The world can be a dangerous place. Statista.com found that in 2017 criminals committed more than 1.28 million violent crimes in the United States. Now more than ever, the best pepper sprays are proving to be an essential item for many.
Users hope the sight of a pepper-spray product pointed as a threat is enough to deter a criminal. Still, the last thing you want to happen in a dangerous situation is that your final line of defense fails you. Some sub-par products are unreliable and ineffective.
The good news is that the best pepper sprays for self-defense are easy to use, powerful enough to work and can even save lives.
View our top 3 pepper sprays below. Simply clock on the image to read the reviews on Amazon.com or scroll down to check out our pro and cons and read about more products
Click on a Pepper Spray Below to Read Amazon Reviews
Pepper Spray FAQs
Most frequent questions and answers
Pepper spray is legal in all 50 states, but Wisconsin, Washington D.C., Massachusetts, New York and Michigan have tighter controls over the chemicals you can have.
Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) is allowed in every state, but mace is not. OC naturally occurs in hot peppers.
The average distance of the pepper sprays we have receommended below is 10 ft (3 M)
Yes they can be taken most places apart from on aeroplanes.
No, police officers are equipped with mace/tear gas sprays which are much stronger. Though many forces will use the Sabre brand we recommend, their products are not for sale to the general public.
In a recent study, pepper spray reduced violent behavior in 93% of the 936 incidents investigated
Pepper Spray Statistics
Effective whn used
Feel safer carrying
After buying and testing 10 different products, only 4 pepper sprays made it to our final list. All 4 sprays have the following attributes that were key to a best spray.
- Ease of firing
Note: Thank you to everyone who volunteered to be blasted in the face as a test, you know who you are!
Sabre 3 in 1 Pepper Spray
- MAXIMUM STOPPING POWER - maximum strength formula is backed by our in-house high performance liquid chromatography laboratory which guarantees maximum stopping power, eliminating the 30% failure rate experienced with other brands (University of Utah study); 3-IN-1 pepper spray formula includes CS tear gas for enhanced facial burning and UV marking dye to aid in suspect identification
- #1 BRAND TRUSTED BY POLICE AND CONSUMERS WORLDWIDE - including New York, Chicago PD, Los Angeles County Sheriff's & U.S. Marshals; made in the U.S.A. and ISO 9001:2008 certified with a 4-year shelf life from the date of manufacture
- PROTECTION AT A SAFE DISTANCE AGAINST MULTIPLE THREATS - impressive 10-foot (3M) range; 25 bursts (up to 5x other brands) in a powerful stream delivery to reduce wind blowback
- EASILY ACCESSIBLE - Quick Release Key Ring provides access to spray when keys are in ignition or lock while the locking top safety helps prevent accidental discharge; finger grip enhances aim and product retention
- FREE TRAINING - packaging includes link to free training video in addition to publicly available safety tips on our blog
This product is up there with the most potent formulas around, with a range that many competitors fail to match. The spray itself contains CS tear gas that has been specially formulated to burn the face and deter the most persistent of attackers. Combine this with red pepper and a UV dye. It helps to stop a threat and helps identify the suspect later.
The distance the Sabre 3-in-1 Pepper Spray can cover, 10 feet, is enough to keep any threat at more than arm’s length, helping keep you safe. A lot of the alternative products on the market provide an acceptable distance of spray but without the power needed to reduce the effects of wind blowback. There is no such problem with this spray. It is powerful enough to make sure it is useful.
It is easy to learn how to use a pepper spray safely, but every product is different. So Sabre has included a link to a free training video. Whenever you read about Sabre, they draw your attention to the fact that they are the pepper spray brand of choice for many police departments the world over. These include the New York Police Department and many others, and for us, it makes them a trusted brand.
The final attribute that we like about it is that it is easily accessible. It is attached to a quick-release key ring that ensures it is fast to get into a position where you can use it quickly.
- 25 Bursts
- Potent Spray
- 10-Foot Distance
- Quick-Release Access
- No Belt Clip
Sabre Red Pepper Gel Spray
- Immediately accessible - adjustable hand strap - practical protection while going for a run
- Best-selling brand - #1 brand trusted by police (e.g., New York, Chicago, Los Angeles) and consumers worldwide - made in the U.S.A.
