How to Make a Lawn Mower Quieter: 5 Effective Ways [Tested]
Nothing gives your home a nice look like a well-maintained lawn. But every time you think of mowing your yard, you get frustrated. Lawnmowers can be noisy. Everyone in your neighborhood will know that you are mowing your home. If you do it regularly, they might also not like you.
The noise from the blades and the engine can be too much. But that should not be the case. There are simple things you can do to reduce the noise produced by your mower. In this article, we will discuss tested techniques that will solve this problem for you.
Let’s dive deeper and learn how to make a lawnmower quieter.
What’s the Acceptable Noise Level for a Lawn Mower?
Lawnmowers vary in the noise they make. Unfortunately, most of the mowers are quite loud. You can, however, choose to buy quieter lawn mowers or soundproof the one you have.
Quieter Mower mufflers
When mowing, you should also wear protective gear for your ears.
Most mowers produce a noise level of around 90 dB (Decibel). This is high than the recommended noise level for your ears. No one should be subject to this noise level for over eight hours.
Techniques to Reduce Noise Levels for a Lawn Mower
Below are the top ways to deal with the noise produced by your lawnmower.
Work on Your muffler
Most lawn mowers have a muffler installed on the engine. It specifically fixed at the exhaust port. The muffler forces the engine sound to pass through a noise-canceling chamber. It also provides pressure for the engine so that it can work at its maximum horsepower.
With time, the muffler cracks. The gasket seal between the exhaust pipe and muffler can also deteriorate. As a result, the engine noise is not canceled and they remain louder than desired.
Therefore, if your lawnmower is producing a lot of noise, inspect and fix the muffler. Carry out the following steps to work on your lawnmower muffler.
Step 1: Allow the Engine to Cool down. The exhaust pipe gets extremely hot when the engine is running. You cannot work on the muffler at this state.
Step 2: Locate where the muffler has been installed in the exhaust pipe.
Step 3: Unscrew the two bolts holding exhaust pipe to the port on the engine. Pull the pipe off to reach out to the muffler.
Step 4: Inspect the muffler. Check whether there are any cracks on it. Check also whether it has rusted also. This is mainly caused by continuous condensation. If the muffler has rusted or cracked replace It with a new one.
Step 5: Peel of the old gasket from the exhaust port. Scratch and remove any debris. Fix a new gasket over the exhaust port. Return the exhaust pipe and tighten it to the exhaust port.
If you are unable to follow the above procedure on your own, seek help from a professional. Don’t attempt to change anything if you are not confident enough. But if you are confident, the above stages are easy to follow.
After this process, your lawnmower should be silent. If the mower still makes more noise, consider other techniques of making the lawnmower quieter. Keep on reading to discover other amazing techniques to make a lawnmower quieter.
Note: Ensure you get a good quality muffler. Make sure before buying any muffler you know the dimensions of your lawn. Longer mufflers are quieter. Therefore, consider getting a long one if it’s possible.
You can check and buy different mufflers on Amazon. Check the mufflers below. They are tried and tested. Use any of them and expect to get excellent results.
Is it safe to use noise-canceling headphones while mowing?
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Mowing a lawn is not only infuriating and boring but can also be damaging to your ear if you fail to take proper precautions. I have seen most people use headphones to dampen the mower’s sound and listen to music while they are at it. Others prefer to use earplugs or earmuffs instead. This got me thinking and I decided to do a bit of research myself. What I found is…
No, it is not safe to use noise-canceling headphones while mowing. Your ears are already being subjected to high levels of noise. Using headphones adds to the intensity of the already hurting mower sounds. It is better to use earmuffs that block off the entire sound instead of dampening it.
Noise-canceling might seem like a better deal because everyone else uses them. But in reality, you are doing more harm than good. Hearing protection is not enough. You have to choose the right kind of protection as well.
Do noise-canceling headphones protect your ears from loud noises?
Yes, noise-canceling headphones protect your ears from loud noises but only partly. Noise-canceling headphones dampen the sound, but they cannot fully negate the mower sounds. You are better off using earmuffs that are specially created for this kind of work.
Most people use three specific ways to protect their hearing while mowing:
Noise-canceling headphones– Produces a negative ambient-like sound that negates outside noise. Best used in gyms or coffee shops where you need to drown out the outside ambient music. They do block harmful frequencies, but their efficiency takes a nosedive when pitted against jackhammers or even lawnmowers (more than 100 dB).
