Top 15 Mosquito Repellents For 2018 – How to Buy the Right One for You

Hell hath no fury like a thirsty mosquito. Mosquitoes are stubborn, resilient and terribly dangerous too. They carry multitude of diseases and parasites within them and ......well, yuck! Words can’t describe how much we hate this nonsense excuse of a bug. A few of these bloodsuckers is all it takes to ruin a perfectly good day. And in times like this, bug repellents really do feel like a godsend from the heavens above.

But if there’s anything we learned over the last few years, it is that even the mosquito repellents aren’t all made equal. Some work, some are scams, some are odorless, some are too powerful and some are not potent enough. Which is why we are going to teach you the tips and tricks that go into selecting the Best mosquito repellent! Sounds good? Let’s start!

Mosquito Repellent Update List

NameImageTarget pestsTypeRefil TimePurchase
Thermacell MR-TJ Portable Mosquito Repeller
Thermacell-MR-TJ-Portable-Mosquito-Repeller Mosquitoes, flies, and spiders Cordless and rechargeable device 12 hours
View On Amazon
Mosquito Repellent Lantern
Mosquito-Repeller-plus-Camp-Lantern Mosquitoes Lantern 12 hours
View On Amazon
Sawyer Clothing Insect Repellent
Sawyer-Products-Premium-Permethrin-Clothing-Insect-Repellent Mosquitoes, Ticks, Chiggers, Mites, other insects Trigger spray Up to 144 hours
View On Amazon
Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent
Cutter-Lemon-Eucalyptus-Insect-Repellent Mosquitoes, Deer ticks, Other biting insects Pump spray Up to 6 hours
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Avon Skin so Soft Mosquito Repellent
Avon-Bug-Guard-PLUS-IR3535-Insect-Repellent-Moisturizing-Lotion Mosquitoes, Deer ticks, Black flies, Gnats Lotion Up to 2 hours
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OFF! Deep Woods Insect Repellent
OFF!-Deep-Woods-Insect-Repellent Mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, gnats, and chiggers Aerosol spray Up to 8 hours
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Ultrasonic Mosquitos Repellent
Ever-Pest-Ultrasonic-Electromagnetic-Pest-Repellent Roaches, Spiders, Fleas, Bed Bugs, Mosquitos, Fruit Fly Ultrasonic --
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Repel Natural Insect Repellent
Repel-Lemon-Eucalyptus-Natural-Insect-Repellent Mosquitoes, ticks, Other biting insects Pump spray Up to 6 hours
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Ultrathon Insect Repellent
Ultrathon-Insect-Repellent Mosquitoes, Ticks, Biting flies, Chiggers, Gnats, Fleas Lotion Up to 12 hours
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Natrapel Mosquito Repellent Wipes
Natrapel-Mosquito-Repellent-Wipes Mosquitoes, Ticks, Biting insects Wipe Up to 12 hours
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Mosquito Repellent Citronella Candles
Mosquito-Repellent-Citronella-Candles Mosquitoes and flies Candle Up to 10 hours
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Mosquito Repellent Bracelet
Mosquito-Repellent-Bracelet Mosquitoes and other bitting insects Bracelet Up to 420 hours
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Coleman Mosquito Repellents
Coleman-Mosquito-Repellent Mosquitoes, Chiggers, Gnats, Ticks, Black Flies, Deerflies Pump spray Up to 10 hours
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Mosquito Repellent Patch
Mosquito-Repellent-Patch Mosquitoes and other bitting insects Patch Up to 24 hours
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Murphy Mosquito Repellent Incense Stick
Murphy-Mosquito-Repellent-Incense-Stick Mosquitoes, Flies Sticks Up to 2 hours
View On Amazon

So, What Exactly is a Mosquito Repellent?

Many people have this weird idea that a mosquito repellent is a mix of these weird, mysterious and witchy ingredients and herbs that shoo away the bugs. And as much as we like how that sounds. . isn’t exactly how it works. A mosquito basically zeros onto you due to your carbon dioxide emission, humidity and warmth.

