8 Best Ear plugs

8 Best Ear plugs

12
Hours
Researched
35
Products
Evaluated

After 12 hours of research evaluating 35 products, we picked Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs as our top choice.

You might be surprised by the noises that can result in hearing loss. According to the CDC, it’s not just loud concerts or weekend motorcycle rides. Fitness classes, kids’ toys, power tools, and a busy restaurant can all contribute to it as well. Crazy, right?

Consumer Reports’ safety experts say that prolonged exposure to 70 dBA—the sound produced by a shower—or less is safe for most people.” So choosing the best ear plugs for high decibel situations should be a top priority.

Now:

Think about how many things you hear throughout the day that exceed that safe limit. And, think about other situations that could potentially do harm to your ears (and your sanity):

  • Flights
  • A visit to the shooting range
  • Coworkers keeping you from getting work done
  • Bedmates that snore and keep you up all night (these sleeping gadgets might help with that as well)

Thankfully, we have of the best earplugs to protect against all of the above.

Here’s the lowdown:

Your ears need protection and earplugs are a convenient way to give it to them. So, after hours of research and testing, we created a list of the best ear plugs. They’re comfortable, they’re affordable, and they work incredibly well.

Our editors independently research, test, and recommmend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

8 Best Ear plugs

  • 8. Honeywell MAX USA Disposable Foam Earplugs
  • 7. Speedo Ergo Earplugs
  • 6. DownBeats Reusable Ear Plug
  • 5. Flents Quiet Please Foam Earplugs
  • 4. SureFire EP7 Sonic Defenders Ultra Filtered Earplugs
  • 3. 3M E-A-R Classic Earplugs
  • 2. Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs
  • 1. Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs

Best Disposable Foam Earplugs

#8

Honeywell MAX USA Disposable Foam Earplugs

Best Disposable Foam Earplugs: Honeywell MAX USA Disposable Foam Earplugs
62 Clicks
EASE OF USE
8.9
COMFORT
9.0
EFFECTIVITY
9.1
VALUE
9.0
Overall
90%
90 % Editor Score
80 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Bell-shaped earplugs for maximum noise reduction
  • Disposable, smooth, dirt-resistant foam earplugs
  • 200 pairs per pack

Howard Leight’s foam ear plugs have a noise reduction rating of NRR 33, which is the highest noise reduction rating for disposable earplugs. The bell shape not only reduces noise, but also prevents dirt from entering your ear. The USA-inspired colors make the earplugs look as cool as they are effective.

You need to work a bit to make them fit perfectly.

Expert Ratings

EASE OF USE

8.9 / 10

To perfectly fit them in your ears, squish them and then hold them in as they expand slowly. Or else, they won’t stick as much as you like. Moistening your ear by rubbing a bit of alcohol around the inside makes the process a little easier.

COMFORT

9.0 / 10

This disposable foam earplug has a bell-shaped appearance, making it comfortable to wear and ensures that it won't fall off while you are sleeping. The earplugs also protect your ear from dirt and don't irritate.

EFFECTIVITY

9.1 / 10

This earplug can block out noise effectively with a noise reduction rating of NRR 33. Most women (and some mend) tend to use these to block out their snoring spouses, resulting in a good night’s sleep for everyone involved.

VALUE

9.0 / 10

These cool foam earplugs will cost you $28 which is a bit expensive for a disposable one. But considering that a pack contains 200 pairs of foam earplugs, its effectivity and durability takes a great value.

Overall Editor Score

9.0 / 10

Best Ear Plugs for Swimmers

#7

Speedo Ergo Earplugs

Best Ear Plugs for Swimmers: Speedo Ergo Earplugs
57 Clicks
EASE OF USE
9.3
EFFECTIVENESS
9.2
COMFORT
9.0
VALUE
9.3
Overall
92%
92 % Editor Score
82 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Effectively blocks water from entering your ears
  • Contoured-shaped earplugs for a perfect fit
  • Lightweight, soft and comfortable to use

The Speedo Ergo Ear plugs are lightweight and soft. They are great at completely blocking water from entering your ears - making them perfect for swimming or even while taking a shower. They come with a small case to store your earplugs for added convenience.

