The Best Pepper Spray: Fending Off Wild Animal Attacks

Pepper spray in the backpack
John C. Porter
Written by John C. Porter

Pepper sprays are sometimes called mace or tear gas, but people have found it easier to refer to them as pepper sprays. The primary component of pepper spray is something known as capsaicin, which is an extract from hot peppers.

The best pepper spray will mix it with various chemicals such as tear gas, and they sometimes include a dye, sometimes infrared and sometimes ultra violet so when you spray somebody or something it can also be easily detected with special light sensors. Some of them use actual dyes in them that can be seen with the eye without the help of sensors.

Pepper sprays are a very easy and convenient means of self defense and they are perhaps the best items you can have with you in the event of a conflict with an aggressive animal. Its a quick, non-lethal option that allows you to have control over any aggressive situation.

Popular media has made us believe the pepper spray is something only women carry in their purses to protect themselves against sexual assault, but the use of this spray is much more than that. Wherever you find yourself, in the city or in the woods, you are bound to run into people of shady intent, aggressive dogs and other small wild animals.

Having a pepper spray with you at these times will help protect you against aggression. The best pepper spray has to have a combination of qualities and features, and all of this will be seen in the collection that will be reviewed in this article.

The Guard pepper spray

You need to be aware of the restrictions placed on the purchase and use of pepper sprays in your location before trying to purchase or use one. It is not legal in all parts of the country to possess pepper spray. If you are sure it is legal to own one , the pepper spray is surely going to be one of the most efficient and pocket friendly ways to protect yourself when out in the open.

These are some of the most important features to look out for when picking out a pepper spray:

  1. Size: pepper sprays come in different shapes and sizes, and each of them weigh differently. So you want to pick out one that really suits your person and the kind of activity you will be doing while carrying it. For those that are going into the woods, it also depends on how much weight you are carrying, so you should go for smaller versions that are easy to pack and carry. Some are small enough to clip onto your bag or the loop of your pants.
  2. Spray radius: This also depends on the area in which you are using it. It is generally safer to go for sprays that can cover a good distance so that you can defend yourself against your assailant without getting too close. All the good pepper sprays generally have a radius between 10 to 12 feet.
  3. Targeting: This is also related to spray radius. What‘s the point of having a spray that can cover a wide distance but doesn‘t focus its spray such that you can target a specific person or animal? The best sprays will focus the sprays in a stream-like fashion, and some of them even have a foamy texture that allows you to see where you are spraying and if you are hitting your target. Upon contact with the target, it dissolves into a liquid form so that it cannot be scooped up and thrown back at you. Having a spray that targets well also ensures that you are not spraying the general area and affecting everybody within the vicinity.
  4. Ingredients: different pepper sprays have different purposes, so they have various ingredients that work on different kinds of attackers. A pepper spray meant for humans might not have the same effect on a bear or other wild animal. Read the product labeling to ensure that you’re getting something effective.
  5. Mode of Carry: when it comes to pepper sprays, companies try to make them as convenient as possible, and that means varying sizes and safety mechanisms. This is just a matter of personal preference, as the majority of them are designed to be quite small. If you want to always have your peppery spray on hand, then you might choose a variation that is easy to clip onto a keychain. If you’re more worried about having enough pepper spray with you, however, you might want to go for one of the bigger canisters that can fit in a backpack

Now that we’ve discussed the important features to look for in a pepper spray, here are some of the most popular products that consumers trust their safety to.

Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, but it should be used as a guide to help you figure out exactly what you should be looking for.

Top Products

SABRE 3-IN-1 Pepper Spray

SABRE 3-IN-1 Pepper Spray


  • Product dimensions: 5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Range: 10 feet
  • 35 sprays per canister

Special Features:

  • Advanced 3 in 1 design
  • Equipped with pocket clip
  • UV marking dye for identification and tagging
  • HPLC Guarantee
  • Maximum stopping power with its red pepper, tear gas and UV dye combo.
  • Powerful stream delivery to withstand wind blowback

Description: SABRE 3-IN-1 Pepper Spray is a product of one of the leading makers in the market. It is designed to be small but potent, and with its compact and easy-to-reach design, you can easily clip it to your belt with the easy access clip that comes with it.

Despite the small size, this pepper spray has enough juice for 35 sprays and each spray can reach a distance of 10 feet while withstanding wind blowback.

This pepper spray is one of the most reliable ones you can get your hands on. With the advancements made by their inhouse high liquid performance liquid chromatography laboratory, they have successfully eliminated about one third the heat failure rate that you will experience with other brands. So this spray will not fail you even in the event of heat inconsistencies.

