Most of you in search of the best bug spray would probably be OK with a lotion, cream or oil to help keep the little pests at away, right?
There are plenty of great products out there that will help repel unwanted guests like mosquitos, ticks, chiggers and flies, and if you’re not sure which one to choose, this guide will help clear up any doubts you may have about bug-repelling sprays and products.
Top 10 Bug Sprays Comparison Chart
Do You Really Want a Spray?
Whether or not the product is a spray shouldn’t matter: your main focus is to keep the insects away and that means you have many options available.
- Spray. Bug sprays come with two different types of application tips: pumps or aerosol tips.
Pumps are great when you want to apply the repellent to a more concentrated area on your clothing or your body, but aerosol tips help you coat things more evenly.
Hunters, fisherman, and hikers all tend to lean toward aerosol cans since it can help them cover their clothing and gear.
- Oil or Lotion. We included one of each option because they just happen to be great bug repellents.
Essential oils are a great way to repel bugs naturally, no DEET, Permethrin or any other harsh chemicals in sight.
Lotions can be applied all over the body or to targeted area, and you don’t have to breathe in a cloud of spray when you use it.
Just remember that you have options and keep an open mind when comparing and contrasting the options on our list!
DEET and Permethrin – To Use or Not to Use
Did you happen to notice that the best bug sprays usually contain DEET or Permethrin? Yeah, we aren’t so excited about that either, but unfortunately, these harsh chemicals are the most effective when it comes to keeping the bugs away.
So what are they, exactly?
- DEET. DEET is the active ingredient used in a variety of insecticides, and as such, it just happens to make a great bug repellent.
Manufacturers use it in different percentages, so you’ll have to make sure you read the label carefully to see how and where it can be applied.
Some are safe for clothing and exposed skin but not the face; others can be applied to the face by hand. Read and follow the instructions!
- Permethrin. Another type of ingredient used in insecticide is permethrin, and not just in fields and on plants! It is also found in some lice treatment products.
Products that contain it come in both cream and spray form, and while it is deemed safe to use on the skin, you should always read the label and understand any possible side effects that may occur.
If chemicals aren’t your thing, then check out some of the natural products on our list! They may not be as effective, but at least you can feel comfortable applying them to your body.
Top 5 Best Bug Spray Reviews
Repel contains a strong concentration of DEET (98.11%), and while it may not be the right choice for some of you since it is not natural, its bug-repelling powers are pretty awesome.
Once applied, this will help you repel ticks, fleas, mosquitos, chiggers, gnats, biting flies, and mosquitos. It is formulated to help keep the pests away in more extreme conditions, so if you’re headed out into the woods, carry a bottle of this along, and you’ll be bug-free.
This particular formula is also designed to repel mosquitos that transmit viruses such as West Nile, Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya, and will all of the dangers these viruses pose, having a bottle of Repel will help you feel at ease when you’re out in nature.
You can apply this to exposed skin and clothing, but do not apply it under your clothing or on the face (see directions for use).
Repel 100 is the best bug spray for the highest level of bug protection. We recommend it for hikers, nature enthusiasts, hunters, and fisherman.
3Ms lotion is probably one of the best bug repellent products on our list, and it’s not even a spray!
We love that the percentage of DEET is much lower (only 34.34% as opposed to the whopping 98.11% of the previous product) and still allows the product to be effective.
Apply this lotion, and you’ll be protected from gnats, deer flies, fleas, ticks, chiggers, mosquitos and biting flies for up to 12 hours. The formula is sweat and splash resistant, so if you’re headed to the local waterhole, this stuff has you covered.
It helps keep the West Nile and Lyme Disease carriers away (i.e. mosquitos and ticks), and the best part is that the smell isn’t too overwhelming. A little really went a long way when we applied it, and it is a travel-friendly size. Take a bottle along on your next jungle adventure!
Repel made our list again with another formula that has less DEET in it. The 40% solution may not last as long as their Repel 100 product, but it is still a great formula.
It provides you with 8-hour protection against ticks, fleas, mosquitos, chiggers and biting flies and you’ll be pleased to know that it is unscented.
The main difference between the Repel 100 and this formula is the fact that this can be applied to the face.
Do not spray it directly on your face; simply spray some product on your hands and then rub it on your face away from the eyes and mouth.
Of the two Repel product in our top five, this is the more popular one since it can be applied to more areas.
Those of you who enjoy DIY projects will enjoy whipping up a batch of mosquito repellent with the help of these three essential oils.
Grapefruit, Citronella and Lemongrass essential oils can be added to a diffuser to help ward off mosquitos in your home, or you can find a recipe and mix up a batch of homemade mosquito repellent with the help of these three oils.
The great thing about them is that they are kid-friendly and pet-friendly, so if you are looking for an alternative to DEET and have a particularly heavy mosquito population in your area, this is the right choice for you.
Outshield is a ready-to-use natural spray that we recommend if you don’t feel like whipping up a batch of your own.
It contains geraniol, which is present already in rose oil, citronella oil and a variety of other essential oils. It is also present in geranium plants, so have a few planted outside the window to keep the mosquitos away!
This spray claims to repel chiggers, sand flies, ticks, mosquitos, fire ants, gnats, and fleas, and it worked surprisingly well when comparing it to some of the other chemical-filled products in our top five.
We love that it is a cruelty-free product and the smell isn’t overwhelming.
It’s another great alternative if you don’t want to resort to chemicals!