A pepper spray is one of the most popular means of self-defense. It is compact and easy to use. It used by the police departments all over the world. According to the U.S. Department of Justice report, after pepper sprays have been officially introduced as part of the police ammunition, injuries on duty almost decreased by nearly a half. The effect last for half an hour at least, as the strong burning and itching sensations as well as of loss of orientations let you escape. There are over 3500 pepper sprays available on online stores, so we’ve compared and picked 9 best maces for all kinds of situations: for drivers, runners, and fashion-conscious users.

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Still, it is not always harmless because the one who is using it can accidentally get it in their own face. For such cases we’ve found an alternative, namely the two Pepper Gels that are safe to use indoors (if you get attacked in an elevator, for instance) or when jogging in a park.

Which Pepper Spray Will Suit YOU and Solve YOUR Problem?

  • Are you confident about your skills and reaction? Then feel free to pick a bestselling one, as the similar mace is used by police departments worldwide.
  • Do you keep on leaving your pepper spray at home whenever you go out? Then a keychain spray which will always be with you will meet your needs.
  • Are you scared of strangers in an elevator? Spray drops can splash around and hurt you. A pepper gel, on the other hand, seems perfect for any closed space.
  • Are you frail and perhaps you do not want your protection means to attract unnecessary attention? A lipstick spray that cannot be recognized when closed will be right for you.
  • Is there simply no room for a spray in your purse? Pick the most compact, stylish and elegant one of all. It has only 6 bursts, but it will fit inside the most miniscule clutch.
  • Do you want something more powerful? Then you need a pepper spray gun with 20 ft shooting range.

Have you already understood what you need and are you aware of what to expect from such a self-defense device? Then move on straight to the Top 9 Pepper Sprays.

How Does a Pepper Spray Work and How To Use It Properly?

Pepper spray Demonstration

It is not a super weapon and won’t knock the attacker off like a stun gun would. However, unlike the latter, using a pepper spray would require less physical training. A tear agent similar to the one that red pepper contains is the active chemical used in manufacturing such sprays. The concentration of the irritating substance is maximized in the spray. It causes effect lasting 30-45 minutes within 10-15 seconds after eye contact. The impact includes:

  • Strong burning and itching sensations at the contact.
  • When it gets into the eyes, it causes tears and sometimes temporary loss of vision.
  • When inhaled it can burn the mucous membrane of the mouth, cause coughing and severe shortness of breath.

The above mentioned effects are more than enough to at least disorient the attacker and give you an opportunity to escape to a safer place as soon as possible. A risk of getting the spray in your own eyes because of the wind or close contact is also high. How do you protect yourself from that problem?

  • Keep your distance. The spray shoots at the minimum range of 5 ft, and the average range is about 10 ft. when defending yourself, stay as far away as possible, and attempt to spray with your arm stretched. That would protect you against the splashing drops.
  • Don’t use it during strong headwind. Half of the agent will splash onto you.
  • Don’t expect instant effect. The substance begins to act within 10-15 seconds, so be prepared that you’ll have to defend yourself meanwhile and never relax after spraying the pepper straight into your attacker’s face.

What Should You Do If You Still Managed To Get Pepper Spray Into Your Eyes?

First of all, don’t panic. It is still the perpetrator who got most of the spray into their eyes. Try to hide in a safe place and head either to a local hospital or at home to eliminate the effect there. It is quite simple: apply some milk (the more fat it contains, the better) at the burn, and the irritation will slowly fade. If you got sufficient amount of spray into your eyes, reach the nearest hospital.

VindiTech – Safe Sound Personal Alarm System: photo

Unfortunately, such situation may occur in case a kid occasionally decides to use the device. Bear in mind that a pepper spray must be stored out of reach of children! It is not suitable for self-defense since a perpetrator can easily snatch the spray from the kid’s hands and use it against him or her. The most appropriate self-defense tool for kids is personal alarm like Vindi GUARD. When the pin is pulled, a 130dB siren will stun and frighten the attacker and draw everyone’s attention within a range of 1000 feet. It can be easily hung on the belt or backpack.

TOP 9 Best Pepper Sprays and Gels

We’ve picked the best devices in several categories: universal pepper sprays for anyone to use, runners’ pepper gel, and indoor use spray. We’ve also found stylish pink mini-sprays for fashion-conscious ladies. For those who are afraid of close contact, there is also a pepper spray gun with 250 ft shooting range.

