Best Bear Sprays Review & Buying Guide

Outdoor activities involve certain risks. The bear attack is one of them. That’s what today’s topic is about. To help you protect yourself against bear attacks. For that, we are going to review the best bear sprays on the market. In addition to that, we’ll also provide you with a buying guide and instructions on how to use the spray.

So, without further ado, let’s get started.

7 Best Bear Sprays Review

In this section, we’ll review the items that we have identified as the finest options for you available in the market.

Before we go in-depth review, here is a table of our top 7 picks.

ImageBrandRangeEditor's RatingPrice
Counter Assault40 Feet

★★★★★

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Sabre Frontiersman30 Feet

★★★★★

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UDAP35 Feet

★★★★☆

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Guard Alaska19 Feet

★★★★☆

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UDAP30 Feet

★★★★☆

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Mace35 Feet

★★★☆☆

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Guard Alaska20 Feet

★★★☆☆

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#1. [Top Pick] Counter Assault Bear Spray – Maximum Strength & Distance

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You should know that Counter Assault is the most well-known brand for bear repellant sprays. The makers have worked hard to reach this position, where they are the first choice for people to protect themselves from bears and other dangerous mammals.

Now the real question is, does this thing work? Yes, it certainly does. It is one of the hottest sprays out there. This thing is more than good enough to stop the bear in its tracks and make him run lickety-split.

That also means that you have to be quite careful while spraying so as to not get touched by the elements inside the bottle.

You’ll also love the fact that this guy can travel as far as 40 feet. That’s great as that means you won’t have to get close to the animal to stop it from attacking you. It will be a huge relief for individuals that get panic attacks easily.

But, what if the bear is in more distance and coming towards you? To get away from this situation we suggest using the bear horn.

Keep in mind that you can’t carry the spray with you on a plane. That isn’t allowed, and you will be stripped of the spray. So, you should send the spray to the state you will be camping in beforehand.

Being lightweight, it won’t be a burden on you while you are traveling. This thing also has a shelf life of 4 years. That means you won’t have to buy a new bottle every year.

It can house a huge amount of pepper spray meaning you can use it multiple times. If we are talking facts, then you can spray for 30 seconds at one go with this thing.

Pros
  • Strong and works really well
  • Good shelf life
  • Lightweight
  • 40-foot range
  • Comes with a holster
Cons
  • A bit expensive

#2. Sabre Frontiersman Bear Deterrent

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You might know that there are 8 types of bears in this world. This thing works against all of them. So, does this include polar bears?

Yes, you can use this spray against polar bears as well. But I hope it doesn’t come to that as hurting a polar bear is a thought that I can’t bear.

The unit includes an inert practice spray to help you practice. It’s really useful since you need to know how to use the spray properly before you come face-to-face against a bear.

That way, you’ll be more confident facing the bear or any other dangerous animal and also be able to protect yourself from accidentally hurting yourself.

You can shoot as far as 30-foot with this one. That’s a fairly good range and should give you enough time to deal with the bear comfortably.

Anyway, I’d suggest that you wear long clothes as it will keep the spray from coming in contact with your skin. If it touches your skin, you will feel a burning sensation which will take a while to go away.

The unit comes with a holster, which is a good thing. As a result, you won’t have to pay extra bucks for a separate holster. That said, the loop on the holster can get undone easily. That can leave you in a dangerous position if the spray falls off without you noticing.

I like the fact that it comes with a safety clip. It helps you to prevent the accidental burst of spray on others. Also, this thing is pretty simple to take off, so, there’s no risk of getting delayed during a confrontation with a dangerous animal.

Each burst contains more than 40 grams of heavy fog. So, yeah, it will send the packs running for their lives.

Pros
  • Works against all types of bears
  • Features a safety clip
  • Comes with a holster
  • 30-foot range
Cons
  • The loop on the holster isn’t really reliable

#3. UDAP 18HP Super Magnum 13.4 Ounces

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After, Counter Assault, this one is the most popular brand for sprays on the market. A huge number of hiker’s trust UDAP sprays to safeguard them against dangerous mammals in the forest.

That trust didn’t come for free. It came from the fact that their sprays are known to be supremely effective against bears and similar mammals.

I’ve heard from people that have used this thing against an actual bear that this guy worked superbly.

It gets into the eyes, nose, and ears of the bear and stops it from attacking you. Thanks to the firsthand experiences of the bear attack survivors, you know that you can trust this thing.

The shelf life of this guy is quite great as well. It will last years and will not make you go into the market for another spray anytime soon.

You’ll also like the fact that they come with a holster, which is of good quality. The soft carrying case is a very welcome addition. Regarding the price, it’s neither expensive nor cheap. But you are getting good value for the money, that’s for sure.

