If you’re looking for an effective self-defense weapon, then a good defensive spray should be one of your top options. Although Mace-branded products and tear gas can be effective, these pepper spray reviews are going to help you find the best product to keep you safe.
A pepper spray has an immediate impact on an attacker. With the right dispersal unit, you can shoot this defensive spray up to 20 feet away. The swelling and pain caused by the spray interferes with the attacker’s vision and allows you to escape the situation.
It is also incredibly affordable. Even though some people might disagree and say a defensive spray is not effective, there’s a reason why law enforcement officials carry pepper spray with them.It works.
One Chart for the Best Pepper Sprays
On one hand, a pepper spray is quite basic. Capsaicin, combined with certain oils, makes for a product that sticks to the skin and causes inflammation and pain.
On the other hand, pepper sprays can come in many different strengths. Each strength has a specific benefit that it can provide.
These are the top-rated pepper sprays in all strength levels.
|Rated Shelf Life
|Sabre 3-in-1 Pepper Spray
|Guard Dog AccuFire Pepper Spray w/ Replacement Guarantee
|Mace Brand Self-Defense Triple Action Self-Defense Spray
|Wildfire Motors 18% Pepper Spray w/ Pistol Grip
|Sabre Red Pepper Gel - Police Strength
|Mace Brand Magnum Pepper Gel
|Kimber PepperBlaster II
|ASP Key Defender OC Pepper Spray
|Fox Labs Law Enforcement Defense Spray
|Frontiersman Bear Spray
|Rated Shelf Life
What Are the Types of Pepper Spray That Are Available?
If you speak with a pepper spray aficionado, you’ll hear all the pros and cons of using specific peppers to create this defensive tool.
Although the heat of a pepper is important, there are different types of sprays that you are going to want to consider before you think about the heat of the product or the type of pepper that was used to create it.
There are 3 basic types of spray that come with the best pepper sprays that are manufactured today.
- Stream Sprays. This type of spray disperses the defensive product like a water gun shoots a stream of water. This type of spray gives you the best distance, up to 20 feet, and because it is liquid-based, the chances of encountering the pepper spray are greatly reduced.
- Cone Sprays. This spray type gives you a wider dispersal radius. It doesn’t require you to aim, which can be useful for the shaking hands that come from an adrenaline rush. The spray also lingers in the air after dispersal, which allows it to continue having an impact on an attacker.
- Foam Sprays. This is type of pepper spray that is best for indoor attacks that may occur. Sometimes offered in a gel form, it will cover the face of an attacker and stay put for an extended period. It is also the most effective spray type for attackers that may be wearing glasses or protective eye wear since it will stick to the lenses or goggles and impede eyesight.
Although there are advantages to each spray type, there are also certain disadvantages, which must be considered when looking for the best pepper spray to meet your unique needs.
- Stream sprays are not useful against multiple attackers. You must also have a good aim to make sure the stream gets into the face of the attacker. One miss can be enough to let the attacker get close enough to you where the defensive spray would no longer be an effective defensive tool.
- Cone sprays can cause self-inflicted injuries if the wind happens to be blowing in your direction. The distance it provides is also minimal, so an attacker must be very close to you for it to be an effective option. Most have a range of just 2-3 feet.
- Foam sprays have an even shorter range, often just 1-2 feet. There is a good chance that some of the product will get on your skin when it is being applied. An attacker with some wherewithal could fling the gel back onto you so that you’re both incapacitated by the product.
For an experienced individual, the stream spray is usually the best option. It has the best range, offers a good spray strength, and will give you the chance to get away quickly.
If you are unfamiliar with defensive sprays or get nervous a lot, then a cone spray is a better option. It requires less accuracy and can disable a group of attackers.
Foam sprays are an option for large crowds, especially when considering an indoor environment. It requires direct application, but also provides instant results.
