One of our favorite things about living in Arizona is being surrounded by land that we can go explore, and part of that exploring for us involves shooting practice. It’s something we’ve done for a while now, and it’s a great way to spend time with family while in the great outdoors.
We sometimes have younger or older family members go with us, so we’ve done quite a bit of research into finding good quality ear protection that won’t break the bank. Here, you’ll be able to find some of the main points we came across when looking for the best electronic ear muffs.
Ear muffs aren’t necessarily required – you can get away with using cheaper ear plugs – but if you plan on shooting for an extended time, or consistently, then ear muffs can be a great investment, and you can get a quality pair for under $50.
Ultimately, the ear muffs we went with seemed to have the best overall, all-purpose features and benefits that we needed. They work great for the more advanced shooters in the family, but when we have beginners out, they also work perfect for them.
The ear muffs we chose – the Howard Leight impact sports – also give you a range of options to amplify soft noises and reduce loud ones. We’ve used them a few times this year and can say that we’re happy with the quality and performance, and for those reasons they are our most recommended electronic ear muffs.
Continue reading below to see detailed reviews for the top five ear muffs for shooting protection.
What to Look for in Your Electronic Ear Muffs
- Noise reduction: the main purpose of electronic ear muffs is to reduce the impact of loud noises in your ears. You’ll want to get ear muffs depending on your needs. For example, small handguns may not require as strong ear muffs, but if you consistently use more powerful firearms, then you’ll want to consider ear muffs with greater protection.
- Noise amplification: you can also use ear muffs to amplify soft noises, which is helpful when hunting or listening to directions and information on the range. Each ear muff has different noise amplification settings, so again, you’ll want to choose one based on your specific needs.
- Comfort and weight: Some ear muffs are more comfortable and lightweight than others, so if you’re shooting for long periods of time, you’ll want to take comfort into consideration.
- Price and value: electronic ear muffs can range from $20 to hundreds of dollars, so you’ll want to balance price and value as it pertains to quality. The most expensive muffs aren’t always the best, so you can shop around to find the balance that works for you.
- Convenience: some ear muffs fold up and store very nicely, while others take up more room. If you camp or go on long hunting trips, you’ll want to think about how easy it is to access and store your ear muffs.
- Additional features: some ear muffs have additional features, such as an audio input, so that you can use them as headphones to listen to music. Check out the additional features on the muffs you’re considering to see if they have anything extra you may find helpful.
The Best Electronic Ear Muffs for Shooting: 2016 Edition Reviews
|Product||Rating||Noise Specs||Pros||Cons||Latest Price|
|Automatically blocks noise above 82 dB, noise reduction rating: NRR 22||Best all-around muffs for quality and price||May have difficulty fitting some people with eye protection||$40.97|
|22 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)||Excellent noise quality and comfortable fit||Slightly more expensive than other options||$71.52|
|Cutoff: 85dB, NRR: 23||Great value for inexpensive price||Quality may not be as good as more expensive options||$24.11|
|NRR 25dB||Great value for shooters who don't use muffs heavily||May have quality and construction issues||$24.97|
|(NRR) of 30dB||Excellent quality, great noise reduction and amplification||Slightly bulkier than more lightweight Howard Leights||$54.24|
The Howard Leight Impact Sport ear muffs are hands down one of the best pair of electronic ear muffs on the market. Not only that, but they’re priced very competitively, so although they’re under $100, you’re getting muffs that have the quality and features of a much more expensive brand.
The beauty of these muffs is that they combine features and benefits from all angles, without sacrificing quality. For example, the noise reduction is stellar, but the noise amplification is also above-average.
They’re easy to store and lightweight, but this convenience does not come at the cost of sacrificing quality. Overall, Amazon users rate these ear muffs at 5 stars 70% of the time, which is a great rate.
Those who love the ear muffs note that they’re great for all-purpose protection, yet good enough quality to be useful and effective for seasoned shooters.
One of the only downsides noted in reviews was that the ear muffs were occasionally difficult to fit around eye protection and therefore, it was difficult to create a good seal on the ear, which is essential to having good protection.
Aside from that, the ear muffs receive consistently good reviews, and as we mentioned, we’ve been impressed with how well they work for everyone that uses them. They’re a great main ear muff to have, but also affordable enough to keep around as a spare for friends and family who need to use them.
What Users are Saying
- One of the most popular earmuffs for shooting
- Great qualities but at a lower cost than competition
- Work well with indoor shooting while listening to instructors
- Also works well for racing events and other loud shows
The Peltor Sport Tactical 100 muffs are another all-around great ear muff for shooting protection. They’re a slightly higher price than the Howard Leights, but they offer similar, if not slightly higher quality, features.
