13 min. read

The Best Bug Repellents for 2023

Top-rated bug repellents that will keep you safe from annoying bugs.

Are you looking to find the best repellent for you and your loved ones before you set off on that camping trip or hike? Plenty of repellents claim to be the absolute answer for your troubles but we would like to save you the agony of finding out whether they actually mean it or not.
There are some major things you should consider first before you make that choice, some of which include whether the active ingredients are safe for use around or on you and your children. The next thing to consider is whether the repellent is certified by the appropriate agency to give you assurance of safety. You should then consider when and how you will use the said repellent to make sure that you make the most out of it; factors such as age and the activity you will be involved in should be considered as you make a choice.

The big question here is, with all the different bug sprays out there, how are you supposed to know what’s going to best protect you and your family? We took the liberty of compiling the top-rated repellents in the current market to give you a list that will help you make an informed decision on how to choose the best insect repellent for you!

How We Picked

  • Efficiency

    The efficiency of the repellent you choose will determine how long it will be effective after you apply it. This is most times represented by labels indicating the protection time e.g “provides protection for up to eight hours.”

  • Humane

    Considering a better way to deter these bugs away from us is more humane compared to killing them on sight. Repellents are a more humane way to deal with bugs ensuring you don’t get bit and you are kinder towards them.

  • Safety

    When choosing the best insect repellent for you, check whether or not the repellent is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. This registration requires repellent manufacturers to provide extensive studies verifying the efficacy (proven effectiveness) and health and environmental impacts of such repellents.

  • Cost-Effectiveness

    You will definitely want to consider the cost of what you are purchasing in line with other factors such as quantity or even re-use. This review has plenty of pocket-friendly options that will give you value for your money by ensuring your whole family is covered and protected.

Our Top Picks

Best Pick

Deep woods sportsmen

This right here made it to the top of our list because it ticked all our boxes. This repellent is an affordable, non-toxic, and highly effective product that will serve you well for up to eight hours!

Deep Woods provides long-lasting protection from mosquitoes and biting flies: gnats, sand flies, no-see-ums, stable flies, and black files. It also repels ticks, chiggers, and fleas from treated skin and clothing. Deep Woods Sportsmen Insect Repellent gives effective protection and is not greasy, won't stain, and resists perspiration. It is an affordable option that is sure to keep away all those annoying bugs leaving you unbothered.

Buy Now for $20.64 ($0.86 / Ounce)

Protect you and your loved ones with this eight-hour protection repellent that is easy to apply, non-greasy and doesn’t leave any stains on your clothes!

Runner Up

Cliganic Bracelets

The perfect repellent for your kids and young ones with minimal risk. They are colorful bands that can fit both adults and children with ease; worn on wrists and ankles to offer repulsion against bugs.

These repellent bracelets are DEET free. They are made with essential oils: Geraniol Oil, Lemongrass Oil, and Citronella Oil. The bracelet itself is made of polyethylene. They are waterproof so you can enjoy the outdoors without worrying about affecting their potency.

Buy Now for $9.99 ($1.00 / Count)

Your kids will definitely love these colorful bands that will keep them safe from bug bites as they play around. The pack comes in plenty of colors for you to pick from!

Most cost-effective

Sallye Ander “No-Bite-Me”

All-in-one preventative and after-bug bite treatment for both your skin and that of your children as you go hiking or camping!

This repellent consists of a natural blend of 16 essential oils, including cedar, mint, rosemary, and lemongrass. It creates a strong minty and herbaceous scent that helps to keep bugs at bay for up to four hours. It is perfectly safe for those who have sensitive skin.

Buy Now for $14.95 ($7.48 / Ounce)

This all-natural cream is made up of 16 natural ingredients and plays a two-in-one role whereby it repels bugs and at the same time relieves the itching feeling after you are bitten.

Almost made the cut

Thermacell Patio Shield

This is your best option if you intend to go camping or stay up late catching up with a pal. Best for open areas with free air circulation i.e. well ventilated.

This option creates a 15-foot zone of protection against mosquitoes. It emits a scent-free repellent that drives away mosquitoes. These unscented repellent mats last up to four hours each and change color when its time to replace them.

Buy Now for $29.53

This is the best bargain when it comes to outdoor gatherings where you can’t afford to apply repellent on everyone; it offers you up to four hours of protection.

