Best Personal Safety Alarms

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

11 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
292 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best personal safety alarms

Last Updated November 2019

Your personal safety is paramount, which is why protection and self-defense matter. Being aware of your surroundings and staying vigilant are the top ways to stay safe. Public spaces can be soft targets, particularly dimly lit or low-traffic areas. And if you find yourself in these areas regularly, it’s time to invest in a personal safety alarm.

These compact devices are ideal for runners, commuters, and students who want to minimize their vulnerability while traveling. Personal safety alarms are devices that emit an ear-piercing sound — as loud as 130 decibels — to ward off attackers. They’re activated by the press of a button or pull of a cord and continue to sound until help arrives and you can safely deactivate the alarm.

If you’re ready to take your preparedness to the next level with an added measure of security, then it’s time to consider a personal safety alarm. Our team tried the top-rated models so we can help you choose the most effective and protective device. We’ve also included several of our favorites in this guide.

While a personal safety alarm is one great line of defense, it’s still important to be aware of your surroundings, make eye contact, and be vigilant about people and things that seem out of place.

Key considerations

Why carry a personal safety alarm?

While it’s obvious that you’d purchase a personal safety alarm for self-defense, it’s important to consider your environment and situation before purchasing one. If you need an alarm to carry on the way to your car or during a late-night commute, almost any personal safety alarm will serve you well.

For early-morning or late-night joggers, walkers, or hikers, you could have more specific alarm preferences. You might need one that attaches to a bag and is within reach, or you could prefer one that can be secured close to your body during a high-impact activity. If you exercise without a bag or fanny pack, you might opt for a compact device that can be tucked into a small pocket.

Volume

Personal safety alarms are known for their strident, piercing noise. They’re designed to make sounds that are very loud to shock and scare away attackers. In fact, the alarms can sound for as long as 30 minutes or more until they’re deactivated, which is a long time considering how loud they are.

The alarms range between 91 and 130 decibels. To put that in perspective, a conversation is about 60 decibels, and anything over 85 decibels is loud enough to harm your hearing, depending on the level and length of exposure. At the top of the alarm range, 130 decibels, the sound is comparable to that of a military jet taking off.

Alert mechanism

The two main ways to activate a personal safety alarm are by pressing a button or pulling a pin or bolt.

  • Button-activated devices are similar to car key fobs. These models require you to press the button once to sound the alarm as opposed to holding down the button.

  • Pin-activated alarms work like a grenade. You pull on a cord, ring, or loop to remove a pin or bolt from the device, sounding the alarm. Deactivation varies between models. When you learn how to activate your personal safety alarm, make sure you know how to turn it off.

Power

  • Internal battery: Alarms with an internal battery have a limited lifespan and need to be replaced after a certain amount of time and use. Peace of mind could be an issue with these safety alarms because there’s no way to determine how much battery is left or when it’s fully depleted.

  • Changeable battery: Personal safety alarms with the option to change the batteries are made for prolonged use and tend to last longer. These require either cell or AAA batteries. You’ll need to remember to change the battery regularly, but, like the alarms with internal batteries, you have no way of knowing if the battery is dead.

Tiny but loud

This personal safety alarm is ready to use right out of the box with no set up or programming necessary. Choose from six colors that range from discreet to bright enough to be quickly located in a bag. At 130 decibels, this alarm will ward off attackers and draw attention to the incident. The pin-activated device is completely sealed to prevent tampering. It’s the size of a regular house key, so it’s compact enough to fit in a pocket. It also has a D-ring and carabiner, so you can hang it from a keychain, lanyard, or bag.

Personal safety alarm features

Colors: Personal safety alarms come in a variety of colors. If you prefer to have discreet protection, they’re available in black, gray, and other neutral colors to blend in with clothing, luggage, or bags. There are also brightly colored personal safety alarms that are easy to locate in a bag or purse. They’re also visible to the outside world, making others aware that you’re carrying an alarm device and you’re prepared to use it.

Attachment options: There’s more than one way to attach a personal safety alarm to your body or backpack. Neck and wrist lanyards are popular for easy accessibility, though if you’re jogging or exercising, these options could be cumbersome. Other alarms attach to a keychain and can be kept with your other keys. You could also hang a keychain alarm on a belt loop. Some people prefer holding the alarm in their hand and often remove any cords or chains so nothing hanging gets in the way of activating the alarm.

