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Best TASER and Stun Guns of 2020

We researched the best stun guns and TASERs to help you find the right one. We also dig into common questions and state laws for extra information you should know before buying one of these self-defense weapons.
Written by | Updated September 3, 2020
Best overall
Vipertek VTS-989 stun gunVipertek VTS-989
  • Easy hand grip
  • Difficult for attackers to grab
  • Easy hand grip
  • Difficult for attackers to grab
Budget pick
Vipertek VTS-880 stun gunVipertek VTS-880
  • Low price
  • Compact size
  • Low price
  • Compact size
Best tactical flashlight
Vipertek VTS-195 stun gunVipertek VTS-195
  • Excellent flashlight
  • Disguise hides true function
  • Excellent flashlight
  • Disguise hides true function

Bottom line: Vipertek is the brand to beat

Our top three picks are from Vipertek, a brand with a strong reputation for quality stun guns. Among these devices, the Vipertek VTS-989 takes the top spot thanks to thoughtful features like a great hand grip and anti-grab electrodes for extra protection against attackers.

We also talked to an expert about stun gun tips and looked into state laws to teach you the basics of stun gun legality (especially since they’re illegal in two states). Read on to learn how stun guns and TASERs are more affordable and lower stakes than purchasing a gun.

Compare the best stun guns

List price*
Carry method
Range
Flashlight
Power source
Best overall
Budget pick
Best tactical flashlight
Best combo pack
Best range
Vipertek VTS-989 Vipertek VTS-880 Vipertek VTS-195 Sabre Self-Defense Kit TASER Pulse+
Vipertek VTS-989 stun gun Vipertek VTS-880 stun gun Vipertek VTS-195 stun gun Sabre Self-Defense Kit TASER Pulse Plus
$24.99 $9.98 $18.98 $24.99 $488.00
Wrist strap, holster Pocket or purse Wrist strap, holster Wrist strap (gun),
belt clip (spray)
Optional holster
Close contact Close contact Close contact Close contact (gun),
Up to 10 ft. (spray)
Up to 15 ft.
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Rechargeable battery Rechargeable battery Rechargeable battery Rechargeable battery CR123A batteries (2)
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon
Read review Read review Read review Read review Read review

*Amazon.com list price as of 09/03/2020 at 4:05 p.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.


Our approach

We researched top stun gun brands using online specifications, product listings, and customer reviews to find our top picks. While we include multiple picks from Vipertek, its pricing and customer satisfaction stood out better than the competition.

Although we focus on stun guns, we made sure to include at least one TASER gun model to show how the two types of products differ. You can learn more about how we review products in our ranking methodology.


Stun gun reviews

1. Vipertek VTS-989: Best overall

Vipertek VTS-989 stun gun

Vipertek VTS-989

The Vipertek VTS-989 is a perfect example of what to expect from a stun gun—we like its handgrip, which makes it easy to hold and use. There’s a handy power button on the side so you can use the device with one hand.

Safety switch

It won’t turn on accidentally, since there’s a safety switch on the other side of the unit that you can also use to turn on the LED flashlight. The rechargeable battery is great for keeping the Vipertek VTS-989 ready for anything.

Pros

  • Easy hand grip
  • Safety switch
  • Difficult for attackers to grab

Cons

  • More expensive than average
  • Larger size

Anti-grab strips

There are two electrodes on the business end of the stun gun to help you make skin contact through clothing for a more effective defense. Alongside the electrodes are two metal strips that shock attackers who are trying to grab it. Even without shocking someone, this thing’s loud sound is an extra layer of intimidation.

Size

While it’s not the smallest stun gun we’ve seen, it’s about the size of a typical smartphone, so you can store it in a bag or pocket. No matter where you store it, we recommend keeping the stun gun in its included holster to prevent the safety switch from moving.

Cost

This is one of the more expensive stun guns on our list, but it’s hard to deny the glowing customer reviews online. We think it’s worth a few extra dollars compared to cheaper models.


2. Vipertek VTS-880: Budget Pick

Vipertek VTS-880 stun gun

Vipertek VTS-880

If you have a small budget, take a look at the Vipertek VTS-880, which costs around $10. For this price, you get a compact unit that won’t take up too much space in your pocket. Even with a small size and a low cost, this stun gun can effectively subdue an attacker.

Built-in charger

We like that you don’t need an extra charging cable for this unit since it has a small plug built into the base. As with any stun gun, you’ll get loud sounds to help deter attackers from getting closer.

Pros

  • Compact size
  • Integrated charging plug
  • Low price

Cons

  • No wrist strap
  • No anti-grab strips

No anti-grab strips

Unlike our top pick, this stun gun is too small for metal strips along the sides to prevent attackers from grabbing the device. Still, the small size won’t stick out of your hand as far, so it’s harder to grab anyway.

No wrist strap

It doesn’t have a wrist strap, so you need to keep the included holster on a belt if you don’t want to carry a bag while running. None of these drawbacks are deal-breakers, especially if you want a reliable, cheap stun gun.

