Best Bear Sprays

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Sabre Frontiersman
Test Winner: Sabre Frontiersman
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If you have ever been backpacking or hiking in the woods then you know the abundance of creatures that call it home. There are times when you are walking through the woods and you may cross paths with some of these creatures and one that you defiantly hope you don’t come into close contact with is a bear. But if you come across these huge animals, you most likely want to be prepared with a bottle of bear mace in case that bear is not the friendliest. It is fair to assume that you most likely will never meet a bear up close and personal while hiking or backpacking but the risk is always there. If you travel in wild environments and you need to protect yourself in the rare case a bear challenges you and want to invest in a proper bear spray to carry with you.

Standout Picks

Counter Assault- Distance Bear Repellent Spray
The top two bear sprays on this list are often debated against. However, the Counter Assault Bear Spray barely edges the preceding spray and does so with its large capacity and extra-long spray time of over nine seconds.
SABRE Frontiersman Bear Spray
If not for one mere design flaw, its duration of just five seconds which is below some expert’s recommendations, this spray could have secured the top spot. After all, its 35-foot range and incredibly large barrier are hard to ignore.
Amazon Link
Mace Brand Bear Attack Survival Spray
With a fantastic range of 35 feet and a spray that comes off like a fogger, you can sit back from a safe distance with this Mace Brand Bear Spray. As it empties out in just six seconds, though, ensure that you hit your mark the first time.
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UDAP 18HP Super Magnum Bear Spray
The key advantage that the UDAP 18HP Bear Spray holds over any other available on the market is its capacity of 13.4 ounces. If the trigger was designed more intuitively, though, this likely would have made the top two.
Amazon Link
$58.82
Udap Bear Spray
This could almost be considered the little brother of the UDAP 18HP Bear Spray. What is nice about this product is it is equipped with a glow-in-the-dark safety clip and is EPA-registered with a strength of two percent capsaicin concentration.
Amazon Link
$42.95
Guard Alaska 9 oz. Bear Spray Repellent
Now we head into the bottom five and it kicks off with a very impressive bear spray. However, it is one that has a bit of a limited range, with a maximum of only 20 feet.
Amazon Link
$40.99
Mace Police Strength Pepper Spray Pepper Gun
We have officially reached the point in this list where the best of the best have been documented. These last three are solid alternatives and could be ideal backup options and it all starts with the spray gun from Mace.
Amazon Link
$42.89
Mace Brand Self Defense Pepper Spray
Let’s say this, you take a small risk with this spray. So, why is it on the list. Again, the market for bear sprays is not extensive and sometimes you have to take what you get. Still, this particular product can blast serious bursts of its pepper formula.
Amazon Link
$12.99
Dragon Fire Pepper Spray Self Defense Bear Repellent
If you are seeking a massive amount of power in a tiny package, this is the repellent for you. Now, the 0.5-ounce capacity means you must be conscious of how much spray you are using as it will run out very quickly.
Amazon Link
Udap Bear Spray
This bear spray is easy to use and highly accurate. If you are planning on traveling in the backcountry this season and know there are bears in the area, this is a superior product to add to your gear. It also comes with a carrying holster for quick access.
Amazon Link
$39.99

Criteria Used for Evaluation

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).

Ease of Use

Just because you are preparing yourself to warn 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.

Features

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 into 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.

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.

Top 10 Picks

1. Counter Assault

Where to buy
Counter Assault- Distance Bear Repellent Spray
Amazon Link

The top two bear sprays on this list are often debated against. However, the Counter Assault Bear Spray barely edges the preceding spray and does so with its large capacity and extra-long spray time of over nine seconds.

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Spray Coverage
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.

Total Capacity
At 10.2 ounces of total capacity, this is one of the largest quantities in the world.

Convenience
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.

Spray Duration
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.

Overall
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.

2. Sabre Frontiersman

Where to buy
Amazon Link
SABRE Frontiersman Bear Spray
Amazon Link

If not for one mere design flaw, its duration of just five seconds which is below some expert’s recommendations, this spray could have secured the top spot. After all, its 35-foot range and incredibly large barrier are hard to ignore.

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Spray Coverage
Without a doubt, the Frontiersman Bear Spray has one of the most impressive ranges and barriers of any of its kind. This includes a maximum distance of 35 feet and a barrier that will produce 40 percent more coverage than other brands.

Total Capacity
There are different sizes of the same spray available. However, this particular version has 9.2 ounces of spray, which is fairly standard.

Convenience
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 of major capsaicinoids are 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.

Spray Duration
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.

Overall
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 from the number one spray on this list.

