Best Repellents for Mosquitoes: Top Remedies & Useful Tips
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Hi! I’m Travis, glad to see you on my blog for the first time and again! This time, my article is about mosquitoes and the best products that help to repel them effectively. Everyone knows that mosquito bites are incredibly itchy, while the buzzing of their wings can drive anyone nuts, especially if you spend the night outdoors. But unfortunately, these are not the biggest problems that mosquitoes can cause.
According to Senior Health Analyst at Fox, Dr. Manny Alvarez, mosquitoes can be carriers of many diseases. The most dangerous and frequently registered strain transmitted by US mosquitoes is the West Nile Virus. Besides, they carry malaria, chikungunya, and dengue fever.
If you like hiking as much as I do, you should consider protecting yourself from the potential threats with the best mosquito control product to enjoy your trip. The chances of getting infected are rather low, but risk reduction is essential.
Read my experience-based product reviews to choose the best mosquito repellent for your next outdoor stay and evening BBQ at your backyard. There’s a buyer guide under the review section of the article. Read it to understand how repellents work and how to protect yourself from buzzers outdoors and while hiking. The rules are simple but will make your active leisure much more pleasurable.
Mosquito Control Products Reviews: Top 8 Picks
Here are the eight most effective mosquito repellent products that I’ve ever used. I tested each remedy while hiking in different parts of the US and, thanks to these brands, I wasn’t bitten and slept well enough each night in the woods and mountains.
Thermacell MR300F Portable Mosquito Repellent – Best Mosquito Repellent Device On The Go
Thermacell’s portable pastille (mat) heater is the most effective and convenient anti-mosquito device for personal protection during hiking. This fuel-powered gadget consists of 3 parts: a hard temperature-resistant plastic case, fuel cartridge, and the mat socket. You have to insert the pastille, activate the fuel cartridge, and wait 15 minutes for it to start working. The manufacturer claims that 1 fuel cartridge is enough for around 12 hours, which is enough for 2 nights outdoors. In reality, the capacity fluctuates from 10.5 to 11.5 hours.
The only issue is that you have to replace mats every 4 hours, which is hard when you are sleeping. The device cannot understand when it’s time for recharging, so it will just keep burning fuel. That’s why I recommend you to activate the item around 4 hours before going to sleep, to make your tent unattractive. When you’re inside, they won’t be able to reach you during the night. But don’t ever leave the device on when you’re asleep as it requires constant control. Make sure that you switch it off when you go to sleep.
MR300F has almost the same efficiency as candles and lanterns, but it’s much more convenient to handle. It comes with a camo holster that lets you clip the device to your belt and carry an additional fuel cartridge along. Unfortunately, the holster isn’t waterproof, so I hope that the igniter will keep working if it gets wet.
This item is perfect for hiking and camping as it provides enough coverage for repelling mosquitoes from your dining area. It’s also very easy to use and carry as it doesn’t take too much place and weighs only 8 ounces.
- Large Area of Mosquito Protection—Clears mosquitoes from a 15-foot zone; cordless operation, runs on fuel cartridge; highly effective mosquito repellent includes 100% satisfaction
- Mess, Scent and DEET-Free—No lotions, sprays, candles or torches; Thermacell MR300 Repeller offers invisible defense against pesky mosquitoes so users can stay out longer and go farther than before
- Easy-to-Use Camo Repeller System—Contains one black MR300 Repeller, three repellent mats, one fuel cartridge and one camo holster for storage of refills, transport and concealment
- HIGHLY effective and trusted — System provides portable, convenient protection from the worst clouds of mosquitoes when camping, hiking, Gardening, fishing or during any outdoor adventure
- 12-hours of protection included— Each repellent mat offers 4 hours of mosquito protection, and each Fuel cartridge lasts 12-hours; replace mat when it turns white; store spare fuel cartridge in holster
- Compact repellent for hiking;
- Fuel cartridge works for up to 11.5 hours;
- Covers up to 15 feet around you;
- Effective on windy days;
- Relatively cheap solution.
- Just 1 cartridge in the box.
