Firing at a range? Hunting outdoors?
Then you should wear some shotgun ear protection.
Each gunshot carries percussive vibrations which could kill vital hairs in your unprotected inner ear. That, in turn, might lead to a high pitch ringing – a condition which can last forever. That said, you also need to communicate with fellow hunters, which means you can’t just block out the external world, either.
Which is exactly why you need the best earmuffs for shooting.
Providing the best of both worlds, these earmuffs shield your ears from loud noise – while also letting you hear what your fellow hunters have to say.
|Walker's Razor Slim||1 Pound||10.4 x 7.9 x 3.8 inches||33DB|
|Howard Leight||1 Pound||1 x 1 x 1|
|Pro for Sho||7.2 Ounces||4.8 x 4.1 x 4.7 inches||34DB|
|Honeywell Impact PRO||15.8 Ounces||2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches||30DB|
|Walker's Electrtonic Muffs||1 Pound||1 x 1 x 1|
|Peltor Sport||10.9 Ounces||12 x 8 x 5|
|Peltor Tactical||15.2 Ounces||4.6 x 7 x 11.4|
|Supreme Pro X||1.28 pounds||10.5 x 7.5 x 4.7 inches||18DB|
How to Choose the Best Earmuffs for Shooting?
Following are the major features which would determine whether your earmuffs provide adequate protection or expose your hears to hazardous levels of noise.
As you might guess from its name, the NRR rating determines how much noise your hearing protection might keep at bay. That means that the higher the NRR, the greater the level of noise that your earmuff will reduce.
However, at the cost of sounding equivocal, it is you and not anyone else who should decide what the NRR of your earmuff should be. For instance, if you’re planning to shoot in a range, having NRR of 31 or greater would be enough. Conversely, in outdoor settings, you can even settle for a 25 NRR earmuff.
In case you are wondering, our vote is with the electronic earmuffs for three easy reasons. First, since they allow discrimination, these models are the best for outdoor hunting. Second, they come with tons of features – i.e. Bluetooth, stereo – hence making hours of waiting for your prey easy to spend.
On the flip side – and while we don’t recommend them – some people still prefer passive earmuffs. That is, because, in contrast to their electronic counterparts, they don’t require charging and fold down for easy storage. So you can take them to extended camping sessions without packing extra batteries.
In terms of style, the most common – and also the most inexpensive – are traditional earmuffs. They have a headband which covers your head with two cups to protect your ears. Then we have the wrap-around earmuffs which are a must-have if you wear a hat or helmet.
Next, come the band-less earmuffs which do not have a headband connecting them. Instead, they cling by themselves to your ears. People who are sensitive to headband might like these earmuffs. Finally, we have the headphones style which not only blocks sound but also provides it, via Bluetooth or wire.
The reason why we lumped both these features together is that both of them reinforce each other when it comes to earplugs. Put simply, if your ear plug is extremely heavy, it might not be comfortable. Similar is the case with extremely lightweight models as well.
What you need, therefore, is to strike a balance between a comfortably-fit earmuff and one that carries enough weight to adequately defend your ears.
When it comes to earmuffs, appearance doesn’t mean how good they look in terms of design. Instead, the appearance of an earmuff strongly affects its functionality. For instance, if you’re hunting outdoors, the last thing you need is a shining equipment on your head to betray your position to the prey.
Equally important is the profile of your earmuffs. Provided you wear a hat, make sure your earmuffs lay low. Otherwise, be ready to keep on adjusting your head throughout the shooting expedition.
1.Walker’s Razor Slim – Best Electronic Ear Muffs
Lightweight and Comfortable
In case you were thinking, the 23dB noise rating doesn’t mean that these earmuffs are lightweight. Instead, with a weight of just over 1 pound, they won’t burden your head. Both the ultra-thin cups as well as the headband have adequate padding to keep you comfortable.
Low Reaction Time
Though not as fast as a bullet, the reaction time of the Walker’s comes pretty close. For, they provide activated protection of well over 89dB in just 0.02 seconds. That means your ears would immediately be shielded from the outside noise once you turn them on.
Separating them from all but the best hunting ear muffs are the two built-in mics of the Walker’s. Both of them are omnidirectional as well; which means that the listener, on the other hand, would enjoy crystal clear quality with no background noise.
Dynamic HD speakers
One feature of these earmuffs which impressed us the most – because you don’t normally see it in earmuffs – is its HD speakers. Granted, their sound quality isn’t as good as any high-end headphone. Still, they would keep you entertained as you wait for your prey in the woods.
