LAST UPDATED: April 25, 2019
The Best Car Escape Tools: Make a Quick Exit During an Emergency
Stay safe while driving with these top car escape tools
The Review Team
How We Decided
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
PUBLISHED ON April 25, 2019
Most drivers may have a well-stocked vehicle to handle emergency situations but can forget that the car itself can become something they need to escape. Although such a thought might sound scary, having the best car escape tool in the driver’s side door can save yourself as well as other people in your car in case of an accident. Here is our guide for the best escape tools.
Comes with a dual USB port charger. The razor-sharp blade cuts easily through a jammed seatbelt. Well-protected cutter prevents self-injuries.
It has a spring-loaded window punch that lessens the force used when breaking the glass.
It can work well under water. A non-slip easy-grip handle. Its low-force mechanism makes it safe for kids. The kit comes with a mounting bracket.
Glows in the dark and can be easily spotted.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of a Car Escape Tool
- Save lives. When an accident happens and you are trapped inside your car, it may take a while before help arrives. Most car escape tools are designed with extra features to help you get out of an emergency quickly.
- Create a safe driving experience. Every second count when an accident happens. You might need a tool to break the window or cut a seatbelt.
- Convenient to carry. An efficient car emergency tool is lightweight and compact in size, making it easy to carry around. You can even attach one to your keychain or cigarette lighter.
Types of Car Escape Tools
There are some instances where seatbelts can become a huge obstacle to flee to safety. The best seat belt cutter will have a sharp blade that enables you to quickly cut through a jammed seatbelt. The blade of a seatbelt cutter is normally concealed for safety purposes. Some seatbelt cutters may come with a protective cap as an additional safety feature. Others have folding serrated blades, much like a pocket knife.
Once a vehicle is submerged in water or is overturned, it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to open the window. In such a bleak situation, your only bet is to break the window and exit through it. Having a reliable tool to break car window glass can be truly a lifesaver. There are two types of glass breakers: manual glass breakers which require force and spring-assisted glass breakers which automatically activate when pressed.
Resqme Inc. has been providing personal car and safety products for 20 years. Founded in 1998, the company, which is based in the United States, manufactures and distributes automotive safety tools in over 45 countries. Its most popular product is the ResQme Original Keychain Tool.
Ztylus is a company that was founded by young and innovative entrepreneurs. The company distributes camera accessories, in addition to car escape tools. One of its top products is the Ztylus Stinger Car Emergency Escape Tool Kit.
This innovative company was founded in 1996. It is famously known for producing key ring tools and a locking system for various installations, assemblies, and minor repairs. Other product categories include larger hand tools and technology accessories. A popular example of its top products is the Swiss+Tech BodyGard Auto Emergency Escape Tool.
Luxon Electronics Corporation is a company based in Taiwan that was founded in 1981. The company produces LCD monitors, interface cables, open frames, and car safety tools. One of its top products is the Luxon Emergency Tool 7-in-1 Emergency Tool Kit.
- $8-$14: This is the budget car escape tool price point. The emergency tools within this price range have basic features to enable you to respond to a crisis. However, most lack additional features.
- $14-$22: Tools within this mid-range bracket have spring-assisted spikes and a magnetic base for easy mounting. They also have good-quality construction.
- $22 and up: The automobile escape tools in this price point have a multifunctional design. You can find a tool here that doubles as a USB charger and LED flashlight, making it convenient for everyday use.
It is crucial for your emergency car escape tool to perform well when you need to immediately get out of a trapped situation. A seatbelt cutter with a razor-sharp blade is an important feature to look for. It ensures you can quickly cut through a jammed seatbelt and other types of fibrous materials in case of an emergency.
We all want a tool that has multiple functions. Sometimes you might be caught up in a situation while driving at night. A tool to break windows and cut seat belts with an LED flashlight can be a true lifesaver in such times. The multifunctional design makes it useful even when not in an emergency situation.
You’ll want a tool that can be easily accessed when an accident occurs. A rescue tool with a compact design is small and lightweight, making it easy to carry wherever you go. You can also attach it to your keychain or fit it into your door pocket.
The action of breaking glass requires force. This might not be an easy task if you are using a manual glass breaker. It gets even harder if you are in a panic mode when disaster strikes. An automatic glass breaker has a spring-loaded spike that does all the work for you, enabling you to break glass with minimal effort.