Go even smaller

If a compact size is more important than a lower price, consider spending an extra dollar to buy the Vipertek VTS-881, which has a slightly smaller design.

3. Vipertek VTS-195: Best tactical flashlight

Vipertek VTS-195 stun gun

Vipertek VTS-195

While flashlights are usually a secondary feature on stun guns, the Vipertek VTS-195 does the opposite by taking on the looks and functionality of a tactical flashlight. Because it looks like a flashlight, it’s less likely that an attacker would swipe it right away, giving you more time to defend yourself.

Rechargeable battery

Much like the other Vipertek stun guns we looked at, the VTS-195 comes with a rechargeable battery, so you don’t need to buy replacement batteries.

Pros

  • Better flashlight than other stun guns
  • Disguise hides true function
  • Rechargeable battery

Cons

  • Dedicated flashlights are more durable

Bright flashlight

The flashlight is brighter and more useful than other stun guns, making this a great pick to accompany you on an evening walk. User reviews seem to agree that it’s not going to last as well as a dedicated flashlight, but it can free you from carrying extra items.

In any case, we think the Vipertek VTS-195 is a practical alternative to more purpose-built stun guns.


4. Sabre Self-Defense Kit: Best combo pack

Sabre Self-Defense Kit

Sabre Self-Defense Kit

We thought we’d include the Sabre Self-Defense Kit, since you get two types of self defense for a low price. It comes with a stun gun and a pepper spray. While Vipertek might sell the best stun guns, Sabre dominates our rankings of the best pepper sprays.

Passable stun gun

The stun gun isn’t much different in design from our top pick, but we found a few user reviews saying it wasn’t very sturdy. Still, the product has a lifetime warranty that should cover any manufacturing defects.

Pros

  • Comes with pepper spray
  • Affordable
  • Lifetime warranty on stun gun

Cons

  • Low-quality build

Convenient combo pack

In most cases, we suggest buying your stun gun and pepper spray separately, but the combo pack is a convenient choice if you don’t want to browse pepper spray reviews after an exhausting search to find the right stun gun.

Compared to stun guns, pepper spray is safer than stun guns, legal in more states, and generally more affordable, making it a great alternative. Head over to our pepper spray review to learn why Sabre is our top pick in that category.


5. TASER Pulse+: Best range

TASER Pulse Plus

TASER Pulse+

The TASER Pulse+ is the only proper TASER gun on our list. Unlike stun guns, this unit shoots barbed projectiles up to 15 feet away to keep attackers from getting close, similar to a TASER used by a police officer. The gun-style design is also easy to aim and shocks attackers for 30 seconds to disable them completely.

Smartphone app

And this TASER weapon works with the Noonlight smartphone app to contact the police if you ever fire the weapon. This is a nice safety feature, but it doesn’t overcome the single biggest flaw of this product: its cost.

Pros

  • 15-foot range
  • Easy to aim
  • Smartphone app

Cons

  • Expensive gun
  • Expensive replacement cartridges

Too expensive

Even though this is a consumer-grade product, it’s too expensive for most folks—costing around $490. And to further add insult to injury, its one-time-use cartridges cost more than most stun guns. To put the cost into perspective, imagine having to buy a new Vipertek VTS-989 after every use.

In all fairness, you can still use the TASER Pulse without a projectile cartridge, but it will have the same point-blank range as a typical stun gun.

While the TASER Pulse is the most powerful electric shock weapon on our list, we don’t think it’s worth the cost for most folks.


More products we considered

Guard Dog Security Hornet

The Guard Dog Security Hornet is probably the smallest stun gun we came across during our research—it even fits on a keychain. We say “probably” because there aren’t any dimensions available to compare with other brands. Still, the product photos show a compact device about the size of a Snickers candy bar. It also doesn’t have many customer reviews, making it harder to recommend.

Foxfend Spark

The Foxfend Spark looks like a lipstick from the outside but sports a hidden stun gun. While we like the lid that protects the stun gun from accidental discharge, it might be slower to access during an emergency. It’s also not as compact as a typical lipstick.


Final word

Stun guns and TASERs use a sharp electric shock to deter and subdue attackers, making them an effective alternative to traditional firearms. In particular, stun guns are reusable, affordable, and compact.

Vipertek consistently sells the best stun guns on the market, culminating in the Vipertek VTS-989. Its sturdy hand grip, rechargeable battery, and anti-grab electrodes make for an effective tool to protect yourself wherever you are. It’s one of the more expensive stun guns but still quite affordable compared to pricey TASER guns.

While stun guns provide convenient, chemical-free self defense, they’re not an excuse to slack off on smart security habits. You still need to pay attention to your surroundings and be ready to react in an emergency.

If you’re looking for a place to start improving your safety, most communities offer self-defense courses. For a stun gun alternative, check out our pepper spray review.


Stun gun FAQ

Is there a difference between a stun gun and a TASER?