They are also attracted to certain chemicals in your sweat. What a mosquito repellent does is actually disturb and disrupt your body’s natural odor by masking it. This confuses and throws off your hungry friend and voila! That’s how you save yourself from becoming dinner.

A mosquito repellent can be used on skin, over clothes or even on objects to repel the bug. Today, they come in a massive array of formulas, consistencies and ingredients that make using them so much easier and effective than ever before.

But, Why are you any Tastier to Them. . . . Then The Next Person?

Well, this is something you want to sit down for. This question has been bugging people for years and researchers and scientists finally have an idea why mosquitoes munch on some people more than others.

Drinking Beer

Here’s something you probably never thought you’d read and we thought we’d write: drinking beer attracts mosquitoes! While the exact reasons are still unknown, the theory is that the increase in body temperature, and eventual sweating, due to alcohol consumption is the reason.


Mosquitoes find pregnant women delicious. One explanation behind this odd appetite could be due to the increase in carbon dioxide release. You know now that CO2 is the real deal for these bugs, and guess what? Pregnant women release almost 21% more carbon dioxide than non-pregnant women. Do you see the math here?

Clothing Color

This is probably something you have already witnessed and can relate to. Mosquitoes are magnetically attracted towards darker clothes. One reason to this is because dark clothes can increase your body temp, which as we know is a invitation for dinner for these guys. When you wear darker clothes, you also increase your body temp. As a result, you attract more mosquitoes!

But, Does Mosquito Repellent Really Work?

Given the number and multitude of bogus and nonsense mosquito repellents in the market today, we totally understand and justify when you doubt the efficacy of a mosquito repellent. But to answer your question: Yes! Yes, mosquito repellents do work. Only as long as you pick the right stuff only.

Essentially, it is all a matter of basic chemistry. Your body temperature plays a huge role here. The warmer you are, the more you sweat and emit. And mosquito repellents cover and mask and even disrupt your natural odor and warmth.

It is all a matter of how well they work; that, we think, is the more important question here. Some mosquito repellents are more potent than others. Some are more chemical based while some are more natural.

Even the Best bug repellents in the market aren’t always the most powerful. But whatever it is, they essentially do the same thing: mask your body odor to confuse and throw of the bug. Some formulas are spot-on, other are mmm well… “okay”, we guess.

Mind you, something that works great on your friend may not show the same results on you. Everybody is different and everybody’s body functions and emit differently. The trick here's to find something you know will work for you.

And that’s what exactly what our article is here to help you with today: finding the Best insects repellent for your needs.

Importance of Using Insect Repellents for Kids

For the kids, you want nothing but Even the Best mosquito repellents. And before we cover your issues, we want to take a minute to tell you about how stinking important it is to use an insect repellent for kids. There’s no hmm no but.

It is a must! Kids are always running or crawling or hanging and fighting or doing whatever the heck it is that they do. Needless to say, their body temp is a lot higher than a relaxed person so they do end up attracting more mosquitoes. Apart from that, they are very vulnerable and too carefree to work about the bites, making them easy meal for the bugs.

It is therefore very important that you choose the correct insect repellent for your kids. First of all, always carry one with you wherever your kids go. You have repellents in the form of spray, creams, mists and even patches. Insects repellents need to be refreshed every often (much like sunscreens) depending on the type of repellent you use.

Some can be applied directly onto skin while others are made to be used on fabrics and clothes, only. Also, always make sure of the ingredients in your kid’s insect repellent. Some ingredients, like lemon essential oil, can triggers allergies and rashes in kids. Be cautious of your kids ingesting these concoctions and always keep them away from their reach.

What You Need to Know About Insect Repellents

As you can see, insect repellents are to be used carefully and by the instructions. They are great stuff and work well, but there are still very potent concoctions that can do quite a bit of damage if you are not aware. And to understand the product even better, you must, first of all, know a thing or two about insect repellents.

