The Best Personal Safety Devices for Every Situation

We've considered different threats you might face and rounded up the best products to help you prepare for anything life throws at you.
Best self-defense weapon
vipertek stun gun flashlight
VIPERTEK Stun Gun and Strobe Light
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Disorients attacker
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Inflicts pain
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Attaches to belt
Best pepper spray
Sabre Red Pepper Gel
Sabre Red Pepper Gel
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Disorients attacker
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Inflicts pain
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Attaches to belt
Best personal safety alarm
SL Force personal alarm
SL Force Alarm
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Disorients attacker
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Doesn't inflict pain
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Clips to keychain
Best kubotan
Atomic Bear Tactical Pen
The Atomic Bear Tactical Pen
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Doesn't disorient attacker
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Inflicts pain
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Attaches to belt
Best personal safety app
Noonlight
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Doesn't disorient attacker
  • Icon Cons  Light
    Doesn't inflict pain
  • Icon Pros  Light
    Works with Apple Watch

If you're being followed or threatened, you want self-defense gear that's easy to reach, easy to use, and proven effective—and these gadgets fit the bill.

We chose the VIPERTEK VTS-T03 Stun Gun as our top pick because it has a strobe light that disorients attackers and gives you time to run away. But if that doesn't work, you can effortlessly bring the attacker to their knees with an electric zap. 



Compare personal security devices 

Device
List price
Works from a distance
Batteries
Learn more

Best self-defense weapon

VIPERTEK Stun Gun and Strobe Light

Icon Yes  LightYes (strobe light)
Rechargeable

Best pepper spray

Sabre Red Pepper Gel

Sabre Red Pepper Gel

Icon Yes  LightYes, 18 ft.
None

Best safety siren

SL Force Alarm

Icon Yes  LightYes
3 LR44

Best kubotan

The Atomic Bear Tactical Pen

Icon No  LightNo
None

Best personal safety app

Noonlight

Icon Yes  LightYes
Requires a charged smartphone

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Personal safety device reviews

1. VIPERTEK Stun Gun: Best self-defense weapon 

Best self-defense weapon

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The VIPERTEK stun gun is only a little bigger than a magic marker but stops attackers in their tracks with its bright light and electrical popping. If that isn’t enough, the high voltage shock from the VIPERTEK will buy you time to strike and escape.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Serious self-defense tool
Pro Bullet Strobe light
Pro Bullet Rechargeable batteries
Pro Bullet Doubles as a flashlight
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Not for kids
Con Bullet Not allowed everywhere

This rechargeable stun gun is small enough to fit in your purse or pocket and is made of tough aircraft grade aluminum. It doubles as a 350 lumen flashlight for other emergencies too.

Make sure it's legal where you live

Stun guns aren’t a great self-defense choice for everyone. They can be dangerous and shouldn’t fall into the hands of kids, so you’ll have to be careful where you hide it.

Products like these are considered weapons in some states, so check your local laws to find out more. Hawaii, New York, and Rhode Island have banned the devices, and restrictions apply in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Mississippi.

But if you want a heavy duty, multipurpose stun gun to keep in your purse or car, the VIPERTEK flashlight is an affordable choice.

"I own two of them! These tactical flashlights have a strobe function. These are SUPER bright, and the strobing light has a disorienting effect on an attacker who is blinded and can't see you clearly. This gives you precious seconds to deploy a secondary weapon such as pepper spray. If they manage to get to you, then the stun gun feature on the Vipertek is great." —Pete Canavan, IT Security and Personal Safety Expert

2. Sabre Red Pepper Gel: Best pepper spray

Best pepper spray

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Sabre Red Pepper Gel is our favorite pepper spray because it travels quite a distance (up to 18 feet) and is less likely to blow back into your face thanks to its gel consistency. 

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Reaches up to 18 ft.
Pro Bullet Contains 18 bursts per canister
Pro Bullet Gel unlikely to blow back at you
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet No keychain loop
Con Bullet May drip

We also like the size of the Sabre Red Pepper Gel. At 1.8 oz, it's one of the largest on the market. It straps into a handy belt holster so you can keep it nearby.

For keychain options, check out our pepper spray guide.

"Improvised distance weapons you might already have with you, such as hair spray and perfume, can be sprayed in the eyes of an attacker to blind them so you can make your escape. Pens, pencils, manicure scissors, nail files and other objects can be used effectively to injure or disable an attacker so you can escape. " —Pete Canavan, IT Security and Personal Safety Expert​

3. SL Force Alarm: Best personal security alarm

Best personal alarm

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The little SL Force Alarm looks like your average key fob but has the alarm power of a jackhammer. This device has a small key built in that sounds the personal alarm. Just pull out the key to activate a 130 dB siren. The locked trigger is handy because it prevents false alarms.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet 130 dB alarm
Pro Bullet Carabiner and keychain
Pro Bullet Built-in flashlight
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Annoying, but not threatening

The fob has detachable keychain clips and a carabiner for bags, keys, purses, and belt loops. Three batteries are included in your purchase to power the device.

The large button on the SL Force turns on a small LED flashlight. It’s not heavy duty, but it comes in handy for night walks with your dog or finding your keys in the dark.

The SL Force is a smart gift for new college students, friends who walk or run at night, or aging parents. Attackers get a surprising earful, and you get time to escape.

