Caldwell E-MAX Electronic Hearing Protection Review

caldwell-e-max-02For years, I have always assumed that quality electronic hearing protection was beyond what most people were willing to spend.  Most electronic ear muffs seemed to start around $150 and go up from there.  After buying the Caldwell E-MAX electronic hearing protection, I know that there is a high-quality, reasonably priced alternative.

The Caldwell E-MAX ear muffs use an electronic system that allows you to amplify normal sounds, but immediately shuts down when a loud noise is encountered.  The E-MAX is rated at 25 db sound reduction, which is about average for the hearing protection market.

Unlike some of the other inexpensive electronic ear muffs, the E-MAX is true stereo amplification, meaning there are two microphones: one on each muff.  This allows the user to properly identify the direction sound is coming from.  Other products use only one mic which can cause some confusion in the shooter by removing the ability to differentiate direction.

caldwell-e-max-01I used the E-MAX muffs on several trips to the range, and let me start off by saying I was impressed.  The sound amplification worked as advertised, with range commands coming through very clearly.  Conversations with other people were very easy to conduct, and the stereo mics allowed me to know where people were when they were standing behind me, etc.

The first trip to the shooting range with the E-MAX was to a day-long shooting course for my police department.  During the day, I shot .40 S&W pistols, 12 gauge shotguns, MP5 subguns, and M4 carbines.  The E-MAX worked flawlessly to instantly dampen sounds when people were firing.  At no point did the muffs seem inadequate for the cartridges we were shooting, and in fact, they seemed to work as well as non-electronic muffs -combined- with the old foam plugs.  I don’t know how that could be possible, but it certainly seemed that way.

During that training course, a lot of walking, running, and pushups were done to create stress in an effort to simulate the body alarm response.  At all times the E-MAX stayed firmly in place, with no need for adjustments.

The Caldwell E-MAX muffs were very comfortable throughout the day.  The muffs fold up nicely into a compact “ball” for easy storage.

The biggest compliment I can give to the Caldwell E-MAX electronic ear muffs is I purchased a second set for my wife.

If you have ever wanted a set of quality electronic ear muffs, you should definitely check out the Caldwell E-MAX.  I love mine.  The E-MAX retail for only $39.99 at many retail outlets.  Amazon sells the E-MAX for a lot less.

About Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, police trainer and really bad joke teller. Check out his other writing in Combat Handguns, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement, on The Firearm Blog and at BlueSheepdog.

  • Tammy

    I own a pair of the Caldwell earmuffs and I love mine. They work very well and seem to last forever on a single set of batteries.

  • Petercat

    I bought one pair to test, and was impressed enough with the quality and performance that I bought another pair. These are essential for a one-on-one trainer/trainee range session!
    In my opinion, the stereo microphones and the easily seen battery-saver “power on” LED are necessary features.
    My only complaints are that the ear pads are too stiff to mold themselves around eyeglass frames. I had to bend my frames to lie flat against my head just in front of my ears to get a good seal.
    Also, the plastic headband cover split at a seam the first time I wore them, fixed with superglue.