The best mosquito repellent products you can buy

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  • Effective mosquito prevention requires a multi-pronged approach in which you remove breeding grounds, kill off adult insects, and deploy products that repel these dangerous pests.
  • If you had to choose just one item for your anti-mosquito arsenal, a wise choice would be time-tested OFF! Deep Woods Insect Repellent with its 25% DEET concentration that wards off mosquitoes, ticks, flies, and more.

Mosquitoes don’t like me much, and that’s the only thing that I like about them. I can sit in the grass, dripping with sweat after a run, and get not a single bite. I can spend an entire summer afternoon outside mowing, grilling, or playing with my kids, and if I find even one itchy welt on my person, I’m surprised. My wife and kids, on the other hand, can’t seem to get from the front door to the car without mosquitoes launching a full-scale banzai attack. Mosquitoes love their blood, an honor any of them would shed with alacrity were such possible.

So while the mosquitoes and I have achieved a detente, the fact that they have such a vendetta against my family makes us adversaries nonetheless. In peak mosquito season here in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, they make a powerful adversary indeed. In fact, if I didn’t use every single one of the tips and products featured here, our outdoor property would be effectively off-limits to the family from late April through late September, the mosquito season here near New York City.

Pernicious and unpleasant as mosquitoes may be, with some effort they can be bested. First, you need to prepare a mosquito-safe property. Above all else, that means eliminating standing water, the breeding ground for these insects. Even a tiny pool of still water — and I mean two ounces in the bottom of a planter or misplaced mug — can breed scores of skeeters. Check for water pooled in toys, flowerpots, buckets, the seats of chairs, backed-up gutters, and everywhere else.

The good news is that many mosquito species only travel a few dozen yards in search of food, so if you clear all the standing water from your yard, you will be in decent shape already. Female mosquitoes can live for nearly two months, though, so if the area is already infested, simply removing breeding grounds might be too little too late. That’s why there are so many fine anti-mosquito products like we’re talking about today.

And hey, some quick bits of trivia for you, and also the reason I singled out female mosquitoes: male mosquitoes usually live less than two weeks, and they don’t bite. And when female mosquitoes do bite, it’s not for their own nourishment. Contrary to popular belief, mosquitoes eat plant nectar, honey, or other sugary substances to feed themselves. The blood is used to help build up eggs prior to laying the next generation of bloodsuckers.

Here are our picks for the best mosquito repellent products you can buy in 2019:

Updated on 04/29/2019 by Les Shu: Updated prices, links, formatting, and related outdoors gear guides.

Read on in the slides below to check out the best products for repelling mosquitoes.





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The best mosquito repellent overall


OFF!

Why you’ll love it: OFF! Deep Woods Insect Repellent provides hours of reliable mosquito irritation prevention thanks to the 25% concentration of DEET.

Here are some things you need to know about diethyltoluamide, better known as DEET: It has been available to the public since the 1950s, and in all that time and after countless tests, it is still considered the most effective mosquito repellent formula. The AAP considers it safe for use on children as young as two months old in concentrations up to 30%. It effectively repels mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, flies, and many other bugs, too.

Now here is what you need to know about OFF! Deep Woods Insect Repellent: It has a DEET concentration of 24% and a proper application provides up to eight hours of protection. And really, what else do you need to know?

It might not smell like roses, but it works well and it’s safe for humans of every age above eight weeks. We keep a can in the house, one in the car, and I always bring OFF! when I go hiking or camping, especially when my son is with me.

Beyond mosquitoes, note that one customer reminds us that OFF! Deep Woods is also “effective against deer ticks,” another bite you very much want to avoid. The product-testing experts from Consumer Reports hail its “excellent performance at repelling mosquitoes” and heartily recommended the spray.

Pros: Time-tested efficacy, safe for use on people of all ages, good price for a great product

Cons: Smell is less than great, but you get used to it

Buy a two-pack of OFF! Deep Woods Insect Repellent from Walmart for $15.94





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The best mosquito repellent for yards


Cutter

Why you’ll love it: Cutter Backyard Bug Control Spray Concentrate can rid your yard of mosquitoes for several weeks at a time after just one easy application.

I tried to go the natural route, I really did. Last summer, the first summer we lived in this house here in New York, I sprayed down the entire yard with two different natural anti-mosquito sprays that were filled with things like clove oil, cedar oil, sesame oil, and so forth. You know what happened? Nothing.

