The Best Personal Alarms (2020 Reviews)Gadgets & Gizmos
Having a personal alarm always seemed like a great idea that just didn’t quite work as good as expected. They were never loud enough to be painful, and most would not even help to attract the attention of people a few hundred feet away before it was far too late to matter. In a parking lot with other noises around you, all the alarms did was make you feel better by clutching your electronic safety blanket while you were an easy target.
But that was in the past. Electronics have improved incredibly over the last 10 years, and there are some real contenders in the personal security market now. We are going to list the top 5 best personal safety alarm products we would trust enough to give to our grandmothers. We were going to do reviews of the top 6 options available anywhere, but we are way too picky at The High Tech Society and could not find a 6th one worthy of our list. We did find a lot of junk with an LED light, and lights don’t help in a bad situation.
Each personal alarm features the loudest volume, longest life, and most painful sounds. We have our preferences, but these are all the best to use in an emergency at any price.
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Top 5 Personal Alarms of 2020
Here are the 5 best personal alarms on the market in 2020. Everything that you need to know about each personal alarm is in the reviews below.
1. BASU eAlarm+ (Best Personal Alarm)
The eAlarm+ (aka Robocopp) came on the scene in 2016, making it fairly new, and made a huge splash with its innovative design. This personal alarm is functions like a hand grenade. Keep it on your keychain, belt loop, bag, or purse strap, with your hand grasping it. Just pull the keyring to activate the personal alarm. When met with unexpected danger or a sudden attack, the natural human reaction is to jump. The brilliance of this product is how it exploits a natural reaction to sound a 130dB alarm so you do not have to think about turning it on or fumble for a switch.
As a bonus, it comes in a variety of colors.
- Great Keychain Design
- Easy to Trigger SOS
- Loud (120 to 130dB)
- Waterproof Personal Alarm
- TSA Approved
- Fits Anywhere
- Batteries cannot be changed
- Beware of fakes with this
The battery lasts about 5 years, so not being able to change it is not a huge problem when you consider that is the compromise for having a waterproof personal alarm. Watch out for fakes with this alarm, as some copycats are real junk.
The real BASU eAlarm+ is the best personal alarm you can buy in 2020.
2. Vigilant with Emergency Pull-Pin
This Vigilant 130db personal alarm uses AAA’s instead of the watch batteries typically used. The result is a little more bulky device with a longer alarm runtime and an emergency alarm that is one of the loudest ever tested. The batteries are also easily replaceable.
With the extra power, it can also run a small integrated LED flashlight, which is nice for those dark key-fumbling moments when you are trying to hurry to get out of a lonely pitch-black parking lot.
Like the Robocopp above, it uses a ripcord style alarm, which is our personal preference to carry, but this alarm also has a button-press activation.
- Best Battery Life
- 130db Alarm
- Pulling Wrist Strap Activates
- Personal Customer Support
- Large Case Size
- High Price for Poor Build Quality
3. Katana Safety Arc
The Katana Safety Arc is the first truly new technology to hit the personal alarm market in many years. And it’s a bit of a game changer.
When I hear the words personal safety alarm, I have a tendency to think of grandma thinking that a loud sound is going to scare off a purse snatcher. Thankfully, this is very different.
The Katana Arc connects to the back of your smartphone (or cell phone case). It just sticks on with adhesive, no wires and no connectors. It’s not another device to keep up with, because it’s part of the device you always carry.
Alarm Activation (125 DB)
This personal alarm that goes beyond making a loud noise and hoping that an annoying sound is enough to save your life.
When the alarm is activated in an emergency, the Katana Arc will contact a 24/7 response center.
Katana will then give authorities your exact GPS coordinates.
The Katana app can be configured to send an alert and a map of your location to 7 of your contacts. This is nice if your wife is out for a jog because you are the closest help that she will have.
Activation can also trigger a piercing 125 dB alarm if you choose to do so.
3 methods of activation for whatever situation you find yourself in:
- Lanyard around your wrist. Pull the cord and the alarm activates.
- Traditional Push-Button Alarm.
- A silent alarm button, which contacts an emergency call center but makes no sound.
The Katana Safety Arc alarm is more expensive than a simple noise maker, but that’s because noise makers can’t literally call for help automatically when you need it most.
If you can afford it, this is the best alarm on the market but it is #3 on our list due to the high price.
4. Vigilant 130dB Personal Security Alarm
This 130dB personal alarm keychain uses standard watch batteries to keep it small enough for your keychain but easy to grasp in an emergency. This is more of a time tested and classic product with upgraded and modern technology and is a 130db keychain alarm.
One of the worst complaints I saw with this personal alarm keychain was where someone dropped it in a puddle in a parking lot and it went off and wouldn’t stop. They tried everything to stop it, including submerging it in water for 10 minutes, stomping on it, and even running it over with their car 8 times! Their complaint was they couldn’t make it stop or break it!
