ISOtunes sent over a pair of their FREE wireless hearing protection earplugs for review, and I’ve formed an early opinion of them that I’m confident in sharing.
This isn’t a full review, but if you have any questions I’ll give it my best effort to answer them.
The first thing you must know about ISOtunes’ FREE wireless earplugs is that they’re fairly comfortable to use. They fit in my ears comfortably and securely.
The next most important aspect, at least in my opinion, is that they’re easy to use and pair to. They pair to each other and then to your smartphone or other Bluetooth-connected device. One of the earbuds emitted a connection or pairing failure warning, but everything has been working nicely and as intended, and so I don’t know what that was about.
The earbuds are available in black, safety green, or safety yellow.
The “safety yellow” version is limited to 79 dB of audio output.
The level of hearing protection they offer is fair, at 22 dB. I like greater noise reduction rating much of the time, but these are suitable for a broad range of tasks and applications, just not when a maximum NRR is desired.
The ISOtunes FREE come with different sizes of tips to fit your ears, 3 pairs of foam tips, and 3 pairs of double-flanged silicone tips. I have only used the medium foam tips so far.
Note: The silicone tips have NOT been tested for noise reduction. ISOtunes recommends that the silicone double-flange tips only be used for when hearing protection is not required.
You are supposed to get 7+ hours of battery life from a single battery charge, and the case should get you up to 3 full charges for 21 hours of use before needing to be recharged, which is impressive, especially compared to Apple’s AirPods and AirPods Pro.
ISOtunes engineered the FREE Bluetooth hearing protector with Bluetooth 5.0 technology and IP45-rated construction.
There’s a noise-cancellation microphone that suppresses background noise when you’re on a call in loud environments.
A built-in volume limiter means that you can’t dial up your tunes past 85 dB, and I have no problem with that.
Here’s something I know a lot of you will be glad to hear – the ISOtunes FREE earbuds case, which charges up the devices, is recharged via USB C. You get a compatible cord with the package, but not a wall plug, which I’m sure most people already have at home or work.
Sound quality is decent, and better than I had anticipated.
When switching back and forth between the ISOtunes FREE and pricier earbuds (a gift card recently allowed me to splurge on Apple AirPod Pro’s), these don’t sound quite as rich. A few minutes in, and you’ll forget all about that.
The ISOtunes does have a slight white background noise. I can very barely detect it when listening to music, but it is very apparent when interacting with my smartphone. When the phone is idle and the screen off, the noise floor is low. But when I’m interacting in my phone, say conducting a search and not listening to music, there’s a low frequency hum.
I figure this is part of the microphone’s noise cancellation feature. If you’re not interacting with your phone, you’re either off your phone and there’s no noise, or otherwise listening to music or other audio source that drowns it out.
Perhaps not everyone experiences the same, and I’m hearing this in the environment I’ve been listening in, but either way it’s something to be aware of but a non-issue in my opinion.
Besides, you’ll be working with these earbuds on, right? The noise of tools or power tools will drown out what I would simply describe as background white noise.
My sample pair is green and black, and so far so good. The green color is easier to find if you put these down anywhere, but the mate black version looks decent too.
I still have to test the earbuds in a very noisy environment. Calls with lower ambient noise levels, where hearing protection usually isn’t needed, results in a slightly tinny sound on my end, but others haven’t complained about how I sound.
Summary (So Far)
- Comfortably snug
- Medium-level of hearing protection
- Problem-free Bluetooth connectivity
- Decent audio
- IP45 rating: sweat, water, dust resistant
- Good, even great quality music
- Fair call quality
Overall, I feel that the ISOtunes FREE offers a strong balance between hearing protection, ease of use, and sound quality. It could do better in the hearing protection department, as far as the on-paper noise reduction rating goes, and it could do better with regard to music and phone audio quality, but at what cost?
I’ve become a fan of wireless ear buds. These are small and comfortable, and overall quite acceptable.
Some online user reviews complain about the low volume. In my opinion, user satisfaction will be tied to the usage environment. If you require hearing protection the entire time, due to your work being consistently loud, these might not be for you. If you need hearing protection from intermittent loud noises, you’re probably going to have a better and more satisfying experience.
