9 Best Pepper Spray for Runners in 2023


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What are the Best Pepper Spray for Runners in 2023?

What Is Pepper Spray?

Most of us have heard that pepper spray is a great way to defend ourselves again attackers but what is pepper spray? How does it work? What is the most effective pepper spray? These are good questions and questions that should be understood if you want to utilize the product as effectively and as efficiently as possible.

Pepper spray is a spray that consists of an active ingredient often referred to as OC, or Oleoresin Capsicum, which is similar to hot cayenne peppers. It is an aerosol spray that irritates the eyes, causes tears, pain, and temporary blindness. Pepper spray is the most popular self-defense spray available today. Its cayenne pepper-derived chemical compound causes massive dilation of the capillaries in the pupils, and acute inflammation of the lining in the bronchial tubes of the respiratory system, making assailants go temporarily blind and find much difficulty breathing. This causes the attacker to stay down for a few to 45 minutes, allowing the defender plenty of time get away and call law enforcement. Pepper spray is extremely effective against attackers who are immune to pain – such aspsychotics, drug fiends, etc.

Pepper spray is essentially a self defense tool. When you purchase it the hope is that you will never have to use it. There are many different pepper spray products to choose from, so remember that the goal is simply to have a product that is easily accessible and will be easy to use when the situation calls for it.

Normally, pepper spray comes in canisters of varying sizes and capacities, from one-ounce key chain attachments to full-size home units. All pepper spray products are effective not only on humans, but also animals. Postal carriers are known to carry pepper spray on their belts.

To help you navigate the many options out there, we have rounded up the best pepper spray for runners in the post for you:


Check out this quick list of our favorites if you’re in a hurry, or continue scrolling to see our full top 9 list with in-depth reviews.

#1: SABRE RED Pepper Gel Spray for Runners (Best overall)

#2: Wrist Saver Pepper Spray for Runners

#3: Mace Brand Sport Pepper Spray

#4: SABRE Tactical Pepper Gel With Belt Holster

#5: POM Pepper Spray Flip Top Keychain

#6: Guard Dog Laser Sight AccuFire Pepper Spray

#7: SABRE RED Compact Pepper Spray with Clip

#8: Guard Dog Instafire Runners Pepper Spray

#9: Mace Pepper Gun 2.0

History Of Pepper Spray

The use of pepper as a weapon goes all the way back to ancient China. The Chinese would put red chili pepper on rice paper as a weapon and swing it to the face of their opponents. The Japanese ninja were also known to use ground pepper against their enemies. During the Tukagawa Empire in Japan, the police would use a box called; metsubishi, which was filled with pepper and blown into a prisoner’s eyes as a way of torture. Tear gas was invented in Germany in the 1800’s and it is included in some Mace brand pepper sprays today.

The US introduced pepper spray through the US Postal Service in the 1980’s as a dog repellent. Our government also used it for protection against bears and other animals. The FBI endorsed it as an “official chemical agent” in 1987 and by 1991, there were over 3,000 law enforcement agencies that utilized it.

Advantages of Pepper Spray

Pepper Spray is also know as OC spray (from “Oleoresin Capsicum”), OC gas, capsicum spray, or oleoresin capsicum, is great in situations where the attackers are about a few feet away. A typical pepper spray can spray as far as up to 10 feet. For it to be effective, it needs to be sprayed directly into the face and in particular the eyes. Even if the attacker closes his eyes, the burning ingredient will make it painful for the attacker to breath. Furthermore, it will keep the attacker from opening his eyes where if he opens his eyes the chemicles will eventually get on his eyes. This will allow you to get away.

Another advantage of pepper spray is that they small enough for you to hide in your purse or pocket. Most pepper spray models come in small canisters. However, there are a few exotic models that make them easier to conceal. Some of these are the pepper ring and pepper pager models. These exotic models make them a lot better to surprise attackers and will become handy when you are attack by surprise. If you can see an attack coming, the normal canister model would be good enough.

Disadvantage of Pepper Spray

One of the risk of using pepper spray is that it could work against you in certain situation. One such situation is if it is too windy. The spray could be blown back at your face and make you more vulnerable to the attacker. So, you’ll have to use your discretion on whether to use it in such situation.

Pepper Spray Patterns

Forced Cone – best for most situations. A fine mist spray at a distance of 8-12 feet with minimum blow-back on to you. Blow-back can however be a problem in a mild breeze and uncontrollable in a strong wind.

