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Thread: A quick Ear muff comparison

  1. #1
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    A quick Ear muff comparison

    The resent thread “Best and most comfortable ear protection” got me looking around for a second pair of muffs. I wear 3M Peltor X5A muffs in the shop and particularly when running my cnc router. Rated at NRR of 31 dB they work very well.
    I found a pair of Fnova muffs on Amazon claiming NRR of 34 dB for an unbelievably cheap price of $12.99 and had to give them a shot.
    Running the PC7518 in my Benchdog lift at full tilt I could not tell any noticeable difference between the $13 Fnova and the $35 3M muffs. I can’t comment on durability but the Fnova’s will be used as a second set. Comfort level was about the same for both.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    https://www.amazon.com/3M-X5A-Hearin...gateway&sr=8-7
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  2. #2
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    Good stuff Bruce! Have been considering a couple additional sets of muffs. Price on those Frovas is too good to pass up as a cheap experiment. Just ordered a couple pairs.

    Thanks for the tip!
    Brian

    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger or more complicated...it takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." - E.F. Schumacher

  3. #3
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    I just ordered a pair to check them out, Bruce. It will be interesting to me to see how comfortable the foam is since that's the most irritating thing about wearing this style of over-ear protection without spending big bucks for stuff like Bose. Amazon says I'll have them tomorrow.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
    I bought a pair of ClearArmor 141001 ear muffs about three years ago and have been really pleased with them. The claimed a 31 dB reduction (actual 34 dB less 3 dB required by the ANSI standard against how these are rated) then but I do not see a claimed reduction now on the Amazon listing for them or the product page at the seller's website. They have a FAQ question that claims them at the same 31 dB but not claiming a NRR value seems suspect to me. I sent a question to them asking about that. In any case, they're selling for $14.95 on Amazon and have been great. I'm due to buy a second pair as one of the mounting stems stripped out its snap fit a couple of months ago. I was able to drill a hole and add a screw but ought to have a second pair on hand.

    Thanks for the tip. Gary

    https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  5. #5
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    Thanks Bruce - was looking for a new pair of muffs.
    And you really need to clean that table saw - I see a piece of dust in the lower left corner!
    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Carey View Post
    Thanks Bruce - was looking for a new pair of muffs.
    And you really need to clean that table saw - I see a piece of dust in the lower left corner!
    Bill I know Bruce and have visited his shop. I suggest you clean your monitor and then look at the photo again!
    Ken

  7. #7
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    A pair with foam that breathes would be nice, don’t care the cost.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  8. #8
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    LOL - will do
    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.

  9. #9
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    This post made me curious about my ear muffs. I bought them when the ShopSmith stores were going out of business, maybe 25 years ago. They are like new, and I have often used them when routing and running my little planer.

    Mine have no markings at all on them except that they are made in USA by Tasco, Providence R.I. They are red with black ear cushions, and have some sort of foam rubber inside.

    Could they be made before ratings were used? OR are they just cheap imitations of good ones from that long ago.

    They seem to work well and really muffle noise, but I have no way of measuring their effectiveness. I know that a Tasco made rifle scopes, and am guessing they may have been originally made for shooting?
    Rick Potter

    DIY journeyman,
    FWW wannabe.
    AKA Village Idiot.

  10. #10
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    I use two kinds in the shop and around the farm.

    I use these electronic muffs when shooting varmints and when there is a second person in the shop. They have microphones on the outside, headphones on the inside, and a volume control Both of us can hear normal conversation but any loud noise such as a saw cuts off the sound immediately. They are great when going after varmints, especially at night, since I can turn up the volume and hear a lot better than I can with just my ears. Loud sound from a firearm is cut off immediately. I also use them when target shooting, especially with another person or two.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001T7QJ9O

    I like these bright yellow 3M ear muffs otherwise, mostly since they are so bright I can easily spot where I set them down. I use these when mowing on the big zero turn or running the bobcat.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0017YLTAI

    Neither of these have the higher ratings you mentioned but I think they are more than adequate for shop and farm.

    JKJ

  11. #11
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    I have two sets of these for years, look very similar. They work quite well, I am not sure what could be improved about them. Looking on Amazon shows $22. Turns out they are made by 3M (wonder if 3M bought the company). I wonder what design feature is the most critical to achieve dB spec. My first guess is the seal between your head and the cup. So higher squeezing force might seal better (but that may mean discomfort). Might be a direct tradeoff. Next time I will try those you listed Bruce, nice find.

    20190831_124809.jpg

    I do remember the saying by Norm: The best hearing protection is the one that gets used....

    As a side note, these have made it to two concerts. Imagine Dragons and Katy Perry. Each a different kid went, and I brought 1 set of these. I ended up without because both times the music was so LOUD it was definitely damaging, and unpleasant for the kids. So they wore these during the concert which put the noise level about right. Got some smiles and chuckles from others. In one case I had an extra set of foam plugs for me, but in the other case I resorted to stuffing napkins in my ears.
    Last edited by Carl Beckett; 09-01-2019 at 5:42 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Beckett View Post
    ...in the other case I resorted to stuffing napkins in my ears.
    Been there, done that.

    The problem with concert volume is the sound level is controlled by people who long ago lost much of their hearing at concerts.

    JKJ

  13. #13
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    Thanks Bruce. Those are cheap enough to have a pair hanging on each machine.

    I always have a pair of foamies in my pocket.

  14. #14
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    I received my pair yesterday...and found them this morning as the Amazon delivery person ignored the "packages to other door" sign. They are very quiet for sure, but it will be interesting to see if they are actually comfortable for wearing over a period of time. They are new and somewhat "tight", too, so they are going to have to relax a bit. I have to chuckle with the way the box is marked "noise cancelling"...that could be confusing on a retail shelf if anyone thinks they are anything like active noise cancelling muffs that sell for, um...a few more shekels...
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
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    A nice feature of the Fnova’s is their ability to close up snuggly when not in use, a feature I wish the 3M muffs had. I always have to double check the 3M’s for shop critters..

    I wore the Fnova’s for a few hours yesterday running my cnc router. Performance was very good and the comfort level was on par with the 3M muffs.
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