Insect bites are always the bane of the summer season. This year, with the spread of the Zika Virus—which can cause serious birth defects in newborns, and is predominantly spread through mosquitoes—there’s an even better reason to make sure you don’t forget your bug spray at home so your travel plans go bug bite free. While layering on the insect repellent probably seems like it would be adequate defense against mosquitoes and the like, not all sprays are created equal. Luckily, Consumer Reports did the trial-and-error for us all by researching and comprising a list of the top performing insect repellents that will protect you against bug bites this summer. The bad news, according to the publication’s study, natural plant-based formulas didn’t fare so well with keeping bugs at bay. Out of the 16 brands tested, the following six are the most effective in fighting off mosquitoes.
1. Natrapel 8-Hour Deet Free Long-Lasting Insect Repellent
Natrapel's spray held up against Aedes and Culex mosquitoes for eight hours, but only offered five hours of protection against deer ticks.
2. Repel Plant Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent
The one exception to avoiding plant-oil based formulas: Repel's lemon eucalyptus repellent. This one fought off Aedes mosquitoes and deer ticks for seven hours.
3. Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent
Sawyer's spray topped the list by successfully fending off Aedes and Culex mosquitoes for eight hours.
4. REPEL 15-Perecnt Deet Scented Family Formula Aerosol Spray
For five hours of mosquito protection, look no further than Repel's affordable formula.
5. Ben's 30 Wilderness Formula Deet Tick And Insect Repellent
This spray stopped attacks by Aedes mosquitoes for up to eight whole hours.
6. Off! Deep Woods Dry Aerosol Insect Repellent
If greasy residue is what holds you back from having the motivation to regularly apply repellent on a summer's night, Off!'s formula won't leave you feeling slick, and fends off mosquitos for eight hours.