Any motorist needs to be prepared for emergencies. If the worst happens, a window breaker can be essential – even the difference between life and death. With such an important purchase, you need to be confident you’re making the right choice.
Here we’ll take a look at ten of the best window breakers on the market. And we’ll investigate how to make the decision that’s right for your circumstances.
The Best car window breaker on the Market of 2020
1. Ztylus Stinger Plus Car Vehicle Emergency Escape Tool
The Ztylus car vehicle emergency escape tool is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. But as well as a window breaker, it includes a seat belt cutter too.
The window breaker uses a two-stage spring-loaded design. Just press it to the glass and push. The need for some pressure means it’s less likely to be triggered accidentally if children get hold of it. It doesn’t require a lot of force, but it does need to be used deliberately.
It will shatter the window instantly. Note that it’s designed to be used on tempered glass, but not windshields or laminated glass. If you have a newer vehicle, check whether the side windows are laminated (see our buying guide for more information).
The seatbelt cutter is tested on a 500-pound towing strap, and it’s razor sharp. It’s also safe. To use it, simply place the belt under the hook where the blade sits and pull downwards. It will slice through the belt without endangering your fingers.
The multifunctional design means it will be close at hand whenever needed. Just plug it into your vehicle’s charging port. It includes two high-output USB ports, so you’ll still be able to charge other devices at the same time. Just insert the cable from your smartphone or other electrical devices.
But note that this isn’t a power bank. It will only charge other devices while it’s plugged in. Although that limits its use for other purposes, it means you won’t be tempted to remove it from your charger. And that means there’s no danger of it not being to hand if you ever need it.
With VicTsing’s offering you’ll get two safety hammers in one pack. That makes it a good choice for households with two vehicles.
With this one, you’ll need to swing the hammer to break the glass. It won’t work on a windshield, nor laminated glass, so check your side window labels before you buy.
In the case of an accident, aim the hammer at a side window and strike it in the corner. The tighter the corner, the more likely the glass is to break.
Each hammer is double headed. The tips are sharp and made of carbide steel to shatter the glass with one or two strikes.
The handle is made of plastic, and it’s 6.7 inches long. You won’t need a lot of space to swing it, and at around 5 ounces, it’s not heavy. There’s a reflective strip on both sides to make it easier to spot in dim light.
Each hammer sits in its own plastic holder. If you don’t mind drilling holes in your vehicle, you can mount it on the inside. Alternatively, store it in a glove compartment or door pocket.
At the other end of the tool from the hammerhead is a seatbelt cutting tool. This is made of razor-sharp stainless steel to slice cleanly through the seatbelt. The blade is hidden away to avoid accidental injury.
All in all, this is a simple and effective safety tool.
Having a window breaker is no good if you can’t reach it in an emergency. The Resqme (“rescue me”) escape tool has a detachable clip to attach to a keychain. If your vehicle has a key-operated ignition, it’s a good option. Clip the tool to your keychain alongside your car key, and it will be close by if you need it.
And if you don’t want to attach it to your car key, there are other options. Loop through a cable tie to hang it from your rearview mirror. Or an optional lanyard can be purchased separately to attach it to your sun visor.
You can choose to buy the tool individually, or in a pack of two or three. They come in a range of funky colors, making them a great stocking filler for loved ones.
But when it comes to their safety credentials, these are serious bits of kit.
A spring-loaded steel spike is used to break the glass. As with other window breakers, it will work on tempered glass side windows. It won’t work on windshields. And if your side windows are made of laminated glass, it won’t work on those either. So check the label on your windows before you buy.
To use it, press the black head against the corner of the side window. That will release the spring-loaded spike. You’ll need to apply some force to release the mechanism. On the plus side, that makes it less easy to break anything by accident.
If you need to cut through your seatbelt, start by detaching the tool from its clip. Do that by pulling it out sharply in a straight line. Then hook the blade over the belt and slide it across. You’ll find it easier to cut if you can hold the belt taut with your other hand.
Make sure you attach the tool to a keychain or cable tie. They’ll give you a better grip if you need to remove the clip. Without that extra support, it’s all too easy to break it.
OUDEW’s window breaker looks and feels like a hammer. Its metal handle gives it more heft than plastic versions.
The tip of the hammer is made of tungsten and weighs 11 ounces. Strike the corner of your tempered glass window once or twice, and it will shatter.
And with this one, you’ll get the reassurance of a piece of tempered glass included in the pack. Test it out for yourself to see how well it works.
A blade to cut through the seatbelt sits at the rear of the hammer, near the top of the handle. It’s very sharp, but the guard around it means there’s not enough space to cut fingers.