(I can’t say I see where the complaints are coming from – of course music is going to sound lower when background noise is a lot higher. Wouldn’t being able to crank up the volume to hearing-damaging levels defeats the purpose of hearing protectors?)
As long as you understand what you’re getting, you might be happy. Expect these to sound like much pricier Bluetooth headphones or ones that don’t offer hearing protection, and you might be disappointed.
I would be remiss to recommend these unconditionally. But if you were to say you’re looking for completely wireless Bluetooth-compatible earbuds that sound decent, offer hearing protection, and are effortless to setup and use, I’d give the ISOtunes FREE two thumbs up. I feel that there will be many more satisfied users among those that take the time to learn what they’re getting and what they’re not.
I think that ISOtunes did a great job with the FREE.
(At the time of this posting Amazon has a 10% clickable coupon on the matte black version.)
Buy Now via Amazon
More Info via ISOtunes
Lastly, kudos to ISOtunes for including a useful user manual, here it is (PDF).
Thank you to ISOtunes for providing the review sample.
Hows the strength of the bluetooth radio on them? I’ve got a pair of isotunes xtras and when i’m outdoors it has terrible connection strength. It will cut out if i look behind me while mowing or bending over a lot of the times while my phone is in my pocket.
No problems within a few feet, I still need to see what happens if I leave my phone a couple of feet away or in a closet.
Stuart – How is it if you put your phone in your pocket? My original Pro’s are terrible with my phone in my pocket.
Ive got the 3m bluetooth over the ear hearing protectors and experience the same issues. May be an issue with the bluetooth standard in general.
For instance, I’ve left my phone in the tractor and walked 75 feet line-of-sight and still had solid connection.
But I have also had the phone in my pocket, moved my hand near it, and had my connection break out whenever my hand came close to it.
Seems to be rather finicky.
“FREE” and yet $110.00.
It’s fairly incredible how stupid it is for a company to use the word “FREE” in any sense for a product that they want to charge money for, let alone something fairly expensive, and yet it’s increasingly common. (Leatherman, etc.)
It’s hard not to think that it was intentional, and in reference to them being cord free.
Here’s the thing; the marketing works, especially on you. You’re the only one that mentioned Leatherman. They own a part of your brain now.
Frustrating, potentially. Stupid, absolutely not.
I get that they were trying to be clever with the “FREE”, but it’s actually bad marketing. I would bet there are going to be lots of people who see the word and think these are a FREE sample of a product and…it’s not so they are no longer interested. They didn’t gain a customer, they deceived someone and wasted their time.
It’s not working on me, at least in a positive sense. Yes, I know about Leatherman, and I’ll remember these too, but in the sense of stuff with the word FREE attached to it in a really, really dumb way, not in a way that makes me want to buy them, ever. I’ll never buy a Leatherman “FREE” product, either, though I do have several of their earlier products, back when their marketing wasn’t also as dumb.
I will never buy another Leatherman product.
A few years back I bought 3 Skeletools when HD had them on sale cheap. Unfortunately I soon discovered that I absolutely HATE the half serrated blades they came with. So, I contacted customer service to buy plain blades for my 3 Skeletools. They flat out refused to sell me plain blades (although they, obviously, make plain bladed Skeletools).
Their “solution” was that – if I wanted plain blades, I should just buy more Leatherman tools with plain blades…
Leatherman lost me as a customer FOREVER.
Came here to say the exact same thing. Like that FREE utility tool that had me fooled also
They should market them as FREE*
Then on the back of the package:
I see a 10% off coupon on Amazon
How much is 10% off FREE?
They pay you I guess.
I’ve been extremely interested in wireless ear buds for a while now…..not just for everyday music, but for using them as a monitor in a band setting. I know we’re talking apples and oranges as far as products, but not really when we’re talking about battery life.
