Picaridin VS DEET VS Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE)


Updated August 12, 2022

Ranger Ready Picaridin 20% Bug Spray for Mosquitoes and Ticks

The New York Times | Wirecutter
“For a bug repellent that’s safe and effective—and that won’t stink or leave a puddle of oil on your skin—skip the DEET and get a Picaridin formula."

The rising risk of vector-borne diseases and the desire for a more friendly body-worn insect repellent experience have led many consumers to seek protection from repellents containing Picaridin. It is the active ingredient in Ranger Ready Insect Repellent and is globally recognized as the leading alternative to DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide). So, why Picaridin vs DEET?

  • twelve hour icons
    Protects you for 12 hours against ticks + mosquitoes.
  • kids safe
    Safe to use on children & during pregnancy.
  • epa registered
    Undergone safety & efficacy testing.
Picaridin vs DEET: The Differences 

When comparing Picaridin vs DEET, the first thing people want to know is...will Picaridin Insect Repellent work? How effective is Picaridin at protecting me against mosquitos, ticks and other biting insects? The efficacy of any insect repellent is solely dependent upon the concentration of the active ingredient. Ranger Ready uses Picaridin 20%, anything less is not as effective.  

Picaridin VS DEET VS Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus

Healthline | Parenthood
“Picaridin is actually the insect repellent of choice for children in Europe."

More than 25 years of clinical research and use conducted in the US and Europe has demonstrated Picaridin 20% offers a superior level of insect protection for up to 12 hours from a wide variety of pests including ticks, mosquitos, biting flies, sand flies, gnats, chiggers, no-see-ums and midges.

Orange-Scented Bug Spray with Picaridin 20% Repellent

DEET at 30% concentration only provides 8-10 hours of protection against ticks and mosquitos. In other words, insect repellents that include Picaridin 20%, like Ranger Ready, provide longer-lasting protection. DEET is a yellowish-orange color and has noticeable drawbacks including it's sticky feeling and it's ability to dissolve watches, glasses, and other synthetic materials.

  • Mosquito Icon
    Repels mosquitos for 12 hours
  • Tick Icon
    Repels ticks for 12 hours
  • biting fly icon
    chiggers, gnats, and biting flies

Comparing DEET vs Picaridin, Picaridin 20% has been proven to provide equal protection against mosquitoes and superior protection against ticks in similar concentrations without the same health concerns. The CDC recommends Picaridin as a safe and effective insect repellent for adults and children over 1-year. Picaridin insect repellent is already the most popular insect repellent in Europe and Australia, and growing exponentially in the United States.

Unlike DEET, Picaridin is not a neurotoxin and is non-corrosive to clothing and materials including plastic, rubber, leather, latex, vinyl, rayon, elastic, spandex, and auto paint. Picaridin is an EPA Registered Repellent as of May of 2005. In the US, EPA registration is the best evidence that a repellent is safe for use and effective. EPA registration indicates Picaridin is safe to use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, and is the perfect choice for protection against mosquitoes who might carry the Zika virus and West Nile virus.


Ranger Ready Picaridin 20% Unscented Bug Spray
How Does Picaridin Work & Repel Insects?

Picaridin, like most repellents, works by disrupting the insect’s sense of smell. Derived from the naturally occurring organic compound piperine — the alkaloid that gives black pepper its hot flavor — Picaridin is the first synthetic repellent to clear modern efficacy and safety tests. It is odorless, non-greasy, easy on the skin, does not damage plastic or clothing, and is not a neurotoxin.

In the early stages of development, scientists modeled a variety of different three-dimensional molecules that would interfere with the olfactory receptors biting insects use to find food. Out of the more than 800 substances synthesized and tested, Picaridin was the clear winner.

Ranger Ready Unscented Repellent with Picaridin 20% Bug Spray

Picaridin History and Scientific Development

Since DEET’s invention in 1946 for the US military, and its subsequent commercialization in the late 1950’s, DEET has been the standard repellent for effective bite prevention. However, concerns around the long-term health implications of DEET and many of its characteristics — unpleasant smell, sticky feeling on skin and corrosiveness to certain materials — prompted scientists to seek an equally effective alternative.

German scientists at Bayer AG took up the challenge and developed Picaridin in the 1980s. The repellent was first released under the trade name Bayrepel and was available for consumer use in Australia in 1998 and in Europe in 2001. Picaridin was registered with the EPA in 2001 before becoming available to US consumers in 2005. Owned by the LANXESS Corporation since its split from Bayer in 2008, Picaridin is also marketed under the names Icaridin and Saltidin. Picaridin should not be confused with Permethrin — an insect repellent used since the 1970s to treat clothing and fabrics, but not worn on the skin.


While Picaridin 20% protects you and your family for up to 12 hours from biting insects, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends applying Picaridin to your skin AND treating your clothing with Permethrin repellent. Ranger Ready Permethrin repels and kills ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers, and biting insects for up to 40 days or 5 washes. Wear both with The Ranger Ready P2Pak.

The Ranger Ready P2Pak