Taser vs. Pepper Spray: What’s the Best Way to Defend Yourself?

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Almost every human is familiar with feeling unsafe. We sometimes feel unsafe in our homes, on our way to workplaces, and when going on solo adventures.

Going on a solo adventure is as brave as it is unsafe. You need to figure out the best way to protect yourself when you’re in the elements.

When we think of self-defense, we either think of physical fights or the accessories that people carry.

The Internet is flooded with instructions, but people rarely compare the various methods.

Two of the most common are the taser and pepper spray.

In the battle of the taser vs pepper spray, which self defense accessory comes out on top?

Taser Pulse self defense tool effective ranged stun weapon


If you’ve watched enough movies, you know what a taser looks like.

You’re probably familiar with the two wires sticking out of a gun-like tool that shock an attacker until they fall to the ground.

A taser is a weapon that sends electric shocks through a person’s body, rendering them useless. Tasers are relatively popular because they are legal in most places, and they’re easy to carry. 

The official TASER is sold by the Axon company, but the name has been informalized to cover all stun guns.

People are so used to calling them tasers that they don’t realize that Taser is the brand’s name. 

How Does a Taser Work? 

To the naked eye, it looks like the taser just runs electricity through a person’s body before they fall.

However, the process is more scientifically complex because the shocks shouldn’t have the power to cause permanent damage. 

A taser fires two probes that are connected to the primary tool through copper wires filled with nitrogen charges1.

The probes can cover a distance of up to 7.6 meters. Once they reach the targeted person they create a complete circuit by landing at least 10 centimeters apart from each other.

Once the circuit is complete you can pull the trigger to channel the electric pulse in the body of the target. The electric pulse charges up to 1,200 volts of electricity into their body.

This sounds like a lot, but it’s only enough to cause a minor disruption. Though the interruption is minor, it has significant effects on the intended body.

It takes about 5 seconds to render them useless, and leave them lying on the ground. The electric shocks paralyze the body and temporarily disable bodily functions.

However, bodies react to tasers differently, and some people may not be as affected. Others may suffer side effects for days.

It’s not encouraged to launch a taser willy-nilly. It could really hurt someone or injure them permanently. You should only use it in serious self-defense situations

Though sometimes called “tasers,” stun guns require you to be in arm’s reach of an assailant and so lack many of the benefits of a true taser.

What Are the Benefits of Tasers? 

The main benefit of using a taser is that it doesn’t have any permanent effects. You can defend yourself without worrying that you could cause permanent damage to your attacker.

The most a taser will usually do is stop them from attacking you, and give you time to run away. 

Unlike using physical or violent armed force, using a taser is relatively safe. It will buy you time without putting another person’s life at risk. 

The other benefit of using a taser is that you can use it from a distance.

Seven meters doesn’t seem substantial, but it means so much more in a survival situation. A taser gives you the chance to stay out of harm’s way while protecting yourself.

Getting too close to an attacker can compromise your safety, and provide them with an opportunity to disarm you. 

Unlike many self-defense tools, a taser doesn’t require perfect aim.

When you’re in a dangerous situation, you don’t have time to get your weapon aimed correctly. You will probably think of the fastest way to get to safety to stop your attacker.

A taser would be perfect for such a situation because there is no pressure. Once you trigger it, the machine does most of the work. 

What Are the Drawbacks of Tasers?

The cost is the biggest drawback of getting a taser.

Most reliable and effective tasers have a price tag of $300 or higher. So, tasers are not the most affordable way to keep yourself safe.

If you’re focused on cutting costs, there are better price-friendly alternatives for you out there. 

Some places don’t allow the residents to own tasers.

There are also ethical and health arguments that people make against tasers.

You should always check if tasers are allowed in your location before you make the final purchase. You wouldn’t want to act in self-defense,only to find yourself answering to charges later. 

Pepper Spray

Pepper Spray

Using pepper spray is a standard self-defense method among civilians.

Pepper spray is cheap, accessible, and mostly legal.

It works quickly, and gives you the chance to run off by blinding your attacker quickly. 

How Does Pepper Spray Work?

Pepper spray is made up of inflammatory chemicals that burn the eyes, and cause temporary tears, blindness, and general disorientation.

The main component is oleoresin capsicum, an oil made from the same plants where chilies grow2.

Even though they come from the same place, pepper spray has a much higher chili content than actual peppers. 

Once pepper spray enters a person’s eyes, the eye reacts by closing, and their vision gets blurry. The person will have acute eye pain, and their eyes might even become inflamed.

People report that getting pepper-sprayed is one of the worst experiences of their lives. It lasts for hours, and the symptoms are hard to counteract. 

Some people experience breathing problems and sore throats after being pepper-sprayed.

The aerosol spray also enters the recipient’s mouth and nose. This disarms them even further because the body will have multiple crises to attend to. 

On average, people take about 30 minutes to recover3.

Some things can make the experience more manageable, but there are no fast cures.

You can use water or soap to ease the symptoms, but you still have to go through the entire painful process.

SABRE Lipstick Pepper Spray one of the best self defense weapons for women
Pepper spray, such as this Sabre spray, can be disguised as lipstick container

What Are the Benefits of Pepper Spray?

The most significant benefit of using pepper spray is how quickly it delivers results.

It will incapacitate your attacker the moment that it lands on their eyes, mouth, or nose. Survival situations often happen so fast that we barely have an idea of what’s happening.

With pepper spray, you can at least retain control of the entire situation. 

Another advantage of using pepper spray is that it’s non-toxic.

Unlike a taser, you aren’t making any significant adjustments to how the person’s body acts, but you’re actually triggering a natural reaction to a foreign component.

It’s rare to hear cases where someone had an allergic reaction to pepper spray. Pepper spray is an excellent option because it is non-lethal. 

Using pepper spray for self-defense is an excellent idea because you can also use it from a safe distance.

Powerful pepper sprays can cover up to a 20 ft distance, but regular pepper sprays work over an 8-12 feet distance. The space might be small, but it buys a lot of time.

In addition, the attacker will be more worried about the burning sensation in their eyes than chasing after you. 

Lastly, pepper spray is affordable and accessible.

You can buy it online, in grocery stores, and in hardware stores. Not everyone has the privilege of affording a stun gun or other self-defense methods.

Pepper spray covers the gap by making you feel safer at a much lower price. 

What Are the Drawbacks of Pepper Spray?

Unfortunately, there are a lot of ethical questions around the ethics of using pepper spray.

Apart from the fact that it is often misused by law enforcement, you could cause another person severe pain if you accidentally used pepper spray on them.

In some extreme situations, that person has the right to file assault charges against you. 

Another drawback of using pepper spray is how you need to be in the proper position with the correct aim at the target.

If you misjudge the wind or stand downwind, the spray might come back to you and blind you as well. You’ll be as powerless as the person you intended to slow down.

Also, you might miss the target, and that will only anger them even more.

The nozzle could also get stuck and leave you helpless. 

Final Word

The winner in the taser vs. pepper spray battle comes down to what your needs are.

If you are looking for a self-defense tool then we suggest buying pepper spray.

It’s legal, non-toxic, and affordable. It works fast and buys you time to run away.

Also, it’s easily accessible and stops your attacker for a longer period of time. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a durable self-defense tool then we suggest buying a taser.

Though it comes with a hefty price tag, it lasts longer and has a higher likelihood of working during an emergency situation.


  1. https://www.howitworksdaily.com/how-does-a-taser-gun-work/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/capsicum-oleoresin
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK544263/

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