Caldwell E Max Vs Howard Leight Hearing Protection Review

Do you regularly go hunting or frequent the range regularly to polish your shooting skills? Or do you work for long hours in very noisy environments? 

If you do, then you should look into good ear protection. It is vital to protect your ears when around very loud noises such as loud gunfire. Why is that?

Such loud noises can damage your hearing over time. In addition, just one shot from a firearm can cause serious ear damage. 

Thus, prolonged shooting without ear protection can eventually lead to permanent ear damage. Proper gun safety rules also require the use of some form of ear protection.

Howard Leight vs Caldwell

There are various methods of ear protection that can be used when shooting or around others who are shooting. Foam earplugs are a cheap and standard method of ear protection. Polymer/Silicone earplugs are more durable and offer better protection and comfort.

You can also opt for electronic earplugs, which cancel out loud noises while providing smart sound amplification. However, many would agree that earmuffs are the most advanced ear protection devices. 

Earmuffs are made from durable materials and include more technology. Some earmuffs can amplify sounds around you, such as conversations or even sounds from creatures in the forest, while protecting you from damaging noises.

Some of the best ear muffs out there are produced by Caldwell and Honeywell. These include the Caldwell E-Max and the Honeywell Howard Leight series.

Which of these two brands of ear muffs provides a better package of protection, comfort and value? First, let’s see how well these ear muffs perform in the following categories:

Noise Reduction Rating

The noise reduction rating of ear protection equipment is a measure of the effectiveness of these devices. Thus, the NRR is one of the first things to look at when selecting ear protection. The NRR is measured in decibels (dB), and the higher the value, the better the ear protection.

The Howard Leight R-01526 has a noise reduction rating of 22, while the Howard Leight R-01902 has 30. As a result, these earmuffs provide optimal ear protection.

The R-01902 provides the best protection for your ears, thanks to its high NRR rating. Therefore, it is highly recommended for indoor shooting, which requires NRR ratings between 26 and 33 dB.

The Caldwell E-Max has a rating of 25 dB, while its low profile counterpart has a rating of 23 dB. Thus, these devices perform well are good enough for small caliber arms, handguns and long guns.

Microphone and Speaker Quality

Earmuffs are made up of microphones, speakers and amplifiers. The price of the earmuff usually dictates the quality of these components. 

High-end muffs enable you to continuously hear low volume sounds even when loud noises are cut off. 

Low-cost muffs, however, usually come with one or two microphones and have an amplifier that shuts off when loud noises are detected. As a result, ambient noises are not heard for that short period.

High-quality muffs also come with more microphones and speakers, enabling you to detect ambient sounds’ direction and their distance. Thus, the pricier the earmuff, the higher the microphone and speaker quality.

The Caldwell Low Profile E-Max comes with two microphones that amplify sounds that are lower than 85 dB. This helps with conversations and also provides the direction of the sounds. However, the microphones shut off when they detect sounds above 85 dB, thus, protecting your hearing.

The Howard Leight Impact Sport electronic earmuff features sound amplification that protects your ears from loud noises and simultaneously allows you to hear ambient sounds. 

The built-in directional microphones amplify ambient sounds. The amplification is shut off when sounds above 82 dB are detected.

These earmuffs from Caldwell and Honeywell have high-quality speakers and microphones. Just keep in mind that the more expensive ones will perform better and have more features.


Comfort is also another important factor to consider when choosing ear protection. A good device should have an ergonomic design that will provide all-day comfort. Ear protection gear should also not irritate your skin or eyes or cause allergies.

The Caldwell Low Profile E-Max earmuff has a padded adjustable headband which is very comfortable. In addition, the ear cups are low profile and are cushioned, thus providing a comfortable fit for any user. 

You can wear them comfortably for long periods of time. They are also quite compact and can be easily folded and packed in a bag.

The Howard Leight R-01526 are lightweight earmuffs and are also comfortable enough to be worn for long periods. They come with adjustable headbands that ensure a snug, comfortable fit for any person. They are also compact and fold up nicely when not in use. 

You can also see how Howard Leight stands against the Walker Razor Slim and Peltor Rangeguard in these two comparison articles: walker razor slim vs Howard Leight impact pro and peltor rangeguard vs Howard Leight.


If you’re on a budget or you’re searching for the best deals possible, then the price is usually higher up on your list when shopping for products than it is in this article. How competitively a product is priced usually determines how valuable it is.

One of the Caldwell E-Max earmuff’s strongest points is its affordable price compared to other similar products. As a result, these are perfect earmuffs that you can get without a big investment. With the lower price comes some trade-offs, though, but overall, it’s a good bargain.

Howard Leight earmuffs also offer great value for their prices. The higher-end models also have better microphones and speakers and are more durable. 

You can also get some great muffs, such as the Howard Leight Impact Sport, for affordable prices. However, if you’re looking for the most affordable muffs, Caldwell E-Max is one of the best options out there.

Also, check our reviews on comtac iii vs sordin and peltor shooting ear protection.

So is Howard Leight better than Caldwell?

As seen in this Caldwell E-Max vs Howard Leight comparison, these ear protection devices are high-quality performers. They’re very comfortable and have good NRR ratings. So which one is better?

That depends on your circumstances and needs. If you need higher-end ear protection gear with better microphones and features, then Honeywell Howard Leight has some good fits for you.

Caldwell E-Max is a great choice if you’re looking for the best value at the lowest prices. Choose whichever suits you and get excellent ear protection.

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