Whether you’re a forester or just working in the garden, you may often find yourself needing to remove some pesky trees from your path. That’s where the chainsaw comes in.
Unfortunately for your ears, chainsaws are extremely loud, sometimes up to 120 dB. At that volume, the sheer noise of the chainsaw would cause immediate pain. As such, it’s absolutely necessary that you get yourself some hearing protection.
In this roundup, we’ll be covering standalone ear defenders as well as pre-mounted hardhat ear defenders with visors. Cutting down trees can be dangerous, so we always advise that you have a visor as well as a hardhat to protect you from debris flung out by the chainsaw or anything that may fall from a tree.
Standalone Ear Defenders for Using a Chainsaw
If you’ve already got adequate eye and head protection, then a pair of standalone ear defenders may suit you better. Some standalone ear defenders have versions that can be mounted to a hardhat. In fact, both of the following ear defenders can be purchased for hardhat mounting, though we’ll be focusing on the headband models.
3M Peltor Optime III Ear Muffs
SNR: 35 dB
When it comes to coping with the immense power of a chainsaw, you can’t afford to be too cheap when buying ear defenders. Luckily for you, 3M have provided a solution that’s relatively affordable and still delivers a brilliant 35 dB of attenuation. With that level of attenuation, you should be able to use a quieter chainsaw without ever suffering any hearing loss, or a 120 dB chainsaw for 8 hours without breaching workplace noise exposure limits.
If you intend to use these ear defenders with a hardhat on, you might find that the hardhat-mounted version is preferable. Be aware that the hardhat-mounted variety has an SNR of 34 dB instead of 35 dB.
3M Peltor X5A Ear Muffs
SNR: 37 dB
If the 3M Optime IIIs weren’t cutting it, 3M have another option for you. The Peltor X5A ear defenders offer a spectacular 37 dB of attenuation. This extra attenuation comes at the cost of increased bulk, but the weight is still low enough that they shouldn’t feel encumbering.
Like the Optime III ear defenders, the X5A ear defenders can be purchased in a hardhat-mounted version. We recommend that you choose this version if you don’t think you will be able to fit the headband model under your hardhat. However, the hardhat mounting reduces the SNR to 36 dB.
Hard Hats with a Visor and Ear Defenders
If you’re working with a chainsaw, you almost certainly need head and eye protection. Thankfully, you can purchase an all-in-one solution that covers everything. We highly recommend that you use proper head, face, and ear protection if you’re using a chainsaw for more than very light garden work.
Husqvarna Forest Functional Helmet
SNR: 26 dB
Husqvarna are a company that manufactures a lot of gardening and forestry tools. They’re well-versed in the field of protective equipment. This helmet includes a visor, neck cape and ear defenders.
You might have noticed that the SNR is significantly lower on this product than on the standalone 3M ear defenders reviewed above. This is because chainsaws are only meant to be used for short bursts, so you don’t necessarily need ear defenders with a very high SNR.
Your ears should be fine for at least two hours of chainsaw use with these ear defenders. The tradeoff of lower hearing protection for much greater face and head protection may be worth it for you.
The visor is designed to reduce light as little as possible to give the clearest view to the user. In fact, the visor is measured as only having a 20% light reduction. This helps to make sure you’re able to see what you’re doing as you operate a chainsaw.
RocwooD Chainsaw Forestry Safety Helmet
SNR: Not specified
This safety helmet from RocwooD is highly adjustable. It features a six-point internal harness for comfort that can be adjusted with a simple twist of the knob on the helmet. The steel mesh visor and ear defenders can also be positioned out of the way when not in use. This ensures that you can comfortably wear your head protection all day without feeling encumbered by the ear defenders and visor.
If stability was an issue with other helmets, this helmet features a chin strap that helps to keep the helmet steady, even when looking down at objects on the ground or looking up at things in the air. Having your protection fall off can be dangerous, so the chin strap is a must if you’re moving around a lot.
OREGON 562412 Yukon Chainsaw Safety Helmet
NRR: 25.9 dB
OREGON have carefully designed this helmet to be as comfortable as possible. If heat was an issue with other helmets, this helmet has six ventilation holes which are very useful if you’re working outdoors in the heat.
In addition to being comfortable, this helmet is also designed to be highly protective. The visor on this helmet is quite wide which should protect you from flying debris kicked up by the chainsaw.
Protective polypropylene plastic has been used to ensure that your head is safe from falling branches or other debris. Not forgetting the ear defenders, which offer more than sufficient protection against the loud volume of a chainsaw or other gardening equipment.
Much like the RocwooD helmet, the ear defenders and visor on this helmet can be lifted out of the way when not in use. We believe this is essential if you intend to wear the helmet for long periods of time.
When you’re operating a chainsaw, it pays to be protected. Whether you’re after simple ear protection to go with the hardhat and visor you already own or you’re after an all-in-one solution, there’s a solution that’ll work for you.
If pure hearing protection is your main concern, it’s hard to ignore the Peltor X5A ear defenders. However, the size of their construction may be inconvenient. If that’s the case, the Optime III ear defenders offer a comparable level of protection with a lot less bulk.
If you can’t resist the convenience of an all-in-one solution, we like the Husqvarna Forest Functional helmet. It’s got good ear defenders, an excellent visor, and a solid helmet. It’s certainly good enough for most small jobs.