Those of us who work in challenging noise environments know how important it is to protect our hearing. Any exposure to sounds over 85 decibels (db) can cause hearing loss, and regular exposure can quickly lead to a noticeable decrease in the ability to hear.
If you work, or have hobbies that put you in noisy environments such as construction work, factories, or shooting ranges, then you need to pay attention to the Howard Leight earmuffs reviews in this article.
Howard Leight is one of the best-known names in hearing protection. They’ve been in the business of protecting hearing for over 30 years and they are a subsidiary of one of the best-known names in workplace safety, Honeywell.
The combination of the two is a recipe for some outstanding products that take both form and function into account.
We’ll be taking a look at both electronic and non-electronic earmuff offerings from Howard Leight by Honeywell. The non-electronic versions dull all noises. This works great for protecting your hearing, but can make it difficult to communicate with others around you.
The more recent entrants into the hearing protection category are electronic earmuffs, they use external microphones and internal speakers to capture noises below 85db and amplify them through the speakers. So they dampen the dangerous sounds while still allowing you to hear the voice of the person next to you.
So let’s dig into the products.
Not only are the Impact Sport model the best selling Howard Leight earmuffs, they are the best selling product overall in the shooting category on Amazon at the time I’m writing this. That is an impressive feat for a set of earmuffs and certainly speaks to the quality that went into their construction.
The Impact Sport earmuffs are one of two Howard Leight electronic earmuffs, with the other being the Impact Pro reviewed below. As these are the only two sets of earmuffs we’ll look at today I’ll take a little extra care to compare and contrast the two.
The Impact Sport is designed for low profile, comfortable wear. They include a 3mm jack for listening to music and have a long battery life. They also have a noise reduction rating (NRR) of 22db.
While marketed for shooters, the feedback on the Howard Leight Impact Sport vs. the pro model shows that the Impact Sport is most appropriate for outdoor shooting activities such as outdoor range or hunting.
With a quick visual inspection of the Howard Leight Impact Sport vs the Pro the differences are immediately obvious. The Pro is significantly bulkier in its form factor.
That extra size results in additional protection. The pro provides an NRR of 30 and on an indoor shooting range or an extremely loud environment that extra 8db of protection of the Impact Sport can make a world of difference.
Well padded and comfortable, and also including a headphone jack and a long battery life, the Pro model still delivers all the amenities you find on the Impact Sport with the only downside being the additional size.
So if you are planning on shooting indoors on being in extremely loud conditions where the additional protection is warranted the Impact Pro will definitely be the choice for you if you are in the market for a set of electronic earmuffs.
The Leightning L3 is the top of the line in non-electronic earmuff offerings from Howard Leight. While the sound amplification of the electronics integration is nice, it’s not necessary for every environment.
The removal of the electronics brings about some serious cost savings. The L3s are $20 cheaper than the Impact Sport, the cheapest of the electronic offerings. Despite the cheaper price they offer more hearing protection, boasting an NRR of 30, the same as the Impact Pro’s at less than half the price.
The high NRR comes with the expected larger form factor. While bulky, the L3s offer plenty of padding for comfort and sport a patented airflow technology.
The Super Slimline certainly lives up to its name. It boasts a slim design with similar dimensions to the Impact Sport, but weighing 8 ounces less.
As with any earmuffs, size equates directly to the amount of protection you receive. The Super Slimline is the lower protection, but less intrusive form factor version of the L3.
The Super Slimline has an NRR of 23, which still makes it a very effective pair of earmuffs however. That’s an NRR of 1db greater than the Impact Sport and makes the Super Slimline appropriate for similar activities such as outdoor shooting, hunting and moderately loud work environments.
On the low end of the product offering scale from Howard Leight is the Multi-positioning headband earmuff. At only $8 these are perfect for those who are seeking a hearing protection solution that is cost effective.
The trade off for price is comfort in the headband, which is noticeably less padded or adjustable to fit the form of the head.
Fortunately it isn’t all tradeoffs with the Multi-positioning headband earmuff. They do provide an outstanding level of protection for the price at an NRR of 25, 3 NRR more than the Impact Sport for 1/5th the price.
They are light at well, weighing in at only 10 ounces, 5 ounces less than the Impact Pro.
For price conscious consumers or those interested in bulk purchases the multi-positioning headband earmuffs are an excellent choice.
The most important thing you’ll want to consider in my opinion when making a purchasing decision is just how much hearing protection you’ll need. For lower noise environments like mowing the lawn or outdoor shooting, lower NRR earmuffs such as the Impact Sport or the Super Slimline are perfect. For noisier environments such as indoor shooting or factory work go for the Impact Pro or L3 models.
No matter what your hearing protection needs. I think you’ll find a Howard Leight solution for you in the products we’ve reviewed today.
Product images sourced from Amazon.com