An Important Announcement from Garbo

Should You Buy a Personal Safety Alarm? (Plus Our Recommendations)

March 29, 2023

If you ask any woman, non-binary, or queer person if they’d feel safe walking alone at night, the vast majority would say “no”.

The sad reality in which we live is that gender-based violence is prevalent in our world, along with violence against marginalized, vulnerable individuals (often referred to as hate crimes).

It’s important for us to note that the majority of this violence is perpetrated by someone the victims knows—whether that may be a partner, ex-partner, family member, friend, or neighbor. However, 20% of sexual assaults are committed by a stranger and other harm such as robbery, physical violence, and stalking can be committed by someone you don’t know — and it can often feel like you don’t have control over the stranger danger aspects of life.

That’s why many people, especially women, choose to take their safety into their own hands by arming themselves with tools that could help them protect themselves if they were in harm’s way.

These tools include things like pepper spray, stun guns, whistles, and various types of personal safety alarms. Today we’re going to talk about personal safety alarms including what they are, how to know the quality of a personal safety alarm, and what brands we recommend.

What is a personal safety alarm?

A personal safety alarm is a self defense tool that is used to scare off potential attackers or create a distraction by releasing a very loud alarm that is meant to get the attention of any bystanders or other people nearby and hopefully scare the person trying to cause harm.

Many of these personal security alarms will also come with some type of led flashlight or strobe light for additional means of drawing attention, but also to assist you in dark or low-lit situations.

These personal safety alarms are often available as keychains  or other gadgets that are small enough to carry with you on the go. Some can even be found in the form of jewelry, like necklaces or bracelets, so you can discreetly wear them while you’re out and about.

The personal safety alarms we’re referencing are physical hardware devices - not a mobile safety application such as Noonlight, which can also be a valuable resource in the right situations. We believe that everyone should be aware of personal safety options and utilize the tools you see fit for your own life and situation.

Reasons you might need a personal safety alarm

There’s plenty of reasons why you might want to carry a personal emergency alarm for personal protection and peace of mind.

Most people add their personal safety alarms to a key ring or lanyard so they always have it with them in case they find themselves in a potentially dangerous situation.

Here’s just a few reasons you could use a personal alarm keychain:

  1. If you have to walk home or to your car alone: If you’re a worker who works late hours, or maybe you’re a college student who spends late nights at the library—if you often have to travel to your car or to your home in the dark—a personal safety alarm is a great tool to carry with you.
  2. If you’re dating: We always recommend meeting in public and doing your research before going out with someone, but it’s also a good idea to be prepped with self-defense tools in case the date goes south or you feel your safety is in jeopardy.
  3. If you work alone: Oftentimes folks will have jobs that take them to remote areas or require them to meet clients in unknown places. For example, if you are a social worker, remote field worker, door-to-door salesperson, or even a truck driver, having a personal safety alarm can help you feel more comfortable in situations when you are not with other coworkers or in an office setting.
  4. If you’re a sex worker: Sex workers face a heightened risk of sexual and physical violence. Due to the nature of sex work, many times meetings are in private and workers are not always able properly vet who they meet, which increases the chances of them being face to face with a violent individual. We highly recommend sex workers carry personal safety alarms and other self-defense tools to protect themselves.

What personal safety alarm should I buy?

There’s a few factors to consider when looking at options for personal safety alarms.

One of the most important questions is how well it works - mostly meaning how loud is it? You want to look for a self defense siren that is 120 decibels or above.

Second, does it have a long-lasting battery life or is it rechargeable? Many of the cheaper personal safety alarms with fluffy attachments and bedazzled charms (oftentimes seen on Amazon or other online storefronts) are from Alibaba or similar stores and the actual alarm is at the wrong decibel and the battery life is minimal.

Third would be if it has a compact design that makes it easy to take with you wherever you need to go. And of course—what do the customer reviews say both on the website and on other review sites? (Be weary that many sites will pay for fake reviews to bolster their rankings on their site, so it can be good to visit other sites like the BBB or even Reddit and other platforms to get a fuller picture of the brand behind the product).

When it comes to a personal safety alarm, you want to make sure that it will work in the moments you need it to. You don’t want to buy a personal safety alarm only for it to have a dead battery or not actually make a loud enough noise to help when you need it the most.

When it comes to the best personal safety alarms, there are a few well-known brands—one of our favorites being Sabre. Sabre offers a wide variety of safety products and solutions ranging from personal alarms to pepper spray and home security alarm systems.

You can find all of Sabre’s options for personal security alarms, pepper sprays and gels, and stun guns on their website here.

Their 2-in-1 personal alarm with an led light and snap hook carabiner  is a great combo option that’s reasonably priced at $14.99 and comes in multiple colors.

If you don’t typically carry a key ring, then you may prefer their personal alarm that comes with an adjustable wristband for $9.99.

Both of these Sabre personal alarms have a 130 decibels loud siren, which is ear-piercing enough to alert anyone nearby and cause the attacker to panic. They also have a variety of other personal safety alarm choices that can fit your lifestyle and needs. We personally highly recommend Sabre products as they are a family owned and operated business that also provides an incredible personal safety training program and more.

What personal safety alarms not to buy

There are thousands of personal security alarms available on Amazon today, but sadly, so many of these options are cheap items bought in bulk from sites like Alibaba and then sold at an inflated price for a profit.

For example, take this listing on Amazon.

These alarms come out to about $5 each.

Now here’s a listing from Alibaba for personal safety alarms that are $1.49 each.

As you can see---these alarms are nearly identical.

So while these alarms might be good if you’re looking for a low cost option—don’t be fooled by the up-charged versions out there.

If you have the means to buy a personal safety device from a reputable brand like Sabre, we recommend doing so, but if you’re on a tight budget, it’s okay to buy from Alibaba or Amazon—just be sure to read the customer reviews before purchasing and look at the decibels and anticipated battery life.

Commons FAQs about personal safety alarms and final thoughts

  1. Are they illegal? No—personal safety alarms are legal throughout the United States. However, some states may have state and local laws that prohibit the shipment of certain models of personal safety alarms but you can often find a local retailer in those areas.
  2. Will I get in trouble for using one? No—using a personal safety alarm will not harm anyone and would be considered an act of self-defense. In fact, law enforcement officials often encourage people to carry personal security alarms.
  3. Can you bring them on a plane? Yes—there are no TSA restrictions regarding personal safety alarms. However, there around restrictions around other self-defense tools, such as pepper sprays or any sharp devices, so keep that in mind.

While we do think self defense tools like personal alarms are great for many reasons, we also want to acknowledge that no survivor should ever feel like an act of violence was their fault because they weren’t able to fight back or deter someone with self-defense tools. And, we also have to be honest that a personal safety alarm, even if used properly, may not always stop a perpetrator from causing you harm.

With all of that being said, if carrying a personal safety alarm can help give you peace of mind, then we say go for it. But, if you’re going to go for it, it’s better to invest in a high-quality alarm that, should you need, works properly. Stay safe, be vigilant, and look out for each other!

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