Best Pepper Spray for Self-Defense

Over the past years, crime rates have been increasing and unpredictable incidents can occur any time of the day, making it necessary to always be alert for your personal safety. Whenever you are outside – heading to work or going out for a run, carrying self-defense weapons will give you confidence as prevention is always best. With the right information and being prepared, one of the best weapons that you could carry with you on the daily would be pepper spray for self-defense.

Here is a list of the Best Pepper Spray for Self-Defense

Why Use Pepper Spray for Self-Defense?

Pepper sprays are non-lethal and legal in almost every state in the US. They are relatively cheap and extremely effective, which makes it easily affordable if you lose one, our simply want to stock up. It is very cost-effective as 1 canister will cost around $10. Although it does not permanently stop the attacker or have paralyzing effects as a Taser gun, pepper spray will temporarily disable the person and give the victim enough time to flee the scene.

For whom is Pepper Spray Commonly Used by?

Pepper spray is used all over the world by law enforcement officers, regular people, and public service workers to protect their safety. This is the perfect choice for women and students as it won’t require much skills to use it, though many places offer training on how your pepper spray works. Many women who travel alone prefer pepper spray as an alternative to carrying deadly weapons.

What Makes Pepper Spray Hot?

Pepper spray is actually the common name for aerosol sprays that contain Oleoresin Capsicum. This refers to a large variety of hot peppers, including jalapeno, Serrano, cayenne, and more. Capsaicin is what is extracted from Capsicum to form the active ingredient for pepper spray.

Prepper Spray vs. Mace

Most people often get confused when it comes to differentiating pepper spray and mace. Pepper spray is often referred to as mace but there is actually a difference between the two. The main difference is that pepper spray is an inflammatory agent and mace is classified as an irritant, which is similar to tear gas. Pepper spray can cause inflammation in the eyes and shortened blindness with a difficulty in breathing and burning sensation, which mace does not.

Different Types of Pepper Spray

Just like hair spray products, pepper spray is an aerosol that can be made in various types of patterns. Pepper spray comes in forms of stream, foam, cone, fog, and gel. It is important to understand the different types of spray patterns and there are different point of aims, and the many advantages each type of them provide.

Here's a video about the different types of pepper spray.


Pepper sprays with stream works like a water gun and is best used outdoors. The advantage this type of spray has is that it provides great distance and generally sprays up to around 10 feet. It is also least affected by harsh environment of wind or rain. The liquid base reduces the risk of accidently turning back and hitting you. The main downside is that this type requires accurate aim and not as effective when faced with multiple attackers.


This is the newest product for pepper pays as it has been designed to provide greater distance ad fires up to 15 feet. Gel minimizes any cross contamination and unintended suspects as it sticks directly to the face like a gluey type substance. This is ideal for indoor usage and does not require much aim, though there is very little risk of wind blow back.


The cone type is very similar to hair spray bottle, though it projects more force and a great distance. With this spray, the fine microscopic droplets provide a respiratory effect, thus making it hard to breathe. As far as distance, it delivers up to 2 ft. in width and about 8 ft. in distance. The good thing about this is that it does not require much of an accurate aim and can remain in the air for a good period of time.


The foggier style is great for protecting yourself and home against intruders. The foggier pattern is commonly found in bear sprays and will fire up to 25 ft., making aim less of an issue. This type works well when faced with multiple attackers, wild bears, protecting your property, and even crowd control. However, the downside to this type is that you are more susceptible to wind blow-back.


The foam type is best for indoor use as it reduces any cross contamination of unarmed targets. It is also easier to clean up as the foam pattern will release like shaving cream and provide excellent facial coverage. This works especially great on attackers who wear glasses due to the stickiness as it will force the attacker to remove their glasses and allow extra time for escape or a shot at the face. The main drawback is that you must keep a closet distance of about 4-6 feet.

It is important to keep this information in mind when choosing the right type to find your individual needs. It’s a good idea to make the decision based on when and where you might need this self-defense weapon.

What to Look For In Pepper Spray

With plenty of types and brands to choose from in the market, it can be confusing when it comes to picking the right spray when you have no prior knowledge or experience about it. You should know the basics of several features that you need to consider before your purchase. Here are some of these features:

This video shows what to look for and what to avoid in pepper spray.


It is important to know the numbers of shots that spray can produce. You need a spray can that have at least five shorts or more, just in case you miss your first few attempts. The more shots you have, the more help it is when multiple attackers try to harm you.

Ease of Use

Choose a product that you can comfortable operate and is easy to use. This is very important when you are in harm’s way as every second counts in a dangerous situation.

