Howard Leight - Bilsom radio (Rating: 4)

A hearing protector with built in radio is something i had always wanted, but it was hard for my pragmatic brain to get over the price tag for something that i thought was an unnecessary luxury.
The first thing i do when i enter the shop is to turn on the radio with my favorite station, i like to listen to music, comedy programs, debates etc… It occupies my mind and makes work less monotone.
One problem is that in woodworking you are using noisy machines half the time and wearing a hearing protector so you can't really follow any programs or enjoy music.
I even admit that when there was a song i liked allot, or an interesting debate, i would just wait for it to end before continuing to work. The other option was to continue work frustrated on having to miss out on something.
I even arranged my work so that i did most of the noisy work before 4PM because then starts a comedy show that i like to hear, so i don't miss out on the jokes… thats wasn't always possible.

So i finally decided to threat myself to a hearing protector with built in radio.
I went for the Bilsom radio from Howard Leight, i liked the looks but it wasn't cheap around €90 including 21% VAT, still alot less expensive than some others that were around €400-600 but had built in walky talky and such. I ordered it from a dutch site that had the best price, most others were selling it around €120.

I had a few fears about it that all proved to be wrong,

-that it wouldn't receive my favorite station well because i need to hang my normal radio in awkward places in order to receive well in my workshop. Wrong, i can receive it perfectly anywhere around the workshop with great sound quality.

-That the channel selection knob would constantly unset the channel through vibrations or manipulation, Wrong, the knob is quite sturdy to turn and won't move by accident.

- That i would need to change or charge the batteries weekly or more. Wrong, it's been 5 weeks since i had the radio, i use it several hours a day, even left it on an entire night by accident. And still no signs of battery weakening.

- And lastly that it would hurt my ears, as all the hearing protectors or headsets that i had up to now were painful to wear for long periods. Again wrong, it's a pleasure to wear for hours and doesn't hurt my ears.

This little investment has made my work less monotone and increased my productivity, it doesn't distract me when i am doing risky operations as i just ignore it when i am concentrated. It still works well when using protective glasses underneath.

Only negative elements could be that some powertool engines disturb the reception, like my Bosch drill( the festool doesn't somehow), the routers and miter saw.
Channels are selected with a turn knob, no preselection possible and no possibility to connect to mp3 player, which in my case is not a problem as i wouldn't use that anyway.
And it comes with 2 non rechargeable batteries, i will need to buy rechargeable ones when the current ones decide to go dead.