Did you know that Amazon has come out with their own AmazonBasics hearing protection earmuffs? The earmuffs are available in several colors and are priced at just $12 each.
AmazonBasics earmuffs are said to be rated to 26 dB NRR and are ANSI S3.19-1974 certified.
Amazon says that they are:
Ideal for commuting, office settings, studying, stadium events, construction sites, yard work, fireworks, and gun ranges.
The earmuffs feature ABS and PU construction and have an adjustable headband. They weigh 0.7 lbs.
Buy Now via Amazon
Compare Peltor X-Series via Amazon
Compare 3M Pro via Amazon
Unless I was on a tight budget, I’d continue with 3M Pro earmuffs, or the 3M Peltor X-series which can be found for under $20 for 28 dB noise reduction.
Here’s how the AmazonBasics earmuffs are described:
AmazonBasics Noise Reduction Safety Earmuffs Ear Protection, Black and Blue
You don’t need ear protection, you need hearing protection.
There’s a bigger issue than minor wording annoyances. In the top product description, Amazon says that their earmuffs provide 26 dB of noise reduction. But then lower on the page, it says the noise reduction rating is 23 dB in two different places.
So which is it? 26 dB might be acceptable, although I personally prefer earmuffs with higher noise reduction ratings, but 23 dB seems paltry – especially on earmuffs of this size.
Amazon advertises their AmazonBasics on the product page for 3M Peltor X-series X3A earmuffs as a similar item to consider. However, they are not very similar. The 3M Peltor X3A has a higher noise reduction rating and is lighter at 8.64 oz (0.54 lbs). The Peltor X3A also looks to be a lot less bulky, which could affect user comfort.
The “ear protection” vs. “hearing protection” part is a minor niggle, but it’s much more disconcerting that Amazon specifies two different noise reduction ratings for their AmazonBasics safety earmuffs. Is it 23 dB or 26 dB? There’s a customer question about the NRR discrepancy from back in July, but I suppose no one at Amazon or AmazonBasics saw the question or knew how to answer it.
I’ve only used three or four different earmuff models, but from my experience these muffs don’t look very comfortable. If I was to buy another earmuff, it would definitely have a metal head band, not plastic. The plastic head band muffs don’t fit as well and don’t adjust well to be comfortable….. to much pressure. (The metal spring is more effective than the plastic one.)
The earmuffs Stuart prefers both have metal headbands (springs).
I would buy something else also. If I was buying them to be loaners or disposable – then maybe. Ear plugs do that job too though.
And I’d further suppose no one who wrote and or approved this copy was actually who originally specified this Amazon branded product.
All long ago scattered to winds of downturn Seattle…
I’m of the opinion that you only get one set of eyes, ears, etc. Don’t cheap out on PPE that protects them.
for PPE, comfort at a given rating should be paramount. the issue with most PPE is that people don’t wear them; usually for comfort issues. even a 3db decrease (half volume) can be incredibly important.
From a pure safety standpoint, I would prefer that people wear a 20db PPE vs look at a 30db version sitting on top of their toolbox and think “its only cuts on the tablesaw, that won’t make a difference, and those are uncomfortable”
Same goes for financial considerations. I prefer folks actually buy hearing protection PPE at 23db vs lament that a 30db version is too expensive. Either one will make a gigantic impact vs wearing no PPE at all.
I just bought a pear of these, and will do a super-quick compare to the other hearing PPE I have.
I would have to try them, to comment on how good they are; but having used various no name sets from $10-25, brand name $25-50 and $100 3M bluetooth … these look to have deep cups and deep foam rings for the ears, and thus will probably be comfortable and ok in use. My most expensive set has super shallow foam rings against the head that deflects too much when wearing safety glasses, letting in a lot of noise and the inside of the cups is so shallow it presses on the ears making them uncomfortable after a half hour. My three other cheapo sets do better in that regard, because the foam ring is probably twoce as thick, pliable and conforms around eye wear. So, in that regard $15-25 no name sets can handily beat quite expensive and better rated name brands.
