Personal alarms are handheld devices you carry with you for protection during emergencies. You press a button, and the alarm makes a loud siren sound until you shut it off.
Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about buying personal alarms.
What Are Personal Alarms?
Personal alarms come in all shapes and sizes. Typically, when people say “personal alarms”, they’re referring to small alarms that make a loud noise when activated. They’re popular among women and children, for example. Typically, they make noise at a level of around 110 to 130 dB.
Thanks to the fast-growing pace of technology, personal alarms are cheaper today than ever before. You can find 130 dB keychain personal alarms on Amazon for under $10. Considering a personal alarm can quite literally save your life, that’s a very reasonable investment.
One of the best things about personal alarms is that they’re not considered a weapon. You can legally take them on airplanes, for example, or into public buildings.
Another advantage is that they can be used regardless of training or permits. All you need to do is press a button.
Ultimately, the goal of a personal alarm is to make a loud noise when you press the button. This loud noise deters attackers by drawing attention to you, giving you an advantage in a dangerous situation. Many alarms come with an ear-splitting sound that’s extremely difficult to listen to – even for a few seconds.
Why Use a Personal Alarm?
Personal alarms come in all different varieties and are designed for different situations and activities. Here are some of the most common personal alarm uses today:
-Personal alarms for runners that you wear around your wrist or on your person and can be activated with the press of a button
-Personal alarm keychains you can use to protect yourself when walking to your car at night
-Or, personal alarm keychains that are with you at all times, because you always carry your keys with you
-Waterproof personal alarms for hunters or outdoorsy people
-Tripwire personal alarms that you can set up around a camp to make a loud noise when wildlife enters the perimeter (like a bear)
-Air horn-style personal alarms, which let you press a button to make a very loud noise
-Personal alarms that you loop around a backpack or purse, so when someone grabs your bag, the pin is removed from the socket and causes the backpack or purse to emit a loud noise
-Personal alarms that can be activated silently to alert someone about an emergency situation, like personal alarms for the elderly that send a silent alert to emergency services after a fall or incident
Common Traits of Personal Alarms
Personal alarms all come with similar characteristics. Here are the traits you’ll find on virtually all personal alarms on the market today:
-User-friendly design for individuals of all ages
-Small size, discreet, and easy to wear
-Powered by watch batteries (typically, they last for about a year or two before needed to be replaced)
-Alerts others when you’re in danger
The Best Personal Alarms Available Today
Amazon has a thriving personal alarm market, with options ranging from $10 to $50. Most personal alarms on Amazon are small keychain-style devices that can be easily carried around wherever you go. However, there are also personal alarms for joggers and two-way personal alarms for caregivers.
Here are the most popular brands and products on the market today:
SABRE Personal Alarm with Key Ring ($8.49)
This product is currently leading Amazon’s personal alarms category. SABRE is one of the best-known companies in the personal alarm market, and they actually offer a wide range of different products. Their best-selling personal alarm can be heard up to 600 feet (185m) away.
You use SABRE’s “Personal Self-Defense Safety Alarm on Key Ring” (that’s the official Amazon name) like a grenade, pulling the metal chain from the base to activate the loud sound. It’s capable of producing 110dB of sound. SABRE is the same company that makes pepper sprays and other personal security devices for women. You can also find SABRE combination pepper sprays/personal alarms. However, this can take away some key benefits of personal alarms – like the ability to take them on an airplane, or using them without instruction.
Vigilant 130 dB Personal Alarm with Backup Whistle ($15.99)
Vigilant is another well-known name in the personal alarm world. They offer a 130 decibel personal alarm on Amazon for around $15 to $20. It’s available in multiple colors so it fits discreetly onto your key chain. At first glance, people won’t think it’s a personal safety device. It just looks like a key fob or something.
The Vigilant personal alarm on Amazon is the highest-rated on the list, and currently has an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 with nearly 400 customer reviews. It also comes with nifty features like a hidden off button, a backup whistle, and a bag/purse clip.
Vigilant 130 dB Personal Rape/Jogger/Student Emergency Alarm with LED Light and Included AAA Batteries ($16.99)
This lengthy title comes courtesy of Amazon, where Vigilant’s personal alarm is priced at $16.99, just $1 more than the Vigilant alarm we just mentioned. It’s the number one best seller in security horns and sirens on Amazon.
