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10 Best DEET Bug Sprays Compared & Reviewed 

Last Updated: 04.07.20

 

Best DEET Bug Spray Review – Top Rated Models with Buying Guide

 

If your spare time often finds you outdoors engaging in all sorts of activities, and you’re thus on the lookout for the best DEET bug spray to keep mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, and other insects at bay, this paragraph might be of help. To ease your decision-making process, we have gone through the benefits offered by some of the most popular products in this line and concluded that the first option to take into account is the Repel Insect Repellent Sportsmen Max Formula. This value pack includes two sprays that you can use to cover your needs for a long time, and this particular formula contains 40% DEET, which ensures its effectiveness. The spray can be used in a variety of places and provides up to eight hours of protection against mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, chiggers, gnats, and biting flies. In case this product is temporarily unavailable, another option you might want to consider is the Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion 12 Hrs Protection.

 

 

Comparison table

 

The Good
The Bad
Verdict
Price

 

 

10 Best DEET Bug Sprays (Updated Reviews) in 2020

 

 

Given that the market is quite generous when it comes to bug repellents, finding the best DEET bug sprays might prove to be a time-consuming task. If you don’t have too much time at disposal, our list of DEET bug spray reviews might be of help when making your decision.

 

 

1. Repel Insect Repellent Sportsmen Max Formula

 

Formulated to keep a variety of bugs at bay, including mosquitoes and gnats, this DEET spray is an option you might want to try, given its effectiveness and ease of use. If you often dedicate your free time to outdoor activities, you know that getting the necessary protection against bugs is essential if you want to stay safe and enjoy that much-desired peace of mind.

With this spray, keeping mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, gnats, chiggers, and biting flies away shouldn’t be a problem. Such insects pose health dangers since they can carry various viruses, such as Zika and West Nile, and making sure they stay away from you is what the manufacturer had in mind when formulating this product.

That’s why the spray contains 40% DEET, which has been appreciated throughout time for its effectiveness. The product is easy to apply, given the spray design, and it ensures up to eight hours of protection.

 

Pros

Suitable for a variety of places, this product is worth adding to your list of options if you spend lots of your free time outdoors and need protection against various insects.

To make sure that mosquitoes, gnats, biting flies, and other such insects won’t come near you, this spray contains 40% DEET.

Given the spray’s design, it won’t be difficult to apply it; once you have done so, the formula should provide you with up to eight hours of protection against the above-mentioned insects.

The pocket-size pump enables easy storage and transportation; therefore, you can add it to your backpack and outdoor gear.

The value pack includes two sprays that will cover your needs for a long time; you can also find the bug repellent in aerosol and lotion versions.

 

Cons 

Consider the high DEET concentration before using it on children, and, if necessary, do the required research before applying such formulas.

The bottle spray caps might not be that durable and break after a few uses.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($10.99)

 

 

 

2. Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion 12 Hrs Protection

 

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast interested in engaging in new adventures in harsh environments, or you simply want to enjoy the time you spend on your patio without biting insects disturbing you, this insect repellent is worth trying. It is easy to apply, and it provides protection against insect bites so that you can enjoy the time you spend outdoors.

To ensure enhanced effectiveness, the product contains 34.34% DEET that will repel mosquitoes, gnats, fleas, ticks, and chiggers, to name a few. Thanks to the 3M time-release technology, you should benefit from continuous protection for up to 12 hours. This makes it ideal for outdoor activities that stretch over hours.

This product is a lotion, which means that you can apply it with ease, yet the insect repellent is also available in a spray form. Given the DEET contained, heavy application is not necessary as applying even just a small amount of lotion will still deliver the needed protection.

 

Pros

Keeping mosquitoes, deer flies, ticks, gnats, fleas, and chiggers at bay shouldn’t be difficult when applying this lotion, given its ingredients.

The formula contains 34.34% DEET, which ensures long-lasting protection against biting insects.

Thanks to this DEET concentration, heavy application is not required as even a small amount of lotion will protect you; this means that the product should cover your needs for a long time.

Due to the 3M time-release technology, the insect repellent will provide you with up to 12 hours of protection against mosquitoes.

What’s also worth mentioning is that the lotion is sweat and splash resistant, which renders this product suitable even for harsh environments.

The insect repellent is also available in a spray formula and is easy to apply, no matter which type of version you choose.