Everything We Recommend

Best Pick

Deep woods sportsmen

This right here made it to the top of our list because it ticked all our boxes. This repellent is an affordable, non-toxic, and highly effective product that will serve you well for up to eight hours!

$20.64 ($0.86 / Ounce)

Buy Now

Runner Up

Cliganic Bracelets

The perfect repellent for your kids and young ones with minimal risk. They are colorful bands that can fit both adults and children with ease; worn on wrists and ankles to offer repulsion against bugs.

$9.99 ($1.00 / Count)

Buy Now

Most cost-effective

Sallye Ander “No-Bite-Me”

All-in-one preventative and after-bug bite treatment for both your skin and that of your children as you go hiking or camping!

$14.95 ($7.48 / Ounce)

Buy Now

Almost made the cut

Thermacell Patio Shield

This is your best option if you intend to go camping or stay up late catching up with a pal. Best for open areas with free air circulation i.e. well ventilated.

$29.53

Buy Now

Who This Is For

This review is meant for anyone in need of a bug repellent for whatever reason. Whether it is hiking, camping, an outdoor grilling session, a campfire, etc. The choices of products offered below will give you some insight into what they are all about so that you can pick what you desire.

Do bug repellents work against all bugs?
Mosquitoes and ticks are attracted to skin odors and the carbon dioxide we exhale. They also use heat, movement, and visual cues to find a possible host. Repellents affect an insect’s senses such as smell and taste to prevent it from finding a human or animal host. However, insects such as bees and wasps or even hornets are not repelled by these products so beware.

How dangerous are bug repellents?
Bug repellents are only dangerous when used incorrectly i.e. wrong purpose or abuse. It follows common sense that the right tool should be used for the right job, when used in the correct manner as instructed, there is zero to minimal risk when it comes to repellents.

Do electronic bug repellents work?
Ultrasonic bug repellents, once plugged into an electrical outlet, operate by emitting short wavelength, high-frequency sound waves that are too high for humans to hear, but which cause discomfort to, kills, drives away, or incapacitates bugs.

Why You Should Trust Us

With plenty of options in the market, each claiming to be the best bug repellent, you may feel overwhelmed for not knowing which the best option for you is. This is the reason why we took the time to review the top-rated products in the market as of now, figured out a list of scenarios that would require the use of repellents, and drafted a list to suit your needs in the best way possible.

We kept in mind plenty of factors too, take a look.

How We Picked

As we had mentioned before, there are plenty of factors to consider as you pick the right product to suit your needs. Some of the major pointers that guided us to pick the items on this list include the following. The efficiency of the repellent will majorly determine how long it remains effective and how well it gets the work done. This list has options that will last you for up to eight hours as you hike or camp. The strength of repellent varies among different options. A certain amount of the active ingredient in your repellent is needed for it to have a feasible effect on bugs. A stronger repellent is more likely to work faster upon application which is definitely a desirable trait of the product you intend to buy.

Repellents take various forms which include; spray, powder, liquid, light, and bracelets. What really matters is how efficient they are and how well they suit your needs. For a swampy area, you can already tell that powders might not serve you as well as a spray will; at the end of the day, it’s all about convenience. Humane use of repellents is considered better than the use of insecticides since you only need to keep these bugs away rather than end their lives altogether.

The safety considerations when it comes to repellents are majorly focused on kids who might be prone to minor accidents of licking treated areas of their body parts. Therefore each repellent has a specific age limit to it that is approved by agencies to ensure such risk is minimized.
The price of what you get should be more or less worth the quality you get. Items and products on this list are definitely a guarantee when it comes to quality vs price.

Here is a list of our top picks tailored specifically for you!

Our Picks For You

Best Pick - Deep woods sportsmen

Best Pick

Deep woods sportsmen

This right here made it to the top of our list because it ticked all our boxes. This repellent is an affordable, non-toxic, and highly effective product that will serve you well for up to eight hours!

Deep Woods provides long-lasting protection from mosquitoes and biting flies: gnats, sand flies, no-see-ums, stable flies, and black files. It also repels ticks, chiggers, and fleas from treated skin and clothing. Deep Woods Sportsmen Insect Repellent gives effective protection and is not greasy, won't stain, and resists perspiration. It is an affordable option that is sure to keep away all those annoying bugs leaving you unbothered.

