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Top 6 Best Deer Repellents (**2020 Review**)

Many people believe in spreading cayenne pepper around their crops, flowers, and plants to protect them from deer and other critters like raccoons that want to nibble on them, but the sad truth is, the effectiveness of pepper is fairly limited. It works, but only so far.

If you want a truly effective repellent for deer, you’ll have to use something a little more upscale. 

Best Deer Repellents

We’ve gone through them to pick out the best ones, the ones that will give you the best bang for your "buck".

In this Pest Strategies product review guide you will learn:

  • Are deer really considered to be pests?
  • What are deer repellents?
  • How do deer repellents work??
  • And our overall #1 pick for best deer repellent!

If you're short on time, click here to jump to our favorite deer repellent.

ImageProduct
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Deerbusters Deer Fence: 9 ft Black Angle Steel Fence Posts
  • Highly effective
  • Permanent solution
  • Lasts for years or decades
  • Highly effective
  • Permanent solution
  • Lasts for years or decades
View on Amazon
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Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent Concentrate
  • Easy to use
  • Trusted brand name
  • Concentrate makes multiple gallons
  • Easy to use
  • Trusted brand name
  • Concentrate makes multiple gallons
View on Amazon
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Deer Out 32oz Concentrate Deer Repellent
  • All-natural concentrate
  • It won’t wash off
  • Money-back guarantee
  • All-natural concentrate
  • It won’t wash off
  • Money-back guarantee
View on Amazon
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I Must Garden Deer Repellent
  • Affordable price
  • Non-toxic
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Affordable price
  • Non-toxic
  • Environmentally friendly
View on Amazon
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Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler
  • Chemical-free
  • Humane
  • Highly effective
  • Chemical-free
  • Humane
  • Highly effective
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

(updated as of 03/26/2020)

  • Fences create a lasting, effective, and non-harmful way to keep deer and other pests out.
  • One time expense and effort
  • Can be a DIY solution for many!

Drive a 9-foot pole into the ground and you’ll still have eight feet left. A deer might be able to clear a six-foot fence but eight feet is beyond their reach. They can’t do it.

An eight-foot-tall deer fence of welded wire 14 gauge galvanized steel mesh or one made of black UV treated polypropylene mesh means hungry deer will be permanently kept out of your flower garden, vegetable gardens, and fields.

A deer-resistant fence will last for years against the deer populations in your area. This is unquestionably the best deer repellent solution money can buy.

  • Expensive option
  • Permanent solution
  • Lasts for years or decades

Top 8 Best Deer Repellents

What Are Deer Repellents?

A deer repellent is any foul-tasting, foul-smelling, or distasteful substance that animals are known to avoid. There are some homemade DIY repellents that work, but as a general rule, commercially made repellents have a better track record due to the consistency of their manufacture.

Tall fences between 6-8 feet high are considered a type of deer repellent because they repel deer that try to cross them. The 8-foot height is best, although the price is often very steep.

Mechanical sprinklers that motion-activated are another type of deer repellent. Some draw their power from a solar panel while others run on batteries. Solar power is environmentally friendly but ineffective during periods of cloudy weather and won’t be considered here.

How Do Deer Repellents Work?

Discounting physical barriers and mechanical deterrents, deer repellents work in one of two ways.

  1. Taste Based Repellents

Taste-based repellents, also known as contact repellents, are sprayed or applied directly to the plants being protected. The deer actually have to take a bite out of the plants in order to be exposed to the repellent, therefore some damage will be done to the plants no matter how effective the repellent may be once the deer taste it.

  1. Odor Based Repellents

Odor-based repellents deter deer based on their offensive or fear-inducing smell. These repellents can be sprayed directly on the plants being protected or in the area around them. Cold weather generally reduces the effectiveness of these repellents.

Fear-inducing repellents may include odors from human hair or scents from predators that feed on deer. Other options include repellents that release odor normally associated with dead deer, leading them to believe a predator is in the area feeding on other deer.

Deer Facts

How Do You Find The Best Best Deer Repellent?

