(Last Updated On: February 23, 2021)

Tips on choosing the best hearing protection device for lawn mowing, plus our top picks to suit every need.

NameNRRForm FactorConnectivity OptionsPrice
3M Worktunes Connect + AM/FM Best Over-all24dBOver-earBluetooth & AM/FM Radio BUY
Howard Leight by Honeywell Sync Strong Runner-Up25dBOver-ear3.5mm wire & AM/FM Radio BUY
Mipeace Earplug Budget Pick29dBIn-ear3.5mm wire BUY
ISOtunes PRO Bluetooth Earplugs Best In-ear27dBIn-earBluetooth BUY
Mpow HP119A Best Over-ear Noise Reduction29dBOver-ear3.5mm wire, Bluetooth & AM/FM Radio BUY
PROTEAR Hearing Protection Best for Radio Listening25dBOver-ear3.5mm wire, Bluetooth & AM/FM Radio BUY

How to Choose the Best Hearing Protection for Lawn Mowing

Man wearing 3M Worktunes while mowing (From: Amazon)

For most of us, mowing the lawn is just another mundane task we do without a second thought. But it’s also one that can cause irreparable damage if we don’t take steps to protect ourselves.

But why are lawnmowers so loud anyway?

The noise lawnmowers generate doesn’t only come from the engine, but from the blades too. Essentially, how well a lawnmower cuts grass is directly proportional to how loud it is. The stronger the engine is and the faster the blades turn, the louder the noise.

So, while many of us want nice, manicured lawns, it isn’t worth it if it comes at the expense of our hearing. Keep in mind, once your hearing is damaged, there’s no medical procedure that can restore it to its original state.

That said, it’s crucial to have the necessary equipment to protect our ears. Even better if it can keep you entertained while doing a tedious chore.

But that doesn’t mean you can simply grab the first hearing protection device you can get.

There are different types of hearing protection devices and some of them may be made for specific activities such as recreational shooting, or concerts and gigs. These types of hearing protection have unique features to cater to their target users’ needs.

In the case of lawn mowing, here are some features to consider:

Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)

The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) indicates how effectively a hearing protection device (HPD) reduces sound. The ratings range from 0 to 35, which represent the number of reduced decibels. Higher numbers mean better noise reduction.

The NRR is essential because it states how effective an HPD is at reducing noise.

Lawn mowing, in particular, can be very harsh on the ears. Yes, there are “quieter” models you could opt for. But even those models are still quite loud – some even reaching as much as 90dB. That level of noise can cause permanent hearing damage after only 1-2 hours of exposure.

Because of this, it’s advisable to use HPDs with an NRR of at least 25dB when using them. This should keep you safely below the recommended 85dB.

Sound Meter (left) and Decibel X (right) (From:Google Play Store and Apple Store).
Sound Meter (left) and Decibel X (right) (From:Google Play Store and Apple Store).

Another way to ensure you’re still in the safe zone is by using noise monitoring mobile apps.

  • Sound Meter (Android) monitors environmental noise and displays both analog and digital readings.
  • Decibel X (Apple) is another helpful app with a noise dosimeter calibrated to NIOSH and OSHA standards.

You can also opt for headphones with a built-in volume-limiter to keep your ears protected.

It’s important to keep in mind that the NRR is obtained in controlled settings like laboratories. As such, they’re not exactly accurate when applied to real-world environments. To get a more precise noise-level reading, the NRR needs to undergo a process called derating.

Wired or wireless connection

When buying an HPD, you have the option of going wired or wireless. Ultimately, this choice depends on your preference and how you intend to use the device.

Using a wired connection like a typical 3.5mm cable will preserve battery life, which is great for time-consuming chores like lawn mowing. The downside is that dangling wires could pose a safety risk. Moreover, having wires requires you to carry your audio source with you at all times.

On the other hand, a wireless connection is safer and more convenient. But it will drain your headphones’ and your audio source’s battery faster.