Almost all insects repellents are made using some key ingredients, both natural and synthetic, to shoo away the bugs. Formulas differ from brand to brand and hence, so does potency. Some of the most popular mosquito repellents include DEET, Picaridin, and Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or combinations. (We will cover each of these ingredients more elaborately in a few minutes!).

Whatever the concoction or formula or whatever it is that you use, you must know to abide by a few guidelines. This includes some of the following:

Insect repellent wear time

Different types of insect repellent offers different periods of wear time. For example, 6.65% of DEET can offer 2-3 hours of protection while 23.8% DEET offers about 5 hours of protection.

Safety for kids

Mind it, natural doesn’t always mean harmless. There have been multiple reports that insect repellents with Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus can triggers allergies or reactions in kids. Use Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus based repellents on kids over the age of 3.

Application surface (skin, fabric, objects, etc)

Some repellents are safe on skin, some are not. However, almost all repellents are harmful if you use them on broken, cut or already damaged skin with open wounds. People with skin conditions like eczema should also consider consulting their physician before applying commercial and potent insect repellents.

Ingredient list to check for allergies

Believe it or not but most insects repellent can be used on babies as young as 2 months old! That’s how safe these are. Having said that, allergies are a deal threat and so it is very important that you check the ingredient list for things that could triggers allergies.

Prohibited users

Although mostly safe, some repellents should not be used on certain criteria of people, animal or things.

What’s the Best way to Use Mosquito Repellent?

One should always be careful while using mosquito repellent. It is safe, but it is chemical after all. Follow these few steps to make the most out of your mosquito repellent:

  • Do not apply over dirty, greasy or wet skin.
  • Refrain from using any mosquito repellent under your clothes. Over your clothes and skin is the way to go.
  • Do not over spray or over apply. A little goes a long way.
  • Don’t forget to reapply and refresh the mosquito repellent product on yourself. Like we said previously, they have a wear time after which they are no longer potent. Having said that, avoid reapplying at all, if possible.
  • Apply you're your body first, and then to your face.
  • Steer clear from apply or spraying around your nostrils, eyes, and mouth. If ingested, rinse thoroughly. If it begins to sting or irritate you, then visit the ER as soon as possible.
  • Pregnant women should use mosquito repellent that are EPA-registered, only.
  • Do not spray or apply mosquito repellents over animals without consulting a vet.
  • After moving back indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water.
  • Wash off the hands after applying any repellents. This is especially important for kids who tend to put hands in their mouths.

Meet With Your Active Ingredients

Remember we told you about those fancy sciency insect repellent ingredient names? Well, here they are, and some safe ways to use them and make them more effective.


The absolute king and the best of them all! DEET or N-diethyl-m-toluamide is one of the oldest mosquito repellent ingredients around. And the best part is that it is also the most potent, yet safe!

DEET, in mosquito repellent, come in various percentages, and the higher the percentage, the more repellent it is usually. It also multifunction as a repellent to an array of bugs like leeches, fleas, ticks, etc.

Flies are one more bug that needs some smacking and DEET based repellents make for one of the best outdoor fly repellents. Although there have been a few cases of DEET reactions, and we mean very few; the product is harmless to you if you use it properly and carefully.

Be aware though, IT has a strong odor and is pungent. It is also not the longest wearing. But still makes for the even the Best mosquito and ticks repellents in use today. DEET is the industry standard for the best bug repellents today and is almost always the first choice for people who are looking for a repellent that strong, powerful and no nonsense!

One of the best insects repellent DEET is from the OFF! Deep Woods which has around 24%.


If there’s anything ingredient that’s second to DEET in the mosquito repellent world, then it would be Picaridin. It, also known as Icaridin, is second mosquito repellent ingredient in the world. It is potent and does a great job of keeping the bloodsuckers away.

