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Before someone thought about incorporating a whistle to a soccer game, referees waved a handkerchief to signalize a penalty. Some of them would scream to keep the game flowing.
And it’s not because they weren’t invented yet; whistles are in the world since at least the third century. Luckily for the sport, whistles were adopted to dictate the rhythm of every soccer match coast to coast.
Whistles might be a simple instrument, but they are a vital piece of every soccer match. The whistle’s function is to aid the referee to stop the game when an infraction is committed. To achieve this goal successfully, its sound must be strong, firm, and steady.
It is a referee’s task to pick the right whistle according to its needs.
Best soccer referee whistle (2021)
Fox 40 Classic with Finger Grip
The Fox 40 is the whistle most of the Premier League referees choose, and it is also very used in the rest of the major European leagues.
The detail of the finger grip is classy and handy at the same time. The next time you see a world-class referee using a whistle with a finger grip, you can be sure it is a Fox 40.
This whistle is made of ABS thermoplastics (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). The particularity of this material is that it is virtually impossible to moist. That’s why many specialists state that the Fox 40 is invulnerable to moisture.
But the Fox 40 it’s not only neat and anti-moisture, but it is also one of the loudest whistles on the market. It is proven that this whistle can be heard at a mile of distance; its high pitch shrill produces up to 115 decibels.
As it has no moving parts, that reduces to zero the chances of deteriorating any of them.
It is not a coincidence that this whistle is the most used in the NFL, NCAA, NBA, FIBA, and FIFA.
A referee that carries the whistle hanging from the neck or stranded to its wrist loses a few seconds before calling an infraction. In many leagues, those extra seconds might contribute to generate unnecessary tension.
That is why many referees prefer the Fox 40. It is a whistle you carry ready to use; referees only need to approach their hand to the face and blow.
The Fox 40 is a pealess whistle. That’s the main reason why the sound it produces is so powerful. There’s a big discussion in the whistle universe about the inclusion or not of a pea in whistles. But we won’t dive deep into that discussion now.
10 Best Soccer Referee Whistles In 2021
1. Fox 40 Classic with Finger Grip
The Fox 40 is an original “classic” pealess whistle. It is very light; it weighs 0.8 ounces (22 grams).
Its strident sound is perfect for arbitrating matches in big, open spaces or even to send instructions to groups of hundreds of people, like a colossal music band.
The high-quality ABS plastic material ensures the life of this whistle for years, or even decades.
It has a cushioned mouth grip, specially designed to prevent wounds in the lips or teeth and make it more comfortable to hold it in the mouth for long periods.
This whistle is equipped with a practical finger grip; it has a loud and clear sound, and it’s considered as “the Caddy of the whistles.”
Fox 40 recently incorporated some colors into its designs. Now there is a pink model available.
2. ACME Thunderer Official Referee Whistle
The ACME Thunderer is arguably the most traditional whistle in the market nowadays. The first-ever made was produced in 1870 by J. Hudson & Co Ltd. in Birmingham.
This hefty nickel-plated brass whistle is considered ACME’s highest-grade product. It has a cork pea in the whistle chamber, and it comes with a lanyard ring.
A standard-sized whistle (0.5 x 1-7/8 inches) owner of a thundering loud and clear sound.
The ACME Thunderer is the official whistle of the NCAA and the NBA tournaments. It is the top-quality metal whistle in the market, and it weighs 0.32 ounces (9 grams).
This whistle tends to last long periods; it is almost indestructible, and water won’t affect its composition. Lifeguards used it a lot, and neither the salty water nor the coast’s erosive air damages it.
As this whistle has a pea, experienced whistlers can produce a variety of sounds. This is extremely useful when it is necessary to enunciate specific commands.
An extra advantage of pea whistles is that they can be used underwater. The pea moves inside the whistle chamber and pushes the water out of it, producing sound.
The ACME Thundered has a high response even to minimal air pressure applied to it. Even the smallest blow will produce sound out of it.
It comes in two colors, silver and metallic, that the user can choose depending on their preferences.
The ACME Thundered, honoring its name, produces an incredible 130+ decibels. One of the loudest whistles in the market. It has a polished and smooth texture that makes it very comfortable to the handle.
As this is a traditional model or “old-school” model, it doesn’t have a cushioned mouth grip, like most modern whistles. However, this is not a backup for the ACME Thundered; it is still an extremely comfortable whistle to use.
Overall, this whistle is the 4×4 of whistles since it can be used under almost every circumstance, even underwater.
3. ACME 636 Safety Whistle
This robust, one-pieced whistle produces a super loud blast when it’s blown.
The ACME 636 or ACME Tornado Slimline is a thumb-sized whistle used in FIFA international games, FA Cup, and Champions League matches.
