Last Updated on November 17, 2022 by admin
Best Radio Earmuffs – When you’re choosing between some of the best radio Earmuffs , you need to make sure that you are clearly set on the right type of headphones. If you’re going to use them for a construction site or a loud work environment, I strongly suggest headphones with ear protection and proper noise reduction.
For casual radio listening, these features aren’t mandatory and are just going to unnecessarily bump up the price. If you plan on listening from home, focus on sound quality and comfort.
There are a number of things that you have to keep in mind when browsing for a good pair of radio headphones. There are countless of models out there all catering to the needs of different groups of people.
5.FM MP3 Bluetooth Radio
6.Gardtech Bluetooth FM
7.PROTEAR AM FM
10.Yivibe Ear Muffs
Best Radio Earmuffs – BUYER’S GUIDE
Design & Comfort
The design of any pair of headphones is its most important and user-oriented feature. While most companies emphasize on sound quality and their radio receivers, others focus primarily on material quality and user comfort. Most radio headphones on today’s market have a similar design with one of their earcups being housing the control keys for your tuning and sound settings. The headband and the earcups are typically well-padded but are fairly bulky due to the noise protection and technology packed inside. The pads on the earcups are going to be the key feature that determines the comfort. Whether or not the headrest is padded is also important if you’re going to wear them over long periods of time. Don’t worry too much about that, though, as almost all new models have padded headrests. The headrest also houses the sliding adjustment mechanisms of the earcups. Reinforced fork slides are an industry standard at this point and are quite durable and easy to use.
The earcup design is another important factor for the wearer’s comfort. Look for slim and lightweight earcups that won’t add too much bulk and weight to the headphones and respectively to your ears. Earcups are also important when it comes to visibility on your work site. That is why most ear protection radio headphones are bright green/yellow/red in color.
When it comes to the type of radio headphones, there are only two main ones you can choose from – standard headphones with a radio receiver and sound insulated headphones that provide ear protection. The distinction between these two is fairly obvious with the standard ones having no noise protection other than the one that their closed earcups provide. The models with ear protection typically have an NRR (noise reduction rating) which helps with lowering the environmental noise inside the earcups. We will talk about that in detail further down the guide…
There are also some models that feature an in-ear or on-ear design but those aren’t as common and aren’t that good at protecting your ears and hearing.
Signal & Sound Quality
The signal strength and quality are what ultimately determines how good a pair of radio headphones are. While there are a ton of factors that play into the signal strength, it can be boiled down to the material quality of the antenna and the processor’s power. While most headphones have both AM and FM receivers, some work with the FM frequency band only. Additionally, some headphones cover a bit more of the FM frequency band (88-108 MHz). There are models that cover the full VHF band. Those will allow you to tune in to other frequencies that are used by weather services, aviation, and others.
The sound quality will depend primarily on the speaker size, although there are other features like the power (Watts) and impedance (Ohms) that are also important for a good sound. Most headphones use speakers with a diameter of around 20-50mm. The bigger the driver the more bass and sub-bass soundwaves there will be but that won’t necessarily mean that the speaker will sound better, only louder. For it to sound better it also needs good impedance (5-10 Ohms) and a good amount of power going to it. Even with those aside, there are things like magnet and membrane quality which are in-depth properties of the companies that manufacture those speakers. The higher the Watts of the speaker the more you will be able to adjust the volume from low to high. Some headphones even have airflow control paths to keep your ears from being damaged after prolonged sessions of listening to loud music.
The battery life you get out of your headphones will determine how portable they will be. While almost all modern radio headphones use 2xAA batteries, they can have wildly different battery life numbers. That is because some have bigger and more powerful speakers, as well as LCD displays that drain more of the batteries. Still, an average battery life out of 2 AA batteries is around 100-120 hours. Anything more than that is considered really good and means that the headphones are well-optimized. If you don’t want to constantly buy regular AA batteries, you can invest in a pair of rechargeable NiMH ones which won’t last as much but will be able to go through more than 500 recharge cycles, ultimately returning their otherwise high initial cost.
Apart from AA batteries, some top-shelf models also use rechargeable lithium batteries. While those won’t last you more than 20-30 hours on a single charge, they will never need external batteries making them cheaper to own in the long run.
The connectivity of your radio headphones is determined by the means by which it can pair with your mobile device or music player. Most models have a 3.5mm audio jack which allows them to play MP3s from phones and music players. Some even have Bluetooth which allows them to pair with your smartphone, TV, or other devices that will broadcast its sound to the headphones. Those typically have lesser battery life and are more expensive. Nevertheless, they are far more practical than headphones with a 3.5mm jack only or no connectivity at all.
