The Best Natural Bug Spray, According To Consumer Reports

It's not only one of the best bug sprays without DEET or picaridin — it's one of the best bug sprays, period.

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<a href="https://amzn.to/2TGeLL4" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Repel's Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent</a>&nbsp;is the only Consumer Reports-recommended bug spray made without DEET or picaridin. Instead, it uses oil of lemon eucalyptus, a naturally occurring compound extracted from the gum eucalyptus tree, to repel mosquitos and ticks.
Repel's Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent is the only Consumer Reports-recommended bug spray made without DEET or picaridin. Instead, it uses oil of lemon eucalyptus, a naturally occurring compound extracted from the gum eucalyptus tree, to repel mosquitos and ticks.

If you get what you pay for, then shelling out more for top-tier prevention products like bug spray and sunscreen sounds like a no-brainer, but this thrifty find from Consumer Reports has us rethinking everything.

In fact, most of the top-recommended bug sprays from the product reviewing and testing site clock in under $7, proving that effectiveness isn’t necessarily dictated by a dollar sign.

With summer here, you might find yourself spending more time outdoors, and keeping bugs at bay can be an issue. If you plan on moving your home office outside or spending weekends at the park, it might be time to find a bug spray that works — and that you can feel good about.

Case-in-point, only one natural bug spray received top marks in the Consumer Reports 2020 guide to bug sprays for protection against mosquitos and ticks.

The product reviewing and testing site found that Repel’s Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent, which rings up for about $5, was the only effective bug spray made without DEET or picaridin. Instead, it uses oil of lemon eucalyptus, a naturally occurring compound extracted from the gum eucalyptus tree, to repel mosquitos and ticks.

The best natural bug spray without DEET is only <a href="https://amzn.to/2TGeLL4" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">$5 on Amazon</a>.
The best natural bug spray without DEET is only $5 on Amazon.

Typically, the most popular and effective bug sprays are made with DEET or picaridin, which have both been deemed safe for use by the EPA when used as directed, but there are plenty of reasons folks opt for natural alternatives, like skin irritation, odor and extra precautions around children.

Consumer Reports notes that, of the ingredients found in many natural, plant-based bug sprays (including cedar, cinnamon, citronella, lemongrass, rosemary) oil of lemon eucalyptus proved most effective against ticks and mosquitos.

Repel’s Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent received an overall rating of 90 points out of 100, including an “Excellent” rating in its protection against mosquitos and ticks, as well as its effects on different materials.

“This pump spray from Repel is not only the best DEET-free repellent, but also one of the best-performing of any that CR has tested, DEET-containing products included.”

- Consumer Reports

“This pump spray from Repel is not only the best DEET-free repellent, but also one of the best-performing of any that CR has tested, DEET-containing products included,” according to Consumer Reports.

Only three other bug sprays received higher overall scorings on Consumer Report’s list of recommended insect repellentsBen’s Tick & Insect Repellent Wipes, Total Home (CVS) Woodland Scent Insect Repellent and 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent, all of which include DEET.

Repel Plant-Based Lemon Eucalyptus Insect Repellent has a 4.3-star rating and 7,000 reviews on Amazon, where you can currently find it for just $5.