It’s a scary world out there. Thugs and brutes mug innocent people in broad daylight. Criminals, like any other predators, choose their victims carefully. They target the weak and defenseless, the elderly and young. It’s of utmost importance that we provide protection to our loved ones.
There are many less-than-lethal weapon options, from tasers to batons, but pepper spray is by far the best option. It’s commonly used by police officers to make arrests or control riots.
The best pepper spray can effectively stun a hostile target from a safe distance, usually around 10 feet (3 m). In order to incapacitate a target using a taser, for example, you’d need to be much closer than that.
The person on the receiving end is rendered unable to see or stand up, let alone attack anyone, for an average of 20 to 90 minutes, depending on the strength of the agent. Effects include temporary blindness, a severe burning irritation on the skin, involuntary upper body spasms, a runny nose, respiration problems, and heavy coughing.
Which begs the question: What is pepper spray? Why is it so painful to be on the receiving end of a stream of mace?
The ingredient that causes irritation is the same that makes the hot sauce you put on your buffalo wings so spicy: capsaicin. On the standard scale of spiciness, tabasco sauce scores around 8,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). The hotness of pepper spray is measured in millions of SHU.
Chemically derived from plants of the Capsicum genus, the final product that ends up in pepper spray is called oleoresin capsicum (OC). Its concentration determines how strong each spray is. Consumer-grade sprays usually contain 0.18% to 3% OC. However, not all Capsicum derivatives are the same strength. That means the product with the highest OC contents does is not necessarily the most effective pepper spray.
Take a few minutes to browse the list of pepper spray and mace products we’ve compiled. These stand out from the competition as the best-quality products for the safety of you and your loved ones.
Fox Labs advertises its products as the most intense pepper spray in the world. With a rating of 5.3 million SHU, the aptly named Five Point Three pepper spray sure does pack a punch. Not only is it the strongest pepper spray available to civilians, it also acts incredibly quickly and is close to 100% reliable.
The formula is 2% oleoresin capsicum, while the Serious Business version of the spray has a devastating OC content of 5%.
A 3 oz. canister stores around 25 half-second bursts that spray the potent agent in a conical pattern to a distance of up to 10 feet (3 m). The product also comes in 1.5, 1.7 and two oz. canisters and canisters that shoot a stream, which has greater range but requires precision. You can also buy the product in a foam, which is an in-between option in terms of both range and precision.
The spring-loaded cap makes sure that accidental discharges are extremely unlikely – almost impossible, in fact. The date of production is printed on each canister, and the manufacturer recommends changing units after two years.
The price tag is a little steeper compared to the competition, but that’s a small price to pay for the best pepper spray on the market. You will have to part with $17.99 for the 1.5 oz. canister and $23.99 for the 3 oz. variety.
Sabre is one of the prominent companies in the self-defense industry and is the best rated pepper spray according to user reviews. Used by the police departments of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, among many others, this brand of pepper spray is the most sought-after on the market.
Muggers regularly prey on runners and joggers, as they are often distracted enough to not notice them and too exhausted to properly fight back. With its adjustable hand strap, Sabre’s red pepper gel is the perfect solution for fending off attackers while exercising.
The strap fits the four-inch tall canister snuggly into the palm of your hand. The top of the canister is secured with a twist lock to prevent accidental discharge. Thanks to the product’s intelligent design, the canister is always oriented in such a way that one fluid motion will disengage the lock and send a quick burst of pepper gel into your attacker’s face from up to 12 feet (3.7 m) away.
The canister is loaded with 35 bursts of pepper spray gel and the agent contains UV dye that marks the perpetrator. With pepper gel, the amount of solution that can be blown back towards you by wind is greatly reduced. Even though Sabre says its product has a four-year shelf life, the company advises customers to replace the canister once it has been used.
The pepper gel that comes with an adjustable strap will set you back $12.99. Sabre also offers other models – from straightforward canisters with flip tops to a lipstick or key chain pepper spray.
The easier your self defense pepper spray is to aim, the better. Foam pepper spray helps significantly on this front; you can see the projectile and adjust your aim accordingly, as it has a much wider hit radius than pepper gel does.
