Make sure you give your ears the best protection with our guide to the top electronic hearing protection available right now.
Protecting your hearing is an extremely important part of being a gun enthusiast and is an additional cost that you will simply have to make if you want to be able to enjoy your hobby without risking damage to your ears.
In that case, you are going to need a set of electronic ear muffs that will allow you to shoot in a safer and more comfortable manner. However, with so many different brands, models and styles to choose from, it can be difficult knowing which would be the best fit.
Fortunately for you, we have made the task a lot easier for you as we have decided upon our five best electronic earmuffs that are currently on the market today. We have tested dozens of protective muffs over the years and can say without question, despite others running them very close, that these are the best of the best when it comes to ear protection when shooting.
Our list is in no particular order and we have given you all of the information that you will need about each product before ultimately deciding on which would be the ideal set of muffs for you. If you are still unsure, we have also provided a buying guide at the bottom that will tell you each and every consideration you should make before choosing protective earmuffs.
The Top Models Compared
Take a look at how the top electronic hearing protection compares in the table below.
OUR TOP PICK
MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X
- Comfortable for long use
- 5 year warranty
- Directional sound response
Howard Leight Impact Pro
- Impressive noise reduction
- 3.5mm stereo input
- Great value
- Perfect for high calibre weapons
Howard Leight Impact Sport
- Awesome reputation
- Long battery life
- Directional earphones
- Great build quality
Peltor Sport Tactical 300
- 3M SMART noise suppression technology
- Audio jack
- Good noise reduction
Peltor Sport Tactical 500
- Bluetooth connectivity
- 3M SMART noise suppression technology
- Increased noise reduction
The Top Models Reviewed
Read about them in more detail and find out which we’d choose over all others.
1. MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X *OUR TOP PICK*
We have kicked off our list with what many claim to be the best electronic ear protection for shooting that you can get. Excelling in almost every area, there are very few other electronic earmuffs that can come close to the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X.
However, we should make it plainly clear that the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X is a set of ear muffs that are going to set you back a lot more than you might normally expect to pay. At five times the price of some of the other noise cancelling ear muffs we have reviewed today, they really are aimed at the more serious shooter.
The question is, are they worth the increased outlay over some of the other pairs? In our opinion, yes, they are if you are a heavy shooter that wants the ultimate in comfort, durability, sound quality, and ear protection.
Durability and comfort are the two main areas where we feel the Supreme Pro X stand out the most against other sets. The build quality is second to none and you can tell that these have been designed to last a very long time indeed. Cheaper products are known to last no more than two years unless you are lucky but these according to reviewers have lasted more than double that without any issues emerging.
As for comfort, having tried on dozens of earmuffs over the years, these are easily the most comfortable out there right now. Even after many hours of shooting, they do not start to get uncomfortable. We particularly like the fact that the earcups are larger than some other products without hindering you when aiming.
The core purpose of any electronic ear muffs for shooting is to be able to sufficiently reduce loud impulse sounds to a comfortable level and the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X certainly manages to do this efficiently. The good news is that while all loud noise is dampened down to a safe 82dB, you are still able to hold a conversation with your shooting partner as all safe noise is also amplified by four times.
Completely waterproof (even the microphones), the Sordin Supreme will also provide you with directional response meaning that you will be able to tell where the sounds are coming from in relation to where you are standing.
- Extremely durable compared to other products.
- The most comfortable set we have reviewed – especially if you install the gelled pads.
- 5-year warranty on all electrical parts.
- Pro X is waterproof as opposed to the ‘water resistant’ Pro model.
- The microphone can be a little too good as it can pick up the wind and other not needed sounds.
- Much larger than other noise cancelling ear muffs when folded away.
- They could have designed the battery compartment a little better but since you will only be changing batteries once every 600 hours of use, we might be being a little picky.
Bottom Line: The MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X shooting earmuffs will certainly put a dent in your pocket but if you are a keen shooter that would rather have a top of the line set of earmuffs that will last many years, these will prove well worth their selling price.
2. Howard Leight Impact Pro
Far cheaper than the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X, the Howard Leight Impact Pro Sound is another great option if you are looking for electronic ear protection for shooting. In fact, we would class the Impact Pro as one of the best electronic ear muffs you can get in terms of value for money.
Howard Leight is one of the better-known names in hearing protection for shooting ranges and they very rarely let us down when it comes to good performance at an affordable price. Providing good levels of comfort, excellent noise reduction and a bunch of other neat little features, the Impact Pro Sound is an excellent choice for shooters whether hobbyists or professionals.