In addition to Bluetooth and a 3.5mm cable, many HPDs also come with built-in radios. These are a great option because they don’t need a Bluetooth connection or a cable to work. You can simply listen to your favorite radio stations via a built-in antenna in the headphones and be entertained for hours.

Comfort and fit

There’s a lot of factors to deal with when mowing the lawn. There’s the ear-splitting noise, the weather, and the fact that you’re always on the move. So, it’s essential to choose an HPD that’ll address these elements and help you get the job done.

When it comes to HPDs, one generally has two choices – earmuffs or earplugs.

Earplugs are small foam pieces designed to be placed inside the ear canal. They’re portable and convenient but can be difficult to wear. They can also trigger an ear infection if you’re not careful. Earmuffs are built like typical headphones. They’re much more comfortable to wear but can be uncomfortable in hot weather or if you don’t have a good fitting pair.

Aside from this, here are other features to consider:

  • Lightweight: Lawnmowing involves a lot of back and forth movement. It can get tiring, so you don’t want a pair of heavy headphones weighing down on your head and neck. Ideally, you’ll want something that you’ll barely notice you’re wearing.
  • Secure fit: You don’t want your HPD too loose, to the point where they can easily slide off while you’re moving around. Nor do you want them so tight that they’re practically squeezing your head. More than comfort, a secure fit, and thick padding also create a good seal over the ears. This ensures that the HPD’s noise reduction feature works at its best and no noise leakage occurs.
  • Breathable: Certain types of ear cups, like silicone, can feel stifling and hot after a few hours under the sun. Combined with sweat and hot weather, things can get uncomfortable very quickly. To avoid this, try to pick out an HPD with good breathability that won’t sacrifice noise reduction.

Durability

Durability is a huge factor when choosing an HPD for lawn mowing. Since they’re most likely to be used outdoors, it’s vital to choose one made from tough materials. Carbon fiber casing and metal-reinforced headbands should help your headphones survive accidental falls.

Waterproof devices are also a plus to accommodate body sweat and sudden weather changes. Just don’t run them over with your lawnmower.

Price

Most hearing protection for lawn mowing falls under the $100 price range. But your price preference will depend on what features you’re after. You can expect more expensive headphones to be made from sturdier materials, have a better sound quality and noise cancellation, or have extra features like voice assistant integration.

Cheaper models will get you straightforward noise reduction, minus the extra features. The good news is that if you’re only looking for hearing protection, there are plenty of affordable headphones that provide better noise reduction than expensive ones.

To get more information about hearing protection devices, feel free to check out our complete guide on how to pick the correct hearing protection device.

6 Best Hearing Protection for Lawn Mowing in 2021

3M Worktunes Connect + AM/FM

Best Overall
Close look at 3M Worktunes Connect + AM/FM (From: Amazon)
Close look at 3M Worktunes Connect + AM/FM (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • NRR: 24dB (8.5dB derated)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth and AM/FM Radio
  • Volume Limiter: 83dB
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Battery: 2 replaceable AA batteries
  • Extra features: Audio Assist Technology, Safe Volume Control Technology

The 3M Worktunes Connect + AM/FM headphones combine great sound quality and effective noise reduction. It comes with a volume limiter for better hearing protection. It’s also highly rated on Amazon and is our Best Overall pick for hearing protection for lawn mowing.

Equipped with Bluetooth capability, these wireless headphones for lawn mowing take the dullness out of lawn work by letting you listen to your favorite music, podcasts, or audiobooks from your phone or tablet.

It also has Safe Volume Control Technology that monitors your audio levels and keeps them within a safe range. This eliminates the need to fiddle with buttons or settings, leaving you free to get your work done.

One thing to point out, though, is that the Safe Volume Control feature can be quite sensitive. In some cases, it may lower the volume when bass-heavy tracks are playing.

The 3M Worktunes Connect has an AM/FM radio feature that lets you listen to your favorite stations or radio talk shows. It also has a built-in Audio Assist Technology that allows you to pre-set up to 50 radio stations, which you can seamlessly navigate using buttons located on the headset. This also lets you know the battery levels and even mutes your volume when calls or messages are received.

