When choosing the best headphones for mowing the lawn, there are two routes to take. Those routes are noise-canceling headphones or electronic earmuffs. The beauty of headphones with active noise canceling is they typically come with all the bells & whistles, including Bluetooth and voice controls. Earmuffs, on the other hand, are more affordable and provide passive noise cancellation with a listed NRR or Noise Reduction Rating.
The higher the NRR the more powerful the hearing protection. In this guide, we share the top active noise-canceling (ANC) headphones and electronic earmuffs for mowing. All of the options in our guide provide adequate ear protection to ensure you won’t damage your ears even when mowing multiple acres of lawn.
Below, we share an overview of the headphones before jumping to the individual reviews of each model where you’ll find all the details you need to make the most informed buying decision.
|#1) Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones|
|#2) Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones|
|#3) 3M WorkTunes Connect Wireless Hearing Protector with Bluetooth Technology|
|#4) Howard Leight by Honeywell Sync Hi-Vis Digital AM/FM/Mp3 Radio Earmuff|
|#5) 3M Digital WorkTunes Hearing Protector and AM/FM Stereo Radio|
Best Headphones for Mowing Reviews
Now that you’ve had the chance to check out what’s available on the market and the key specs, let’s take a closer look at each of the models in our Top 5 in the review sections below. Under each review, you’ll discover the highlights of each model along with the pros & cons.
#1) Sony WH1000XM3 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Before Sony made a splash with its WH1000XM3 headphones, Bose was the clear leader in the active noise-canceling department. Now, Sony WH1000XM3 headphones offer better value for the money with noise-canceling tech that’s on par and to some people’s ears even better than Bose.
Outside of noise-canceling tech, WH1000XM3 headphones offer longer battery life than any similar Bose headphones, which means you’ll almost never have to worry about the headphones dying on ya while you’re mowing the lawn, even if the battery isn’t full when you start. Another reason we like Sony more than Bose is its sound quality. Out of the box, Sony headphones sound better than Bose, and with the Sony companion app, you have the option to customize your ambient sound settings and sound levels with the equalizer.
Sony’s latest WH1000XM3 model also has Alexa built-in to make the entire experience as hands-free as possible. In the comfort department, Sony does shine, though, you may find that Bose QuietComfort 35 II are the most comfortable headphones on the market. A couple of final highlights are the slim carrying case, crystal-clear voice calls, and the quick-charge battery feature that gives you five hours of playback from just a 10-minute charge.
- About half the weight of Howard Leight and 3M WorkTunes headphones
- The best active noise-canceling headphones on the market
- They give you the best chance of clearly hearing your music without interference while mowing
- Good for loud diesel mowers
- Ample noise reduction of 30+hp mower engines
- Impressively long battery life with quick-charge capability
- There’s a good chance you’ll barely be able to hear the mower, if at all
- Very comfortable when worn for long hours
- Like all over-the-ear headphones, they can cause sweating on hot days
- Pricier than 3M and Howard Leight headphones
- You might prefer the fit of Bose QuietComfort
#2) Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
You may be wondering why we didn’t include the latest Bose 700 headphones? Well, the answer is simple, the QC 35 II model is better and more affordable. Most people that have tried both models agree that Bose missed with its 700 model and hit a homerun with its QuietComfort 35 II model. Comparatively, there’s no noticeable difference between the noise-canceling tech in the QC35 and 700 models other than the newer 700 model having more ANC levels to choose from.
At the time of the writing, QC35 headphones cost a good chunk less than Sony WH1000XM3, and the QC35 also offers a version with Alexa voice control tech. The main advantages of choosing QC35 headphones are the amazing level of comfort, the white-noise-free noise-canceling experience, exceptional voice call quality, and intuitive controls that are more user-friendly for less tech-savvy folks who want to skip over relying too heavily on voice and phone controls.
Lastly, while the battery life is not quite as impressive as Sony’s, up to 20 hours per charge is more than enough juice to mow almost any lawn on Earth. Additionally, Bose offers a phone app similar to what Sony offers to customize the listening experience, monitor the headphones, and update the firmware when desired.
- Bose ANC headphones deliver the clearest voice call experience
- Depending on your ears, you may find that the Bose noise-canceling tech is better than Sony
- Highly recommended for mowing the lawn
- Engine noise is no match for Bose noise-canceling
- Extremely comfortable headband and earcups
- Great for all loud yard work including blowing and weed whacking
- No need to blast your music to drown out the mower
- The leather can get warm on hot days
- You might like the Sony app more than Bose Connect
- You may prefer the sound quality for music Sony offers over Bose
#3) 3M WorkTunes Connect Wireless Hearing Protector with Bluetooth Technology
Once you step into the electronic earmuff realm, there’s a significant drop in price. The obvious advantage here is that you won’t feel as bad about beating up a pair of electronic earmuffs as an expensive pair of ANC headphones. Although, there is the other train of thought that says if you’re going to buy something, why not go all-in?
Of all the electronic earmuffs currently on the market, we like the WorkTunes Connect Bluetooth version as the best headphones for mowing. With these headphones, you get the most bang for your buck, and compared to the other muffs in our Top 5, these run on a rechargeable lithium-Ion battery rather than AA batteries.
