11 Pepper Spray Alternatives To Protect Yourself (Legal)

Pepper spray is a great way to protect yourself. It’s easy to use, and it can give you a quick advantage in any situation. You just need to know how to use it, and where to keep it.

But there are some downsides to using pepper spray:

  • It can be messy and hard to control if you’re not careful!
  • You have to get up close and personal with your attacker in order to use it, which might make you feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
  • It’s illegal in many places, so if you live in one of those places (like the UK), you might not be able to carry pepper spray with you at all times.

If this sounds like something you’re interested in, then read on! We’ve got some great pepper spray alternatives that can help keep you safe without all of these issues!

Pepper Spray Alternatives

Pepper Spray Alternatives

Personal Alarm

There are a few pepper spray alternatives on the market, and the simplest of these options is a personal alarm. Similar to whistles of yesteryear, today’s personal alarms alert others that you’re in distress with a loud, high-pitched noise.

However, today’s alarms are also equipped with extra features such as flashing SOS lights, which can catch an attacker off guard long enough for you to make a quick getaway.

Last update on 2023-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

(Daivat Dholakia | Essenvia)


Stun Gun

Stun Gun

Kristen Bolig, CEO, SecurityNerd recommends that women arm themselves with at least one safety device at all times, whether that be pepper spray or something else.

A stun gun is a great option for women to carry with them. If someone physically confronts you, you can use your stun gun to deliver a high voltage shock. It can bring even the strongest attacker to their knees at a moment’s notice.

In most states, you can buy one of these easily without needing a permit, but some places do have restrictions on where you can carry them, so make sure to read up on the requirements for your state and city.

Women should also have a safety app on their phones for their protection. My favorite safety app for women is bSafe. This app is compatible with both Androids and iPhones and can make sure that someone knows your location at all times.

If you’re alone, you can use the app to have a friend monitor your location until you’re safe. It even allows you to activate an emergency alarm with nothing more than the sound of your voice.

Last update on 2023-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

(Kristen Bolig | SecurityNerd)


Anti-pest Spray

While pepper spray can be extremely useful in terms of self-defense, there are other alternatives that may be preferred by some.

Hair spray and anti-pest spray may be more accessible as household products you can take in your purse when you need them. Just make sure you know how to use it prior to deploying it, so you aren’t nervous or afraid when the time comes!

Last update on 2023-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

(Christen Costa | Gadget Review)


Hornet Spray

This may sound strange to some people, but an excellent alternative to pepper spray for self-defense is hornet spray.

Hornet spray can spray up to 20 feet, meaning that you can shoot from a reasonable distance away, disorienting the attacker and giving you more time to escape.

I remember there was a time when I was living by myself, and I wasn’t really comfortable with having other types of weapons, but I knew I needed something as a single woman. I remember speaking with a friend about it, and she informed me that her uncle, who was a retired police officer, told her that if she had nothing else, keep hornet spray. I thought it was crazy at first, but I quickly understood that it could be very useful for a woman.

It’s not the smallest thing to keep in your purse, but I do keep them near my bed and in my car so I will always be prepared. What I love is that you can go to any store and purchase this spray, and it’s usually pretty affordable.

Last update on 2023-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

(Julia Bobak | Home Grounds)


Punch Ring

My go-to pepper spray alternative is a punch ring, which is basically a type of small, concealable single knuckle-duster that is ridged.

I pack it in my checked luggage and then put it on a keychain once I’ve arrived. It’s not some crazy-looking self-defense weapon, so you’re not going to raise any eyebrows, but I definitely wouldn’t want to be hit with it.

Let me share a story:

So I was stuck in Colombia during the pandemic and I was walking home from the grocery store I went to near my apartment. It was just before sunset, so still light out, but getting dark and I did something foolish: I decided to deviate from my normal route that evening because the main avenue looked a bit crowded. The street I chose to walk down was much less trafficked and I knew the risk I was taking, but decided to try it anyways.

About five minutes into my walk, I noticed a guy walking parallel to me on the other side of the street. First bad sign. A few seconds later he crossed over to my side. Another bad sign. Luckily he was in front of me still, but his body language was erratic and full of red flags and on the first alleyway we passed, he ducked in. My adrenaline started to pump because I was certain he was going to wait for me to pass so that he could emerge behind me and that’s exactly what he did.

He waited for me to pass and came out behind me a few seconds later and maintained some distance while he sized me up. People get robbed (and killed) quite often in Colombia, and the violence had increased a lot during the pandemic because people were a lot more desperate, so I was really nervous.

I knew I had my punch ring in my pocket, and while I really didn’t want to have to use it, I also wanted to avoid mugging/stabbing/etc. so I figured my best bet would be to signal to him that it would be potentially dangerous for him to try to mug me.