One method is to troll university web sites searching for research about the effectiveness of deer repellents and choosing the formulas that most closely match the results the researchers reported. It can be done but it’s very time-consuming.

An easier method is to follow our recommendations. We’re trained and licensed pest control professionals. Many of us spent 20 or more years in the field dealing with real-world pest control problems.

We’ve “been there, done that” as they say, and we have years of practical experience dealing with everything from termites to ants to fleas to skunks to deer and everything in between. We can tell you what works best.

Are Deer Repellents Effective?

The effectiveness of deer repellents is based on percentages. Except for an 8-foot fence, there aren’t any repellents that work 100%. Some may work 80% of the time while others only work 50% or less.

Periods of intense cold or extremely arid conditions will reduce the effectiveness of most methods that use spray repellents. Hard rain or wet, heavy snow will wash them away or smother the odor emanating from them.

A Note About Deer Repellents

The only repellent that works all the time regardless of the weather is an 8-foot fence. The other methods will work, but only up to a point. If the cost of a fence is outside of your budget, you need to be aware of the limitations of odor-based repellents.

How To Use A Deer Repellent

Due to the limitations of most deer repellents, we advise you to buy and use two or three different ones and use them in discreet bands, one after another. If one repellent doesn’t stop them, the next one might.

Carefully read the label on the repellents. Some are safe for use on vegetables while others aren’t. Spray those first. Then step back and use other repellents – sprays or granules – to create an outer layer just inside the border of your garden or flower bed.

If you’ve elected to use three repellents, use the third one as a perimeter treatment outside the boundaries of the area being protected. This will give your three distinct layers of protection.

Check out the video below to learn more tips and tricks for keeping deer away from your plants:

Are Deer Repellents Safe Around My Pets And Children?

Yes. All of the methods we’re covering here are safe for your pets and children. They may not like the smell (or the taste in the case of pets) but they won’t cause them any harm.

Best Deer Repellents Reviewed

  • Expensive option
  • Permanent solution
  • Lasts for years or decades

Once these 9-foot posts are driven a foot into the ground, you’ll have eight feet left in the air for attaching fencing material. While a deer might be able to clear a six-foot fence (after one or two attempts), eight feet is beyond their reach. They can’t do it.

Erect an eight-foot-tall deer fence of welded wire 14 gauge galvanized steel mesh or one made of black UV treated polypropylene mesh means hungry deer will be permanently repelled by it. A proper fence is the best long-lasting method to keep deer out of your flower garden and fields.

A deer-resistant fence will last for years against the deer populations in your area. Your vegetable gardens and flower beds will be safe for the entire growing season. While it is the most expensive way to keep deer off your property, it is unquestionably the best deer repellent available.

Pros

  • Doesn’t wear out
  • No need to reapply
  • No chemicals
  • No offensive smells
  • Doesn’t require electricity or batteries

Cons

  • Takes a long time to install
  • Easy to use
  • Trusted brand name
  • Concentrate makes multiple gallons

Putrescent egg solids and garlic are the main active ingredients in this concentrated deer repellent spray, along with sodium lauryl sulfate, potassium sorbate, and thyme oil. It has nice sticking power and is rain-resistant so it doesn’t have to be sprayed very often.

Mix 12.8 ounces of Liquid Fence Concentrate with a gallon of water then put it in a spray bottle or 1-gallon pump-up sprayer. Then spray it on ornamental plants, bushes, flowers, vines, and trees. Do not use it on edible fruits and vegetables.

Although some customers have complained about the smell, it dissipates in a day or two but is still strong enough to continue repelling deer and rabbits.

Pros

  • Rain-resistant
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Effective against deer and rabbits

Cons

  • Strong odor
  • It can’t be used on edible fruits and vegetables.
  • All-natural concentrate
  • It won’t wash off
  • Money-back guarantee

This deer repellent is a bit different than the previous ones. Not only does it contain putrefied egg solids and garlic oil which repel deer, but it also adds peppermint oil on top of it. Deer don’t like the taste of peppermint and try to avoid eating it if at all possible.

