Here’s a complete buying guide that’ll direct you to the right product according to your skin type, weather conditions, and insect situation.
A few considerations to keep in mind include:
It’s crucial to check the active ingredient(s) present in the bug repellent you’re considering. It might require some trial and error to figure out what works for you. Nonetheless, try to pick insect repellents that contain one or more of these active ingredients: lemon eucalyptus oil, Picaridin, DEET, or paramenthanediol.
The concentration of these active ingredients is just as important as their presence. It influences the time a repellent will stay effective. If you need to go outdoors for just a few hours, a repellent with 5-10% Picaridin or DEET will suffice, but you’d need at least 20% concentration if you’re staying longer. In any case, bug repellents should contain no more than 30% DEET or Picaridin.
The insect repellent spray should feel comfortable on the skin and clothes. Some DEET repellents can be greasy, while some essential oil repellents can have a strong smell. You need to pick one that wouldn’t irritate your skin and nose, or leave stains.
With normal concentration (20% DEET or Picaridin) insect repellents, the general rule of thumb is to reapply it every six to eight hours.
A spray repellent that contains low levels of DEET or Picaridin, around 5-10%, will only offer protection for 30-90 minutes. And you’ll have to reapply accordingly. Check for the concentration of active ingredients, the higher it is, the longer your repellent will protect you. Which ultimately means lesser reapplication as well.
On the other hand, if your outdoor adventure involves exposure to water, you might want to reapply the repellent every time it washes off.
A few bug repellent ingredients you should know about:
DEET or N, N-Diethyl-m-toluamide was developed by the US Army to protect its soldiers from tropical disease-causing insects. It’s very effective for deterring mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects. This product is highly effective against ticks and mosquitoes but is pretty toxic for aquatic creatures.
Picaridin is a plant-derived substance from the genus “Piper” and a slightly toxic compound. It is just as effective as DEET against ticks and mosquitoes and is known to last longer. It’s a safer alternative for DEET.
This insecticide is a synthetic derivative of the chrysanthemum flower and is used mainly for killing scabies and lice. It can also exterminate other insects, especially disease-carrying ones. It is odorless and non-toxic but wears off pretty quickly.
Another common ingredient in insect repellent sprays is essential oils. They give the repellent a nice scent and repel almost all kinds of insects. They’re also safe for direct application on the skin and aren’t lethal if ingested.
Insect repellent sprays are formulated to deter disease-bearing insects away from your skin. These insects rely on their senses of taste and smell to find and reach their hosts, i.e., humans. A bug repellent spray works by deceiving these very senses of smell and taste in insects.
Insect repellents contain a single or a combination of active ingredients that helps to do that. These ingredients include Picaridin, DEET, PMD or eucalyptus oil, IR3535, etc. The higher concentration of these actives in a spray, the longer it will keep interfering with the bug’s senses.
Insect repellent sprays are a must-have for the outdoors. They effectively work to repel almost every kind of insect or bug. We hope our reviews and buying tips have directed you to an appropriate, safe and comfortable insect repellent spray.
This insect and tick repellent spray offer effortless application from non-greasy and safe ingredients to ensure comfort. You can rely on Picaridin, the active ingredient, to effectively repel ticks and mosquitoes without harming your gear.
It gives you up to 12 hours of complete protection against all varieties of bugs, insects, ticks, and other biting insects. The DEET-free formula ensures that your jackets, fishing line, and other synthetic objects aren’t harmed. Its angled nozzle releases a fine mist for easy and even application. This insect repellent spray makes it to the top of our list because of its long-lasting protection and skin-friendly ingredients.
This insect repellent contains an ideal mixture of active ingredients that keeps you and your family safe from bug bites, mosquitoes, insects, and ticks. It has a non-greasy texture that quickly dries from the skin and leaves you feeling comfortable and protected.
It contains 25% DEET to keep you safe from ticks carrying the Lyme disease and mosquitoes carrying Dengue, Zika, or West Nile viruses. The long-lasting effects make it a great choice if you’re heading out for an adventurous trip or hunting, camping, fishing, or backpacking. It will also repel gnats, flies, and chiggers by creating a vapor barrier on your skin.
This long-lasting tick-repellent spray effectively deters a wide variety of flying and crawling pests around you. You can count on this spray to protect you for more than 12 hours against gnats, flies, mosquitoes, chiggers, and other insects. It’s a fragrance-free formula which makes it an ideal choice for people with smell sensitivities, children, or the elderly.
Another plus for this insect repellent is that it’s super comfortable to wear as the weightless and non-greasy formula quickly dries after application. It’s great for outdoor adventures like fishing, hunting, backyard BBQs, camping, picnics, sporting events, etc. The 20% Picaridin ensures that the insect repellent doesn’t damage plastics or synthetic coatings on your backpacks, watches, glasses, or other accessories.
This aerosol insect repellent is perfect for prolonged outdoor activities as you can quickly refresh and reapply a layer with the spray. It offers promising and long-lasting protection from the high DEET concentration in the formula. This concentration effectively protects you from mosquitoes, bugs, flies, gnats, and disease-transmitting rodents out in the open.
The skin-friendly formula sits comfortably on all skin types without causing irritation or redness. It is made to last even under the toughest of outdoor conditions. The compact, leak-proof bottle is also super convenient to store and pack along with your outdoor gear. It’s safe for use on plastics, fabric, or synthetic material on your outdoor gear.
This insect and tick repellent spray offer full-body protection for you and your loved ones with its capacity for more than 30 applications per bottle. Deter gnats, ticks, black flies, mosquitoes, and other biting or disease-causing insects with this easy spray repellent. The active ingredient, 20% Picaridin, shields you from mosquitoes and ticks for 12 hours and eight hours from flies, gnats, fleas, and chiggers.
Children, the elderly, and pregnant women can safely use the repellent spray without side effects. The odorless and non-greasy texture is even suitable for people with skin sensitivities or allergies. It won’t damage or stain your clothing, plastic, gear, or other synthetic surfaces. A 360-degree mist allows smooth and easy application.
A: Always apply sunscreen first and put bug repellent as the last layer.
A: Yes, DEET repellents with 10-30% concentration are safe for children.
A: Insect repellent sprays contain lots of chemicals, hence it's better to wash them off before you go to bed. But if you sleep with it once in a while, you’re probably fine.
A: Yes, you can safely use insect repellent once per day.