Best Bug Sprays Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Bug bites are never fun to deal with, even if it’s just a few, which is why the best bug sprays can literally be a lifesaver! Whether you like to run in the early mornings or in the evenings, using the best bug sprays can literally make or break your experience!
With all the selections to choose from, narrowing down the best bug sprays can definitely be a difficult feat, which is why we have taken the time to do it! Below you will find our list of the top 10 best bug sprays, check them out!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 11 hrs of research
Protects for up to six hours
Refreshing, cool scent
- Repel Eucalyptus
- Sawyer Products
- Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus
- Cutter Skinsations
- Ben's Spray
- Bullfrog Coast
- 3M Ultrathon
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Our Favorite Bug Sprays
1. Repel Eucalyptus
Protects for up to six hours
Refreshing, cool scent
Many users reported the bug spray doesn't work after sweating
Many customers reported the sprayer itself as faulty
Repel Eucalyptus is an outdoor product bug protector that protects you from insects that might transmit the Dengue, West Nile, Zika, and Chikungunya viruses. With six-hour protection from bugs, you have plenty of time to get your run in, whether it's early morning or late at night. Featuring a cool, refreshing scent, this bug spray also contains oil of lemon eucalyptus.Read more
This plant-based spray is perfect for those who run during the mornings or at night. So, if you are looking for a bug spray that is free of harmful chemicals and only uses organic ingredients, then you will love this option.
In terms of effectiveness, this bug spray is capable of protecting you from a variety of different diseases that are transmitted via insect bites. if you want to ensure you are well-protected while you are enjoying your time outdoors, then this is a great bug spray to use.
With its ability to protect against biting insects and their possibly dangerous bite for up to six hours, this bug spray is perfectly priced. If you are worried about bug bites during your run, especially if you live in a bug-filled area, this is the right outdoor bug spray for your needs.
This DEET free bug spray repels bugs for up to six hours, making it possible for you to get your run in, safely and without the spray wearing off, leaving you threatened by insects that could be dangerous to your health.
Ease of Use
The Eucalyptus in this product gives off a cool refreshing scent that doesn't irritate your nose and bothers you during your run. This way, you can concentrate on the run ahead of you, instead of the horrible smell that is featured with some bug sprays.
2. Sawyer Products
20 percent picaridin, more effective than DEET
Spray lasts up to 12 hours
Some users report the spray sweating off easily
Some customers reported feeling sticky or oily after application
Sawyer Products Premium bug spray is the perfect solution as a long-lasting topical outdoor product bug protector for everyone from runners to hikers and even for just hanging out in the yard on a warm summer day. It is 20 percent Picaridin and safe for your gear as well.Read more
This bug spray is 20 percent picaridin, which is more effective at warding off biting flies than DEET is--so if you want to stay away from DEET then this is a great bug spray to consider using.
This bug spray is incredibly effective and an excellent option for anyone who wants a more organic and natural option to choose from. It is also number one protection against insects that are known to carry the Zika virus that has become more prevalent with each passing year.
This bug spray comes at a great price and is definitely an excellent option for those of you who want an all-natural option that isn't too expensive.
Even though this bug spray protects against a few different kinds of pests, such as biting flies, sand flies, chiggers, gnats, and midges, it won't damage plastic or synthetic coatings and the spray last up to 12 hours.
Ease of Use
This bug spray is incredibly easy to use and an excellent option for those of you who hate to rub in lotions or just want a spray that you can easily use when necessary.
Easy to carry
Easy to apply
Contains 20 percent picaridin, making it DEET-free
Last up to 12 hours
Some users complain that the floral fragrance is overwhelming
Some customers reported it leaving a heavy, greasy film when it is applied
Natrapel is a DEET-free bug spray that provides up to 12 hours of protection against not only against multiple types of bugs and ticks as well. It is a CDC-recommended spray and protects against other biting pests for up to eight hours. It is also safe to use and won't melt jackets or your other running gear, and is picaridin based.Read more
The ingredients in this bug spray are completely safe and backed by the CDC and it does not contain any DEET--so if you are looking for a great DEET-free spray you will love this product.
