3M WorkTunes Connect hearing protectors are incredibly popular thanks to their built-in audio connection and certified 24dB noise reduction rating. Popularity is one thing, but I wanted to see how well they work.
- Single-button controls for playback and calls
- Less expensive than most Bluetooth hearing protection
- Plenty of vertical adjustment for the earpieces
- Decent sound quality for the price
- Volume has to be controlled on your device
- Fit can be tight for some folks out of the box
RecommendationFor less than $60, 3M WorkTunes Connect does a nice job of blending hearing protection with entertainment and costs less than a lot of those other options. With more than enough battery to get you through the day, this is a product we can recommend to anyone looking to bring some entertainment inside their hearing protection.
3M WorkTunes Connect Fit and Comfort
First up, I needed to know how well these Bluetooth earmuffs fit. I prefer over-the-ear muffs over in-ear models, but they can be worthless if they don’t fit right. Fortunately, the openings are wide enough to accommodate my ears and the pads create a good seal so there’s no noise leaking in.
The next priority is comfort. Hearing protection doesn’t do much good if you’re constantly adjusting to relieve pressure or taking them off altogether.
Over the top of my head, there’s plenty of room. I appreciate the cutout in the top of the band that gives the button on top of my hat a little relief. If the fit is tight against your head (very likely), you can pull the earpieces down to relieve any pressure you might feel.
All earmuffs need some pressure from the sides to seal the pads against your skin and hold them in place. I found the 3M WorkTunes Connect was a little uncomfortable with how much pressure it had. I ended up bending them out slightly where they enter the headband and got a better fit for wearing over multiple hours. Be gentle if you try this so you don’t break them!
3M WorkTunes Connect Sound Quality
With the fit dialed in, I turned my attention to the sound quality. Running through my standard list of classical, a capella, country, rock, and talk gave me a good idea of its capabilities.
The overall sound quality is very good at this price point, with better lows than I expected. The vocals aren’t as crisp you’ll get from a good set of headphones, and it’s something you’ll notice more when you’re listening to podcasts or talk programs. However, it’s absolutely passable and certainly makes the day more enjoyable when I need hearing protection.
The volume tops out at 82 decibels and you’ll have to use the volume controls on our device to adjust it. I don’t have perfect hearing anymore and I found it loud enough to enjoy, even while I was testing other power tools around the shop. To really compete with your music, what you’re working on is going to have to be well over 100 decibels at your ear before the 24 decibels of noise reduction softens it.
3M WorkTunes Connect Price
You can pick up a set of 3M WorkTunes Connect hearing protectors at Lowe’s for $59.97. There’s also a set that has a built-in AM/FM radio that runs $89.98 (not tested).
Full Feature Set
- 24 dB noise reduction rating
- High-fidelity speakers with 82 dB max output
- More than 30 hours of battery life
- Automatic shut off
- Bluetooth and 3.5mm audio connections
- Built-in microphone for phone calls
- Single-button controls for audio playback and phone calls (no volume control)
- Audio cues
- Cap cutouts
- Micro USB charging (cord included)
The Bottom Line
We’ve tested Bluetooth hearing protection from Stihl, IsoTunes, and others. For less than $60, 3M WorkTunes Connect does a nice job of blending hearing protection with entertainment and costs less than a lot of those other options. With more than enough battery to get you through the day, this is a product we can recommend to anyone looking to bring some entertainment inside their hearing protection.
- Model: 3M 90543-4DC
- Noise Reduction Rating (NRR): 24 dB
- Device Connections: Bluetooth or 3.5mm audio cable
- Price: $59.97 at Lowe’s
Learn more at 3M’s website.