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Should You Pressure Wash an RV: How to Clean Your RV Safely

Keeping your RV clean and removing grime can be a challenge. The sheer size of the vehicle and its exposure to the elements can cause your RV to become very dirty over time. It’s hard to keep your balance on a ladder while you’re scrubbing down your RV, but what else are you supposed to do to keep it clean? 

Some RVers use a pressure washer to quickly and efficiently remove road grime. This is a great tool so you can get to the hard-to-reach places near the roof. 

If you decide to use a pressure washing system for your RV, it’s important to use proper safety precautions. Remember that pressure washing is very different from washing with a standard hose. Your pressure washer cannot be used like a standard garden hose, or it could do damage to your RV. Here’s what you need to know. 

Can you pressure wash an RV?

Most pressure washers are NOT suitable for use with an RV. Only ones that are made specifically for low pressure washing, or made specifically to be used on an RV, should be used for this purpose. 

Using too powerful of a machine could unintentionally (and unknowingly) do serious damage to your RV (e.g., smash a hole in your fiberglass roof) , which could ultimately cost thousands of dollars to repair. 

How do you pressure wash an RV camper?

The first step to detailing an RV camper is to find a device made for low pressure washing (typically electric models) or RV cleaning. Always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Some tips:

  • Avoid using the pressure washer for roof cleaning or for cleaning the tires, as the high pressure water could do damage to these sensitive parts.
  • Avoid aiming the pressure washer at a 90-degree angle, especially at sensitive areas like caulking. Aiming at a 90-degree angle forces the water to hit the camper at its hardest pressure, without giving the water an easy way to bounce off. 
  • Keep direct pressure off of seals, vents and window caulk. 
  • Stay away from decals. 
  • Never use the pressure washer on your RV awning. 
  • Do not get the pressure washer up close to the RV camper. 
  • Consider your RV when trying to decide whether pressure washing is right for it. Older models that are in need of fixing up or fresh caulking could be uniquely damaged by the pressure washing experience, compared to a new RV, which may be more capable of withstanding direct hit from high-pressure water. 
  • Do not pressure wash your RV air conditioner.
  • Do not spray while on a ladder. 

When using a pressure washing RV wash device, use the following steps:

  • Mix the detergent into the water in the tank. Use detergent made specifically for RV washing, or a mild soap. 
  • Spray the water at the RV in a sweeping motion, starting at the top and working down to prevent streaking.
  • Spray soap at a low pressure using a foam cannon attachment for your pressure washer, then allow the detergent to soak in for 5 minutes.
  • Scrub the soap on the RV with a long-handled scrubber.
  • Spray to rinse the soap, maintaining a distance of at least 3 or 4 feet. 

What is the best PSI for pressure washing an RV?

A gas-fueled pressure washer can reach up to 3,000 PSI, while an electric pressure washer will reach 2,600 PSI. Models specifically designed for RV pressure washing will only reach 1,100 to 1,300 PSI. Low pressure washing devices not specifically made for use on RVs may go higher. 

This is another important reason to purchase an RV pressure washer – they’re designed not to reach a higher PSI than an amount that is supposed to be safe for your RV. 

How much does it cost to pressure wash an RV?

If you’re paying a professional to pressure wash your RV for you, you could end up paying between $2 and $5 per linear foot, depending on the business doing the work, the size of your RV and other factors. 

Before paying a professional to power wash your RV, ask questions and make inquiries to ensure that this professional is qualified to get the work done. Some good questions to ask include:

  • What kind of pressure washing device are you using?
  • What safeguards do you have in place to ensure you won’t do damage to the vehicle?
  • Do you have references?

If you’re going to do the work yourself as a DIY project, renting a power washer from a home improvement store can cost about $100. However, unless the unit you’re renting is specifically a low pressure device, it’s not advised to be used on your RV. 

Safety guidelines for personal use

When you’re using a pressure washer for a clean RV, follow these safety guidelines.

  • Always read the manufacturer’s instructions before using the pressure washer. Pay close attention to safety instructions.
  • Wear safety gear including safety goggles, boots, gloves, long-sleeved shirts and long pants. 
  • Note any tripping hazards in your path when using the pressure washer, to avoid falling down while using it. Remove tripping hazards whenever possible.
  • Never use the tool for anything that it was not designed to do. For example, never clean something that it was not designed to clean, as it could cause damage.
  • Do not turn the spray nozzle on yourself (like to clean your shoes), and never aim at anyone else.
  • Never spray bare skin (again, keep it away from yourself). 