To figure out the overall effectiveness of this product we made sure to take a look at reviews from actual users to see what people have to say. When we did this we found out that this product is actually really effective and an excellent option for anyone looking for a bug spray that will keep the insects at bay.
With the ability to take it easy with you on your run and the fact that it is DEET-free, this is one of the most affordable bug sprays on the list. The floral scent and easy to apply spray bottle for wider coverage makes it a great value as well.
This is a bug protector spray that is DEET-free, instead, it contains 20 percent picaridin, which is said to be better and more effective than DEET. This product is also recommended by the CDC as being safe and effective.
Ease of Use
This bug spray is easy to apply with a pump spray bottle that allows for wider coverage with complete protection. The bottle is easy to carry with you on your runs and has a pleasant floral scent that is not overpowering.
4. Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus
Effective against mosquitos that may carry Chikungunya, Zika, Dengue and West Nile viruses
Some users find they need to reapply more often.
If you want a bug spray that is safe to use and naturally based, then you will love the Cutter Lemon Eucalyptus bug spray. It is most comparable to the Repel Lemon Eucalyptus spray on our list and smells great--so you don't have to worry about dealing with any unpleasant smells.Read more
This bug spray is all natural, so it is free of harmful ingredients that can be linked to cancer or birth defects. Its main ingredients are Oil and Eucalyptus--and if you didn't know, the Eucalyptus plant is highly effective at repelling insects so consider getting one for your outdoor patio or seating area.
This spray is really effective and can repel mosquitoes that can transmit the Chikungunya, Zika, Dengue, and West Nile viruses--this is especially important if you are pregnant and find yourself in a part of the world where these diseases are found.
This bug spray is really affordable--which is great given how safe it is. Overall, this bug spray is incredibly effective and free of Deet, so you get the best of both worlds.
It is completely Deet-free and safe for your little ones to use--just make sure you apply it on them with your hands so you don't risk them rubbing their eyes or face after applying it.
Ease of Use
The pump spray is also really easy to use so you can reapply with no trouble at all. So, if you want to make sure you invest in a spray that won't fail you when you need it most, then you will love how easy to use this spray bottle is.
5. Cutter Skinsations
360-degree spray pump
Protects against many pests
Fresh, clean scent
Some consumers reported the product not working past a couple of hours
Many users report that this product is not effective against any type of insects
Cutter Skinsations is a six-ounce pump spray that is made of a non-greasy formula. As a runner, you don't want to be concentrating on your skin feeling greasy or sticky first thing in the mornings. This bug spray contains Aloe and Vitamin E to ensure that doesn't happen. It features a 360-degree spray pump and a fresh, clean scent that is appealing to your senses but won't draw the bugs you are trying to protect yourself against on your runs.Read more
Overall, the ingredients in this bug spray are incredibly effective--but the best part is that they also contain soothing ingredients that will ensure that your skin stays feeling great and that it doesn't get itchy.
The outdoor product protects against a host of insects, including bugs that carry diseases, ticks, biting flies, fleas, no see ums, and chiggers. It protects against insects that carry the Zika virus, the Dengue virus, the West Nile virus, and the Chikungunya virus as well.
The non-greasy formula itself lends to the value of this bug spray, as no one wants to feel sticky or greasy after applying an outdoor bug spray product. Add the addition of the 360-degree spray pump that allows you to spray upside down and at any angle and you have a winner.
When it comes to safety hazards, there isn't much to watch out for with this product. However, it should go without saying that it is important you keep this bug spray out of reach of children to prevent any time of ingestion or contact with their eyes.
Ease of Use
This outdoor product for insects features a non-greasy formula that makes it possible for you to go on your run in the mornings or the evenings without feeling sticky or greasy after the application of the bug spray.