I glanced over my shoulder as I walked and made eye contact with him so that he knew that I knew what was going on. I then turned back around and continued walking, but reached into my pocket very conspicuously and slipped my punch ring on my right hand and then left my arm hanging at my side. I walked a bit more and then glanced back to check how far behind me he was. He continued to follow me for another 10 seconds or so, but thankfully he decided to cross back to the other side of the street and turn back.

I obviously can’t say for sure whether he would have backed off if I’d had the ring or not, but just knowing I have a deterrent makes me feel much better when I’m by myself in potentially sketchy places.

Last update on 2022-05-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

(Alex Gillard | Nomad Nature Travel)


Safety Pins

Safety pins are the best thing if you are looking for something tiny yet effective that you can easily carry but works like magic in case of self-defense. And in case you can’t find it, use board pins. Make sure the tip is sharp so that you can use it as a tool for survival.

With safety pins, since it’s made of metal, the tip is sharp and can be used to poke your enemy. And because of its size, it’s easy to carry it in your hands, purse, pockets, and even on the back of your phone cover. I will suggest buying the medium or big size to make it more effective.

The best thing about it is that it’s cheap. Hence, no matter how much money you earn, anyone can afford it which makes it a really good alternative to pepper spray. The enemy won’t even guess that you’re coming with this, and one scratch gives them a pinching pain which gives you time to run away and ask for help. Just make sure to be careful with this as it might hurt you if you do not carry it properly.

In case someone catches you, they can’t even do anything since it’s a normal household product.

Last update on 2023-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

(Dave Cimon | Costumes Heaven)


Nail Cutter

If you see a typical old-style nail cutter, you’ll see three long blades in between for different use. Well, you might have not used all these for cleaning the nails but you can surely use them as a great alternative to pepper spray.

The nail cutter with three blades comes with different sharpness and thickness. This gives you options to choose when defending yourself.

Plus, it’s easy to use and can be kept in hand easily. A person can’t carry a knife in their bag for self-defense all the time, but the nail cutter works like a mini knife.

Although, it won’t hurt the person much as it’s not that sharp but it is enough to give you a chance to escape. That shocking pinching pain makes the person feel little pain and while they’re dwelling on that pain, you can easily hit them in the face with your elbow and run for the escape.

The price of a nail cutter is affordable and it’s readily available. Make sure to buy a good quality one that has little sharp blades and is not too blunt as it won’t work at all. Also, you can rub it aggressively against a rough area to sharpen the edges more.

Last update on 2023-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

(Robert Welch | Projector1)


Hair Spray

Pepper spray is legal to use in all the states in the US- but, there are legal complexities about carrying it with you and purchasing it, meaning many women resort to alternatives.

I have found that the best alternative to pepper spray is hairspray – it has a similar stinging, burning sensation when it comes into contact with the face and eyes, and using it in self-defense will definitely deter any attacker.

It is cheap. Easy to conceal, and you won’t run into any legal issues with carrying and purchasing it, even if you are under 18, or a convicted felon.

I will advise that you aim for the eyes with hairspray for maximum efficacy, but just the act of using a spray is likely to cause an attacker to run.

Last update on 2023-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

(Matthew | Legionary)


Tactical Torch

Tactical Torch

In certain countries, pepper spray isn’t legal which may be worrying if you’re concerned about your personal safety. One alternative is to carry a tactical flashlight which has a similar level of effectiveness when it comes to self-defense.

Basically, a tactical torch has two defensive benefits.

The first is that it can flash a bright light into an attacker’s eyes which can temporarily blind them. Some of these flashlights are incredibly powerful and should give you enough time to escape a potentially dangerous scenario.

Secondly, they can also be used to physically strike an attacker. This is because these torches are fitted with serrated edges. Obviously, if you got struck by one of these in the face then it could cause severe damage.

The main benefit of carrying a tactical torch is that like pepper spray, they’re easy to carry, affordable and in most parts of the world, they’re also perfectly legal.

This is why I always carry one when traveling. Thankfully, I haven’t had to use my combat torch yet but just carrying it makes me feel more at ease. Hopefully, I never have to use it either, but I’d rather be prepared and feel secure, as opposed to being vulnerable due to being unarmed.

Last update on 2023-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

(OliverDouglas | Budo Dragon)


Birdie Alarms

Birdie is the perfect alternative to pepper spray!

Within the last year or so, I came across the birdie alarms. Birdie alarms are a keychain to hook onto your car keys. It has a button that you press that makes an extremely loud noise.

It is meant to be used when you’re feeling like you may be in danger and you’re in public and the noise can attract others to help you or to scare off someone that may be threatening you.

