What is the Strongest Pepper Spray on the Market?

Thinking of using pepper spray for self defense?

If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, you’re probably going to want to get a strong pepper spray. With so many choices out there, many readers are a bit clueless on where to start!

In this post, I’ll answer the question “What is the strongest pepper spray on the market?”

What is the Strongest Pepper Spray on the Market?

One of the strongest pepper sprays in the world is the “FOX LABS 5.3 million SHU Police Pepper”. Its Scoville rating is insanely high and is rated for police strength.

That’s why it’s approved to be used against dangerous criminals and hardened convicts. It’s even used by private security agencies and military agencies worldwide.

The spray is capable of disarming an assailant at point blank range, as well as at a distance of 17-20 feet. It’s also primed for half second bursts so that the assailant gets just enough so that they’re disarmed.

It’s not designed for excessive violence or damage.

The can contains about 18 half second bursts and is rated for use against deadly force. It’s housed in a 1.5 or 3 ounce can and spring loaded with protection against accidental activation. There is also a marking UV dye which is helpful for identifying the perpetrator.

Another strong contender for this title is the “Sabre Red Pepper Spray”. The spray has a 10 foot range, but 25 bursts which is greater than the 18 that the FOX LABS spray offers. It also has a powerful stream delivery to counter air blowback. It has a rating of 2.0 million Scovilles and is rated for police use. Through independent lab testing, the spray has been rated for use against assailants.

Lab tests have shown that its effects can include inhalation, flammability, OC pungency, eye irritation and dermal irritation.

It’s not at all possible, however, to rate the strongest pepper spray in the world objectively. There are different reactions to the pepper spray for different people.

A measure of pain and a measure of heat produced can only take you so far. That’s why I advocate general self defense training, as well, so that you’re fully prepared.

How does Pepper Spray work?

Pepper sprays are sprays (or sometimes gels) housed in an aerosol can. They contain oils from the cayenne pepper and are measured in their intensity on the Scoville scale.

However, the strongest pepper spray is not just a matter of scovilles. There are a lot of other factors to consider. Pepper sprays are not only made in order to hurt an attacker, but to disable their senses.

What are the Hottest Pepper Sprays made of?

The hottest sprays on the market involve more than scoville units

Click to view full-sized!

Pepper sprays are meant to defend against charging attackers. You usually only have a moment’s notice to defend yourself against attackers of any kind.

Usually they sneak up on you and reach for your belongings, etc. If they seek to harm you they reach for your throat or your abdomen, or other vital parts.

You only have split second windows to defend yourself.

Defining the Strongest Pepper Sprays

For this reason, a single spray has to be able to disarm the assailant. This is why pepper sprays have to be extremely potent.

It’s not just a matter of Scovilles here, then.

OC Rating

The “OC rating” or the OC percentage stands for oleoresin capsicum. That’s a pepper spray ingredient that derives from chili peppers.

A lot of pepper sprays tout their OC percentage. They brag that it’s anywhere from 2 to 20%.

A high OC percentage sounds great then. doesn’t it?

However, a higher OC percentage doesn’t necessarily equal a great potency.

OC percentages usually indicate the amount of pepper in the formula. They don’t indicate the strength of the formula. The weaker the pepper the OC is derived from, the weaker the spray.

Hence, you may have a lot of OC in your pepper spray, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have the most potent spray.

For example, a 10% OC rating can at times be hotter than a 20% OC rating, depending on the base pepper used.


Scoville Heat Units (SHUs) are used to measure the amount of heat that you experience when you taste peppers. It’s measured in a very specific manner and can only be done through continuous tasting.

Wilbur Scoville invented the units in 1912. He was a pharmacist and pioneered the method of rating peppers.

However, he didn’t manage to make the test objective.

The SHUs on the label of a pepper spray can be misleading. They may only refer to the raw pepper that’s used in the formula. Hence, they only count the heat that can be produced by the capsaicin in the pepper. They don’t count for dilution.

If you dilute that to its spray form, the SHUs can be much lower than those advertised. Also, SHUs can be subjective. Something that is really hot for someone may just be mild for someone else.

Hence, SHUs need to be looked at much more skeptically when picking out a pepper spray.

MC Rating

The MC rating is the only thing that you should be looking at when shopping for pepper spray. It’s the major capsaicinoids rating.

Unlike the previous two ratings, this measures the amount of ingredients in the formula that produce heat and pain.

This is a good indicator of how effective the spray is in the first place. For example, for dogs and bears, the MC rating on a pepper spray isn’t over 1-2%. However, for a human being, that rating is often much higher.

Also, the MC rating is determined through a laboratory test and is very accurate. It’s not subject and is measured through actually indicators such as heat which can be objectively measured.


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