If you have smaller ears, these earplugs might not fit well.

Expert Ratings

EASE OF USE

9.3 / 10

Putting these earplugs in takes a bit of practice. However when you get the knack of it, they won’t easily fall out even when swimming. For those with average to large ear canals, they form a nice seal and keep water out.

EFFECTIVENESS

9.2 / 10

If you have ears that are sensitive to water, the Speedo Ergo Earplugs are a great option. They effectively keep water out of your ears whether you are swimming, diving, or taking a shower.

COMFORT

9.0 / 10

Speedo’s earplugs are designed to comfortably protect your ears from water. These earplugs can fit normal to large size ears, so they might not be comfortable to small ears because of the extra material the plugs have.

VALUE

9.3 / 10

The Speedo Ergo Earplugs only cost $4, making them a steal. They have a small case and are totally reusable. Definitely worth it for the perfect amount of protection while swimming.

Overall Editor Score

9.2 / 10

Best Reusable Ear Plugs

#6

DownBeats Reusable Ear Plug

Best Reusable Ear Plugs: DownBeats Reusable Ear Plug
60 Clicks
EASE OF USE
9.3
COMFORT
9.3
EFFECTIVENESS
9.3
VALUE
9.3
Overall
93%
93 % Editor Score
85 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Comfy, clear and subtle sound filters
  • Comes with aluminum case for ear protection
  • Perfect to use at concerts and other loud events

These low-profile High-Fidelity Hearing Protection earplugs effectively minimize the noise around you for a better experience at concerts, live events, airshows and nightclubs. The earplugs are clear and soft which comfortably fit ears of any size.

They are quite small, so putting them in and taking them out of your ears might be a challenge at first.

Expert Ratings

EASE OF USE

9.3 / 10

No matter the size of your ears, these Downbeats earplugs will fit perfectly. The fact that they are low-profile is great for avoiding uncomfortable conversations. However they are very small and soft, so it takes practice to get them in and out of your ears without dropping.

COMFORT

9.3 / 10

These earplugs are very subtle, so much so in fact that you'll hardly even know you’re wearing them. You will still feel comfortable even after hours of having them protect your ears from loud noises. 

EFFECTIVENESS

9.3 / 10

Reviewers cannot stop raving about how effective these earplugs are at minimizing the noise in your environment without compromising the quality of conversations and the sound you want to hear. It will feel like you just turned down the volume of everything around you, while still being able to hear clearly.

VALUE

9.3 / 10

After reviewing all the feedback on these earplugs, the price of $15 is a great bargain. The earplugs come with a rugged aluminum case which keep your earplugs well-protected while making ear protection handy for you wherever you go.

Overall Editor Score

9.3 / 10

Best Earplugs for Sleeping

#5

Flents Quiet Please Foam Earplugs

Best Earplugs for Sleeping: Flents Quiet Please Foam Earplugs
129 Bought
Ease of use
9.4
Comfort
9.3
Effectiveness
9.4
Value
9.4
Overall
94%
94 % Editor Score
87 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Great at drowning out noises in the home
  • Works well for keeping out ambient noises while you sleep
  • Comfortable enough to wear over long periods of time

If you have a hard time sleeping because of a loud neighborhood or kids that wake up at 5 a.m., then you need earplugs that will reliably drown out those excess noises. These earplugs are great at doing just that. They're also comfortable enough to wear over long periods of time if you're worried about them helping you stay asleep. 

Unlike the other foam earplugs on this list, these take a little while to conform to your ear upon insertion, so you need to be patient. You also might have problems with the earplugs rubbing against your pillow if you have shallow ear drums and you use these for sleeping.

