Best mosquito repellent

First Aid & Treatment

Unlike sunscreen, mosquito repellents are effective in just a thin layer. In addition, you only need to apply it to exposed skin.

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Which mosquito repellent is best?

Mosquitoes are one of the only truly unpleasant aspects of the outdoors, but with the right mosquito repellent, you can stay outside longer without worrying about returning home covered in itchy bites. Mosquito repellents come in several forms, including sprays, wipes, and creams, each of which is applied differently. The ingredients in repellents vary from one product to the next, and they vary in their effectiveness and side effects.

Our top pick by Avon stands out for its nonirritating ingredients. To learn more about the types of mosquito repellents available, continue reading our buying guide.

Why use mosquito repellents?

Everyone knows how uncomfortable a handful of mosquito bites can be. Mosquitoes are ubiquitous in many areas and are difficult to exterminate. In most cases, mosquito repellent is the only way to keep them from biting, reducing itchiness and protecting you from harmful diseases like Zika virus and malaria.

What to know before you buy a mosquito repellent


Mosquito repellents come in different forms and have their benefits and drawbacks.

  • Sprays are easy to apply to skin or clothing but must be used with caution as they can also be inhaled. Applying an even coat can be difficult.
  • Creams allow for even application on the skin, but they cannot be applied to clothing and can leave an undesirable residue.
  • Towelettes are easy to carry and can be quickly wiped over skin or clothing to apply. However, you have to find a place to dispose of the wipes or carry them with you, the latter of which may help to deter more pesky mosquitoes.

What to look for in a quality mosquito repellent

Active ingredients

The ingredients used to deter mosquitoes vary. Some are natural, but many are synthetic.

  • DEET is a popular and effective ingredient, though some people are concerned about its possible effects on humans. Those with sensitive skin may experience rashes.
  • Picaridin is an odorless, synthetic ingredient that is easy on the skin.
  • Permethrin is designed to be applied only to clothing and gear. While it succeeds in warding off mosquitoes, it can also harm other insects. Some clothing may be pretreated with permethrin and deter mosquitoes for up to 20 washes.
  • Natural ingredients lack the effectiveness of synthetic ingredients but are less likely to irritate the skin or respiratory system.

Ingredients vary in their duration, with a higher concentration of the active ingredient generally corresponding to longer-lasting effects. Permethrin is the longest-lasting option, with DEET coming in second. Natural, plant-based ingredients have the shortest lifespan and may need to be reapplied.

EPA and CDC approval

Some mosquito repellents are registered with the EPA and approved by the CDC. This tells you that they have been studied for their effectiveness and their safety for human use.

How much you can expect to spend on a mosquito repellent

Most mosquito repellents cost around $10. However, the volume of repellent or number of wipes varies, so check to see whether you are receiving a good value for your purchase.

Mosquito repellents FAQ

Q. Should mosquito repellent be applied before or after sunscreen?

A. Sunscreen should go on first. Bear in mind that you may need to reapply sunscreen throughout the day, but mosquito repellent can last for six hours or more.

Q. Should mosquito repellent be washed off after returning indoors?

A. Yes. This reduces the chances of getting a rash. Plus, it gets rid of that sticky feeling you can get after wearing mosquito repellent.

What mosquito repellents are best to buy?

Top mosquito repellent


Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Towelettes

Our take: These wipes stand out for their effectiveness and their odorless application.

What we like: This picaridin-based spray is safe to use for children and infants, and it is unlikely to cause irritation. The wipes are easy to apply to the skin.

What we dislike: Mosquitoes may still hover around you, though they will probably not bite.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Top mosquito repellent for the money

Cutter All Family Mosquito Wipes

Cutter All Family Mosquito Wipes

Our take: These wipes are fairly affordable and very easy to apply anywhere.

What we like: This pack of wipes is one of the best values when the price per wipe is considered. The repellent goes on smoothly and without odor and it is safe for all ages.

What we dislike: A relatively short effectiveness period means you may need to reapply frequently.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Worth Checking Out

Ben’s 30% DEET Insect Repellent Wipes

Ben’s 30% DEET Insect Repellent Wipes

Our take: This spray is effective not only against mosquitoes but also against Lyme disease-carrying ticks.

What we like: These wipes have a fairly high DEET content, making them more effective and longer-lasting than most wipes.

What we dislike: The wipes are fairly small and do not contain many repellents, so the application can be difficult.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon


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Peter McPherson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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