See what happens when safety rules are now followed. 

Potential issues from pressure washing your RV camper

Before you use a pressure washer on your RV, you should be aware of the specific problems that you could cause.

Damage to your motor home’s door and window caulking

Caulking is rubbery, sticky and not permanent. It wears away through months of exposure to cold air and heat. It must be replaced on a regular basis, often every few years. High pressure water aimed at your RV could take the caulking off much more quickly than the effects of time and weather. 

Although the caulking that may be removed by the RV can be replaced, you’d need to know that the caulking had been damaged. If you’re unaware that the damage has occurred, water could penetrate your vehicle without your knowledge – and cause a great deal of damage over a long period before the leaks are caught. 

Leaks from RV Roof

If the pressure washer is used on the RV roof, the high pressure water could cause water penetration, leaks and water damage. This can also lead to future leaks when the RV is not being washed. 

Damage to Paint and Decals

Your RV’s paint and decals may not be an important part of the RV’s functionality, but inadvertent removal of the paint and decals could impact your RV’s value. It’s best to leave the paint and decals intact! 

Our recommended power washers and cleaning products for RV 

If you’re going to use a pressure water or foam cannon for cleaning your RV, we recommend the following products.

Waterless cleaning options: Alternatives to RV Pressure Washing

You can clean your RV with little or no water at all, by handwashing your RV and using an RV wax product. Simply wipe down the surface with a microfiber cloth, spray it with wax, then wipe away with a separate microfiber cloth. You’ll need many cloths to get the work done, as the cloths will continue getting dirty. It’s important to change rags as they get dirty, otherwise you’ll spread the dirt around on the RV, scratching the fiberglass surface without actually cleaning the RV. 

When you’re done, your RV should be as shiny and beautiful as it would be if you had used water to clean it!

How to Pressure Wash Your Roof: Roof Pressure Washing Basics

Many business and home owners strive to maintain their property’s curb appeal and protect their investment with periodic cleanings for moss removal, lichen removal, mildew removal and to eradicate other undesirable debris. Anyone considering attempting to pressure wash roof installations themselves should use caution.

Not only can using the wrong cleaning method or too much pressure damage certain types of roofing, but the task itself can be physically risky. Here, we’ll discuss the question of can you pressure wash a roof and offer tips concerning how to pressure wash a roof safely and effectively.

Here’s Why You Should Never Pressure Wash Certain Dirty Roof Types

professional pressure cleaning roof
Professional roof washing.

Roof pressure wash services can certainly clean up the area, but not all roof materials are best suited for pressure washing. While certain soft washing processes are possible, it’s often best to employ a professional roof cleaning company to do the work to prevent damage such as:

  • Compromising bonding, adhesives or the underlayment of the roofing materials.
  • Roof leaks around skylights, flashing or other roofing areas with joisted or worn seals.
  • Breaks or cracks in clay, shake, slate, cement and metal roofs.
  • Stripping away the granules on asphalt shingles.
  • Accidentally dispersing fungus, moss and other organisms from one part of the roof to the rest of the area.

Because cleaning methods, tools and nozzles to handle the task vary from job to job, hiring a professional for roof pressure washing or roofing company is the safest route.

Can You Pressure Wash Asphalt Shingle Roofs?

While it is possible to pressure wash asphalt roofing, a special process called a soft wash that uses low-pressure rather than high pressure is highly recommended. If the water pressure is set to an excessive PSI level or the wrong nozzle is used, the roof can be compromised, begin leaking, or remove asphalt granules. Using the right temperature, nozzle style and a low-pressure setting is vital to solid results.

Are Other Roof Materials Safe for Power Washing?

