The sharp, jolting noise broke through the silence and rang in the ears of a young girl waiting intently with her knees slightly bent just before the starting line. As the sound ran through her body, she pushed off with her left foot. Her running shoes cushioned each foot
as it landed, ready to push off again. As Keisha flew over the finish line in first position, with a competitor hot on her heels, she thanked her split-second reactions when the loud signal rang out.
Loud signals can make all the difference in critical situations, from 100m sprint finals to getting someone’s attention over a long distance. If you’re in need of urgent help when out on the water, the horn has to project its sound over the noise of a boat motor
and fierce waters. In situations like these, it’s only something as loud as a horn that can attract the attention you need. Can you imagine needing to stop a passer by to help jumpstart your car
, or warning someone of a danger on the road, and only having your voice to carry the message above the sounds of traffic? Well, save your voice from shouting and screaming and purchase an air horn instead!
An air horn comes in all shapes and sizes and at different prices. Our featured horns start off at around $15 and go up to around $280. It’s important not to skimp out on a few bucks because that will result in you purchasing something that doesn’t do what you need. You also don’t want to go all out and spend money on features that you won’t ever actually use! At the lower end of the price range, you will get a compact, portable horn that can send a powerful hoot across a mile distance. The simple designs are easy to use and don’t usually have much of a set-up regime for you to perform prior to using.
For the big price label, the horns are much bigger in size and sound. They tend to be made from strong, durable metal and come with the equipment to secure it safely to your chosen structure whether that be a car or boat. If you know you will need to project the sound over strong weather conditions or other vehicle’s sounds, then going for a horn that promises a longer distance covered is important.
Although it’s tempting, don’t be fooled by cheap air horns. Made from cheaper materials, they won’t be of much use in critical situations and will be a disappointment when you have trusted them to get a job done.
There are a few things to think about, so we’ve made a list to ensure you don’t miss anything important.
Here are the important features to keep in mind when shopping for the right air horn:
- Distance Covered/ Decibels - Check the distance the manufacturers claim the horn can cover and the decibels of the sound produced.
- Horn Operation - Some are simple hand horns and others have more complex mechanisms.
- Set-up - Take a look at how to set up the horn and how much DIY and preparation goes into each hoot!
- Safety Precautions - Look for warnings and labels such as: non-flammable, ozone layer-safe, or position to hold the horn when using.
- Type of Sounds - Different tones and sounds stand out to different people, and horns can be high to low pitched or use funny, unique sounds to get attention.
Still not sure what would be best for you? We’ll talk about the features in more detail below.
Construction and Design
There’s not too much to look at when it comes to buying an air horn but you should consider the distance covered/decibels, type of sounds and any safety precautions you should take.
Distance Covered/ Decibels
Our five featured horns range from 112 decibels to 152. 112 decibels can be heard for up to a mile over land or a mile over water. The horns producing higher decibel sounds don’t always project over a bigger distance as the tone can be much deeper or produces a particular sound. So make sure you look at each horn carefully before choosing.
Type of Sounds
From a loud, high-pitched warning sound, to imitating a train horn or a loud distinctive “oohgah” sound to get a few giggles when you’re out and about, the type of sound your horn produces really comes down to what you want and what you will be using your horn for.
The horn using high-pressure to release a short, loud sound will have labels and warnings on to put your mind at rest. Often they are non-flammable, safe for the ozone layer, and tend to be built with a non-corrosive diaphragm. Ensure to read the instructions carefully before using the horn you buy as some can only be used upright or have certain procedures to make sure you are completely safe.
Performance and Ease of Use
The horn’s operation and set-up are really the only things you need to worry about when it comes to the performance and ease of use of your air horn. Let’s take a look at these in some more detail.
Depending on the design and how the horn is powered, there are different ways of blowing everyone around you away. The horns that are wired up to a motor or your car, for example, often have a switch or button to release the horn. Horns that use a pressure can are more likely to be hand-operated but can still be as easy to use.
The bigger, more permanent horns should come with mounts or other equipment needed to set it up and secure it onto your vehicle, so it’s ready to use at a moment’s notice. Smaller horns are more likely to be handheld or designed to use on a more temporary basis, so they won’t come with such a big set-up operation. Some you just have to unpack and press the button and everyone around you will jump out of their skin!
To decide what the best air horn is, the first thing to do is figure out what purpose you’re buying it for. If you need it to have a certain volume or to be heard for a certain distance, make sure the horn you pick can deliver that. Or choose a sturdy, portable design if you’ll be out in the elements a lot of the time. But it doesn’t all have to be serious adult-talk; we also have some with unique and funny sounds to inject some fun into your day and get laughs and giggles in your direction.
Whether it’s a portable handheld horn you decide on or a triple trumpet train horn, I hope we’ve helped lead you to the right one for you. So there’s nothing left to do now except make some noise!