Top 6 Best Bear Sprays (**2021 Review**)

What do you do if a bear is charging at you, and you are unarmed?

 A grizzly bear can reach speeds of 30mph (and other bear species can move even faster) so running is not an option!

Other than shooting a gun, there are specific bear sprays to help deter a bear just long enough to keep so you can escape safely.

Best Bear Sprays
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SABRE Frontiersman Bear Bell
Bears will attack if they're surprised or cornered. This portable bear bell from Sabre prevents that from happening.
FEATURES
  • Simple design, easy to use
  • Can be silenced without having to remove it
  • Several colors to chooses from

It’s a camping and hiking accessory you hope you never have to use, but one you never want to be without. If you don’t want to be the main course for a hungry bear, keep on reading and we’ll lay out the best bear sprays for you.

In this Pest Strategies product review you can expect to learn:

  • What are bear sprays?
  • How do bear sprays work?
  • Are bear sprays effective?
  • How do you use a bear spray?
  • And our overall #1 pick for best bear spray.

If you're heading out into the woods sooner rather than later, click here to jump straight to our top choice for best bear spray.

ImageProduct
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SABRE Frontiersman Bear Bell
  • Simple design, easy to use
  • Can be silenced without having to remove it
  • Several colors to chooses from
  • Simple design, easy to use
  • Can be silenced without having to remove it
  • Several colors to chooses from
View on Amazon
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Vexor Pepper Spray w/ Belt Clip
  • Powerful ingredients
  • Sprays up to 20 feet
  • Can spray from any angle
  • Powerful ingredients
  • Sprays up to 20 feet
  • Can spray from any angle
View on Amazon
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Mainstream Marine Air Horn
  • Loud, can be heard for up to a mile
  • Convenient packaging
  • Non-flammable
  • Loud, can be heard for up to a mile
  • Convenient packaging
  • Non-flammable
View on Amazon
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Udap Bear Spray in Safety Orange
  • Maximum strength allowed by law
  • 13.4 -ounce can
  • 30-foot range
  • Maximum strength allowed by law
  • 13.4 -ounce can
  • 30-foot range
View on Amazon
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SABRE RED Tactical Pepper Gel
  • Strong enough for bears
  • Minimal blowback
  • Can shoot up to 18 feet
  • Strong enough for bears
  • Minimal blowback
  • Can shoot up to 18 feet
View on Amazon
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Griz Guard Bear Spray
  • Made in the USA
  • Strongest capsaicin formula allowed by law
  • 30-foot range
  • Made in the USA
  • Strongest capsaicin formula allowed by law
  • 30-foot range
View on Amazon

Our Overall #1 Rated Pick

Updated as of October 20th, 2021

  • Simple design, easy to use
  • Can be silenced without having to remove it
  • Several colors to chooses from

Bears will attack if they're surprised or cornered. This portable bear bell from Sabre prevents that from happening. It lets bears know you're coming so they can get away safely without the need to defend themselves. 

Bears are not normally aggressive. However, if they're surprised by your presence, they will attack. But once they hear the Frontiersman Bell ring, they will know to avoid you and your companions.

 You can take these bells along with you when hiking, running, or out with the family on a nature walk. They come in several vibrant colors to dress up any backpack. Just clip them on, and go. 

Rating: 97.50

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Rating: 97.00

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Rating: 95.70

Our #1 Ranked For: Mosquito Removal, Fleas, Ticks, Wasps, And Other Stinging Insects

Top 6 Best Bear Sprays

  1. SABRE Frontiersman Bear Bell
  2. Vexor Pepper Spray w/ Belt Clip
  3. Mainstream Marine Air Horn
  4. Udap Bear Spray in Safety Orange
  5. SABRE RED Tactical Pepper Gel
  6. Griz Guard Bear Spray

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What Are Bear Sprays?

Bear spray is a non-lethal method of discouraging a bear from attacking people. They come in canisters filled with compressed gas. The gas accelerates the active ingredient when the trigger is pressed, creating a heavy fog to cover the bear’s face.

The semi-wide angle ensures the bear will be hit in the eyes, nose, and mouth. The canisters are typically worn in a can-shaped holster worn on the chest, hip, or belt like a gunslinger in an old Western.

Check out the video below for more information on the best bear sprays on the market:

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How Do Bear Sprays Work?

Bear sprays are regulated by the EPA which requires that the concentration of capsaicin and related capsaicinoid ingredients in the spray has to fall between 1-2%. Capsaicin is the chemical in chili peppers that make them hot.

When bears get a face full of Capsaicin and Related Capsaicinoids (CRC), it temporarily produces a severe burning sensation that disables the bear’s ability to see and smell.

