The spring and summer are popular months for a reason. During the spring, everything is budding with new life, and everything bursts into bloom in the summer. People tend to experience better mood and overall emotional health when the days are longer.
But there are some drawbacks to the warmer months. For one, the heat can be stifling, especially if you live in a place with high humidity. Another issue for those in humid areas is the mosquitoes. Mosquitoes thrive in swamplands and wet areas. If you’re outside having summer fun, the last thing you want is for a pesky mosquito bite to distract you with itches for a week.
Best Mosquito Repellents with DEET
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Our Best Pick
Not only that, but mosquito bites can be dangerous if they spread disease. Some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others. If an infestation is bad enough, you might call it quits early when you’re out with friends, or you might feel like you can’t sit on your own porch for fear of being bitten.
Sunshine and fresh air are good for us. But mosquitoes can leave us wanting to avoid the great outdoors. You don’t have to shut yourself inside. If you use a good mosquito repellent, you’ll prevent bites and save a ton of frustration. One of the most popular active ingredients in bug sprays is DEET.
DEET is a strong chemical with a strong smell. It shouldn’t be used around children under two months of age. In addition, you should always make sure any formula you use with older children is a safe concentration for them. But the CDC has approved DEET as a safe ingredient for insect repellent, and there’s more evidence regarding its efficacy than most natural-based solutions.
We’ve put together a list of the top DEET products with different concentrations of this active ingredient.
#1. Repel HG-94108 Insect Repellent
Repel is the top industry leader in insect repellent manufacturing. This insect repellent uses a 100 percent DEET concentration to provide absolute maximum protection. Technically the DEET concentration comes out to 98.11 percent, but that’s still higher than any other product on the market.
A product made purely from DEET is one that’s designed for severe insect conditions. You don’t need this insect repellent at your son’s soccer game, at least assuming your son plays soccer in an average climate in the country. Instead, you’d use this spray for when you’re in conditions with infestations so heavy that ordinary high DEET concentrations won’t help.
Each bottle holds four ounces of fluid. The package includes just one bottle, although you can get a six-pack should you have friends or family with whom to share the repellent.
The DEET creates a tangible barrier that mosquitoes won’t pass. It helps to repel mosquitoes that may be carrying the Dengue, Chikungunya, West Nile, and Zika viruses. In addition, DEET has been proven to repel other pesky insects like fleas, chiggers, biting flies, gnats, and ticks.
The spray can offer up to ten hours of continuous protection without needing reapplication. You don’t have to worry about getting bitten or constantly having to dig the bottle out of your bag. There aren’t limits on your adventures. If you’re planning to go camping or hiking in a heavily infested area, the combination of pure strength and long-lasting protection is ideal.
#2. Repel HG-94101 Sportsmen Max
This is another pump spray from Repel. It holds a little more than the previous entry, with each bottle having six ounces of fluid rather than four. The concentration is 40 percent DEET. A 40 percent DEET concentration is high enough to protect in the majority of circumstances, including walking through the woods and moderately buggy places.
The bottles are available individually packaged, although you can also buy them in packs of two. It’s also possible to purchase them in a pack of twelve, which is a helpful option for people who are about to go on extended adventures with friends. Summer camp counselors and other outdoorsmen might benefit.
There’s long-lasting protection effects. As long as you aren’t in a place that’s dangerously infested, the repellent should be strong enough to keep you free of bites. In fact, this formula was specifically developed for outdoor adventurers. It’s optimized for joggers, ball players, hikers, bikers, hunters, golfers, backpackers, campers, and anyone else who often spends time in areas where biting insects thrive.
#3. Repel HG-94119 Sportsman Insect Stick
Another offering from Repel, this insect repellent has a concentration of just 30 percent DEET. This technically makes it the least powerful repellent on the list, but it’s also the best for mild to moderate buggy conditions. A thirty percent concentration is still high enough to pack a wallop.
In addition to repelling the mosquitoes that spread varying diseases, this repellent can repel biting flies, fleas, chiggers, gnats, and ticks. The formula is designed to last between eight and ten hours following application. You can create a barrier across your body that prevents mosquitoes from landing for hours.
The Sportsmen Insect Stick is a unique item on the list because it isn’t formulated in a pump spray bottle. Pump sprays are sprayed onto the skin through the nozzle, and then you rub them in with your fingertips. The Sportsmen, on the other hand, is a stick that looks similar to a traditional deodorant stick.
Rather than spraying it on, you use the wipe-on stick to roll protection over every exposed part of your body. It’s easy to make sure that your hands, arms, legs, neck, and face are all covered. Since the product doesn’t use a spray nozzle, you can apply it directly to your face without worrying about hurting your eyes. By contrast, spray pumps need to be sprayed into your hands and then rubbed onto your face.
The compact design of the stick makes it easy to add to your travel, camping, fishing, or hiking gear. All you have to do is toss it in along with your usual deodorant. Though there’s only one ounce of product per stick, the roll-on application means that very little is wasted. One ounce of this stick will last about as long as a four to six ounce bottle of spray.
How to Choose the Right DEET Product
DEET is the most popular and well-known insect repellent on the market. According to the EPA, around one-third of United States residents use DEET to repel insects like ticks and mosquitoes. The formula was originally developed by the United States military and functions by inhibiting the bugs’ ability to sense people.
A very small number of people have experienced negative DEET reactions. Because of this, if you’ve never used the chemical before, test it on a small patch of your skin before spraying yourself fully. It’s also important not to use DEET products on children under two months of age. There aren’t any studies indicating that DEET has a documented negative effect on a person’s health.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is the concentration of the DEET in the formula. Different products will have different methods of application, but the formula will remain the same. A stick with 30 percent DEET will protect just as well as a spray bottle.
A 30 percent concentration of DEET tends to be strong enough for most people. If you up that to 40 percent, the concentration is sufficient to protect people who are spending a lot of time in the wilderness. 100 percent DEET is incredibly strong and should only be used in situations where the insect infestation is at dangerous levels.
The Repel spray with a concentration of 100 percent DEET is the best option if you’re going to be in very infested conditions. It’s the kind of spray that you’d use if you were walking through a humid swamp. Some people who live in Florida, Georgia, Alaska, and scattered other swampy areas may need it on a day-to-day basis.
For active outdoor adventurers, the spray with a 40 percent DEET concentration is a good option. It’s not as strong smelling or heavy-duty as the 100 percent concentration, but it provides enough protection to keep you safe as you hike, camp, swim, fish, bike, and undergo any other endeavors.
If you’re looking for an insect repellent that’s easy to apply, the Sportsmen Stick is another good option from Repel. Unlike the traditional spray pumps, this 30 percent DEET formula is concentrated into a deodorant-shaped stick. You just run it over your exposed skin to create a cross-body barrier that will keep mosquitoes away for eight to ten hours.