Expert Ratings

Ease of use

9.4 / 10

These were the first pair of earplugs tested out and they were actually a really great introduction to earplugs. Instructions provided on the jar clearly explain how you’re supposed to roll the earplugs up into a cylinder and insert them into your ear. The only problem is that they suggest waiting 30 seconds for the earplug to expand, though it took more like 60 seconds if you want it to really secure itself in the canal.

Comfort

9.3 / 10

Like other foam earplugs, these are on the rougher side. That said, you need that friction to keep the earplugs in overnight. Pain upon waking does not seem to be an issue with these earplugs, so, overall, comfort is a high point with these. They fit well, stay in place, and allow you to go on with your day without having to worry about any residual ear pain from sleeping with them.

The only concern noted is that they are a bit long, so you might feel them brush against the pillow if you move around a lot. They advise not cutting them down any shorter than they are, so you might only want to use these if you have average or larger-sized ear canals. 

Effectiveness

9.4 / 10

Do not expect any issues in terms of staying in place. And these earplugs are also great at blocking out noises. While they might not be enough for a few hours on the shooting range or for a ride on your motorcycle through the country, they are definitely great for sleeping

Value

9.4 / 10

You get a jar of 100 plus a small travel case with this purchase. So long as the bottle is “fresh” (be sure to check the expiration date before opening), you shouldn’t have to worry about these earplugs going stale and you losing money on the purchase. Be aware, but this does not seem to be a common complaint when it comes to this particular brand of earplugs.

Overall Editor Score

9.4 / 10

Best Earplugs for Shooting

#4

SureFire EP7 Sonic Defenders Ultra Filtered Earplugs

Best Earplugs for Shooting: SureFire EP7 Sonic Defenders Ultra Filtered Earplugs
151 Bought
Ease of use
9.5
Comfort
9.5
Effectiveness
9.5
Value
9.0
Overall
94%
94 % Editor Score
90 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • The best earplugs for shooting, riding motorcycles, using power tools, etc.
  • Less cumbersome and more portable than headphones which makes them ideal for these activities
  • Will subdue loud noises, but keep your conversations crystal-clear

These earplugs are a great alternative to the bulkier headphones you might feel compelled to use to protect your ears from louder activities. That said, while they do subdue those loud and harmful noises, they keep immediate sounds (like conversations with friends) perfectly clear.

We wouldn't recommend you wear these earplugs over longer stretches of time as they could make your ears ache. Another complaint we heard often is that these earplugs don't protect as well as headphones, so many users end up having to double up with an earplugs/headphones combo anyway. 

Expert Ratings

Ease of use

9.5 / 10

These earplugs are very similar to the style of earbud headphones many people are used to wearing, so you shouldn’t have any issues using or wearing these if you’re accustomed to those. These are also corded, so you don’t have to worry about them falling out and getting lost on you.

Comfort

9.5 / 10

Made by SureFire, a company that deals in tactical weapons and gear and knows their audience well, these earplugs have been crafted specifically for the purposes of shooting. Earplugs Guide explains them as such: “They’re made from a soft-yet-durable, hypoallergenic polymer that’s been optimized for both comfort and durability.” And because they leave such a small footprint, they can be worn under other shooting gear, including headphones, a helmet, or mask. 

Effectiveness

9.5 / 10

People who use these for shooting seem to be really satisfied with the ability of the earplugs to block out harmful noise levels while protecting the sounds that matter (like conversations with people nearby). For additional protection, you can apply the extra filter that comes with the EP7 to drown out lower-level sounds too.

Value

9.0 / 10

You get one set of earplugs in this pack, but they’re going to last you awhile so long as you take care of them.

Overall Editor Score

9.4 / 10

Best Cheap Earplugs

#3

3M E-A-R Classic Earplugs

Best Cheap Earplugs: 3M E-A-R Classic Earplugs
128 Bought
Ease of use
9.0
Comfort
9.5
Effectiveness
9.5
Value
9.5
Overall
94%
94 % Editor Score
92 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Feel comfortable once positioned properly in your ears
  • Can use each pair multiple times, which means a bigger bang for your buck
  • They seal well inside the ear and stay put

One of the nice things about foam earplugs is that you can really get the biggest bang for your buck when buying them in bulk (especially if they work as well as these guys do). These also happen to be individually packaged, so they're easy to take along with you when you're flying, staying in hotels, or on vacation. 

