6 min read

Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Insect Repellent

We put Sawyer Products' Premium Permethrin bug spray to the test to see if it is a safe mosquito repellent that actually works.

Main Product Details 8/10

  • What we like
  • Long-lasting against 55+ insects/arachnids
  • Cheap pricing
  • Can kill bugs 
  • Safe for dogs
  • What we dislike
  • Lengthy, time-consuming application

Product Details

  • Efficiency/Effectiveness: Perfect for anyone; works great for a variety of insects, including mosquitoes
  • Ease of Use: Good, but can take a long time, especially with the smaller bottle
  • Safety: Nearly perfect; can cause some irritation for those with respiratory issues

Our Verdict

While the product page for the picaridin repellent advertises 12-14 hours of repelling against mosquitoes and ticks (8 hours for gnats, flies and other similar insects), the page for the Permethrin repellent advertises a 6-week duration–or 6 washes, whichever comes first.

They also advertise their repellent as effective against over 55 types of insects, including but not limited to: flies, gnats, ticks, mites, mosquitoes, chiggers, and others. However, Sawyer Products claims the repellent works against spiders as well, so that’s a nice little bonus.

If you’re wondering why permethrin sounds so much better than picaridin, it’s because picaridin is a topical repellent, which means you apply it to skin. In other words, picaridin is designed to be a consumer-grade, average repellent.

Permethrin, on the other hand, is designed to be applied to clothing and outdoor gear, such as tents, sleeping bags, and vice versa, so its uses are limited compared to picaridin. However, Sawyer Products recommends using both for maximum effectiveness. 

Since permethrin is a more situational repellent, its uses may seem limited, but I still recommend keeping some of it with you.

Sawyer Products set out to create some of the best insect repellents in the industry, and they definitely deliver. While the permethrin repellent won’t come in handy in as many situations as it’s picaridin relative, it’s long-lasting duration mixed with less inconsistent pricing make this a hard repellent to beat.

How it Works 

     Similar to most repellents, Sawyer Products Permethrin is applied by spraying it on any item you’re trying to protect, such as your clothes or tent. From there, permethrin will let the insect absorb it and the insect will either fly away or die.

     However, do not quickly spray said item and move on to the next item. Permethrin demands slow, methodical spraying to maximize effective, and to Sawyer Products, this means spraying the item all over slowly, taking great care to spray every spot of the item. All this should be done over the span of 30 seconds; then you can move on.

     This means that, unlike the Picaridin Repellent, this repellent is only available in a spray form, and the sizes start at a relatively big 6oz, most likely due to a bunch of clothing and gear requiring more than your skin does.

     Once applied, permethrin not only repels bugs but kills them as well. While death is not guaranteed, permethrin holds the ability to kill certain bugs depending on how long they’ve made contact with the surface.

     Side note: you can even spray it on your dog! Yes, your dog can go for a walk without worrying about bugs getting all up on him/her. 


     Unlike picaridin, permethrin only comes in a spray form, but don’t worry, there’s still plenty of sizing options on Amazon:

  • 6oz spray: Not available
  • 9oz pump spray: $5.92/bottle
  • 12oz pump spray: $13/bottle
  • 18oz aerosol spray: $10.97/bottle
  • 24oz pump spray: $14.99/bottle

     As you can see, the Permethrin Repellent is extremely cheap for what it offers, though pricing is inconsistent, though, the Picaridin Repellent is the same way—worse even.     While the inconsistent pricing carries over from permethrin’s picaridin relative, it’s much more consistent and cheaper. Overall, still not perfect, but much better.

Does it Work?

     Now to the meat of this review; the content you’ve been waiting for. The question: does it work? I’m happy to report that the Sawyer Products Premium Permethrin Repellent does in fact work, and extremely well at that.

     Similar to the picaridin variant, the Permethrin Repellent hits nothing but net on Amazon and other online retailers, with glowing review after glowing review popping up. I even expected some negative reviews because some people bought this repellent without knowing what it’s used for, but nope. Everyone is content with it.

     However, with it’s easy, if not long, application and high rate of effectiveness, it’s no wonder why people love it so much. Sawyer Products know what they’re doing, and it shows through their two repellents.


     Now comes time to hand out a grade and find out where Sawyer Products’ Permethrin Repellent stands compared to other repellents. It will be graded on 4 key areas, these areas being:

  • Efficiency/Effectiveness (40%)
  • Ease of Use (25%)
  • Safety (35%).

     Each will be rated 1-10, with an overall grade for the product after each area has been given a score.

Efficiency/Effectiveness = 10/10

     The effectiveness of this product stands high above many other repellents–even it’s picaridin brother. Lasting 6 weeks, this permethrin repellent is the optimal choice for any outdoorsman, and I’d go as far as to say the optimal choice for any homeowner looking to “debug” the outside areas of their house.

Ease of Use = 8.5/10

     The process to apply permethrin to clothing or gear isn’t difficult, per se, but spraying everything down for 30 seconds each will become repetitive. It’s a small price to pay for the long-lasting repellent, but a price to pay nonetheless.

Safety = 9/10

     Sawyer Products’ Permethrin Repellent probably won’t hurt you, but they recommend only spraying it outside to avoid leaving aerosol in the air and posing a risk to people with asthma or other breathing disorders.

     However, the spray is 100% safe, even if it makes contact with your skin and your dog if need be.