Sawyer Products 20% Picaridin Insect Repellent – Best Mosquito Deterrent Based on Picaridin
This Picaridin Insect repellent by Sawyer is based on a 20% Picaridin solution, which is the most effective skin-applicable remedy. Unlike DEET-based liquids, it doesn’t cause skin irritations and provides longer protection due to auxiliary components. If you purchase in a sprayer, the effect will last up to 12 hours, while the lotion is effective against mosquitoes for up to 14 hours.
By the way, this product offers the largest variety of container form factors. There are as many as 15 options to choose from. You can order large lotion dispensers, tiny lotion packets or small bottles, 4 oz lotion bottles, different volumes of pump sprays, tiny pocket sprays, and even 6 oz pressure sprays.
Independently from the style you choose, you get an effective odorless solution against average and severe tropical mosquitoes. In addition, Picaridin is more effective against other insects, including ticks, flies, and chiggers, than DEET-based products. Both spray and lotion don’t leave stains on cloth and doesn’t harm metals, plastics, fabric, and other materials in your hiking gear. Besides, it’s totally safe for your children and allergic family members. But be careful with eyes as it may hurt if the liquid gets into your eyes.
I recommend you to use this product when you need reliable protection not only during your evening stay but on your way through swamps and rainforests too. If the area you are traveling to is full of both diurnal and nocturnal dangerous insects, this item is an excellent choice. It’s a top mosquito repellent when it comes to efficiency and the variety of packages for carrying along. It’s also the best personal mosquito repellent as it provides excellent protection independently from weather conditions and your actions.
- Long-lasting repellent effective against the Yellow Fever Mosquito, which can transmit the Zika Virus; 1-quart lotion pump dispenser bottle
- Reviewed by Consumer Reports as the Fisherman's Formula in its list of safe and effective insect repellents (February 2016)
- Fragrance-free topical insect repellent with 20% Picaridin — more effective at repelling biting flies than DEET; repels disease-carrying mosquitoes and ticks (Lyme and Powassan), chiggers, and more
- Lotion effective up to 14 hours against mosquitoes and ticks; up to 8 hours against biting flies, gnats, chiggers, and sand flies
- Safe to use on the whole family; won't harm clothing, backpacks, fishing line, firearm finishes, watches, sunglasses, or other synthetic fabrics
- A large variety of volumes and styles;
- The effect lasts up to 14 hours;
- Effective against mosquitoes, flies, chiggers, ticks, etc;
- Secure for small children;
- Doesn’t damage any materials.
- Approved by CA and EU authorities, but not tested in the US.
Flowtron BK-80D 80-Watt Electronic Insect Killer – Best Outdoor Insect Repellent for Backyard
BK-80D offers excellent insect eliminating capabilities for your backyard terrace or gazebo. You can hang it in the middle of any construction outdoors to attract insects with the blue light of the lamp. They will fly to the light and get killed by the electrified grid. The whole thing is powered by a standard 220W socket. Unfortunately, the power cord is just 9 inches long, so I recommend you to order this item together with an extension cord long enough to let you hang the device in the needed place.
Although the lamp is bright, and the grid is always electrified, this insect killer doesn’t consume too much power. Considering the average price for electricity in the US and the 80W power consumption of BK-80D, you will pay around 42$ for using the device 12 hours daily throughout the year. That’s very cheap.
The style of the unit is neutral so that you can place it anywhere without ruining the style of your backyard. The construction doesn’t collect burned insects, so birds won’t get interested. In addition, the exterior mesh is made of sturdy plastic that doesn’t react with water. Still, I recommend you to take the device away when it’s raining too heavily.
The UV-light attracting bulb is provided by default as well as the Octenol mosquito lure, which remains effective 30 days in a row. The manufacturer claims that this combination is effective enough to cover 1 acre, and it seems to be true.
I recommend you to apply this insect killer in your backyard and outdoor constructions. It’s a worthy alternative to candles and lanterns as the light attracts pests in both calm and windy weather plus it doesn’t smell or make noise. It’s the most effective mosquito repellent outdoor device for your yard.
- High efficiency, non-clogging killing grid, Easy bulb replacement .
- Rugged, weatherproof construction; will not rust, crack or fade
- Operates for only pennies a day
- Unit dimensions: 11-inch by 11-inch by 18 1/2-inch , The cord is 9” in length
- NOTE : This product is for outdoor use only.