Well, OK the yard smelled crisp and fresh for a day or two, but there wasn’t any appreciable diminishment in the concentration of mosquitoes. Then I hooked a bottle of Cutter Backyard Bug Control Spray Concentrate to the hose, soaked every square inch of the property, front yard, backyard, bushes, trees, mulch beds, and more. And to my pleasant surprise, for the next week or so, there were remarkably fewer mosquitoes around.

While I can’t vouch for the brand’s claim that the spray prevents bug issues for four weeks, I can say that with twice monthly sprays, our yard we much more habitable even during peak mosquito season. As this stuff is safe for use around kids, pets, and even near food plants, and as it’s affordable, too, I honestly plan to spray the property every Friday so we can enjoy maximum protection each weekend.

With hundreds of reviews posted on Amazon, Cutter Backyard Bug Control Spray Concentrate has a solid four-star average rating. Most customers echo my own sentiments as well expressed by a user named William who said: “It works … and that surprised me.” A lady named Sarah was a bit more effusive when she left a review saying: “I have never seen a yard spray work like this in my life.”

Pros: Multiday effectiveness, one bottle treats 5000 square feet, safe for people and pets

Cons: Also kills lots of other insects

Buy a 32-Ounce Bottle of Cutter Backyard Bug Control Spray Concentrate on Amazon for $7.24





3/

The best mosquito repellent wipes


Aunt Fannie’s

Why you’ll love them: Aunt Fannie’s Mosquito Wipes apply mosquito repellent directly to your skin with more precision than an aerosol spray, and the unique formula is designed to repel bugs without damaging your skin’s microbiome.

The founders of the Aunt Fannie’s brand have an interesting take on many of the products most of us take for granted: They’re too effective. That is to say, many of the cleaning products we use to wipe down countertops or showers don’t only clean away grime and bacteria, they also kill off the healthy microscopic “allies” found on our skin, the helpful bacteria that create each person’s microbiome.

To that end, the company has created everything from all-purpose cleaning formulas to glass cleaners to anti-pest powders and sprays that perform their dedicated function without the unnecessary wholesale slaughter of harmless and even beneficial bacteria.

The Aunt Fannie’s Mosquito Wipes come individually packaged so they stay moist and potent right up until you need to use one. To do so, you simply rip open the packet and then rub the wipe over any exposed skin you want to make unappealing to mosquitoes, gnats, ticks, and more. While not as robust a repellent as a DEET-laden formula, my testing so far has returned positive results. And what a pleasant, minty scent, too.

Pros: Repels insects without harming helpful bacteria, pleasant odor, compact packets great for travel

Cons: Rather expensive for daily use

Buy a Box of Aunt Fannie’s Mosquito Wipes on Amazon for $9.99


Stinger

Why you’ll love it: The Stinger Insect Zapper creates an effective perimeter inside of which a mosquito is more likely to be drawn to the zapper and killed than it is to find and bite you.

Look, in a perfect world I’d solve all of this with words, but mosquitoes can’t talk and they don’t seem to be listening, so sometimes repelling just won’t work, and they have to die. When their death comes as a result of contact with the Stinger Insect Zapper, at least it’s instantaneous.

This cordless, rechargeable, and lightweight zapper uses both light and a scent lure to attract mosquitoes, creating an effective coverage area measuring 625 square feet. When hung about ten feet away from people, the zapper will entice mosquitoes more compellingly than the scent of the mammals, leading them to approach and ultimately be killed by the zapper.

Ironically, one of the reasons the Stinger Insect Zapper is such an effective tool in fighting back against bugs is that it’s not all that powerful. Some of the larger insect elimination tools, both those that use light and/or CO2 to attract bugs, can have the inverse effects desired by attracting more mosquitoes to your property than would have been present in the first place! Sure, they still kill lots of insects, but you may well get more bites in the process. This zapper is perfect for use on the porch or patio, at a campsite, or moved around the yard with you while you garden, grill, or play.

I’ve used ours in the yard several times already, and the grisly results speak for themselves. You can bet this thing is coming camping with my son and me next month because out in the woods, we need all the help we can get. Here at least we can just run back inside.

Pros: Uses two-pronged approach to luring insects, compact and portable

Cons: Burns through batteries quickly

Buy a Stinger Insect Zapper on Walmart for $37.19





5/

The best mosquito repellent candles


Amazon

Why you’ll love them: The Light in the Dark Votive Citronella Candles come in a pack of 72, so you can distribute them all around your porch, deck, patio, or your entire property.