- Possible Commuting Threats: Examine the geographical area you drive in for possible threats you might encounter such as fallen rocks, bridges, or flooding. If you travel through long stretches of wilderness, it would be helpful to carry an escape tool with additional features, such as an LED flashlight.
- Your Passengers: How old are your passengers? If you haul kids, you should keep the escape tool far away from their reach or ensure it has a protected cutter to avoid self-injury.
Best Car Escape Tool Reviews and Recommendations 2020
Our top pick is this compact, lightweight, and powerful Original Keychain Car Escape Tool. It features a seatbelt cutter and car window breaker. The spring-loaded punch makes it easy for a child or an elderly person to use it with minimal strength.
It is small and fits well on a keychain, meaning you can carry it wherever you go. The quick-release mechanism is a safety feature which conceals the seatbelt cutter when not in use, thereby preventing accidental injury. The spike resets automatically so it can be reused.
One major issue with this tool is, after some time, the spring mechanism might fail. This may cause the tool to eventually break since the plastic attachment clip is not durable and can break off easily.
This kit includes a spring-loaded glass breaker, a seatbelt cutter, and a pair of USB chargers. It can easily cut through a jammed seatbelt. The tool also functions as a phone charger, so you can always have it within reach during an emergency. Any safety-conscious driver will find this a useful gadget that can be integrated into everyday life.
The spring-loaded design makes cutting glass an easy task, increasing your chances of escaping your vehicle. The intelligent circuit design protects the tool from overheating or over-charging.
One main drawback is that the USB component is a bit bulky, which might be a problem if your cigarette lighter setup is at an odd angle. In a smaller car with limited space, the USB ports might not fit easily into the sockets.
This tool is designed to prevent vehicular entrapment. It comes with double-sided steel hammerheads to make it easy to shatter side and rear windows. The seatbelt cutter is sharp enough to easily slice through a jammed seatbelt.
It comes with mounting brackets that can be used to place it on the driver’s side door. Its bright orange color glows in the dark, making it easy to spot in a dark environment. The handle is also long enough for an easy grip as you hit the window.
One downside is that it is very light in weight. It might, therefore, feel less substantial, especially when trying to hit the window. Another drawback is that the mount might not withstand the process of removing the hammer under stress. There is also no way to secure it to the vehicle without having to drill holes. Finally, the plastic handle is not durable and breaks easily.
This all-in-one escape tool has a window breaker, seat belt cutter, and escape hammer. The hammer is made of high-grade carbon steel and plastic. The tool comes with an adjustable strap to secure it to your sun visor, glove box, armrest box, or door pocket. There are reflective stickers on the hammerhead to make finding it easier during an emergency.
What’s nice about this safety tool is that it comes with safety protections. The conehead hammer has a soft rubber cover to prevent it from accidentally hitting objects in your car. The blade meant for cutting is inlaid into the plastic to prevent accidental cutting.
The downside of this tool is that the bright pink color may not be appealing to everyone. The reflective stickers may not catch the light well enough to be effective.
You’ll never lose sight of this safety hammer with its bright neon green coloring and glow-in-the-dark quality. This hammer comes as a two-pack, though a single option is also available if you prefer. One side of the hammer is a tungsten steel spike for breaking glass. The other side is a flat hammer for breaking out the broken glass or using as a traditional hammer. Included in the handle is a seat belt cutting blade.
What’s nice about this hammer is the protective cap on the tungsten spike. This protects the spike, your car, and kids who may get a hold of it. The handle of the hammer is contoured to give you a better grip and easier use.
Unfortunately, the hammer won’t glow in the dark if it isn’t exposed to enough light. This means you’ll need to keep it out in your car and not neatly tucked away in a glove box or compartment. Some hammers also have a mysterious rattle sound, which can be a sign of a defective device.
This safety hammer is designed to work in small spaces when you don’t have enough room to swing your arm and get a glass-breaking force. The hammerhead is constructed of hardened carbon steel with a spring-loaded punch. It also has a sharp blade on the backside of the hammer for cutting through seatbelts.
What makes this safety tool stand out is the quality of the build. The handle has a non-slip rubber coating over the grip. It’s textured to provide the greatest amount of grip and comfort during use. It also comes with a hanger loop for convenient and easy storage.
