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 2023 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. Biting 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 top-rated insect repellents so you can make your home intolerable for these bugs. The best sprays will repel mosquitoes and other biting insects easily.
What Is Bug 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 human skin or garments to be effective. Most commonly, bug repellent is used for repelling mosquitoes. Use of insect repellents are proven safe, effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women by environmental protection agency.
Why Do You Need Bug Repellent?
Mosquito repellent works 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 biting insects such as flies, mosquitoes, and cockroaches can cause health problems down the line if kept unchecked.
Mosquito repellents serve as a barrier that keeps the insects like flies and mosquitoes at bay, protecting you from potential mosquito bites. 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 bug repellents, these substances are completely capable of killing insects as well. The chemicals in bug 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 with essential oil of lemon eucalyptus.
A topical 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. Besides that, it is also not safe for people who have skin irritation issues.
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, mosquito 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 Repellent?
Mosquito repellent 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. While natural insect repellents work best to prevent mosquito bites, the most common types of bug repellents in market includes repellent creams, mosquito coils, and spray repellents.
According to American Mosquito Control Association, oil of citronella is often used as the active ingredient in candles, torches, or coils that can be burned to produce vapor or smoke that repels mosquitoes. However, these are only useful outdoors when the wind isn’t blowing and is less effective than repellents applied to the body.
Repellent creams that are approved by the environmental protection agency 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. The creams will help to prevent bites that can cause skin irritation.
Mosquito coils are a special type of mosquito repellent that releases chemicals in the air that mosquitoes 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 mosquito repellent 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 spray repellents. They 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 bug 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 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. Many repellents rely on the potent qualities of essential oils to impart a more pleasant fragrance. Thanks to the availability of plant based repellents, you can commonly find lemon eucalyptus, peppermint oil, cedar oil, sage essential oil in the ingredients list of a mosquito repellent.
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.
How Do You Apply Mosquito Spray?
Applying bug spray can be tricky if you’ve never done it before. Do you have to spray your hands? What about your face? Check out PestWorld’s informative video on how to properly apply bug spray, so you can stay safe from bugs.
What Is the Typical Price Range of Insect Repellents?
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 Premium Quality Insect Repellents?
Our 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.
Reviewing Highly Rated Insect Repellents of 2023 in Detail
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 is an all-in-one insect repellent and anti-itch cream, so you’ll never be bothered by those troublesome bug bites. This product also repairs bug-bombed skin and is effective on mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and black flies.
This insect repellent uses a blend of essential oils, including mint, rosemary, and cedar to create a strong scent that repels bugs for up to four hours. In addition, this product also keeps sensitive skin healthy and safe.
We are happy to report that this product is safe for children and easy to use, just add a little to exposed skin and blend it in with your hand.
Great for sensitive skin
Easy to apply
Some people stated that this product doesn’t repel some insects as well as others
If you’re someone who likes to go camping or hiking, this is the perfect insect repellent for you. No one likes mosquito bites and tick bites, and they can even be life-threatening. This tick and insect repellent provides you with the protection you need when you’re outdoors.
It’s unscented so you don’t have to worry about it irritating sensitive skin. It’s also perfect for kids, just give them a quick spray down before they go out to play. Unlike most spray-on insect repellents which may feel sticky, this one dries fast and won’t stain clothing either. This insect repellent is also safe for pregnant women to use. It’s a great product to pack on your next camping trip.
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
People Also Asked
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 that comes from the oil of lemon eucalyptus, basil, lavender, and peppermint. This is exactly why repellents are loaded with these scents.
The Garden Gate Review Team’s product reviews and in-depth guides are here to help you choose the best products for a beautiful and bountiful garden and backyard. The content is created by The Garden Gate Review Team. Garden Gate’s editorial staff is not involved. Garden Gate is reader-supported: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.