The best insect repellent you can buy in the UK (top 5 options)

Nothing will ruin a trip quite like insects - they seem small and harmless but they can cause serious annoyance and, in some cases, serious health issues.

As satisfying as some people find it to squish bugs, we don't like doing that. We'd much prefer to repel the insects with a good spray, so they stay away from us and we don't need to swat them. You've got a lot of options when it comes to insect repellents here in the UK, all varying in price and formulas. We thought it would be useful to round up the best insect repellents you can buy, let's get into the guide:

But first, what makes a good insect repellent?

The main thing to look out for when choosing an insect repellent is the DEET content. DEET is the abbreviated name given to N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, the chemical which works as the active ingredient in many insect repellents. Not every insect repellent will contain DEET, but the best ones will. The higher the DEET content, the longer lasting the repellent will be.

Jungle Formula Dry Protect

Anyone who has been to a pharmacy and told the person behind the desk that they're going to a country with mosquitos has probably been recommended Jungle Formula - it's the UK's favourite insect repellent brand and we're not surprised at all, because it's excellent. There is no denying the products work, and they're always a safe bet. There are now a number of products to choose from in the Jungle Formula range, but we think the 'Dry Protect' sprays (pictured) are best. They're not the strongest in the range, but they feel really good on your skin and aren't greasy at all, so you don't mind reapplying. At more than £6 per bottle, it's pricey. But if you're serious about deterring insects it's probably worth it. Buy it here -

Jungle Formula

Boots Repel

It's nice to have some own-brand options like Repel from Boots which still do a pretty good job at a reasonable price. The 'Boots Repel Maximum' product (pictured) is 50% DEET and definitely works well, the main drawbacks would be the strong smell. But for less than £9 for a 100ml bottle, we can deal with that. Buy it here -

Boots Repel

Incognito Insect Repellent

The first thing to note about the Incognito insect repellent range is that they're DEET-free. It might seem like this goes against everything we've recommended so far, but actually some people don't like to use products as they're worried about allergies or side effects. Considering that these products from Incognito don't contain any DEET, they're actually very effective and not expensive either (albeit slightly more expensive than most DEET products). The active ingredient here is Oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-menthane-3,8-diol), also known as PMD. It seems to do just about as good of a job as DEET, and last for up to 4 hours too. We're impressed, buy it here -

Incognito spray

Buzz Off Insect Repellent

This is another own-brand insect repellent, this time from Superdrug. Like the Boots spray it is also 50% DEET, but this one is actually £2 cheaper than the product from Boots (and it's also a 100ml bottle). So if you're looking for an own-brand insect repellent to take with you on holiday, it might be wise to head to Superdrug! Buy it here -

Buzz Off spray


If you're not travelling abroad and you're just trying to deal with insects here in the UK, then you're probably dealing with the likes of midges. This will be particularly true if you're based in Scotland, where midges seem to be everywhere during the summer months. Smidge is a spray which has been specifically designed to deal with midges - the formula includes Picaridin, which makes it harder for midges to find you. Even though this spray has been designed with midges in mind, it's also very effective against the likes of including mosquitoes, ticks, and even horse flies (perhaps the most annoying of all the insects!). We think this product is great, and at less than £8 for a 75ml bottle, it is fairly well priced too. Buy it here -

Smidge spray

Final thoughts

Having a good insect repellent can make or break your trip, so it is really worth choosing a good one. But hopefully we've proven that you don't need to spend big to keep the bugs away!

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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