9 Top Tools for Self Defense in your Home

Home intruder breaking in

Our number one goal for home security is to keep intruders out. A well secured home will deter the vast majority of burglars. Check out our in-depth article on increasing your front door security here.

You and your family are always much safer if an intruder never gets in your home in the first place.  But what do you do if someone gets inside?  How do you keep yourself and your family safe if someone gets into your home?

Avoid Confrontation

Confrontation With A Burglar

First, you should avoid a confrontation if at all possible.  If you hear an intruder in your home but they are only in the living spaces then it’s best to stay put and call the police.

The reason I say this is that you just don’t know what sort of weapon the intruder might have.  You don’t know their state of mind.  And you don’t know how skilled they might be as a fighter.  You take on a lot of risk confronting someone.  It’s just not risk losing your life for material possessions.

But what happens if the person isn’t sticking to the living spaces?  What if they’re approaching your bedroom, or the part of the house where your children sleep?  In this situation, you need to be ready?  So what can you do?

Have a Plan

Have A Plan

There is nothing better than to have a plan A, plan B, and plan C for these types of situations.  In fight or flight situations, our adrenaline starts pumping and out instincts take over.  If you don’t have a plan in place, you’re likely to do something rash that could get you hurt or killed.

But what sort of plan should you have?

Know your capabilities.  If you’re a skilled martial artist, your plan may be different than others.

Know what you’re willing to do.  If someone entered your home and behaved in a way that threatens your life or the life of a family member, would you be ready to use whatever force was necessary?

Know what types of weapons would be useful for the layout of your home.  Do you have long, narrow hallways?  If so, a baseball bat might not work as well as something like pepper spray.  The hallways might restrict the swing of your bat, but they would also make it easier to hit an intruder with a burst of pepper spray.

Let’s talk now about weapons.  If your intruder has a weapon, facing them with anything less puts you at a serious disadvantage.  You should seriously consider acquiring and being trained on a self defense firearm. But if that isn’t possible, what are your next best options? That is what we are going to discuss in this article.

Our 9 Top Tools for Self Defense in your Home are:

1. Pepper Spray

Pepper Spray

Pepper spray really does make for a terrific home defense weapon.  Most pepper sprays have a spray range of about 10 ft (3 meters) which helps level the playing field if the intruder has a weapon.  It’s totally non-lethal, which saves you from emotional and psychological trauma, not to mention possible legal troubles.  And most importantly, it’s really debilitating.  A small bottle of pepper spray could be the thing that gives you the time you need to subdue your attacker or get away.

Another huge benefit of pepper spray is its cost.  For usually about $10 you can get a can of pepper spray that gives several bursts.  This one on Amazon will do 25 bursts.

The downside of pepper spray is that you run the risk of getting it in your own eyes or on your own skin.  This can cause you some irritation.  While this is a serious concern outdoors, where a gentle breeze might be enough to blow some back at you, it’s less of a concern inside your home.

2. Taser


Tasers are another fantastic non-lethal weapon for protecting your home.  The big benefit they have over pepper spray is that you won’t get back-spray.  They’ll work even if you have a big fan blowing in your bedroom.  They’re extremely debilitating too which means they’ll do the job.  The downside is that for tasers, you need to be able to reach your attacker, which means you have to get up close.  If they have a ranged weapon, or if they’re a skilled fighter, you’ll need to be able to get the jump on them for this to work.

Much like pepper spray, though, tasers are surprisingly inexpensive. This one on Amazon is a best seller with top ratings and sells for about $24 right now.

3. Tire Thumper

Tire thumpers are used by truckers to check tire pressure by hitting their tires with them. Because of how small but extremely weighted they can be as a self-defense weapon, these are an effective choice for home defense. This means you need to have the strength and quickness to be able to swing the weapon at your attacker.  This will give you an advantage if your attacker is unarmed.  But even so, remember that any time you get into a physical confrontation with an attacker, you’re in a very dangerous situation, so don’t hold back.

With a tire thumper, you’re definitely more likely to cause damage to your attacker that could be permanent. Just remember that if an intruder has entered the part of your home where you or other family members are, they probably intend to do more than just take your TV.  It’s important to defend yourself.

All that said, I actually really like this tire thumper on Amazon that is cost effective and will last a lifetime.  

