The 3M Peltor Sport Ultimate and Peltor Sport Bull’s Eye are two more recent additions to 3M’s large portfolio of hearing protection earmuffs.
Seeing them, my first thought was: “Hey, these earmuffs look cool.”
“They could be used in the workshop as a hearing protector, as well as in the coffee shop to get rid of distractions.”
Anyway, I got a pair of each to test them and compare them to my favorite earmuffs.
In this review, I am sharing my observations for both earmuffs. I decided to include them in one review because the two are very close siblings.
Keep reading and you’ll also find the red-colored twin brother of the Ultimate.
They have the same headband, the same ear cushions and the same spacer (ring that sits underneath the cushions).
Both muffs are mostly held in black and grey, and especially the sleek-looking lower-profile Bull’s Eye can be mistaken for headphones.
By design, they differ in noise reduction rating, ear cup depth, and weight.
Both reduce noise effectively and provide a very reliable seal regardless of whether I move my head from side to side or up and down.
The vented headband extends enough to accommodate a large head and the ear cushions offer ample space for large ears. These are roomy muffs.
I find the headband comfortable, but it does exert quite a bit of force to provide that good seal.
Subjectively, the clamping force appears to be somewhat more than that of the 3M Peltor Optime series.
Because of the large headband vents, you can easily wear a baseball cap underneath these earmuffs.
Weighing nearly 13 ounces (368 g), the NRR-30 Peltor Sport Ultimate are heavy earmuffs.
By comparison, the NRR-30 Peltor Optime 105, at 10.1 ounces (286 g), are substantially lighter and reduce noise as effectively.
The Optime 105 achieve this by employing a double-shell (twin-cup) design— as opposed to the single-cup design with added mass used in the Ultimate and the Bull’s Eye.
But, due to this design, the ears have less space in the Optime 105 than in the Ultimate.
Note: the cushion openings of both earmuffs have pretty much the same length and width.
Mind you, the Optime 105 still offer plenty of space for the ears, they are just not as spacious as the Ultimate.
The choice is your’s: Do you want them lighter or roomier?
For a more detailed review of the Optime 105 and additional options, please also read the comparative review of my 5 favorite noise reduction earmuffs.
The NRR-27 Bull’s Eye earmuffs have a lower profile, and at 9.5 ounces (269g) they are significantly lighter than the Ultimate.
They attenuate noise very well, but by design less so than the Ultimate and the Optime 105.
But, if the very respectable NRR of 27 is high enough for your application and you want the roomy ear cushions and ball cap headband, the Bull’s Eye earmuffs will do just fine.
In that case, there is no need to put up with the extra weight of the Ultimate.
|Peltor Sport Ultimate||Peltor Sport Bull’s Eye||Peltor Optime 105|
|Cup depth (incl cushions)||6.7 cm||5.4 cm||7 cm|
|Weight||13 oz. (368 g)||9.5 oz. (269 g)||10.1 oz (286 g)|
|Country of Origin||China||China||USA with U.S. and imported parts|
|Headband||Steel-wire, vented rubberized top||Steel-wire, vented rubberized top||Steel-wire, cushioned soft plastic|
|For large heads||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|For large ears||Yes (roomier than Optime 105)||Yes (roomier than Optime 105)||Yes|
|Stability overhead work||OK||Good||Good|
|Ballcap on top||OK||OK||OK|
|Replacement cushions||Contact 3M||Contact 3M||Yes, available for purchase|
|Hard hat version||No||No||Yes|
Pro-Grade earmuffs, twin brother of the Peltor Sport Ultimate
3M also offers the NRR-30 Pro-Grade earmuffs which I had purchased a while ago.
Apart from being red, the 3M Pro-Grade seem to be exactly the same earmuffs as the Peltor Sport Ultimate.
They have the same headband and cup design and the same weight.
And, they also have the same noise reduction rating and the exact same noise attenuation by frequency.
When I tested the Pro-Grade, I found that the headband didn’t keep its adjustment under the weight of the ear cups. That made them pretty much unusable.
Seeing that the Ultimate don’t have that problem, I have now come to the conclusion that I received the Pro-Grade with a faulty headband.
So if you prefer the earmuffs in red, you could get the Pro-Grade. I hope I was just unlucky and this isn’t a general quality issue.