Noise cancellation is one of the most crucial features of radio headphones which are used in construction sites or otherwise loud working environments. Since headphones can rarely block out all the sounds, this feature is often called Noise Reduction (noise reduction rating – NRR). It determines what is the level of noise reduction the headphones or earplugs provide. The higher the number means better noise protection. For instance, headphones with an NRR of 30 will provide a 12-13 dB noise reduction from the outside noise. How did I calculate that? Well, the math is fairly simple.
If you’re at a gun range and you are constantly exposed to 130dB firing sounds, your NRR 30 headphones won’t actually deduct 30 dB from the outside noise but will rather deduct an amount based on this formula – NRR-7/2. You subtract 7 and then divide by 2 to get the total number of dB reduction your headphones or earplugs will be providing. That means that an NRR 27 headphones will reduce the outside noise by 10 dB (27-7/2 = 10 dB).
That doesn’t stop companies from falsely advertising their products, however, and you will see examples like “the noise outside the headphones is 80 dB but since our headphones are NRR 25, the noise inside the headphones will be around 55 dB”. That is simply wrong and you shouldn’t be misled by it. Just aim for better NRR even though most radio headphones have an NRR of around 25.
If you want extra hearing protection in case the work noise is too loud, you can always combine your headphones with earplugs. That works best for people that use power tools like chainsaws, compression tools, jackhammers, and others.
One other thing that can sometimes be overlooked is the microphone of the headphones. While models that you specifically buy for work won’t really need a headphone, models that are meant to let you listen to radio from home might benefit from the presence of a mic since this will allow you to take calls from your phone, especially if there is Bluetooth connectivity on your pair. Mics are also better for headphones which can double as walkie-talkies and can tune to different frequencies with other similar headphones.
Volume control is an important part of any pair of headphones since it allows you to raise the volume to a level where it will drown out the external noises depending on their intensity.
Some more expensive radio headphones have the feature to auto-set their volume levels based on the external noise and what is safe for your ears. That feature most commonly works in combination with the active noise cancellation (if present). It really helps to have that since it will lower the headphones volume level as soon as you stop being in a loud environment and it will protect your ears better in the long run.
A headphone can be as good as it gets when it comes to its speaker quality and radio reception but if it breaks easy it is as valuable as a cheap model that will outlast it. Look for reinforced connections between the earcups and the hearest, as well as durable earcup materials. Split headrests also don’t last as much as one-piece (solid) ones.
If all the boxes so far have been checked by a model you like, it will most likely fail in the last category that we have to discuss…
Price & Warranty
The price of the model you want will be determined by all of the above-mentioned features. What really pushes the price up is NRR, quality of the radio components, and materials used in the earcups, padding, and headrest. Radio headphones range from 10-20 dollars for the cheaper models and go up to 80 dollars for some of the premium models which are packed full of features. The middle price range of around 40-50 dollars is the golden middle where headphones are a healthy compromise of quality, durability, and affordability. Look for models that have extended warranty (up to 5 years for some) that covers most of the structural components as well as the electronics which are prone to malfunctioning over time.
Now, let’s sum up everything we’ve gone through so far and see how exactly those headphones are used by people all over the world every day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do all radio headphones tune into the AM frequency band?
No, not all radio headphones have the processor and antenna to tackle the AM (amplitude modulation) of the Shortwave and medium-wave frequency bands. Models who can tune in the AM frequencies are typically more expensive and have a larger antenna on their side.
Are radio headphones heavier than regular ones?
While they do have more components in them, radio headphones which are meant for working people are typically made out of lightweight materials with weight in mind. Those materials do bring the weight down by quite a bit making them the same if not lighter than normal over-ear headphones.
Do radio headphones have a good signal quality?
Typically, the signal quality in the expensive radio headphones is of the same quality as the one in portable or desktop radios with almost no detectable differences. Now, the field in which radio headphones struggle against their bigger counterparts is frequency coverage, with most headphones only covering small FM/AM bands.
They are very similar to the Honeywells in almost any way even price-wise. That makes them a direct competitor.
The main differences between these models are the weight, with the Stanleys being slightly lighter, as well as the sound quality. The RST-63012 has a Hi-Fi digital stereo reception when it is in its radio modes (FM and AM). It can also work with external MP3 devices via the 3.5mm jack. These also come in a solely MP3 version that doesn’t have the radio properties and is much cheaper.