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One of the best parts about summer is spending more time outdoors. But whether you’re camping, hiking, swimming or lounging by the pool, pesky bugs are ready to attack so protection is key.
From Zika-carrying mosquitos to Lyme-carrying ticks, a reliable bug repellent is a must for the summer season. Some of the more popular options include ingredients like DEET or picaridin, which are approved with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But which brand is the best?
We turned to the shoppers at Amazon and rounded up the best mosquito repellents and bug sprays that fall into the best-seller and top-rated categories. Shop the top repellents to keep those pesky bugs away all summer long, below.
Great for use on skin and clothing, Sawyer’s picaridin repellent keeps mosquitos at bay for up to 14 hours and ticks, chiggers, flies and fleas for up to 8.
“Better than deet,” wrote one 5-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 or biting after spraying this on and rubbing it around. 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 DEET formula is travel-friendly and the Ben’s brand happens to have the stamp of approval from Consumer Reports and Amazon shoppers alike.
“Purchased Ben's for the first time last spring and repeat buyer for the summer as well as friends and family. Easy to apply pump spray. Not oily,” wrote one happy customer. “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 spend a lot of times enjoying the great outdoors.
“My favorite product in the entire world!” raved one reviewer. “This stuff is a life saver! I've tried every spray, lotion, oil, candle, plant, etc known to man & I still get tore up. That's where Repel sport comes in. If this stuff prevents me from getting bit, it'll work for anyone! I can put this on in the early morning & 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, this 3M lotion provides up to 12 hours of protection. It’s no wonder it is 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,” wrote one long-time user.
Another added, “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 on the more natural side, consider Repel’s lemon eucalyptus oil formula. It keeps mosquitos away for up to 6 hours and doesn’t feel greasy or sticky on skin.
“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,” wrote a 5-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. Plus, it sprays on evenly and dries in seconds so it doesn’t even feel like you have anything on your skin.
“Doesn't leave residue... which is amazing!” said one reviewer who is a fan of the company. “The Johnson brand for mosquito protection is far best the most amazing. 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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