Bluetooth headsets– These are daily use case devices that play music to drown out ambient noise. The cheap ones do not do a great job of drowning out any outside noise, forcing you to buy expensive ones. However, there is a better alternative.
Earbuds– Earbuds are a smaller variant of headphones. They are smaller and more comfortable to wear, especially if it’s sunny outside.
- Do not interfere with other accessories such as hats or sunglasses.
- Usually more affordable compared to headphones.
- prone to falling off the ears.
- Usually lower sound quality compared to full-fledged headphones.
Like most, I also used Bluetooth headsets and though it seems nice to hear music while working, I could always hear the mower buzzing in the background. over, the constant blaring music felt annoying if I used them constantly. Noise cancellation headphones may be ideal for group study and morning walks. But when it comes to mowing, you are better off using other alternatives.
Are there any better alternatives to noise-canceling headphones?
Yes, there are better alternatives. Earmuffs are a suitable substitute. They completely block out your outer ear. Some even contain electronics, which is the only way to communicate with others while you are still wearing the earmuff.
Noise-canceling headphones are simply ineffective against high decibel noises, and Bluetooth headsets tend to cause more ear damage, even headaches. However, noise-canceling headphones are not a total myth as there are a few products that are approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA).
But you are better off using an Earmuff. They are created for the sole purpose of canceling out noise. Not to dampen, but to prevent even a shred of noise from entering your ears. Where noise-canceling headphones only dampen the sound by creating noise of their own, which is hardly helpful in such situations.
A great product is the 3M WorkTunes Connect. It provides great protection to your ears and even has Bluetooth.
- Best in class noise cancellation.
- People usually do not bother you because they assume you cannot hear them.
- Bulky and harder to carry than other headphones.
- Results in sweaty ears on prolonged usage.
- Can cause pain if you wear glasses as the earmuffs press into them.
All this precaution may seem a tad bit overkill. You must be asking yourself, “Is mowing sound really that dangerous?”. The short answer is yes. It may not seem that harmful now, but keep at it for a few years and you will start to feel consequences.
How To Replace The Muffler on Your Riding Lawnmower
Why do you need hearing protection while mowing the lawn?
Hearing protection is necessary as it shields your eardrums from the continuous onslaught of uncomfortably harmful noises.
You need hearing protection when using anything other than a reel mower. The noise of a reel mower is comparable to that of rain hitting the driveaway. A badly tuned one can produce squeaky noises, but that’s light years away from causing any severe ear damage.
Garden tractors or motorized lawn mowers produce sounds close to 85 dB. Electric mowers usually contain quiet engines. However, the spinning blades generate a humming sound that’s close to 75 dB. The riding motors produce about 80 dB of sound, which is just 5 dB shy of the safety mark set by OSHA.
That’s not all as gas-powered mowers are even louder and are able to reach a noise intensity of up to 90 dB and that’s not even the scary part. During my research, I discovered that these sounds are produced by new or well-maintained mowers. Older ones that are often neglected produce even a louder sound, which can significantly damage your hearing.
What happens when you don’t use noise-canceling headphones while mowing?
Not using noise-canceling headphones or similar alternatives can cause hearing loss the longer you are exposed to the noise.
Can I use cotton balls as earplugs?
Cotton balls are totally ineffective against the loud sounds of lawnmowers. This isn’t like the cartoons. Cotton balls provide no protection whatsoever against such loud machines.
Should I max out the volume on my Bluetooth headphones to protect my hearing from the mower’s noise?
Absolutely not. Covering up loud noise with even more loud noise is a bad idea, and you will end up hurting yourself. Use a combination of earmuffs and earpods instead.
Covering noise with loud music is like extinguishing fire with fire! Instead, use ear earpods and put an earmuff on top of it. This way you can freely adjust the volume(I suggest keeping it low) and protect your eardrums from all outside noise. However, you might sweat a lot so keep a towel handy.
Noise-canceling headphones are not always safe as they resort to loud music to dampen outside noise. So, unless you are using a reel mower, it’s very important that you take proper precautions to ensure the long-term health of your ears.