100 percent DEET
CDC recommended DEET product
Made for heavy insect infested areas
Many consumers report the DEET is too strong and melted their fingernail polish or other products
Many customers reported that the bug spray is oily and leaves a sticky residue behind
This Coleman bug spray is a 100 percent DEET outdoor product that deters ticks and others. DEET is CDC recommended. This is the perfect bug protector for runners who run in severe conditions with heavy insect activity. The formula is unscented, so you don't have to worry about your bug spray attracting insects and comes in a spray pen, so it is easy to carry with you. It is also one of the only products out there that are effective for up to 10 hours.Read more
This 100 percent DEET formula protects against many different pests along your running path. So, if you want a more organic and natural option to keep the insects and pests at bay then this is an excellent bug spray to consider.
Some of those insects include bugs that could carry the Zika, Encephalitis, Dengue fever and the West Nile virus, as well as ticks, chiggers, ticks, fleas, gnats, and biting flies.
This 100 % DEET formula is worth every penny and comes in three sizes, which makes it convenient and easy to carry. Along with the fact that it is unscented and effective up to 10 hours, it's no wonder this product made it onto the list.
Overall, this product is pretty safe to use and you won't have to worry about it exposing you to any safety hazards you would want to avoid.
Ease of Use
This bug spray is available in three different sizes to meet your lifestyle and make it easy for you to carry this outdoor product with you on your frequent runs.
7. Ben's Spray
Contains 100 percent DEET
10 hours of protection
Easy to use
Can be applied anywhere along the running path
Protects from ticks and other bugs
Some consumers report that the container leaks
Some consumers report that the sprayer nozzle clogs easily
Ben's tick and insect bug spray contains 100 percent DEET and lasts up to 10 hours, making it perfect when you need all-day protection or even if you just need it to go for a quick run in the evenings. It deters bugs and ticks that carry the West Nile virus and Lyme disease as well.Read more
This product does not contain any Deet whatsoever and is safe even for your kids to use.
Another of the products on the list that provides up to 10 hours of protection, this 100 percent DEET formula is perfect for when you are going to be out all day long and need protection from the insects.
With the ability to protect you from insects for up to 10 hours and the 100 percent DEET formula, this bug spray is worth the money asked for it. It is easy to use and can be applied anywhere you are along your running path, making it well worth it in value as well.
All in all, this bug spray is safe and free of harmful ingredients, however, it is important to remember to keep this spray out of reach of children.
Ease of Use
This outdoor product for ridding yourself of insects is easy to use and easy to carry with you in its 1.25-ounce bottle for protection anywhere along your run that you feel you need it.
8. Bullfrog Coast
Two in one product
SPF of 30 for sun protection
Many users report that the bug spray doesn't work against most insects
Some customers report having an aversion to the strong smell
Bullfrog is not only a bug spray, but it is also sunscreen as well. When you are about to go out for a run, the last thing you want is to have to put on a bug spray and then a sunscreen. With this two in one product, you don't have too.Read more
This is a DEET-free formula that offers protection from the sun and insects for up to eight hours. It is infused with Aloe leaf extract and Vitamin E to help soothe your skin as well.
This bug spray also includes Vitamin E and Aloe leaf extract to ensure your skin is not irritated by the sunscreen or the bug spray in this product. If you are always in a hurry to get out on the running path, then this is the right combination for you!
For the cost, this outdoor bug spray product is well worth it. The fact that it is a two in one product containing sunscreen and protection from the insects on your running trail is enough to recommend it at the price asked for it.
Although this is a DEET free bug spray, you will need to make sure you clothes your eyes to ensure you don't get the bug spray in your eyes.
Ease of Use
This is a two in one product that is DEET-free to help deter those annoying critters when you are running. It also contains a sunscreen to keep you safe from the sun on your run as well. It is an SPF 30 sunscreen that deters insects for up to eight hours.