I’m not referring to how long they will last on a fresh charge…But the actual life expectancy of the battery. If I pay $200- $400 for a set of wireless earbuds, or monitors, how long can I expect them to last? A year? Two years? Three? Are the batteries replaceable? Over the years, I have gained a pretty good sense of how long my Dewalt And Milwaukee batteries will last judging by the capacity and usage of each one. But I have a hard time finding that info in reviews on these mini-micro batteries. How many times can you possibly charge these things before they no longer hold a charge? I’m guessing these are the same batteries, and technology, used in wireless hearing aides, which have been around for decades. If anyone can provide any info, I’d really love to hear it.
I have the Iso Tunes Pro that are over a year old and get used every single day at work. I use them 5 days a week for at least 8 hours. They are rated for 10+ hours whatever that means. I have yet to have them die in the middle of the day if I charge them every night. They are starting to break down in other ways but luckily have had no issues with the batteries.
Even the pro-Apple podcasts that I listen to say that heavy Apple Airpod users need a new set after approx a year – I’m talking people using them everyday. I’d expect similar life span from other brands of buds too. And since I can’t recall any company making their battery easily replaceable, these are all disposable items.
Thanks for your feedback. You hit the nail on the head when you said disposable. But if an average set can last a heavy user about a year, then maybe a light user could get a few years. For maybe $50-$100, that wouldn’t be so bad.
You mentioned you have Airpod Pros available and then didn’t compare to them! I’m very curious to know how they would compare to a good set of traditional noise cancelling earbuds. Passive noise reduction probably not as good but if your main noise sources are continuous sounds (saw, grinder, compressor, really anything with a motor) I would expect ANC to be just as good? I know it’s hard to make an objective measurement for this but I’d be interested in hearing your experience with airpod pros as casual grade hearing protection.
Sorry, I thought saying the ISOtunes “didn’t sound as rich” was enough.
Noise cancellation and noise blocking is different. The ISOtunes block the noise, the AirPods cancel it.
Consider the sun shining down on an object, casting a dark shadow on the ground. Putting something between the sun and that object will block or at least soften the light, eliminating the harsh shadow. Shining a flashlight or high-powered light source from the opposite direction will also illuminate and eliminate the shadow.
I’m sending the AirPods back for exchange (something seems wonky with the battery in one of the earbuds), but they sound better with music and much better with call quality.
The ISOtunes fit better. With the AirPods, once I’m sure they’re a fit for me, I’ll try aftermarket earbud tips to see if that helps.
The ISOtunes block sound to a much greater extent. So, with both units unpowered, the ISOtunes mutes more of the outside world than the AirPods.
Typical earbuds block out ambient sounds as a side effect of sticking them inside your ears. The ISOtunes blocks out sound by deliberate intent.
Even with earbuds designed to create a quieter listening environment, the goal there is to help remove distractions. The ISOtunes are designed to protect the user against hearing-damaging noise levels.
If you only wish to block out distractions, the AirPods or other noise-cancellation or well-sealing earbuds might be the better choice. If you wish to reduce incoming hearing-damaging noise levels, the ISOtunes are the better choice – or other rated hearing protection earbuds.
I should also mention that the ISOtunes are rated for continuous noise, and they specifically mention that they’re not rated for intermittent sound such as gunfire.
This and the Gerber, tsk tsk tsk. Lets not use the word ‘free’ without it being clear. i know nothing is free, but I thought this was a giveaway at first.
I need noise protection occasionally but I would also like to use them in other environments. One use case I have for them is hunting where I put one in and leave the other out to hear what is going on around me. Unfortunately the Jabra pair I have can only do the right earbud in single earbud uses. Will these allow the use of a single earbud and will it work with either one?
Grab the app, or double-tap the right earbud, to turn on HearThrough. Then you can wear one or both, but still hear the outside world in ears with earbuds in them, too.
Kent E Hanson
That’s my biggest issue with my jabras. I wish I could use either ear. You have to use the right one but all of the controls are on the left one. I won mine so not totally upset but still annoying.
I look forward to a more in-depth review. The first thing I think of when considering any hearing protection device is comfort, or more precisely, comfort over time. I realize you said they are comfortable, but for seven hours straight? How about seven hours straight for five days in a row? In the construction environment the noise isn’t constant so much as often. To be able to wear hearing protection all day, talk on the phone, converse in person and listen to music without disturbing others and without removing the device would be truly freeing. The name makes sense to me.
