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What’s The Difference Between Pepper Spray Vs Pepper Gel? Which One is Better?

Pepper Spray Vs Pepper Gel

Pepper sprays and pepper gels boast abilities to instantly inflame the eyes, nose, throat, and skin of assailants while enabling users to escape from dangers and stay safe. Although both gears serve the same purpose, they are different when it comes to performance. And so, many people get confused and indulge themselves in the debate about which is better.

And to solve this issue, in this article, we’ve tried to figure out the core differences between these two product types to help you choose the right one according to your preferences and circumstances. So, let’s get started.

Spray Pattern

In terms of the spray pattern, a pepper spray boasts a wider diameter than a pepper gel. When you fire pepper spray, it tends to spread out and incapacitate attackers, making them suffer from extreme coughing and mucus discharge. In contrast, pepper gel works following a sticky formula, which means when you blow its contents out, it sticks together instead of spreading out and fend off enemies by causing an intense burning sensation.


Before speaking of the range, let’s guess which one has the better blowing speed. If you are thinking pepper sprays can travel faster than pepper gels due to their liquid form substances, you are wrong. Although pepper gels contain thicker materials, they are more agile than pepper spray droplets. Usually, most pepper gels have an effective range of up to 25 feet, while many traditional pepper sprays can reach around 12 feet only. 

Cross Contamination

Now let’s talk about another prominent fact regarding pepper sprays and pepper gels, which is cross-contamination. It happens when you fire pepper sprays outdoors, directly into the wind, or in confined spaces; the contents blow back toward you instead of reaching attackers. But in this scenario, a pepper gel won’t disappoint you as its sticky substances deploy at a concentrated stream to assailants and increase your overall safety. In short, pepper gels have less blowback potential than pepper sprays.


Speaking of effectiveness, pepper sprays and gels are both excellent for self-defense and help you escape from danger. They house the same substance, called OC, which is oleoresin capsicum, derived from cayenne pepper. When this ingredient comes in contact with the target’s face, it starts to inflame the eyes, causing blindness, irritation, and a burning sensation across the entire face.

Now let’s get into some technical details; the effectiveness of this ingredient is measured by a term known as Scoville heat units or SHU. Mainly, it refers to how hot your spray is. Usually, most pepper sprays contain around 5000 shu, while a high-quality pepper gel may feature up to 2 million shu, quite dangerous, you know.

Anyway, both pepper sprays and pepper gels can boast a huge amount of oleoresin capsicum, and both are debilitating. But when we talk about effectiveness, we are questioning their longevity. Many pepper spray’s effects tend to last for half of an hour or more, while most pepper gels can cause intolerable suffering for hours as their sticky contents are pretty challenging to wipe away. Hence, considering that, pepper gels win over pepper sprays.

To conclude, pepper sprays and pepper gels are similar in terms of substance, but they are quite distinct in terms of performance. Overall, both will work well and let you stay safe, so you can go with any of them that best suits your needs.

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