Easy to use
Has harmful chemicals
Cannot touch the skin
If you are a long-distance runner, or if you love to run outdoors or hit your favorite trails, then the 3M Ultrathon bug spray is the perfect option for you.Read more
Overall, this product is effective but it does have chemicals and ingredients that are harmful--especially if overused.
It is specifically designed to be applied to your clothing and gear, without it touching your skin. In fact, it can last up to 6 wash cycles--to put into perspective just how potent this spray really is.
Pretty affordable, however, if you want something without any harmful chemicals then this is not the way to go. Since you just apply this spray to your clothing and gear, it is really easy to use. It effectively repels insects and ticks from anything you spray it on and does not need to be sprayed on your skin.
This spray is really potent and cannot be applied directly to the skin because it has chemicals that have been shown to cause cancer as well as birth defects.
Ease of Use
It also comes in lotion for if you prefer that, however, the spray is much easier for your runs since you apply it to your clothing and don't have to worry about spraying them again--which makes this one the better option if you are going to use it during runs or your speed-training sessions.
Deep woods ready
Easy to use
Easy to carry with you on a run
Some users report the bug spray left them with a white residue on their skin
Many users reported not realizing how small the canister really was until they received it
Off is a deep woods outdoor bug spray that goes on dry and deters ticks and other pests you might meet on the trail during your run. This bug spray is designed for people on the go, making it perfect for runners that are on the go constantly.Read more
This outdoor bug spray is deep woods ready with DEET featured that makes it perfect for runners who tend to take the trail less traveled and more populated with pests. This bug spray contains DEET and has a nice mild scent.
This bug spray is incredibly effective. It does have Deet to ensure that you keep the bugs off so that you can enjoy the outdoors and no worry about catching any disease from an insect bite.
One of the more expensive bug sprays on the list, this product is worth it just because it is deep woods ready. Add in that it is a DEET product and the nice, mild scent and you have a winner here.
When it comes to safety hazards, this bug spray does contain Deet so you will want to make sure to only use it in a situation where you need heavy duty coverage from the insects outside.
Ease of Use
This outdoor product is designed for people on the go, just like you. Compact at 2.5 ounces, it's easy to use and easy to carry with you on the running trail.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
There are three active ingredients that the top-rated on this list have and it's important to know about them.
The first thing you need to do when searching for the best bug spray for runners is to read the label of the outdoor product you are considering. There are three active ingredients that the top-rated on this list have. Those ingredients are DEET, picaridin and eucalyptus oil or other essential oils.
These ingredients have been determined to be the best and most effective at preventing insects from attacking when you are on your run. Remember, you don’t need to just protect yourself from a bunch of different insects, and ticks as well. On top of that, who wants to be annoyed by chiggers, gnats, or no see ums during their run!
It’s also important to look at the amount of these ingredients in the bug sprays as well. Some people are sensitive to certain chemicals and product ingredients, so it is important to know not only what is in the spray but how much is in it so you can have a better idea of whether it is a good match for your needs and your unique situation.
In today’s world of insect-borne viruses, it’s important to judge the effectiveness of the bug spray you are choosing very carefully.
The top-rated on the list usually had an effectiveness of six to 10 hours, with a couple saying they lasted up to 12 hours. DEET and Picardian based bug sprays usually last for longer than many natural or plant-based insect sprays do. You need to determine if the product you are considering is EPA approved and many of the products on this list are CDC approved as well.
It is important to note, that the effectiveness of bug sprays can be different, according to the user and other factors as well. And again, sometimes it comes down to the individual- how much spray did they apply, did they apply it correctly, what was the temperature like, di they get wet right after applying, and are they dealing with insects and bugs that particular spray is not designed for specifically?
These are just some factors that can affect the effectiveness of a spray, even if it is of the highest possible quality. So, before you make your final choice and move forward with your purchase just make sure that you cover all of these factors to ensure you are getting the perfect bug spray for yourself.
Most of the top-rated on this list were around the same price, though there were a few that were a tad bit more expensive.