These foam earplugs expand much more quickly than their counterparts, so you might experience issues with inserting these into your ears to start (it's more frustrating than anything else). Also, people with shorter ear canals may have problems with these slipping out while sleeping.

Expert Ratings

Ease of use

9.0 / 10

If you're familiar with the process of rolling the foam earplug into a cylinder and then inserting into the ear canal, you should have no problem with this product. However, these earplugs expanded much more quickly than other brands of foam earplugs, so it may take you a few tries to get it right. That said, once it's in, expect it to stay put.

Comfort

9.5 / 10

While customers often complain about these earplugs feeling stiff, that feature is really what makes these ear plugs so effective. Otherwise, you end up with something too soft and squishy that’s likely to fall out (and that’ll do you no good). Expect to wear these all night, and maybe even into the next day, without any major discomfort.

Effectiveness

9.5 / 10

Not only are these earplugs great for sleeping, but they also work well to block out ambient noises while flying, at school, or at work. While they are effective at muffling loud noises (like the sound of a dishwasher or washing machine that you may prefer to run at night), you can still hear the things that matter… like a kid calling to you or a dog whimpering to go outside.

Value

9.5 / 10

There are 30 pairs of earplugs in the box, each of which come in their own individual packet (which is awesome for traveling). Needless to say, we find this to be a good product at a great value.

Overall Editor Score

9.4 / 10

Best Earplugs for Concerts

#2

Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs

Best Earplugs for Concerts: Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs
174 Bought
Ease of use
9.5
Comfort
9.5
Effectiveness
9.5
Value
9.5
Overall
95%
95 % Editor Score
95 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • The best earplugs for concerts
  • Flanged plug design is more comfortable than the foam alternative
  • Doesn’t sacrifice sound quality; just protects ears from the harmful noise levels

When you go to a concert, the last thing you want to do is worry about your earplugs falling out or, conversely, staying put but causing you a lot of discomfort. You won't have that problem with this flanged earplug design which will stay put while also protecting your ears from harmful sound levels.

Some customers argue that these don’t block enough noise. Because of this, the price might seem outrageous compared to foam earplugs that work just as well. Also, take note that these earplugs have been known not to work well if you have smaller or more shallow ear canals.

Expert Ratings

Ease of use

9.5 / 10

Unlike foam earplugs that require you to roll them into a cylinder for insertion, or silicone earplugs that you have to mold like putty, there’s nothing to do with these. Simply insert them into your ears like in-ear headphones and you’re good to go.

Comfort

9.5 / 10

While most reviewers give these earplugs top honors as the best earplugs for concerts (and other raucous activities), Your Best Digs gave them a nod for their sleep friendliness: “they were the best flanged plug to sleep with for the lack of a stem in their design. In place of the stem is a small tab on the bottom flange used for removal.”

Effectiveness

9.5 / 10

The reason these earplugs consistently earn such rave reviews as the best earplugs for concerts or musicians is because, while they do block the surrounding cacophony that comes with playing or listening to music, they don’t degrade the ability to hear the music itself.

Value

9.5 / 10

It’s one set of earplugs for a pretty steep price. However, these can be cleaned and reused over and over again. So long as they fit your ears well, the price shouldn’t be a problem.

Overall Editor Score

9.5 / 10

Best Earplugs Overall

#1

Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs

Best Earplugs Overall: Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs
207 Bought
Ease of use
9.5
Comfort
9.5
Effectiveness
9.5
Value
9.5
Overall
95%
95 % Editor Score
97 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Best earplugs in terms of blocking noise and keeping water out
  • Really easy (and kinda fun) to use
  • Comfortable to use whenever and wherever

All in all, these Mack's earplugs are the best plugins you can get--and not just for a low cost either. They're crazy effective in terms of sound reduction and they're much more comfortable than similarly priced foam earplugs.