What You Need to Know About the Strength of a Pepper Spray
The strength of a pepper spray is based on the Scoville Heat Unit rating, Major Capsaicinoids, and Oleoresin Capsicum percentages. Each has its own method of rating the strength of the defensive spray being evaluated.
- Oleoresin Capsicum percentages measure the amount of raw pepper that is within the spray formula. A good defensive spray should have at least 2% in this rating, while most are at 10% or below.
- Scoville Heat Units measure the strength of the capsaicin within the actual peppers used to create the spray. You need a rating of at least 30,000 to make an entry-level defensive spray. The best pepper sprays have ratings that are in the millions.
- Major Capsaicinoids (MC) is the rating that is approved by the United States Government. It represents the entire formulation of the defensive spray and offers the strength rating as a percentage. Most pepper sprays for personal use have a rating in this category that is under 1.33%.
This is where much of the confusion regarding the strength of a pepper spray happens. A low MC rating will mean the pepper spray is weaker, even if the other ratings for the defensive spray are off the charts.
You can have a pepper spray made with a Scoville rating of 5 million, but has a MC rating of 0.20%. You can then have a pepper spray with a Scoville rating of 1 million, but a MC rating of 1.0%.
Which product is more potent? The 1Mill / 1% spray wins. Although the Scoville rating of the second pepper spray is 5 times lower, the potency rating is 5 times higher.
When reading the best pepper spray reviews, make sure to look for all these rating factors to determine the quality and potency of the product. If only one rating is present, however, make sure that it is the MC rating.
That way you’ll know if your pepper spray can be the defensive tool you need.
Factors to Consider When Buying
A pepper spray can be an effective defensive tool. When looking at the best pepper sprays that are available today, it is important to consider these additional factors.
- Expiration Date. Every pepper spray has been given an expiration date. The potency of the spray decreases over time. Most sprays have a shelf life of 2-4 years and then need to be replaced. Even with a shelf life of 4 years, however, a new pepper spray will be more potent than an older spray.
- Safety Switches. Safety switches should be on the product to prevent an accidental discharge. If you carry a pepper spray in public and it discharges, you could be held responsible for any injuries that occur, either criminally or civilly, depending on the circumstances of the discharge.
- Shot Counter. Each pepper spray has a limited number of shots that it can produce. Look for a dispersal unit that comes with a counter for best results. Otherwise, you’re going to need to keep track of the times you’ve fired your spray.
You will also need to consider what your local laws happen to be when it comes to carrying a pepper spray. Some states in the US and countries around the world have virtually no regulations governing how you carry a defensive spray or how much you carry.
Other states, such as California, will limit the total amount of pepper spray that you can carry.
Some cities, such as Chicago, have outlawed the ability to carry pepper spray at all.
In Wisconsin, a pepper spray is an illegal weapon if it contains a UV dye, tear gas, or is some other combination defensive spray and must be in a container that is 2 ounces or smaller in size. A safety feature must be on the spray device as well.
In the United Kingdom, owning, carrying, or using a pepper spray is completely outlawed, banned under Firearms Act 1968. On the other hand, Italy allows anyone above the age of 16 to purchase, carry, or use a pepper spray as a way to defend themselves.
The strength of the spray matters in many jurisdictions. A pepper spray that is concentrated for law enforcement dispersal is not always legal for a private citizen to own.
What Is the Cost of a Reliable Pepper Spray?
Pepper sprays are highly affordable. Many options are available to you today that are priced below $20.
You can purchase more than a gallon of pepper spray for around $40 from some manufacturers. Buying in bulk can save you money, but you may be required to purchase an approved dispersal container to legally use the product.
If you want maximum stopping power with a defensive spray, then this is the one to get. It offers a UV marking dye and a strong formula that has a minimal failure rate. The range of this unit is up to 10 feet and it provides up to 35 bursts so that multiple threats can be neutralized if necessary. The stream is strong enough to avoid blowback due to wind issues and there are free training videos to stream when you get your hands on this product. Clip it to your belt and you’ll be ready to go.
