Choose the Right Pepper Spray For You

Pepper spray is used all over the world by ordinary people, law enforcement officers, and even postal workers to ensure and protect their safety.  It  is also one of the best self defense tools you can use because it allows you to protect yourself at a safe distance from threats such as muggers, carjackers, rapists, and vicious animals. It can also come in handy when faced with unfamiliar and dangerous neighborhoods or situations.

There are a several different kinds of sprays on the market today yet it can sometimes be challenging to figure out which is best suited to your personal needs.

Throughout our interactive, well researched, and unbiased guides you will be ready to make a well informed decision on what self defense spray you should buy that is both high in quality and in reliability.

Scroll down and get started below to choose the best pepper spray for you.

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Comparison Chart
What is Pepper Spray
Different Types of Pepper Spray
What to Look For in Pepper Spray
How to Determine the Strength of Pepper Spray
Our Recommendations

Pepper Spray Comparison Chart

Below is a pepper spray reviews comparison chart of our top recommendations.

  • Image of the each spray
  • Name/brand of spray
  • Distance each one sprays up to in feet
  • Number of shots it sprays (1 second bursts)
  • Amount – how much is in the canister?
  • Spray pattern (scroll down to see what spray pattern is best for you).

  • Sabre Red Pepper Gel
  • Distance: 15 Ft
  • Number of Shots: 10
  • Amount: 2 oz
  • Spray Pattern: Gel
  • Strength Score: 4.5Our strength rating based on OC, SHU, and MC percentages.

  • Mace Pepper Gun
  • Distance: 20 ft
  • Number of Shots: 7
  • Amount: 1 oz
  • Spray Pattern: Stream
  • Strength Score: 4.5Our strength rating based on OC, SHU, and MC percentages.

  • Defense Technologies 360 OC Spray
  • Distance: 12 Ft
  • Number of Shots: 10
  • Amount: 1.47 oz
  • Spray Pattern: Stream
  • Strength Score: 5Our strength rating based on OC, SHU, and MC percentages.

  • Sabre Red Police Strength Kit
  • Distance: 10 Ft
  • Number of Shots: 25
  • Amount: 2.5 oz
  • Spray Pattern: Stream
  • Strength Score: 4.5Our strength rating based on OC, SHU, and MC percentages.

  • Pink Keychain Pepper Spray
  • Distance: 10 Ft
  • Number of Shots: 25
  • Amount: 0.5 oz
  • Spray Pattern: Stream
  • Strength Score: 4.5Our strength rating based on OC, SHU, and MC percentages.

What is Pepper Spray?

Pepper spray is the common name for aerosol sprays that contains Oleoresin Capsicum. It is often referred to as OC spray, bear spray, or mace.

Capsicum refers to a large variety of hot peppers and they include all of your common hot peppers such as jalapeno, serrano, cayenne’s etc. Capsaicin is extracted from Capiscum to form the active ingredient.

Oleoresin refers to the industrial extraction process that takes out the oily residue of the hot peppers. It’s that oily residue that’s incorporated into an aerosol spray to form pepper spray.

Pepper spray will irritate the eyes causing tears, temporary blindness, difficulty breathing, and pain. When used in self defense it will cause the attacker to close their eyes in pain, reducing vision and enabling you to escape.

Due its inflammatory effects, it will work on even those that are resistant to pain and under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It’s a non-lethal  or less-than-lethal weapon meaning it’s made to incapacitate an attacker but not kill.

Different Types of Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is an aerosol spray and just like hair spray products it can come out in different kinds of patterns. These are stream, cone, foam, gel and fog.  It’s important to know the different types of spray patterns, there point of aims, and the advantages each of them provide.  So let’s take a look below.

Stream: Stream pattern sprays like a water gun and is best used outdoors. The advantages stream or broken stream provides is  it has great distance, generally sprays up to around 10 feet, and is least affected by the environment that being wind or rain. Since its liquid based, it reduces the risk of the spray turning back and hitting you. However the downside is that it requires accurate aim and is less effective when faced with multiple attackers.


What the stream spray pattern looks like

Cone:  The cone delivery system is similar to a hair spray bottle but it projects more force and a greater distance then what would come out of hair spray. The fine microscopic droplets provide a respiratory effect making it hard to breathe. It delivers up to 2 ft in width (same size as human head) and 8 feet in distance. It doesn’t require as accurate aim and will remain in the air for a significant time.


What the cone spray pattern looks like

Foam: The foam pattern is ideal for indoor use and it reduces cross contamination of unwanted targets and is also easier to clean up.  The foam pattern will spray just like shaving cream and it provides excellent facial coverage. Foam works great on attackers wearing glasses and since it’s sticky and opaque it will cause the attacker to remove their glasses allowing for a shot right to the face. The drawback to foam is that you have a distance of only about 4-6 feet.


What the foam spray pattern looks like

Fog/Fogger:  A fogger style spray is great for protecting yourself and your home or property against intruders. The fogger spray pattern is quite commonly found in bear sprays.  The fogger spray pattern will actually fire up to 25 feet and it will cover a large area making aim less of an issue.  It works effectively when faced with multiple attackers, bears, crowd control or protecting your home. However the risk in using a fogger type spray is you’re somewhat more susceptible to wind blow-back.

What the fogger spray pattern looks like

What the fogger spray pattern looks like

Gel: Gel is a newer product that provides greater distance and it fires 15 feet and beyond. Again since it uses gel it minimizes cross contamination and unintended targets. It sticks to the face almost like a gluey substance. It is ideal for indoor usage just like the foam spray pattern. It does require accurate aim but there is very little risk of wind blow back.