Broken Stream/Heavy Stream – very effective for hitting multiple targets (or in the dark), can be fanned for covering wider area. Provides heaviest blast, but cans will empty quicker. Range normally 15-20 feet, not affected by breezes and winds as much as fog and cone sprays.

Fogger – very good against multiple attackers and home use, due to the barrier effect of the fog. Can however be some blow-back, which would contaminate you, especially if used outside in strong winds. This would still be minimal compared to the amount the attacker would receive. Most foggers have a range of 15-20 feet.

Foam – very good blow-back protection and immediate saturation, even in windy conditions. This thick, sticky foam works instantly on the attacker.

Gels – outperforms conventional sprays by delivering extreme stopping power that blindfolds an attacker with reduced blow back from wind. The Gel Stream Technology sticks for a prolonged immobilization of an attacker.

10 Common Pepper Spray Mistakes

While pepper spray can be very beneficial when you are in a situation where you need to subdue your attacker, human or animal, it can also be dangerous when not used properly. Avoiding some common pepper spray mistakes will help you use the spray as efficiently and as effectively as possible. Knowing about these mistakes now will help you think when you are in the heat of the moment, under pressure and scared so that you can use the product to help you instead of hinder you.

  • Don’t use pepper spray on an attacker that is more than 20 feet away. While you don’t want to get too close to your attacker, you also don’t want to use pepper spray when they are too far away. If you spray them when they are that far away, it will not work and they will be aware that you have pepper spray, doing away with the element of surprise. Two to six feet is the best range to shoot pepper spray in.
  • Do not use pepper spray when the wind is blowing in your general direction. It can be difficult to stop and think about this in the heat of the moment but if you realize that the wind is blowing in your direction you will need to move so that you won’t have the pepper spray back in your face when the wind blows. Do your best to always ensure that you are not going to be on the receiving end of the spray. Doing so will subdue you and give the attacker the upper hand.
  • Don’t try to open your pepper spray can. Attempting to open the can could cause it to explode or the can could leak and cause skin irritation. If the can is no longer spraying, it is time to throw the can away and move on.
  • Never point the pepper spray in your direction. If you are attempting to use the pepper spray and you are trying to take of safety device to ensure that it is working, you should always point it away from you. It is too easy to accidentally spray yourself in the face and this will give your attacker the upper hand and it will also sting a lot. Pepper spray is known to stop the strongest men in their tracks, you simply do not want to be sprayed.
  • Do not stick your arm toward the attacker any more than you have to. Most pepper spray will spray anywhere from two to eight feet in distance. If you stick your arm out your attacker is more likely to grab it from you, rendering you powerless.
  • Do not expose your pepper spray to direct heat or high temperatures for any period of time. Many people put the pepper spray in the glove compartment so that it is with them in their vehicle. The issue here is that when the canister heats up, it will often cause the seals to break so the unit will not function the way you need it to in the event of an attack.
  • Do not warn your attacker that you are going to spray. This is a mistake that many people make, thinking that they will intimidate their attacker. Warning the attacker that you have a weapon will simply allow them to defend themselves, gaining the upper hand.
  • Don’t use pepper spray on an attacker who is right next to you or in your face. Two feet is a safe distance, anything closer will mean that you get pepper spray on you, too. If you are affected by the pepper spray, it may mean that you are not able to get away from your attacker as planned. While you may get some mild skin irritation from using it, getting hit in the face will make an escape very difficult.
  • Do not attempt to use your pepper spray after three years. If you attempt to use it after this period of time, it may not work. This could be a dangerous situation to be in if you are relying on the pepper spray to get you out of an attack with a person and it does not go off, suddenly they have the upper hand.
  • Don’t hang around too long to see how long the attacker will stay down. Once you have established that they were hit with the spray and that they are responding to it, it’s time to start moving. While the pepper spray affects most living beings for a minimum of 15 minutes, as soon as you know that the attacker is subdued, you need to run for help or to safety.

While many of these mistakes are things that we all assume that we would never do, in the heat of the moment when you are trying to protect yourself, we sometimes do things that we would never do otherwise. Knowing about these mistakes ahead of time can help you avoid problems as you go through the motion. Practicing and understanding the side effects of pepper spray will help ensure that you are able to use it successfully.