- Excellent for home use;
- Easy to install;
- Low daily power consumption;
- Kills nuisance insects instantly;
- Easy to clean and change bulbs.
- The cord is rather short.
Repel Insect Repellent Citronella Candle – Natural Outdoor Mosquito Repellent
Some people like citronella smell, some hate it, but it’s still one of the most effective remedies on the market. Furthermore, it’s made of natural components. I’ve tested multiple repelling candles so far, but this one showed the best result. A single candle provides up to 40 hours of effective protection, which makes it convenient to use during long trips.
The components of the candles totally natural, but you have to be patient to avoid allergic reactions. You can check if you are allergic to citronella oil by applicating a small amount of candle wax on the inner side of your wrist. If it starts to itch or covers with small rash, don’t use the candle. However, such cases are extremely rare and usually caused by frequent exposure to oil. This candle includes 3% of oil, which is enough for repelling, but not enough to cause notable allergy.
The active zone of the candle depends on weather conditions. If it’s calm outside, you can place it in the middle of a 3-feet area. If it’s windy, you have to find the right place to put it upwind and sit in the flow. You can also purchase a pack of candles to burn them around your campfire or patio to create a secure perimeter.
This candle is best used in combination with sprays or lotions as you cannot burn candles during the night, and they won’t protect you on the go. Nevertheless, it’s a powerful outdoor remedy that’s simple to use and available at a competitive price. For the best effect, get the discounted 6-pack offer.
- DECK AND PATIO AREA REPELLENT: Repels mosquitoes and other flying insects in outdoor areas.
- CREATES AN INSECT BARRIER: 20-ounce candle provides up to 40 hours of protection.
- MADE WITH REAL CITRONELLA OIL: Keeps mosquitoes away from outdoor activities for hours.
- CONVENIENT GREEN CONTAINER: Portable mosquito protection perfect for the patio, porch, deck or campsite.
- PERIMETER PROTECTION: Use several Repel Insect Repellent Citronella Candles to maximize the repellent barrier.
- Made with natural citronella oil;
- Light citronella smell;
- One candle burns up to 40 hours;
- Wind-protecting metal container;
- Easy-to-place rubberized bottom.
- I don’t really like the frame style;
- The container becomes very hot.
Thermacell Scout Mosquito Repellent Camp Lantern – Lighting and Repelling
Here is another excellent repeller from the Thermacell line. The construction of this lantern is different from the MR300F model, but the working principle is totally the same. There’s a fuel cartridge inside that provides up to 12 hours of continuous action, while the mats provide up to 4 hours of powerful defense.
But why should you choose this design instead of the compact MR300F? First of all, this lantern can also be used for lighting. The LEDs are operated separately, which means that you can keep using the light while replacing cartridges or when the repelling action is not needed. Secondly, it’s easy to hang the lantern or place it on any surface. The hook for hanging is built into the lamp.
As you see, it’s much more useful for camping rather than for hiking with minimal equipment. Of course, you can attach the device to your backpack and carry it along as it’s waterproof and sturdy enough to withstand hits. But why do that if you can get the portable Thermacell MR300F for backpacking instead.
The lantern produces a 15-foot cloud around, letting you relax and enjoy your stay without being irritated by gnats. No matter where you place it, scentless invisible fumes will coat everything within the radius. It’s one of the best solutions for outdoor stays. You should get it if you need a mat heater combined with a bright lighting device.
- Effectively Repels Mosquitoes — Offering a 15-foot protection zone without DEET, sprays, lotions or smoky candles; no longer spray chemicals onto skin; scent-free, no open flame, no mess
- Clean and Easy to Use — The heat activated mat silently releases repellent into the air with no open flame for an inviting campsite; the repellent is modeled after one found in chrysanthemums
- Lights and Repels — 220 Lumen LED lantern and mosquito repellent function independently or together; durable rubber and ABS construction is water and impact resistant, includes built-in hanging hook
- 12 Hour Protection — Portability and convenience to protect campsites, backyards, drive-in movies, pools, hiking trips, porches, tents, or RVs; 3 Repellent Mats and 1 fuel cartridge included
- Effective and Trusted — Evaluated by the EPA for safety; easy to use camping gear, no assembly and repels mosquitoes in just minutes
- Includes bright LED light;
- Easy to operate;
- Covers 15-foot radius;
- Up to 12 hours of continuous action;
- Combined solution.