Spray Type

Pepper sprays are made in various forms – foam, stream, gel factor, or a foggier. The foam, foggier, or stream sprays are recommended as you don’t need to have precise aim when in use.


A spray can that ranges at least 10 feet works best as the longer the range is, the safer you are from your attacker.

Compact and Portability

Look for a spray that is as compact as possible. They come in many different forms such as key rings, an armband, or even disguised as lipstick. It should be easy to carry around without looking too noticeable, no matter how small your bag may be.

Safety Feature

A safety feature is used to prevent any accidental discharge when carrying and storing pepper spray. This is actually required by law in certain states that an OC spray canister must have a safety feature installed. Though most do provide this, make sure to double check to prevent any trouble in the future.

Determine the Strength of Pepper Spray

To make sure your spray is made from quality material you need to be crucial when determining the hottest pepper spray. The main problem with this is that there is no straightforward way to determine, here are several rating you can look for when determining the strength:

OC Percentage

Pepper sprays contain Oleoresin Capsaicin (OC) and the percentage is usually listed on the canister itself. You will see the normal OC percentages that range from 2% to 18% as these percentages will tell you the amount of OC proportional to the volume. This does not tell you the hotness and strength because the heat comes from the peppers, not the OC itself.Note: The higher the OC % does not make a stronger spray since a 7% OC can be hotter than a 16% OC.

SHU Rating

The Scoville Heat Units (SHU) is useful when determining the hotness and concentration of a spray as it measures the amount of capsaicin, which is the chemical that provides the heat for the spray. The downside to this is that SHU can be exaggerated at times because a manufacturer may use a lower quality pepper resin and actually dilute the SHU rating. Look at the total net SHU to determine the actual strength of the pepper spray.

CRC Rating

The CRC rating tells you how much capsaicin and related ingredients are included. The CRC rating is very reliable because it is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Make sure to look for a CRC rating of 1% and above.

MC Rating

The major capsaicinoid (MC) rating is what includes the heat-bearing chemicals in their most concentrated form. This makes the MC percentage the most reliable measure of strength of the pepper spray. The normal MC ratings will range from 0.18% to 1.33%.

Top 5 Best Pepper Sprays

1. Defense Technology Mk-4

Defense technology aka “Def-Tec” has gained the respect as a leading model in self-defense technology in the US. It is the manufacturer of a large variety of law enforcement products as Def-Tec made their quality OC sprays available to the public in recent years. This product has an MC rating of 1.3%, meaning it is very hot and able to incapacitate any attacker with ease. Def-Tec MK-4 is also known for its use during the UC Davis incident.

View Defense Technology Mk-4 here

2. Sabre Red Runner

The Runner model is one of the best ways to protect you while exercising outdoors. It features 12 one-second bursts to give you enough time to spray and protect yourself against attackers. This also comes with a Velcro armband to strap onto your arm for easy handling as it is also capable of shooting around 10 feet in range. This model is available it both black and pink.

View Sabre Red Runner here

3. Sabre Red Police Strength Home Defense with           Wall Mount

This foggier type is meant to use for home defense as the Sabre Home Defense pepper spray will release up to around 25 feet and will ultimately cover the entire doorway. This is a great option as it will create a barrier and become less likely for the attacker to fight their way through. It is also great when using against more than one attacker.

View Sabre Red Police Strength Home Defense with Wall Mount here

4. Sabre Red Pepper Gel - Police Strength – Flip Top       Key Case with Finger Grip

The design feature itself is what is worth every penny. With a comfortable finger grip that allows you to have more control, the design requires less pressure making it very ideal to use, for both women and the elderly. The gel delivery actually reduces wind blow back and offers greater containment of spray – making it especially safe to use indoors.

View Sabre Red Pepper Gel - Police Strength – Flip Top Key Case with Finger Grip here

5. Fox labs 1 lb. Pistol grip fog pepper spray

The Fox Labs pepper spray is one of the most effective sprays out in the market, with 1 lb. in weight as the stream is able to reach to about 20+ feet. This pepper spray has the power of string visual qualities along with the ability to give off high powered streams of pepper spray. The grip is easy to hold and considered one of the best in protection.

View Fox labs 1 lb. Pistol grip fog pepper spray here


When buying pepper spray, it is important to remember is that you must practice and know how to use pepper spray so that you are ready if a difficult situation occurs. You can buy the most hottest and effective pepper spray in the market, but it give no protection if you don’t know how to aim it properly, use it incorrectly or have it when you need it. Make sure to check your area’s pepper spray laws are some places are prohibited.

Other Suggestions