Picardin is convenient because it is fairly longer wearing than DEET. It is also known to be odorless and less pungent. Apart from being a mosquito swatter, it is also one of the best fly repellents.


IR3535, or 3-[N-Butyl-N- acetyl]-aminopropionic acid, ethyl ester (good lord!) is a less potent, less pungent alternative for DEET. It does pose a few health risks and isn't the most effective if we were to compare it to DEET or Picaridin.

Having said that, it still does a good job and is more a lightweight option over the rest. IR3535 is usually used in conjunction with other repelling ingredients that make its effects last longer and better. Keep in mind, however, that could irritate the eyes.

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus

And finally, you have Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, which is actually a trade name for any repellent that uses the extract of the eucalyptus tree. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus a good mosquitoes repellent, but isn't too powerful on its own.

It is therefore always used in combination with other ingredients, much like IR3535, to make it more effective. It has one of the lowest wear time, but it is natural, lightweight and non-pungent. Keep in mind, however, that this ingredient is not the most favored by kids.

We will cover a whole section for kids short so keep reading!

Mosquito repellent formulas - Which ingredients are safe for babies?

Chemical based and synthetic

DEET. Some people think DEET is safe, some people are incessant that it is not. However, through our years and years of experience and research, we can conclude that DEET is, in fact, safe for babies. Then again, it is safe as long as you use it properly.

We personally feel that, for babies, you should stick to a mosquito repellent with a lower DEET percentage. And this is majorly because DEET is a little heavyweight and greasy, has a strong odor and is very pungent. Try and stick to a percentage around 5 to 15.

Leave the more concentrated DEET repellents for toddlers and adults.

Picaridin. on the other hand, is an excellent ingredient to look for in mosquito repellents for babies. Although many believe that this ingredient isn’t as effective as DEET, there is still a good number of studies that Picaridin is just as, if not more, effective in repelling bugs.

It is one of the best fly repellent, if we may add. However, what makes Picaridin based repellents more preferable for babies is that it is safe, odorless and not as pungent. Picaridin is also very lightweight. For babies, we recommend sticking to a Picaridin percentage of around 10.

IR3535. The IR3535 component is yet another very popular and widespread bug repellent ingredient in the industry. It has a temperament similar to Picaridin in the sense that it is very lightweight and odorless and non-pungent.

Great for kids, clearly. However, the ingredient is known to cause irritation around the eyes and has a low wear time. IR3535 is best used in conjunction with other bug repellent ingredients.

Natural based

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Now, this is one ingredient you should be very aware of. Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is an excellent mosquito repellent. It is lightweight, odorless and natural. Having said that, it doesn't quite go hand in hand with kids, especially babies. Many babies have shown signs of discomfort, rashes and allergy triggers to this ingredient, so be aware. Do not apply any mosquito repellent with this ingredient in it if your baby is under the age of 3.

Our Safety and Effectiveness Considerations

Safety Considerations

DEET Safety

DEET is one of those substances that really suffer from perception problem. It is hands down of the best and most effective mosquito repellent created by man. Also, it is still on shelves today! Having said that, there were few studies that said otherwise back in the days.

But mind you, that adverse reactions from DEET are extremely low and rare. Luckily, they have been debunked and the factual truth is it is safe as long as you use it carefully. You can use DEET based formulas on babies, toddlers and of course, adults.

Just avoid eyes, nostrils, and mouth. Refrain from using DEET (or any repellent) on the agitated skin.

Picaridin Safety

Picardin, much like DEET, is pretty safe to use. You can use it just like you use DEET based formulas: on the skin, on fabric, etc. It is lightweight in texture and consistency so it’s easy to wear.

It is also odorless and non-pungent so the kids won’t be fussing about it. Just make sure you do not apply it to sensitive areas and open wounds.

IR3535 Safety

IR3535, much like the rest of the repellent ingredients. Don’t pose any harmful side effects or long-term effects on us. However, it is very well known for causing irritation to the eyes. Having said that, it is much more lightweight and skin-friendly than DEET.