Many of these products are on the more expensive end, This is because of the number of ounces that came in the can and other factors had to be considered. As for the value of the product, you can’t put a value on protecting yourself from the diseases that many insects spread these days when you are on your runs.
However, we did try to include a decent range when it came to the bottom line cost for these sprays. if you need something for a little protection during a quick 15-minute walk around the neighborhood, you may be able to get away with a cheaper variety than if you need protection for a 2-day camping and hiking trip.
We tried to keep these kinds of factors in mind as well because they do play a part in the final decision people make about the bug spray they end up purchasing. At the end of the day, however, the most important thing to look out for when it comes to value is that you ensure you that you invest in a bug spray that you works best for you.
There has been a lot of concern recently over the chemicals used in insect sprays, especially DEET.
There's been a lot of concern recently over the chemicals used in outdoor insect sprays, especially outdoor products that contain DEET. The concern comes from the chemicals ability to strip or melt plastics and other products or even jackets that runners use. However, the EPA has done extensive research and come to the determination that DEET is safe to be used at certain times of the year in moderation.
Since some insects are more prevalent than others in the summertime, using DEET is not something that can harm you. The other top-rated bug sprays have active ingredients that though they haven’t been studied as long as DEET has, has proven to be safe to use as well. So, if you have no allergies when it comes to DEET picaridin, or essential oil, plant-based products, you should be fine with these products.
But if you do have allergies you are concerned about or have sensitive skin or other chronic health issues, you should discuss your concerns with a health care provider and ask what products are the safest for you to use- especially if you are going to need to use the spray on a fairly regular basis or for an extended period of time.
Ease of Use
When you are out running the trails, you want a spray that is wuick and easy to use and that gives you fast coverage.
Since you are a runner, you don’t want an insect spray that is hard to put on. That is why the top-rated on the list are easy to open, easy to apply, and easy to take on the trail with you, in case you need to reapply the bug spray at any time. Be sure that you check to see how easy the spray is to apply and if the bottle is lightweight enough to carry with you on your runs.
Also, check for easy open and close or on-off controls to prevent accidental misfires when you are transporting or before you are ready to actually use the spray. The most important thing--especially if you get a more organic or natural bug spray--is that you can easily access it to reapply it when you need it.
This is especially important in the summer months and during tick season because the last thing you want to do is run the risk of getting Lyme disease or any other disease that may be transmitted via insect bites. So, regardless of what you choose, just remember that you get a bug spray that you won't mind using when you need it and that is easy for you to use.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Avoiding morning and dusk runs to wearing the proper clothing when you are on the running path, some of these just aren't feasible for a serious runner, so having a good quality outdoor product to protect you from insect bites is extremely important.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends using a bug spray with either DEET, picaridin, or a plant-based ingredient such as lemon eucalyptus or essential oils for the best protection and performance.
If you can get a bug spray that is also a sunscreen, that is even better.
A pesticide is often thought of as something that kills something, when in fact by law a pesticide is a mixture of substances that, prevent, destroy, repel or reduce the effect of something.
Repellents are not designed to eliminate pests they are designed to make us less attractive to the pests. Back in the day, the strongest bug sprays contained Deet, which can now be linked to adverse side effects when used in excess.
If you know you are going to use your bug spray a lot, and not just every once in a blue moon, take a look at some of the Deet-free bug spray selections--they are now really effective and sometimes just as strong as those that contain Deet as the main ingredient.
Other Factors to Consider
The way an outdoor insect spray smells is also important to many people. In the past, runners have complained about how awful the chemicals smelled in their bug spray and many people were hesitant to use bug spray at all because the smell affected their eyes and nose, especially people who were sensitive to strong smells.
Today and the top-rated on this list have tried to correct this problem by having mild or fresh scents, though many bug sprays have no scent at all instead. This is a big improvement over just 10 years ago when almost all bug sprays had chokingly strong odors that lingered and got into everything and were hard to wash out. Things have gotten much better in the smell department thankfully.