- Protection at a safe distance against multiple threats-up to 12-foot range with 35 bursts in a powerful stream-ideal for indoor and outdoor use, prevents wind blow back-only affects the target/person it directly contacts- makes cleanup much easier
- Most reliable - our in-house lab guarantees heat level of our police strength pepper spray with a 4-year shelf life from date of manufacture (double the industry average) plus FREE how-to-use video
- See product packaging for access to FREE "How to Use Video" and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram
The gel spray is another great option from the favorite of many police forces. It is one of the best pepper sprays for runners because it comes with a hand strap for quick access. You run with it in your hand, meaning it is an excellent option for anyone who may have just a split second to react to a surprise attack.
The Sabre Red Pepper Gel Spray gives anyone who is afraid to go for a run on their own the peace of mind they need. The difference between this and the previous product is that it contains 35 bursts and can spray up to a distance of 12 feet.
Once again, wind blowback is not an issue because of the power of delivery. There is also access to a free training video to make sure you know how to use it properly.
The spray includes the same UV dye to help identify a suspect. The spray is as strong and effective as you are going to find and has a 4-year shelf life.
- Hand Strap For Easy Access
- 12-Foot Range
- 35 bursts
- Potent Spray
- Only two color options
Fox Labs 5.3 SHU Pepper Spray
- This 1.5-ounce unit contains the world famous FIVE POINT THREE formula, used by the U.S. Military, all types of municipal, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and civilians around the world
- Cone Fog pattern reaches 12 to 15 feet. All FIVE POINT THREE formulas are oil based, Taser safe and non-flammable
- The size of the unit is 4" High x 1-3/8" Diameter
- Discharges 8-10 one-half second bursts
Here we have a flip-top option that deserves its place among the best pepper sprays for self-defense.
It has an impressive range of 12 to 15 feet, making it an excellent long-range option. Any product that is used by the U.S. military is considered reliable.
At 5.3 SHU it is a powerful spray.
The canister fits nicely into a woman’s purse or bag. The spray will not discharge accidentally because it has a safety cover. The 3-year shelf life means it doesn’t last as long as some of the other options on the market, but this doesn’t detract from the fact that it is a great product.
- Long range
- Trusted by the U.S. military
- Potent formula
- 3-year shelf life
Little Viper Pepper Spray Bracelet
- ACCESSIBLE AND EASY TO USE: Backup protection device; Wear directly on your wrist for powerful protection at a moment's notice; No more fumbling for bulky canisters
- FASHIONABLE AND DISCREET: 8.5″ adjustable silicone band comes in 3 colors; Canister is cleverly concealed so no one will know you are carrying pepper spray
- MAXIMUM STRENGTH: Contains 10% oleoresin capsicum (pepper spray) and packs a knockout punch from up to 3 feet; Causes coughing, choking and an intense burning sensation while forcing the attacker's eyes shut
- PEACE OF MIND ANYWHERE YOU GO: Great for college students, joggers, travelers, taxi drivers, night-shift workers and anyone who wants instant, hands-free protection; Water resistant for joggers, runners and sports enthusiasts
- FREE TRAINING COURSE + REPLACEMENT PROGRAM: Includes free digital access to our in-depth pepper spray course and a limited warranty if used in self-defense
The Little Viper is a pepper spray with a difference. You wear it on your wrist, and because the design looks like a smartwatch, it is very discreet. The band consists of silicone, and the design allows quick access.
Some products are for carrying in a purse, which makes having them ready at a moment’s notice difficult. At 3 feet, the range isn’t as far as other options, but it remains a reliable option for anyone who has just a split second to react.
The strength of the spray itself is impressive. At 10 percent oleoresin capsicum, it delivers a formidable line of defense.
Another great reason to buy this product is that it comes with a free training course. So you can be sure you get to know how to use it safely and effectively.
- Easily Accessible
- Strong Formula
- Free Training Course
- 3 Foot Range
Best Pepper Sprays Conclusion
While the hope is that you will never have to use them, just having a pepper spray on you can deter many an attacker.You never know what sort of situations life will throw at you. Even an aggressive domestic or wild animal can be a real threat. The options above are great for different situations. Whether you are on the move, in need of a spray with a more extended range or require something you can hold, there is something on which you can rely.