Fox Labs 2 Ounce 2% OC 5.3-mm Flip Top Stream Pepper Spray

Fox Labs 2 Ounce 2% OC 5.3-mm Flip Top Stream Pepper Spray


  • Product dimensions: 4” by 1 3/8” diameter
  • Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Range: 17 to 20 feet
  • 18 sprays per canister

Special Features:

  • Heavy stream pattern with excellent range
  • Flip top that prevents accidental discharges
  • Easy to target spray

Description: Fox Labs 2 Ounce 2% OC 5.3-mm Flip Top Stream Pepper Spray is quickly becoming a top choice amongst pepper sprays with its safety flip top feature that prevents accidental discharge and its very long range. These two features combined make it one of the leading brands out there. It is also easy to use as you simply put your finger or thumb under the top to open, and then press on the button for a powerful blast of pepper spray.

The stream of spray is very effective and you can hit your target without worry of it blowing back in your face. It is also easy to aim and you don’t even have to hit the face of the attacker directly for it to work. This spray will repel all attackers quite easily.

The spray is also reported to be highly effective as people who have tested this spray on their face have reported feeling like their faces are going to melt off.

They also reported not being able to open their eyes fully for over 30 minutes, and it took almost two hours for their vision to completely clear up. So this will be very effective on your outdoor trips and will work on any attacker, be it man or animal.

Police Magnum Pepper Spray with UV Dye

Police Magnum Pepper Spray with UV Dye


  • Product dimensions: 5” by 1.5” diameter
  • Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Pack of four 3-ounce police style
  • 17 percent Oleoresin Capsicum solution
  • Non-toxic and non-flammable solution

Special Features:

  • Ultra violet identifying dye for tagging and identification
  • Safety top to prevent accidental discharge

Description: Police Magnum Pepper Spray with UV Dye comes with one of the most powerful concentrations of pepper spray that the law will allow. The spray is easy to use and can be operated with a single hand delivering multiple blasts of pepper solution.

The product can be shipped in a pack of two or four depending upon your preference and what suits you. Every unit comes with a UV dye that can be used for tagging and identification.

The effects of this spray are instant burning skin, coughing, watery eyes, running nose and even difficulty breathing. However there is no permanent injuries associated with it, so it is very helpful in fending off animal and human attackers.

The spray is rated OC-17 and contains an Oleoresin Capsicum solution that is nontoxic and nonflammable. Even though the OC solution is not as powerful as some other form of solutions, this product is still a must have for self-defense purposes.

This is because OC solution provides a more targeted spray which can disable singular targets without affecting everybody within that vicinity. When you spray an OC solution, the effect on you is very minimal so you still have the ability to run away or do whatever is necessary to be done at that moment when your attacker is disoriented.

As an added layer of safety, the spray bottle comes equipped with a specially made top that that helps prevent accidental discharge. It also comes with a UV dye in the solution that helps for tagging and identification. When the spray comes in contact with skin it can be seen with special light sensors and this helps in identification.

Mace Brand Pepper Spray Personal Defense Spray

Mace Brand Pepper Spray Personal Defense Spray


  • Product dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Weight: 0.3 ounces
  • Range: 10 feet
  • 5 sprays per canister
  • OC solution with UV dye

Special Features:

  • Very small and easy to carry
  • Excellent range
  • OC solution makes it easy to target
  • Stylish design

Description: Mace Brand Pepper Spray Personal Defense Spray was designed with mobility and convenience as priority. With its stylish design and cosmetic case, it is very safe to carry around in your purse or pockets when going around in the woods or in public.

If you need protection against animal and human attackers at all times, this spray will be very convenient to carry around. It also comes with a key holder with which you can attach it to your belt or bag.

One of the highlights of this design is the tab that goes over the trigger. This ensures that you can only flip open the spray in a specific way and attack your opponent only. It is practically impossible for you to spray yourself in the face with this ingenious trigger mechanism.

This is like a built in safety mechanism that prevents you from spraying yourself when you are in panic mode.

The size and portability of this spray has made it an excellent choice for runners, women and children to carry around out in the open for protection.