 

Cons 

This is a 2-ounce lotion tube, which means that if you intend to spend a long time in harsh environments, you might need to get two of them.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($8.86)

 

 

 

3. Repel Insect Repellent Mosquito Wipes 30% DEET

 

Insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks can carry and transmit various viruses that can endanger the health of humans, the reason why insect repellents such as this one from Repel were formulated. The pack includes 15 wipes with 30% DEET that will help you keep biting insects away and do so easily.

While this type of product from this manufacturer is also available in spray and lotion forms, these wipes come with extra convenience, given their ease of use. Plus, the pack can be easily added to your bag or backpack, and it is resealable so that you can enjoy full protection.

Since the wipes contain DEET, you shouldn’t worry about not getting long-lasting protection as this is not the case. Using these wipes is easy, so you can add them to your backpack or handbag no matter if you’re heading out for an outdoor adventure or just having a walk.

 

Pros

The pack includes 15 wipes with DEET so that you can keep insects at bay when out without the inconvenience of greasy or oily products.

You simply need to wipe on to create a protective shield against mosquitoes, chiggers, fleas, ticks, gnats, and other biting insects.

The wipes come with 30% DEET, which makes them so effective but also safe to use; each wipe measures 5″ x 7″ so that you can cover a wider area with just one wipe.

Since this is a travel-size pack that is also resealable, you can easily add it to your everyday handbag or backpack or when going for a camping weekend.

 

Cons 

The wipes don’t come individually wrapped, and even if the pack is resealable, the wipes might dry out more quickly.

If you have sensitive skin, it is best to ask for your doctor’s approval before using them.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($3.82)

 

 

 

4. Coleman 100 Max DEET Insect Repellent Pump

 

If your favorite spare-time destination is outdoors, and you’re on the lookout for an effective and easy-to-use insect repellent, this product from Coleman is an option you might want to consider. There are several things that make this product stand out, and one of them is the high DEET level that renders this formula highly effective.

The product ensures up to 10 hours of protection against mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, fleas, and biting insects. What’s more, it will keep such insects at bay without the strong, unpleasant smell many insect repellents usually have.

The low odor makes it suitable for outdoor adventures, such as hunting, as animals may not sense it, and thus you won’t draw attention. Applying it is easy as well, and you can use it on clothes and skin for maximum protection. The pump spray provides 4 ounces of formula, which should help you cover your needs for a long time.

 

Pros

Easy to use and effective, this product is worth a try if you intend to spend time outdoors in areas where there are mosquitoes, fleas, gnats, and other biting insects.

The product contains 98.11% DEET, an ingredient that is known for ensuring high protection against insects, such as the ones mentioned above.

Given that this is a pump spray, it can be easily applied; moreover, you can use it on skin and clothing for maximum protection.

The product provides up to 10 hours of protection, which renders it suitable for outdoor adventures that stretch over hours.

Despite its effectiveness, the repellent does not have a strong odor as many other such products.

 

Cons 

This formula contains a very high level of DEET, so make sure you do the required research before applying it on your skin and use only as directed.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($12.79)

 

 

 

5. OFF! Deep Woods Insect & Mosquito Repellent

 

Keeping mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, and biting flies away shouldn’t be a complicated thing to do when using this repellent. The dry aerosol bug spray is easy to apply and is formulated with ingredients that ensure long-lasting protection so that you can safely explore new outdoor areas where such insects might be a problem.

It is thus suitable for camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, or for those moments when you visit new places where there are many biting insects. The formula contains 25% DEET, an ingredient that creates a vapor barrier that will deter mosquitoes and other insects from landing on your skin.

The product is not only easy to apply, but it is also comfortable to wear as it has a non-greasy and non-oily texture. The powder dry formula will thus protect you against insects that carry dangerous viruses without affecting your comfort. The 2.5-ounce formula is compact enough to make it easy for you to add it to your outdoor gear.

 

Pros

Formulated with outdoor enthusiasts in mind, this product is worth considering if you want to protect yourself and your family members against biting insects.

To repel mosquitoes, gnats, chiggers, ticks, and other such insects, the product contains 25% DEET, an ingredient that creates a shield that will deter biting insects from landing on your skin.

Since this is an aerosol spray, it won’t be difficult to apply it whenever needed; what’s more, the formula is not greasy or oily, so you shouldn’t even feel that you’re wearing it.