Earmuffs are the best as they prevent any noise from reaching your ears. However, avoid buying earmuffs online as they may not be a perfect fit.
I usually visit a local store and try out a few before picking one for myself, and if you have a large yard, I suggest you do the same. Stay safe and always remember to cover your ears before a long mowing session.
As you can see, I love my headphones! I use them every day when commuting, watching YouTube videos, playing guitar/piano and doing chores. I’m a podcast addict and I like all kinds of music from metal to chillout ambient.
My work makes me travel to different parts of the country and sometimes, hop continents throughout the year. While streaming content from my iPhone or Android phone is convenient, the option is not.
Roku speakers, like all other Bluetooth speakers/soundbars, have a tendency to cut out. It’s not always because of hardware issues, but there are other forces at play that can be easily fixed with.
About Ear Rockers
This site will provide you with everything you need to know about headphones.
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Hearing Protection for lawn care
Are you a lawn care aficionado? Whether you’re a certified landscape professional or just the designated lawn mower in your household, hearing protection is necessary for anyone operating outdoor power equipment. On this page, you can learn more about the importance of hearing protection for lawn care, the ISOtunes difference and our top recommended models for your next landscape project!
How Noise Isolating Headphones Can Help Landscapers
While it’s tempting to want to listen to music, a podcast, or an audiobook while doing yard work, it’s often difficult to hear over the sound of heavy-duty machinery. Between running your equipment and cranking up the sound on your headphones, you not only have a significant lack of situational awareness, but you could be causing significant damage to your ears.
Yard tools are loud. Keep in mind that in order to hear music, the volume needs to be loud enough to drown out the equipment that you’re using. Being that prolonged noise over 85 dB can cause hearing loss over time, and noise above 120 dB can cause immediate hearing loss, wearing conventional headphones while you work can be detrimental to your hearing. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). An estimated 40 million U.S. adults ages 20 through 69 have NIHL. much of which was caused by prolonged exposure to tools and other loud noises.
That being said, yard work takes time. and you want to do a good job. It’s nice to be able to listen to music, take a phone call, or listen to your favorite podcast while you work. This type of multitasking doesn’t just help you stay productive; it also creates a sort of entertainment value that makes working more fun. The good news is that with the right hearing protector that combine noise isolation and Bluetooth technology, you can do it all.
Noise-isolating headphones are crucial when mowing lawns or performing yard work for a few key reasons:
They reduce noise: As you can see from the chart below, a typical lawn mower emits about 90 decibels while it’s running. Noise-isolating headphones can reduce sound levels down to a safer dB so you’re less at risk of experiencing hearing loss from these loud noises.
They improve sound quality: Noise-isolating headphones keep loud noises from landscaping equipment at bay while enhancing the noise from your music, podcast or audiobook for your listening pleasure (and at a safe volume, too). This can help you multitask while you’re working in the yard, improving productivity and morale as a result.
mowing/lawn care activities (and their decibel levels)
Many landscapers wear conventional headphones when doing yard work, but is this always for the best? Let’s examine a couple of frequently asked questions we receive from professionals in the outdoor landscaping business:
Should you wear headphones when mowing the lawn?
Yes, but as we’ve hinted at throughout this post, there are both correct and incorrect headphones to wear while you’re mowing the lawn and doing yard work. The best mowing headphones are certified hearing protector headphones that dull the sound coming from the yard equipment while amplifying the likes of the audio that you want to listen to. whether it’s music, a podcast, or taking a phone call via Bluetooth. All audio coming from your headphones should be carried out at a level that’s safe for your ears.
Can you use noise-canceling headphones for mowing lawns?
Wearing noise-canceling headphones in place of hearing protection is highly discouraged. That’s because noise-canceling lawn mower headphones are not certified hearing protectors. In other words, you’re not likely to get the same protection from them as you would from noise-isolating headphones. It’s a key difference that can have a significant impact on your hearing. and it’s why it’s so important to select the right type of headphones to wear when doing work with loud equipment.
What should you look for in lawn care headphones?
There are several factors to look out for when it comes to selecting the best type of hearing protection for lawn care. Here’s a look at these considerations:
Hearing protection is a top priority when you’re working with loud equipment. and as you can see from the chart earlier on this page, lawn and yard maintenance is no exception to working with noisy equipment. Keep in mind that even prolonged equipment use at 85 dB may be enough to damage hearing over the long term and any exposure to noise at 120 dBA or above can lead to immediate hearing loss. Thankfully, the best Bluetooth headphones for mowing and yard work also offer adequate hearing protection that keeps noise levels under these volumes.
