Yahoo Life Shopping
Why you can trust us

We independently evaluate the products we review. When you buy via links on our site, we may receive compensation. Read more about how we vet products and deals.

I shop for a living, and this $17 personal alarm is what I'm giving my mom this holiday

As a city girl, I’d been meaning to get a personal alarm forever. I’m often walking the streets alone at night, and riding the subway can be, dicey. But I wanted to find an alarm that I could be sure wouldn’t activate by accident (ugh, nightmare) and that wouldn't weigh me down. I also didn’t want to pay more than 20 bucks. So how happy was I when I heard about the iMaxAlarm Personal Security Alarm (just $17!)? Needless to say, I ordered one immediately. Now, with Mother's Day on the horizon, I plan to get one for my dear 'ol. Interesting gift idea, eh....??

The personal alarm is battery-operated and easily straps onto your bag or a lanyard.
$17 at Amazon

When I took it out of the packaging, I was shocked by its extremely light weight — barely there, really — and it was easy to put on my key ring thanks to the included carabiner. I love that it looks like a cute little key fob that discreetly lives on my keychain. The color is nice, too — a very pretty metallic rose gold.

The alarm comes pre-installed with batteries that last for 30 minutes when used and two-to-three years unused. The batteries are not replaceable, but for the price, I’m okay with that. To activate the alarm, you pull off the top; to stop the sound, simply reinsert. The idea is that the deafening sound will alert others, and hopefully deter an attacker, too.

As I left my apartment the next morning, I felt prepared and confident. This little gizmo was giving me peace of mind. I also felt a sense of control knowing that if I’m ever in a dangerous situation, I have an easy way to signal for help.

MaxxmAlarm Illume Personal Alarm on Amazon
Flowers are nice, but does anything say "I care" more than this practical, potentially life-saving, gadget? Mom will never forget your thoughtfulness. (Photo: Amazon)

It’s perfect for all the walking I do around the streets of New York City. But I keep thinking of all the other places this thing is going to come in handy. When I camp upstate, I can use it in case a bear comes along — not that I’ve encountered one yet, but you never know.

I’ll bring it with me while going for a run, and if I ever get lost in the woods — a big fear of mine — I like knowing I have a better chance of not being stranded. All alone. In the cold. Just this past weekend, I brought my iMax with me as I hiked in the woods with friends. You can never be too careful!

I’m the mom of two young girls, and I figure that when they’re a bit older and start walking to and from school on their own, I’ll clip alarms to their backpacks. Why not?

Speaking of motherhood (and grandmotherhoo): The iMax is an invaluable tool for keeping an elderly person safe and/or allowing them to call out in case of an emergency like a fall. So many uses! So many colors!

Is Mom a dedicated color-coordinator? No worries -- you can get her one of these in Black, Blue, Rose Gold (above) or Space Grey.
$17 at Amazon

Testing out the noise made me really nervous. After all, this little dude blasts a 130-decimal alarm — that’s like a jet taking off. Though I was scared to sound the alarm, I wanted to see how loud it really was—I had to know what I was dealing with here. I live in an apartment with neighbors literally above, below and to the sides of me. So I didn’t want to “alarm” anyone by setting it off but then again I didn’t want to do it on the street.

I put it under my pillow and pulled the top off. It’s LOUD. REALLY loud. Kind of like a crazy-high-decibel-vibrating-extremely-irritating noise that would drive someone insane to listen to for too long. It was so disturbing that I started shaking trying to get the top back in to stop the sound. It was easy enough. And then, ahhhh, the sound of silence.

I’m thrilled that I haven’t had to activate the alarm in real life, and hope that it never comes to that. But I feel better knowing that if I’m ever in a scary situation, this screeching siren has got my back.

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)