The 8 Best Noise Cancelling Ear Muffs
This wiki has been updated 16 times since it was first published in May of 2019. Avoid exposing your ears to dangerously loud sounds and risking deafness down the road. Instead, pick up a pair of noise-cancelling ear muffs, which offer double the protection of passive models. Not only do they seal your ears off, but they use a microphone to detect and digitally dampen hazardous noises while bringing voices to the forefront. Some even let you plug into an audio device or phone. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 16, 2019:
Most manufacturers use the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) metric to communicate how effective their products are at blocking out unwanted sound. Consumers should be aware of what this number means since it is one of the main factors we used to judge these noise-cancelling ear muffs.
The NRR is used by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to gauge how much protection employers must provide for their workers' ears. A product's rating is determined by putting it through rigorous laboratory testing.
For example, Walker’s Razor has an NRR of 23 decibels. However, to figure out how many decibels the ear muffs actually muff out, you can't simply subtract the NRR from, say, the noise you'd be exposed to by operating a chainsaw, which can be 100 decibels loud.
Instead you must subtract seven from the NRR, divide the result by two and subtract that result from the original noise level. So, in the chainsaw example, the Walker’s Razor would lower noise exposure to 92 decibels.
The 3M Peltor Sport Tactical 500 has a slightly more effective attenuating ability with an NRR of 26 decibels.