Being old and stupid, I now have earplugs or shooting muffs hanging several places in the shop. Also got a set of those nice ones with the am/fm radio built in. The stupid part is not using protection for my younger years. (What do you say to an old motorcycle rider?
Whatever it is will have to be repeated 2x )
I got a pair for free (in trade for a review) from Amazon when they first came out.
They are fine, but a bit bulky. They don’t seem as well built as others I have. I keep them hanging from my bandsaw, so there’s always something within reach.
Not the best gear, but far from the worst. A reasonable tool for the occasional user.
My background: I work in machine shops, ride motorcycles, am involved in pyrotechnics and shoot. I started riding and racing motorcycles (two-stroke bikes, indoors!) as well as shooting at a young age, and have pretty bad ringing in my ears 24×7. I have two pairs of custom molded earplugs from Westone, a pair of Dillon noise cancelling shooting muffs, several pairs of regular over the ear muffs and many different foam inserts. I’m protecting of my hearing at this point.
I say yes, and electronic ear pro (microphones on each muff, small speaker inside with a cutoff of certain db, and maker communication or situational awareness), and or filtering plugs (I have -20 db). This way you have many combinations that can protect in different situations. If you hate the amazon $12 muffs donate them to an autistic kiddo or organization.
I’ve got several pair of Howard Leight Thunder 29 muffs, which I don’t think are made anymore, HL is now owned by Honeywell, so fully subject to the vagaries of Big Corporate Manipulation. The Thunder 29s have a NRR of 29 and I believe it. I use them for all power tools, mowing the lawn, using the shop vac, the shop air compressor is noisy enough I’ll use them if I’m using air tools a lot. They’re very comfortable, but like all muffs, there’s never a moment you don’t know you’re wearing them.
I’ll also wear them if I’m by myself at the gun club; I’ve learned that while at the club to add disposable ear plugs because if it’s hot and you take the muffs off for a few minutes that’s when the guy 3 benches down presses the trigger on his 308. If I’m working with students I have 6 sets of the 3M Peltor TacticalPro Communications Headset MT15H7F SV – expensive ($180+ at discount) NRR 26 electronic muffs so they can hear me without yelling yet the muffs cut noise off automatically at 85 db. I’ll wear my Peltor tactical electronic muffs (which have a mic and push-to-talk capability; I’ve thought about finding a way to add a receive-only FRS/GMRS radio connection to the student Peltor e-muffs for range instructions, but adding the hardware in a simple self-contained manner that’s guaranteed to work every time is cost prohibitive, something the students would have to accommodate while they’re focused on trying to learn shooting, and just one more time sink to manage. I do think there’s an opportunity there if it can be made simple enough and operationally bullet proof).
I’ve found the gel rings – on all brands of muffs – are better than the OEM foam rings that come with them, and that the rings need to be replaced way sooner than you think they do to maintain a good NRR seal around the ear.
On a related note, I’ve stopped buying anything “Amazon Basic” and just about zero “Amazon Recommended” because too much of the Amazon Basics stuff is questionable quality or just plain Chinesium and because of all the fake reviews on so many other items. I’ve also found that using price search tools (Invisible Hand, etc.) I can frequently beat Amazon’s price on the same or comparable item, and dealing with a small owner-based operation is often better than wrangling with The Borg.
There simply isn’t enough cost savings to make me interested in cut rate hearing protection. Comfort is so much more important. If it sucks to wear, you won’t wear it. Any muffs that I wear long term have to have the gel cushions and I prefer behind the neck models. You can stick on safety glasses, not have the pressure on the temples, seals better, and no pressure points.
Mike (the other one)
AmazonBasics is Amazon cherry-picking products which have sufficient volume that they can arrange for a production run and sell them without having a 3rd party involved in the sale.
Lowest-common-denominator, dead average quality, sold mostly on the basis of price, convenience, and Amazon branding/customer service.