- A bit too bulky for on the go use.
Evergreen Research SB39001 Insect Repelling Bracelets – The Most Compact Solution
To tell the truth, when I first saw these yellow bracelets, I thought it was a scam. But that made me even more interested in testing the remedy. The bracelet consists of hypoallergenic rubber that’s infused with 2 natural oils, including geraniol oil, citronella oil, and lemongrass. Due to the high concentration of these oils within the bracelet material, it provides effective defense for up to 200 hours.
To test these bracelets properly, I used them with my legs and arms open for the first time. I expected to see zero results, but the item managed to save me from bites. However, I had to change them more frequently than the manufacturer says to. The real effective defense time is around 90 hours as the bracelet loses the smell completely after that period, letting the insects reach you without problems.
If you want to achieve a better result, I recommend you to wear clothes with long sleeves and pant legs. This way, you will concentrate on the action of the bracelet on your wrists and ankles. It’s a good result for a cheap pack of long-lasting bracelets. Based on this, you should understand that it’s a good solution for mildly infested areas and trips during which you feel comfortable wearing clothes that cover your entire body. Your kids will definitely like it.
- 50 bracelets in a pack;
- Effective defence for up to 90 hours;
- Easy to wear on arms and legs;
- Hypoallergenic materials;
- Doesn’t lose effect after swimming.
- May not be very effective when your body is too open.
Coleman 70+ Hour Outdoor Candle Lantern – Long-lasting Outdoor Solution
If you lack features of the previous citronella candle, which lantern may solve your problem, it’s a compact, yet powerful solution that can carry a large citronella oil candle that burns up to 70 hours. As a result, this item can be used during long trips and multiple evenings at the backyard in a row.
Unlike the previous candle, this one is protected with a sturdy rain-resistant cap that lets the candle burn no matter what. It also protects the fire from accidental debris. There’s also a convenient grasp handle for carrying and hanging the lantern. Due to durable materials, you can reuse the item multiple times, which is a good economy. Just purchase a new candle and go.
The concentration of citronella oil in the candle is the same as in the previous one, so you can expect the same effect and coverage. Other ingredients include average paraffin wax and carnauba wax. Both matters don’t cause allergic reactions and are totally safe for children. Still, you shouldn’t lit up the candle indoors as citronella oil can cause itch in the eyes if there’s not enough ventilation.
- One 6.7 oz Coleman Outdoor Candle Lantern burns for 70+ hours
- Citronella oil acts as a naturally occurring mosquito repellent making this citronella lantern perfect for camping supplies, picnic supplies and patio accessories
- Outdoor citronella candle camping lantern provides added protection as an area repellent
- Camping candle lantern is excellent for backyards, campsites, picnic areas and patios
- Large citronella candle Coleman lantern design provides ambiance and keeps nights peaceful
- Up to 70 hours of effective defence;
- Easy to carry and hang;
- Cap protects from debris and raindrops;
- Hypoallergenic components;
- Reusable cap.
- It’s hard to carry several lanterns if you’re travelling on foot.
Ranger Ready Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin – Excellent Outdoor Mosquito Repellent Spray
While Sawyer’s Picaridin repellent is the best in terms of the universality of applicators, Ranger Ready the best mosquito repellent spray when it comes to different spray volumes. The volume of available bottles starts at 3.4oz and ends at as many as 24oz. You can easily select the needed bottle size, depending on your needs.
Similarly to Sawyer’s products, this Picaridin spray protects your skin for up to 12 hours and ensures extra safeguard from ticks, flies, and other biting insects for up to 8 hours. The actual length depends on your blood type and the amount of sweat, so you have to feel when you need a new portion of spray.
The 20% Picaridin solution is safe for skin, but I recommend you to have a bath in between the usages to prevent pore blockages. Besides, both Sawyer’s and Ranger Ready remedies work much better when your skin is clean. You can apply it on all parts of your body as it doesn’t cause a sticky or greasy feeling. It’s also totally safe for your clothes and hiking gear. The liquid dries very fast and doesn’t leave stains.