4. Baseball Bat

Baseball Bat

Now we’re getting into the ‘stuff lying around the house’ part of this list.  I mention a baseball bat specifically, (or if you want to be really classy a Louisville Slugger!) because they have some good weight and range to them making them a great weapon for warding off an attacker.  Seriously, if someone approached you and intended to do some harm, and they saw you swinging a bat at them, they’d probably just turn around and leave.  This is actually one of my weapons of choice for home defense, and I keep a bat in my room for that very reason.

The downside to baseball bats is that they may be too long.  If you have narrow hallways, or if you have to fight in a doorway, you basically can only swing down at your attacker.  That’s why a shorter baton can be more useful in some situations.

That said, baseball bats make great self-defense weapons.

5. Knife


Knives have some of the same benefits as batons.  They can be extremely effective to deter and ward off intruders, and they work well in small quarters.  The downside, though, is the same as a taser.  Knives generally have even shorter range than batons (unless you have a large knife) which means you have to get right up close to your attacker.  This can be really dangerous if you’re not skilled in hand-to-hand combat.  If you’re not and your attacker is, they may end up with your knife.  I’d recommend any of the weapons above over a knife for home defense.  But if you have nothing else available, a knife may be better than nothing.

6. Leather Belt

Leather Belt

Believe it or not, leather belts can actually make for a great home defense weapon in a pinch.  Wider leather is better, and the heavier the buckle, the more effective it will be.  A belt can obviously be used to strangle and incapacitate an intruder.  But it can also be used as a ranged weapon.  Grab the belt by the end without the buckle and swing it at the intruder.

The downside of using a belt in this manner is the same as a bat, but worse.  Swinging a belt around a tight space won’t be very effective.  However, if you’re in a more open space, like a room, then it can be extremely effective.

7. Tactical Pen

Gerber Tactical Pen

Gerber Tactical Pens are just like they sound.  They are heavy duty, pen-shaped metal objects that can be used in hand-to-hand fighting situations.  Some tactical pens open up and have a knife inside.  Others are designed to be used as a glass-break.  Some even have a bright LED flashlight inside.  Tactical pens are meant to be used to basically poke or stab your assailant.

I really like this tactical pen on Amazon that’s also a flashlight, glass-break, as well as an actual writing pen.

The downside of tactical pens is similar to some of the other small weapons on this list.  They require you to get right up close to your attacker which can be really dangerous if they more skilled in hand-to-hand combat than you are.

8. Keys Chain Weapons

Key chain weapon

Car keys make a good improvised weapon.  You can make a fist around your keys leaving one or more sticking out between your fingers.  This makes your punches particularly impactful.  If nothing else, they work as a great projectile because of all of their jagged edges and their weight.

In addition to just keys, you can get one of many key chain weapons that go on your key ring and that are designed to be held in your fist and used as a weapon.  This one on Amazon is pretty versatile but doesn’t look like a weapon.  That makes it ideal for use as an everyday self-defense weapon.

Even if you just use your car keys, it might be enough to give you an advantage over your attacker.

9. Anything You Can Swing or Throw

You really should have a plan in case a situation like this comes up.  However, you can’t plan for everything.  If you find yourself in your home facing an intruder, you may have to improvise a little.  A cane or umbrella can be about as effective as a bat at warding off intruders.  Likewise, a computer mouse, a book, or a Bluetooth speaker works as a projectile if you need some range.

The point is, if an intruder tries to attack you, you should do whatever you can to defend yourself.  Violent people have been stopped many times simply because someone fought back.  Even an attacker with a weapon can be thrown off guard and may give you a window to subdue them if you pick up a book off your nightstand and throw it at them.

Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones

Protect Your Loved Ones

Remember, the most important thing in your home is the people inside.  If you hear an intruder downstairs, rummaging through your belongings, you should usually just call the police and stay put.  But if the people in your home are placed in danger, then you need to have a plan and that plan needs to include at least one weapon to help give you the upper hand.

A little advanced preparation could just save your life.

Luke Miller

Luke Miller is a writer, real estate professional, rental property investor, and home renovation enthusiast based in Phoenix, Arizona. He grew up in Iowa in a self-sufficient household where he learned the skills to do everything from plumbing, drywall, to basic handyman repair for everyday problems. He enjoys sharing his vast experience and his continuous learning with fellow DIY enthusiasts.

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