The foam completely covers your attacker’s face, causing immediate skin irritation, respiratory problems, and temporary blindness. Their first instinct will be to try to wipe the foam away, which will only worsen their condition when they rub it into their skin.
The Vexor MK4 Flip-Top is the best pepper spray foam on the market. It comes in various strengths, from 0.18% major capsaicinoid contents to 1.45%. The agent dissipates immediately upon contact, which greatly reduces the chances of your target throwing some back at you.
The foam is recommended for indoor use, as there’s a chance the foam could blow back towards you in the wind. You can also purchase a training canister loaded with liquid that behaves exactly like the real thing, but has no active ingredients. We recommend you purchase one and see how the product behaves before opting for the real thing.
The flip-top locking system is in place to make sure you don’t accidentally set the canister off. You can also purchase a case with a belt loop for added convenience and security.
The price of the Vexor MK4 Flip-top varies relative to the strength of the formula, from $15.75 for the 0.18% MC version to $16.75 for the strongest 1.45% version.
Imagine you take your family out for a camping trip in the great outdoors. While it may be all fun and games for the kids, you know there’s a lot that can go wrong and it’s your responsibility to protect your family. One of the biggest dangers are the wild animals that roam free in the wilderness. When we stay in nature, we are trespassing upon their domain.
Packing a canister of bear pepper spray is a safety precaution you should take every time you venture far from civilization.
Approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a humane way of incapacitating a bear, it will stop a 600-pound giant right in its tracks. The formula has an extremely potent 10% OC content.
The ‘magnum fogger’ canister sprays a fog of bear repellent across 35 feet and empties in six seconds. The attacking animal experiences major discomfort upon contact, its eyes watering and respiratory organs halting.
Once you pull the orange safety wedge, you are instantly ready to shoot, and the finger loop handle will help you hit your mark. Consider also buying a holster for your bear mace canister for ease of access. This Mace brand bear repellent costs $49.99, which is a small price to pay for peace of mind when you’re hiking or camping.
The canister should be stored in temperatures between 32°F and 120°F and has a three-year shelf life.
Both sides of the pepper spray vs pepper gel debate have their valid points. Pepper gel has a greater range and delivers a concentrated attack. Because of the increased force with which the agent is sprayed and the consistency of the gel, wind and other environmental factors are much less likely to affect the accuracy of the spray. With mist or fog canisters, you’re still likely to hit the mark, even if you “spray and pray.”
If you do decide to opt for the gel option, you shouldn’t settle for anything but the best – Mace Pepper Gel Magnum 9 delivers a devastating blow to attackers in the form of a thick, sticky substance that will instantly stop them in their tracks. They will experience an intense burning sensation, temporary blindness, and respiratory contractions that will leave them unable to stand up, let alone do any harm. The effects start to wear off after 45 minutes, more than ample time to run away and contact the authorities.
The formula contains a formidable 10% OC content, a concentration most often reserved for an animal repellent. It comes in a convenient, ergonomic canister with a pistol grip, which means it’s only a matter of seconds before you can douse an assailant when the need arises. The formula also contains a UV dye that will mark your target for 48 hours without them knowing. A can of Mace Pepper Gel Magnum 9 costs $49.99.
Some people carry around such a mess of keys and gadgets on their keychains that they can barely fit them into a pair of tight jeans. Instead of a bunch of useless trinkets, why not bolster your self-defense by investing a measly 10 bucks ($11.99 in this case, to be precise) in a pepper spray keychain?
The Sabre Red keychain pepper spray comes with a quick-release mechanism. Imagine you get attacked while entering your home and your keys are in the door? Or while driving, with the keys in the ignition. With the quick press of a button located on a plastic plate connecting the canister with the keys, the pepper spray will be disengaged from the key ring and ready for use. That’s what makes this product the best pepper spray for drivers.
If this seems too complicated, don’t fret – the company provides its customers with a training video for their self defense mace, as well as general safety tips on the website. In either case, the locked top prevents accidental discharge and the finely contoured shapes ensure that the spray fits snuggly into the palm of your hand.
The Sabre Red shoots an irritating agent up to 10 feet in a strong stream form, which is guaranteed to reduce the effect of the elements on your accuracy. It is loaded with the same famous maximum-strength formula Sabre has become known for.