The downside of this hammer is that it’s only designed to break tempered glass. It won’t work on windshields or laminated glass. The handle could be longer to fit your hand better. The button that triggers the spring action can also malfunction.
This small safety tool comes as a set of two bright yellow keychains. There’s a steel spike on the end for breaking windows. It has a spring-loaded design to require minimal effort on your part. There’s also a concealed stainless steel blade for cutting seat belts. The body of the tool is made from ABS plastic.
You’ll like this tool because of its compact size. Attach it to your keychain, and you’ll always have it with you. This is important if you ride in vehicles other than your own. The construction of this tool is durable, strong, and lightweight.
Unfortunately, the blade may not be very sharp. The tool’s small size creates a bigger risk of it getting lost if stored in your car’s compartments.
This silver-colored safety tool has a red triangle-shaped lens on the side that’s illuminated by three LED lights. You can use these as a flashing hazard light. There are also three white LEDs on the end that function as a flashlight. There’s a pointed steel tip for breaking glass windows on one side of the hammer. There’s a safety guarded razor blade in the handle for cutting seat belts.
What makes this safety tool stand out are the LED light functions. This increases the functionality and versatility of the tool. The backside of the safety tool is magnetic, which makes for easy storage. You can also use it to attach your tool to the side of your vehicle when using the hazard light function.
Unfortunately, you risk the LED light not working. You’ll need to check and replace the AAA batteries regularly to ensure it’s in full working order whenever you need it. There’s also no safety cap for the pointed steel tip, which creates a risk of accidental damage.
Attach this safety tool to your keychain, and no one will ever know what it’s meant for. It comes in a simple tube design and three colors: black, light gray, and mint green. The body of the tube houses gel OC spray that can produce 25 bursts with a range of up to 25 percent further than comparable models. There’s also a window-breaking stainless steel tip and a sharp blade for cutting seat belts.
This keychain functions as a safety tool and a self-protection device. It’ll keep you safe both in and out of your vehicle. The OC spray contains a UV dye that helps to identify suspects more accurately. It also doesn’t atomize to prevent the risk of blowback.
The downside of this device is that it can easily malfunction and be defective. The cap may not fit snugly onto the top of the canister. Its small size may not make it effective at performing safety tasks.
This is a knife and safety tool meant for first responders and military personnel. It comes in seven themed designs. When closed, the tool measures five inches in length. If you trigger the spring-loaded knife blade, the tool opens a 3.5-inch length stainless steel blade. The handle is made from lightweight aluminum. On the bottom of the handle is a seatbelt cutter and on the end is a glass-breaking tip.
You’ll like carrying this tool because it has a belt clip on the back, so it’s always within reach. There’s also a built-in safety lock to prevent the accidental triggering of the spring-loaded blade. The blade is versatile with a smooth section for the ultimate sharp and smooth cutting action. There’s also a serrated edge for sawing and ripping action.
The downside of this safety tool is that it can be difficult to work, which makes closing it a hassle. The construction isn’t very durable, and the screws holding it together can come out.
Tips and Advice for Car Escape Tools
- Don't store your tool in a glove compartment. In case of an emergency, it might be difficult to reach. Mount it where it is easily accessible such as the driver’s side door or the visor.
- When breaking through a side window, avoid the center as this will likely result in injury when you push your hand through the glass. Aim for the lower corner, about 4 inches from the frame.
- If possible, wear a glove. As you push the tool against the window, your hand will likely continue forward once the window shatters.
- When saving someone from a car, tell them to look away before shattering the window.
Q: Should I place the tool on my car visor?
A: As long as the tool is fixed and does not distract you from your driving, there is no reason why you can’t place it there.
Q: Where should I place my escape tool?
A: It should always be placed somewhere you can reach even when in a difficult situation. The ideal places are on the driver’s side window, attached to your keychain, or plugged into your cigarette lighter.
Q: Isn’t it dangerous to break the glass?
A: Yes it is, but in an emergency situation, that is the only option you might have. Car windows are made of tempered glass. This type of glass is designed to explode outward in small balls when broken. Remember to look away to protect your eyes.
Our top pick for the best car escape tool is the ResQme Original Keychain Car Escape Tool. The fact that it is lightweight, compact, and can be attached to a keychain means you can always have it in your vehicle.
If you prefer a less pricey alternative, consider the Ztylus Stinger Emergency Escape Kit.