Safety Whistles | Decibel Testing

Safety Whistles Compared

A few months ago I wrote a mini review of the UST JetScream whistle which, if you recall, I was a little disappointed with. As part of that review, I performed a very unscientific comparison of the loudness of the JetScream to other whistles that I own. By unscientific I mean, just how it sounded to my ears.

After that review I wanted to do a slightly more scientific and accurate test of several whistles that I own to see if my ears were right and what whistles really were the loudest, but I would need a decibel meter. One of the great things about being a self-confessed geek, is that you have lots of other geeky friends. So when asked my geek friends if any of them had a decibel meter - and more than one responded saying that they did. LOL!

So I created a short video to document my attempt to test the loudness of half a dozen of the most popular safety/emergency whistles used by backpackers. I used two video cameras, one to film me testing each of the whistles and the other to film the decibel meter readings. I tested the following six popular whistles:

What surprised me was not only which whistle came out on top as the loudest, but how far off all of the whistles were from the decibel level stated in their product descriptions. Not one of the six whistles I tested was able to break the 100 decibel mark, yet most, if not all, of them state they they do - very interesting.

Below the video is a table showing the results of the testing. If you want to watch the video without spoiling it by seeing the results ahead of time, don't scroll below the video just yet!

Here are the results of the testing in a table format ranked loudest to quietest.

Safety Whistles Decibel Testing

I was very surprised to see that a $0.99 Harbor Freight Aluminum whistle beat all of the other whistles I tested. As I said earlier, not one of the whistles were able to break the 100 decibel level despite product specifications stating they could, which bothers me a great deal. Of course I'm not an expert, but I did use a professional-grade decibel meter in as much of a controlled manner as possible.

I hope this was as interesting for you to read and watch as it was for me to conduct. What whistle do you carry on the trail and did the results of my testing surprise/concern you?

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