Creepers and stalkers are all too abundant in the digital age. Some of them take the extra step by harassing people in real life.
Martial arts self-defense training will only get you so far. If an assailant is twice your size, there’s not much you can do without a weapon. That’s why the Eliminator Hot Lips is the best pepper spray for women on the market. Discreetly disguised as a lipstick, it shoots a formidable concoction of pain-inducing agents that will effectively paralyze an attacker in a matter of seconds.
Say a mugger confronts you in an alley, demanding you hand over the contents of your bag. While you “look for your wallet” you pull out an innocent looking cylinder. Within half a second, you open the cap and unload a world of hurt into their face. Eliminator’s formula is extremely potent, with a rating of 2 million SHU and a 15% OC content.
The container is loaded with 20 half-second bursts that are near impossible to miss and have a 15-foot range. Available in blue, silver, red, pink, and black, and costing a meager $9.99, the Eliminator Hot Lips is the perfect concealed pepper spray for ladies.
The psychological effect that the shape of a gun has on an attacker shouldn’t be underestimated. When you pull out a gun, the perpetrator will most likely stop in their tracks even before you open fire.
Using compressed air, the S1 Pepper Spray Gun shoots pellets that break on impact and create a five-foot cloud of pepper spray and tear gas. The contents of the pellet incapacitate an attacker for up to 45 minutes, making it one of the best pepper spray formulas on the market. He or she will be blinded, their breathing will be impaired, and they will suffer impact trauma from the hit. The pellet, which travels at 320 feet per second, delivers quite a punch.
A fully loaded loaded S1 Pepper Spray Gun holds seven rounds that have a 150-foot range. Compared to the average 10-foot range of aerosol can pepper sprays, the gun certainly has an advantage. However, the fact that it fires targeted rounds instead of a foam or mist means that a certain level of marksmanship is required for this non-lethal weapon to be effective.
A bright yellow gun costs $299.99, while a black one, which looks much more like a real gun, costs $50 more.
A single CO2 cartridge will fire three full magazines with seven pellets each. A box of pellets costs $49.99 and an empty magazine costs $24.99. If you plan on carrying the gun with you at all times, we recommend you buy the specialized holster available on the S1 online store.
The element of surprise can be the difference between a successful defense and an even angrier and more aggressive attacker. This inconspicuous item will help you get the upper hand on a mugger or stalker – it really looks like nothing more than a black pen.
One of the best-respected brands in the self defense spray industry, Police Magnum guarantees that each pen will hold five 10-second bursts of debilitating liquid rated at 2 million SHU. Don’t try to carry it into an airplane or courthouse, however; the liquid inside will be detected and you will surely be stopped and asked to empty out your bag.
Even though this is the best pepper spray pen on the market, it shoots OC spray in a mist pattern, which is notorious for backfiring in windy conditions. The design of the spray cap also makes it difficult to determine the direction of the nozzle. The liquid is infused with a UV dye that will mark your target for the next 48 hours.
Police Magnum’s OC-17 pen design pepper spray costs around $9.97.
We’ve all experienced an unpleasant situation when a dog becomes aggressive or territorial. This can happen anytime, anywhere – while jogging, strolling through a park, or taking your own dog out for a walk. While it’s no fault of their own, abandoned and neglected animals can inflict some serious damage on you or your pet.
Mace Muzzle is the perfect dog Mace. The company kept the wellbeing of the animals in mind when designing this product; it’s a non-lethal way to deal with aggressive dogs.
The Mace brand has become almost synonymous with pepper spray, the way Xerox has become synonymous with copy machines. This product is as effective and well-designed as you’d expect from this household name.
Mace Muzzle shoots a stream of high-OC irritating agent that will discourage even the most aggressive animals from attacking at a 10-foot range. One canister holds around 20 bursts and should be replaced after each use.
It’s attached to a hand strap for ease of access and it can be attached to your set of keys with a simple chain. The flip-top secure lock on the top can be disengaged with a simple flick of the thumb. You will be able to activate the spray in one fluid motion in under one second.
The dog repellent is certified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be a safe and humane way to deter an attacking animal. It can, of course be used on humans or other animals to a similar effect. The Mace Muzzle costs $16.99.