The first thing you may notice on Sawyer’s page is two different repellents, one labeled Picaridin Insect Repellent and the other labeled Permethrin. This review will focus on the Picaridin variant, though we do have a separate breakdown for Permethrin.
According to the product page, the 20% Picaridin Repellent is useful against all species of mosquito, even the Yellow Fever Mosquito, proven with a review by Consumer Reports—a review they proudly display on the page.
Weirdly enough, Sawyer Products recommend mixing Picaridin with Permethrin to “maximize protection against mosquitoes and ticks”. While we will not focus on this combination, it can be said that this combination will in fact work, as studied by Indiana University Bloomington.
One feature Sawyer Products want to make abundantly clear is the safe nature of this repellent. Multiple times do they state that their Picaridin spray is family-friendly, safe to be sprayed onto the skin.
Perhaps the greatest strength of this repellent is it’s proclaimed effectiveness against many types of insects, not just mosquitoes. Mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, etc.: this repellent apparently does it all. But is it truly effective, or is Sawyer Products telling without showing?
How it Works
First off, we need to figure out how this repellent works. As I’ve mentioned before, the main ingredient in this repellent is picaridin, a chemical similar to DEET. Fortunately, picaridin is just as good as DEET, so we don’t need to worry about their chemical choice here.
Their Picaridin Repellent comes in two forms: lotion and spray. The spray is easier to apply in a quick fashion, but it will only last twelve hours. On the other hand, the lotion variant will work up to fourteen hours. However, note that these numbers are only true against mosquitoes and ticks; other biting bugs will be repelled for up to 8 hours no matter which variant you choose.
Where this product falls short is its pricing. While the lotion is cheap, the strange and inconsistent pricing of the spray variant may turn some people away from this product. However, pricing differs from store to store, so the spray may be cheaper at other retailers.
Due to there being two different variants, pricing can seem a bit confusing. However, don’t worry, because I got you covered with this comprehensive list (with prices from Amazon):
- .05oz Pen Spray: NA
- 3oz Spray: $9.58/bottle
- 4oz Spray: $8.25/bottle
- 6oz Spray: $7.99/bottle
- .05-Gallon Lotion Dispenser: $80
- .101-Quart Lotion Dispenser: $59.99
- 1-Gallon Lotion Dispenser: $132.39
- 2oz Lotion Container: $6.19
- 4oz Lotion Container: $8.95
Nothing stands out besides the strange prices of the spray. If you take a look, the prices increase as the size decreases. However, the lotion is expensive but fair for the amount you’re getting.
Does it Work?
We’ve established picaridin as the brother of DEET, but that guarantees nothing when it comes to the effectiveness of the repellent it’s used in. However, I’m glad to tell you that Sawyer Products made a great repellent here.
No matter if you’re needing to repel mosquitoes or ticks, there’s nothing but glowing reviews for this product. Take care to remember the duration of this repellent though. Mosquitoes will be repelled longer than flies or gnats. However, 8 hours is still a long time to repel flies, so I still think the product is amazing for what it does.
For the picaridin variant, all you need to do is spray/rub the repellent on any exposed skin. Do not apply to clothing! For clothing applications, you’re better off with the permethrin variant.
Now comes my favorite section: scoring. Here I will grade this product by 4 key areas, those 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 = 9/10
No doubt enters the mind of anyone who uses Sawyer’s Picaridin Repellent. Whether you’re dealing with a never-ending swarm of mosquitoes or a family of flies that love your cooking, you’re guaranteed a break from all of them with a few seconds of spraying/applying lotion.
The spray continues winning with its fantastic duration. 12-14 hours (half the day) without having to worry about insects bothering you is great. However, I would have liked to see effectiveness against flies last a bit longer than 8 hours.
Ease of Use = 9/10
There’s not much to say here except it’s your typical spray or lotion. Apply the spray/lotion to any exposed skin and you’re all set to go. However, be wary to avoid any articles of clothing; for that, you need to use permethrin.
Safety = 10/10
Just like DEET, Picaridin is safe to use on anyone, though picaridin beats out DEET by this much due to not lasting any lasting odors or stains. The usefulness of DEET without the smell: what more could you ask for?