Some customers found that these earplugs did not reduce noise enough for them while others found them overly effective, as they had a difficult time removing the silicone from over their ear.

Expert Ratings

Ease of use

9.5 / 10

While this may sound strange to say about at set of earplugs, these are an absolute joy to use. Don't be surprised when the package first arrives, the box appears to be full of a bunch of sticky orbs. Basically, you do not insert these “plugs” into your ears. Instead, you treat them like a plaster or putty. Place the orb over the entrance to the ear. Then spread the silicone outwards so that it creates a soundproof seal. As soon as that seal is in place, you’re going to notice a (scarily) significant difference.

To remove them, just follow the instructions on the box. Push on the box of your ear to break the airtight seal and you’ll then be able to pull the silicone plug away. Super easy.

Comfort

9.5 / 10

Of the earplugs included on our list, we find these to be the most comfortable for both day and night. They aren't necessarily soft, but you shouldn't feel them rub against the pillow or be aware of their presence at all. In fact, you may actually enjoy the feeling of having them in.

Effectiveness

9.5 / 10

In terms of reducing noise significantly, these work really well if you create the right seal. You can also use these for swimming. While Mack’s does make a flanged earplug specifically for swimming, we would suggest you use these if you already have them on hand. As Headphones Compared explained, “the Mack’s Pillow Soft range is recommended by doctors to seal out water, helping to prevent swimmer’s ear.”

Value

9.5 / 10

You can use these earplugs multiple times (probably three or four good uses out of each pair). With six pairs to a box and four boxes in the set, this is a really great deal on earplugs that will prove effective for any occasion or activity.

Overall Editor Score

9.5 / 10

Faveable Ratings: 8 Best Ear plugs

8 Best Ear plugsEase of useComfortEffectivenessValueOverall
Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs Thumbnail
Best Earplugs Overall
#1Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs
9.5
9.5
9.5
9.5
95
Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs Thumbnail
Best Earplugs for Concerts
#2Eargasm High Fidelity Earplugs
9.5
9.5
9.5
9.5
95
3M E-A-R Classic Earplugs Thumbnail
Best Cheap Earplugs
#33M E-A-R Classic Earplugs
9.0
9.5
9.5
9.5
94
SureFire EP7 Sonic Defenders Ultra Filtered Earplugs Thumbnail
Best Earplugs for Shooting
#4SureFire EP7 Sonic Defenders Ultra Filtered Earplugs
9.5
9.5
9.5
9.0
94
Flents Quiet Please Foam Earplugs Thumbnail
Best Earplugs for Sleeping
#5Flents Quiet Please Foam Earplugs
9.4
9.3
9.4
9.4
94
DownBeats Reusable Ear Plug Thumbnail
Best Reusable Ear Plugs
#6DownBeats Reusable Ear Plug
9.3
9.3
9.3
9.3
93
Speedo Ergo Earplugs Thumbnail
Best Ear Plugs for Swimmers
#7Speedo Ergo Earplugs
9.3
9.0
9.2
9.3
92
Honeywell MAX USA Disposable Foam Earplugs Thumbnail
Best Disposable Foam Earplugs
#8Honeywell MAX USA Disposable Foam Earplugs
8.9
9.0
 
9.0
90

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Article Staff

A six-year marketing veteran and a writer since the womb, Suzanne Scacca now specializes in writing content for a variety of audiences. She has been published on Inc.com, Examiner, SEJ, Elegant Themes, and other marketing, tech, hospitality, and business blogs. When not writing about the latest news and trends, Suzanne can be found hanging out with her dog, eating way too much dessert, and watching horror movies.

Editor Jenna Holtz
Researcher Ronnie Langston
Art Director Cherry Barbacena

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