- Have a low profile
- 23dB NRR
- Two built-in mics
- Dynamic HD speakers
- Instruction Manual isn’t Clear
2. Howard Leight Honeywell Impact Sport – Best Ear Protection for Hunting
As veteran hunters might tell, out there in the woods you require earmuffs which offer noise discrimination to let you hear your companions. Fortunately, then, the Honeywell Impact Sport does just that.
Provided you want your earmuff’s battery to last long, there is no substitute for an automatic shut-off feature. This feature comes into play when the ambient noise reaches a safe level, before turning off the earmuff to conserve battery.
What’s more, provided the noise level has gone back up again, the Honeywell won’t require you to turn it on. Instead, its Active Listening feature would turn the unit automatically. That means you won’t have to worry as to whether the unit is exposing you to dangerous noise levels.
Compact and Portable design
Thanks to its extremely low profile, not only will these headphones won’t interfere with glasses, but they also allow for firearm stock clearance. They also have an adjustable headband to provide a secure fit. You can even fold the earmuffs for convenient storage and ease of carrying.
Aux Input and 3.5mm connection
In addition to both these features – which allow you to seamlessly enjoy music – these earmuffs also come with an integrated volume knob. This knob provides you with the discriminating feature; by blocking external noise above a certain level but letting in the voices of your companions.
Huge Battery Timing
Though they are complemented by the automatic shut-off feature, the 3AAA batteries of this model do brilliantly on their own as well. For, while they aren’t rechargeable, you get over 350 hours of playtime from them.
- Aux Input and 3.5mm connection
- Automatic shut-off
- Huge battery timing
- Might not block out loud, booming noises
3.Pro For Sho – Best ear protection for shooting
Starting with the best these earmuffs have to offer, and their mammoth 34dB NRR comes into play. This noise reduction rating is so huge that no other model in this review even comes close. Therefore, if you want help to silence your world, these models merit your attention.
Padded headband and earcups
At the price in which they are available, you shouldn’t expect real leather padding, nor do they deliver it. Still, the faux leather coating on the earcups – as well as the thick-coated headband – make these earmuffs comfortable to wear on long hunting sessions.
Accommodate different head sizes
In contrast to most earmuffs out there, the Pro Sho provide post-wearing adjustment freedom. That means you can adjust their top band AFTER putting the earmuffs on. Consequently, you won’t have to take them on/off several times just to get the regular fit.
Low Profile with Satisfaction Guarantee
For those of you who mostly shoot outdoors, the low profile of these earmuffs should be a big deal. For, apart from not interfering with your glasses, they won’t cause your hat/cap to tumble as well. Also, if you still have doubts, wave them away as these earmuffs come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
- Low profile and comfortable
- Complement different head sizes
- 34dB Noise Reduction Rating Low profile and comfortable
- Earcup padding takes time to break-in
4.Howard Leight Honeywell Impact Pro – Best shooting ear muffs with a microphone
The Honeywell Impact Pro earmuffs provide passive noise cancellation with a stylish combination of black and grey colors. They might be a worthy choice if active noise cancellation isn’t your favorite but you still want electronic ear protection for shooting.
Built-in Omnidirectional Mics
The built-in mics of these earmuffs do much more than simply providing clear sound to the listener. They also amplify the ambient sounds so as to get them to a safe 82dB sound level. That means you get enhanced albeit natural listening experience.
When the ambient noise reaches a dangerous level, the automatic shut-off feature comes into play. It does that by shutting off the amplification altogether, hence shielding your ears from dangerous noise levels.
30dB Passive NRR
It is true that the absence of active NRR doesn’t allow these headphones the freedom to discriminate. However, provided you’re going to use them in a range, you won’t have much use for hearing outside noises. And that is where you’d truly feel the significance of its 30dB NRR.
Considerable Battery Timing
As is the case with most Howard Leight shooting ear muffs with a microphone, the Impact Pro also have a considerable battery timing. Their 2AA batteries provide up to 350 hours playtime in their life. Howard Leight argues that the battery timing would further increase provided you switch to AAA batteries.
Adjustable, padded headband
Comfort is a given once you buy Howard Leight earmuffs, and the Impact Pro isn’t any different. They have a padded adjustable headband to let you use this model comfortably for hours on the go. Equally comfortable are snap-in ear cushions which keep your ears warm.
