Hearing protectors are as essential to a safe, well-equipped shop as good lighting, safety glasses, and a dust collector. After all, the noise made by shop machines will damage your hearing. Yet in a recent poll on this Web site, 1 in 10 woodworkers said they usually don't wear hearing protection. There are hundreds of varieties of hearing protectors on the market, ranging from disposable foam plugs that cost about a dollar a pair up to electronics-laden earmuffs that sell for close to $200. What's best? Fine Woodworking editors conducted an informal test of a variety of types, and generally preferred muffs to plugs. But experts say the most effective hearing protectors are the ones that are comfortable and easy to use--the ones you'll actually wear.

From Fine Woodworking #189