Tasers vs. Pepper Spray: Which is Better for Self-Defense?

Personal Safety

Your home security system protects you at home, but if you’re looking for non-lethal personal protection to use both at home and on the street, you may wonder which is better, a taser or pepper spray.

The ability to protect yourself and those you love from people who would do you harm is a priceless thing. And the truth is that both tasers and pepper spray are effective personal protection options. Which is right for you depends on several factors. A taser vs. pepper spray comparison can help you make a smart choice to protect yourself. 

Looking to boost your home’s security? Call Ackerman’s experts at 800.552.1111. We’ll thoroughly assess your home’s perimeter and points of entry and provide upfront prices on Atlanta's best home security systems. Don’t want to wait? Get an instant security quote online today


Regarding the speed of efficacy, both tasers and pepper spray provide an almost immediate defense from an attack. Pepper spray begins to irritate an attacker’s throat, nose, skin, and eyes immediately upon contact, making it difficult for the perpetrator to breathe. A stun gun can take a few seconds to work and must make contact with the attacker in order to be effective.

Pepper spray affects the attacker for around 30 minutes or so. By comparison, being hit with a taser can incapacitate an attacker for 5 to 60 minutes. However, pepper spray has a longer range and, because of this, requires more accurate discharge. Although not immune from faults, today's pepper spray is more reliable than ever since it is available in easier-to-deploy formats, including mists, sprays, single streams, foams, and gels. 

Ease of Use 

When it comes to which is better, a taser or pepper spray, the ease of using the device is a big consideration. Both are relatively simple to use. However, the ability to hit a target at a safe distance is important when you’re warding off an attacker, which makes a stun gun a better option for many users.

Accurate pepper spray deployment can be difficult when the wind blows, with some users even accidentally spraying themselves during use. Using pepper spray effectively requires taking wind direction into account, a feat that might not be possible when you’re stressed and in fight-or-flight mode while being threatened or attacked.

Stun guns are more intimidating to use, though, since they require that your attacker is close enough for you to touch to make physical contact. Some users lose confidence in firing the taser the closer the perpetrator gets to their personal space. Shelling out the extra money for a premium barbed-prong taser that you can deploy from distances of 15 feet can be a good investment since it doesn’t require you to be as close to the perp for practical use. 

Cost Difference 

The cost difference between pepper spray and tasers can be quite significant, with prices ranging from $15 to $1,000. When comparison shopping, it’s important to know that pepper spray must be refilled after use, while stun guns generally require nothing more than a battery recharge (or battery change, if you buy a model that’s not rechargeable). 

Safety Concerns 

Both pepper spray and taser guns have safety features in place that are meant to prevent them from being discharged by accident.

Another concern is that that attacker disarms you and uses your weapon against you. Although not standard on all tasers, some come with an attached safety pin tethered to a lanyard. If someone removes the taser from your hands, the tether detaches, and the stun gun no longer works. 


Another factor to consider when determining which is better, taser or pepper spray, is whether or not your choice is legal for you to use in your state. All 50 U.S. states permit the use of pepper spray, so choosing to use it for personal protection is entirely within your rights, provided you meet any state-specific age-related or other restrictions. For instance, the size of pepper spray canisters is restricted in California and Hawaii.

Tasers are legal in most states but not an option for you if you live in New York State or Rhode Island. In Georgia, most folks can own a stun gun or taser, except for convicted felons. It’s also worth noting that in Georgia, it is illegal to possess a taser on school property, on school buses, or at school-sponsored functions. In other states, tasers may be allowed, but you may need to get a permit in order to own and carry one on your person.

Even in states that permit taser ownership and use, some cities have ordinances that outlaw these self-defense devices. One example is Chicago, a city that bans tasers, even though the state of Illinois permits residents to own them. Because tasers are not allowed everywhere, be sure to do your due diligence in determining whether taser ownership is legal in your area.

As a taser vs. pepper spray comparison shows, both tasers and pepper spray give you the power to protect yourself in certain situations. This is especially true when you’re out and about shopping, running errands, or going to school or work. In some instances, having this type of personal protection on hand can mean the difference between staying safe or being robbed, assaulted, or worse.

When it comes to which is better, a taser or pepper spray, the answer depends on your personal needs. At home, though, a monitored home security system is your greatest hedge against would-be bad guys. For effective, reliable home security solutions in Atlanta, trust Ackerman and its friendly, knowledgeable team of security professionals to help you select the best home security system for your home or apartment. In business since 1967, Ackerman is Atlanta’s most trusted home security company and is known for its no-theft, 200-percent money-back guarantee. Reach out to learn more or discuss your home security needs with Ackerman now by dialing 800.552.1111, or schedule installation online.

Recent articles and publications on home security