The top-rated bug sprays on the list have Vitamin E and Aloe, among other things to help keep your skin soft. No longer, do you have to deal with your skin feeling sticky or greasy after you spray on your outdoor product to keep the insects away. Now, you can choose from a variety of scents that are attractive smelling to humans but tend to send insects flying the other way.
Thankfully many natural aromas and fragrances act as natural bug repellents and are used in bug sprays today.
The last thing you want when you are running is to sweat away from your insect spray before you have even gone a mile. The top-rated on the list can stand up to sweat and keep your protecting you from any insects you might run across on your path. Since most insects are out during the hot and humid weather, you should search for a bug spray that will stand u to the humidity and the heat.
It is important to note that there are many reasons you want reliable protection against fleas, ticks, and other biting insects during your runs. This is the criteria used to find what are considered to be the best products on this list. Making sure to judge what you purchase by the metrics above will ensure that you are protected whenever you decide to take your runs.
Below--in our FAQ section--you will find a few of the top questions asked about insect spray and the answers to help you make the right choices. Make sure to take a close look at everything each of the bug sprays on our list and what to look out for before buying them--and we feel pretty confident our FAQ section will help you make your final decision as well.
This rounds out the top 10 best bugs spray on the market today. While you now know what the best insect sprays are, it is important to know the metrics and criteria used to choose the best as well. When you are searching for an effective bug spray to take on your run with you, the following things are important to consider:
- Ingredients in the insect spray
- Ease of application
For this top ten list and review summary, we looked at all of those metrics, criteria and even more when researching and writing our reviews and recommendations for you. If you are searching for an effective bug spray to take on your runs with you, then the ones on this list are the best. Below you will find the criteria used to find, rate, and review these insect sprays so that you don’t have to research and find them yourself!
We know that every individual is different and every person will react to things like sprays and insect bites differently, which makes a list like this a challenge. But we are up to the task and believe we have presented a well-rounded summary of the top bug sprays that are available to you that should help you fight off the annoying and painful bites and stings.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Which is better: Picaridin or DEET insect spray?
It has been decided through research by the EPA and the CDC that either picaridin or DEET insect spray can be effective when it comes to protecting you from biting insects on your runs. Neither is better than the other, it is a preference and according to the amount of protection you need.
q: Are most bug sprays sweatproof?
The top-rated bug sprays on the list are sweat proof, as you need them to be when you are on a run. Most biting insects come out in the humid and hot time of year, ensuring that you sweat during your run. Look for the insect sprays that say they are sweat proof before you decide on one.
q: How many hours do most bug sprays last?
The hours that bug sprays last before needing to be reapplied varies according to the brand and the ingredients in that brand. DEET bug sprays tend to last longer than other combinations do. This is also according to the amount of DEET, Picaridin, or natural ingredients in the product as well.
q: Is DEET harmful?
It was once thought that DEET was extremely harmful to humans and pets. However, EPA studies have shown that the chemical is fine if used in small quantities. Since most biting insects, such as ticks, and gnats are more prevalent during the hot and humid months, you couldn’t use enough DEET to harm you, if it is used correctly.
q: Can I use insect spray on my dog?
It is well-known that many runners take their loyal canine companions with them on their runs, it is not recommended that you use the same insect spray that you use on yourself on your pet. There are pet-friendly products that you can use instead. It is especially important not to use a DEET product on an animal, as it can be highly toxic for them.
q: How safe is bug spray?
The best bug spray are effective and safe, as long as you use it the way it is intended to be used. The top-rated on this list come with instructions as to how the bug spray should be used. Make sure that you follow the directions to the letter when it comes to using any type of bug spray. It is also a good idea to shower when you get home from your run to ensure you get all of the insects spray off of exposed areas.
- EWG’S 2018 GUIDE TO BUG REPELLENTS : FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS, Environments Website ,
- Choosing the Best Spray to Bug Off Bugs, Medical Website ,