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Best Personal Safety Devices, Apps, and Wearables

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Best Personal Safety Devices, Apps, and Wearables

WIRED Senior Associate Editor Adrienne So tried to test the incident detection feature with her Garmin Venu 2S and couldn’t activate it after a fake drop, so we can’t say for sure how well it would work during a real incident. Still, Ella So says that she generally feels much safer when she runs, thanks to her Garmin’s location tracking. Like most of these wearable devices (except the Apple Watch, for which you can set up a separate cellular plan), your phone will need to be with you for this to work. And of course, you’ll need to make sure you activate these security features first.

More safety accessories

If you are off the grid…

If you are a frequent camper or hiker, or are frequently away from cell service, most of the products here will not help you in an emergency. That’s where a satellite messenger comes into play.

We have a guide with some picks for different situations. The Spot X is old school and doesn’t work if you cross the ocean. But its two-way texting, mapping, and tracking work independently, so if your phone is dead, broken, or missing, this will work. We really love the Garmin inReach Minibut it is now discontinued and only available used.

Infinity X1 Rechargeable Flashlights

I’ve spoken to several self-defense teachers over the years who always recommend flashlights as personal safety devices; yes, more than a mace or a pocket knife. Obviously, a flashlight illuminates your path as you walk in the dark, which could help you see someone who would otherwise be shrouded in darkness, but there are two other reasons why they work. Shining a flashlight in someone’s eyes will disorient them, hopefully long enough to allow them to escape. I’m almost blinded by the flash on an iPhone camera, so imagine thousands of lumens directly into your eyeballs. If it really was a kind stranger asking for directions and not a threat, you didn’t really hurt him and you’ll be far away before you know it. (Sorry, stranger.)

If that fails, you can use it, frankly, to hit them. A piece of metal in your face will hurt more than your fist and won’t hurt you in the process. Get a good swing and run. However, of course, like any weapon, it can be taken from you and used against you, so keep that in mind.

Infinity X1 flashlights are bright. I tried the 4000 lumens which illuminated the room brighter than my real lights. That one is out of stock at the time of writing, but an even brighter 5000 lumen light is also available. Both have two cores, one that contains the batteries and another that is rechargeable. It can also charge your phone, so it doesn’t hurt to have it on hand in case of emergency. It’s heavy and long, which is good if you need to swing it, but it won’t be easy to fit in your bag.

Cheaper options: Any flashlight with some weight will do, and there are a few others that we really like. WIRED writer Matt Jancer recommends the 350 lumens Fenix ​​E20 V2 ($45) in your Guide to Creating a Home Emergency Kit. It’s compact, so it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle to toss in your bag, but it’s still built from sturdy metal. For even less, writer Louryn Strampe recommends the 900-lumen model. Boldest Rechargeable Anker ($34), which even has a strobe function. It’s much smaller, but it will still pack a stronger punch than a solitary fist.

How we test

We test built-in smartphone features, third-party apps, Internet-connected jewelry, and other personal safety devices designed to connect you to help when you need it. We activated panic buttons when appropriate and spoke with first responders, or went through training exercises provided by companies. Most products are able to indicate your need for help without needing to speak to anyone, so you don’t have to dial a number or voice your concern out loud when it would be unsafe to do so.

None of these products provide a comprehensive solution for every scenario, but each offers some form of protection. In some localities, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon like a knife or even pepper spray, and using those things can put you in more danger. So the methods we highlight here are an alternative to brandishing a weapon.

We approach our testing with inclusivity in mind, recognizing that different groups may have different personal safety needs or feel vulnerable in situations where others do not. While we believe that women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community would benefit the most from some of these products, cisgender heterosexual men are also at risk of violence, even if they do not hear the same warnings as we. Most of this advice focuses on one-on-one violence, but mass shootings are also a fear that Americans constantly struggle with. These things can help you contact help more quickly, but they haven’t been tested for that kind of chaos.

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