- Connect headphones to an MP3 player, audio devices
- Easy to maintain
- Easy to maintain Headband is adjustable
- Little bulkier
5.Walker’s Electronic Muffs – Best Noise Cancelling Earmuffs
Sound Activated and Volume Control
Starting with the former, the fact that these earmuffs are sound activated means their circuit would provide automatic protection. You don’t need to tell the earmuffs to block the noise when it goes above a certain level. Instead, they’d automatically protect your ears. The volume control, meanwhile, lets you regulate the level of protection you may want.
Decent NRR and Low Profile
Although we don’t agree with Walker’s claim that these earmuffs are ultra-low profile, what we can vouch for is that they won’t disturb your hat or glasses. More importantly, they have a noise reduction rating of 23, which means you can use them in moderately loud environments.
Sturdy yet comfortable
The reason why these earmuffs provide this unique combination lies in their headband. Making it sturdy is its metal wire frame which can handle tons of abuse without breaking down. As for comfort, well, the adequate padding on both the earcups as well as the headband takes care of that.
Mics and HD speakers
Compare them with multi-directional mics, and the omnidirectional microphones of these earmuffs are much better. For, by picking up sound from only one direction – hence the term “Omni” – they won’t go after picking up background noise. You can also take full advantage of the speakers via the audio input jack of this model.
- Volume control and HD speakers
- Sturdy yet comfortable
- Quick response time and decent NRR
- Audio input jack and two omnidirectional mics
- Little Pricey & Expensive
6. Peltor Sport Electronic Hearing Protector – Best Earmuffs for Shooting Range
Though not coming from as famous a brand as Howard Leight or Walker’s, the Peltor Sport hearing ear protectors still tick all the right boxes when it comes to hearing protection. Also, their versatile design lets you use them both indoors and outdoors.
Adjustable, vented headband
To be honest, despite costing twice as much as these earmuffs, most of them don’t care about providing vents. That despite the fact that venting, by letting the air in/out, improves comfort. Especially if you wear a hat, the presence of vents keeps your head cool.
What’s more, these earmuffs don’t just stop at providing vents, as they have also provided an adjustable headband for a secure fit.
Clear Voice Tracking
Every hunter knows that when it comes to earmuffs, not many provide adequate discrimination between noise and voice. However, thanks to its Clear Voice Tracking technology, the Peltor Sport does wonders on this count.
Without asking you to do anything, this feature improves the earmuffs’ speech intelligibility. In plain English, this means that even when it blocks out external noise – you’d still be able to hear what your companion has to say. That means your situational awareness would improve.
Bluetooth and Auto-shut off
It doesn’t matter whether you’re shooting in a range or hunting prey outdoors, the presence of wires adds to the confusion. Thankfully, Peltor Sport realized this and made these earmuffs totally wireless. They come with Bluetooth 4.0 technology which provides a decent range of 30 feet.
As for the auto-shutoff feature, it helps improve battery timing by shutting off the noise protection after hours of idling.
26dB NRR and Voice Guidance
For both range shooting and outdoor hunting, the 26dB NRR is enough to suss-out moderately loud noises. The voice guidance, meanwhile, comes handy when you’re using the earmuffs for the first time. It guides you on every step of the way to allow for easy use.
- Clear voice tracking and voice guidance
- Adjustable and vented headband
- Bluetooth and auto-shut off
- Clear voice tracking and voice guidance Decent NRR
- Not low-profile
7. Peltor Sport Tactical 100 – Best Shooting Ear muffs with microphone
Low Profile Cups
You don’t need to take our word to believe how low profile these earbuds are. A mere glance over their design would be sufficient to prove this point. While they are compact on their own, you can even fold away the earcups for easy storage. So you don’t have to make extra space to store these earmuffs.
Having recessed, omnidirectional mics provides these earmuffs with two significant advantages. First, their design makes sure these earmuffs counter wind noise with aplomb. So you shouldn’t have to hear it at all. Second, the mics provide decent voice quality for the person on the receiving end. Hence, you won’t have to shout even in loud environments to get your message across.
Single On/Off Volume Control
Veteran hunters could vouch how frustrating it could be to navigate multiple buttons on the earmuffs. However, with their single on/off volume control buttons, these earmuffs make sure you don’t have to go through that agonizing process.
Variable Suppression Time
That’s right; the noise-canceling feature of these earmuffs doesn’t come preset from the factory. Instead, they give you the freedom to decide the level of echo reduction you want. As a result, you can as excellent ear protection in indoor shooting ranges as in outdoors.
