There are different types of pepper spray patterns and the intended use is a little different also. Manufactures offer 2 main spray patterns, ballistic stream and cone foggers. So what's the difference and which should I choose? Well the answer is simple, it depends! If you live in a windy climate (not a light breeze) like Chicago then you probably want to stay away from the cone fogger. The cone fogger has some very distinct advantages but the major drawback is the potential for "blowback". "Blowback" occurs when you spray directly into the wind and some of the spray blows back toward the user.So the a general rule is if you live in a windy climate and intend to use the spray outdoors go with the ballistic stream.
Here are the advantages and drawbacks of each.
Effective range is typically greater. For example the avg. 2 ounce stream pepper spray has an approximate range of 15 feet. The fogger range is 10 feet.
Decreased chance of "blowback". Ballistic stream spay comes out straight and fast. The cannister pressure is greater, the particles larger decreasing your chance of cross contamination due to "blowback".
With a stream spray pattern the user has to be accurate. Aim for the eyes, nose and mouth. This requires practice. The last thing you want to do is attempt to be accurate in a dangerous situation. Practice is extremely important with all self defense spray but critical with a stream pepper spray. Doesn't take all day or even an hour, but you should send a few minutes out in the yard practice spraying. It is important to know the features, and get a feel for how to use.
No need to worry about accuracy, cone fogger expands in a cone shape after leaving the pepper spray nozzle.
Great for defense against multiple attackers or for crowd control situations.
Potenial for "blowback" is higher with a fog spray pattern as the particles are much finer and the propellant not a strong as the stream unit.
Effective range is typically less than that of a ballistic stream.