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One of the best parts about summer is spending more time outdoors. But whether you’re camping, hiking, or lounging by the pool, pesky bugs might try to ruin your party—so protection is key.
Since we have to deal with everything from Zika-carrying mosquitos to Lyme-carrying ticks, a reliable bug repellent is a must. Some of the more popular options include ingredients like Deet or Picaridin, which are EPA- and CDC-approved.
But which ones actually work?
We turned to Amazon shoppers and rounded up the mosquito repellents and bug sprays that fall into the best-seller and top-rated categories. Shop these wildly popular repellents to keep those pesky bugs at bay.
Great for use on skin and clothing, Sawyer’s Picaridin repellent staves off mosquitos for up to 14 hours and ticks, chiggers, flies and fleas for up to eight hours.
“Better than Deet,” writes one five-star reviewer. “This stuff works. I have been surrounded by a cloud of biting flies, mosquitos and gnats, and the insects can't stand landing on me after spraying this. It lasts much longer than Deet as well...If you're reading this and you've only tried Deet repellants, give this stuff a try.”
This water-based, travel-friendly Deet formula is a winner—and Ben’s has the stamp of approval from Consumer Reports and Amazon shoppers alike.
“Easy to apply pump spray. Not oily,” writes a satisfied shopper. “It does not have an overwhelming smell and blends easily in. I even spray the outside of my suitcase (fabric covered) when I travel. Highly recommend.”
With a strong, 40 percent dose of Deet, this long-lasting repellent is a favorite among those who love the great outdoors, and it’s just $11 for two.
“My favorite product in the entire world!” raves one reviewer. “This stuff is a life saver! I've tried every spray, lotion, oil, candle, plant, etc known to man and I still get tore up. That's where Repel comes in. If this stuff prevents me from getting bit, it'll work for anyone! I can put this on in the early morning and stay mosquito free all day! I do reapply if I sweat or go swimming, but I can finally enjoy my patio again!”
This formula was first developed for the US Military in the mid-’80s and has been tested in the harshest of environments. Using controlled-release technology, the 3M lotion provides up to 12 hours of protection. It’s no wonder it’s still used by troops around the world.
“My first experience with this was in a military care package and I haven't encountered a soldier yet who didn't become a fan. I like that this is time-released, long-lasting and sweat-resistant,” writes one long-time user.
Another adds: “This repellent lotion exceeded my expectations as I tried it first while in the woods during hot, humid summer days in the south. It was very effective; I didn't get a single mosquito bite wherever I applied it. The lotion applies pretty thick, and it wasn't as sticky as I thought it would be (which was great).”
If you prefer something more natural, consider Repel’s lemon eucalyptus oil formula. It keeps mosquitos away for up to six hours and doesn’t feel greasy or sticky.
“I have a recently developed, escalating allergy to mosquito bites and didn't want to cover myself in Deet on a daily basis, so I decided to try this based on a Consumer Reports review that indicated it was the best of the natural sprays on the market,” writes a five-star reviewer. “After a couple of weeks of use, it seems to be doing the job. I live in the humid south where mosquitoes rarely ever seem to truly go away. The smell is very strong but not unpleasant and I haven't had any reactions on my sensitive skin. It does eventually dry out to a less noticeable odor.”
You can never go wrong with a classic like this one for the whole family. It applies evenly and dries in seconds.
“Doesn't leave residue...which is amazing!” says one reviewer who is a fan of the company. “Some brands leave a sticky residue but this one does not, which I love.”
The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.
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