Yes. Stun guns are close-range devices that require you to be near the person attacking you while using a painful shock to discourage further contact. In contrast, TASERs have a projectile that attaches to targets further away.

While a TASER device is just as painful as a stun gun, it incapacitates muscle functions so an attacker can’t move. TASERs are usually more expensive due to their projectile and incapacitation elements.

Can a stun gun kill you?

Yes. According to Reuters, 49 people died from stun guns in 2018. Here are five factors that can increase the risk of dying by stun gun:

  • Repeated use of TASERs and stun guns
  • Malfunctioning devices
  • Medical conditions
  • Drug use
  • Serious injury from falling to the ground

Call 911

Always call 911 whenever you use an electroshock weapon for self defense. This allows law enforcement to apprehend dangerous people and facilitate medical assistance if necessary.

Can anyone buy a stun gun?

You can buy a stun gun if you are at least 18 years old in most states. Some states have higher age limits and may restrict possession to non-felons.


Stun gun safety tips

We asked safety expert Pete Canavan for some stun gun safety tips:

1. Understand the risk

First, and most critical, is understanding the risk. Stun guns deliver debilitating shocks and cause pain. If you cannot see yourself doing this even in self-defense, consider alternatives like a personal safety app or self-defense weapons or courses.

Any weapon can also be used against you if you’re not prepared to use it. Regularly practice deploying your stun gun so that you’re ready when you need to.

2. Understand how your stun gun works

Some have switches, others have buttons, and some have both. There are dozens of designs available. Some look like brass knuckles, others are also flashlights, and some are traditional hand-held designs.

The end of the many stun guns deliver a charge when pressed against someone, completing the circuit between the short electrodes. Before contact, many of these stun guns also create a bright electrical charge and crackling sound that can serve as a deterrent to would-be attackers.

Some stun guns, like many made by TASER, fire barbed electrodes connected to the gun by wires. The barbs stick to clothing or skin so the charge can be delivered from a distance of 15–20 feet.

Most stun guns will work through light clothing, but keep in mind that heavy or bulky clothing or jackets will reduce their effectiveness.

3. Consider your habits

In your research, take into account your individual habits and situation. If you frequently travel by air, you won’t be able to take a stun gun with you on the plane. Do you rarely carry a bag? A smaller design that fits in a pocket may better serve you than a bulky one.


State-by-state stun gun and TASER laws

Are stun guns and TASERs legal?

Only 48 states legally permit stun guns, while they’re illegal in Hawaii and Rhode Island. In 18 states, you can expect additional ownership restrictions generally based on age, criminal history, and whether you need a permit.

City and county laws

Although stun guns are legal in most states, it's usually good to check if your city and county have any restrictions in place.

While there are no specific federal regulations on stun guns, you can’t put them in carry-on luggage when flying. Even though they’re allowed in checked bags, they need to be inoperable to prevent accidental discharge.

For a quick rundown of state stun gun laws and requirements, check out the table below.

States with stun gun restrictions

State (or territory)
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Connecticut
Delaware
Hawaii
Illinois
Iowa
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
New Mexico
North Carolina
North Dakota
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Stun gun restrictions1, 2
  • Concealed carry requires permit
  • Purchase requires valid government-issued ID
  • Must be 19 or older
  • Must be 19 or older
  • Must be a non-felon
  • In-home defense only
  • Concealed carry requires permit
  • Possession is illegal
  • Possession requires permit: Illinois Firearm Owners Identification (FOID)
  • Purchase requires background check and 24-hour waiting period
  • Must be 21 or older (or have sponsorship of legal guardian if under 21)3
  • Must be a non-felon
  • Possession requires permit
  • Purchase requires background check
  • Possession requires resident firearm license
  • Purchase requires a valid resident firearm license, state ID, and Massachusetts Basic Firearms Safety Course certificate
  • Possession requires permit
  • Purchase requires identity verification and valid concealed carry permit
  • Purchase requires background check
  • Must be 19 or older
  • Possession requires permit
  • Concealed carry requires permit except on own premises or in personal vehicle
  • Concealed carry not permitted outside of own premises
  • Concealed carry requires permit
  • Possession requires permit
  • Possession is illegal
  • Concealed carry requires permit except on own premises
  • Possession requires permit
  • States with no stun gun restrictions

    States with no stun gun restrictions
  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wyoming
  • Contributing writer: Pete Canavan


    Sources

    1. TASER Self-Defense, “State Requirements,” May 2019. Accessed September 3, 2020.
    2. Defense Gears, “Stun Gun Laws: Does Your State Permits You to Use Them?,” August 2020. Accessed September 3, 2020.
    3. Illinois State Police, “Frequently Asked Questions,” October 2014. Accessed September 3, 2020.

    Disclaimer

    *Amazon.com list price as of 09/03/2020 at 4:05 p.m. (MT). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

    Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

    Written by John Carlsen

    John is a technology journalist with over seven years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech. Before joining SafeWise in 2020, John was an editor for Top Ten Reviews specializing in home security and the smart home. Learn more

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