Buy Now for $20.64 ($0.86 / Ounce)

Who it is for

This option is specifically for you who wants to go hiking, camping or any other outdoor activity; it has a quick application method and will surely serve you well long into the day.

Why it is great

Convenient to carry around and very easy to apply without wasting time. It is highly effective and keeps you protected for up to eight hours. It is sweat resistant so it doesn’t drip off or become less active as you sweat during activities. It doesn’t leave a greasy or sticky feeling on your skin and neither does it leave stains on your clothes.

Potential flaws

A potential flaw to keep in mind is that this product demands close care and attention during application as it can easily come into contact with your eyes. For kids, it is important to monitor them closely to make sure they do not lick the treated areas of their skin. Finally, it has been rated by previous customers as rather unfriendly to use on your face, especially since it is an aerosol.

Other features

This repellent comes in a convenient aerosol spray pack meaning you can easily apply it and save more time on the go! It is ideal for active outdoor adventures such as hunting, fishing, camping, and backpacking.

Protection is guaranteed because this repellent is formulated with 25% DEET (active ingredient) and hence provides up to eight hours of protection against bugs; it repels mosquitoes that may carry the Zika, Dengue virus, or the West Nile virus, ticks, biting flies, gnats, and chiggers.
What is even better is that it won't stain your clothes if you apply it on them. The special formula also resists perspiration making sure you get the most out of your repellent. All these attributes give you effective protection all day long and don't leave a greasy feeling on your skin!

Runner Up - Cliganic Bracelets

Runner Up

Cliganic Bracelets

The perfect repellent for your kids and young ones with minimal risk. They are colorful bands that can fit both adults and children with ease; worn on wrists and ankles to offer repulsion against bugs.

These repellent bracelets are DEET free. They are made with essential oils: Geraniol Oil, Lemongrass Oil, and Citronella Oil. The bracelet itself is made of polyethylene. They are waterproof so you can enjoy the outdoors without worrying about affecting their potency.

Buy Now for $9.99 ($1.00 / Count)

Who it is for

This option is a great pick for you especially if you have young ones that will tag along. The vibrant colors on these bracelets are to die for. Easy to use and can be worn on both your arms and feet.

Why it is great

These bracelets come in packs of 10, 20, or 50 pieces all at amazing prices. This product is cruelty-free and made up of nothing but organic active compounds. It is DEET free and is effective against mosquitoes and other nagging bugs.

Potential flaws

A potential flaw to keep in mind is that you might need more than just a single bracelet per person for it to be effective. Hence one person might need two or more for it to be effective on its own.

Other features

This bracelet is DEET-free; it is made with essential oils such as geraniol oil, lemongrass oil, and citronella oil which have been found to be effective in repelling mosquitoes and other bugs.
The pack contains bracelets in 10 resealable bags – each mosquito repellent bracelet is individually wrapped in a resealable bag, keeping it fresh and increasing the life span. This also means that you can store the bracelet after use for a later date.
One size fits all meaning that these repellent bracelets are fully adjustable, stretchy, and easily fit both adults and children. These bracelets are great for use outdoors and indoors too; the scent is moderately strong and will last well throughout your activities for about six to eight hours. Since they are waterproof, you do not have to worry about a little rain or water, they will still be effective.
With plenty of colors to pick from, you and your family are spoiled for choice!

Most cost-effective - Sallye Ander “No-Bite-Me”

Most cost-effective

Sallye Ander “No-Bite-Me”

All-in-one preventative and after-bug bite treatment for both your skin and that of your children as you go hiking or camping!

This repellent consists of a natural blend of 16 essential oils, including cedar, mint, rosemary, and lemongrass. It creates a strong minty and herbaceous scent that helps to keep bugs at bay for up to four hours. It is perfectly safe for those who have sensitive skin.

Buy Now for $14.95 ($7.48 / Ounce)

Who it is for

This product is great for someone looking for a bargain price product. It is highly effective and among the top-rated products of thousands of customers out there.

Why it is great

If you are looking to save money but still get good quality, this cream offers you exactly that.
This cream is absolutely safe for both you and your children; it can also be applied directly on your face without any negative effects on your skin.

