The decibels of popular referee whistles

What is your favourite referee whistle? How do you pick your whistles? And what makes a whistle good? I like whistles with a sound other referees don’t have.

The Fox 40 Pearl has that in The Netherlands. That reminds of a situation during last season. I officiated with a blue Pearl version of the Fox 40 – matching with my blue referee kit ofcourse. Usually people ask me afterwards something about a situation or just say thanks for refereeing.

But a man stepped forward and began talking about that unique sound of the whistle. Yeah, it was a colleague who was off duty that weekend. I’m wondering if he found one, because (most of) the Dutch sport shops only sell the Fox 40 classic. But it kept me thinking: how do referees pick their whistles? I’d love to know what your favourite one is.

Recently stumbled on this picture below. A loud sound is important for me and Refsworld, an Australian referee shop, did some nice tests with a decibel meter.

Whistle comparison by Refsworld with decibel meter
Whistle comparison by Refsworld with decibel meter (Click image to open larger version in new window).

The loudest referee whistle

  1. Valkeen – 127.6 dB
  2. Flox Blast – 127.3 dB
  3. Acme T2000 – 126.8 dB
  4. Fox Classic – 124.3 dB
  5. Fox Mini – 124.3 dB
  6. Fox Sharx – 123.2 dB
  7. Fox Eclipse – 118.7 dB
  8. Acme 888 – 116.9 dB
  9. Fox 40 Caul – 113.4 dB

Source is Refsworld – check their whistles.

For your information, some facts about decibel levels. A motorcycle is 100 dB, a loud rock concert is 115 dB and pain starts at 125 dB. Decibel meter at whistle test was at 2 meters, so players better not come close to the referees with the loudest whistles.

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