1. A Triple Action Pepper Spray — SABRE 3-IN-1 - Advanced Police Strength - Compact Size with Clip, Contains 35 Bursts (5x Other Brands) & 10-Foot (3M) Range

A Triple Action Pepper Spray: photo

This is the best selling and most popular product. Everything is straightforward here: it is reserved, simple and it’s quite obvious that it’s not a toy. Sabre use a 3-in-1 design, meaning that it is a mix of three substances, namely Red Pepper, CS Military Tear Gas and UV Dye. A full spray allows for 35 bursts, which is the most among all the sprays covered in this review. This spray’s range is 10 ft. It is not in vain that this product has become a best seller, as Sabre products have long been used by police departments worldwide. Manufacturing of means of such use means that they are of superior quality (they are ISO 9001:2008 certified). Don’t hesitate; this is truly the best one you’ll find.

SABRE  Pepper Spray 3-IN-1: Check the current price

2. A Keychain Pepper Spray for Drivers — SABRE Red Kuros! - Police Strength - with Durable Aqua Key Case, Finger Grip, Quick Release Key Ring, 25 Bursts (Up to 5x Other Brands) & 10-Foot (3M) Range

A Keychain Pepper Spray for Drivers: photo

This is the same spray made by the same manufacturer, but this product resembles a keychain. It is convenient for those keep forgetting to take the defense means along. This pepper spray will always be with you along with your keys. It can be removed fast so that the keys don’t get in the way. It is crucial though to learn to detach it and to fire it quickly in order not to be caught by surprise by any attackers.

SABRE Red Kuros! (blue): Check the current price

SABRE Red Kuros! (black): Check the current price

3. Pepper Gel for Indoor Use — SABRE Red - Police Strength - Tactical Series with 18-Foot (5.5M) Range, 18 Bursts & Belt Holster

Pepper Gel for Indoor: photo

When using a spray in an enclosed space, there is always a risk of getting the drops on you. Pepper gels have been invented to avoid that. Their main benefit is that they don’t splash and can be used in closed spaces (such as vehicles or elevators) or when it’s windy without getting any spray on you. The second distinctive feature is that the actual spray substance is more viscous and sticky and thus is much harder to remove. A perpetrator will be getting it out of their face for quite a long time and they would ignore you meanwhile. Use that to your advantage and escape. The shooting range of such a spray is longer than that of classic ones, it is 18 ft.

SABRE Red Pepper Gel: Check the current price

4. A Pepper Gel for Runners — SABRE RED - Police Strength - Runner with Adjustable Hand Strap (Max Protection - 35 Bursts, up to 5x More)

Pepper Gel for Runners: photoJogging in the park late at night can be dangerous. For your own peace of mind it is best to carry protection with you. A regular spray is not convenient in such a situation while a pepper gel with a special strap to fix the spray on your own hand is just what you need. The spray allows for 35 bursts. It is handy at any moment and you can use it in case of an emergency. Also, gel texture will protect you from drops splashing all around.

SABRE RED Pepper Gel for Runners: Check the current price

4 Pink Pepper Sprays for Fashion-Conscious Women

An unremarkable pink trinket with a spray inside will be extremely useful as it doesn’t attract any unnecessary attention and matches other contents of your purse well. We’ve picked several items: various kinds of key rings and a lipstick-style spray.

5. A Pink Pepper Spray for the Absent-Minded — SABRE Red - Police Strength - with Durable Pink Key Case, Finger Grip, Quick Release Key Ring, 25 Bursts

Pink Pepper Spray: photoThis spray is identical two previous items, but this one is pink. The proceeds from selling it benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation, so when you’re buying it, you do this not only to protect yourself but also to contribute to the greater good. Also, pink color doesn’t attract much attention when attached to your keys. The undisputable competitive edge of this key ring over others is that it can be easily released with the help of a special mount at any moment, so you don’t have to take long to remove it. That also allows fixing it on a large keychain and it won’t bother you anyhow. Also, 25 bursts are quite a capacity for a keychain spray!

SABRE Red with Durable Pink Key Case: Check the current price

6. A Classic Keychain Pink Pepper Spray - SABRE Red - Police Strength - with Pink Key Ring, 25 Bursts

Classic Keychain Pink Pepper Spray: photoThis spray doesn’t have a special mount for quick removal of the spray off the keychain as everything is attached to the ring. As a result, it is noticeably smaller, but unsuitable for large key rings as it will be inconvenient to use. Just like the previous item, the proceeds from sales benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation. The number of bursts is the same; there are still 25 of them.

SABRE Red with Pink Key Ring: Check the current price

7. SABRE Red Lipstick Pepper Spray

Purse Pepper Spray: photo

As long as the cap is shut, you won’t be able to tell this spray apart from a real lipstick. What else do you need to camouflage a device in a purse? Unfortunately, the device’s capacity has been sacrificed for the fancy design as it provides for 10 bursts only. There are no special mounts, so you need to learn to get the spray out of your purse and fire it quickly so as to protect yourself anywhere.