Even with the best electronic earmuffs, it might happen that the design won’t complement your head size. Peltor Sport Tactical have come up with a solution to this problem in shape of their replaceable design. That means you can change the earcups if they don’t fit.
- Variable Suppression
- Adaptive Noise Filtering
- Time Low Profile
- Not that high NRR
8. Decibullz Custom Molded – Best Shooting Ear Plugs
In case you don’t know already, having custom molded earplugs does wonders when it comes to comfort. They create a perfect seal for your ears to make sure they never fall out. At the same time, since the seal is complete, they provide maximum noise isolation of any earplugs.
Easy to Shape
As one might guess, the fact that these models are custom-molded means you would have to shape them at home. However, shaping them isn’t at all difficult. All you have to do is to heat them in boiling water, let them cool and mold them to the shape of your ears.
Also, if you get their shape wrong the first time, there’s still nothing to worry. For, these are the only earplugs that are re-moldable.
Patented Triple Seal
In contrast to your average earplugs, the Decibullz don’t have a one-piece design. They have three pieces including a sound plug, the main earplug plus a canal tip. It is the combination of these three pieces which lets these earplugs provide a triple-seal. So, you can rely on them to provide you best hearing protection or shooting.
Lots of attachments and 31dB NRR
Despite their under $20 price tag, these earplugs still offer a plethora of attachments in their package. Included are three sets of flange tips sized small, medium and large. You also get medium foam tips plus an earplug carrying pouch in the package. Also, they provide a massive noise reduction rating of 31dB.
- Re-moldable design
- 31dB NRR provides best hearing protection for shooting
- Require some patience to mold them
9. Supreme Pro X – Best Noise Cancelling Ear muffs
4x Safe Noise Amplification
Safe noise amplification isn’t an unheard feature when it comes to earmuffs. What is unheard, however, is earmuffs who amplify safe noise as much as 4 times the original. That means that even if your companion is speaking in a hushed voice, you’d still be able to clearly hear them.
Foldable Slim Design
Most of us, when we picture rugged earmuffs in our mind, think of them as some heavy, bulky piece of equipment, features that are alien to the Supreme Pro X. Whether you’re a left or right handed shooter, you’d find their foldable slim design really useful.
Huge Battery Timing
It doesn’t matter which another earmuff you pick from this review; none of them come close to what is offered by the Supreme Pro X in their battery timing. They provide as much as 600 hours of battery life, which means you don’t have to replace the batteries of these custom electronic ear plugs for shooting for 3 years.
Compress Loud Noise
Even though these earmuffs have an NRR of 18dB – which is nowhere near enough – they still have the uncanny ability to compress harmful sound to 82dB, which comes in the safe hearing spectrum. That is due to their design and the pre-installed gel pads on the earcups. As a result, they provide best in ear electronic hearing protection.
- Perform excellent against loud noise
- 600 hours of battery timing
- Best custom earplugs for shooting
- Amplify Safe Noise 4x
- Relatively low NRR
Types of Hearing Protection Equipment
Provided you’re looking for tactical ear protection – which means you want to be aware of your surroundings – you have the following choices.
Best Shooting Earplugs
Provided they fit properly, earplugs form a seal inside your air to block sound. They are available in a variety of materials, sizes, and configurations – from rubber to foam and moldable polymers. You can rely on earplugs to handle low-frequency noise with ease.
- Ridiculously inexpensive
- Some also provide a custom fit
- Reusable, washable models available
- Only suitable for low-frequency noise – 30dB or less
- Block out everything, won’t discriminate
Ever seen an earmuff before? Then you already know how passive earmuffs work. They block out noise passively thanks to the sheer weight and thickness of their foam pads. Also, they screen out relatively high-frequency sound than earplugs.
- Available in one-size-fits-all category
- Durable and comfortable
- Convenient to take on/off
- Doesn’t tend to do well with hats and/or long hair
- Tend to be heavy and bulky
Just like every other field in the world, high-end electronics have also revolutionized the game for earmuffs. Take the example of best electronic earmuffs, for instance. While they screen out loud booms, you could still hear conversations and other outdoor sounds while wearing them.
- Discriminately block noise
- Provide loads of features – including Bluetooth and stereo
- Available in different types – cuffs, ear plugs and muffs.
- Presence of batteries means you’d have to keep them charged
Gilbert is a 23-year old blogger from South america who is a Camping enthusiast and a Technology geek. He is a certified Engineer and is Pursuing his Masters in University Of chile. Read more about him