All ISOtunes headphones also include SafeMax™ Technology, a hearing conservation feature that ensures that all headphones limit volume output to 85 dB.
SafeMax™ Technology helps ensures OSHA compliance. than 25 million Americans are believed to suffer from noise-induced hearing loss from exposure at work or during leisure activities. SafeMax Technology helps ensure that any professionals wearing ISOtunes headphones are safe from adding to this statistic.
Regardless of profession, workers strive to be as productive and efficient as possible. Simply put, doing so allows for more time during the day to do the things that we want to do. and less time put forth to do the things we need to do. The best headphones for lawn care and yard work won’t just promote good hearing protection, but allow users to be more efficient in their everyday lives. One way is permitting users to take calls over their headphones via Bluetooth technology. This can save a lot of time by giving lawn and landscaping professionals the ability to speak with their clients as they work, rather than needing to return phone calls later in the day.
Comfort is also key when it comes to finding the best headphones for mowing. When you’re working in the yard, you’re bound to be breaking a sweat on the regular, so you want something that’s going to stand up to these conditions and not let you down during the summer months. That’s why we’ve designed ISOtunes earmuffs to be lightweight with a ventilated foam headband for increased air flow. Our muffs are also equipped with memory foam ear cushions, so they feel snug and comfortable on your ears as you move about the shop. As for our in-ear models, each product includes a starter eartip pack of four different sizes so you can find your best fit and ensure maximum comfort. Learn more about ISOtunes eartips here.
Noise isolation, Bluetooth compatibility, and comfort are all important when it comes to finding your go-to mowing headphones. Another factor to consider is durability. On this note, ISOtunes headphones are more than just sweat and water-resistant, but dust resistant as well.
Another factor to consider is battery life. When you’re a lawn care or landscaping professional, you’re largely working outside and traveling from job site to job site. It’s rare that you’re able to settle down during the day and charge your headphones or other devices. Hence, it’s important to have a battery that’s going to last all day. Battery life on earmuffs and earbuds varies, but ISOtunes hearing protection devices typically have batteries that last anywhere from 10 hours to up to 50 hours before a recharge is necessary, making for all-day (and in some cases, multi-day) usage in between recharges.
Lastly, ISOtunes stands behind its products, offering a best-in-class one-year warranty. ISOtunes aren’t just OSHA certified, but they are built to last in any environment.
lawn care pros who use isotunes products
Don’t just take our word for it. Hear it from some of the professionals that are wearing them out in the field on a day-in, day-out basis. One such professional is Brian Fullerton. who started his very own lawn care and landscaping business in 2007. Dubbed the Lawntrepreneur, he now helps others start and grow their own lawncare businesses. Brian offers one-on-one coaching, how-to tutorials on everything from aeration to overseeding, and information on value-added service offerings such as mulch installation. He also hosts a podcast, Fullerton Unfiltered, where he profiles the success stories of his clients and shares more information. And Brian doesn’t trust any headphones that aren’t ISOtunes earbuds or earmuffs.
Picking The Best Headphones or Earbuds With Hearing Protection For Mowing The Lawn
Before getting this article started, we’re going to reiterate our disclaimer here:
Nothing on this site is medical or audiological advice – all such advice should come from a properly licensed and qualified professional.
Should you wear hearing protection while using a powered mower?
Permanent and cumulative ear/hearing damage can occur at volumes that might not seem all that loud or uncomfortable, and most power tools, including mowers, easily exceed that threshold. over, ear/hearing damage can accumulate for years without symptoms, only for a person to realize its too late once they do experience symptoms.
Plain old ear plugs or safety muffs can work fine, but mowing can get pretty boring, and fortunately there are a variety of headphones and earbuds that are designed to also provide hearing/ear protection.
How loud are common/popular lawn mowers to the user?
Sources seem to vary, and this will also depend on a variety of brand and environmental specific factors, but here’s a rough guideline:
Electric push mower: 75 dB
Gas powered push mower: 85 dB
John Deere/gas powered tractor mower with cab: 95 dB
John Deere/gas powered tractor mower without cab: 100 dB
Something worth noting here: if a lawn mower sounds unusually loud it could be a sign of it being in suboptimal condition – it might need maintenance or a part replacement.
