Note: We were provided with a Sharkbanz 2 for review at no charge. The opinions below are our own. Should you decide to purchase a Sharkbanz through the links to Amazon in our article, we receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Are you the sort of person who dreads going in the water because of what might get you? Or maybe you are a surfer who is constantly in the water and want to reduce the risk of a shark bite? Or maybe you simply watched Jaws one too many times?
No matter the reasoning, there’s no doubt that there is a huge interest among beach-goers in shark attacks… and how to prevent them. From putting up nets to keep areas of water shark-free to helicopter lookouts to deterrents and repellents, there are a lot of things done to lower the risk and incidence of an attack.
Truth is, the number of shark attacks occurring worldwide is relatively low. According to records from the University of Florida, 2017 saw 88 unprovoked attacks around the world. Globally, the number of fatal unprovoked attacks was just five.
In other words, the saying about you being more likely to hit the lottery than to be bitten by a shark are the truth.
Still, there is something to be said for having peace of mind. After all, our odds of getting in a car accident are pretty low, but we still have car insurance. If you’re worried about shark attacks, then it makes sense to take steps to reduce the risk.
That’s where the Sharkbanz shark deterrent bracelet comes in. This relatively new invention uses “magnetic technology researched and tested by marine biologists” to deter sharks from getting too close.
With cruising, there are tons of opportunity to get in the water, and sharks are a common fear of many people. That’s why we recently tested one of the bands out to see if it’s worth your money.
First things first, if you aren’t familiar with the Sharkbanz then you are likely wondering exactly what it is.
The Sharkbanz is a waterproof band designed to be worn around your wrist or ankle. Inside the housing are powerful magnets. Since sharks use electrical signals to navigate their world — including finding prey — these magnets are supposed to create a disturbance when close to the sharks. The result? Sharks are supposed bothered (but not hurt) by the magnetic field and find somewhere else to swim.
If you are a bit skeptical, the company has some pretty compelling marketing videos that show the band in action:
In fact, doing some research on the Sharkbanz for this review, we were impressed with the science that seems to back the band. Sharkbanz uses patented technology, has several PhD’s serve on its team, and has consulted numerous research studies to create their product.
But what does all that mean for people that purchase a Shankbanz? We were provided a Sharkbanz 2 (the latest model) for review. Here’s what we thought…
Sharkbanz Unboxing and Build
Our first impression when we received the Sharkbanz 2 was that while there seemed to be a lot of science behind the band, there was also a lot of marketing and product design behind Sharkbanz as well.
The box itself is attractively designed — looking similar to the box your latest cell phone came in.
Opening up the box, the first thing you’ll see are two cards. The first is an instruction card for sizing the band. You can wear the band on your wrist or your ankle. Feel really scared of sharks? You can wear one on both your arm and your leg. As you’ll see, the band is long; it measures 14 inches tip to tip. Most likely you will need to trim the band even if you put it on your ankle.
Along with the instruction card is also a disclaimer that spells out clearly that Sharkbanz is meant to reduce the risk of an attack, but users shouldn’t expect to be 100% protected against any shark attack.
From the disclaimer:
“All Sharkbanz users should be aware that sharks are wild animals and unpredictable. Sharkbanz have not been tested on all species of sharks. Sharkbanz will reduce the risk of shark interactions but there is no 100% guarantee that interactions will not take place.”
The disclaimer continues with details of their tests, and also a notice that the band contains strong magnets and shouldn’t be kept near anything that might be disturbed by magnets, including computers, pacemakers, cell phones, and credit cards.
Inside the box, you can see the face of the Sharkbanz, along with padding protecting the sides. One thing we found out later in our review that this isn’t just decorative padding to keep the band from getting scratched. It actually serves to limit the magnetic field of the band when it’s in the box. So if you are worried about the band coming in contact with things like your computer or phone, you can keep it stored in the box.
We mentioned before how the box feels like a well-designed package you’d expect a cell phone to come in. That analogy continues with the Sharkbanz itself.
The Sharkbanz 2 looks and feels extremely well made. The band is thick rubber and even includes small raised logos on the inside. The actual housing for the magnet has a face that’s about 1.5″ x 2″ and features a hard plastic cover. Meanwhile, the Sharkbanz has a nice weight — it’s not too heavy, but has heft.
The best analogy we can come up with is that it feels like something designed by Apple. It’s smooth and sleek. It just feels like it is one solid piece and would stand up to years of use.