As you guessed from the name, this personal alarm comes with a loud 130dB siren and an LED light. You rip the cord to activate it. The LED Mini flashlight provides bright white light for emergency situations. The light is also classified as professional-grade, and Vigilant claims that they’ve sold their PPS8G Grey device (its official name) to branches of the US military, police organizations, prisons, and more.
EPOSGEAR Metallic Mini Minder Loud Personal Alarm ($6.99)
This product claims to be the preferred option for police forces in the UK. It’s highly-rated on Amazon and is available at a cheaper price than most other options on this list ($7). The personal alarm features a straightforward design: you pull the pin to sound the alarm.
One of the main advantages of this alarm, in addition to its price, is the loud noise. At 140dB, you’d be hard-pressed to find a louder alarm in this price range. It’s also smaller than most other alarms. It’s about the size of the iPod Nano (that tiny, square iPod).
iDaye New Emergency Personal Alarm Keychain ($12.99)
the iDaye New Emergency Personal Alarm Keychain is designed specifically as a bag decoration. It features a colorful red and black ladybug design, which is designed specifically so it doesn’t look out of place on a child’s backpack or on your personal bag. The button is located on the ladybug’s back.
Despite the friendly design, the iDaye personal alarm makes a decidedly unfriendly noise. After activating the alarm, you’ll hear a 130 dB siren. It also comes with a flashlight for emergency situations.
defendme Lifesaver Personal Alarm ($8.45)
For whatever reason, this company likes labeling all their products in lower-case letters. The company is called resqme, Inc., and the personal alarm is called defendme. The alarm features a 120dB siren. You pull the strap in case of emergency. There’s no panic button. The strap can easily be attached to purses, duffle bags, and backpacks.
ROBOCOPP 130dB SOS Personal Alarm ($15.99)
Described as a “sound grenade”, this personal alarm actually features a tripwire hook (to defend a campsite perimeter, for example). Once you pull the pin, the device will emit a 130dB alarm that sounds continuously for 30 minutes unless the pin is returned to the device. ROBOCOPP advertises this as more of a hunting/camping/outdoors safety alarm than as a personal safety device for women and children.
You can use the ROBOCOPP as an ordinary personal alarm (on your keychain or backpack, pulling the pin to activate). However, you can also set it up as a tripwire device. If you’re camping in the woods, you can string the alarm between two trees, for example. If something walks through and hits the string, the alarm will be pulled out, and you’ll scare away bears and other wildlife.
SABRE Runner Personal Alarm ($17)
Most of the alarms on this list so far are straightforward personal alarms that can be attached to a bag, strap, or keychain. The SABRE Runner Personal Alarm, however, is designed specifically to be attached to your body. It features a 130dB siren and an adjustable strap. Whether you’re hunting, camping, or jogging through a dark park, the SABRE Runner Personal Alarm can help you stay safe. There’s even reflective material that “helps cars and witnesses locate you in the dark” (SABRE’s words, not mine).
How Loud Should a Personal Alarm Be?
All of the personal alarms listed above are between 110dB and 140dB. Does noise really matter? Or is everything just “loud” past a certain point? Here are some examples to put the decibel scale in perspective while shopping for personal alarms:
-90 Decibels: A diesel truck from 10m away
-100 Decibels: A club, 1 meter away from the speaker
-110 Decibels: A chainsaw from 1 meter away
-120 Decibels: Threshold of physical discomfort
-130 Decibels: Threshold of physical pain
-140 Decibels: Jet aircraft, 50m away
Ultimately, anything about 110 decibels is going to get noticed very quickly in an urban setting. The reason you’d want a higher decibel rating is if you were in an outdoorsy area, a remote environment, or some place where the nearest person may be more than 500 or 1000 feet away. In these situations, decibels can matter.
Personal Alarms are the Fastest Growing Segment of the Self-Defense Industry
Personal alarms have been around for decades, but have never been very popular compared to better-known options like pepper sprays. However, modern technology has made personal alarms more affordable than ever, allowing anyone to protect themselves and their possessions in a discreet and non-hazardous way for under $20.
Some people buy personal alarms for jogging. Others buy them for walking to their car at night. Some people buy them to keep track of elderly relatives, and others buy them for hunting. No matter why you buy a personal alarm, there are plenty of situations where it can be the difference between life and death.