"Personal safety alarms are good for potentially scaring away an attacker for alerting others to a problem. But a determined assailant must be dealt with decisively and swiftly. When you simply have no choice but to engage an attacker up close and personal, that is when kubotans and other weapons must be deployed." —Pete Canavan, IT Security and Personal Safety Expert​

4. The Atomic Bear Tactical Pen: Best kubotan

 *Amazon.com price as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

The Atomic Bear is a convertible tactical safety device or kubotan that morphs into an actual working pen and glass breaker.

The sturdy aluminum casing protects the pen on one side and forms a hard point on the other. The tungsten glass breaker can shatter glass to get you out of a car or building in a jiffy. It also helps you jab an attacker's sensitive spots with even greater striking power than your bare fists.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Practical and useful
Pro Bullet Multipurpose tool
Pro Bullet No batteries or phones required
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Not for kids
Con Bullet Doesn't prevent an attacker from getting close

The tip is also strong enough to engrave wood, metal, and glass. It can also open boxes (you know, for gift exchange emergencies).

It comes with a carrying case that would make G.I. Joe jealous, spare ink cartridges, and access to an online self defense class. All of these features are awesome for adults of all ages, but we wouldn’t recommend this device for kids.

5. Noonlight: Best personal safety app

Best personal safety app

Noonlight turns your smartphone or smartwatch into an emergency button. If you feel uneasy, open the app and keep your finger pressed on the badge symbol. If you release your finger and don't enter your PIN within 10 seconds, the app kicks into action.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Easy to use
Pro Bullet Extra features in the app
Pro Bullet Affordable
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Doesn't work without cell coverage

Dispatchers will text and call you to see if you're okay or to gather more info about your emergency while first responders head in your direction.

Even if you can't respond, dispatchers track your phone's location and send help. 

You can also use the app to leave a "bread crumb" trail of who you're meeting and where you're going, which adds an extra level of safety to online dating or meeting someone for a Facebook Marketplace exchange.

Learn more in our full Noonlight review.

Other personal safety devices worth a look

We found a few other personal safety devices worth your attention.

If you like the idea of the Atomic Bear tactical pen but wish it attached to your keys, try one of these self-defense keychain kubotans. We also like these everyday carry starter kits, which include pouches for pepper spray and hand sanitizer.

The Elzama Pocket Scarf has a hidden pocket to keep your wallet, passport, or cash safe while traveling. It’s stylish (especially with an Invisawear bracelet) and is a good travel companion when venturing alone or abroad. We also recommend keeping a personal first aid kit in your car or bag for emergencies. You never know when you or a passenger will need assistance.

The Addalock door lock plays offense as a portable lock for hotels, rentals, dorms, and Airbnbs. If you travel often or live alone, having a secure lock on your door is important. It doesn’t work on all doors, but it’s a handy device to prevent intruders and keep unwanted visitors out.

Final word

Personal safety doesn’t just mean buying cool gadgets. Practicing personal safety can mean anything from buckling up to creating an emergency kit at home. The best way to prevent an emergency is using common sense.

And while self-defense gear is cool, it should never be considered a toy. These are products we hope you never have to use. If you want something for self-defense, choose something powerful and portable that will get you out of a situation fast and on your way to help.

Personal security device FAQ 

The FBI reported over 282,061 robberies in 2018.1 While 280K is a big number, there’s good news. The rate for 2018 is 12% lower than 2017 and 12.6% lower than 2014. 

So while robberies do happen, the rate has dropped over the last few years. 

Even if you don’t run into threats in your own neighborhood, carrying a personal safety device can help in those unexpected emergencies. 

We hope this never happens to you, but if it does, remember to keep your cool and don’t panic. If you’re in public, make lots of noise. Yelling “No,” or “Stop” repeatedly will catch attention from anyone nearby. But if that doesn’t work, a personal alarm keychain like the SL Force Alarm can scare off attackers and signal for help from others. 

If you’re alone, defend yourself, get away as fast as possible, then get help. You can find self-defense videos and tutorials to help you prepare.

The internet is full of self-defense classes and tutorials from trained instructors. You can also find classes from local gyms and martial arts establishments where you can learn in person.

 

 

How we reviewed personal safety devices

While all the personal safety devices we chose are unique, they’re each portable, multipurpose, and effective against attackers. We talked to our personal safety advisor Pete Canavan to understand what makes personal safety devices so useful.

We considered factors like batteries and apps that might cause problems in an emergency.

If an attacker strikes, the best self defense gadgets will buy you time to escape and get help. We included tools like stun guns, but they shouldn’t be your first line of defense.

Learn more about how we conduct reviews like this one from our methodology page.

Related articles on SafeWise


Sources

  1. FBI, "Robbery," 2018. Accessed September 10, 2021.

Disclaimer 

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.

Katie McEntire
Written by
Katie McEntire
As a renter, pet-owner, and woman living alone, Katie McEntire takes safety seriously. She’s tested devices like pet cameras, home security systems, and GPS trackers in her own home and devices in the name of safety. In addition to testing, writing, and reviewing for SafeWise, she also makes videos for the site’s YouTube channel. She’s been featured on publications like TechGuySmartBuy, Forbes, Healthy Moms, and Digital Care. Katie has a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Writing from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She’s held previous writing positions at Overstock.com and Top Ten Reviews.

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  • A personal alarm is a more recent personal safety option. The piercing alarm sounds hundreds of feet distant when you click the button on the keychain-sized device. Not only are personal alarms varied in features and functionality, but they’re also legal in every state, unlike other personal defense items.

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