Given the long-lasting protection, you can use this insect repellent when engaging in various outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, fishing, or hunting.

The travel-size spray can be easily added to your backpack or outdoor gear so that you can reapply it whenever needed.

 

Cons 

This is a 2.5-ounce spray, which means that it might not cover your needs for too long if you need to apply it daily.

Buy from Amazon.com

 

 

 

6. Sawyer Products 30% DEET Insect Repellent Lotion

 

Containing 30% DEET and a liposome base, this insect repellent lotion is worth taking into account if you spend a lot of time outdoors and you need an easy-to-use and effective product. The formula ensures protection against chiggers, mosquitoes, flies, fleas, and ticks and does so for up to 11 hours.

The long-lasting protection and effectiveness render the product ideal for outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, and hunting. You can also apply it when simply relaxing in your backyard to keep dangerous biting insects at bay. What’s also worth mentioning is that the formula is compatible with sunscreen.

Moreover, it is not greasy, so you won’t even feel that you’ve applied it. It does not leave stains, and it is sweat-proof. The fact that it is odorless makes it ideal for activities such as hunting as a strong smell might otherwise spook the animals.

 

Pros

Easy to apply and non-greasy, this insect repellent is formulated with DEET and other ingredients that will provide you with protection against biting insects for up to 11 hours.

The liposome-based lotion contains 30% DEET, which renders it effective in repelling mosquitoes, gnats, chiggers, fleas, and ticks.

The liposome used not only makes it possible for this lotion to protect you for a longer time but also renders the lotion easy to wear and comfortable to the skin.

The insect-repellent is non-greasy, non-staining, and odorless, which means that you won’t even feel that you’re wearing it.

This is a 3-ounce bottle, so you can easily take it with you when traveling as it is an airline-friendly size.

 

Cons 

Although the size makes it convenient when it comes to traveling, the amount of lotion you get might not serve your needs for too long if you intend to apply it regularly.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($10)

 

 

 

7. OFF! Family Care Insect & Mosquito Repellent

 

If you often engage in outdoor activities and that calls for an effective insect repellent to make sure you are protected against biting insects, this product is an option you might want to take a closer look at. It contains 7% DEET, as well as Picaridin, and it is easy to apply and add to your backpack.

These ingredients will form a vapor barrier that will prevent mosquitoes and other insects from landing on your skin. This renders the product suitable for various outdoor activities, such as picnics and hiking.

Since the formula is unscented, you can also apply it when hunting as there won’t be any strong smell to spook the game. The repellent is non-greasy, so you won’t even feel that you’re wearing it. This is a value pack that includes two repellents, which makes it a convenient option money-wise.

 

Pros

Formulated with DEET and Picaridin, this insect repellent will help you enjoy your outdoor activities and free them of insect bites.

Thanks to the ingredients used, this formula will deter mosquitoes and other biting insects from landing on your skin.

The non-greasy repellent will make sure you get the protection you need without your comfort being affected.

Since this is a value pack, you will get two repellents, which renders this option convenient as you will get to cover your needs for a long time while spending less.

The formula works on the outer surface of clothes and can be used when going out for a picnic, a walk, or when relaxing in your backyard.

The repellent was formulated to ensure long-lasting effects without damaging wool, cotton, or nylon when applied on clothing.

 

Cons 

Although the label on the product itself reads ‘Unscented’, there is still a fragrance that can be smelled when applying the repellent.

Click to see the price on Amazon!

 

 

 

8. Ben’s 30% DEET Insect Repellent Spray

 

Insect bites are not only extremely uncomfortable at times but also dangerous since mosquitoes and other biting insects carry viruses that can affect your health seriously; that’s why using a product like this one from Ben’s when engaging in outdoor activities is essential. It repels mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, chiggers, and other such insects.

This particular formula contains 30% DEET, which makes it a suitable option for camping, hiking, or those moments when you simply relax outdoors. This ingredient has been used to deter and repel mosquitoes and insects since the 1940s and is thus a common ingredient in products of this type, given its effectiveness.

The formula is water-based, and since water does not evaporate as fast as alcohol, the product ensures long-lasting protection. Plus, it does not have a strong smell, which means wearing this repellent is more comfortable than when using an alcohol-based product. Also, the repellent does not leave stains.

 

Pros 

The product was formulated with 30% DEET and can thus be used to repel ticks, mosquitoes, fleas, and other biting insects.