It’s a bit heavy. So, you might be tempted to place this in your backpack. But that wouldn’t be a wise thing to do. It would leave you vulnerable against any bear attacks. And as these attacks tend to happen very quickly, you may not get enough time to bring out the spray.

You’ll be quite happy with the quantity of the repellant spray this thing comes with.

Pros
  • Able to prevent bear attacks easily
  • Not very expensive
  • Comes with a great quantity of spray
  • Shelf life is impressive
Cons
  • A bit heavy

#4. Guard Alaska Spray with Nylon Holster

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If you are looking for a good spray at a reasonable price, then look no further. Because this one fits the bill perfectly. The price is very reasonable, and the quality of the product is impressive as well.

This thing is good enough to give you the extra sense of security that we seek while camping in a remote forest.

People that have used this spray against bears have recounted their experience. And each of them said that the spray worked like magic and gave the bear a good scare.

Despite the affordable price tag, the makers have not compromised with its build quality. It’s unlikely to get suffer a leak easily. So, you can rest assured that it won’t betray you when it matters.

However, the distance range of the spray leaves something to be desired. It can shoot as far as 15-19 feet. Now that’s not terrible or dangerous, but it could certainly be improved. However, considering the price, it would be unfair to complain.

The bottle can accommodate 9-ounce of spray. Although not highly impressive, it isn’t bad either. It is good enough to repeal a pack of bears.

This one scores high points when it comes to durability. The shelf life is pretty long and can easily survive a few years. Now, you should take the wind direction into account while using the spray. Otherwise, it can blow at your face.

Pros
  • Comes at a very reasonable price
  • Shelf life is nice
  • Performance is impressive
  • Well-made
Cons
  • Can shoot only 15-19 foot

#5. UDAP Safety Orange with Color Griz Guard Holster

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Another product from my favorite brand. They have produced so many quality sprays that I can fill the entire list with their products only.

Coming to the point, just like the other bear repellant sprays from this brand, this one doesn’t disappoint as well. It comes with some amazing features that make it an interesting prospect for hikers.

This thing is so light that you won’t even realize that you are carrying it. This is a huge plus for this item since it’s really important to travel light. Also, it’s made well, so that it doesn’t incur leak easily.

Not only this one comes with a holster, but the holster has a very ergonomic design. It allows you to draw the spray within a second, which gives you a significant advantage against the bear.

The makers have kept the price reasonable. So, if you are looking for a quality spray without spending too many bucks, then you can give this one a shot.

When you are expecting to go up against a bear, you need to have proper confidence in your weapon. And this one inspires confidence like nothing none other as it can drive the bears away easily.

It comes with a cap lock so that you don’t shoot this accidentally. However, the cap is easy to take off so that you are not at a disadvantage if you ever face a bear.

Pros
  • Very light
  • Effective against bears
  • Reasonable price tag
  • Comes with a cap lock
  • The holster design is convenient
Cons
  • Couldn’t find a drawback

#6. Mace Brand Bear Attack Survival Spray

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This is a brand that you might not know much about. But that doesn’t make them a bad option.

Admittedly, they are a new face in this field, but they have already done some really good work. And for this reason, they have earned a place in this list.

If you make a list of most powerful sprays, this one will be there at the very top. It hits the bear well and gets into its system to stop it from attacking you. With this guy, there’s no chance that the bear can beat you.

This one is a solid option for you if you don’t know much about the sprays. Not only this one is a super powerful spray, but it’s also easy to use. The chances of hurting yourself with this spray are slim.

I like how well-built the canister is. It is designed in a way that prevents leakage. Also, this thing doesn’t weigh much making it easier to carry.

The holster that comes with the package is very nice. It looks nice, and the loop on it is very tight. That prevents the canister from dropping off suddenly. Also, the holster makes it easy for you to call on your pepper weapon at a moment’s notice.

The price is affordable and justifies the value it provides to the consumers. In fact, it’s one of the best in this price range.

Pros
  • Very powerful
  • Well-made canister
  • Comes with a nice holster
  • Affordable price tag
Cons
  • No safety locks

#7. Guard Alaska (Pack of 4)

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If you are looking for something that your entire family can use, then you should give this package a chance. the unit includes 4 spray canisters.

That means 4 members of your family can use the spray. It will make sure that each and every member of your family is safe.

As you are 4 together, the cost comes down significantly. You’ll get to save a few bucks that way. Also, you’ll be getting 4 holsters with the unit. So, if you are thinking economically, this one is a really good option.

With 4 years of shelf life, you can remain assured that you won’t have to buy new sprays for quite a long time. This one can contain 9-ounce of spray, which is good enough.

Its range is decent. It can shoot up to 20-foot. So, it will keep you out of danger and help you to prevent the bear attack before it gets near you.