It’s worth checking the belt cutter on a strap or other suitable fabric. We’ve heard of one or two instances where the blade has been missing. You won’t want to discover that’s the case if you need to use it for real.
There’s no carrying case or keychain with this one. You can store it in your door pocket or glove compartment.
Alternatively, you could add a Velcro strip and attach it to the central console or your door. But remember it will need to be very strong. If the hammer comes off on impact, it could be dangerous.
It’s available in a choice of silver or gold handles. There are no reflective strips here to make it easier to see in poor light. Make sure you store it where it can be reached easily in an emergency.
GoDeCho’s window breakers are very similar to the ones from VicTSing. They have the same combination of a 6.7-inch plastic handle and double tipped steel hammer. In this case, though, you’ll get four tools in a pack. If you live in a household with multiple vehicles, it’s a good buy.
The handle has a textured finish, so it’s easy to hold onto it securely as you swing. Each hammer weighs 4.8 ounces, so you don’t need much physical strength to use it. And there’s a strip of reflective tape on each side to make it easy to find it in dim light.
The business end of the hammer has two carbon steel tips to shatter the glass. At the other end, there’s a seatbelt cutter. Slide the hook over the belt, and it will cut through it cleanly. The blade is hidden away to prevent injury.
Each hammer comes in a protective plastic bracket. This will help to protect it from damage, or from damaging your car. If you don’t mind drilling holes into your vehicle, you can mount it inside. You will, however, need to provide your own mounting screws.
Alternatively, add ultra-strong Velcro trip to one side of the hammer and attach it on your central console or car door. The glove compartment is another option, but remember that you’ll need to be able to reach it in an emergency.
As with other window breakers, this one will work with tempered but not laminated glass. Use it to break side windows, but remember that it won’t work on a windshield.
Stinger’s Ztylus Window breaker combines a traditional hammer with a spring-loaded mechanism. To use the spring-loaded punch, simply press the small button in the top of the hammer against the glass.
Alternatively, a larger toughened steel head can be used as a normal hammer. That will allow you to keep your hand further away from the glass as you use it. And that in turn means there’s less chance of injury from broken glass. You will, though, need more room to swing it.
The handle is covered in a rubber cladding, so it won’t slip when you use it. You can choose between orange or black cladding, or buy a dual pack with one in each shade. If you go for the black, though, remember it will be less easy to see it in poor lighting.
At the rear of the hammerhead, there’s a seatbelt cutter. The blade here is razor sharp, but it’s enclosed by a guard for safe use. It will slice through more effectively if you’re able to hold the seatbelt taut as you cut.
The end of the handle has a hole for a carrying cord, also included in the package. Keep the cord short and hang it somewhere it won’t injure you if your car rolls.
Loymr’s window breaker comes in sets of two or four. The design uses a sharpened steel point to shatter the glass. There’s no spring-loaded mechanism – simply swing the hammer and aim at the corner of the side window.
With this one you’ll get two steel heads, each with a sharp point. That offers a little more reassurance: if one is damaged, you’ll have another to fall back on.
The handle is made of plastic, so it’s not the heaviest. It makes it easy to swing, but some people may prefer a little more heft to help break the glass. The plastic is ridged, so it’s simple to get a good grip.
At the other end of the handle from the window breaker is the seatbelt cutter. The blade sits beneath a hook shaped guard, so there’s no chance of accidentally cutting yourself instead of the seatbelt.
The tool is mounted on a black plastic holder. That means it won’t scratch the inside of your glove compartment or door pocket. You can screw it to your central console or dash if you want to. That will, though, mean drilling into your vehicle.
As with the other window breakers on our list, this will work fine for tempered glass. It won’t work for windshields, and if you have laminated glass it will crack but not break it.
Swiss Safe’s car safety hammer can be bought individually or in a pack of two.
You can choose from standard orange or “glow-in-the-dark” green. Disappointingly, however, the green version doesn’t actually glow in the dark at all. But they’re still nice, bright shades that will be easy to spot in low light.
This is used like a standard hammer, and it has a double head.
On one side is a pointed tungsten spike. This will concentrate the force of the blow and shatter tempered glass. It’s protected by a plastic cap, making it a good option if you have small children.
Just remember that you’ll need to have tempered glass side windows for the hammer to be effective. It won’t work on a windshield or laminated windows.
On the other side of the hammerhead, there’s a standard flat-head hammer. It won’t be any good for breaking windows, but you may find another use for it. If you want an all-purpose tool when you’re out and about, it’s certainly more versatile than many.