Roof composition is the first thing to determine when deciding how to approach achieving a clean roof. Other roofing materials less common than shingles can still be damaged during pressure cleanings, and in some cases the owner’s warranty could be voided. It’s always wise to check the manufacturer’s recommendations before breaking out the pressure washer for a DIY roof cleaning. Here are some general guidelines that a roof cleaning service typically follows.

pressure cleaning roof with power washer
  • Clay Roof Tiles: This material is durable, and one should use a pressure washer set at 1200 psi to clean clay roof tiles.
  • Concrete Tile: These roofs are typically flat and commonly used for industrial or apartment complexes. They can handle a wide array of pressure cleaning settings.
  • Slate Roofs: Slate is another resilient material, but they can be damaged by forceful contact, making them a good candidate for soft wash techniques.
  • Metal Roofs: Typically made of tin alloy, metal roofs are capable of enduring several pressure washing setting levels.
  • Wood Shake: Similar to asphalt shingles, wood shake must be carefully washed with a low-pressure setting.

When Should You Hire Experienced Roof Cleaners?

One of the best indicators that professional roof cleaners are the best option is for owners who have little or no experience with pressure washing. By hiring someone with the right equipment, effective biodegradable cleaning products and know-how, the chances of avoiding the need for unexpected roof repair or costly roof replacement are increased. With the right pressure, nozzles and a good cleaning solution, almost any roof can become free of buildup with a power washer.

When is DIY Roof Power Washing a Good Option?

If your roof is made of one of the more durable materials mentioned earlier, a DIY power washing effort might work out just fine. The standard PSI rating of a pressure washer is 2,600, so it can put out a lot of water at high speeds. Some professional grade models have even more power and generally shouldn’t be used for DIY roof cleaning.

pressure washing roof and gutters
Roof and Gutters Power Cleaning Using Pressure Washer.

There are also various types of nozzles. Some shoot out strong, straight jets of water, and some others have a fan attachment that is gentler on contact surfaces. When the roof is made of metal or concrete, it can often withstand straight shooting nozzles. However, low pressure methods and fan nozzles are best for roofing materials such as asphalt, cedar shake, and certain types of tiles.

How to Safely Pressure Wash Roof Installations

Roof power washing can be accomplished without causing damage, but this takes special care and often uses a low-pressure wash technique roofers call a soft wash. Using a special nozzle tip, even more brittle materials such as asphalt can be free of debris and buildup. Here are the steps and tips for soft washing roofing.

  1. Generously wet plants and landscaping with a garden hose, taking time to cover sensitive flowers with a tarp for protection.
  2. Wet the roof on a low pressure setting.
  3. Apply a bleach or chlorine based gel or a preferred type of biodegradable cleaning products to remove dirt and grime while warding off fungus, algae, moss and mildew.
  4. Allow them to sit for the recommended cleaning time.
  5. Gently rinse from the top down with the pressure washer until the residue is removed.

It is often possible to remove some debris with a soft brush, broom or a leaf blower with a ladder when the buildup isn’t too significant.

Top 5 Ways Pressure Washing Can Extend the Life of Your Roof

Keep the same roof for generations to come with proper care, and save money on unplanned roof repairs or roof replacement. While excessive pressure washing can reduce the lifespan of some roofing types like asphalt, they generally boost curb appeal along with extending the life of your roof system. Here are five reasons why periodic roof power washing is beneficial for longevity.

  1. Algae, moss, mold, lichen and other types of fungus are not only unsightly, but they can invade and erode and rot the base of shingles that shield them from leaks and also loosen the structure’s foundation.
  2. Growths can also become breeding grounds for moss, which can work its way into wood structures, decking and beneath the eaves of certain roofs. Regular pressure washing services can help curb these invasions and save owners concerns about premature roof deterioration.
  3. A clean roof holds less heat that can contribute to roof underlayment erosion.
  4. A dirty roof that not properly cared for can ultimately lose out on warranty claims.
  5. Debris on flat roofs can clog drain openings that lead to ponding on the surface, which can erode detrimental components of the roof membrane.

How to Choose the Best Power Washers and Cleaning Products for Roofs

The best pressure washers we found range drastically in pricing, which is generally relative to how much power it has, whether it is electric or gas, and any key features they may have. For most residential applications, you might consider a mid-range model that has around 2000-3000 PSI, so it can be used for other applications around the house, such as sidewalks, decks and siding.

