The Best Earplugs

Posted on 27 July 2022

We spent 16 hours analyzing 11 of the most popular earplugs and tested several models, and concluded that the Alpine Party Plug was the most compelling reusable earplug. However, for occasional use, we recommend Moldex earplugs the most.

This comparison is certified 100% impartial and follows our selection process.

Our choice, Best mid-range

Alpine Party Plug

They attenuate sound by 19 dB while maintaining their quality, making them ideal for concerts and festivals. Conveniently packaged in a mini-box, they are reusable and easy to clean.

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Alpine Party Plug

Among the wide range of products offered by the brand, Party Plug stands out for its ability to reduce sound. In particular, they diminish music while maintaining its quality thanks to the presence of acoustic filters, even for music with a lot of basses. This makes them ideal for use at concerts, festivals, and clubs/bars. Our tests confirm this. They are compact and easy to fit and fit very discreetly and comfortably in your ear canal. They can be reused up to 100 times and are easy to clean. We liked the small storage box, which came in handy for carrying the plugs around and keeping them clean.

 

 

Best budget

Moldex Spark-Plugs (20 pairs)

These single-use foam earplugs offer great value for money for those who need earplugs on a more occasional basis. They are comfortable, easy to insert, and fit well in the ear.

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Moldex Spark-Plugs

During our tests, we found these foam earplugs to be soft and comfortable. We considered them easier to place in the ear canal than other models in this price range, for all ear types. Their SNR 35 sound protection provides impressive noise and sound attenuation. However, we noticed a slight distortion of the high frequencies, so we recommend them more for sleeping or manual work than for listening to music at concerts and festivals.

 

Best high-end

Loop Experience

They are distinguished above all by their original and attractive design and offer no less than four different pairs of earpieces so that there is something for everyone. They reduce the volume by 18 dB.

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Loop Expérience

Although they are often popular and appreciated for their design, they do not neglect the quality of protection and reduce the sound volume by 18 dB without altering its clarity. This makes them particularly suitable for concerts, sporting activities or noisy work. In our tests, we found all four pairs of silicone earphones to be interesting. The XS can be adapted to the small ear canals of adults. Fitting was easy and they are comfortable. For bass-heavy live concerts, we prefer their big brother, the Loop Quiet, which reduces noise and sound by 26 dB. Note that both are available in different colors.

 

High-end alternative

EarDial HiFi Invisible

These heavy-duty silicone earplugs are ideal for noisy activities, reducing the volume by 20 dB while maintaining sound quality. They tend to be very popular for their discreetness in the ears.

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They attenuate sound while retaining sound quality, making them especially popular at festivals and concerts. Made of soft silicone, they are comfortable and very durable, so they can be used for many years. Their small size and transparency make them almost invisible, so they are very discreet, which many people appreciate. In addition, the brand has developed an application that tells you, among other things, the volume of the sound you are subjected to, and the recommended time you should be exposed to such noise.

 

Our selection

Our choice, Best mid-rangeBest budgetBest high-endHigh-end alternative
Alpine Party PlugMoldex Spark-PlugsLoop ExpérienceEarDial HiFi Invisible
Alpine Party Plug
(a pair)
Moldex Spark-Plugs
(20 pairs)
Loop Experience
(a pair)
EarDial HiFi Invisible
(a pair)
They attenuate sound by 19 dB while maintaining their quality, making them ideal for concerts and festivals. Conveniently packaged in a mini-box, they are reusable and easy to clean.These single-use foam earplugs offer great value for money for those who need earplugs on a more occasional basis. They are comfortable, easy to insert, and fit well in the ear.They are distinguished above all by their original and attractive design and offer no less than four different pairs of earpieces so that there is something for everyone. They reduce the volume by 18 dB.These heavy-duty silicone earplugs are ideal for noisy activities, reducing the volume by 20 dB while maintaining sound quality. They tend to be very popular for their discreetness in the ears.
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Honorable mentions

Quies Natural Wax (£6.29 / 12 pairs upon publication): a wax alternative. The only wax models we tested, we found them much more complex to put in place. In addition, while the fit was good, we found the comfort to be a little less than other earplugs we’ve had. Note also that they are more suitable for night use, for sleeping, rather than for concerts, as they produce a certain echo, distorting the sounds. They can reduce sound by up to 27 dB, at least if you put them on correctly.

Earsonics Earpad Universel (£28.99 upon publication): the brand’s flagship model. They are particularly suitable for listening to music, for noisy jobs, or for motorbike enthusiasts thanks to their small size, compatible with helmets. Their soft silicone tip is comfortable, but their slightly lower protection of 15 dB made us prefer other products.

