Are You Confused Yet On Ways To Measure Hotness Of Pepper Sprays?

When people start looking to buy pepper spray for their self-defense and personal safety they are confronted by a myriad of confusing statistics and claims. Not only are there literally thousands of choices from several different manufacturers, but it seems everyone says they have the hottest pepper spray or the best. To be quite honest, many of these claims are just marketing tactics to get you to buy a particular product.

Some of the considerations that you should take into account before you buy a pepper spray product are the amount of spray in the product, the range of the pepper spray, the shelf life or how long it will last before it becomes impotent, the safety devices on the product and as a major consideration for most people, the cost.

Somewhere in there you want to consider the “ouch factor” as we call it, or the amount of pain inflicted by the spray. The pain factor is a key and determining reason why most people buy defensive sprays which is why most companies, it seems, do their best to confuse consumers. But how do you measure the hotness of the particular pepper spray? Is it the percentage of oleoresin capsicum the main ingredient in all pepper sprays? Is it the number of Scoville heat units or SHUs? Or is it something else?

Are you confused yet on ways to measure the effectiveness of pepper sprays?

In our post entitled Everything You Need To Know About Pepper Spray we delved into this topic a little bit. In today’s post, we will clarify exactly what to look for in determining the effectiveness of pepper sprays when it comes to measuring hotness or “the ouch factor.”

We want to make clear that the “ouch factor” is just one factor to consider when buying a pepper spray. You should also consider the amount in the spray, the range, the cost and safety features. These are all important considerations when determining what pepper spray you should buy.

When we first got started in this business, which seems like 100 years ago, we thought it was the percentage of oleoresin capsicum or OC that was in the spray that was important. Oleoresin capsicum is a major ingredient in all pepper sprays. Usually the minimum amount in a pepper spray is 10%. It is the resin of one of the hottest peppers in the world. So it made sense to us at the time that the higher the percentage of OC the hotter the spray. RIGHT and WRONG!

Oleoresin capsicum gets mixed with emollients to make it a spray, foam or gel disbursement method. The more emollients in the spray the more diluted the concentration of OC.

Then different manufacturers started stressing the number of Scoville heat units or SHUs in their spray. A Scoville heat unit is a standard measurement of the hotness of the product. Almost all pepper sprays have a minimum of 2 million SHUs. That made sense too! The more SHUs in a pepper spray the hotter it is. Right? Well, not so much!

CRC or Capsaicin and Related Capsaicinoids is the most effective way to measure the hotness of the pepper spray. Are you confused yet?

BEAR SPRAY
BEAR SPRAY

CRC can be as little as .18% or as high as 2.0% in a bear spray, the highest allowed by the EPA.

The problem is this information is usually not available to consumers. The reasons are not exactly clear. Our suspicion is manufacturers actually are trying to market their products in the best way they know how. Remember the old expression “don’t confuse me with the facts” seems to apply. Most manufacturers put their emphasis on their positives in an effort to sell their product.

And to be honest, all pepper sprays are hot, so the CRC is just one factor you should consider when buying a defensive spray. How about now, are you confused yet?

What are some of the factors you consider when buying a pepper spray? Please share your experience. We want to hear your thoughts.