- BUG REPELLENT SPRAY: Ranger Ready unscented insect repellent spray uses 20% Picaridin as the active ingredient which can be directly applied to skin, clothing or gear
- ACTIVE PROTECTION SPRAY: Provides 12 hours of tick and mosquito protection and 8 hours gnats, flies, chiggers, no see ums and flea protection from a single application
- SAFE TO USE: This insect repellent is Deet Free making it safe to use for children, adults and during pregnancy
- QUICK-DRY AND NON-GREASY: This bug spray won't damage clothing or gear, great for a day of hiking or a night under the stars
- MULTIPURPOSE TRIGGER SPRAY: This versatile picaridin insect repellent spray can be used as a bug, mosquito, flea, fly and tick repellent
- Available in 4 bottle sizes;
- Protects you for up to 12 hours;
- Doesn’t damage any materials;
- Protects from many insect types;
- Doesn’t cause an allergic reaction.
- No super compact bottle.
You have to choose the remedy considering your purposes. For example, if you’re planning a BBQ outdoors next weekend, or you want to go camping, it will be a good idea to purchase a citronella candle or a candle lantern. These items can fill the air around you with smells that make insects look for safer places. However, they are ineffective if it’s windy outside.
If you still want to buy a deterrent that doesn’t have to be applied on the skin and you will stay on one location, look for electronic solutions. Electronic insect killers can be installed anywhere. They attract insects with bright blue light and kill them immediately with a powerful discharge.
If you need something more portable, but you still don’t want to apply it on your skin, get a portable pastille-heating device. You can find one by Thermacell above for reference. These devices provide a long effect, and it’s easy to carry them around. Another worthy item for on-the-go use is an anti-mosquito bracelet. This simple remedy has a smell that wards off insects when they get close to your skin.
For all the mentioned and other cases, you can use a deterrent spray. The most popular solution is the DEET-based (N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) spray. It’s been actively used for over 60 years. However, DEET is also considered potentially dangerous for children and allergic people. The length of active protection provided by this matter is around 4 hours.
Based on that, I recommend you to use Picaridin-based solutions. Also known as KBR 3023, Picaridin provides similar protection efficiency along with less intensive odor, no plastic-damaging effect, and zero probability of allergic reactions.
How to Repel Mosquitoes Outdoors
If you need to repel mosquitos outdoors and you are on a permanent stay, you can benefit from candles and lanterns. They are easy to use and don’t require you to have access to electricity. The only disadvantage is that you cannot use them when it’s windy.
If you have access to an electrical outlet, I recommend you to buy an electronic killer lamp that will both attract and eliminate curious insects. They’re highly effective at night. However, you also need something to protect yourself from gnats that reach you before noticing the lamp. That’s where an effective Picaridin spray will help you a lot. You have to apply it on open areas of your body and repeat the procedure every 4-5 hours. Independently from the solution that you decide to use, you should wear cloth that covers as much of your body as possible. As a result, it will be easier to protect the rest of your skin.
How do Mosquitoes Repellents Work
Studies say that mosquitoes are attracted by the smell of human skin, sweat, and body heat. Some people have a more attractive smell, while others can stay untouched. Repellents block mosquitoes’ sense of smell, making it impossible for them to find open areas of your skin.
What is The Best Mosquito Repellent for Hiking
While hiking, you need an effective and compact anti-mosquito solution. The most convenient ones are repellent bracelets, portable pastille heaters, and, of course, sprays for the skin. Besides, you can take candles and lanterns along to ignite them on the campsite during your night stay.
No More Blood
Now you know what you should buy to keep mosquitoes away during your next hiking trip or camping weekend. If you’re traveling with your family and friends, take care of them and suggest them buying a repellent too. I take a repellent every time I go hiking, which lets me enjoy my time instead of hunting for the hungry gnats around. Choose the best way to keep mosquitoes away using my guide and reviews and enjoy your trips and camping to the full.
If you have knowledge about any other effective mosquito-repelling practices, I’d be happy if you write a line in the comments section below. You can ask me any related questions there too. I usually read everything and answer asap. Keep safe!