However, if you think this feature isn’t something you’d use, there’s a non-AM/FM supporting 3M Worktunes. This is actually listed at the top of our best Bluetooth hearing protection list. 

CHECK LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON

Howard Leight by Honeywell Sync Earmuffs

Strong Runner-up
Close look at Howard Leight by Honeywell Sync Earmuffs (From: Amazon)
Close look at Howard Leight by Honeywell Sync Earmuffs (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • NRR: 25dB (9dB derated)
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm wire and AM/FM Radio
  • Volume Limiter: 82dB
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Battery: 2 replaceable AA batteries
  • Extra features: Patented Air Flow Control Technology, LCD display, Digital antenna

The Howard Leight by Honeywell Sync Earmuffs provides decent sound quality and great noise reduction. Combined with AM/FM radio function, a volume limiter, and a unique lightweight design, these earmuffs easily rank as our Strong Runner-up pick.

These wired earmuffs can be connected to your phone via a 3.5mm cable, so you can listen to your favorite tunes while working. If the radio is more your thing, you can simply switch on the AM/FM radio function. Thanks to the built-in digital antenna, your favorite radio programs will come through with impressive clarity. A handy LCD display also lets you easily search for radio stations, and helps you pre-set up to 10 stations.

Moreover, the Patented Air Flow Control Technology maximizes airflow in the ear cups which enhances Honeywell Sync’s noise reduction capability. It also blocks sounds on a wider range of frequencies. This reduces the need to turn up the volume of your music so you don’t damage your ears further.

You can also expect long-wearing comfort with its lightweight design. The soft foam earpads can be easily replaced, and the adjustable headband slides to accommodate different head proportions.

The only thing that stops this from taking over the best overall in this list is the lack of Bluetooth connectivity option. But another downside is that replacing dead batteries may wipe out your pre-set radio stations. So, you may have to keep configuring them every time you switch batteries.

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Mipeace Earplugs

Budget Pick
Close look at Mipeace Ear Plug (From: Amazon)
Close look at Mipeace Ear Plug (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • NRR: 29dB (11dB derated)
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm wire
  • Volume Limiter: 90dB
  • Microphone: No
  • Battery: N/A
  • Extra features: Sweat-resistant, 125cm bulletproof tough wire

Among all other similar devices in this price range, the Mipeace Ear Plug is the only wired hearing protection that’s worth mentioning. It’s durable, affordable, and has a high NRR, making it our Best Budget pick.

These earplugs come with a 3.5 mm cable that you can easily hook up to an Apple or Android phone. It delivers high-quality sound, so you can enjoy your music, podcasts, or audiobooks while doing lawn work. Its high NRR effectively blocks noise, keeping your ears protected from the deafening sounds of your lawnmower.

Weighing only 10 grams, these earplugs are practically unnoticeable even after prolonged hours of work. As ear plugs this also means you won’t have to worry about hot ears as much as you might do with earmuffs.

You won’t need to worry about durability either. The earplugs feature bulletproof tough wire and a double-reinforced audio jack. This keeps them safe from accidental snags or tears that can happen while operating a lawnmower. Plus, this is sweat-resistant so you can work on your lawn as much as you want without damaging the device.

Unfortunately, the ear tips may be too small for some ears, which can affect the overall noise reduction capability.

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ISOtunes PRO Bluetooth Earplugs

Best In-Ear
Close look at ISOtunes PRO Bluetooth Earplugs (From: Amazon)
Close look at ISOtunes PRO Bluetooth Earplugs (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • NRR: 27dB (10dB derated)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Volume Limiter: 85dB
  • Microphone: Yes (Noise-canceling)
  • Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion
  • Extra features: IP55 dust, water, and sweat-resistant, SafeMax Technology, Echo Cancellation Technology

The ISOtunes PRO Bluetooth Earplugs come outfitted with several excellent features such as Bluetooth connectivity, aptX music playback, and a noise-canceling mic. In addition to a standard micro-USB charging cable and storage case, it also comes with 4 replaceable ear tips and 1 pair of silicone triple-flange ear tips. These features make these earplugs our Best In-Ear pick.