These are no better than $40 wireless buds on Amazon. MPOW makes some that sound better and have way better BT range. I own both and use everyday. My isotunes do not get used. I go back to my around the neck BT headphones before the isotunes.
You’re comparing normal earbuds to isotunes whose primary purpose is hearing protection. Naturally isotunes will not prioritize sound quality. That’s like people putting airpods in and cranking the volume to max to drown out the sound. That’s not hearing protection, that’s just listening to a more enjoyable sound at damaging volumes. That is why most hearing protection focused earbuds have a sound limit that many people find “too quiet”.
The hearing protection comes from the type of ear piece on the isotunes. If you use the proper size and type of ear piece any ear bud they will do what isotunes claims. As far as sound quality, i feel that also is a result of proper fitting. Have you used both of the ear buds i mentioned? Probably not or you are paid by isotunes like every other “influencer” on social media.
Notice: Please inspect the eartips for degradation or deformation prior to use. The integrity of the tips is vital for proper hearing protection. The eartips should be replaced approximately every 3 months depending on use.
The wearer should ensure that:
The eartips are fitted, adjusted, and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
The eartips are worn at all times in noisy surroundings.
The eartips are regularly inspected for serviceability.
Please, I wish I got paid for this.
Until you back any claims up with testing and certifications you’re sharing nothing more than your opinion. The fact is that one device is OSHA and NIOSH compliant and the other isn’t. One device has a rated sound reduction and the other doesn’t. The certifications and testing cost money and add liability. That’s why they’re more expensive. For many people, that’s also the reason they buy isotunes instead of Chinese rebrand stuff.
Hearing loss is preventable. If you are willing to take a chance in order to save $70 then go for it.
And gosh, isotunes says you need to use the device as designed for it to work as intended. Shocking! Tires have wear indicators. My helmet has an expiration date. Safety equipment degrades and eventually gets to the point where it no longer works as intended. That’s nothing unique to isotunes.
Bass is overrated and the primary thing we don’t see with MPOW is Noise Reduction Rating and sound limiting … which is something you need, if you really want to protect your hearing while working …
One would not be working in places that officially require safety equipment, showing up with any old earbuds or earpods …
Ear tip = sound reduction
Ear tip care posted to show the ear tip is, infact, what accomplishes sound reduction. If neglected, you’ll probably lose your OSHA cert you love so much lol
The isotunes do not have any technology other than the ear tip to reduce (outside) sound. Maybe you are confusing the noise canceling with what you are calling sound reduction? They are not the same.
If you want to pay $70+ for an OSHA cert, by all means have at it. You are correct, I expressed my opinion guided by common sense and real world use! Others who want to read what i said can use theirs.
Oh and Isotunes are “normal earbuds”. THEY ACCOMPLISH SOUND REDUCTION BY USING A FOAM EAR TIP. Which may i add, are readily avaliable for most “normal earbuds” you speak of!
You may be surprised if you look into this brand a bit. Good reviews come from the ppl that get them free and the bad from those who spend their hard earned money on them.
Have a good one:)
You are missing the point 100% and are telling me nothing new. Of course they share similar traits … just like pretty much all car like vehicles have four wheels, 2-4 doors, 2-4 seats, … but few of them get five star crash test ratings in EU and NA.
So you’d rather have a car that has a good crash rating but doesn’t run! Isotunes are junk. Buy a pair and find out for yourself! Or buy a cheaper (price) pair and get some foam ear tips off Amazon for $6 and have the same noise isolation as the isotunes. Just trying to help ppl not get ripped off.
You are not helping anybody with your crusade, allusions we all get them free, repeated claims that they are junk, … I paid full price for my isotunes pro and am quite happy I did. Nothing junky about them, unlike a few other import bluetooth sets I had before them.