The combination of pain and temporary partial blindness and deafness disorients the bear. This is a different kind of pain sensation that bears aren’t accustomed to. Instead of becoming enraged, it confuses and scares them.

Additionally, the EPA has created the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) to identify and substitute propellants for aerosols that won’t deplete the ozone. Several bear spray manufacturers have begun adopting and incorporating those standards.

Bear Attack Spray Facts
Rating: 97.50

Our #1 Ranked For: Termites,Bed Bugs, and Larger Infestations

Rating: 97.00

Our #1 Ranked For: Ants, Roaches, Spiders, and Rodents Issues

Rating: 95.70

Our #1 Ranked For: Mosquito Removal, Fleas, Ticks, Wasps, And Other Stinging Insects

How Do You Find The Best Bear Spray?

All bear sprays must be registered with the EPA. They must meet certain requirements or have an authorized exemption. There are no exceptions.

  • Bear sprays must have an active ingredient that is clearly displayed on the label. It must be 1% to 2% Capsaicin and related Capsaicinoids. This is the active ingredient that affects a bear's eyes, nose, mouth, throat, and lungs.
  • Bear sprays must have a minimum of a six-second spray duration. This is to compensate for wind speed and direction as well as the bear’s movements.
  • Bear sprays should have a minimum range of 25 feet.
  • Bear sprays should have a minimum amount of content equal to 7.6 ounces or 215 grams.

Are Bear Sprays Effective?

Researchers at Brigham Young University investigated bear spray incidents in Alaska, home to more than 100,000 bears, over a period of 20 years and found they halted aggressive bears in 92% of the cases surveyed.

Of the people involved in those incidents, only three were injured and none of them required hospitalization.

Most sprays are effective against all eight species of bears: Giant Panda, Spectacled Bear (also known as the Andean Bear), Sloth Bear, Sun Bear, American Black Bears, Asiatic Black Bear, Polar Bears, Grizzly Bear (also known as the Brown Bear).

By way of contrast, the BYU researchers found that guns were effective in only 67% of the cases where firearms were used, and on average, it took four shots to stop the bear using modern weapons.

Lewis & Clark reported in 1805, in Yellowstone, that it took 10 shots to kill a 600-pound grizzly that attacked their expedition. In 2010, in Denali National Park, hikers defended themselves with a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol and it took nine shots to stop a bear.

On a personal note, a doctor once told me he’d only seen two people in his career who would have been better off if they’d died, and one of them had been torn up by a bear.

So yes, bear sprays can be an effective at protecting you and your family from bear attacks. Bring bear spray with you anytime you venture into the backcountry, especially in national parks where guns are prohibited. That protection is essential.

Warning

Do not leave bear spray canisters in direct sunlight. They can explode from the heat!

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How To Use A Bear Spray

Bear sprays have safety clips on top of them as well as a holster that has to be opened before you can use it. Bears can move incredibly fast so you need to practice drawing the can from the holster, flipping the safety clip out of the way, and pulling the trigger.

A charging bear can cover 40-50 yards (half a football field) in a matter of seconds. The best bear spray in the world is useless if you can’t get it ready to fire in time.

Once the spray is ready, aim it slightly down and upwind. A bear’s head is closer to the ground than yours and even a slight wind can blow the spray aside before it has a chance to do its work. You need to compensate for both.

One note of caution: bear spray canisters can explode from the heat if you leave them on the dashboard of your car.

Are Bear Sprays Safe Around My Pets And Children?

No. However, given a choice between spraying the bear and risking some blowback on your family or becoming a hot lunch for said bear, take the chance and use the bear spray regardless of where your kids are at the time.

Once the bear is gone, if you or your family has inhaled any of the fumes or gotten them in their eyes, head for the nearest doctor as soon as possible.

Best Bear Sprays Reviewed

  • Simple design, easy to use
  • Can be silenced without having to remove it
  • Several colors to chooses from

Bears will attack if they're surprised or cornered. This portable bear bell from Sabre prevents that from happening. It lets bears know you're coming so they can get away safely without the need to defend themselves. 

Bears are not normally aggressive. However, if they're surprised by your presence, they will attack. But once they hear the Frontiersman Bell ring, they will know to avoid you and your companions.

You can take these bells along with you when hiking, running, or out with the family on a nature walk. They come in several vibrant colors to dress up any backpack. Just clip them on, and go. 

Pros

  • Simple design, easy to use
  • Can be silenced without having to remove it
  • Several colors to chooses from
  • Versatile, wear on backpacks or most clothing items

Cons

  • Sound only carries about 50-100 feet, may need several bells to be effective
  • Powerful ingredients
  • Sprays up to 20 feet
  • Can spray from any angle 

Vexor Pepper Spray packs a powerful punch to deter any bear. It features the most potent pepper spray available in a convenient four-ounce container, and it can shoot up to 20 feet. 