I recently moved to the city of Chicago and bought one right before I moved, as I was worried about safety. Fortunately, I have never had to use my birdie, but I am glad I have it. I also got one for both of my roommates that I moved in with. Thus far, none of us have had to use them, but it gives me comfort knowing that I always have it on me! 

Last update on 2023-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

(Lexi Cederholm | Supplement Warehouse)



Kubaton, also known as a self-defense keychain can be used to defend yourself from attackers. It is a small weapon with a handle and a metal tip. The metal tip can be used to strike, poke, or jab at the attacker’s vital areas such as the eyes, ears, nose, and throat.

The Kubaton is very easy to use and does not require much strength or training to use it effectively in self-defense situations. It is more effective than using your hands or feet because it has a longer reach than your limbs. You can use it from different angles and positions while protecting your body from harm.

Kubatons are easy to carry around as they are lightweight and can be easily concealed under clothing or in bags without attracting any attention from others who may try to take them away from you against your will during an attack scenario.

In addition, they are inexpensive compared with other self-defense weapons available on the market today.

Kubatons are a weapon, so they cannot be taken on board commercial airplanes. However, once you learn the basics, you’ll see how you can use virtually any long, sturdy rod of similar dimensions, for instance, an aluminum tactical pen (which is allowed on airplanes).

Last update on 2023-10-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Other Recommendations

Martial Art Skills

Benefits and Risks of Martial Arts Classes for Teens

There are many alternatives to pepper spaying in a world that needs everyone to be combat-ready. One alternative I’ve used was combating the person using the martial art karate skill I learnt.

The usage of this skill allows me to be calculative with the fist of the attacker and the ability to prevent the hitting which will create an opportunity to escape. Once I’m able to avoid the fist, I will hit the person and find my way immediately before he regains his consciousness.

This particular day, I was able to prevent this insulting abuse. I knew I couldn’t fight the person but I had to quickly look around to get an object I could attack him with and immediately I saw a mirror behind the person. I attacked him immediately and I was able to get to the mirror. I broke the mirror on the floor and I quickly ran out. He couldn’t step on the broken glasses.

The tip is, always be alert at anything you can fight with and use it at the slightest opportunity and I would advise that you learn any of the martial art for self-defense.

(Emma Gordon | USSalvageYards)


Stop Being Polite

The best pepper spray alternative – and the most important thing you can do to stay safe – is to stop being so polite. Most assaults aren’t full-blown attacks from strangers who jump out of the bushes. Rather, most assaults start with men gradually crossing boundaries.

Women are conditioned to put other people’s feelings ahead of their own. So, when a man starts crossing these boundaries, we often don’t say anything because we don’t want to be “rude.”

Like when a man sits too close to you at the bus stop and you don’t say anything. Next thing you know, he is casually touching your legs. And, if you still don’t say anything, it can turn into an attack.

Thus, it’s important to IMMEDIATELY say something when you feel uncomfortable. Ignore that voice in your head saying, “This is all a misunderstanding” or “I don’t want to come across as crazy.”

This is how I’ve managed to hitchhike in dozens of countries around the world without having any incidents. The minute the drive starts pushing boundaries, I make sure he knows that I won’t allow those boundaries to be crossed!

(Diane Vukovic | Primalsurvivor.net)



There are a lot of options out there for non-lethal self-defense, and they can all be helpful in different situations. We hope this article has helped you narrow down your search so that you can find the best defense option for your needs!

Remember that each of these alternatives has its pros and cons. Some are more affordable than others, while some are more effective than others. You need to make sure that you do your research before investing in one of these alternatives.

It’s also important that you know how each one works and what they can do for you. Make sure that you understand how they work before buying one of them so that you don’t end up with something that doesn’t work as well as expected.

If you have any questions about any of these products, please don’t hesitate to ask! We want you to be as informed as possible and make sure that you get what works best for YOU and YOUR needs.

Now that you know all about the pepper spray alternatives, it’s time to go out and get yourself some!

And don’t forget to check out our other blogs on topics like:

37 Brilliant Safety Tips For A Woman Living Alone

What to Do if Someone Is Following You While Walking?

Do Muggers Take Phones? (We Asked A Mugger!)

PS: Thank you so much to everybody who shared their insights on pepper spray alternatives! We appreciate your input—it helps us make sure we’re providing readers with the best content possible.

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Edward Clark
Edward Clark, with 15 years of hands-on experience, is a distinguished expert in smart locks and home security systems. He holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering with a focus on Cybersecurity and is a member of the Electronic Security Association (ESA). His credentials include certifications from ASIS International, IAPP, CompTIA, NTS, and CEDIA. With expertise spanning risk management, electronic security, and data privacy, he's been featured in The Guardian, Forbes, Wired, and more. Edward's mission: guiding individuals toward secure homes using the latest technologies.

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