The other clear advantage of choosing this set of muffs over the next two is Bluetooth. With this model, you connect wirelessly to your phone to listen to music, the radio, Spotify, audible books, or whatever your heart desires. Plus, you have the option to take calls on these via Bluetooth, which is not possible with the Honeywell muffs or AM/FM WorkTunes model.
Finally, it’s important to remember that this type of hearing protection does not offer active noise-canceling. Instead, these muffs are designed to protect your ears with passive-noise cancellation. This also means that WorkTunes and Honeywell muffs are heavier than Sony and Bose ANC headphones.
- Super affordable compared to Sony and Bose ANC headphones
- The best 3M WorkTunes earmuffs with Bluetooth
- An NRR of 24 is adequate hearing protection for mostly all lawnmowers
- Low-profile compared to 3M Peltor muffs
- A rechargeable battery rather than AA batteries
- No cords or antenna to worry about
- Reliable Bluetooth connection and clear voice calls
- Excellent battery life
- The other muffs are better choices for AM/FM radio fans
- Sound quality for music isn’t as good as Sony or Bose
- No volume controls on the earcup
#4) Howard Leight by Honeywell Sync Hi-Vis Digital AM/FM/Mp3 Radio Earmuff
If you’re looking for a reliable old-school style radio earmuff for mowing the lawn, we like the Howard Leight Sync model more than the 3M WorkTunes AM/FM headset. Comparatively, the Howard Leight model weighs a couple of ounces less, and it’s a bit lower-profile, yet it still manages to deliver slightly superior ear protection at 25dB NRR.
Another advantage of the Howard Leight model is battery life. Each set of AA batteries provides up to 140 hours of use, which is a whole lot more than 3M offers in its AM/FM WorkTunes muffs. Next, let’s focus on the controls. You may prefer the controls on the earcups rather than having to rely on controlling the volume from your phone.
The Howard Leight cups feature an LCD display to quickly find your favorite radio stations, and there’s the option to set up to 10 preset stations. Additionally, you have the option to connect the Sync headset to any device using the AUX input jack and included cable. Plus, there’s the convenience of a volume control knob on the earcup. All in all, these are a bit old school compared to the latest technology, but they do have a unique set of pros that makes them worth a look.
- Better battery life per set of AA batteries than WorkTunes AM/FM headset
- A good choice for people who like to listen to audiobooks while mowing the lawn
- Comfortable for all head sizes including large heads
- The volume gets loud enough to clearly hear your music and podcasts
- They do an excellent job of reducing engine noise
- Great hearing protection for mowing, weed whacking, and when using power tools
- The radio holds stations well with no static on the AM stations
- Music sound quality isn’t the best (you may desire more bass)
- Not as comfortable as Sony or Bose ANC headphones
- The max volume might not be high enough for you
#5) 3M Digital WorkTunes Hearing Protector and AM/FM Stereo Radio
The final option is the non-Bluetooth version of the 3M WorkTunes Connect headset. Instead of Bluetooth, this headset functions very similarly to the Howard Leight model above, and at the time of this writing, the 3M AM/FM headset is more affordable than Honeywell’s Sync. With the AM/FM WorkTunes earmuff, you have the option to program up to 50 of your favorite AM/FM stations, which is a lot more than the 10 offered by Honeywell.
Another feature you might like is 3M Audio Assist Technology that uses voice prompts to walk you through the setup process, program your stations, and alert you when the battery is low. One feature we really like is the controls. Compared to the Howard Leight earmuff, the 3M headset has a more user-friendly volume knob and a designated tuning dial.
The biggest drawback to consider with this headset is the short battery life. If you decide to go with this model, it’s a good idea to buy batteries in bulk or a set of rechargeable AA batteries since each set of batteries only provides up to 20 hours of power.
- You may find this headset with extra padding in the headband more comfortable than the Honeywell model
- Adequate ear protection for mowing on a tractor
- Good for use at a shooting range, weed whacking, and in a woodshop
- Well-built with durable materials
- Comfortable when worn for long hours
- Voice confirmations to ensure you’re on the right station
- The tuner functions smoothly and accurately
- No ventilation on hot days
- Hard to track down replacement foam muffs
- Reception in more rural areas can get finicky
By this point, you have a clear understanding of what makes the best headphones for mowing and the top models currently on the market. Why did we choose Bose and Sony as the top ANC headphones for mowing the lawn? The reason we skipped over budget noise-canceling headphone brands such as Cowin, Taotronics, and others is that they simply won’t get the job done for mowing. In our experience, mowing the lawn with Sony or Bose ANC headphones is astronomically better than what a budget ANC headphone offers.
While budget brands can be good in lower-decibel environments, they won’t protect your ears as well or cut out the engine sounds of most mowers. As far as electronic earmuffs, 3M and Howard Leight by Honeywell are the gold standard, and they’re a lot more affordable than top-notch Sony and Bose headphones. Depending on how much you value the sound quality of your music, you may find that electronic earmuffs give you more value for your money.