SABRE Red Lipstick: Check the current price

8. The Smallest — Mace Brand Pepper Spray Key Guard Key Chain

Stylish Smallest Pepper Spray: photo

Beauty takes sacrifices, and this very key chain proves that. It is stylish, extremely small, but it contains 6 bursts only and its shooting range is only 6 ft. its main advantages are that such a spray is perfect for carrying it in a pocket or on a key ring and will fit the tiniest purse. Be aware though that in case of an attack you’ll have to use it extremely close, nearly in your attacker’s face.

Samuel Siskind, a security expert, told Gadget Reviews about the item’s downside:

“The lack of range is a real liability. Important to emphasize that a short-range device is really not preferable,” he said.

Mace Brand Key Guard Key Chain (pink): Check the current price

Mace Brand Key Guard Key Chain (black): Check the current price

Mace: Should You Pick a Pepper Spray or a Gun?

Apart from classic pepper sprays, guns which send the jet much farther are available for sale. Which means is better and most cost-saving? We’ve compared the best pepper gun with other sprays.

9. Mace Brand Pepper Spray Gun for Long-Range Rrotection

Pepper Gun: photo

A pepper spray requires quite a close contact. For many people an attack itself is a very stressful event and if a perpetrator approached them too fast and unexpectedly, they can lose courage. Especially for such people, a pepper spray gun with ~20 ft shooting range has been designed. You shoot from a special spray (in fact, the principle of its work is pretty much the same and you deal with the same spray in a modified case). Thanks to that case, the shooting range is much longer (up to 20 ft now) and the number of bursts has decreased o 7 only. Is it woth paying for? It’s up to you to decide. The product is available in silver and pink.

Mace Brand Gun: Check the current price

Protection Type Advantages Disadvantages

Pepper spray

Cheap and cost-saving, many bursts (up to 35)

Short range covered

Pepper spray gun

Long range covered, zero likelihood of getting the spray in your eyes by accident, convenient design

Expensive, few bursts (7)

A pepper spray gun is clearly the farthest-shooting product. On the other hand, it is not the most cut-rate and cost-saving. If the 10 ft shooting range and other unimportant drawbacks are insignificant for you, opt for a regular spray in order to save. A pepper gun will save you for the splashing drops and if you’re quick and skilled enough, you’ll be able to avoid close contact with an attacker. Scaring off is its main advantage, obviously. A perpetrator in a dark street can confuse your Mace gun with a real firearm and will flee.

Pepper Sprays and Gels Comparison Chart

Product Range Number of Bursts
10 ft 35
Sabre Quick Release Key Ring
10 ft 25
SABRE Red Pepper Gel - Police Strength - Tactical Series
18 ft 18
SABRE RED Pepper Gel - Police Strength - Runner
12 ft 35
SABRE Red Spray - Police Strength - with Durable Pink Key Case
10 ft 25
SABRE Red Spray - Police Strength - with Pink Key Ring
10 ft 25 bursts
SABRE Red Lipstick Spray
10 ft 10 bursts
Mace Brand Spray Key Guard Key Chain
6 ft 6 bursts
Mace Brand Pepper Spray Gun
Up to 20 ft 7

NB! Several states listed below restrict the use of pepper sprays. Check your local legislation before acquiring this device.States With Restriction:Alaska, Arkansas, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington State, Wisconsin.

Is Using a Pepper Spray Hazardous for Your Health?

It definitely is. Although a pepper spray is a non-lethal weapon, there are cases when it can prove to be more dangerous than it seems to be. According to the Medical News Today, using it can lead to some severe consequences: «Pepper spray can also burn the throat, cause wheezing, dry cough, shortness of breath, gagging, gasping and the inability to breathe or speak.In rare cases, it can cause cyanosis, a bluish discoloration of the skin that indicates a lack of blood flow and oxygen. Apnea and respiratory arrest are possible.». Certain scientists’ research has proven that inhaling pepper spray can lead to some more rigorous consequences than mere coughing:«Nasal application of capsaicin causes sneezing, irritation, and reflex mucus secretion. Its inhalation can cause acute hypertension (similar to ammonia inhalation), which in turn can cause headache and increase the risk of stroke or heart attack».

There are certain risks, but you won’t be able to obtain pepper spray easily in some regions as certain states restrict such sales. For your convenience, we’ve listed the regions with restrictions at the end of the article.

Apart from pepper sprays, there exist a number of self-defense devices, many of which are listed in our TOP-16 self-defense products review, where we’ve picked items for all situations. For those who frequently walk in the dark and empty streets might find large and powerful stun guns useful as even their appearance is scary. If you’re afraid of aggressive stray dogs, you’ll find the dog repellents handy for your protection. Finally, if you need a harmless means, invest in a personal alarm that would go off in case of an attack.