Potential flaws

A potential flaw to keep in mind is that the cream is not as potent as the other products on this list. Its effects only last about four hours after which you need to apply some more.

Other features

This right here is the all-in-one repellent and anti-itch: “no-bite-me” that does it all!
Unlike other creams that make you choose between repelling bugs and treating uncomfortable bug bites, “No-Bite-Me” prevents and repairs bug-bombed skin. Effective on black flies, mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.
It is a cruelty-free method that keeps bugs away naturally. This proprietary blend of 16 essential oils, including cedar, mint, rosemary, and lemongrass, creates a strong minty and herbaceous scent that helps keep bugs at bay for up to four hours all while ensuring your sensitive skin is safe and healthy. These natural ingredients give it a sweet scent that doesn’t irritate you at all.
It is safe for children because "No-Bite-Me" is a completely natural bug repellent. It’s easy to apply; just like other creams, dot on exposed skin and blend in. No mess, no fuss. This cream is DEET free to protect even the smallest adventurers. The ingredients are also edible so it poses a lesser risk to your children.
It also works well as a repellent against any bed bugs and soothes the itchy feeling in case you get bitten.
All these benefits are packed into a single cream for such an affordable price!

Almost made the cut - Thermacell Patio Shield

Almost made the cut

Thermacell Patio Shield

This is your best option if you intend to go camping or stay up late catching up with a pal. Best for open areas with free air circulation i.e. well ventilated.

This option creates a 15-foot zone of protection against mosquitoes. It emits a scent-free repellent that drives away mosquitoes. These unscented repellent mats last up to four hours each and change color when its time to replace them.

Buy Now for $29.53

Who it is for

This right here is the best option for you if you do not want to apply any sort of cream or spray on your skin. If you also don’t like the scents that accompany repellents, this would be an amazing option for you.

Why it is great

This option is free of DEET, strong scents, and smoke that may irritate or annoy you. It is portable and light in weight. You do not have to charge anything or deal with any open flames at all.

Potential flaws

A potential flaw to keep in mind is that it is less effective if the weather is windy. The refill mats and fuel cartridge are rather pricey compared to other items on this list.

Other features

Thermacell fuel cartridge creates heat to activate the repellent mat and disperse the allethrin insect repellent to create a 15 ft. zone of protection. Allethrin insect repellent is the synthetic form of a natural repellent found in chrysanthemum plants.
This product is evaluated and approved by the EPA for safety and effectiveness; the repeller mat provides up to four hours of protection; the butane fuel cartridge lasts up to 12 hrs; replacement repellent and butane cartridges are sold separately.
This product is Scent-free and DEET-free so this means no messy sprays or lotions; no open flame; no smoky candles. The initial purchase includes three repeller mats and one butane fuel cartridge for up to 12 hours of protection.

Care and maintenance

It is very important to be extremely careful when using bug repellents around children or pets. This is because they might end up ingesting dangerous chemicals. Therefore, monitor situations and determine the best time to use repellents to minimize interaction or contact with both pets and children. It would be safer to not use powder if you have children or pets in the house. Powders may be licked by pets and end up injuring them.

If the powder is swallowed by either kids or a pet, the best action to take is to call the appropriate authority for guidance. You can also immediately rush to the hospital or veterinary accordingly. Inducing vomiting is not advisable since in some cases it might cause more harm.

Places to use the repellents inside the house include windows, pipes, cracks in walls, and grates. Different surfaces demand different forms of repellents so you can pick what you deem fit for use. For outside the house, windows and door frames are the best places to use repellents as they tend to be the entry points for most bugs. Powders and aerosol sprays will suffice for such areas.

How to use repellents
Different types of repellents have different directions for use. It is therefore advisable to read the user instructions before putting a product into use.

There are, however, some common do’s and don’ts when it comes to the use of repellents. Do not apply over cuts, wounds, irritated or sunburned skin. Do not spray in enclosed areas. Use just enough repellent to cover exposed skin and/or clothing. Avoid over-application of these products. Frequent reapplication and saturation are unnecessary. Do not allow children to handle this product. Do not apply to children’s hands. When using it on children, apply it to your own hands and then put it on the child. After returning indoors, wash treated skin with soap and water. Spread evenly with your hands to moisten all exposed skin.