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The 7 Best Bear Sprays of 2020

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products and services; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

“A reliable and effective bear spray that’s reasonably priced.”

“The maximum strength allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency.”

“Can empty out in four seconds as it enters the bear’s eyes, mouth, and nose.”

“Empties in six seconds and can spray up to 35 feet of fog.”

“You can fire short bursts to scare the animals off.”

“Registered with the EPA as a repellant against all bears.”

“It will prepare you to stay calm and use the real product correctly.”

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Counter Assault

As a top choice of park rangers and experienced hikers, Counter Assault is a reliable and effective bear spray that’s reasonably priced. The 10.2-ounce can of spray is larger than some of the others, has a range of up to 40 feet, can empty in 8 seconds, and allows the user more control of the spray amount. The spray includes a nylon holster and a glow-in-the-dark feature, plus a safety cap in case of accidental discharge. When released, the spray is a cloud-like stream so be mindful of “blowback,” as it can cause irritation to the user as well. Keep in mind that the spray is only effective for three to five years, but replacing it before then is recommended.

If that’s not enough to convince you, Counter Assault is the only bear deterrent pepper spray that meets the Significant New Alternative Policy (S.N.A.P) requirements of the Clean Air Act regarding ozone-depleting substances.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Sabre Frontiersman Bear Spray

Manufactured by Sabre, an established company that produces pepper spray for law enforcement, Frontiersman Bear Spray is a solid option. The 7.9-ounce canister empties faster than most others, has a range of 30 feet (although the 9.2-ounce one has a 35-foot range), and is the maximum strength allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The spray was field tested in Alaska and Montana and has been proven effective against black, brown, and polar bears. The can also glows in the dark, so you can locate it at night. The canister has a three-year shelf life ​and does not include a holster.

A good bear spray is reasonably priced and has a long-distance range. We researched the best options to help you protect yourself against bears.