I’d much rather learn about the best possible hearing protection in terms of:
– noise reduction
I bought a set which is supposed to reduce by 34db which was the highest available when I bought — is there something better since?
If you want better than ~30 dB or NRR, or in your case 34 dB, you can wear ear plugs as well. I don’t know if that’s sanctioned by regulatory bodies, but that’s what I do if or when I needed extra protection.
For branding, 3M/Peltor.
Double hearing protection is very much encouraged by regulators for those who are in noisy activities.
I do it all the time myself, and from what I’ve read, the rule of thumb is that the protection you get from doubling up is roughly 5 decibels greater than the protection for the most effective hearing protection you are wearing (usually the earplugs, as opposed to ear muffs).
I want one thing I can quickly put on / take off — I’ll keep the 3M Peltor X5 (31db) in mind — curious if they’re better than the ones I have which are ostensibly 34db.
I use these: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07M6M9RK3/
I’m of the opinion that you only use Amazon Basics for things that don’t matter much for your safety, or if it gets damaged. Basic wire connections like USB or HDMI, containers of certain types, and the odd hybrid pen/stylus kind of thing… It’s like buying a bulk pack of things that you KNOW you’re going to go through like crazy, because you’re using it in a situation where it’s little more than a band-aid, or doesn’t require perfect performance 100% of the time. Stuff you can use and forget about, knowing it wasn’t an arm and a leg to replace it.
SAFETY GEAR? No. Absolutely not. You owe it to yourself to buy something worth owning, because you can’t replace what it protects. Your heath and lifesigns.
Holmes/3M Hi Viz has suited my needs for comfort and budget. $30-40 a pair.
3M PELTOR X5 can manage 37db protection which is the best on the market.
They list 31dB
I encourage everyone to review dB scales. There’s different sound pressure ratings–absolute pressure, and weighted scales that interpret the perception of human hearing, as we “hear” the shrill the high end of the 20-20,000 cycles per second sound waves better than the low end bass, which spreads out. Scales like dB(a) and dB(c). We also “get used to” loud noises, increasing risk of harm.
The important thing is that sound scales are logarithmic–there’s a ten fold jump in sound pressure between each 10 db increase, but sound is a psychological interpretation, so people interpret this big difference to be “only” twice as loud.
You can do real harm to your hearing system–those little vibrating ear bones and the system that passes the idea of sound pressure and loudness to your brain– with exposure to extreme sound pressure. A big blast, and of course exposure to lower levels over time. A torch can equal a 747–over 120 db, peaking at 140. Lots of examples of job site exposure confronts us. Carry plugs at least.
For me, my ears and my “hearing” are worth the highest rating available, from a reputable manufacturer. Currently that is the 3M X5A, at 31 dB–an “order of magnitude” more protective than these Amazon imitations–that only deliver on a false sense of protection. With the loudest tools and around big machines, the EarSoft plugs go in under the earmuffs.
These better products are dielectric (shock) protective. The (SS) metal and plastic headband is split on this 3M model, so a head bang doesn’t drive that silly rivet in the middle top of your cap into your head, and they are comfortable for hours and hours.
And, I have learned to buy the belt hanger, instead of propping them up on my head when off the ears. The cushioned zip cases (Caseling, etc.) for both my safety glasses and my earmuffs are part of my kit now—the muffs stay clean, ride and store better, and unzipping the case before and after use and storing them is part of my “safety ritual” that keep my irreplaceable parts working. I can’t afford a cochlear implant–I’m behind on dental implants.
Amazon should be less greedy, and more ashamed selling these. Sell only real protection, not look-alikes. You’ll get older, and want to hear those whispers in your ear…yelling out “what did you say” ruins the moment. And on the job, you’ll be more alert if you need to hear later.
My wife and I trust our aging ears to the 3M Peltor X5. We keep two sets on the deck for working in the backyard two sets in the garage for the times we work out front. The X5 attenuates sound by smart tuning and damping. Other brands work by gripping the head like a vice.