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.

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Whistle comparison by Refsworld with decibel meter

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.

11 thoughts on “The decibels of popular referee whistles

  1. I thought ACME Tornado 2000 Whistle was the loudest in the world? I have never actually heard of the Valkeen or Flox Blast.

  2. hi sir i want to become a ACME Tornado 2000 whistle

    but i am in india

    how can buy the whistle
    please tell me

  3. Hi
    I am not a football referee but am involved with another sport, hockey. In my early days as an umpire we were taught to use the whistle not only as a way of communicating which team had been awarded the free but also as a tool to let players know how you were feeling as an umpire about a particular breech. I call it talking with your whistle. Soft free, soft whistle. Heavy tackle, loud whistle. Loud whistle hopefully gains attention of the player where your body language and a little communication informs them that you are not happy with what took place.
    I personally use a Italian Police Whistle. A pea whistle. I originally had a fox 40 but struggled with the pitch (soft and hard). I have used this type now for a number of years with some success.
    On the odd occasion in front of a large crowd whistle tone went out the window due to the noise at the venue.
    No doubt this would be a problem at some football games.
    I know coach umpires and am always interested in what other sports do with their officials.
    Keep up the good work….
    Dave

  4. The Pearl is 90 db. It is perfect for youth games. You only need a louder whistle if there is a large crowd. At 90db, you won’t destroy your hearing quite as fast. The 120+ db whistles make my ears ring.

  5. The whistle is the most important piece of equipment we use as referees so it needs to be the best you can afford, for me the valkeen whistle is the best but the most expensive, for a very good selection of whistles go to A&H international,

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