10 Best Deer Repellents for a Deer-Free Backyard

Updated on by Jared Belson | Please note that there may be affiliate links on this page.

Though somebody in your household may like to look at Bambi and her friends doing their things, deer can be quite a nuisance once they take a liking to your lawn or garden. Using one of the best deer repellents can make the difference between having a colorful lively garden and a half-eaten garden.

With so many types of deer repellents out there, however, it’s important to know how to compare them and make the right choice depending on what you want to achieve and how. Some repellents are more effective than others and some are less harmful than others. Check out my suggestions as follows before making a decision.

Best Deer Repellents for Year-Round Yard Protection

The Deer Out concentrate can probably last you a whole year if you don’t have a large property or that many deer roaming around. Its minty scent is overpowering for most deer but pleasant enough for humans that you can spray this around edible plants too.

Made with natural ingredients, the Deer Out is very safe to use too. It won’t introduce harmful chemicals into the environment, stunt the growth of your plants, or affect children and pets that come in contact with the treated areas.

The formula comes in plastic containers. You’ll need separate containers and repellent dispersal accessories to treat your garden with this. The bottle doesn’t have a hose connector or a built-in sprayer.

One of the main reasons I like this repellent is that it acts as a scent repellent first, thus stopping most deer from even coming near your garden, let alone taking a bite out of your precious and well-kept ornamental plants.

  • Powerful minty scent
  • Long shelf life
  • Easy to mix
  • Non-toxic formula
  • Requires mixing and dispersal accessories

Here’s something that you can use as soon as it arrives. The Bobbex B550110 Deer Repellent is a ready-to-use formula that comes in 32oz sprayer bottles, 48oz hose-attachment bottles, or 1gal regular bottles. You can pick the one best suited for your preference and the size of your property (the 48oz is actually the most expensive).

The Bobbex is full of natural ingredients for an environmentally-friendly repellent that stops deer in their tracks without introducing toxic ingredients to your garden. The formula is fast absorbing as it is already diluted.

This means that you can liberally spray it on foliage by squeezing the sprayer’s trigger. A few applications here and there should render your garden immune to deer invasions a least for a couple of weeks.

But, keep in mind that rain can wash off the scent. The taste will last a bit longer but that’s not a guarantee really. Therefore, the B550110 deer repellent is not the most long-lasting option. It’s also not particularly ideal to use on all types of plants, so you might want to avoid spraying it on certain edible herbs, fruits, and leaves.

  • Safe for humans, pets, and other wildlife
  • Easy and quick to apply
  • Natural ingredients
  • Fast-absorbing water-based formula
  • Mostly for use on ornamental plants

You can get the Messina Wildlife Deer Stopper in 1-gallon or 1-quart containers. Both are in concentrate form that requires additional mixing. It’s also available in ready-to-use premixed sizes, though I prefer the concentrate for long-term use.

Like most natural formulas, the Messina Deer Stopper has a limited residual control effect of up to 30 days. That said, during that first month of application, the formula shows impressive weatherproofing qualities, which extends to the use of your garden hose.

Because of the unique blend of ingredients, you can use the Deer Stopper on both edible and ornamental plants. The formula is non-staining so it can also be sprayed on fence posts, paved paths, bridges, and other potential entry points.

  • Non-toxic ingredients
  • Non-flammable and non-staining
  • Reliable weatherproofing for up to 30 days
  • Almost odorless to humans
  • No sprayer head included

This Bobbex concentrate is basically the souped-up version of the ready-to-use spray repellent. The concentrate is more potent, even though it has to be diluted before application.

It has some unique weatherproofing qualities as it can dry quite quickly and remain waterproof and rainproof for over one month. By these properties alone, it’s one of the longest-lasting deer repellents on the market, even if you have to mix it yourself.

What’s even better is that this repellent works on even more harmful garden invaders such as elk and moose. Although this would work best when dispersed using an E-Z pump sprayer, you could use any bottle sprayer that you have lying around before you invest in a pump sprayer.

Of course, because this is made of natural ingredients, it’s also safe to use on most plants, perhaps with the exception of some edibles. That’s because it has a high absorption rate and may severely alter the taste of your favorite fruits and veggies.

  • Ultimate garden predator protection
  • Can adjust to your desired potency
  • Natural repellents and deterrents
  • Safe to use directly on ornamental plants
  • Not ideal for use on edible plants

Stepping away from the world of water-based sprays, here’s a different solution that you might want to consider for big pests such as deer, and it’s also effective against small rodents and stray dogs.

The Hoont Cobra Water Jet Blaster uses powerful jets of water to deter animals from your property. It has a motion sensor component with an effective range of 30ft. When activated, it sends out a five-second jet of water to push the offending animals away.

The device works on two AA batteries, which aren’t included. It remains in a low power mode until it actually detects movement. I like that the device has a relatively fast turn-on rate, although some fast-moving animals may be able to evade it.