The headband of both the Peltor Sport Ultimate and the Bull’s Eye is made of steel-wires and has a rubberized vented top. It conforms well to the head.
It can be extended to fit large heads and I find the top wide enough to be comfortable.
The headband used in these earmuffs has virtually the same shape and extensibility as the one used in the Peltor Optime Series.
The Optime series uses an unvented cushioned soft plastic top, which I personally find as comfortable, perhaps even a bit more so. (But both headbands are fine with me.) It doesn’t look as fashionable but it has withstood the test of time.
Directly comparing the Peltor Sport series and the Optime series, it appears to me as if the Peltor Sport’s headband force is somewhat higher.
Wearing the muffs for a couple of hours, It feels as if the Optime 105 and Optime 98 press a little less against the head.
In my opinion, the generally more expensive Peltor X-Series have a better headband.
That headband also has a steel-wire core, but it is completely rubberized, and even isolates against electrical hazards up to a certain voltage.
In addition, the X-series headband distributes the clamping force better, making it more comfortable. And, even if I press it hard against my head, I cannot feel any steel wires.
For more information on the Peltor X-series, I would like to refer you to my comparative noise reduction earmuffs review.
Cup size and Design
The ear cups of the Peltor Sport Ultimate are 6.7 cm deep (including the ear cushions) and the ones of the Bull’s Eye 5.4 cm.
I find the cushions soft and comfortable.
Despite their high noise reduction rating, these earmuffs don’t look overly bulky.
Both achieve their noise reduction with a single-cup design and ample space for the ears.
They have a trick up their sleeves: Fiber patches are glued to the inside of the ear cups (visible upon removing the foam) to increase the mass and boost the muffs’ effectiveness.
The cups are made of hard-plastic and partially rubberized.
Quality, Durability and Maintenance
The Ultimate and Bull’s Eye feel well-built and durable.
Like with other earmuffs, depending on how often and where you use them, you can expect the ear cushions to wear out and the foam lining to accumulate dirt and deteriorate.
I have read that some customers have gotten complimentary ear cushions upon contacting 3M. I hope they keep doing that.
Unfortunately, I have not seen 3M or third parties offering replacement kits for purchase.
For comparison, for the Optime- and the X-series, 3M offers hygiene kits (cushions and isolation foam) for purchase.
Throwing out earmuffs with spent cushions that are otherwise perfectly fine is unnecessary and puts a burden on the environment.
They look good and are not overly bulky. I have no hesitations wearing them anywhere, including
- in a workshop,
- on a factory floor,
- outside, doing landscaping work,
- in a coffee shop or an open office to block distractions.
They comfortably fit large heads and large ears.
As far as NRR-30 earmuffs are concerned, it’s a close call between the Ultimate and the classic Peltor Optime 105, one of my favorite earmuffs.
Both reduce noise equally well, so for me it boils down to this:
For the Peltor Sport Ultimate:
- If you need maximum space for the ears, the Peltor Sport Ultimate will likely suit you better.
- They look better.
- The vents in the headband make it easier to wear a baseball cap underneath.
For the Peltor Optime 105:
- For overhead work, or if you need to move your head up and down a lot, the much lighter Peltor Optime 105 are likely the better choice.
- They provide enough room for most ears.
- In the unlikely event that you are looking for NRR-30 earmuffs for a child, I would also rather go with the light-weight Optime 105.
- Replacement hygiene sets are readily available for the Optime 105, but for the Ultimate, you have to ask for some from 3M.
Both earmuffs are often available for a similar price.
For me personally, the Sport Ultimate are very good earmuffs, but the Optime 105 have a slight edge.
Yes, I would like the additional room for the ears and I want the better looks.
But, due to the lighter weight, I experience less fatigue with the Optime 105 after wearing them for several hours.
For the country of origin and further details, please also check the comparison table above.
Now to the Peltor Sport Bull’s Eye:
- They are sleek-looking and effective earmuffs.
- They have the same ear cushions and vented headband as the Ultimate, so they should also work for large heads and large ears and together with a baseball cap.
- Because they are much lighter than the Ultimate, they offer a more stable fit.
If an NRR of 27 (which is very high) is enough for your application, the Bull’s Eye earmuffs are a very good choice.
In that case, there is no need to put up with the extra weight of the Ultimate.