Best Bear Sprays
Have you ever invested in a product hoping that the need would never present itself to utilize it? It sounds asinine, does it not? Probably 99 percent of the time, this is utterly foolish. However, that one percent needs to be addressed and when you are in the market for something such as bear spray, it becomes clear that maybe there is a product that the aforementioned questions are alluding to. It is fair to assume that in your lifetime, you would be content with never confronting a bear in their environment. The risk is always there, though, if you travel in wild environments and you need to protect yourself in the rare case a bear challenges you. Given the market size for bear sprays, which is not nearly as big as say smartwatches, it would be wise to go with our top six or seven picks for ultimate safety.
- Counter Assault
- Large capacity
- Continuous spray
- Field tested
- Great coverage
- Mace Brand
- Finger loop handle
- 2% capsaicin
10 Best Bear Sprays
This has the capability of spraying up to 32 feet but as its description indicates that it has a range of 12 to 32 feet. In addition to this, when you spray the fog it acts as a barrier when the bear charges at you.
At 10.2 ounces of total capacity, this is one of the largest quantities in the world.
To minimize the risk of accidental discharge, which is vital as every ounce of spray you have is important, there is a safety cap integrated into the can. Also, this bear spray comes equipped with a free holster. But, as some have noted, it is a bit tight which makes it slightly difficult to remove the actual can.
Strength and Effectiveness
With a strength of two percent, in terms of its capsaicinoid strength, this is one of the most effective sprays on the planet. Also, there are actual stories that have circulated online about this specific formula saving the lives of people during a grizzly bear attack.
A continuous spray of just over nine seconds may not seem that impressive at first but when compared to the competition, it is mightily impressive. This should provide more than enough time to deter a bear.
Despite the fact that the included holster holds the actual can of spray too tightly, this is nearly a perfect product. If a bear were to ever actually threaten you and challenge you, this is the spray you would want by your side.
- It has actually saved people in the past from grizzly attacks
- With 10.2 ounces, it has one of the largest capacities
- Has a continuous spray of over nine seconds
- The holster is a bit tight which can compromise how quickly you can pull out the spray
Without a doubt, the Frontiersman Bear Spray has one of the most impressive ranges and barriers of any of its kinds. This includes a maximum distance of 35 feet and a barrier that will produce 40 percent more coverage than other brands.
There are different sizes of the same spray available. However, this particular version has 9.2 ounces of spray, which is fairly standard.
Thanks to the included chest holster, at a moment’s notice, this spray is available right at your fingertips. Additionally, it has glow-in-the-dark safety making it ideal for nighttime use.
Strength and Effectiveness
Two percent major capsaicinoids is the maximum amount of stopping power that the EPA allows and that is exactly what is present here. It has also been field tested and is strength guaranteed by the SABRE in-house HPLC Lab.
Up until this point, this spray has been essentially flawless. Unfortunately, it stops here as this can will empty out in about five seconds, which is not an ideal amount of time.
In terms of performance, there is not a better bear spray available on the market right now. Problem is, its one drawback could be considered a big one and may deter you to the number one spray on this list.
- It is field tested and has been strength guaranteed
- Due to the chest holster, it is always within reach
- Has the best coverage of any bear spray
- Empties out in just five seconds
Mace Brand Pepper 35
As previously mentioned, the spray coverage of this brand is more than impressive. Its 35-foot range is proof of that enough but factor in that it is designed as a magnum fogger, and you have a combination for success.
Mace advertises their bear spray to hold 260 grams, which equates to just over nine ounces.
The most notable design feature is the finger loop with a safety clip. This makes it ideal to carry around but for long trips, you may want an additional holster.
Strength and Effectiveness
If you were to make direct contact to a bear’s face, or a human’s for that matter, it would immediately cause their eyes to slam shut and they would begin to feel a burning sensation. With a two percent capsaicinoid concentration strength, the effects should last up to 45 minutes.
As this will empty out in just six seconds, you do not have a lot of time to be inaccurate. Ensure you have a direct line at your target, otherwise, you way waste the solution.