Choosing a quiet power washer that can do both low and high pressure settings is optimal. Don’t forget about considering those that work with various types of nozzles, are easily portable, and have a hose long enough to get the job done. Foam cannons are another option for soft washing projects, and some people can do a single story structure from a ladder without having to get on the roof. These cannons are somewhat safer and many DIY’er’s find them actually fun to use.

There are many options for chemicals that can successfully clean roofs, but the most common chemicals still in use are bleach mixed with water or sodium hypochlorite when power washing. If there are lichens, algae, mold, other biological growths or staining present, special surfactants can be used to remove them and slow their reappearance. There are also several earth-friendly biodegradable roof cleaning options available today.

Professional Pressure Washing Can Save You Time and Money

Ultimately, calling in an experienced roof cleaning service provider means less work and out of pocket expense for you. No costly equipment to buy, plus there’s no physical risk to you with pros on your side. Many see improvements in energy cost, that their roof lasts longer, and that their property values go up with a clean and sanitary roof.

How to Pressure Wash Your Fence Correctly!

As the summer comes to a close you may be checking off the last few items on your home maintenance to-do list. 

Many homeowners could have “pressure wash the fence” on their to-do list. The fence in your yard is pivotal in maintaining your privacy, and keeping your kids and pets in the yard, but it is exposed to the elements 24/7. 

That means your fence has likely accumulated years of dirt and grime. It’s time to blast that grime away and bring your fence back to life. 

However, pressure washing a wood fence can be tricky. If you use the wrong amount of pressure you might damage your fence and spend thousands to repair and replace it. 

While we are mainly talking about wood fences in this piece, the same ideas can be applied to vinyl fences as well. You still have to be careful, but don’t need to worry about causing expensive damage to wood surfaces.

Cleaning fence with high pressure power washer

We’ve rounded up some tips and tricks to make power washing your fence a breeze. 

Steps to Clean Your Fence with a Power Washer 

First, it’s important to make sure you prepare your fence to ensure optimal results. 

Preparation 

Preparation is arguably the most important step to wash a fence correctly. Before you start make sure to: 

  • Clear loose debris from near and around the fence 
  • Remove debris from your work area so you don’t slip or fall over objects 
  • Close doors and windows to prevent water from damaging the interior of your house
  • Cover plants, electrical outlets, light fixtures, deck furniture, and anything nearby with a tarp
  • Station your pressure washer in a safe area 
  • Read your owner manual to determine the correct spray pattern to utilize

Applying Cleaner

The next step is to apply a cleaner to your fence. First, spray the soil and plants around your fence with water from the garden hose to create a barrier between the detergent and soil to prevent damage. 

This technique will encourage runoff instead of soaking into the soil and causing damage. 

Next, load up your pressure washer with a cleaning solution. Use a bottom-up approach when applying detergent to your fence to prevent streaking. 

You will also want to work in sections. If you apply detergent to your entire fence before rinsing it off, the detergent will harden on the fence. Your job will become much harder!

Let the detergent sit on the fence for 5-10 minutes. 

If you are running into troublesome areas or deep stains, attach a rotating scrub brush to your pressure washing wand. This will help break up troublesome stains, and best prepare the fence for dirt and grime removal. 

Spraying off cleaner with Your Pressure Washer 

Once the detergent has soaked on the fence for 5-10 minutes, use a 25-degree nozzle to spray off the detergent. 

Remember: continue to work in sections! Alternate between applying detergent, letting it sit for 5-10 minutes, then rinsing it off as you work your way down the fence. 

It is best to cover 1 to 2 boards at a time. This technique will get you optimal results when pressure washing your fence. 

When rinsing apply a top down approach with the sprayer to prevent streaks. If you’re going to apply stain, sealer, or paint after your job is complete, wait 48 hours to allow the fence to dry. 

Ideal tools to use (ideal pressure washer & detergent) 

Wood is soft so you have to choose your tools carefully. If you use the wrong type of water pressure, nozzle, or detergent you may be in for an expensive surprise. 

Because pressure washers use such a high pressure, mistakes happen really fast. That’s why it is important to nail down the correct tools ahead of time so your risk of damage is lower. 

We’ve rounded up the best tools to use to complete your fence pressure washing successfully.  

PSI & Nozzle selection 

If you are familiar with pressure washers you may know that there are a variety of tips or nozzles that come with 

You can’t use just any nozzle because each nozzle is designed to do different things. 