These earplugs are equipped with ANSI-certified and OSHA-compliant noise reduction, guaranteed to lessen harsh background noise by up to 27dB. This is complemented by SafeMax Technology, which limits audio volume to a safe 85dB.

Additionally, the ear tips are also heat-activated. This means they expand to fill up all spaces when placed inside the ears. This ensures you’re getting the best fit and best noise protection at all times.

If you need to multi-task, the built-in mic allows you to take hands-free calls from as much as 30 feet away from an audio source. The Echo Cancellation Technology suppresses disruptive background noise so that you can communicate clearly. High-fidelity speakers and aptX playback also provide excellent call clarity and an enjoyable music listening experience.

Aside from being ultra-lightweight, the earplug wires are also molded to fold behind your ears. This keeps them safe and out of harm’s way as you’re maneuvering your lawnmower around.

The mic and buttons are located a little too high up the wire and too close to the ear instead of the mouth. As such, you may experience some mic pick-up issues if you don’t adjust its position.

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Mpow HP119A

Best Over-Ear Noise Reduction
Close look at Mpow HP119A (From: Amazon)
Close look at Mpow HP119A (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • NRR: 29dB (11dB derated)
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm wire, Bluetooth, and AM/FM Radio
  • Volume Limiter: N/A
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Battery: 3 replaceable AAA batteries
  • Extra features: Hands-free calls

The Mpow HP119A is a versatile device that allows wearers to use a 3.5mm cable, a wireless Bluetooth connection, or AM/FM radio function. It boasts the highest NRR for over-ear headphones, making this our top pick for Best Over-Ear Noise Reduction.

You won’t need to choose between audio streaming apps or good ol’ radio programming because these headphones can do it all.

Listen to music from your phone or tablet using a 3.5mm cable or Bluetooth connection. You can also opt to listen to your favorite radio stations via digital AM/FM tuning, which you can navigate using the control panel on the ear cup. A built-in antenna also provides strong reception and clear audio quality, so you can stay entertained for however long you need.

The Mpow HP119A meets ANSI S3.19 and CE EN352-1 noise reduction standards. It has an excellent NRR of 29dB, which safeguards against loud, steady-state noises that can harm your ears. It’s also equipped with a mic that allows you to effortlessly answer calls if your hands are preoccupied or if you can’t get away from the yard.

The control panel buttons are quite bulky, so you may end up accidentally pressing them when adjusting the headphones. The AM/FM radio also doesn’t support station presets.

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PROTEAR Hearing Protection

Best for Radio Listening
Close look at PROTEAR Hearing Protection for lawn mowing (From: Amazon)
Close look at PROTEAR Hearing Protection for lawn mowing (From: Amazon)

Key features

  • NRR: 25dB (9dB derated)
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm wire, Bluetooth, and AM/FM Radio
  • Volume Limiter: N/A
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion
  • Extra features: LCD display

The PROTEAR Hearing Protection offers great flexibility by giving you the option of using a wired or wireless connection. It has a digital AM/FM radio function and a dedicated preset button that allows you to save up to 40 stations for quick access. This makes these headphones our top pick for Best for Radio Listening.

You can find your favorite stations quicker with help from the auto-scan feature. In addition to displaying the AM/FM frequency, the handy LCD display also shows time, Bluetooth status, and battery status.

Hands-free operation is simple and straightforward with a built-in mic and multifunctional button that lets you answer calls with a single press.

You can expect better sound quality with richer bass with these headphones – perfect for a more immersive listening experience to take your mind off the monotony of chores. The headphones’ noise reduction capacity also has an NRR of 25dB and is ANSI S3.19 certified, which will keep background noise safely below dangerous levels.

The headphones can be quite tight around the head, which is not ideal if you’re wearing a hat or glasses. However, this should be remedied by stretching out the headband to loosen it up.

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