Vexor Pepper Spray's unique design allows you to shoot it with the canister angled in any position. This gives you 360 degree protection from bears or human attackers.

Take it anywhere you need extra protection from bears or aggressive animals. With the easy flip-top control, Vexor Pepper Spray is ready to go at any time.

Pros

  • Powerful ingredients
  • Sprays up to 20 feet
  • Can spray from any angle 
  • Quick flip-top control 

Cons

  • Maximum range may be affected by wind conditions
  • Loud, can be heard for up to a mile
  • Convenient packaging
  • Non-flammable

Scare anything away, including bears, with this Mainstream Marine Air Horn. It can be heard for up to a mile away and is always at the ready when danger emerges. 

Take along on hikes, camping trips, and boating excursions. This hand-held air horn is designed for rugged terrain and is non-flammable, and it's shipped in a rustproof container that resists harsh weather conditions. 

Pros

  • Loud, can be heard for up to a mile
  • Convenient packaging
  • Non-flammable
  • Corrosion-resistant and rustproof

Cons

  • Air may leak around the horn after several uses
  • Maximum strength allowed by law
  • 13.4 -ounce can
  • 30-foot range

This bear spray from Udap is great for bear defense because it comes with the strongest active ingredient allowed by law, 2% CRC. It’s a large 13.4-ounce can with a 30-foot range that creates a dense fog in just seven seconds, long enough to deter an attacking bear.

You can also use bear spray for self-defense against other wild animals too.

The plastic belt clip, available in several eye-catching colors, contrasts with the orange spray can so you can find it quickly even in low light conditions. Notably, it comes with a 32-page book on bear safety when you’re in the backcountry and tips on using it.

Pros

  • Creates a heavy fog
  • Spray duration is seven seconds
  • Bright colors make it easy to locate in low light conditions

Cons

  • Some people don’t like the way the trigger is designed
  • Strong enough for bears
  • Minimal blowback
  • Can shoot up to 18 feet

Although this personal tactical pepper gel from Sabre Red is meant to be used on humans, it is rated strong enough for bears. And what makes this alternative to pepper spray so unique is its firing range. It can shoot up to 18 feet. 

Made in the US, Saber Red's tactical pepper gel is long-lasting, with a shelf life of up to 4 years. And it keeps its power throughout its life span. 

The pinpoint stream makes blowback a thing of the past. And it can be used either outdoors or indoors to fend off any attacker, big or small. Just be sure to take advantage of Saber Red's free online training videos before using this potent pepper gel.

Pros

  • Strong enough for bears
  • Minimal blowback
  • Good overall value
  • Can shoot up to 18 feet

Cons

  • Wind may hamper performance
  • Not safe around children or pets
  • Difficult to remove from skin 
  • Made in the USA
  • Strongest Capsaicin formula allowed by law
  • 30-foot range

This comes in a 9-ounce canister with 225 grams of the strongest 2.0% capsaicin pepper formula allowed by the EPA. It creates a 30-foot fog in a shotgun blast pattern for maximum effectiveness. It’s made in the USA.

It comes with a 3-4 year shelf life and a plastic clip that doesn’t require you to wear a belt. It’s lightweight and easy access make it ideal for day hikes, camping, and picnicking in national parks and bear country.

The all-black color of the canister and the plastic clip-on holster make it difficult to see at night or in the twilight.

Pros

  • 3-4 year shelf life
  • Clip holder doesn’t require a belt
  • Uses shotgun blast pattern to ensure hitting your target

Cons

  • All-black color is hard to see in low light conditions

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Our Top Pick: SABRE Frontiersman Bear Bell

Bears will attack if they're surprised or cornered. This portable bear bell from Sabre prevents that from happening. It lets bears know you're coming so they can get away safely without the need to defend themselves. 

 Bears are not normally aggressive. However, if they're surprised by your presence, they will attack. But once they hear the Frontiersman Bell ring, they will know to avoid you and your companions.

You can take these bells along with you when hiking, running, or out with the family on a nature walk. They come in several vibrant colors to dress up any backpack. Just clip them on, and go. 

Final Thoughts On Bear Sprays

Bear spray is a must-have item for anyone who intends to spend time in the wilderness. Bears are notorious for being fearless around people. Combine that with their speed, size, and power, and encountering a bear in the woods becomes fraught with danger.

A good bear spray can mean the difference between a nasty trip to the hospital or an exciting adventure story to tell your friends. Choose wisely, grasshopper.

Bear Related Products & Uncommon Pest Guides:

Curious about other bear related products? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.

What do you do if a bear is charging at you, and you are unarmed? A grizzly bear can reach speeds[...]

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