What the pepper gel spray pattern looks like

Bear in mind that choosing the right delivery system specific to you individual needs is essential to ensuring your personal safety. It’s a good idea to make a judgement based on when and where you’ll be needing a self defense weapon.

Also keep in mind that if you’re looking to protect yourself against wild animals you’ll be needing the best bear spray and not pepper spray.

What to Look for in a Pepper Spray

When buying and analyzing a defense spray you should consider the following factors.


Depending on the situation, you will need a defense spray that has a good distance. An adequate distance will ensure that you’ll be able to use it from a reasonable and safe range .


When choosing a defense spray you want to make sure that it is strong enough to incapacitate the attacker and it allows you enough time to escape.

Number of shots

The number of shots per canister is also important. Most canisters usually have around 10-20 shots so it may even be a good decision to stock up on a couple extra canisters.

Size and Type

Pepper sprays come in different sizes and spray patterns. If you will be outdoors its best to get one with a stream, cone, or fog pattern while foam and gel is better for indoors.


The price should be affordable enough for you.

Safety Feature

A safety feature is used to avoid any accidental discharge when storing or carrying pepper spray. It’s actually required by law in certain states that an OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) spray canister have a safety feature installed. Even though most pepper sprays come with a safety cap its never a bad idea to double check.

Is the brand used by law enforcement?

Chances are if police officers and law enforcement use it, the product is reliable and effective.

How to Determine the Strength of Pepper Spray

Ensuring that your spray is made from quality material and is effective when you need it is absolutely crucial when determining the hottest pepper spray. The problem is that determining the strongest pepper spray is not a straightforward process. There are several different ratings you can look at to know the strength, of which are listed below:

OC Percentage

As mentioned earlier, pepper spray contains Oleoresin Capsaicin (OC) and the percentage of OC is usually listed on the canister. Normally, you will see OC percentages range from 2% to 18%. These percentages simply tell you the amount of OC proportional to the volume of the canister. They do not tell you the hotness and strength because the heat depends on the types of peppers used not the OC itself.

As you can see, a higher OC percentage does not mean a stronger and more effective spray since an 8% OC can be hotter than a 16% OC.

SHU Rating

The Scoville Heat Units (SHU) rating is relatively useful when determining the hotness and concentration of a spray but it also has its downsides. SHU measures the amount of capsaicin which is the chemical that provides heat. For example, a spray that has an OC percentage of 2 but with a scoville heats unit of a 5 million will be hotter than a manufacturer that uses low quality pepper resin but a higher OC percentage.

The downside however is that SHU can sometimes be exaggerated because a manufacturer can use a lower quality pepper resin and dilute the SHU rating. When looking at the SHU as a detriment of the strength of a defense spray you want to pay attention to the total net SHU.

CRC Rating

The CRC rating tells you how much capsaicin and related capsaicinoids are included within the ingredients. Out of the 15 capsaicinoids in pepper only around 5 contain a considerable amount of heat. The CRC rating is reliable because it is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Look for a CRC rating of 1% or higher.

MC Rating

The major capsaicinoid (MC) rating includes only the heat-bearing chemicals from peppers, in their most concentrated form. This makes MC percentage the most reliable measure for strength and the higher it is the more powerful the effects.

The MC rating is measured in a lab and is very precisely tested to measure the heat of a pepper spray. Normally, MC ratings will range from 0.18% to 1.33%.


Our Recommendations

Below we have a review of our top picks in addition to those listed in the comparison chart above. We have outlined the best use for each spray so you can choose one that fits your needs.

Sabre Home Defense Spray

If you’re looking for a fogger type that you want to keep in order to use for home defense this is a great option.sabre-poilice-strength-pepper-spray

The Sabre Red Home Defense Pepper Spray will fire up to 25 feet and will cover the range of an entire doorway. This will create a barrier, making it less likely that an attacker will be able to fight their way through.

It is great for using against multiple attackers. It’s also a good idea to keep a couple extras around the house and place each in a strategic location near entrances.

Click Here to See Price and User Reviews

defense-pepper-sprayDefense Technology MK-4  Spray

Defense Technology otherwise known as Def-Tec is a leader in self defense technology within the United States. Def-Tec is the manufacturer of a wide variety of law enforcement products. In the recent years Def-Tec has made their quality OC sprays available to the general public. This particular product’s MC rating is 1.3% which means that it is very hot and will incapacitate an attacker with ease. On the other hand, the Def-Tec’s MK-9 spray is famously known due to the use of the spray by law enforcement during the UC Davis incident.

Click Here to See Price and User Reviews

jogger-runner-pepper-spraySabre Red Runner Model

The Runner model pepper spray by Sabre Red is the best way to protect yourself while walking, running or exercising outdoors. Featuring twelve 1 second bursts, it gives you enough time and spray to protect yourself against multiple attackers if need be.

It also comes with a Velcro armband so you can strap it onto your arm for easy carry. It’s capable of shooting up to 10 feet in range so you can fire it from a safe distance. You can buy The Runner in both black and pink colors.

Click Here to See Price and User Reviews

Final Words

Remember when making a buying decision it’s important that you practice and know how to use pepper spray when faced with a difficult situation. You could get the hottest and the most effective pepper spray in the world but it will do you no good if you don’t know how to aim it properly, have it when you need it, or use it incorrectly. Also be sure to check on the pepper spray laws within your specific state or country because there are several areas in the world where defense sprays are classified as prohibited. Feel free to browse the site and learn more so you can get the knowledge you need to make your pepper spray work for you!

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