The wrong nozzle could cause serious damage to your fence. The ideal nozzle tip is the 25-degree tip – the green nozzle tip. Anything less will not deliver enough pressure to thoroughly clean your fence, and anything large could cause the damage we’re trying to avoid.

The nozzle is only half the equation. Let’s dive into PSI and determine what level is best for pressure washing your fence correctly. 

A PSI between 500 to 800 for softer woods should suffice for cleaning your fence. To determine what PSI works best with the type of wood you have, you can test it out on a small area before pressure washing the entire fence. 

If you have a fence made of harder wood, you may need to use a PSI of 1200 to 1500 to clean your fence correctly. 

Spray a small area with different PSI levels to see the effect of each PSI level on the fence and then choose the PSI that delivers the best results. 

Testing out the effect of different PSI’s is extremely important for preserving the integrity of your fence. This is the most critical step after preparing your fence correctly with detergent. 

Best Gas Pressure Washer for Wooden Fences 

It’s important to have the right type of pressure washer when washing wood. There are two types of pressure washers on the market: gas or electric pressure washers. 

Electric pressure washers are great for smaller projects that need low pressure to get the job done and are close to a nearby outlet (think: washing your car). 

Gas pressure washers can be great for wood fences. They have a higher GPM output, and are not reliant on an outlet or extension cable. 

We recommend the Simpson Cleaning MSH3125 MegaShot.  It features a Honda engine, 10” large wheels for optimal movability, and a PSI of 3200 and GPM of 2.5. 

The Simpson has enough power to thoroughly clean your fence and is also lightweight and easy to use. 

If you’re looking for a step-down, the Simpson Cleaning MS60763-S MegaShot is a great alternative. This model features a lower PSI and GPM than the MSH3125, coming in at 3100 PSI and 2.4 GPM. 

This gas pressure washer is designed for homeowners because it is lightweight and easy to transport. Either pressure washer you choose will work well for your fence pressure washing project.

Finally, you want to make sure that you are close to a hose or water source to fill up your pressure washer regularly. A 2-3 GPM pressure washer will run out of water fast depending on how big your fence project is. 

Best detergent to use

The type of detergent you use will depend on the type of fence you have. However, Simple Green’s Oxy Solve Deck and Fence cleaner is a great option. It is safe for the environment and tough enough to tackle moss, grime, mold, mildew, and anything else that is stuck on your fence. 

If you’re interested in learning more about different kinds of detergents, check out this great video that compares different detergents for your fence. 

Safety Guidelines 

Safety for homeowner 

If you are not careful, you may get injured while pressure washing your fence. Injuries from your pressure washer can range from mild to severe. That’s why it is important to take these precautions while pressure washing: 

  • Wear the correct clothing while pressure washing 
  • Never place your pressure washer on uneven surfaces 
  • Never leave your pressure washing wand unattended 
  • Wear eye protection at all times to prevent debris from injuring your eye 
  • Handle pressure washer detergent carefully and follow manufacturer’s specifications because the detergent contains chemicals that could damage your skin. 
  • Never take your eyes off your pressure washing project while the pressure washing wand is employed 
  • Get familiar with your pressure washer and where the on/off switch is in case of an emergency
  • Release any remaining pressure after turning your pressure washer off by squeezing the wand trigger before disconnecting your hoses or nozzles

Safety for wood 

  • Always use the proper nozzle 
  • Test the PSI with a small, hidden area first 
  • Use wood safe detergent 

We hope these tips and tricks will help you pressure wash your fence successfully. Let us know how your pressure washing project went! We love to hear any tips or tricks you may have picked up along the way.

The Best Headphones to Hear Your Music, Podcasts or Audiobooks When Mowing the Lawn, Pressure Washing or Using Other Loud Tools

Best bluetooth headphones for lawn mowing

We researched and tested Bluetooth hearing protection and noise cancelling headphones for 18 hours last week.

Why?

To help you find the best to listen to music, audiobooks or take phone calls while mowing the lawn, using a pressure washer, weed wacker, shrub trimmer or chainsaw.

Sound good?

Okay, let’s get started.