There are lots of mosquito-repelling citronella candles out there, and all of them do essentially the same thing: They create a scent that mosquitoes dislike, thereby driving them away. Many such candles are large and potent, with a thick wick set into a bucket or big glass container. I much prefer these 1.25-inch-tall votive-style candles, and for less than $20 I get 72 of them.

The Light in the Dark Votive Citronella Candles are a lovely shade of yellow and give off a citrusy scent that most people enjoy. When strategically deployed around your property on days where the wind isn’t too strong, they can help create a no-go zone for mosquitoes that’s all the more pleasant and atmospheric for humans thanks to the scent and the gentle flicker of firelight.

(If you grow actual citronella grass, or lemongrass, as part of your anti-mosquito regimen, make sure to rough them up from time to time, pulling off leaves and snapping a few branches. Otherwise, they won’t emit much of a scent.)

With a few dozen reviews posted on Amazon, the Light in the Dark Votive Citronella Candles have a 3.9-star average rating.

Pros: Great price for large supply, safe and natural repellent, pleasant scent and appearance

Cons: Effects minimized by breeze

Buy a 72-Count Box of Light in the Dark Votive Citronella Candles on Amazon for $17.99





6/

The best mosquito traps for standing water


Amazon

Why you’ll love them: Summit Mosquito Dunks make standing water uninhabitable for mosquito larvae, so you can enjoy birdbaths, ponds, fountains, and more.

Yes, the best thing to do to eradicate mosquitoes around your property is to remove all standing water so they have nowhere to breed. But what about the water you actually want around? The water in the birdbath, in the lily pond, or in a decorative fountain? If you want to keep some standing water present on your property but don’t want to make the place a nursery for mosquitoes, then drop a Summit Mosquito Dunk into each pocket of still water and you’ll kill of the larvae before they’re ever old enough to draw blood.

While these Dunks are lethal to mosquitoes, they are harmless for birds, fish, squirrels, rabbits, cats, dogs, and other animals you might have around your property, including human animals. Each Dunk can treat about 100 square feet of surface area, and they last for about a month. If you can’t remove water, at least you can make it deadly for unwanted insects.

An Amazon’s Choice product with more than 400 customer reviews, Summit Mosquito Dunks have a commendable 4.5-star average rating. A customer said she was “so happy she found” the Dunks, which have “worked really well to fight off” a serious mosquito population.

A writer with MosquitoReviews called the Summit Mosquito Dunks effective for “once a month” use thanks to their slow-release design, and said they can effectively “get rid of larvae wherever you put them.”

Pros: Kills off larvae quickly and reliably, safe for people and pets, each Dunk lasts a month

Cons: Not effective against adult mosquitoes

Buy a six-pack of Summit Mosquito Dunks on Amazon for $8.52





7/

The best outdoor fan for warding off mosquitoes


Designer Aire

Why you’ll love it: The Designer Aire Outdoor Standing Pedestal Fan creates a steady breeze that cools you down and blows mosquitoes away with ease.

Mosquitoes are many things — annoying, dangerous, invasive — but one thing they are not is strong fliers. Most travel at only a few miles per hour and they are easily blown off course by even a modest breeze. When the course they had set was to bite your skin, you’ll appreciate them being sent reeling. And until you can command the winds, the best way to do that is with a good outdoor fan.

The Designer Aire Outdoor Standing Pedestal Fan is handsome, durable, and effective, creating a steady breeze at all three of its speed settings and offering oscillation that creates a wide swath of moving air. Set at the edge of a patio or deck, this fan can blow mosquitoes away from an area measuring several hundred square feet. And if it just happens to keep some humans cooler and more comfortable at the same time, so much the better. Yes, there are cheaper outdoor fans available, but this is one you’ll be pleased to place prominently thanks to its looks. (Admittedly style is a personal preference, so it’s subjective.)

The Designer Aire Outdoor Standing Pedestal Fan has a fine 3.8-star average rating on Amazon, with one owner calling it a “beautiful fan” that “works great.” Another appreciated that it was “easy to assemble.”

We do have to note that many folks said the fan is rather noisy, so despite its billing as an indoor/outdoor unit, it’s probably only suitable for the latter.

Pros: Creates powerful airflow, elegant styling, oscillation covers large area

Cons: Noisy even on lower settings

Buy a Designer Aire Outdoor Standing Pedestal Fan on Amazon for $179.99-$199.99





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Now that all the mosquitoes are gone, enjoy the outdoors with our other gear guides


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