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus Safety

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is a natural bug repellent ingredient. But natural doesn’t always mean safe. It is great for almost everyone from toddlers to adults, but it has been reported to show signs of stress on babies. It is very important that you do not use any bug repellent consisting Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus on children under the age of 3.

Effectiveness Considerations

DEET Effectiveness

To makes the most of our DEET mosquito repellents, you have first know what percentage of concentrations matters. A lot! 5 to 10% in DEET concentration is the best mosquito repellents for babies. And for toddlers, sticking above 20% is fine.

To make the most out of DEET, make sure you are not wearing any strong perfume or does to overwhelm the DEET-y goodness. Remember, DEET is very oily and has a heavy consistency. Also, very pungent too. A little goes a long way

Picaridin Effectiveness

Picaridin makes the best bug repellent for toddlers and babies. One way to make the most out of Picaridin based repellents is to be a little more generous with the application. Since Picaridin has a shorter wear time than DEET.

IR3535 Effectiveness

IR3535 is great for all and everyone. Kids and tods love it because it is light and leaves skin feeling like they have nothing on. Yet, it is very effective. IR3535 is known for protecting against mosquitoes that carry malaria, Zika, etc.

However, IR3535 isn't as powerful as DEET or Picaridin, so you may want to look for a Picaridin based formula that is combined with other bug repelling ingredients.

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus Effectiveness

Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is very lightweight and user-friendly. It doesn't have that pungency or odor to it and is very lightweight too. However, it is much toned down in terms of repelling capabilities and has a shorter wear time.

Similar to IR3535, try and look for combinations when using Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus based repellents.

What are the negative effects of using mosquito Repellent?

We said it before, and we’ll say it again: mosquito repellents are safe for the most part. They are in fact very safe, to be honest. But yes, there are few things here and there that could happen if you do not use proper instruction or are just unlucky.

Having said that, there are few negative aspects to using mosquito repellents that may feel way in common:


Almost all good mosquito repellent in the market has a wide array of ingredients put into it to make the magic concoction. And some of these ingredients, such as DEET and essential oils, have a very powerful odor and pungency. Sometimes it can become a problem for many people.

The strong and sharp odor can trigger headaches and/or nausea. It can become particularly difficult for people who are sensitive to fragrances and odors, like people with migraines and pregnant women.

Breathing difficulty

The same reason brings us to yet another problem, which is finding it difficult to breathe. The concoction can be too overpowering and overwhelming for some people. Especially people who suffer from respiratory conditions like asthma.

Eyes and skin irritation

You may already know by now that some ingredients in mosquito repellents can irritate the eyes. The formula could sometimes be too strong for use even around the eyes. As a result, You're could feel water in your eyes, feel itchy or get puffy.

It is advisable that you apply a light layer to your face and away from the eyes. Apart from this, there are a few cases where your skin could also react to the repellent. Cases of mild rashes are in fact very common.

Always check for allergy concerns and never apply any bug repellent on broken, wounded or irritated skin.

How do I know if my repellent is safe to use?

There are heaps of repellents on the market, and knowing which one’s safe or harmful is tough luck. However, one sure and confirm the way to make sure that your repellent is safe and harmless is by making sure that it is registered through the EPA (Environmental Protection Act). The mosquito repellents are always safe, effective and registered!

Unregistered repellents are hardly ever tested for quality or safety. They are just put together and released into the market. The potential risks are therefore very high. But with EPA registered repellents, you know they are tested and tried and checked for quality and ingredients. They are only introduced into the market when EPA deems them qualified enough for our use.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control) promotes registered repellents to against insects that transmit diseases such as Zika, malaria, etc. And Picaridin, DEET, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus are some of the many registered repellents.

Rita Washington is a writer who was born in Boston. She is passionate in gardening. Rita have more than 4 years experience in gardening, planting & others.

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