How much hearing protection do you need while mowing?
Sound that reaches around 70 dB, which is about what the average household vacuum cleaner reaches, is where prolonged exposure can start to cause hearing damage. Safe exposure time decreases rapidly as dBs, an exponential measurement, increase.
Ideally you want to get enough noise reduction to be decently below the 70 dB threshold. If you’re not sure a single piece of equipment you have will get you there, you can always double up a pair of earbuds or earplugs with a pair of noise cancelling/isolating headphones or earmuffs.
PSA: it’s better to be safe than sorry! Yes that’s a tired platitude, but hearing loss, even mild, can be uncomfortably debilitating and generally stinks to deal with. Ask any multi-decade veteran in the music industry and they will almost always tell you to use hearing protection with maniacal enthusiasm!
Do noise cancelling headphones offer hearing protection?
Yes – noise cancelling headphones/earbuds actually emit a second sound wave that’s called “anti-noise.” This anti-noise is out of phase with, or an inversion of, the actual noise coming in from the outside, which essentially neutralizes the air pressure differential (that’s what a sound wave basically is) which would otherwise vibrate your eardrum and register sound in your brain.
This is opposed to noise isolation, which simply blocks the outside sound wave or reduces it’s potency, or air pressure differential, to safe and/or tolerable levels.
Is noise isolation or cancellation better? pros and cons
Either, if used properly, can provide adequate hearing protection and make mowing safe. The differences between the two are mostly a matter of practical preference:
Factor #1: cost – Good noise cancelling headphones can get expensive, running up to a few hundred dollars or even more, whereas good noise isolating headphones are available for a small fraction of that price. And of course plain old earplugs are pretty cheap.
Factor #2: comfort – Noise isolating headphones or earplugs often need to be inserted pretty deep into the ear canal to function properly. They also tend to exert a fair amount of feelable pressure. They can also exacerbate issues with wax build up and impaction.
Noise cancelling headphones can feel pretty bulky and heavy. They might move or slide around on your head, or, the ones intended for use while doing manual labor or other physical activity can have a pretty tight clamp force in order to stay in place. Noise cancelling headphones can also cause a so called “pressure” feeling, or a sensation like your ears need to pop, but many users report that if they do experience this feeling it often goes away after you get used to using noise cancelling headphones.
Any of the aforementioned possibilities can cause comfort issues that might dissuade someone from using one or the other.
Factor #3: battery dependence – noise cancelling headphones use active electronics to produce the anti-noise, and thus need batteries or to be charged, whereas simple wired noise isolating headphones do not and can just be plugged into your source device at any time.
Factor #4: bulk/usability/convenience – noise isolating headphones can be as small and light as any pair of earbuds, whereas noise cancelling headphones are, said again, unavoidably large and bulky to a degree. It’s entirely likely that you’ll want to be able to use hearing protection headphones generally – not while just mowing the lawn – so ease of commuter style use is definitely worth considering.
Specifics to look for in hearing protection headphones or earbuds
Good clamp force – Heavier and bulkier headphones can slide around as you walk, move, and perpetually look down while mowing. In addition to that being extremely annoying while trying to mow or do some other physical labor, it runs the risk of compromising the seal and hearing protection.
Weather resistance – It’s good for any pair of headphones you’re going to use in an outdoor environment, even one that’s relatively temperate, have some degree of weather resistance. Look for something that has an official IP code certification for protection against moisture and dust.
Noise attenuation/reduction rating – any pair of isolating headphones or earbuds should have a specified level of noise reduction, often abbreviated NRR, in decibels (dB), so you can be sure you get well below the threshold of hearing safety.
Specific products we like and recommend
The best noise isolating earbuds in our opinion are made by Etymotic Research – the company specialize in hearing protection as well as does research and makes equipment for professional grade audiology.
Their popular mk5s (read our review here), have 35-42 dB of noise attenuation, which is enough to reduce the noise of just about any non-commercial lawn mower on the market to safe levels. They don’t even have to be on with music playing to work, and can also function as simple earplugs.
These are also great for general noisy commuter use on planes, crowded trains, and such.