The Best Mosquito Repellents for Outdoor Spaces in 2023, Tested by HGTV Editors
Keep annoying mosquitoes at bay all season long with these repellers we tried and loved.
Our Top Mosquito Repellent Picks
- Best Overall: Thermacell Radius Zone Mosquito Repeller
- Runner-Up: Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Repeller
- Best Natural: Murphy's Naturals Mosquito Repellent Incense Cones
- Best Dunks: Terro No-Mess Mosquito Pouches
- Best Coils: OFF! Backyard Mosquito Repellent Coils
If you live in a warmer climate, then you know how frustrating mosquitoes can be. And since mosquitoes are most active during warmer months, in many places, that can mean mosquitoes hang around from March through early November. In some southern states, including Florida and southern Texas, mosquito season may not even end. While mosquitoes are common, flying insects that live in most parts of the world, they can also be vectors, spreading germs and viruses to people and animals. The most common reaction to a mosquito bite is itching and swelling, but mosquitoes that spread viruses and pathogens can make you really sick. Mosquitoes can transmit everything from West Nile and Zika to Yellow Fever and Malaria.
When you do get a mosquito bite, there are several steps you can take to treat the area. The CDC says to wash the area with soap and water, apply an ice pack for about 10 minutes and use an over-the-counter antihistamine or anti-itch cream to relieve the itching. If you’re prone to painful mosquito bites, it’s important to use an EPA-registered insect repellent and wear permethrin-treated clothing and gear, especially if you’re in a mosquito-heavy area.
There are easy yet important steps you can take to control mosquitoes outside your home. According to the CDC, you should start by removing standing water where mosquitoes lay eggs. This means emptying any items that hold water, like planters, birdbaths, toys and pools, or tightly covering water storage containers. Mosquito dunks are great for use in bodies of water that can’t be dumped or covered. Keep mosquitoes outside of your home by using window and door screens, keeping doors closed and using air conditioning when possible.
Because some mosquitoes are harmful and can spread viruses, it’s extremely important for everyone to do their part to control mosquitoes inside and outside their homes. For effective outdoor mosquito repellents, these are our top picks. Our testers love that they are practically invisible and subtly do their jobs. We tested these outdoor mosquito repellers with other similar products in our own humid, southern outdoor spaces to make our final picks, below.
No scent. No spray. Rechargeable. The Thermacell Radius Zone Mosquito Repeller gets our Best Overall pick for these reasons and more. The handheld device creates a 15-foot zone of protection against mosquitoes and provides 6.5 hours of repellency off a single charge. It also offers up to 40 hours of continuous mosquito protection per refill (refills are $19.99). Our tester loves how easy it is to use; simply remove the refill cap, open the repeller, insert the refill into the base, close the repeller and power it on. Once the device is heated up (about 15 minutes), it will activate and diffuse the repellent from the refill. Plus, the tiny device is both durable and compact, making it perfect for travel. It's even TSA-approved! We love this particular product for its invisible mosquito repellency. The device is so small, you can easily disguise it if needed. But it’s also highly effective and great for use around kids (where it may be more difficult to keep mosquito spray on).
Our Editor Says: "It was so whisper-quiet and scent-free that it has become our deck's invisible hero. Plus, I love that I can toss it in my bag for times I know we'll be outside for a while."
With many of the same features as our Best Overall Pick, the Thermacell Patio Shield is a highly effective mosquito repellent and spray alternative for outdoor spaces. The Patio Shield offers a 15-foot zone of protection, is cord- and battery-free, and is powered by a compact 12-hour fuel cartridge. There’s no smoke, flames, citronella, DEET, mess or any on-skin chemicals. Each unscented repellent mat (the main difference between the Patio Shield and the Radius Zone) lasts up to four hours and changes color when it’s time to refill. There are three refills included with each Patio Shield, and 12-hour refill packs cost less than $8 for three mats and a fuel cartridge. You can also buy refill packs with 36, 72, 120 and 300 hours of protection. Our tester loves the scent-free protection as well as the fun color options. With colors like Glacial Blue (our tester’s pick), Greenery and Magenta, it’s a fun way to add a bold hue to your outdoor space — or match your existing color scheme. Just like the Radius Zone, the Patio Shield is super easy to use; simply insert the mat, twist in the fuel cartridge, turn on the device (rotate to “on,” then click two or three times to start), check the view window to ensure the heat is on (you’ll see an orange glow), then wait 15 minutes for the heat to activate the repellent and start working. Compared to the Radius Zone, the Patio Shield is a bit less portable, as it’s larger and taller, but it’s still small enough to travel with. We also love the price — the price for the starter kit is less than $20, and the refills are equally as affordable.
Our Editor Says: "Maybe mosquito repellency isn't cute, but I thought the Glacier Blue Patio Shield was adorable and perfectly matched my deck's turquoise and navy color scheme. We keep it on the patio table and turn it on whenever we know we'll be outside for at least an hour, making the 15-minute heat-up period worth the wait."
If you're looking for a natural, plant-based mosquito-repelling product, these Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Incense Cones are our editor's pick. Each cone burns up to 24 minutes and each pack comes with 36 cones, offering 14.4 hours of protection per pack. One of our favorite things about this product is that it has a low profile and takes up little space. It does have a scent — a blend of rosemary, peppermint, citronella, lemongrass and cedarwood — that our tester describes as a pleasant mix of herbs, especially when compared to citronella-heavy candles. Plus, we love that the cones are DEET-free with no harsh chemicals or synthetic fragrances. Although our tester finds these incense cones effective for her small outdoor space, we would not rely on these cones as your only protection, especially if you’re in heavily wooded areas where disease-carrying ticks and mosquitoes are prevalent. We recommend these natural cones for casual evenings on a deck where mosquitoes aren’t that bad.
Our Editor Says: "I like these plant-based incense cones that have a subtle, pleasant smell because they’re perfect for backyard decks and patios. I like that they each burn pretty quickly, so I don't waste any of the product if I'm only going to be outside for a short time. Plus, I love that one of these cones takes up barely any space and blends in with my deck — no clunky branded candle!"
From birdbaths to fish ponds to rain barrels, these mosquito larvacide pouches from Terro kill mosquito larvae when added to stagnant water. Our tester says, simply, that they’re "just easy to use." Since the pouch is dissolvable, there's no dust or breaking required like other "dunks" on the market. Simply place the product on stagnant water surfaces where mosquitoes typically breed — one pouch for every 50 square feet you'd like to treat. Under typical environmental conditions, the pouch will work for up to four weeks, but the larvacide can last for up to two months in containers or drainage systems.
Our Editor Says: "I really liked this product for two reasons: One, the pouch means there’s no need to break it up as you have to do with other similar “dunks,” so no dust is created. And two, the resealable packaging easily keeps the product contained when stored."
For semi-confined areas with a minimal breeze — like porches and patios — we recommend these mosquito-repellent coils. Each coil protects an area up to 10-by-10 feet with a whopping four hours of repellency. Although this refill pack comes with a small, metal stand, we suggest purchasing an enclosed coil holder, making the coils easier to transport (for camping, hiking, etc.) while burning safely. Plus, an enclosed coil holder means no ash mess! While our tester enjoys the Country Fresh scent ("it smells like fresh laundry!"), it may be a bit strong for others. Since the coverage area is large, you could distance it away from where you’re seating for protection without the heavy scent. This product is perfect for days when you’ll be outside for several hours since it burns slowly.
Our Editor Says: "This coil is perfect for summer afternoons on the deck with my toddler. It has a fresh, subtle scent, and I don't have to think about mosquito protection for several hours."