Best Bug Sprays Reviewed & Rated for Quality

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Sporting a few bug bites when you come back from a run during the summer is all a part of the summer experience, or at least it used to be. The days of hating to wear bug spray because of the way it feels on your skin or not worrying about a “few bug bites,” are way behind you, as more and more evidence points towards biting insects that carry everything from the West Nile virus and the Zika virus to ticks that are spreading Lyme disease becoming more prevalent in the United States. 

Now wearing bug spray when you go on your morning or even evening runs is just as important as wearing sunscreen if you run during the day. Since many runners prefer the early mornings and the dusk of evening, when it’s a little cooler to get in their running time, it’s extremely important to have a reliable bug spray on hand to use before you head out, or even while you’re on the running path.  

Repel Eucalyptus
  • Repel Eucalyptus
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Six Hours of Protection
  • Price: See Here
Sawyer Products
  • Sawyer Products
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Stronger Than DEET
  • Price: See Here
Natrapel
  • Natrapel
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Easy to Apply
  • Price: See Here

There are many strategies out there to help you avoid being attacked by insects when you are on your run. From 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, CDC, recommend 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.

10 Best Bug Sprays

 

 

1. Repel Eucalyptus

1. Repel Eucalyptus
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.
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Six Hours of Protection

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. This plant-based spray is perfect for those who run during the mornings or at night.

Cool, Refreshing Scent

The Eucalyptus in this product gives off a cool refreshing scent that doesn't irritate your nose and bother 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.

Cost and Value

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.
Pros

DEET free

Naturally, plant-based

Protects for up to six hours

Great price

Refreshing, cool scent

Cons

Many users reported the bug spray doesn't work after sweating

Many customers reported the sprayer itself as faulty

2. Sawyer Products

2. Sawyer Products
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.
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20 Percent Picaridin

This bug spray is 20 percent picaridin, which is more effective at warding off biting flies than DEET is. 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.

Won't Damage Your Gear

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.

Cost and Value

The fact that this outdoor product for bugs doesn't damage the gear you carry with you or that you are running in is enough to recommend it. Add to the fact that it has 20 percent picaridin and it is a good buy for the money spend.
Pros

20 percent picaridin, more effective than DEET

Spray lasts up to 12 hours

Affordable

Extremely effective

Cons

Some users report the spray sweating off easily

Some customers reported feeling sticky or oily after application

3. Natrapel

3. Natrapel
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.
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DEET Free

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.

Easy to Apply

This bug spray is easy to apply with a pump spray bottle that allows for a 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.

Cost and Value

With the ability to take it easily 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.
Pros

Easy to carry

Easy to apply

Contains 20 percent picaridin, making it DEET-free

Affordable

Last up to 12 hours

Cons

Some users complain that the floral fragrance is overwhelming

Some customers reported it leaving a heavy, greasy film when it is applied

4. Cutter Skinsations

4. Cutter Skinsations
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.
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Protects Against Many Pests

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.

Non-Greasy Formula

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.

Cost and Value

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.
Pros

360-degree spray pump

Non-greasy formula

Protects against many pests

Fresh, clean scent

Affordable

Cons

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

5. Coleman

5. Coleman
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.
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Protects Against Many Pests

This 100 percent DEET formula protects against many different pests along your running path. 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.

Available in Three Sizes

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.

Cost and Value

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.
Pros

100 percent DEET

CDC recommended DEET product

Unscented formula

Affordable price

Made for heavy insect infested areas

Cons

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

6. Bug Soother

6. Bug Soother
Bug Soother is an eight-ounce all-natural bug deterrent that is 100 percent safe for everyone who runs in your family. It is made in the USA and safe for use on everyone from runners to the pets that run along with them. If you are looking for a bug spray that does it all naturally, then this is the right choice for you.
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100 Percent DEET Free

This all-natural bug spray is made with essential oils and has no DEET in it at all. It is safe to use in your environment and on your runs as well.