This is a water-based formula, which adds to its long-lasting effects; plus, given that no alcohol is used, the repellent is odorless and won’t draw attention or make you feel uncomfortable.

Applying it is easy, and instructions are offered on the back of the bottle so that you can apply it properly and avoid any unwanted events.

Given the way it was formulated, the product does not leave stains and can be used when engaging in various outdoor activities.

 

Cons 

The product is advertised as being part of a value pack that includes three repellents, but the packs may not always include all three products, though.

Even if this is a water-based formula, and it should not have a strong smell as alcohol-based products, the DEET used may still have a potent smell.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($20)

 

 

 

9. Ben’s 100% DEET Mosquito, Tick & Insect Repellent

 

DEET is one of the main ingredients used to formulate products that repel mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects, and this option from Ben’s comes with the highest DEET concentration possible, which makes the product highly effective when it comes to keeping such insects away from you.

You can thus use it when exploring heavily-infested areas as the formula ensures protection for up to 10 hours. Biting insects can carry and thus transmit viruses that can cause serious health problems in humans; therefore, using a protective barrier like the one offered by such repellents is of great importance when outdoors.

The pump spray makes it easy to apply the repellent. Make sure you follow the instructions provided on the label for safe use. The product is advertised as being free of fragrance. Plus, this is a 3.4-ounce spray pump, so you can easily add it to your backpack.

 

Pros

Since this formula contains 100% DEET, you can rest assured that keeping ticks, mosquitoes, and biting insects at bay won’t be difficult once you apply it.

Considering the high DEET concentration, the product should provide you with up to 10 hours of protection, which makes it suitable for outdoor activities that stretch over hours.

The product is easy to apply, and thanks to the instructions provided on the label, you can make sure that you use it properly and safely.

This repellent comes in a pump spray bottle, which adds to the ease of use ensured; plus, the 3.4-ounce bottle is pocket-friendly so that you can easily take it with you wherever you go.

 

Cons

Make sure you do your own research about high DEET concentration in repellents and even check it with your doctor before using the product.

The bottle design might come with flaws, and thus the liquid might come out; even if this has happened in rare cases, using tape around the cap to avoid leakage is an inspired thing to do.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($14.99)

 

 

 

10. Cutter Skinsations Insect Repellent Pen-Size Pump

 

More often than not, insect repellents are greasy and have a strong smell that proves to be uncomfortable and sometimes can even trigger headaches. This is not the case with this product from Cutter as the manufacturer focused on creating an effective repellent that has a fresh scent and is non-greasy.

To make sure mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, gnats, and other such insects won’t get close to you, the formula contains 7% DEET. You can thus add it to your outdoor gear when hiking, camping, or spending time where such insects might be a problem.

What’s also worth mentioning when it comes to the ingredients used for this repellent is that it contains aloe and vitamin E to soften the skin, which adds to your comfort when applying and wearing it. The 0.475-ounce pump is airline and pocket-friendly, so you can easily add it to your backpack.

 

Pros

If you’re on the lookout for an insect repellent that is easy to use, does not have a strong and unpleasant smell, and that is effective, this pen-size pump is worth considering.

Thanks to the 7% DEET it contains, the product will repel a variety of biting insects, including ticks, fleas, chiggers, and gnats.

By repelling such insects, you can increase your chances of not getting bitten and thus of not getting any of the viruses these insects carry and transmit.

The product has a fresh scent and is not greasy, which adds to the user’s comfort; moreover, due to the aloe and vitamin E included, the product will soften the skin.

Given the size of this repellent, you can easily take it with you wherever you go and even when traveling as it is airline-friendly.

 

Cons 

This is a travel-sized repellent; therefore, you might need to get two of them or even more if you intend to engage in longer outdoor activities or camping.

Buy from Amazon.com for ($3.18)

 

 

 

Our Comprehensive Buying Guide

 

Although when going on vacation or out for a camping weekend, bug sprays might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to what goes into your backpack, such products are vital if you visit places where mosquitoes and other biting insects live in plenty.

If you don’t know how to prevent mosquito bites easily and effectively, then an affordable DEET bug spray is worth considering. Since most such products are used directly on the skin, there are various factors you need to take into account to make sure that you keep insects at bay without endangering your health. Find more details in our buying guide below.

What is DEET bug spray?