It is not sold as waterproof, but that’s pretty well built for an emergency situation!
- U.S. Based Company
- Designed in the United States
- Quick Battery Replacement
- Very High Decibel
- Sensitive Emergency Alarm Button
- Must Use Small Clip
- Not Purse or Pocket Safe
The push-button style will be preferred by some, especially since it’s a more traditional alarm that someone older may be more comfortable with. But, this means the safety alarm can be activated too easily as the button is easy to depress, so if you have it in your purse or pocket you could easily set it off accidentally. This was the biggest negative found in an otherwise well made and classic personal alarm keychain.
5. Siren Song Alarm Keychain
This is by far the most ear-splitting, lowest priced, and highest-rated self-defense alarm available. It has some of the classic design of other popular models while keeping the pin method of activating the alarm. Because it uses a clip and lanyard cord, it can be easier to activate in an attack.
This personal security alarm is very loud and will definitely draw attention if you need help.
I am VERY critical of low priced things made in China and expected to breeze past this. Instead, I found myself wondering why a 5-pack of these costs less than the Vigilant 130 dB personal alarm keychain in the review above, but they are louder and have comparable construction quality.
- Loudest (130DB) Alarm
- Pull Pin Activation
- No Push-Button Activation
In the end, if I was on a budget, this is what I would give to someone I cared about. It comes in a 5-pack and has a pull-pin, so carrying 2 and activating both devices simultaneously is easy (put two straps on your wrist) and makes more noise than anything else on the market.
Personal Alarm FAQ
What is the best personal safety or attack alarm?
The Katana Safety Arc is the best personal alarm. It has key advancements that make it significantly better for safety or in case of attack.
Are personal alarms effective?
Personal alarms are effective when used in the right situations. Personal alarms are most effective when used in a situation where an attacker is depending on not being noticed.
For example, activating a personal alarm in a busy parking lot may make a kidnapper turn and run, as the perpetrator would know that they will not succeed without having witnesses.
How much does a safe personal alarm cost?
A safe traditional personal alarm should cost under $30. Safer personal alarms, those that contact help automatically, will be considerably more expensive.
What is a safe personal alarm?
The BASU eAlarm+, Katana Safety Arc, and Vigilant 130 dB Keychain Alarm are reliable and safe personal alarms.
What is a personal attack alarm?
A personal attack alarm is a small electronic device that emits a loud sound when activated. Ideally, these should be small enough to fit in a pocket easily and strong enough to withstand accidental drops.
Some personal attack alarms also have the ability to use your cell phone to call for help.
What is a personal alarm system?
A personal alarm system is a multi-layered security system like the Katana Safety Arc.
It is comprised of a pull-pin trigger, which activates a loud alarm and contacts a remote emergency call center for help. Optionally, it can also contact multiple friends or family with a map of your GPS coordinates.
How loud is 140 Decibels?
140 Decibels (dB) is roughly as loud as a jet engine at takeoff. It should be noted that the type of sound makes as much difference in how it is heard as the volume. For example, an ambulance siren is approximately 120 Decibels but it is more piercing than a sound with more bass.
Humans are most sensitive to sounds in the 2 kHz to 4 kHz range.
Important Features When Buying The Best Personal Alarm
When buying a personal alarm, it’s easy to focus only on how loud it is. Everyone wants something that will make an attacker’s ears bleed. That’s all fine and nice unless you are that poor guy, but the features below can be even more important than the decibel level of the personal alarm.
A good personal alarm needs to be durable enough to withstand numerous the bumps of normal life and smacking against items in your purse or pocket. Ideally, it should be able to withstand a drop on concrete. It will eventually get dropped and you need to still have confidence in it protecting you when you pick it up.
Perhaps the most important part of a personal alarm is its method of activation. If you have to fumble with it to turn it on, it could be worse than having nothing by making an attacker mad rather than surprised.
Ideally, the best personal alarm for you will be easy and intuitive for you to activate, but not easy to set off by accident.
Going for a cute design is where most people go wrong buying keychain alarms. Too many times, women opt for something cute or a parent gets something that looks like something their kids would like.
An emergency personal alarm isn’t about fashion, it’s about your personal safety. Nothing else matters!
Don’t worry about trying to disguise your personal alarm like it’s a decorative charm or teddy bear. A personal alarm is not a gun. No one is going to fear it if they see it hanging off of a purse. Buy something substantial and with some kick to it to take someone off their guard.
While some personal alarms are rechargeable, most use AAA or watch batteries. A couple of models use batteries that can not be charged or changed.
Personally, I prefer changeable batteries. Maximum voltage output is always higher than the rechargeable options, and it just takes a couple of minutes for your alarm to be back to full power.
You may see personal alarms that have a backup whistle, built-in flashlight, or other extra features. Avoid these alarms, as these features drain the battery with every use and rarely provide real value. You are better off carrying a little flashlight if you need a flashlight and keep your personal alarm charged and ready to go.