Repels Many Insects

This outdoor product is said to repel many insects such as gnats, no see ums, sand fleas, and other insects naturally and without using DEET to do it.

Cost and Value

This is one of the more expensive bug sprays on the list, but it prevents pests from attacking you on your run naturally and without DEET. It is 100 percent safe, making it worth the little extra you will spend to purchase this outdoor product.
Pros

All Natural

100 percent DEET free

Safe for everyone

Made in the USA

Affordable

Cons

Many users report that this bug spray has a vanilla scent that is overpowering and sickeningly sweet

Some users report that this product simply doesn't work to deter insects the way it promised

7. Bens

7. Bens
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.
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Easy to 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.

Provides up to 10 Hours of Protection

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.

Cost and Value

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.
Pros

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

Affordable

Cons

Some consumers report that the container leaks

Some consumers report that the sprayer nozzle clogs easily

8. Bullfrog Coast

8. Bullfrog Coast
Bullfrog is not only a bug spray, it is a 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. 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. If you are always in a hurry to get out on the running path, then this is the right combination for you!
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Two in One

The 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.

Vitamin E Included

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.

Cost and Value

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.
Pros

Two in one product

DEET-free formula

SPF of 30 for sun protection

Affordable

Works great

Cons

Many users report that the bug spray doesn't work against most insects

Some customers report having an aversion to the strong smell

9. Off!

9. Off!
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. This bug spray contains DEET and has a nice mild scent.
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Deep Woods Ready

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.

Designed for People on the Go

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.

Cost and Value

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.
Pros

Deep woods ready

Easy to use

Easy to carry with you on a run

Affordable

Mild scent

Cons

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

10. Amrita Bugs BeGone

10. Amrita Bugs BeGone
Amrita Bugs BeGone is an outdoor bug spray that is made up of six organic essential oils. It is DEET-free, all natural and safe to use. It deters fleas, ticks, chiggers, and other creepy crawlies when you are on the trail for your morning or evening run.
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Pleasing Scent

The essential oils in this bug spray leave a pleasing lemon scent on your skin, one that is attractive to humans, but not attractive to insects.

DEET-Free

Made with six organic essential oils, this outdoor bug protector is DEET-free but still protects against insects that carry the West Nile Virus and ticks that carry Lyme disease.

Cost and Value

This bug spray is one of the more affordably priced outdoor bug protectors on the list. With its pleasing lemon scent and the organic essential oils for an all-natural product, this is the right bug spray for you.
Pros

Made with organic essential oils

Affordable

DEET-free product

Fresh lemon scent smells great

Works well

Cons

Some users reported that the bug spray only works for about 30 minutes, then insects attack

Some users report it is not worth the money they spent to purchase it

 

Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Bug Sprays

choosing-the-best-bug-spray

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, the ingredients in the insect spray, safety, effectiveness, the ease of application, the smell, and of course, the price. This list looked at all of those metrics, criteria and more when researching and writing this guide. 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! With that in mind, read on with us for the first metric used to find the best bugs sprays for runners on the market today.

Ingredients

The first thing you need to do when searching for the best bug spray for runners is 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.

Effectiveness

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.

Price and Value

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 were 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.

Safety

There has been a lot of concern recently over the chemicals used in outdoor insect sprays, especially the 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 indeed safe to be used at certain times of the year and 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.

Ease of Application

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.

Smell

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.

Skin Feel

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.

Sweat-Worthy

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 you will find a few of the top questions asked about insect spray and the answers to help you make the right choices.

 

FAQ

 

Q: Which is better: Picaridin or DEET insect spray?

A: 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 sweat proof?

A: 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?

A: 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 to your body?

A: 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?

A: 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 fast does bug spray expire?

A: Reliable bug sprays have a pretty long shelf life. This is, of course, according to how well the bug spray is stored and if it is properly maintained. It is known that bug sprays do lose their ability to protect you from insects after several years. If you find that your insect spray isn’t working the way it should, it might be time to replace the container with a new one before your next run.

Q: How safe is bug spray?

A: Bug spray is 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.