Additional features: Personal alarm devices sometimes have additional safety options. Some are equipped with a whistle that can be used in the event the device fails to activate. Several of the alarms we looked at also include a flashlight. You can illuminate the path to your car or home in poorly lit areas or use the light to get someone’s attention if you need help.

EXPERT TIP

If you change bags often, make sure to transfer your personal safety alarm to the new bag. Put it in an accessible place that’s easy to find.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Keep a handheld personal safety alarm near your dominant hand. It will be easier and more natural to manipulate in an emergency.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Some activewear includes hidden pockets. These are often the ideal size to fit a key or personal safety alarm.


Staff  | BestReviews

Personal safety alarm prices

Personal safety alarms range in price between $8 and $25.

Inexpensive: On the low end, between $8 and $12, you’ll find alarms that are activated by the press of a button or a pin mechanism.

Mid-range: These alarms cost between $12 and $15 and tend to be more reliable. Many come with a flashlight.

Expensive: Toward the higher end of the range, at $15 to $25, you can expect alarms with design elements that cater to specific activities like jogging. These tend to come in more colors and are often the loudest.

Three devices in one

Affordable and easy to use, this keychain-style alarm comes equipped with a back-up whistle and ultra-bright LED light. Simply pull the lanyard to activate the 130-decibel alarm. In addition to the added value of safety redundancy, this alarm is also available in value packs. You’ll rest easy knowing that each member of your family is safe during late-night walks to the car or walking home from school. The manufacturer also provides a six-month satisfaction guarantee and offers exceptional customer service.

Tips

  • Change batteries or alarms regularly. Personal safety alarms have a limited lifespan, so it’s important to make sure yours is active. Mark your calendar so you remember when it’s time to get a replacement.

  • Watch tutorials. Most manufacturers offer a series of explanations on how to use your personal safety alarm. Video tutorials are especially helpful since you can watch someone else activate it as opposed to reading about it or looking at pictures.

  • Mind security checkpoints. If you’re passing through security at an event venue or airport, you might not be allowed to bring in your personal safety alarm. Travel advisories and regulations are subject to change, so check with the travel authority prior to your trip.

  • Replace attachment cord or key ring. If the key ring, lanyard, or cord is damaged or lost, contact the manufacturer for a replacement. You can also purchase a new alarm. Personal safety alarms are uniquely designed to work with specific components, so trying to create your own replacement part could cause the alarm to malfunction when you need it most.

  • Enroll in self-defense classes. While a personal safety alarm is a great line of defense, you might benefit from taking a self-defense class. These are geared toward the average person with no martial arts background, focusing on swift, effective moves that can help you escape an attacker. Some classes also offer training in proper alarm use and techniques.

Other products we considered

We like the combination of features in the Vigilant PPS8G Emergency Protection Alarm. This cord-activated device is also one of the few that takes batteries, so you won’t need to replace it. At 130 decibels, it’s one of the loudest alarms now available to consumers — it was previously used by branches of the military. The longer design is also easy to hold or keep in a pocket. The alarm features an LED flashlight with a lifetime bulb. If you’re looking to increase your safety in hotel rooms, the Lewis N. Clark Travel Door Alarm is an essential accessory for travelers. This lightweight device loops over the door handle and has metal blades that slide between the door and frame. If the door is tampered with, the alarm sounds at 91 decibels. This simple yet effective security device is also powered by two cell batteries, so you can use it over the course of many trips.

If you’d like to purchase personal safety alarms for your children, value sets are available for most models. Because everyone in the family has the same device, you can learn how to use it together so everyone is prepared.

FAQ

Q. Should I get a personal safety alarm that is colorful or plain?

A. The choice of color is up to you, and there are different schools of thought when it comes to concealing the alarm. Some people say it’s best to have a colorful alarm to send the message that you’re aware and vigilant. Others say the element of surprise is crucial for warding off attackers, so a darker, concealed alarm is preferable.

Q. Are personal safety alarms waterproof?

A. No, if you immerse your alarm, it will likely corrupt the internal elements and stop working. Personal safety alarms are often worn close to the body, though, so they hold up to contact with sweat.

Q. Will my personal safety alarm alert me when the battery is low?

A. No, unfortunately it won’t. You’ll need to rely on the manufacturer's details regarding the recommended length of use, especially in models with an internal battery that isn’t replaceable. Keep in mind the battery drains more if you use the alarm, so the life of the device gets shorter in the event you actually use it.

The team that worked on this review
  • Amber
    Amber
    Writer
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Sian
    Sian
    Writer

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