This one is a tad heavy when compared to other sprays on the market. But that’s not a very big deal and certainly shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

Pros
  • The perfect option for the entire family
  • Saves you bucks
  • Comes with holsters
  • 4 years of shelf life
Cons
  • The makers could have made this one a bit more lightweight

Buying Guide

If you’re a frequent hiker and are looking for the best bear deterrents, the options can be overwhelming. As with any product, there are quite a few factors to consider before making your selection.

So, here are the things you should be informed about, to help you find the perfect spray.

  • Amount of Capsaicin

Have you ever wondered how the spray works to deter that bear who’s ruining your hike?

The answer lies in one key ingredient: capsaicin. It’s an ingredient derived from chili peppers, so you can probably imagine the effect it has.

Capsaicin causes the mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, and mouth to go into sensory overload (in a bad way, of course), resulting in a lot of pain and sneezing. This is what signals to the bear that you are someone he or she should avoid, which makes him run.

However, as you can imagine, the higher the amount of capsaicin in your spray of choice, the better, because that will determine the strength and effectiveness of the spray.

However, be warned that you’re also put in greater danger of being affected by the spray as well, as humans aren’t immune to it.

  • Holster Availability

A very common mistake that new hikers are guilty of committing is putting the spray away in their backpack when they’re on the trail.

Why is that a problem? The answer is pretty obvious if you ask me. When you encounter the dreaded bear, he won’t wait for you to take out the spray before he goes to attack you. Plus, the more you fumble, the more defenseless you’ll seem to the bear, and that’s bad news for you.

Consequently, it’s crucial to have the spray positioned in someplace where you can easily access it.

That’s where holsters come in. A good holster on your spray canister will allow you to carry the spray on you at all times while hiking without limiting your movements too much. So, in the event of a bear attack, you can quickly and conveniently deploy the spray.

Therefore, look for a spray that comes with a holster you can clip on for easy accessibility and quick action. Time is always of the essence when it comes to self-defense!

  • Spray Duration

Unfortunately, canisters can’t hold unlimited amounts of fluid. And since the fluid exits the canister at a very high speed and pressure, you shouldn’t be surprised at any point to discover that you’ve run out of the spray.

The majority of sprays have a spray duration of between 3 and 5 seconds. That might not seem like a lot, and it probably isn’t if you’re dealing with a very aggressive bear. The good news is that in most cases you probably won’t be.

In such a situation, 3 to 5 seconds of spray duration isn’t too shabby.

Having said that, you obviously have no way of predicting what kind of bear you will encounter, or how well he or she will be able to hold up to the spray attack. To deal with that eventuality, you will ideally be shopping for a spray that lasts up to 8 seconds.

Of course, you should probably expect such a spray to be more expensive.

As an extra precaution, consider purchasing and carrying more than one canister of the spray when you go on your hiking trip—at least 2 per group. Additionally, you should, of course, always first adequately research the area you’re hiking to determine the possibility of running into a bear in the first place.

  • Distance of Spray

The distance the spray will be able to cover is one of its most crucial performance indicators. As you can imagine, the finest products are the ones that will be able to spray the fluid far and wide.

For most products, the spray distance is measured in terms of feet. The range can vary between 20 and 40 feet—the ones that can spray further will probably cost you a little bit more, but once again, it will give you a relatively more life-saving performance.

Ultimately, the best choice to make in this regard is to select a product that can cover a distance close to 30 feet away. In most cases, this should do the trick.

Keep in mind, though, that the final performance the spray will give will depend on a few other factors as well, such as wind speed and the accuracy of your targeting.

Missing your target is a very real possibility, especially considering the bear will be moving towards you, so consider testing out the spray before buying it or taking it out with you.

  • Sprayer Type

There are different types of spray delivery that you will find amongst the brands. The “stream” delivery type is most commonly found; however, it’s commonly agreed that bear deterrent is best when delivered in a cloud or cone pattern. Here are the differences.

The “stream” delivery type is good for optimal targeting. Once you’ve aimed and then start to discharge the spray, you can see the fluid moving in a stream (hence the name)—so you are able to control it better.

The cone type derives its name from the loose cone shape, which is formed when you deploy the spray. The spray spreads out from the canister itself and has the effect of covering a wide area around the target bear. So, the chances of the spray getting into the bear’s eyes, nose, and mouth are actually increased.

However, cone delivery is not ideal in windy situations, because you run the risk of getting caught in a blowback. As mentioned earlier, the spray can have a devastating effect on humans, too, so this is not something you want.

So once again, it’s crucial to do your research about the location you have selected or hiking. Weather forecasts will also usually tell you about wind conditions, so keep that in mind.