So for starters chalk me up to the group that doesn’t like the naming. But I like the overall concept seems like they did a decent job. Like the green color idea. Would like to see an orange just to match common OPE PPE. Or well pink for my daughter.
meanwhile though I like the concept I would like more db knockdown also but limitations I get. I use Shure E3c monitors which are a 27 db knockdown and very high quality sound but they are corded. I don’t mind the cord so much but I don’t use them either. I’m going to probably be on the oddball end of the audio quality/clarity requirement. but again I like the idea.
Glad to see someone is thinking about it because most wireless buds suck for noise suppression other than I think Sennheizer has an active noise cancellation one now – very speedy.
I like the idea of earplugs that are speakers. Thanks for the finding
Any experience with these when sweating heavily? I’, talking about two plus hours of constant mowing/yardwork? I have the 3M bluetooth headphones, and while they do a good job of noise protection when running the mower or the blower, they become somewhat uncomfortable due to me becoming a sweathog on some days?
The 3M BT indeed lack in noise reduction and comfort, plus as soon as I put glasses on, sound goes right through the two tiny gaps at the stems of the glasses.
Similar thoughts and concerns re: earbuds, and why I picked up the corded pro version, which has little around the ear clips to keep them in place. I don’t want to lose an earbud in a pile of mulch, in shrubs when working on a ladder, worse see it eaten by the mower or lawn vacuum. The corded ones have worked quite well for occassional use. Noise reduction on par with regular earbuds ( I have dozens of the triple flange 3M silicone ones ).
I haven’t used them in dripping-sweat conditions for that long, but plan to.
From the fit, feel, and comfort so far, I think they’ll do better than non-protector earbuds.
The memory tips conform to fit the ear canal similar to foam earplugs, but with greater density, and so they feel more secure.
From what I gather, these are designed for sweaty and swampy wear.
I think they’re going to feel a LOT better than over-the-ears headphones, at least when the going gets hot and sweaty.
Personally I’m waiting for the Etymotic wireless BT cable to roll out any day now. Can be combined with any of their ER models, and you get 35-42 dB of isolation.
Since these focused towards construction and landscape, you need to be careful how much isolation you are using in that situation. Need a balance of protecting your hearing, but still being able to hear backup alarms on equipment, warning shouts from other people, etc.
slight unrelated note I see where a few of the landscapers that run my neighborhood seem to put some ear bud in and then put over ear muffs on. Then go run the string trimmer
Seems like an interesting compromise. Not sure I would want to do that while working in the shop but in the yard would be good
Done that for years. Trouble is that corded ones easily pop out or those BT ones with long stems. Perhaps the new ones with short stems work better. I have worn earmuffs over my isotunes when it gets extra loud, just like I wear earplugs and ear muffs to do certain prolonged extra loud tasks.
I do this currently with my LG around the neck earbuds. Works great. My LGs are breaking down so I’m contemplating the new Samsung Galaxy+ ones since they seem to be very low profile and thus won’t interfere with the over-the-ear cups
I wouldn’t buy because price and marketing using “free” in name to confuse people . Lots of better options out there .
I bought some on last year’s black Friday sale for $80.
I like them. Sound quality is not great…but it’s not like I need fidelity when running a chainsaw or my tractor.
The battery life is excellent. Charging case IMHO should have a lanyard loop. I glued on on the case…it kept popping out of my pockets.
I wish someone would offer custom molded ear protection cheaper than $100 to $200 or more…my intention was to get a company to duplicate my work provided custom ear mold ear pro with these guys…but I balked when the cheapest option was $300 and a two hour drive to Portland.
These looks like qcy wireless buds that are 35 dollars, they are oem that many companies use. I am more curious if someone would open these up to see if there is anything really added for noise protection. As of right now these look like wireless buds with foam tips sold at a higher price.
I have a big 60″ Toro zero-turn that is incredibly loud. The only thing I have found that works for me is a pair of headphones similar to these underneath a pair of muffs.
But I find this horribly uncomfortable. I’ve tried the bluetooth muffs but they don’t block enough noise to let me hear my audiobook. If anybody knows of a bluetooth headphone solution that’s in the 34+ dB range, and you’ve tried it out, please comment and let me know.