As with the last bear spray, this is really only hindered by its spray duration. However, granted you are not aimlessly attempting to spray your target, it should still be enough.
- Features a spray that acts like a fogger and reaches up to 35 feet
- Has an integrated finger loop handle with a safety clip
- Contains two percent capsaicin concentration
- It empties out in just six seconds which means you need to be somewhat accurate
Udap 18HP Super
This has been designed to spray a maximum of 35 feet. All in the meanwhile, the spray acts as a fiery fog and will shield you during a potential attack.
Indeed, you will not find a larger bear spray, that is EPA registered, on the market right now. It holds 13.4 ounces of solution for you to utilize.
A bit unfortunate is the design of the trigger. Once you press it down, you must manually depress it to cut off the spray. Thus, it makes firing in bursts extremely difficult.
Strength and Effectiveness
To join the ranks of the elite bear sprays, in terms of their strength and effectiveness, this sports a two percent major capsaicinoid concentration.
At seven seconds, there is not a lot of time you can waste when shooting this spray. In conjunction with the trigger design, think of this more as a one-shot spray.
Despite its massive capacity, the trigger makes it difficult to get the most out of it. With a better design, it could have easily climbed higher on this list. But, it is what it is and that is still an excellent option.
- Has a capacity of 13.4 ounces
- Can shoot up to 35 feet
- The fog that is produced is much denser than other brands
- The design of the trigger makes burst firing very difficult
The maximum range you can expect this spray to reach is 30 feet. However, due to the design, to fire at the bear optimally you will need to be accurate as it produces a strong, single shot.
At only 7.9 ounces, this is a bit smaller to the rest of the competition and it goes without saying that accuracy is key.
To act as a nice travel companion, a holster is included with this canister. In addition to this, it is also equipped with a glow-in-the-dark safety cap to allow visibility at night.
Strength and Effectiveness
Besides its two percent capsaicin concentration, which you already know is the standard-bearer, this formula has been tested to work in zero-degree temperatures. Plus, it causes immediate irritation to the bear’s eyes, nose, and lungs.
Because it works as a single shot as opposed to a wide radius of fog, this will realistically last around four seconds. One user claimed that this was surprisingly long-lasting for them, though.
It is never a bad thing to give the little brother a chance. However, with this sprayer, you need to ensure that you produce a direct shot to the bear’s face and if you do that, you are golden.
- Features a formula that is non-lethal, EPA-registered and tested to zero degrees Fahrenheit
- Has a strength of two percent capsaicin concentration
- Can spray up to 30 feet
- It only lasts for four seconds which is under expert’s recommendations
- Due to the design of the trigger, it is hard to perform burst fire
As you will find out when you actually use this bear spray or any other brand, certain factors, such as the current weather outdoors, will affect the actual range of the spray. As such, expect anywhere from 15 to 20 feet.
This falls right in the middle of the pack, as compared to its competition, with a total capacity of nine ounces.
While there is an included nylon holster with a Velcro closure, the convenience ends there. The canister is not easy to release safety and as such, you may end up accidentally spraying yourself.
Strength and Effectiveness
When it comes to getting the job done, few do it better than this spray. Because it is registered with the EPA to repel all species of bears, it is an ideal solution for black bears and grizzlies alike.
One user pointed out that this has a spray time of approximately nine seconds. As you have seen thus far, that is a strong amount of time.
Once again, one design flaw brings the total quality of this product down. Everything from the spray duration to the strength is above-average. However, its difficult to release system can cause issues.
- Six years of rigorous testing was conducted
- It is not flammable and does not contain ozone-depleting substances
- It is EPA registered as a repellent against all species of bear
- Due to the release, you could end up accidentally spraying yourself
Just as the spray that preceded it, this has a range of 15 to 20 feet. In terms of how it shoots, it lets off a shotgun-cloud pattern as a potential barrier.
As you have come to expect at this point, this canister holds nine ounces of solution which puts it right up there with most bear sprays on the market.
