Excellent noise protection, top notch sound quality, and a very respectable run-time.
Hearing protection is critical when working with machinery or power tools in a shop, on a job site, or around the home. Wireless earmuff (over-ear) headphones provide superior hearing protection and much better sound than either earbuds, earphones, or on-ear headphones. Their only disadvantage is that they’re bulkier and weigh more than the other styles of wearable listening devices. Still, for maximum protection, and a great listening experience, they’re hard to beat.
A runner up in our 2021 Tool of the Year Awards in the Accessories category, the ISOtunes LINK is a dual product – an earmuff that provides protection against harmful noise (it has a 24 dB noise reduction rating) and speaker headphones that provide high-fidelity stereo sound. It comes with a rechargeable lithium-ion batter that delivers up to 14 hours of run-time. For an even longer run-time you can swap out the included battery with 3 AAA batteries and get up to 28 hours of listening pleasure.
MODEL: ISOtunes LINK
SOURCE: Store locator
The LINK connects to your mobile device seamlessly using Bluetooth 4.2. No app to download – just power up the LINK and it connects to your mobile device instantly. Connection range is easily up to about 30 feet with a clear line of sight. Since I always carry my smartphone with me connectivity isn’t an issue.
At just over 15 ounces I found them a tad on the heavy side. However, the fit is very snug, which makes them more effective at reducing noise infiltration. The earcups telescope out from the headband by means of steel wires enabling you to adjust the fit. I found that the vinyl memory foam ear cushions provide an excellent seal over the ears and quite comfortable to wear. Unfortunately they aren’t replaceable should they get damaged. The headband doesn’t have any cushioning – I could wear them continuously for no more than about 2 hours before the headband started to irritate me.
The LINK does a great job of noise suppression – turning the whine of planers and jointers to dull humming. Of course, music helps reduce shop noise as well. Sound quality and clarity is probably the best I’ve experienced with headphones. The noise-isolating microphone is good, but not perfect. I like that the LINK is compatible with Google Voice (and with Siri), which means I can control it hands-free.
The 5 control buttons are on right ear-cup. The center button powers the LINK on and off, and controls both the pause/play feature and call answer. Two other buttons control skip and rewind, and volume. When you press a button it makes an audible clicking sound that you can hear with the headphones on. I found the button placement very intuitive and easy to remember. At the bottom of the ear-cup is the port for charging the battery with the included micro USB cord.
Notwithstanding the unpadded headband, the LINK headphones provide excellent noise protection, top notch sound quality, and a very respectable run-time.
Ear protection is considerably less expensive than the cost of hearing loss, so do yourself a favour and link-up with these superior quality headphones.
Carl Duguay - [email protected]
Carl is a Victoria-based furniture maker and the web editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.