The best pair of Bluetooth hearing protection headphones will have 5 traits:

5 Traits of Great Lawn Mowing Headphones

  1. You can easily hear the music, podcast or phone call over the lawn mower engine noise without having to blast the sound volume. This can be accomplished in 3 ways:
    • Earmuff (over ear) or earplug (in ear) hearing protection with Bluetooth speakers built-in
    • Noise cancelling headphones
    • Earbud headphones with regular earmuff hearing protection worn overtop.
  2. The headphones are comfortable to wear and don’t fall off when moving your head around while mowing
  3. Be wireless with good battery life (around 10+ hours at least) and Bluetooth to connect with phone
  4.  The best headphones for lawn mowing at your house will be affordable – preferably under $100
  5. Since they’ll be used in outdoor dirty, dusty, wet environments they’ll need to be capable of withstanding rough handling.

Jump to the Reviews

Using those 5 traits as buying criteria we go in-depth below to explain the 5 best headphones and Bluetooth hearing protection to use when mowing your lawn or with other loud power tools.

Do you know How Loud are Pressure Washers Compared to Other Home Goods?

5 Things Everyone Ought To Know Before Buying Headphones or Bluetooth Hearing Protection to Use When Mowing the Lawn or Pressure Washing   

1. Is listening to music (and operating your phone to find music) when lawn mowing or pressure washing safe?

Safety of lawn mowing and wearing bluetooth headphones

It can be safe with proper risk management.

The argument against using them is: with headphones on listening to music you will be less aware of your surroundings. In addition, operating your phone to change songs or apps is further distraction from the job.

Let’s look at dangers when mowing the lawn with noise cancelling headphones or hearing protection with speakers:

  • Probably won’t hear when the mower blade is hitting a rock or obstruction thus increasing risk of failure of mower or spitting the object out and hitting either you or someone nearby
  • If you’re on a zero-turn ride-on mower that can turn on a dime it’s possible you (for whatever reason) decide to turn quick and hit someone. Possible your kid was running up behind you saying he/she wanted to jump on and ride with you. However unlikely, it’s possible.
  • If you’re on a busy street mowing your front lawn you could come out into the street to turn around the mower and head back and miss a car coming straight at you because you couldn’t hear their engine.

Dangers pressure washing:

  • Since you tend to pressure wash a hose length (20 – 50 ft) away from the loud pressure washer you won’t hear any weird noises from the machine which may indicate failure.
  • If you get a phone call coming through you may – without thinking – remove one hand from the pressure gun to take the call causing your other hand to take the full control of the spray gun. It’s possible you lose control and spray someone in the face or damage property.

And what about other outdoor equipment:

  • If you’re using a chainsaw with a spotter you might not hear what they tell you. Of course, if you have a spotter you probably won’t be playing music in your hearing protection… But you never know.
  • If you’re using a weed wacker and someone is trying to tell you they are walking up to pass you on the right you won’t hear them. You could hit them with the weed wacker or it could spit some rock up and hit them as they are passing.

How To Control The Hazards

You can make listening to music while using loud outdoor equipment safe by being aware of the hazards and controlling them.

Here’s what you should do.

First, you should ask yourself 6 questions about the task:

  1. Am I fit for work and ready?
    • Are you rested? Hungover? Had way too much coffee?
  2. Am I in the area where the task is to be performed?
    • Head to where you are mowing or doing the work so you can get a good view of the hazards.
  3. Is there anything new or different?
    • Is it raining today? Are there obstructions in the way (toys, chairs, bikes etc.)? Are there other people working nearby?
  4. Am I new to the task or working with anyone new?
    • Is this your first time using your lawn mower or pressure washer or other equipment? Are you getting your son or daughter to mow the lawn for their first time?
  5. Is this a dangerous area that needs to be blocked off?
    • Let’s say you live in a cul-de-sac with a grass island in the middle and you need to mow that…Would be good to put some orange cones up to warn drivers. Or maybe your backyard doesn’t have a fence and there’s a risk of dogs or other kids coming into the line of fire.
  6. Do I have the correct protective equipment and tools?
    • For mowing the grass you’ll want closed-in shoes (no sandals), eye protection and hearing protection at the very least. Add in long pants and gloves to be safe.