That said, I know from experience that the scare of a powerful and unexpected flying jet of water is enough to scare deer away for the near future, seeing as they’re quite skittish in nature.

  • Non-chemical solution
  • Built-in long-range motion sensor
  • 120 degrees detection
  • Loud and powerful 5 second jets of water
  • You’ll probably need more than one to protect your entire garden

Why not some old-fashioned granules? As a matter of fact, these Enviro Pro granules may be a step-up in your protection plans.

These granules don’t have a foul odor to humans but they can be most unpleasant for deer and other animals. The great news is that this is one of the few guaranteed ways of protecting an entire property through a scented repellent, great for preventing deer from feasting on your plants.

However, the Enviro Pro 1025 Deer Scram is not without its shortcomings, not unlike all scent repellents for deer. Although it has good moisture-wicking properties, this granulated formula doesn’t fare well in very dry environments. Thus, it’s important to spread the granules near plant beds, on your lawn, or do whatever you can to limit their exposure to sunlight.

  • Odorless and non-staining
  • Won’t alter the taste or scent of edible plants
  • Wide effective range
  • Available in large 25lbs containers
  • Can dry out quickly from sun exposure or lack of rain

The IMustGarden is a very interesting spice-based deer repellent. It’s a natural product that comes in 32oz ready-to-use spray bottles.

The sprayer emits a very fine mist, thus making the formula very easy to absorb by plant foliage. Even though the ingredients are natural, the essential oils used have irritant properties to deer in both scent and taste.

The increased potency of this formula is one of its main highlights, and my favorite things about it. Besides, it can easily be used on any ornamental plants without fear. However, the formula also contains a number of sticking agents.

These agents are responsible for keeping the formula topside on leaves and always active to repel deer. As such, I wouldn’t recommend using the IMustGarden Deer Repellent on your favorite edibles, but at least the waterproofing is superior thanks to those sticking agents.

  • Safe for most common household pets
  • Very long residual control
  • Higher concentration of active ingredients
  • Impressive rainproof and waterproof properties
  • Can severely alter the taste of some edibles

Another efficient formula in granular form is the Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent. This targets two of the most harmful garden pests (deer and rabbits) without introducing harmful toxins for plants or animals.

The granules are moisture-wicking and can be applied during any season. The rate coverage area is impressive as a 5lb container has enough granules to protect an area of up to 2,500 sq. ft.

Neither deer nor rabbits are fond of it. Even better, the granules don’t depend on the animals snacking on them. The scent is usually enough to keep them far away from your plants. For some people (which may or may not apply to you), it may also deter them from frequenting their garden for a while.

All things considered, I sometimes prefer this formula over others due to its longer shelf life, provided that it’s stored under the recommended conditions. And, since it doesn’t use the most common repellent ingredients, it’s unlikely that deer in your area will become immune to it.

  • Powerful repelling scent
  • Great coverage
  • Superior weatherproofing
  • Works against deer and rabbits
  • Can be overpowering to humans too

It’s no secret that Nature’s Mace makes some of the most powerful animal and pest repellents on the market. The Nature’s Mace Deer and Rabbit repellent can be found in a variety of concentrations and sizes, depending on what you need and how much.

I’d recommend the 40oz concentrate if you have a large property and serious deer problems. This would be enough to make five gallons of sprayable formula, which is not harmful to humans, most pets, and plants.

This deer repellent also boasts excellent waterproofing – it gets absorbed quickly by the foliage and what’s left dries out not long after. A regular downpour or watering your plants won’t be enough to wash all traces of the powerful repellent away.

I like that it’s not overpowering for the human nose, even though wild deer will turn heads and go in the opposite direction. That said, I would advise against using this concentrate on your edibles since it will be difficult to remove the scent prior to cooking.

  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Dries to odorless
  • Long-lasting residual control
  • Available in multiple configurations
  • Tough to get the scent off treated edible plants

Just to be clear, the Havahart Deer Off repellent won’t be offing any deer. Rather, it will send them on their merry way, most likely right back to where they came from. With a single 32oz ready-to-use spray bottle, you can treat a large garden multiple times a year.

It won’t take a lot of spraying for enough of the formula to dry on the foliage and keep emitting a pungent odor for driving away deer, rabbits, and other garden pests. I recommend this for home garden maintenance as well as for professional landscaping projects.

One application should last up to three months, and that’s about three times the industry average. What is very interesting is that the formula may not start to work immediately. You may notice that it takes a few encounters for a deer to start avoiding it.

That said, even when freshly applied, the Havahart Deer Off will keep deer from eating the treated plant life. It just may not prevent them from browsing around your garden for the first few days.