One important fact to bring to your attention is this does not come with a holster and if you want a feasible way to carry this around, it is highly recommended that you invest in one.
Strength and Effectiveness
This specific formula is designed to penetrate the wettest of fur but you need to make sure you hit the bear directly in the face. If it attacks you, the 10-foot diameter of pepper will envelop it.
If sprayed in short bursts, it is more than reasonable to expect around nine seconds of total time.
As one customer brought to people’s attention, this specific bear spray contains chemicals that have been known to be carcinogenic. So, it is quite effective at deterring a bear attack, but you may want to be careful to not expose yourself to it.
- The fogger dispenses a 10-foot diameter of pepper
- Holds nine ounces of spray
- Can be sprayed in short bursts and should last around nine total seconds
- Does not come with a holster for carrying
- Some of the chemicals used in this formula have been known to be carcinogenic
Mace Police Strength
This is indeed a sprayer, but it accomplishes it with a gun. Thanks to the point-and-shoot accuracy, and its range of 20 feet, you can deliver a powerful stream to the target’s face.
After one of the cartridges runs out, you can merely re-load it with another one. Each cartridge has around one fluid once so you may need more than one.
Due to the UV dye, there will be an invisible marker that is left on the target. This can lead law-enforcement to identify an attacker.
Strength and Effectiveness
Mace integrates a 10 percent OC pepper formula and is derived directly from hot peppers. Basically, this substance will cause a burning sensation to the eyes, skin, and throat upon contact.
With one cartridge, you could get up to seven sprays. Again, they are interchangeable so the second you run out, re-load for up to seven more shots.
Because this is a gun, be careful when carrying it. This could be suitable for a tamer species of bear where you have time to re-load multiple cartridges. However, in intense situations, it may be a little risky.
- Uses the same ingredients as law enforcement agencies
- You can refill the gun with easy-to-load cartridges
- The OC pepper formula causes intense burning upon contact
- The gun itself is quite large to carry
- The cartridges are very small and you need a few just to learn how to use it
While some may prefer a steady stream of fog, this instead shoots a thick spray that can reach up to 18 feet. What is nice is that due to the thickness, there is less of a chance it will blow back in your face.
With a capacity of only 1.6 ounces, you should either carry an additional spray or be prepared to shoot with the utmost accuracy.
To prevent accidental spraying, there is a flip-top safety cap. In addition, there is an LED light for illumination at night.
Strength and Effectiveness
Just like their spray gun, a 10 percent OC pepper formula was utilized for this product. Once again, this will cause an immediate burning sensation upon impact.
Despite its small size, it is still impressive that you can get up to 20 bursts from this sprayer, which should last several seconds.
Similarly, to the last bear spray from Mace, this could be an excellent spare option. For example, if one of the main bear sprays was not suitable to bring the beast down and you needed additional firepower.
- Features a pepper formula that is highly effective
- Thanks to the UV dye, an invisible maker will be left on the target
- Has a flip-top safety cap to prevent accidental spraying
- It tends to leak from the nozzle
- Shoots a glob of gel and is not a steady stream
This provides a powerful punch in a small package. It is advertised to stop a bear from over 10 feet away.
Again, because of its small capacity at just 0.5 ounces, this is another bear spray that would be suitable as an extra defense against a raging bear.
Besides the integrated switch that prevents accidental use, this comes with a handy keychain attachment to enable a more intuitive way to carry it.
Strength and Effectiveness
Thanks to the UV ingredient that has been added in this formula, the bear that you spray this with will be left with a very unpleasant feeling.
In a matter of mere moments, with around 12 shots to its name, you could decimate this bottle.
Depending on the species of bear, this bear spray can actually be a feasible solution. However, if you are worried about encountering grizzlies or polar bears, something more substantial would be better.