A seatbelt cutter sits in a notch at the bottom of the handle. The recess is just wide enough to slide the seatbelt in easily, but you won’t have to worry about cut fingers.
We’ve heard this described as a “five-in-one” safety tool, which is over-egging it somewhat. A window breaker, seatbelt cutter and standard hammer add up to three features by our count. But it’s a handy, well-constructed hammer, reassuring to have in your vehicle.
IPOW’s window breaker offers two hardened steel spikes, one either side of the hammerhead. If one isn’t working, there’s another in reserve.
The ridged plastic handle isn’t the sturdiest out there, but it’s easy to grip. At 6.7 inches long, it won’t require too much space to swing. And while it won’t add much force to your blow, you won’t need much strength to wield it either.
The seatbelt cutter sits in a notch at the bottom of the handle. Slide the seatbelt inside, pull it tight, then slice through it with the blade. The design means it’s impossible to cut yourself.
One package includes four hammers. Each one sits inside a black plastic holder to keep it secure. That will prevent the metal spike from damaging the interior of your car.
If you want to, you can screw the holder to your vehicle interior. While that may be an option for commercial vehicles, few may want to drill into their family car. But if you are prepared to do that, there are some advantages.
You’ll have the reassurance of knowing you can reach your hammer in an emergency. And there’ll be no danger of it falling out of an insecure location on impact and causing an injury.
As always, remember that this is a tool for tempered glass. It won’t shatter windshields or laminated glass, which is engineered to withstand impact.
This multipurpose tool from general tools offers more gadgets than any other window breaker on our list.
First up, there’s a spring-loaded window breaker. Just press it against the corner of your tempered glass window, and push. The hardened steel spike will shatter the window. The handle is short, however, so take care. Broken glass could cut your hands when you use it.
At the bottom of the handle is the seatbelt cutter. This is positioned in a notch so that you can cut the seatbelt without cutting your fingers.
Unusually, this tool also has a flashing red emergency light to help attract attention. And there’s an LED flashlight too, to help you see what you’re doing. The lights are powered by three AAA batteries, included in the package.
The handle of the tool is magnetized. This means that you can mount it on the side of your vehicle while the emergency light is flashing. If an accident at nighttime has disabled your car lights, it will help alert other road users to your presence.
The compact design makes it easy to store in a door pocket or glove compartment. There’s no mounting bracket or hanging hook with this one though.
Still not sure which is the right window breaker for you? Read on for some questions to ask yourself before you make your final purchase.
Will a window breaker work with your vehicle?
The first thing to establish is whether a window breaker will work in your vehicle.
Window breakers of all kinds are designed to shatter tempered glass. Until recent years, almost all side windows were made of this. But that’s changing.
Some manufacturers now use laminated glass, used in windshields, for side windows too. This is designed to withstand impact, and it’s VERY difficult to break. That’s the case even if you strike it right in the corner.
To check what your windows are made of, examine the bottom corner. There may be a label that says tempered or laminated.
If there’s no label, roll down the window and look at it from above. If the glass appears smooth and in a single piece, it’s tempered. If it instead looks like a sandwich with a ridge in the middle, it’s laminated.
Spring-loaded punch or hammer?
Next, decide whether you prefer a spring-loaded punch or standard hammer to break the glass .
A spring-loaded punch will reliably shatter tempered glass. And you won’t need any room – or strength – to swing a hammer.
But it does mean that unless the handle is long, your hand may be close to the window when it breaks. If you’re not wearing gloves, your hands will be vulnerable to injury. That may be worth it to escape the car, but it’s still something to be aware of.
With a standard hammer, you will need to be able to swing it and strike the glass in the right place. That makes it less easy to use than a spring-loaded design. But with your hand further from the window, it will be less likely to be injured by breaking glass.
Think about where you’ll keep your window breaker
Consider where you’re going to store your emergency tool. It’s essential that you’re able to reach it easily if you need it. Window breakers that attach to a key chain can be a great option, as can those designed to plug into your charger.
If you’re prepared to drill into your vehicle interior, versions with mounting brackets are also good.
Just remember that if you attach your hammer to your car interior using Velcro or tape, it may come loose on impact. In an accident, that can turn a safety tool into a dangerous projectile.
Ready to choose?
We hope we’ve helped you identify the window breaker that will best fit your needs.
Our top pick is the ResQMe keychain escape tool. We love how compact yet powerful it is. Attach it to your keychain, rearview mirror or sun visor, and it will be right there if you need it.
Whichever window breaker you choose, you’ll be making an investment in your safety and that of your loved ones. We hope you never need to use one. But if you do, these inexpensive gadgets may prove to be one of the most important purchases you ever make.