This whistle is recommended for games where there’s a need for real power. It has two high tone rates for loudness near the whistle and a lower sound for distance all sound together.
The ACME Tornado is a pealess model equipped with an efficient venting system, preventing the whistle from getting blocked while blowing it.
This whistle works perfectly in wet environments; it is also an excellent choice for water sports.
Its exclusive slimline design grants the production of a powerful blast even when a low-pressure blow is applied. It is a small whistle capable of fitting virtually everywhere; that is why it is also the chosen one for rescue and survival missions.
The Tornado Slimline whistle’s distinctive sound cuts through background noise perfectly. That makes it easy to recognize, especially when the referee is in the middle of several fields.
This whistle is available in black, orange, red, yellow, and green.
4. Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG
The Sonik Blast whistle is another pealess model from Fox whistles. It is an extremely easy whistle to blow, and it can’t be overblown.
It can produce +120 decibels in a single blow, and it has a cushioned mouth grip. Its superior blast can carry over long distances.
This whistle has two chambers containing four sound-producing resonators. This model also includes a lanyard.
The Sonik Blast balance perfectly the stiffness of its body with the softness of the mouth grip. This feature makes it more comfortable to hold in the moth for long periods. This is very handy for coaches and referees.
The sound of this whistle is so powerful that it can travel long distances being undisrupted. Its design allows the user to modulate different sounds.
This whistle is also recommended for people with asthma and breathing problems because of its high response to low blowing or low-pressure blowings.
A detail of this Fox model is that it comes in many different colors, which means that it is possible to personalize it to match almost everyone’s style and uniform. It comes in seven different tints pink, yellow, or white.
It is a whistle with personality.
This model has no metal parts, which will never be affected by moisture nor rusty.
The Fox Sonik can be heard from a one-mile distance. Its sound will definitely catch the player’s attention on the field. Its tone is darker than the other whistles, which makes it stand out from the other brands.
It is also made of ABS plastic, which means this whistle is intended to last a few years, even decades.
5. Gladiour Whistle
This whistle is also known as the universal sports whistle because it ticks the boxes needed for several activities like soccer referee, lifeguard, coaching, and virtually every outdoor training.
It has a double looped lanyard ring, and it can be stranded for long periods, so the user shouldn’t be afraid of losing it.
The Gladiour whistle also has a rubber mouthpiece to allow the user to have it in their mouths for a long time without any chance of hurting the teeth or the lips.
It is waterproof, and it fits perfectly for many activities and not only sports, like Law Enforcement, Park Rangers, Hiking, and Survival in outdoor activities.
This whistle allows the user to control its sound; its pealess whistle chamber was specially designed to offer multiple sets of pitches.
As with many of the pealess whistles, the Gladiour is capable of reaching high-pitched shrills. It can be heard from far, a mile or a mile and a half, and immediately stops the game.
This model comes with a braided lanyard, very durable and resistant to weather and to physical activity. iiiiii since they can “forget” the whistle is there and run hands-free.
6. Molten Valkeen Whistle with Flip Grip
This whistle is excellent for soccer coaches and referees. Its high-pitched clear cut tone can travel long distances without suffering any modifications.
The modern Flip Grip offers the user the possibility of using the whistle while moving and having quick access to it.
It also has a lanyard ring, strongly build, so it offers the referee two options, either holding it from the flip grip or having it stranded to the wrist or the neck.
This whistle is thought initially for outdoor activities. It weighs 4.16 ounces (117.94 grams.)
The Molten Valkeen whistle is built in long-lasting materials that offer sustained years of use without manifesting deterioration.
Some would say that this whistle is louder than the Fox 40; regardless of that statement being true or not, the Molten Valkeen can produce a notorious high-pitch sound; it is potent. This sturdy whistle won’t require hard blowings.
Cüneyt Çakır, Bjorn Kuipers, and Felix Brych, three of the world’s best soccer referees, have publicly expressed their preference for the Molten Valkeen whistle.
It is possible to produce several tones with this whistle, making it very useful for experienced blowers to indicate different game stages.
Molten Valken’s design makes it a whistle very easy to hold. It has been proven one of the most efficient whistles in the field. Short, medium and long whistles sound consistent.
It’s also been tested in movement- when the referee is running. Even when the player is behind the referee. Every test is performed from close, medium, and large distances.
This whistle claims to reach 120 decibels, and it’s been tested for over 124+ decibels.
The only feature that Molten whistles don’t offer is the soft mouth grip most of their competitors do. However, these whistles won’t cause any harm and can be held in the mouth without problems.