- The integrated switch prevents accidental use
- Its formula has a UV ingredient to leave a lasting impression
- Comes with a keychain attachment
- Only holds 0.5 ounces which is very minute
- Its black exterior makes it impossible to see at night
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
Its Range and Coverage
Just because you are preparing yourself to thwart off a potential bear attack does not indicate that you want to get up, close, and personal with them. Ideally, you would want to fend them off from a reasonable distance and this is exactly where the range comes into play. For each individual bear spray, they will have a maximum advertised range that they can achieve. However, sometimes, manufacturers will state that their spray will reach 15 to 20 feet, for example. The reason for this is depending on the weather outdoors, the actual range can fluctuate a bit.
While the range itself is certainly vital, as the farther you can be away from a savaged animal the better, the coverage is also important. The main point to analyze is how the canister will spray. Is it designed to do so in a narrow trajectory or does it provide a barrier around the area that you shoot it at? If it is designed by the latter’s standards, you technically provide yourself with an additional layer of protection if the initial spray does not get the job done.
Its Total Capacity
One of the biggest drawbacks for bear sprays, in general, is that they are not made to hold that much solution. In fact, the largest bear spray that is EPA registered on the market is only 13.4 ounces, which is not even a pound. As such, do not go in expecting to find bear spray cans with a higher quantity than that. After all, even the 13.4-ounce bear spray is an exception to the rule. For the most part, you will find bear sprays to come with roughly nine ounces of fluid.
The question is, is this enough to protect yourself from a potential bear attack? If it was not, then manufacturers would provide you with more, simple as that. Here is what you need to remember, as there is not an abundance of solution that you are working with, you must be meticulous with what you have. Thus, the smaller the quantity the more careful you need to be. Also, one last point, with some of the lower bear sprays on this list that hold under two ounces, it is best to use those for emergency backups in case your main spray runs out (assuming you are not dead at that point).
Clearly, convenience is already at the forefront with bear sprays as a tool that is used to protect yourself from a 500-pound bear is quite convenient. But, along with bear sprays oftentimes comes a plethora of convenient features. One of which is a safety cap integrated on the top of the can that prevents accidental discharge. As was stated before, literally every single ounce of spray you have is precious and you want to conserve as much as you possibly can. Another feature to look out for would be if it comes with a holster.
These are nice as they provide you with a convenient and feasible way to transport the can. Clearly, you do not want to hold it in your hand the entire time as it is not as if a bear is going to attack you every five minutes. This is not a video game, this is real life. To be honest, you will probably not even encounter a bear on your endeavor but having it within reach in the rare instance you do, is important. Lastly, if you travel at night, look for illumination features such as LED lighting and glow-in-the-dark materials.
Its Strength and Overall Effectiveness
The million-dollar question that everyone has in regard to bear sprays is are they powerful enough to actually stop them from attacking you? Above all else, this is the most important aspect of bear sprays as your life can literally be in the balance. Specifically, if you encounter a grizzly bear or even worse, a polar bear. First off, look for formulas that are EPA registered as they are an agency that was created for the purpose of protecting human health. But, it really all comes down to the sprays capsaicinoid strength. In general, the strength of a pepper spray is measured by the percentage of capsaicinoids that are present in the mix.
EPA will only allow a maximum stopping power of two percent and if a formula has that percentage, you know that it is the best available. As the higher, the percentage of capsaicinoids, the more powerful the punch will be.
Okay, this is where things get a little controversial. Not in terms of anything this guide will tell you but rather a misconception that was present for years. The IGBC, Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, for years stated that bear sprays should always have a minimum duration of at least six seconds. It was not until late 2016 that they withdrew this guideline in favor for a different one. Instead, they simply recommended using any bear spray that is EPA-registered. The controversial aspect of this was that the IGBC never had any scientific evidence to back up their claims of a needed duration of six seconds.
In fact, their own testings showed that a 7.9-ounce can with only a four-second duration was enough to get the job done. But, you still have so-called experts out there that will recommend a certain duration. Just know, if it is EPA-registered then it can potentially save your life.
Q: How Exactly Does Bear Spray Work?