  • Other Factors to Determine Quality

A bear deterrent is something of a niche product. Accordingly, in some countries, sprays do not have to go through a certification or testing process to ensure their credibility.

Therefore, it’s your responsibility to look up the rules pertaining to spray manufacturers in your country and educate yourself on whether there are any certification processes in place.

If there aren’t, then you have to do a lot more research about the most well-known manufacturers of spray in your country. You will be better off buying the spray from a reputable brand that has already established the efficiency and reliability of its product. So, look out for the big names.

Finally, you should ideally buy a product that has at least 4 years of shelf life from the date of purchase. This is another signifier of quality in the spray industry; you can then be somewhat assured about the reliability of the brand.

Even if you have to spend a little bit extra for a spray of high quality, I’d say it’s worth it to not get mauled to death by a bear, wouldn’t you?

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why do I need a bear spray? Why not use a gun instead?

First of all, and most importantly, studies have shown that the spray is far more effective in bear attacks than guns. They’re also a lot easier to use due to their lightweight.

Moreover, if you use a gun, you will likely gravely injure the bear, or kill him. The spray, although devastating, will wear off in a few hours and let the bear move on with his life. So why take a life unnecessarily?

  1. Should I test the spray before purchasing it?

If you’re iffy about the spraying distance and capability of the spray, then yes, it’s a good idea to test the spray. However, you should obviously do this in an external setting. You don’t want to get it all over your hands and face.

If you’re breaking out the spray after a couple of years of inactivity, you should definitely test it, though. And make sure to always check the expiration date.

  1. Is it possible to attach the spray to a backpack?

As with any self-defense item, yes, it is. However, for this, you will have to look for a spray that has handy holster capabilities, as I have mentioned earlier. There’s no point if you’re forced to fumble and blunder when there’s a bear standing right in front of you.

  1. Is it flammable?

Yes, it definitely is. They’re also highly explosive, so it’s a self-defense item that should be handled very carefully. Be very cautious if you are lighting a fear in a camping scenario and you have one nearby. Always keep it at a distance from the kerosene lanterns which can cause the canister to blast.

  1. Can the spray ever be ineffective?

In a perfect world, no. But in the real world, where wind speed is unpredictable, the spray can definitely be rendered ineffective.

How to Use Bear Spray Properly

Here, we’ll teach you how to use the bear deterrent properly.

Do Your Research

The very first thing you should do before you set out on a hike on which you expect to encounter bears is to thoroughly research the geography of the area. Doing so will help you get an idea of the probability of running into a bear.

Brown bears are most commonly found in woodlands, forests, and brushlands, or places with abundant water bodies. So, if you’re hiking in such an area, be ready for a highly probable bear attack.

Accessibility is Key

The first rule of using it is making sure that it’s always readily available and easily accessible. As such, a holster that you wear on your belt or backpack is absolutely necessary.

If you’re highly likely to surprise a bear in the area you’re hiking in; you might have to take it a step further and carry the canisters in your hands.

Using the Spray

The spray canisters come equipped with a safety clip. So, if you come upon a bear while hiking, you’ll obviously first have to remove the safety clip. Then you’ll have to extend both arms in order to get a better shot at the accuracy of aim.

Here is a step by step manual:

  • With both arms, aim the spray canister at the approaching bear;
  • Adjust your positioning to favor wind angle;
  • Steady your arm (even if you’re nervous, this is crucial);
  • Next, depress the trigger with your thumb;
  • When the bear is about 10 meters away, deploy about 2 or 3 bursts of the spray.

Finding the Right Aim

When depressing the spray, you have to aim at the ground near where the bear is. The initial burst should have the effect of startling the bear and making him or her retreat. If not, then you’ll have to deploy another burst, and this time you should aim higher.

Be careful not to use up the entire contents of the canister, as there is a high chance; you’ll need to administer more than one application.

If even after your first administration, the bear continues to move towards you, you have to now aim for his or her face.

What to Do After Spraying

It’s a common misconception for hikers to think that just because they’ve gotten rid of the bear, this means that they can continue their hike. This is far from the truth.

Even if the bear retreats from you or appears to be occupied in cleaning itself, the spray is not enough on its own to stop the bear from seeking you out. Remember, you’ve just sprayed a huge amount of chili derivative into his face; the bear will not be thinking kindly of you.

As such, once you’ve sprayed, get out of there. Be quick and use long strides, but never run, because this is sure to make the bear pursue you. Get as far away as possible, preferably to a place the bear can’t reach you.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve read our best bear sprays reviews, you are ready to get yourself your weapon against bear attacks.

And if questions about the sprays are still lurking in your mind, then you can contact us at our mail. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

So, what are you still waiting for?

Go, and get one now!

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