One of the advantages this part of ear muffs have over the aforementioned ones is that they may be a little more comfortable than the others. While the Howard Leights are sportier and may feel lighter, they can also have some trouble fitting perfectly.
The Peltors, however, have consistent reviews for their great fit, and they were recently redesigned to make them even more comfortable. As far as noise reduction and amplification go, most reviewers found the Peltors to be of above-average quality, though some reviewers did note that it was difficult to hear low sounds even when the noise amplification was turned up.
if you plan on being in settings where you need great noise amplification, the Peltors may be sufficient, but you may also want to consider an ear muff with greater amplification power.
Overall, these ear muffs receive great marks, and like the first ear muffs, about 70% of all reviewers on Amazon give these 5 stars. If you’re willing to spend a little more money than the sub-$100 range, then you’ll find the Peltor Sport Tactical 100 ear muffs can be a great quality option.
What Users are Saying
- Work exactly as described, very comfortable
- Fit well and work good even after many hours of consecutive use
- Ideal for range use, though work well in all shooting environments
- Muffle sounds very well
- Look a little sleeker than the bulkier green muffs that many people use
- Perfect for shooting classes when you need to hear people talking
For shooters who want something simple and affordable for minimal use, the Caldwell Low Profile ear muffs are a great inexpensive option.
The quality and value you get is average, and while you’re not in the same budget range as the Howard Leights or Peltors above, you will get solid ear protection for what you pay.
Many reviewers say they’re good and meet up with expectations for the price (under $40). These are often the “default” ear muffs you have see in indoor ranges, but they’re used a lot for a reason: good value and consistency.
Less than 60% of all Amazon reviewers gave these ear muffs 5 stars, but they’re still one of the most popular options out there, especially for entry-level users or those who just use them often enough to want something easy and affordable.
So while they’re not winning any awards or blowing people away, the Caldwells are a practical option for those who don’t need a whole lot, or don’t have a major budget to spend on ear muffs.
What Users are Saying
- Do good job of muffling gun shots
- Great budget choice if you’re looking for something affordable and easy
- Use for years without problems, even in competitive shooting events
The Champion Electronic Ear Muffs are in the same category as the Caldwells above: great value for a great price.
If you’re not in the market to spend $100, the Champions can offer great noise reduction and amplification without breaking your budget.
More than 60% of all Amazon reviews gave the Champions 5 stars, so there’s definitely a reliable group of people who enjoy these muffs.
One of the downsides sometimes mentioned in reviews is the quality of the Champions. While you can’t expect above-average quality for this price range, some users were still disappointed in the make and durability of the ear muffs.
Some users pointed out that they broke relatively soon after using them, or the parts of the ear muffs just weren’t as solid as they expected. However, these quality issues are far outnumbered by the reviewers who found them to be an excellent everyday option for quick and easy shooting needs.
What Users are Saying
- Great alternative to Howard Leight pro
- Does great job of muffling loud gun shots from large guns
- Cuts off at the right time to muffle sounds
- Comfortable fit and feel
These Howard Leight ear muffs are slightly more expensive the first Howard Leight muffs we discussed, but they’re slightly larger and not focused so much on sportiness as it on sheer protection.
Nearly 75% of all Amazon users give the R-01902 Impact Pro Sound muffs 5 stars, and the reviews couldn’t be more clear: these muffs really get the job done.
The stats on these muffs isn’t too much different than the Impact Sports, but these ear muffs are larger, slightly heavier and offer perhaps a more “heavy” feel during use. They’re great for indoor ranges and areas where you need to cut off gunshot sounds while listening to others.
Reviewers often note that the quality and construction of these ear muffs is above-average, and they haven’t had any problems after a lot of use. The bottom line: Howard Leight makes some excellent ear muffs, and you can’t go wrong with either model we’ve highlighted here.
If you’re in the market for a slightly more sporty, affordable pair of muffs, the first pair may fit your style more, whereas those shooters who prefer a stockier, heavy-duty ear muff with great noise quality will find the Impact Pro Sounds to be an excellent option.
What Users are Saying
- Ordered multiple pairs for family
- Protection level for hearing is equal to or better than more expensive models
- Excellent for indoor ranges, quality muffling and perfect for still hearing voices
- Electronics in these muffs are above-average
Do you use a pair of electronic ear muffs that you highly recommend?
We’d be glad to hear about them. Drop us a line and tell us why you love your favorite pair of electronic muffs and we’ll add it to the list once we crunch the numbers.
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