Alright, alright. You are this far into this guide and you still may not even know how this stuff works. Well, let’s fix that, shall we? When the bear spray is used correctly, as in a direct hit onto their face and not a random body part, it can cause swelling of the mammal’s mucous membranes, a panic attack, and also a severe shortness of breath. But, would not a firearm be another logical solution? Technically, the answer is not no but various bear experts agree that bear sprays are a far more effective means of protection than a firearm. For one, it is estimated that the bear spray success rate is somewhere between 90 and 98 percent and dropped to 50 percent with a firearm.
But, bear sprays also require less accuracy because of the fog that is emitted. Lastly, they are immediately accessible if you use them with a holster.
Q: Is Bear Spray Dangerous?
Yes, this is a very vague question as of course, bear spray is dangerous. However, this is not referring to the effects it has on bears but if it is dangerous for us, humans. The fact is, just like with a firearm, you need to take great caution when operating bear spray. No one and this is important, should ever handle one while they are intoxicated or at all disoriented. In addition, do not let your children near this substance as they are naturally ignorant. If exposed to human’s eyes, the formula for the bear spray can easily cause pain and eye closure for up to 45 minutes. In more severe cases, if fired from a close range, it could also result in permanent eye damage.
But, this is why most manufacturers will design a safety cap on their spray can to prevent accidental discharge. Still, a basic amount of common sense must be performed when you use something as lethal as bear spray.
Q: Won’t This Type of a Spray Just Make a Bear More Aggravated?
It is almost guaranteed that one out of the x amount of people that read this guide will ponder this question in their head. Although it was just addressed how bear sprays work, this is still a question that is worth bringing up. Ironically, the answer to this question would probably shift if you were talking about pepper sprays rather than bear sprays. With most pepper sprays, unless they are strong enough, a bear will probably become more provoked and want to rip your heart out even more.
But, bear sprays are specifically designed to thwart a bear’s attack. Due to the properties of the formula and the nature of bears, if applied correctly, it will stop them.
Q: What is the Shelf Life of Bear Spray?
Unless a terrible curse has been placed on you, it is not likely that you will need to use bear spray very often. But, could you store it for an extended period of time without using it and expect it to remain effective? Yes, but only for a limited time. The manufacturer who makes the spray will attach an expiration date on their product. After such date, the propellant may not hold the same properties as it did before (such as its range). For example, Counter Assault, which is the number one bear spray on this list, issues a four-year recommended replacement date for their spray.
This is because as time moves on, all aerosol canister seals will weaken over time and there is nothing you can do about it. As such, you could actually buy a bear spray without ever using it.
Q: What is the Difference Between Pepper Spray and Bear Spray?
It is now apparent to you that pepper spray and bear spray are not the same. However, you may not know the exact differences past the latter actually being designed to thwart bear attacks. Let’s start with this, bear sprays will generally shoot farther and cover a wider area than pepper sprays. Which is necessary as bears can move and strike quicker than people think and maintaining a safe distance is key. Also, bear sprays are more highly regarded by the EPA to ensure they are both effective and humane.
Lastly, the capsaicinoid percentage is going to be higher in bear spray than it will be in pepper spray.
Q: Can You Use Bear Spray on Dogs or Humans?
In your day-to-day life, you are more likely to encounter a rabid dog or a psychopathic rapist than you are a bear. Of course, a “psychopathic rapist” is a bit of an extreme but anytime another human is about to commit assault or battery to you. So, if you happened to have the bear spray on you, could you use it to deter these types of attackers. Honestly, no you should never do that. Because both the EPA and Health Canada regulate a bear spray as a pesticide, it should only be used on bears.
Simply, it is too strong of a substance to use on ordinary humans and dogs. For those situations, stick to regular pepper spray as that will do the trick.
The average individual will probably never have to experience the terror of dealing with an aggravated and provoked bear. It is just an assumption, but this is probably not on everyone’s “to-do” list in life. Just like any other emergency situation, however, you do not know when it could happen. As much of a cliché as it is, it is better to be safe than sorry. Even if you never use your can of bear spray one time in your life, it is better to know you have it than not.