This is another concentrate that will make 2.5 gallons of finished deer deterrent for spraying. It contains only natural ingredients so there’s nothing no harsh chemicals or poisons to worry about. The company offers a money-back guarantee as well.

It won’t keep deer from entering your garden but will deter them from eating your plants. It has to be reapplied frequently to maintain its effectiveness though, so be aware of that.

Pros

  • Pleasant peppermint smell to us
  • Safe for all types of plants
  • Easy to apply
  • Makes 2.5 gallons of the finished product

Cons

  • Needs to be reapplied frequently
  • Affordable price
  • Non-toxic
  • Environmentally friendly

This ready-to-use deer repellent comes in a 32-ounce spray bottle and contains putrescent egg solids, garlic, clove oil, white pepper, lemongrass oil, and cinnamon oil. It has a nice spice scent to people but deer don’t like it.

As far as repellent products go, this one is quick and easy to apply. There’s no mixing required, just spray and go. This spray is safe for perennials, annuals, and vegetables. The all-natural ingredients don’t contain any harsh chemicals or toxins.

It is safe to use around pets, children, adults, and pollinators such as bees. It contains sticking agents to ensure that an average rainfall won’t wash it off.

Pros

  • Safe around pets and children
  • Pleasant odor
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Needs to be reapplied frequently
  • The spray nozzle can become clogged

Mechanical deterrents are highly effective. This sprinkler has a motion sensor that can tell the difference between critters in the yard and the wind blowing tree branches around. Hook up the garden hose, put in four AA batteries, and you’re ready to go.

As soon as a deer sets foot in the 3,840 square foot area of protection, it activates and hits with them a water jet. The surprise of being sprayed causes them to react much the same way as a cat hit with water.

It will repel deer, cats, dogs, raccoons, skunks, squirrels, and birds. It has three different detection modes including a “night only” mode that ensures you and your family won’t be accidentally sprayed when you walk across the yard.

Pros

  • Three different detection modes
  • Wide angle of protection
  • Works day and night
  • Smart sensing technology

Cons

  • Dependent on your water pressure
  • Needs batteries
  • Won’t work in freezing weather

DIY Deer Repellent

  • Cheapest deer repellent available
  • Can be used on edible plants
  • Make it yourself

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have an uncovered effective homemade deer repellent that is also cheap to make. The recipe, 3 whole eggs per gallon of water, is simplicity itself. Put it in a blender then strain it through cheesecloth.

Spray it on to any new growth using a 32-ounce spray bottle or 1-gallon pump-up sprayer. Spray the plants until the leaves are wet. You’ll need to reapply every two weeks or after every rain. Be careful about adding a secondary ingredient that can mask the odor of the eggs.

This mixture has a very strong odor and it gets stronger the longer it sits. It’s excellent for keeping deer away from your edible plants but don’t spray it on them near harvest time or you’ll have to do a lot of scrubbing to get rid of the odor.

Pros

  • Easy to make
  • No chemicals
  • Doesn’t require electricity or batteries

Cons

  • The odor gets stronger over time
  • Requires reapplication every two weeks
  • Requires reapplication after a heavy rain

These 9-foot posts give you eight feet of a fence post in the air for attaching fencing material. A deer might be able to clear a six-foot fence but eight feet is beyond their reach. They can’t do it.

A deer-resistant fence will last for years against the deer populations in your area. Your vegetable gardens and flower beds will be safe for the entire growing season. A good fence is a permanent solution that will last for years to come.

Use wire fencing or plastic mesh fencing.

  • Expensive option
  • Permanent solution
  • Lasts for years or decades

Final Thoughts On Deer Repellents

An 8-foot fence is undoubtedly the best deer repellent money can buy. If your budget won’t allow for that kind of expense, use the layered approach with two or three different repellents.

Be sure to reapply the repellents regularly as dictated by the weather and how long they last, and you’ll get good results at a fraction of the cost of a fence.

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