Alvis Mk4 (£24.42 upon publication): for the high frequencies. These earplugs offer progressive attenuation of ambient noise, focusing primarily on the higher frequencies – often the most harmful. In addition, a shut-off valve allows you to set the desired level of attenuation – either loud or very loud – depending on your activity. They are available in three sizes and are particularly suitable for the hardcore biker or the hardcore musician.

 

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How to choose your earplugs?

There are different ways and forms of noise protection. While some people use earplugs for sleeping, others wear them for concerts, motorbike rides, or other activities.

Bouchons d'oreilles
The different earplugs we have tested. | Source: Selectos

In order to choose the ones that suit you best, let’s take a look at the different types of earplugs currently available on the market:

  • Foam earplugs: simple to put in and quite comfortable, they adapt easily to the shape of the ear. Designed to be discarded after each use, they are therefore suitable for occasional use. Often sold in sets, they are characterised by a relatively low purchase price.
Bouchons d'oreilles
Foam earplugs are easy to put in and can be easily adapted to the shape of the ear. | Source: Selectos
  • Wax plugs: made popular by the famous French company Quies, they have the advantage of being suitable for all types of ears. They soften on contact with the skin and can therefore be shaped to fit the ear canal perfectly.
  • Earplugs with acoustic filters: conceived for more specific uses, they allow only certain sounds to be filtered out while letting others through. Their objective is to reduce the volume of the sound without altering auditory perception. They are particularly appreciated by concert and festival goers.
Bouchons d'oreilles
Those with acoustic filters can filter out only certain sounds. | Source: Selectos
  • Custom molded earplugs: more comfortable as they are perfectly adapted to your morphology, they require a greater initial investment and are particularly intended for professionals. For these reasons, we have decided not to include this type of model in our selection – which is aimed at a wider public.

Finally, consider the following list of criteria in order to make the best possible choice.

  • Noise protection: it is advisable to consult the SNR of the plugs, i.e. the overall noise reduction index. Plugs with an SNR of 20, for example, reduce the sound impact received by your ears by 20 dB. The higher the SNR, the more protected they are.
Bouchons d'oreilles
The SNR of the earplugs should be consulted, i.e. the overall sound attenuation index. | Source: Selectos
  • Use: the need for protection depends, of course, on the purpose for which the earplugs are used. For example, regular attendance at concerts or festivals or frequent exposure to loud plays will require more protection than the discomfort of a snoring partner. And, if you use earplugs frequently, don’t hesitate to opt for repeat-use models: they are a little more expensive to buy, but generate far less waste and are often very cost-effective in the long run.
Bouchons d'oreilles
The need for protection depends, of course, on the purpose for which the earplugs are to be worn. | Source: Selectos
  • Comfort: if you plan to wear earplugs for several hours or even overnight, it is important that they are comfortable. Foam and wax earplugs are usually adaptable, while some brands offer a range of sizes to fit all ears. Also opt for soft, hypoallergenic materials.
  • Conformity to European standards: products must comply with certain European (EN 352-2) or American (ANSI) standards to be sold as noise protection.
Bouchons d'oreilles
Foam and wax are often adaptable, while those with earpieces come in different sizes. | Source: Selectos

For the sake of diversity, we have included several different types of models for different purposes in our selection, so that there is something for everyone.

 

How did we test?

To test the earplugs, we start by judging how easily they fit in our ears. Then we check how well they fit and how comfortable they are. To do so, several of our editors tested the products, so we had a wider range of opinions, as not all of us have the same ears.

Finally, we made a personal evaluation of each earplug’s ability to reduce noise at a music festival. We correlated our feelings with the actual SNR sound protection of the earplugs.

 

Other products tested

Howard Leight Laser Lite (£3.45 / 20 pairs upon publication): not very comfortables. While they proved to be effective in attenuating noise (SNR 35), the plugs were disappointing in terms of comfort. Being made of foam, it was also a bit more difficult to get them to fit properly in the ear. In our opinion, comfort is as important as efficiency and that is why they are not in our main selection.

Mack’s Slim Fit Soft Foam (£14.59 / 50 pairs upon publication): difficult to fit. These SNR 29 noise protection earplugs proved to be very difficult to place in the ear canal, regardless of the type of ear. However, once fitted, they remained well in the ear and were relatively comfortable. In addition to this, we found them to be less good at attenuating bass. All in all, this makes it a hardly recommendable product.

 

 

Translated by Ramsés El Hajje

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