Next you should think through the controls for the hazards (some examples for mowing your back lawn):

  • Hazard: You feel tired and agitated. Control: Take a break, have some water and come back in 30 mins.
  • Hazard: There’s bikes and toys and tennis balls lying around the backyard. Control: Move them off the grass before starting.
  • Hazard: It’s a new mower and your first time using it. Control: Read the User Manual and go slow.

Yes, this might seem overkill but you’d be surprised how many people get injured using outdoor power equipment at home. At work, you’d never do a job without personal protective equipment but at home many people do.

Better safe than sorry.

2. Which are better for your needs: noise cancelling headphones or hearing protection with Bluetooth speakers?

To know which is better for your needs you’ll need to know the differences.

But first:

Have a look at the chart below showing the different pitch and loudness of common sounds.

It is recommended you protect your ears at anything above 80 dB (orange and red colors). A lawn mower is mostly low frequency at about 100 dB.

The purpose of showing you this chart is because active noise cancelling only works with low frequency and some mid frequency sounds. To help block high frequency, passive noise cancelling is used – passive just means no power/battery is needed and instead soundproofing materials block the sound from entering your ear.

Power tools audiogram for noise cancelling headphones

So what’s the difference between the headphones and hearing protection?

  • Noise cancelling headphones use a microphone to listen to the ambient sound – in a coffee shop, for example – and then produce (using internal electronics) a negative sound to cancel out the ambient. This works really well for planes, coffee shops and gyms but not so great for standing next to a jackhammer. These headphones – especially the over ear style – will also use sound isolation to block harmful frequencies entering your ear.
  • Bluetooth hearing protection blocks the noise coming into your ears using sound proof materials to isolate your eardrum. They then have speakers inside the barrier to let music play at a regular volume.

Noise cancelling pros and cons

  • Pros: Best sound quality.
  • Cons: More expensive. Requires more battery power.

Noise isolation (Bluetooth hearing protection) pros and cons

  • Pros: Affordable.
  • Cons: Will make it harder to hear good sounds like a person talking to you to warn you about something.

Active vs. passive noise isolation/cancelling

Noise cancelling headphones use active noise cancelling by having a microphone listen to the ambient outside noise and then – in real-time – use internal electronics to cancel that noise with an opposite noise.

Passive noise isolation just means blocking the noise with soundproofing material. Earmuff hearing protection is the perfect example of passive noise isolation – it blocks the harmful sound frequencies from entering your ear.

Do Noise Cancelling Headphones Count as Hearing Protection – Are They OSHA Approved?

First off, OSHA stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They set regulations for work safety, including hearing protection.

They recommend not distracting yourself from the job at hand by listening to music – whether inside noise cancelling headphones or using regular earbuds. However, they have approved some for use.

Check them out on Amazon here…

3. The earbud and earmuff headphone style pros and cons.

Are earbud or earmuff style headphones better for use with outdoor power equipment?

Earbud vs earmuff bluetooth hearing protection headphones

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons:

Earbud in ear style

Earbud in ear lawn mowing Bluetooth heading protection headphonesPros:

  • Cooler for use in hot weather
  • Smaller and lighter so easier to carry in pocket
  • Doesn’t matter what headwear you have (hardhat, other hat) they just go in your ear unlike earmuffs with the headband over your head
  • Aren’t affected by you wearing eye protection or sunglasses as the over ear headphones can be big enough to make the sunglasses uncomfortable
  • Usually more affordable

Cons:

  • Less secure in your ear and can fall out
  • Lower sound quality
  • Easier to misplace or lose because they are so small

Earmuff over ear style

Earmuff headphones for lawn mowingPros:

  • Higher sound quality
  • Feel more secure and locked in place
  • Big earmuffs give off a better visual cue so people around you know you can’t hear them

Cons:

  • Bulky and less portable – you can’t just put them in your pocket and go
  • In warm weather they make your ears sweat
  • The earmuff fits snug around your ear and if you wear sunglasses/glasses/eye protection they can push up against the glasses frame cause some discomfort.

4. Wired vs. wireless when using power tools.

We definitely preferred the wireless headphones compared to dealing with annoying wires.

A trick is to run the wire under your shirt to keep it out of the way. But the friction still causes it to yank on the earbud or earmuff when moving around doing your work.

