Whether you’re pacing intervals at a local high school track or traversing a remote mountain trail, you can never be too cautious when it comes to personal safety. As a runner, it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings and ready to react in case of an emergency.

One easy and inexpensive way to protect yourself is by stashing a personal safety alarm in your running gear. These alarms are light, discreet, and though you hope to never have to use it, can be an essential lifeline in case of an emergency. If you’re looking for a quality personal safety alarm, the MaxxmAlarm SOS Alert Personal Alarm makes a powerful sound and is easy to use.

Since you’re taking your alarm on the run, you’re going to want something as small and lightweight as possible. Large and bulky alarms will bounce around or might not fit into the pocket of your running shorts.

Most personal safety alarms do not have a rechargeable or even replaceable battery, especially the devices that are small enough to slip into a pocket and jog with. Look for one with a long-lasting battery life to get the most for your dollar.

The purpose of the device is to send out a call for help or to scare off a potential attacker. The best personal safety alarms have a loud, clear and attention-grabbing sound that people will respond to. The alarm can give you precious time to escape an attacker or send out a distress signal.

The best personal safety alarms for runners make a sound loud enough to draw attention from a distance. This is especially important for runners who take less-traveled routes or go out early in the morning or late at night. All of our product picks have a 130-decibel alarm, which is about the volume of a car alarm.

To keep your alarm from getting lost, look for one that’s easy to attach to your running clothes or pack. A carabiner or a hook on the alarm also gives you something to hold on to.

Some personal alarms for runners are activated by pulling out a pin or the top off the alarm, others by pushing a button. Look for an alarm that you can activate quickly, whether that’s by pushing a big button or by yanking off the top.

Because you won’t necessarily be able to recharge or replace the batteries in your alarm, having a back-up plan can come in handy. Some alarms have a built-in whistle to turn to in an emergency. It may not be as loud or attention-grabbing as a 130-decibel alert, but it’s certainly better than nothing!

A fully outfitted alarm can do more than play a loud noise. If you regularly run in low-light conditions, you may appreciate a device that has a built-in flashlight.

Safety alarms are an affordable investment in your personal protection. The alarms on our list cost $15-$20. The cheapest personal safety alarms come in a multipack for less than $25. They perform well, but may have a shorter battery life than slightly more expensive options.

A. Our favorite alarm is activated by pulling the top off. It takes a fraction of a second and instantly triggers an alarm the volume of a car alarm. Other devices are activated by pressing a large and easy-to-find button.

A. Most alarms come with one battery that cannot be changed or recharged. If the battery dies, you’ll need to replace the entire alarm in most cases.

A. Any runners who go out alone or run in remote or unpopulated areas should have an alarm with them. If you run in the early morning or after sundown, it’s also a good idea to bring an extra layer of protection. And these devices aren’t just for runners; they can be useful in any situation where you might be alone and could use the added security. For more information, take a look at the full personal safety alarm buying guide from BestReviews.

MaxxmAlarm SOS Alert Personal Alarm: available at Amazon

Our take: This key-sized alarm has a powerful alarm to draw attention, even in remote areas. It’s easy to activate simply by removing the top.

What we like: This alarm is small enough to stash in the waistband pocket of your running shorts, but loud enough when you need it. It’s easy to activate in a split second by separating the top and bottom pieces. When you want to quiet the alarm, simply secure them back together.

What we dislike: You cannot replace or recharge the battery, though it’s long-lasting and affordable to replace when necessary.

SLFORCE Personal Alarm Siren Song: available at Amazon

Our take: This inexpensive alarm is full of features, including an LED flashlight and a carabiner clip for easy transport.

What we like: The device comes in a range of colors and has a handy clip to secure to a running backpack or belt.

What we dislike: The chain attached to the device may jingle with every step.

Vigilant 130dB Personal Alarm: available at Amazon

Our take: This lightweight alarm has a backup plan if the battery fails: It turns into a high-pitched whistle to draw attention in an emergency.

What we like: The alarm has a concealed “off” button that can confuse potential attackers. It’s also handy for hikers and trail runners who may use the whistle to reunite with a group if separated.

What we dislike: The device is a bit bulkier than other personal safety alarms.

Lizzy Briskin is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

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