Mosquito Repellent Bracelets
Do they work as advertised?
Many people want to prevent mosquito bites…
…but they are skeptic about ingredients like DEET – such chemicals smell awfully and leave an oily screen on your skin.
In comparison, mosquito repellent bracelets seem to be a no-brainer:
They are easy to use and have low side effects. Instead of spraying your body (and risking to breathe in toxic ingredients) you just wear them on your wrist like a normal accessory.
If you don’t need them anymore, you can just take them off – there’s no cleaning needed and you won’t have to deal with sticky screens on your skin. Consequently mosquito bracelets are a very popular choice for many people who need a natural solution against harmful bites.
But do they work?
I reviewed a selection of bracelets and I want to share my observations with you. I’m going to give you an overview on their effectiveness against mosquitoes… and their limitations.
How do anti-mosquito bracelets work?
Most bracelets rely on 100% natural plant oils to fight off mosquitoes. Newer products like this one come with small refill packs that contain the active repellent. Therefore you can use them more than one time – just buy a cheap refill pack and you’re good to go.
- The most common types of bracelets use a combination of oils from citronella, lavender and peppermint to keep little critters at bay. They don’t contain any DEET.
- The scent of such natural oils is known to repel insects – and you won’t have to apply them directly on your skin. That’s great for everyone who is afraid of skin allergies.
- Furthermore the bracelets are adjustable to fit everyone… kids, pregnant women and even pets. Overall they are less obtrusive and easier to handle than spray repellents.
You’ll notice a strong citronella odor with most repellent bracelets. It’s necessary to keep mosquitoes at bay so be prepared for some scent. Fortunately they never smell unpleasant and you’ll get used to it very fast.
Bracelets last between several days and weeks until they slowly lose their effectiveness (because the active ingredient is consumed). Once applied there is no need to worry about further maintenance, cleaning or other things. You just put the bracelets on and forget about them.
This comfort is the main reason why hundreds of users on Amazon speak in favor of such bracelets (just check out their numerous reviews of one bestseller).
That sounds great, but…
Okay, so you’ve heard a lot about the pros of mosquito repellent bracelets – but can they prevent harmful diseases like Zika effectively?
3 Mosquito Bracelets Reviewed
The most important difference is that the last one is refillable – thus you can use it long-term and you won’t have to throw it away. The other options are single-use only. You’ll have to bin them after the active ingredient is consumed.
Honestly… that’s not a big deal because they are rather cheap and last some time before you’ll have to replace them. All of them have a noticeable citronella smell. Not everyone will like it – but it’s bearable.
The most important factor is their effectiveness against mosquitoes. After wearing all 3 of them during an outdoor trip I can sum up my experience with one sentence:
They do work – but they have their limitations.
First, I noticed that mosquitoes didn’t like the smell… I got harassed less frequently and they often decided to leave me alone. Every bracelet seemed to be somewhat effective against mosquitoes. It’s hard to say which one is the best option because all of them performed similarly.
However none of them guaranteed 100% protection.
This was all the more true, as more flying critters were swarming around. They were working reliably around my community – but then I entered a high risk environment with thousands of mosquitoes (welcome to the Keys).
I observed that the odor was most effective near the bracelet (everything in proximity was protected quite well). Unfortunately no bracelet offered full protection everywhere. Despite wearing them I got bitten quite often – in particular around my ankles.
After about 15 minutes I decided to apply an additional repellent that finally helped to keep the dangerous insects at bay. It was the only thing that helped against the critters swarming around in the wetlands.
My conclusion and scientific studies
This experiment may seem like a letdown to everyone who is interested in buying such a device… they certainly can’t compare to established repellents like DEET or Picaridin (which are still the best choice – despite their side effects).
That’s why I still recommend you rely on topical repellents because they are very reliable against mosquito-borne diseases. One bite is enough, so it’s best to choose a repellent that is as effective as possible.
However, from my experience mosquito repellent bracelets can offer limited protection in low risk environments.
They are certainly better than nothing. I noticed that they kept mosquitoes at bay in less infested areas. While I wouldn’t want to rely on them in high risk vectors, they can be an alternative for everyone who doesn’t face hundreds of mosquitoes buzzing around.
Bracelets help to reduce the number of bites and can be a neat pick for everyone who is reluctant to use DEET. Before you consider buying one, I recommend you check out other alternatives as well – many of them have been scientifically proven to work against mosquitoes… and some of them are from all natural sources.
That said, many customers seem to be very satisfied with anti-mosquito bracelets.
Each of the 3 reviewed products received than 4 stars (and hundreds of reviews). I personally prefer repellents in most cases but bracelets seem fit many people’s needs. If you are one of those people, consider getting one.
Buy a mosquito repellent bracelet if you…
Okay, after making it clear that there may be some better options out there – what are the reasons to buy such device with limited protection?
In my opinion there are a number of scenarios were alternatives like DEET sprays fall short. While they are the best choice for high risk vectors like wet grounds, application is not always easy.
- Maybe you just want to head out for a quick walk and you can’t be bothered with an oily screen on your skin. A less effective but easy-to-use solution is better than nothing.
- Your kids are licking their fingers and hands so you can’t use potentially harmful chemicals on their skin. Bracelets can be a safer alternative in such a case.
- You mainly use it indoors where you don’t suffer from hundreds of little bloodsuckers. A simple bracelet can offer enough protection while you stay in your house.
- You’re planning to do some exhausting outdoor activity – lots of sweat can diminish a spray’s effectiveness and can also harm your gear (DEET reacts with plastic).
- You only want to cover a small amount of exposed skin – like your wrist or an ankle. The closer the area is to the device, the more likely it is to protect the skin.
As you can see, there is no all-in-one solution. It’s best to not rely on one repellent exclusively… use a combination of different options. Whenever possible, stick to some topical spray because they are known to offer most protection against mosquito-borne diseases. If that’s not feasible, find an alternative that works for you.
In some case – like the ones mentioned above – mosquito repellent bracelets are a worthwhile choice.
The best anti-mosquito bracelet
I didn’t found much of a difference in regard to repellence between the 3 reviewed products. They all performed comparable. However, I noticed some distinctive features in design:
- The NoBite All Natural and USA Complete bracelets can be used one time only (once opened they last 5 days – enough for most camping trips). They are cheap so you get your money’s worth. One great thing is that you can easily dispose them after strenuous activities – you won’t have to deal with sweaty, smelly fabrics.
- In comparison, the refillable variant offers more quality for you wrist. Instead of throwing the whole thing away after one use, you can replace the small fragrance packs. The material is durable and softer than those of single-use items. However, you will have to wash it more frequently to prevent obtrusive odors.
In my opinion this is the single most important difference. I recommend that you go with a design that appeals to you. Do you want to frequently refill your bracelet or do you only need to wear one during camping trips every few months?
If you’re not sure you can always check out the reviews on Amazon. Each product has numerous of them from hundreds of users:
To sum it up, I found that mosquito bracelets can prevent bites – but they won’t keep you safe from all mosquito threats. Feel free to use one if it fits your needs… but be sure to know their limitations.
A sticky repellent with a chemical scent may be obtrusive, but it can save your life. At the same time a bracelet and protective clothing might keep mosquitoes at bay in less risky areas.
I hope this guide on bracelets helped you. Please share it with others if you found it useful.