  • Extended residual control
  • Odorless to humans after drying
  • Clear residue
  • Highly water-resistant residue
  • Not an immediate-action repellent

Types of Deer Repellents and Deterrents

One might argue that fences or even electric fences are a greater way of keeping deer off your property. But that’s clearly not the safest method you can use, especially if you have children or pets. Not to mention that you might live in an area where you have to apply for a fencing permit (forget about electric fences).

More modern and humane solutions include a variety of LED lighting systems that use visual cues to keep deer at bay, both during the day and night.

Traditional solutions are still available, such as sprays or granules. Deer repellent sprays can be used on certain entry points to create a repulsive odor for deer or a fear-inducing odor. Of course, there will always be plenty of concentrates on the market so that you can adjust the potency and odor of a formula yourself.

Other formulas are designed to be applied directly on plants. This is pretty much the classic repellent. Once a plant has been treated and the deer samples it, it won’t want another go round with anything in its vicinity.

There are also mechanical deer repellents that shoot water to discourage deer from eating plants or even venturing in your garden again. These types of repellents essentially employ scare tactics as well as harmless physical contact to repel and deter unwanted garden invaders.

Ingredients Used in Deer Repellents

There’s a great variety when it comes to repelling substances or odors used to protect gardens from deer. Some of the most commonly used ones are ammonia, pepper extracts, rotten eggs, predator urine, and believe it or not – human hair.

Any of these ingredients can be too repulsive to any deer that tries to gobble up your flowers when you’re not around. Of course, many commercially available deer repellents even combine various ingredients for an enhanced effect and to be absolutely sure – a deer that doesn’t mind rotten eggs might run from ammonia, and so on.

Residual Control or Lingering Effect

You should know by now that most repellents, whether designed for mammals or insects pests, usually offer a residual control effect. This means that once applied, the substance remains active for a while, thus preventing the need for constant treatments.

But not all substances or ingredients are equally long-lasting. Obviously, a company’s particular formulation will make a difference. That said, here’s a quick overview of the base active ingredients that tend to last longer than others.

Putrescent eggs, Bitrex, dentonium benzoate, and blood-based and Thiram fungicide-based repellents can last anywhere from one to three months. This is without taking into account the use of preservatives that could enhance the lingering effect.

On the other hand, things like fish or beef by-products, garlic and castor oil, ammonia, and salt-based repellents may last two weeks up to a month, sometimes even less. Most ammonia-based repellents are also easy to wash off as a general rule.

Choosing Between Smell and Taste Repellents

There’s no real reason to choose one or the other since there are repellents that cover both, unless you’re on a really tight budget or if the formula contains harsh chemicals that you don’t want to use.

In my opinion, repelling deer with scent is much better and safer than using taste repellents. Why? Because for the latter a deer will have to gobble up something in your garden first.

In addition, keep in mind that taste repellents can alter the taste of treated plants for human consumers. So, you wouldn’t want to use these primarily on edible crops, unless you can create a barrier around your crops and prevent deer from getting to your edibles.

Truth be told, most deer repellents on the market today are dual action and target both the senses of smell and taste. But what’s important to know is that you don’t have to wait for a deer to start snacking on your plants for a repellent to work.

The more powerful the scent is, the better and safer the formula, in my opinion.

Where Are All the Synthetic Products?

The answer is simple. We’re not trying to kill deer so there’s really no need to resort to synthetic poisons and stuff.

For repelling deer, natural products work just fine. Deer possess a keen sense of smell that far exceed humans and most species of deer have even more olfactory receptors than dogs. Believe me, you can totally play tricks on a deer’s nose.

You don’t need chemicals to keep deer away since nature already provides us with plenty. Furthermore, there are many natural sticking or glue agents that can be used to ensure that a sprayable formula sticks to the foliage for longer.

This eliminates another potential need for synthetic ingredients. Besides, when trying to repel or deter deer, few people actually want to harm the animals. So, any means of keeping them out of the flowers without poisoning them simply makes a lot more sense.

A Few Pricing and Brand Considerations

If you’ve used other pest killers or repellents, then you should be familiar with at least some of the brands featured in this article. There are certain companies that have a long-standing tradition in putting out highly efficient formulas over the years.

That said, not all repellents are cheap. While I do love the idea of using water blasters and other more modern solutions, they’re not always cheap. Bear in mind however that this only applies to the start-up cost. You only have to buy water blasters once (assuming they don’t break), which isn’t the case with sprays.

It will come down to your budget as well as what you’re trying to achieve. Do you want to safely use your repellent to protect all plants? If so, water-based or LED-based repellents will probably serve you better than most formulations, since they don’t alter the taste or smell of plants and only detect and target pests of a certain size.

This is How You Keep Your Garden Looking Pristine

Whether you regularly tend to your garden, if you have deer in the area and your property is not properly secured around the border, sooner or later some deer will start snacking on your fruits, herbs, and flowers.

Using the best deer repellents, as listed in this article, will save you from having to replant or look at half-eaten foliage all year long. Since most of them are harmless, why not give them a shot?

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