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3. Mace Brand Pepper 35

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Mace Brand Bear Attack Survival Spray
Amazon Link

With a fantastic range of 35 feet and a spray that comes off like a fogger, you can sit back from a safe distance with this Mace Brand Bear Spray. As it empties out in just six seconds, though, ensure that you hit your mark the first time.

Read more

Spray Coverage
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.

Total Capacity
Mace advertises their bear spray to hold 260 grams, which equates to just over nine ounces.

Convenience
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.

Spray Duration
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.

Overall
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.

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4. Udap 18HP Super

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$58.82
UDAP 18HP Super Magnum Bear Spray
Amazon Link

The key advantage that the UDAP 18HP Bear Spray holds over any other available on the market is its capacity of 13.4 ounces. If the trigger was designed more intuitively, though, this likely would have made the top two.

Read more

Spray Coverage
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.

Total Capacity
Indeed, you will not find a larger bear spray, that is EPA registered, on the market right now. It holds 13.4 ounces of a solution for you to utilize.

Convenience
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.

Spray Duration
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.

Overall
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.

Amazon Link
$58.82

5. UDAP 12HP

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$42.95
Udap Bear Spray
Amazon Link

This could almost be considered the little brother of the UDAP 18HP Bear Spray. What is nice about this product is it is equipped with a glow-in-the-dark safety clip and is EPA-registered with a strength of two percent capsaicin concentration.

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Spray Coverage
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.

Total Capacity
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.

Convenience
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.

Spray Duration
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.

Overall
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.

Amazon Link
$42.95

6. Guard Alaska

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$40.99
Guard Alaska 9 oz. Bear Spray Repellent
Amazon Link

Now we head into the bottom five and it kicks off with a very impressive bear spray. However, it is one that has a bit of a limited range, with a maximum of only 20 feet.

Read more

Spray Coverage
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.

Total Capacity
This falls right in the middle of the pack, as compared to its competition, with a total capacity of nine ounces.

Convenience
While there is an included nylon holster with a Velcro closure, the convenience ends there. The canister is not easy to release the 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.

Spray Duration
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.

Overall
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.

Amazon Link
$40.99

7. Mace Police Strength

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$42.89
Mace Police Strength Pepper Spray Pepper Gun
Amazon Link

We have officially reached the point in this list where the best of the best have been documented. These last three are solid alternatives and could be ideal backup options and it all starts with the spray gun from Mace.

Read more

Spray Coverage
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.

Total Capacity
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.

Convenience
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.

Spray Duration
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.

Overall
Because this is a gun, be careful when carrying it. This could be suitable for a tamer species of a bear where you have time to re-load multiple cartridges. However, in intense situations, it may be a little risky.

Amazon Link
$42.89

8. Mace 18

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$12.99
Mace Brand Self Defense Pepper Spray
Amazon Link

Let’s say this, you take a small risk with this spray. So, why is it on the list. Again, the market for bear sprays is not extensive and sometimes you have to take what you get. Still, this particular product can blast serious bursts of its pepper formula.

Read more

Spray Coverage
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 blowback in your face.

Total Capacity
With a capacity of only 1.6 ounces, you should either carry an additional spray or be prepared to shoot with the utmost accuracy.

Convenience
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.

Spray Duration
Despite its small size, it is still impressive that you can get up to 20 bursts from this sprayer, which should last several seconds.

Overall
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.

Amazon Link
$12.99

9. Dragon Fire

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Dragon Fire Pepper Spray Self Defense Bear Repellent
Amazon Link

If you are seeking a massive amount of power in a tiny package, this is the repellent for you. Now, the 0.5-ounce capacity means you must be conscious of how much spray you are using as it will run out very quickly.

Read more

Spray Coverage
This provides a powerful punch in a small package. It is advertised to stop a bear from over 10 feet away.

Total Capacity
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.

Convenience
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.

Spray Duration
In a matter of mere moments, with around 12 shots to its name, you could decimate this bottle.

Overall
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.

Amazon Link

10. Udap Bear Spray

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$39.99
Udap Bear Spray
Amazon Link

This bear spray is easy to use and highly accurate. If you are planning on traveling in the backcountry this season and know there are bears in the area, this is a superior product to add to your gear. It also comes with a carrying holster for quick access.

Read more

Spray Coverage
This spray is accurate and has a range of 15 to 20 feet. In terms of how it shoots, it lets off steam mist.

Total Capacity
This canister has a good amount of mace but most likely will only be good for one or two incidents. You will need to most likely invest in a new one for each adventure.

Convenience
This spray comes with a holster so you have easy access and can grab this canister whenever the need arises.

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.

Spray Duration
If sprayed in short bursts, it is more than reasonable to expect around nine seconds of total time.

Amazon Link
$39.99

Sources

  1. Valentina Vandi, Best Bear Sprays: The Top 3 of 2018, Article