As with any electronic ear protection muffs, any loud sudden noises that are above 82 dB is detected and instantly reduced to a level that is safe enough to not damage your hearing. Well, while most products on the market will have a noise reduction rating of between 25-28dB, the Howard Leight Impact Pro has a very impressive dB rating of 30. Essentially this means that you can safely fire off any high-powered rifle or Magnum handgun without risking your hearing.
Despite offering such solid noise reduction when sudden loud sounds occur, the Impact Pro will also make sure that you do not miss out on any important communication by amplifying sounds that are considered safes so that you can hear them clearly.
Other features include the ability to listen to music due to a handy 3.5mm stereo input jack which does not impair the normal function of the ear muffs and directional response that will give you an accurate sense of which direction sounds are coming from.
If we had anything to complain about with the Impact Pro are unable to fold away like many other ear protection ear muffs on the market. This is not a major issue but is a feature that we feel is easy to implement that can come in handy.
- Provides some of the best electronic ear protection in terms of the 30dB rating.
- Great value for money.
- Perfect choice for shooting pistols.
- Muffs are quite large which could hinder you when firing shotguns or rifles.
- Can get a little uncomfortable after about two hours of shooting.
- Cannot be folded away.
Bottom Line: The Howard Leight Impact Pro offers some of the best electronic hearing protection for shooting that you can get and when you consider the moderate price tag, it would be foolish not to consider them. Sure, they may not be as durable or comfortable as some others but in terms of dB rating alone, they are more than worth checking out.
3. Howard Leight Impact Sport *BUDGET CHOICE*
Next up is another set of electronic ear muffs from Howard Leight with these being their Impact Sport model. Coming in at a few dollars more than the Impact Pro above, this moderately priced pair of sound protecting ear muffs comes with added comfort and durability but with a sacrifice in the level of sound protection provided.
That is not to say that the Impact Sport will not adequately lower load and sudden noises to an acceptable level, just that they are more suited to pistols rather than high-powered rifles. This the model to go for if you value that extra comfort and a slightly more durable build quality over a bit of added sound protection.
Aimed towards female shooters and male shooters that like a stylish look to their ear muffs, the Impact Pro Sport comes in a number of different designs to choose from. However, no matter what colour scheme or patterns you prefer, there is no style over substance with these muffs as they provide more than ample noise reduction alongside a number of other features.
In terms of that sound protection, the Howard Leight Impact Pro Sport has a noise reduction rating (NRR) of 22dB which while a bit off the 30dB offered by the Impact Pro, is well within the average range of many of its competitors. This more than enough for a pistol range but we do recommend the Impact Pro if you are planning on shooting higher calibre weapons.
Like the other models in our electronic earmuffs review, the Impact Pro Sport comes with earphones built into each ear cup and has directional sound. That alongside an amplifier which increases the volume of safe noises such as a marshal giving you shooting advice is an important feature in our opinion. You need to be able to hear certain things and knowing which direction the sound is coming from will prevent you from taking your eye off the aim.
You also have the ability to connect your iPod, iPhone or Android smartphones and devices to the ear muffs and listen to some music while you shoot.
- Ideal noise reduction for a pistol range.
- 350 hours of battery life.
- Directional earphones in each ear.
- Better build quality compared to the Impact Pro.
- A Lower 22dB NRR than the Impact Pro
- Not ideal for long gun shooting as can get in the way.
- More suited to outdoor than indoor shooting.
Bottom Line: Choosing between this Impact Pro Sport and the Impact Pro will come down to your own preferences. They are both great ear muffs for their value but the latter is more suited to high-caliber shooting while this model is more comfortable, durable, but does have a lower dB rating which makes it suitable mainly for outdoor pistol shooting.
4. Peltor Sport Tactical 300
Coming in at around half the price of the two Howard Leight products but about half the price of the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro is that of the Peltor Sport Tactical 300. Designed to be a good allrounder in terms of comfort, performance and durability, these noises cancelling ear muffs should certainly be considered if you on the hunt for some more.
Peltor has a long history of producing good quality electronic earmuffs but in our opinion, these are among the very best in their range. They look great, can be folded away with ease, are easy to operate, and above all, offer the noise reduction that you will need at a gun range.
Fully adjustable to fit heads of almost all shapes and sizes and with good features such as directional hearing and automatic sound suppression, Peltor has come up with a good quality piece of electronic ear protection at a price that falls right in the middle of anything else we have reviewed today.