5. Can Bluetooth hearing protection also be used on the plane, on a run and on public transport?

Yes, they work with any Bluetooth device: your laptop, iPad, smart TV, smartphone. You can use them the same way you would use any regular headphones.

The Best of Each Type:

We believe the hearing protection with built in Bluetooth speakers are the best option for use in loud environments – like mowing the lawn or using other loud equipment. Whether you like over ear or in ear is of course up to you.

However, we also wanted to include the best earmuff and earbud noise cancelling headphones (for under $100) because they have higher sound quality and are more versatile for everyday use.

Let’s jump right in:

Great for Work Around The House

The best way to listen to music or audiobooks when mowing the lawn is with the 3M WorkTunes Bluetooth hearing protection.

After mowing a 1/2 acre lawn it is clear the 3M WorkTunes are built to last and offer good sound quality along with amazing noise isolation. Aside from a slight hum it blocks the mower noise so you can easily hear your music.

Aside from some sweating around the ears (it was warm: 80 F/27 C) these headphones were comfortable and secure even when bending over to empty the grass clipping bag.

The battery life on these is great (30+ hours) and they give you a warning when the battery is medium and low.

And the best part about these is the price. They are often on special so check the link to see current price.

OSHA Compliant Earbuds

These earbuds were amazing at blocking out noise to allow a pleasant music, podcast or phone call experience. There was no blasting of the volume.

We consider these ISOtunes Pro earbuds a tie with the above 3M WorkTunes. Just choose if you prefer over ear or in ear headphones.

It was a bit weird how the controller for the headphones (on/off, volume up/down etc.) was so close to the earbud – you couldn’t see what you were pressing. But after a bit of practice and memory it wasn’t an issue.

These are a bit more expensive than the 3M WorkTunes but if used properly block an extra 3 decibels. A downside of how small and portable these are is the battery is smaller and lasts 10+ hours instead of 30+ hours for the 3M WorkTunes.

If you will be working in a warm environment these are your best bet since they allow your ears to breath…The full earmuff ones cause your ears to sweat – who even knew your ears sweat?

If you like the earbud style for portability and comfort reasons then these are your best option for mowing the lawn.

ISOtunes pro noise isolating earbuds

Great Value Purchase

The best noise cancelling headphones for mowing your lawn are well under $100 from Anker – called the Soundcore Life Q20.

They have 40+ hour battery life with active noise cancelling of low and mid-range frequencies of up to 35 decibels – essentially turning a lawn mower noise level into a quiet chat with your friend.

Great for much more than just noisy yard work these headphones will also give you a more enjoyable flying experience blocking out the engine noise while still allowing you to hear the safety instructions. And if the battery runs out your can use them wired – a huge plus.

If you’re in the market for a multi-use set of headphones then these might be your best option.

Great Value Earbuds under $100

If you want active noise cancelling and prefer the earbud style these are a great value.

TOZO offers an affordable alternative to major brands that doesn’t lack in quality.

With these headphones they have hit a sweet spot in budget noise cancelling headphones with decent sound and noise cancelling for way under $100.

5. Best Regular Earbud Headphones + Earmuff Hearing Protection Combo

Do you already own a pair of earbuds and earmuff hearing protection?

You could just put the earmuffs overtop the earbuds and go about your business.

Might not be the most comfortable or efficient method but it’ll get the job done. And if you already own both it’s free.

Wrap Up

The earmuff style Bluetooth hearing protection option from 3M are affordable, rugged and have great battery life. The only real downside is the large earmuff/soundproofing blocks off air circulation and your ears sweat/get hot.

Get the 3M’s here…

The earbud style from ISOtunes keep you cooler and are more portable (you can chuck them in your pocket) but they feel a little less secure – like they could fall out if you don’t put them in 100% perfect.

Get the ISOtunes here…

The noise cancelling style from Anker offers the best sound quality and works great at cancelling loud outdoor equipment noise. They also look more stylish can you’ll find yourself using them for than just noisy yard work.

Get the Anker Soundcore’s here…

Sources

  1. 3M Headphones. www.PressureWashingResource.com.
  2. ISOtunes Pro. www.ISOtunes.com.
  3. Do you allow headphones on the job? PressureWashingResource.com.
  4. Best headphones for mowing grass. www.Reddit.com.

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