This pepper spray unit provides you with a laser sighting option so that your accuracy can be increased. It features an 18% OC rating and a firing range of up to 16 feet. UV identification dye is also included with this mixture. Even if you run out of spray, the laser can be used to disable an attacker to the extent where you may be able to get away. It has a basic keychain design and simple delivery system, along with an affordable price, to give you an excellent self-defense option today.
Mace is just a branded form of pepper spray. This product, however, also contains a mixture of tear gas and UV dye. A stream pattern will give you a range of about 10 feet. If using 3-second bursts, you’ll get about 15 applications from this bottle. It also offers a safety cap that helps to prevent an accidental discharge. The finger grip is also useful for making sure the delivery of the spray is accurate. It comes in 11-gram and 18-gram sizes and has a small chain so it can hang from your keys.
If you’re looking for a larger application than a keychain-style defensive spray, then this is going to be one of your best options. It offers 1 pound of pepper spray that features a pistol grip on the container. The 18% formula is nice and hot, giving you the chance to instantly incapacitate an attacker that has their sights set on you. A safety pin can be inserted into the grip to prevent an accidental discharge. This container is more of an investment than others, but you’ll get a lot more spray for your buck with this option.
If you expect close contact with a potential attacker, then a gel is often a better option than a defensive spray. This pepper gel comes with its own holster clip, has a shelf life of up to 4 years, and almost no blowback at all. Despite its gel form, the delivery range is up to 18 feet, so you can stop people at a distance as well. It will only affect what it directly impacts and is difficult to wipe away, so you’ll have plenty of time to get away. With up to 18 bursts available, this is a solid investment to consider carrying with you every day.
This 45g container of pepper gel features a 10% OC formula that does an excellent job of creating immediate results. The gel form is especially effective when combined with the flip-top design of the distribution container, stopping innocents from being exposed to this painful product. The gel itself is remarkably thick and accurate, making it easy to apply, but difficult for the bad guys to remove. It provides up to 20 bursts, but be sure to have personal safety equipment on-hand when receiving this product to protect yourself during product prep.
The problem with most defensive sprays is that a smart attacker can counter your self-defense efforts. The presence of a mask, safety goggles, or even some eyeglass designs can prevent the oils from getting into the eyes and this means an attacker won’t be incapacitated. This product puts the odds back into your favor. It delivers a 13-foot range in 1/10th of a second, giving you fast results that even a ski mask can’t stop. Just point at the attacker and shoot. There’s no blowback or loss of pressure and that means you’ve got time to find an escape route.
This is another 10% OC formula, but one that is intended for keychain use. It’s a highly portable self-defense option, giving you 6 bursts of one-half second each. The solid brass and aircraft-grade aluminum housing prevents tampering while the delivery system gives you a good, solid spray. For all practical purposes, this is a single delivery item, but it is an investment that will help you stop a bad guy who might have their eyes set on you.
This is another 1-pound pistol grip pepper spray option that gives you a powerful method of self-defense. The spray has 5.3 million Scoville heat units, giving you plenty of power to swell up the eyes and cause immediate pain. The product is warrantied for up to 3 years, but there is an issue with older containers leaking out the defensive spray over time. If you need a short-range defensive option and prefer not to carry a firearm, this is one of your best options. It’s definitely a quality product.
If you’re looking for a maximum strength pepper spray, then this is your best option. It gives you a range of up to 35 feet if you select the 9.2-ounce option, but all sizes give you a range of up to 30 feet. You’ll receive more spray per burst with this product as well, with a stream followed by a heavy fog. This gives you a maximum level of defense without compromising your accuracy whatsoever. It’s designed to be a bear spray, but it is also one of the best defensive sprays we had the opportunity to see.
The best pepper spray reviews will help you find the perfect defensive option for your specific needs. Check local laws for container size or defensive spray composition and then choose the affordable self-defense option that makes sense for you.