The key selling point of the Peltor Sport Tactical Pro is their own proprietary 3M SMART noise suppression technology which automatically adjusts to the shooting environment that you are in. Suppression times will be set automatically by this software to both reduce the sound of loud gunshots to a safe level and amplifying other sounds such as people talking.
Anyone considering new electronic ear protection for shooting will no doubt look out for the NRR of any that they are thinking of buying and the Tactical 300 does well here with a dB rating of 24. That falls into the average range of most of its competitors and will provide amply noise protection at an indoor or outdoor shooting range.
Other features with this hearing protector include cutaway ear caps that can be removed whenever you are firing long-barreled weapons and the ability to plug devices into an audio jack to play music as you shoot.
Furthermore, the Peltor Tactical 300 has been designed to ensure ease of use and comfort. Voice guidance helps with operation while a vented headband allows for better ventilation, especially when you are wearing a hat.
- Solid NRR rating of 24dB.
- Intuitive 3M SMART noise suppression technology.
- Cutaway ear caps to help with long gun shooting.
- Comfort levels drop after about two hours shooting.
- Not waterproof so do not use in the rain.
Bottom Line: The Peltor Sport Tactical is definitely an electronic muff that deserves to be on our list of recommendations. It has a great blend of performance, ease of use and functionality that when considered alongside its moderate price tag that we are sure will make it a popular choice for those of you that love to enjoy a bit of shooting at the gun range.
5. Peltor Sport Tactical 500
Last but certainly not least on our recommended list of electrical earmuffs is that of the model above the last pair that we looked at. The Peltor Sport Tactical 500 are very similar in many ways to the Tactical 300 with just a few differences that will appeal to some while others will be more than happy enough to do without.
Those key differences are a slightly higher NRR rating (which should never be undervalued), Bluetooth connectivity, and of course, a slightly higher price when buying this model. Apart from that, you will struggle to find much else that you would be able to use to tell the difference between either product.
As we just touched on, you are going to get a bit more noise protection for your ears with the Tactical 500. The noise reduction rating for this model is at 26dB which is 2dB higher than the Tactical 300. Now while that might not sound a lot in the grand scheme of things, it is actually quite a substantial improvement when you consider the level of noise that your ears are going to be subjected to over numerous sessions at the gun range.
As for the Bluetooth connectivity, this is going to be something that you are either going to love about the Tactical 500 or you are simply not going to be interested. Most electronic ear protectors will allow you to connect devices to them in order to play music anyway and not everybody is even interested in doing that at a gun range. Those of you that do love to listen to some thumping tunes while you pump out some rounds will no doubt enjoy this feature though.
That just about sums up the difference between the two models and choosing between the two of them will depend on how much value you put on these differences and whether you think they are worth paying out a little more for.
You will still get the proprietary 3M SMART noise reduction technology, directional hearing, voice guidance, and easy to use buttons that you get on the Tactical 300. They will also be able to fold away and provide you with the option to take away part of the earcups to give you more space when firing long-barreled firearms.
- Slightly better NRR of 26dB compared to the Tactical 300.
- Bluetooth connectivity for your gadgets.
- 3M SMART noise suppression technology.
- Reviewers have complained about the headband being uncomfortable after extended use.
- Bluetooth connectivity will only appeal to some.
Bottom Line: If you wanted a little more noise protection for your ears and like to have some dramatic backing music whilst firing away, the Tactical 500 will be a preferred choice over the Tactical 300. On the flip side, if you can live without either, you may as well go for the Tactical 300. That said, both are definitely among the best electrical earmuffs and we certainly have no issue with recommending them to you.
We are sure that you will agree that there is some seriously good electronic ear protection in that list above and that any of them will be more than capable of providing you with quality noise suppression. They are our top choices having tested all of them and many of their competitors that were unlucky to not have made the list themselves.
Choosing which of them to go for will really come to down to your own preferences about what you will want from noise cancelling ear muffs. Of course, the type and calibre of shooting that you enjoy will determine the noise reduction rating you are looking for, while comfort and durability will also be one of the priorities. Extra features and the cost of the model that you will buy will also be a consideration too, so there is plenty to think about when comparing all five of them.
If we had to choose between them all with regards to which is the best and which of them we feel offers the best value for money, we would have to go for the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X and the Howard Leight Impact Pro.
Why? Simply because despite its price, the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X is the best electronic ear muffs for shooting that money can buy and the Impact Pro simply for an excellent NRR that even the top-end muffs struggle to match.