Defense Technologies First Defense OC Stream MK Pepper Spray

Defense Technologies First Defense OC Stream MK


  • Product dimensions: 5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Range: 10-12 feet
  • 20-25 sprays per canister
  • Nitrogen propellant

Special Features:

  • Nonflammable EDW safe formulation with extra intensity
  • Excellent range and several bursts
  • Stream delivery system with excellent targeting

Description: Defense Technologies First Defense OC Stream MK-4 1.3% Solution Red Band Pepper Spray is one of the most popular and widely used sprays and it has quickly become a favorite. One feature worthy of mention here is that with this spray, defense technologies have made an OC level of intensity that varies from 0.2 percent Major Capsaicinoids to 1.3 percent MC.

These variations make it possible for the user to select and control the level of intensity that best suits whatever environment he is in.

It is easy to use and the flip top works seamlessly which allows you to deploy it in seconds. You also get a very good range with the spray and several burst enough to last you for a very long time. These features are the things that have made this spray a favorite amongst the users.

SABRE RED Pepper Spray – Police Strength

SABRE RED Pepper Spray - Police Strength


  • Product dimensions: 10 x 5 x 2 inches
  • Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Range: 10 feet
  • 35 sprays per canister
  • UV marking dye for tagging and identification
  • 4-year shelf life

Special Features:

  • Adjustable hand strap for easy accessibility
  • Excellent range and several bursts per canister
  • Powerful stream that withstands wind blowback
  • Easy to target
  • Exclusive HPLC Guarantee

Description: SABRE RED Pepper Spray – Police Strength is built to fit perfectly in your hands and to deploy at a moment’s notice when running or walking. With its adjustable hand straps, you can have protection on your fingertips at all times, and is a very practical protection for in areas where you expect aggressors.

With its powerful stream, you don’t have to worry about blow back as a result of the wind and you can target directly at an opponent as much as 10 feet away from you.

Offering 35 bursts per canister, this spray will be with you for a very long time and it doesn’t go bad until after 4 years so you have enough time to make proper use of it if needed.

This spray does very well against its counterparts and it has quickly become a very reliable and opted for is rated as one of the hottest available with more than 1.33 percent Major Capsaicinoids.

Since OC and Raw pepper metrics don’t give the true hotness indication, Sabre rates highest on the major capsaicinoids and it is very reliable.

This spray has made its way to become one of the most popular and widely used products amongst police officers and law enforcement agencies, joggers and outdoor enthusiasts mostly in the USA. One neat bonus of purchasing this spray is that it helps raise money for breast cancer research with the National Breast Cancer Foundation.


  1. You want to be very careful and make sure you understand the mechanisms of the spray you are using so as to avoid spraying and having it blow back in your face or accidentally spraying your friend in the face.
  2. You should never leave it in your car in summer time. There are various accounts of these pepper spray canisters blowing up in glove compartments and other hot areas. You must be careful about the temperature of the place you have them stored.
  3. Be sure that the laws of your area of residence or exploration make it legal to possess a pepper spray.

All of the pepper sprays that have been reviewed above all can serve a purpose and you only have to select the one that best suits you. If you want portability over longevity you can select the smaller more portable ones with fewer bursts per canister.

Man holding pepper spray

If you’re going to be using one spray multiple times and you don’t mind the extra weight, you should go for the ones with several more bursts. You also want to look out for sprays that have the accidental discharge prevention feature, and those that can withstand blow back as a result of wind resistance.

All of these important features are obtainable in the brands that have been mentioned above and you can’t go wrong if you choose any of them.

Have any products you’d like to share with us? Please leave a comment down below and share your stories with us.

John C. Porter
John C. Porter

John is passionate about hiking long distances. His record is over 65 miles in one day with backpacking gear. John hiked over 10 thousand miles, tried over 100 hiking shoes and visited 56 countries so far. His favourite hiking route is West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

  • David Smith

    When I saw the pink Mace Brand Pepper Spray, I knew I had to get it for my wife. But the color is not the main reason I bought it. Its flip top makes it fast and easy to trigger and the directional handle ensure that you cannot accidentally spray yourself.

  • John C. Porter

    It is attractive and for those who want more than the average pepper spray, then this is the right choice. You’re right, though, the primary come-on of this brand is its safety mechanism. There are a lot of incidents involving accidental spraying and hopefully, the Mace Brand will be able to address this.

  • Matt Gibson

    When we are out camping, everyone must, at all times, move with their pepper spray. You knew know when a wild animal might attack you. We chose the SABRE 3-IN-1 Pepper Spray because of its glorious reviews on amazon. Even when we are home, I insisted our girls always have their spray on them – we live in very unsafe times.

  • John C. Porter

    That’s sad but true. It’s an urban jungle out there so chances are, it will work. The Sabre 3-in-1 pepper spray your best bet when you want a product that you can trust.


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