for a while as you wait for the pesticides used to dissipate. Then there’s also the possibility of the pests returning despite the extermination, prompting another exterminating session.
On the other hand, insect repellents can solve most pest-related problems at an affordable price. Sure, they aren’t nearly as effective as a dedicated extermination session, but for most homes with moderate pest problems, they do the job.
What Should You Consider Before Buying An Insect Repellent?
Insect repellents can be applied in a variety of ways, and there are also other factors to consider, such as odor or chemicals used. Let's find out more.
There are different types of insect repellents. Some specialize in keeping pests away in a certain area, whereas others are more general-use and can even be used to kill the pests outright. The most common types of insect repellents include repellent creams, mosquito coils, and bug spray.
Repellent creams are applied on the skin and are meant to prevent the user from coming into contact with insects, most commonly mosquitoes. As mosquitoes are responsible for the many dengue and malaria cases every year, having repellent cream can be handy in tropical environments where you see yourself getting bitten a little too often.
Mosquito coils are a special type of insect repellent that releases chemicals in the air that mosquitos hate. They function in a similar way to incense in the sense that you burn them to release the odor in the air. This keeps mosquitoes from entering the area. The coil can be used multiple times, but it does have a limited lifespan, as the coil slowly shrinks until there’s nothing left to burn.
Then, there are the bug sprays. Bug sprays contain chemicals that are harmful to most insects, and they can be applied on just about any surface. The spray itself can be applied in an empty room to get rid of any insects that may be flying about.
Depending on the insects that live in your home, as well as your lifestyle, you may either want the portable repellent cream or the potent bug spray.
Odor is another factor that you want to consider when buying insect repellents. Because they contain chemicals that are harmful to insects, insect repellents have a particular odor to them that isn’t particularly pleasant. This may be a problem for people with sensitive noses.
Fortunately, many insect repellents these days are mixed with familiar scents such as lavender and orange. These scents will mitigate the odor of the repellent’s chemicals, and make using mosquito coils and bug sprays alike much more bearable.
Keep in mind, though, that in certain products, even scented versions contain the “insect repellent smell”. This is especially true for bug sprays, which contain concentrated chemicals. It’s best to leave the room if the scent starts to overpower your nose and even affects your breathing.
What Is The Price Range Of Insect Repellents?
Insect repellents are very affordable these days. A mosquito coil can cost no more than $2, and repellent creams sell at a similar price range. The most expensive repellents will cost you $5 or more depending on the brand.
How Did We Choose the Best Insect Repellents?
Our obsessive team of editors has chosen the insect repellents in this buying guide based on the brand’s history, customer reviews, price, scent, and the product's overall performance.
The Sawyer Products insect repellent is ideal to use while hunting! While it’s definitely perfect for everyday use, it’s so heavy-duty that it can kill different types of bugs when applied to backpacks and tents, reducing the mosquito population in the camp and prevent ticks from attaching to your skin.
The formula in this insect repellant is easy to spray onto different types of garments, pieces of gear and goes on evenly. This premium insect repellent can last up to six weeks without staining or damaging the fabric. It’s odorless after it dries. The repellant can even be applied to dogs since it safely bonds with their hair while penetrating the skin to control ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas. However, it’s important to note that it may not do a good job at repelling flies and gnats.
This insect repellant is effective against over 55 kinds of insects – hands-down the best choice for insect-concentrated areas
One single application lasts up to 6 weeks, through 6 washings
Works like magic against tick-bites (reduces the likelihood of the bite by 73.6 times)
While the odor goes away once it dries, it’s still strong and smells of turpentine (0.5%)
This insect repellent is effective against Yellow Fever mosquitoes and sprays evenly. It comes with no odor, no unpleasant fragrance and we love it. The Picaridin Insect Repellent by Sawyer Products is safe to use on both children and adults with a formula that won’t damage clothing, sunglasses, watches, or backpacks!
The product lasts up to 12 hours against mosquitoes and ticks and up to eight hours against gnats, fleas, sand flies, and chiggers, making it one of the most long-lasting repellents available! If you’re going for the lotion, it lasts even longer and only needs to be reapplied after every 14 hours. The formula has a sticky texture – will lead to a mess if you end up applying it too much. While it’s suitable for the skin, for some people, applying the product on the skin may still lead to irritation.
You can use it on the skin – suitable for children as well as adults
It doesn’t have any fragrance or unpleasant odor
Comes in multiple forms; lotions, sprays, pump sprays
You can combine it with the Permethrin Insect Repellent above to extract maximum benefits
The REPEL Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent works for up to six hours and contains the oil of lemon eucalyptus. It works as a barrier against the most dangerous types of mosquitoes! It may sound odd to you but if you’re not a fan of insect repellents because of the bad smells, the ritual might just break with this one!
The formula used in this repellent contains oil of lemon eucalyptus to offer protection and it doesn’t have a sticky or greasy residue. It can even be applied to children aged three years or older. Moreover, this product has a refreshing scent that smells natural and it can keep the bugs away for up to 6 hours after application. This repellent is particularly good against mosquitoes that transmit Zika, West Nile, and Dengue viruses.
This insect repellent works great against mosquitoes that transmit Dengue, West Nile, and Zika
It’s a very pocket-friendly (under $5) yet effective product
It’s a DEET-free insect repellent with a refreshing scent
It leaves an oily feeling on the treated skin
Insect Repellent FAQ
Q: Are repellent creams safe?
A: Unfortunately, there is no evidence to prove that repellent creams are completely safe. In fact, creams contain chemicals that may prove to be irritable for some skins. Just remember to go through the composition contents of an insect repellent before you buy it - if you're allergic to any of the included substances, you can simply skip on that product and move to the next best option.
Q: Is it safe to breathe in bug spray?
A: Most bug sprays use a compound known as DEET. DEET has been proven to be harmful to insects and some animals, but there are no studies that support it being harmful to humans. However, the odor of a bug spray can be very intense to breathe in.
Q: What scents keep insects away?
A: Insects are not fond of particular scents, such as basil, lavender, and peppermint. This is exactly why repellents are loaded with these scents.
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