by | Aug 19, 2020 | Reviews, summer, Z | 0 comments

Last Updated: Sep 4, 2020 @ 10:29 am.

What's the best mosquito repellent for a backyard or patio? If you are finding yourself spending more time outside lately, the mosquitos have noticed you too. Besides spraying up with DEET, what can you do to deal with mosquitos on a patio?

We surveyed the readers of our parenting books for their tips and tricks. Yes, we tried some of their suggestions in our own backyard—and also interviewed pest control experts for their insight. Finally, we poured over research test results to see what actually works . . . to save you from buying the stuff that doesn't! Here are our recommendations.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!


Buy Now
Buy Now

Best Smelling Repellent

Plant-based repellents that work
These incense-style sticks burn for a couple of hours and do a good job repelling bugs . . . with an aroma that is quite pleasant. DEET-free.
$6.25

Check on Amazon

Best Mosquito Repellent for Patio
Best Smelling Repellent: Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Incense Sticks

Let’s talk mosquitos.

We embarked on a quest to find the best mosquito repellants for a patio—and here’s what we found.

Yes, covering yourself in DEET mosquito repellent is probably the most effective way of stopping mosquitos. But what if you want to avoid DEET? One popular choice are repellent incense sticks.

We tried out 5 different brands of repellent sticks—which were most effective? Smelled the best? Were affordable? We also asked our readers for their feedback.

When all was said and done, we think Murphy’s Naturals is the best bet. The burn time (about 2 hours) is perfect for most outdoor activities (after two hours, your guests need to go home anyway).

Here’s more about why we thought these worked best:

What We Liked

• Plant-based materials. Besides citronella, these sticks contain peppermint, rosemary, cedarwood and rosemary. 

• Best smell among those we tested. That’s a problem for other brands, where the smoke is much more acrid.

• About 10-12 feet of mosquito protection.

• Outdoor use only.

What Needs Work

• Doesn’t work for everyone. We’re not sure why, but we wonder if it is the type of mosquito? Or that the smoke isn’t effective if the mosquitos swarm over a certain quantity? Still, according to our readers, these sticks worked better than others overall.

Buy Now
Buy Now

Best For Standing Water

Excellent for ponds or puddles
This larvicide is effective in killing mosquito larvae, as well as fungus gnats and black flies. Caveat: doesn't kill adult mosquitos . . . but helps control them long term.
$14.99

Check on Amazon

Best For Standing Water: Summit Responsible Solutions Mosquito Bits

Mosquitos love standing water. That’s where they lay their eggs . . . and create the next crop of mosquitoes to invade your patio.

Is there standing water in your backyard . . . say in numerous potted plants? Or do you have a swampy or marshy area of your property?

After researching various solutions for this mosquito challenge, we’d recommend a larvicide. And the best larvicide is Summit Responsible Solutions Mosquito Bits, in our opinion.

Before you buy this product, there is an important caveat: you have to understand HOW larvicide works. It kills mosquito larvae . . . . not adult mosquitoes. When you kill the larvae, you stop the creation of more mosquitos. 

Here’s why we like Mosquito Bits:

What We Liked

 Excellent in planter dishes or outdoor ponds, puddles. 

• Ingredients are corn cob granules coated with BTI. What’s that? It’s a naturally occurring bacterium found in soils.

• Also works on gnat and black fly larvae.

• Kills larvae within 24 hours.

What Needs Work

• Smell is unpleasant. If you use it outside, however, this goes away quickly.

• Can cause mold to grow when used on plants for fungus gnat larvae—to avoid this problem, mix the Mosquito Bits into the soil.

• Not for use with herbs or vegetables. 

• Must be careful during application. It should be applied with gloves and mask—it shouldn’t touch hands or skin. This product is harmful if inhaled or comes in contact with skin.

Best No Spray Repellent: Thermacell MR-PSL Patio Shield Mosquito Repellent

This device is simple: it uses a heat element to warm up a repellent, which keep mosquitos at bay for a certain distance (roughly 15 x 15 feet)—that’s great for a patio.

And yes, it worked it our tests. Here’s more on why we think it is a good solution:

What We Liked

• Quiet. This repellent makes no noise.

• Super easy to use.

• No smoke or scent. It is odorless.

• DEET-free solution to keep mosquitoes away.

• Cordless—it comes with one 12-hour butane fuel cartridge and 3 repellent mats. Each mat lasts for 4 hours.

• Blends in with decor. This model (MR-PSL) is unobtrusive. 6 colors are available.

What Needs Work

• Not so good in wind. As you might imagine, if it is breezy, the repellent isn’t very effective.

• Can’t use near food.

• Pricey. And you have to buy replacement mats and fuel cartridges.

• Doesn’t work for everyone. While we were happy with this unit’s performance, there are online reports that it doesn’t work for everyone in every situation. We’re not sure why it fails, other than perhaps a too breezy patio or too large an area.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

Photo credit: Max Michatz, Unsplash

Baby Bargains: Your Baby Registry Cheat Sheet

BabyBargains.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and its related sites.