That said, the other models all have their very own standout features that might tempt you to pick them over the others. The two Peltor models, in particular, are popular in the shooting ranges that we frequent simply because they are solid all-rounders with some good features built in.
If you wanted to take your homework a little further than just our list of recommendations above, you should know exactly what you should be looking for when considering protective ear muffs.
Any serious gun enthusiast will know that investing in their hobby does not just stop short at guns. Accessories such as ear protection are just as important as your shiny AR when you hit the shooting range – if you value the hearing in your ears that is.
In fact, ear protection is paramount if you want to have a safer and more comfortable experience when firing your gun and the good news is that this does not have to cost too much at all.
Before buying noise cancelling earmuffs, there are a number of things that you will have to consider before ultimately coming to a decision.
NRR (Noise Reduction Rating)
Easily the biggest consideration you will have to think about is the NRR of any headset that you are thinking of buying. This, after all, is the sole purpose of wearing them in the first place. Louds regularly noises going off next to your ears can lead to both short-term and long-term damage to your hearing.
The noise reduction rating is a rating that is given to electronic ear muffs for shooting that determines how effective they are at reducing loud and sudden noises that are considered dangerous to our ears. The higher the NRR, the better protection your ears will be getting when firing at a gun range.
The rating you will want will depend a lot on the guns you will be firing and the environment that you will be firing them in. If you are shooting indoors you should not be looking to use ear muffs with a dB of lower than 20 while anything lower than 18dB is bordering on risky when shooting outside. Those lower numbers are for lower calibre weapons too, so you should be looking for much more if you are firing more powerful guns or rifles.
Generally, ear muffs are most commonly available with between 22 and 30dB worth of protection and this will be enough for most situations depending on the guns you are firing.
While you will find that some top-end earmuffs will make a substantial dent to your wallet, there are plenty out there that will offer just as much sound protection at a fraction of the price. This is because the costs of these earmuffs will usually differ due to other aspects rather than just the most important one.
Build-quality, comfort, whether they are electrical or not, and many other additional features will usually drive the cost up more than anything else. It is important to know though, that if you simply want some decent ear muffs that will protect your ears sufficiently, without all the bells and whistles that come with the more upmarket models, you will be able to find plenty of them at a very affordable price.
If you want directional hearing, amplified ‘safe’ sounds, Bluetooth connectivity and all of the other features that some of the top models provide, these are what will up the price of your headset.
Durability is also something that you will want to consider and this will depend on how often you shoot. Do you really want to buy a cheap set of earmuffs that do the job well enough but then need replacing once a year or would you rather spend a little bit more for a product that is known to be 5x more durable?
If you are looking for durability, go for those made from stronger materials that have fewer moving parts. If you are unsure as to how durable a set can be, you can read plenty of reviews from previous owners online and get a good impression of what to expect in this regard.
Again, if you shoot for an hour a week, comfort is not going to be right at the top of your list. If you shoot for 2-3 hours every day, however, comfort suddenly becomes an important consideration.
Not all ear muffs for shooting are comfortable and generally, those that are will cost a bit more as they have been designed for serious gun enthusiasts that spend a lot of time enjoying their hobby.
Our heads all come in different shapes and sizes so, in the same way, that you will want to wear clothes that fit, you will want to make sure that your new gun muffs are going to fit too. You will be able to find the exact specifications from the manufacturer's websites and also learn about how adjustable they are from online reviews.
As with purchasing anything, the warranty that you are given will also be something to consider. Some earmuffs will give you as long as a 5-year warranty while you will be lucky to get a full year with some others. This will generally tell you what you can expect in terms of durability too, so you can have added confidence when a particular model gives you a good number of years cover for your item.
Do you just want to have good ear protection or do you want your ear muffs to have some additional features that can aid your experience? Directional hearing, microphones, the ability to play music through the headsets via smartphones, portability, adjustable suppression settings are just some additional features that you will find on the more expensive muffs and you will have to consider whether you want or need any before making a final decision.
While protective ear muffs are generally not designed with style in mind, there are some out there that look a lot better than others. Functionality is more important in our eyes but if you want something that looks cool when you are firing a gun, there are plenty of them out there that will appeal to you.
You will also have to consider what others have to say about the muffs that you are buying. Some are fantastic while some have been proven to be next to useless and the only way you are going to know which are which is by reading as many reviews and as much feedback from previous owners as possible.
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