If you are an active runner and are looking to carry pepper spray, you have come to the right place. Here are the 9 best pepper spray for runners.

1. SABRE RED Pepper Gel Spray for Runners

$9.98 $12.99 in stock
5 new from $9.98
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: May 20, 2024 1:24 am


  • SABRE has an incredibly high success rating
  • Gel is less likely to miss the target or injure the user
  • Hand strap means you’ll always be able to access the pepper gel
  • 35 bursts (uses) per container


  • Some users report that the button is difficult to press

2. Wrist Saver Pepper Spray for Runners

$17.95 $19.95 in stock
1 new from $17.95
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: May 20, 2024 1:24 am


  • Easily accessible
  • Fits comfortably on the wrist
  • Features a built-in emergency ID card and money holder
  • Features an LED light and a reflective edge for maximum visibility at night


  • The spray or LED light may fall off during intense runs
  • The wristband material may irritate your skin

3. Mace Brand Sport Pepper Spray

$14.48 $20.27 in stock
5 new from $14.48
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: May 20, 2024 1:24 am


  • Up to 15 uses
  • 10 ft range
  • Flip-top safety is easy to use, and effectively prevents accidental spraying
  • Pepper spray is derived from natural sources


  • Thumb trigger takes some getting used to
  • Need to fully depress the trigger to get full range spray

4. SABRE Tactical Pepper Gel With Belt Holster

$19.95 in stock
4 new from $19.80
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: May 20, 2024 1:24 am


  • Gel spray (safer than aerosol)
  • Affordable
  • 18-foot spray range


  • No practice canister
  • Possible dripping issues

5. POM Pepper Spray Flip Top Keychain

$12.95 in stock
2 new from $12.95
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: May 20, 2024 1:24 am


  • Powerful spray
  • Easy to carry
  • More effective aerosol design
  • Up to 12 seconds of continuous spray


  • Need to check concentration legality in some states
  • May not always get the color ordered

6. Guard Dog Laser Sight AccuFire Pepper Spray

$11.83 in stock
5 new from $11.83
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: May 20, 2024 1:24 am


  • Protected by the Guard Dog 4 Life program
  • High potency spray
  • Laser sight for easier use
  • Keychain design makes it convenient and portable


  • LED button sometimes sticks
  • Battery for the LED can be a little bulk

7. SABRE RED Compact Pepper Spray with Clip

$9.99 in stock
9 new from $9.99
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: May 20, 2024 1:24 am


  • Convenient without being in the way
  • Can customize color
  • Rigorous quality control and product testing
  • Access to free library of pepper spray training materials


  • Too easy to unlock, should never be stored inside a bag or other container

8. Guard Dog Instafire Runners Pepper Spray

Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: May 20, 2024 1:24 am


  • Lifetime replacement of the spray if used
  • Comfortable to wear while running
  • 12 ft range
  • UV dye for easy identification of sprayed individuals


  • Glove holder may not fit all users
  • Trigger may jam after repeated use

9. Mace Pepper Gun 2.0

$39.99 in stock
4 new from $39.99
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: May 20, 2024 1:24 am


  • Easy to aim
  • Long, 20 ft range
  • Strobe light for alerting others and distracting attackers
  • TSA compliant for air travel (checked baggage)


  • Can be more difficult to carry discreetly
  • More expensive than most pepper sprays

No video, blog, article, virtual instruction or content, no matter how well crafted or presented, can substitute for professional hands-on instruction. Self-defense training, especially training that includes knives, sticks, firearms, and other potentially deadly weapons, should always be undertaken responsibly and ethically, ensuring every available precaution for safety and injury prevention. Information presented herein inevitably reflects the authors, owners and instructors beliefs and experiences under specific circumstances. Any content, instruction, or coaching provided through this website should be used for educational purposes only. Readers and viewers are responsible for knowing and understanding all appropriate local, national and international laws relating to self-defense, reasonable force, and the use of any and all weaponry, acting in accordance with all applicable laws, at all times. None of the following people, places or identities assume any responsibility whatsoever, for the use or misuse of information or instruction obtained from our company Women’s Running Company, LLC, or our website (Runderwomen.com).

  1. […] to isolate yourself or your location Day or night when you are alone you are much more vulnerable. Pepper spray may be your best protection if you do find yourself […]

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