With the band out of the box, it easily stuck and held itself to our refrigerator and even the box itself.
Wearing the Sharkbanz
We recently took the Sharkbanz with us on a cruise to Mexico to test it in the real world.
The first thing that most people will notice is that the band takes a little getting used to wearing. If you are a surfer, then it’s not too different from wearing a leash. If you are not a surfer, then having the extra weight of the Sharkbanz on your ankle is noticeable. It’s comfortable, but noticeable. If you aren’t in the water and worried about your tan, then you’ll want to take it off so that you don’t get a tan line.
As for being noticeable, you will definitely get looks if you wear it, along with a lot of questions about what it is. The band comes in a lot of different colors, but nothing that will blend in with your skin tone. And given the decent size of the product, it stands out on your ankle. Other reviews have mentioned that it looks like you are under house arrest with an ankle monitor.
When it comes to wearing the band in the water, you have two choices. First, you can wear the band comfortably loose around your ankle or wrist. This is what we would choose to do. It feels nice and comfy, and after a bit you begin to forget you are wearing the device. However, at first you will likely feel it moving around on your ankle in the water.
The alternative is to wear the band tightly on your body. In that case, we think that the discomfort of wearing something too tight would be worse than feeling some movement of the band for a few minutes until you get used to it.
What’s Inside the Sharkbanz
After our test, we wanted to show readers what’s actually inside the Sharkbanz. For that, we did what most people would never do — we cut the band in half.
Cutting the Sharkbanz in half took more work than we thought, which we think speaks to the quality of the build. We first started with a hacksaw. It cut part of the way through before it just wouldn’t cut any more.
Then, we had to use an angle grinder with a cut-off wheel. It eventually made its way through the band, but it still took some time. In other words, the Sharkbanz is made heavy duty.
Inside, you can see why it took so long to cut. First, the band is pretty thick. As well, inside you see the thick layer of the plastic nameplate, followed by a thick metal bar that’s surrounded by magnets. All of this is encased in the rubber of the band and still didn’t come apart even when cut in half.
In other words, there is no doubt that the Sharkbanz could take some abuse. It is submersible up to 100 meters and also has a one year warranty.
Do Sharkbanz Really Work?
The most important question — does this device actually help deter sharks?
We will be the first to admit that we did not go actively looking for sharks during our test. Instead, we looked into the research, reviews, and test videos to give you a better idea of what people are experiencing with the band.
Frankly, we’re not scientists but the rationale behind the technology seems to make sense. With sharks using electroreception (basically sensing disturbances in electrical stimuli), we can see how magnets might disrupt this and cause a powerful force that the sharks don’t like.
There are a number of videos on YouTube and reviews on Amazon that seem to back this up:
If that was all there was to it, then we would be happy to call the Sharkbanz a success. However, there are other videos and some experts that put the effectiveness into question.
For example, here is one video of a shark showing no problem eating bait that’s right near one of the bands.
(Before you get too spooked, keep in mind that this test purposely attracted sharks using bait — not something you’d do if you were out enjoying the water. Most people who go swimming aren’t as attractive a meal as an open fish.)
As mentioned, we aren’t experts when it comes to sharks and why they bite. Judging from what we’ve seen, however, there is little doubt that Sharkbanz won’t protect you 100% from sharks (even the company says that in its disclaimer). It’s not as if you will wear an invisible shark force field when you are in the water.
Still, in our opinion, even if the device were only 50% effective — or even less — that is still a considerable improvement over entering the water without any protection.
Overall, we were extremely impressed with the build quality of the Sharkbanz 2. It has the look and feel of an expensive device (at around $70, it’s certainly not cheap) that will last for years.
It comes in several different color schemes and has a universal fit, even for kids and teenagers (although it will be large on smaller arms and legs). And keep in mind that you will likely get some questions about what it is and how it works should you have it on when you hit the beach.
Of course, the biggest concern for most people is if the Sharkbanz really deters sharks. We’ve seen footage of cases where it appears to work perfectly and other footage where it doesn’t seem to work at all.
Our opinion is that the Sharkbanz likely works in some cases to deter sharks, but it is like wearing a helmet. It may help you in many cases, but not in every case.
Still, even if the band was only slightly effective, that extra protection — and peace of mind — is better than nothing for those worried about shark attacks. Many people would take even a small reduction in risk of a shark attack over no extra protection any day.
Note: Should you decide to purchase a Sharkbanz through the links to Amazon in our article, we receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.