If you’ve never used such a product before, you might wonder about the effectiveness of such insect repellents and how they work. What is DEET in bug spray then? DEET is diethyltoluamide, an ingredient that has been used to repel mosquitoes and ticks since the 1940s.

This is the main ingredient you’ll find in many insect-repellents that are formulated for use on humans. Decades of research have proven that DEET is highly effective when protecting humans from biting insects, yet it is toxic to aquatic creatures. This ingredient creates a vapor barrier that will prevent ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects from landing on your skin.

 

DEET concentration and safety

Whether your budget allows for an expensive product, or you’re looking for a cheap DEET bug spray, you need to consider the DEET concentration of the product you’ve set your eyes on. The market offers many 30 DEET bug spray options since they are considered to be effective and safe.

It is often assumed that the more DEET an insect repellent contains, the greater the protection ensured, yet there is still debate regarding this topic. Tests and research have shown a bug spray with DEET concentration of 15%-30% provides long-lasting protection and suggest that a 100% DEET bug spray and excessive doses might actually lead to side effects.

DEET bug spray side effects include rashes, skin redness, and swelling, and some people may even be allergic to them. This ingredient is still surrounded by controversy. Since you should not take the use of such a product lightly, it is always best to check it with your doctor, especially if you have other health conditions, and read the ingredient list before using it.

Ease of application and other considerations

Consider the design and ease of application ensured by the product you want to buy. They usually come in liquid pump sprays, aerosol sprays, lotions, and wipes. Travel size bug spray DEET repellents are easy to add to your backpack, yet they might not cover your needs for too long if you intend to use them daily.

Cheap DEET bug sprays may have a stronger smell as the manufacturers may add no fragrance to cover the DEET smell in order to keep the production cost low. A high DEET bug spray with no added scent to make the smell more bearable might prove to be uncomfortable to wear.

Some insect repellents are greasy and oily and may even stain clothes. Check out this aspect as well before adding any product to your shopping cart and hitting the order button. Read a DEET bug spray review before to see what other users say about the product’s effectiveness, ease of use, and how it feels.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

Q: What bugs does DEET repel?

The market offers a variety of insect repellents in various forms, and one of the main ingredients used to make them is DEET (diethyltoluamide). The DEET in bug spray is the one that actually repels insects ranging from mosquitoes to ticks.

This type of insect repellent was developed by the U.S. Army back in 1946 to provide soldiers with protection against mosquito-borne illnesses; therefore, mosquitoes were the first target and reason behind the invention of this repellent.

Mosquitoes may carry and transmit viruses, such as Zika, West Nile Virus, and Malaria. That’s why you might see repellent labels reading DEET bug spray Zika. However, studies and research have shown that this man-made chemical deters a variety of other insects that may carry dangerous viruses and thus pose a risk to the health of humans.

DEET bug sprays have been proven to deter not only mosquitoes but also ticks, fleas, gnats, chiggers, black flies, and no-see-ums.

Q: How does DEET work?

Although research is still needed to know precisely how DEET works, what scientists have found out is that DEET repellents, such as Deep Woods OFF! or any other product included in our list, confuse the insect’s olfactory system and thus odorant receptors.

Mosquitoes and many other insects use their smell to locate their prey. Some of them thus detect the odors and chemicals in our sweat and the air we breathe out and bite once they sense them. A DEET repellent interferes with these odorant receptors, even if scientists don’t know how exactly they do that.

There are two answers according to the studies that have been carried out so far. The mosquitoes are either no longer able to locate their prey because their odorant receptors are affected when a DEET repellent is used, or they can smell this chemical and are thus repelled by its strong smell.

 

Q: Are DEET sprays effective?

Given their popularity and the various studies that have been conducted, insect repellents with DEET are effective when it comes to deterring biting insects from getting near you and thus from biting you. They do not kill them, though. Such products only repel them, as the name suggests.

Since DEET-based repellents proved their efficiency when first used by the U.S. Army in 1946, they were approved by the government and made available for general public use. While it is often assumed a bug spray with the most DEET is more effective, tests have shown that a DEET concentration of 15%-30% is enough to repel mosquitoes and biting insects.

There are many affordable DEET bug sprays with a diethyltoluamide concentration of up to 30% that have been appreciated for delivering the desired protection against such insects. You can read a DEET bug spray review before purchasing such a repellent to see what other users say about its effectiveness.

 

 

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