The upper vibration conduit produces a 4.15 kHz tone, and the lower resonance tube creates a 3.67 kHz tone.
7. Crown Sporting Goods SCOA-001
This stainless steel whistle produces a robust and firm sound with less effort. It is not vulnerable to corrosion with use, and it comes with a black lanyard for using it hands-free.
The lanyard has a gold bead to adjust the lanyard to the desired length.
This whistle is one of Amazon’s best-seller, and its shrill sound cuts through crowd noises easily.
Some nickel-plated whistles might pick up damage and shred from natural elements. The stainless steel Crown Sporting avoids getting rusty or corroded thanks to its composition.
The Crown Sporting whistles offers two models, with pea or pealess.
The pea is made out of cork, and it allows the user to create a set of different tones for each whistle. The pealess model offers less variety in the sound, but it can reach higher tones with its sound, and it can be heard from further.
The adjustable lanyard through the gold bead is one of this whistle’s innovative features. The bead also helps to maintain the whistle in the right position even during physical activity.
The Crown Sporting whistle is relatively new in the market, which is why it hasn’t penetrated yet in any significant soccer league. It is an excellent choice for amateur soccer tough, it misses nothing that the most recognized whistles have.
It is a good option for those more identified with classical sports equipment. It looks like a traditional whistle like the ACME Thundered, one of the first whistles in the market ever.
8. Xflyee Three Tone Electronic Whistle
Electronic whistles face the same issue every time a digital device comes to replace analog ones. Technology has its preachers and analog its purists.
Both have pros and cons; it ends up being a matter of preference.
This revolutionary electronic whistle is loud, and it produces a steady sound every time. The advantage of electronic whistles over traditional ones is that they tend to make a more consistent sound.
It is made of high-quality ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), which offers high environmental protection; it is non-toxic and tasteless. It also has an anti-split design.
It can produce three different tones. This feature can be personalized according to the user’s needs and preferences. It is the right choice for any sport, not only soccer. It also has an alert for emergency situations.
It works with four lithium batteries (included).
This whistle can reach a high volume, ideal for PE teachers, coaches, sports training, and outdoor camping.
The Xflyee electronic whistle has an excellent coating and craftsmanship that makes it robust and long-lasting. It is easy to operate, and it helps to save energy, and it can sound even louder than traditional whistles.
The four lithium are great performers; they can last more than five thousand blasts. This electronic whistle can reach over 125 decibels or more.
As it does not require blowing at it, this whistle can be operated single-handed, and it is considered healthier than the traditional whistles. For that same reason, it is also more secure, sanitarily speaking.
It is a fantastic piece of technology, which allows the switch between the three tones with extreme smoothness.
9. Molten Blazza Whistle
This whistle was initially intended for indoor sports; it has a clear-cut and high-pitched tone. It is undoubtedly the best option for futsal or any indoor soccer competition in general.
It is considered the Molten Valkeen’s little brother. It is slightly smaller and lighter, but just as robust and reliable as its “big brother.” It weighs 1.1 pounds (115 grams.)
It has a hybrid structure made of a titanium frame and soft plastic in the mouthpiece. The whistle has superior durability and produces a firm tone that stops the game instantly.
This whistle had a particular giant acceptance in the Italian market. There, it is not only used for indoor soccer but also outdoor. They call it “the Ferrari of the whistles.”
Its particular and ergonomic design allows the Molten Blazza to reach very high tones, cutting through the background noise exceptionally well and efficiently.
The Molten Blazza offers a cushioned mouth grip, making it very comfortable to use and carry in the mouth.
The whistle is virtually indestructible.
There is another Valkeen model that deserves a short mention—the Valkeen Dolphin Whistle. It is a compact and powerful whistle build to arbitrate outdoor sports, training, and coaching.
If the Blazza model is the son of the Valkeen, the Molten Dolphin is the grandson. It weighs just 4.8 ounces (136 grams). It is fabricated in Japan, and it’s another pealess model from Valkeen.
It is also a hybrid of titanium and ABS, and it also has a cushioned mouth grip making it comfortable to carry. Its sound can be heard from long distances; it reaches every corner of the field.
It is also effortless to blow; it doesn’t require much effort to take it high-pitched notes out of it.
It has a unique feature. It has a small hole in the bottom of the whistle that, when covered ensures to produce the highest-pitched shrill possible.
10. Jinsuo Whistle Exquisite
This whistle has a tough construction that guarantees correct and steady functioning. It has a sturdy and durable structure equipped with a smooth and comfortable surface, straightforward to carry.
It is a super loud whistle; it ensures to be heard from long distances.
The Jinsuo whistle is waterproof and is moisture resistant. It is suitable for every type of outdoor sport; it is even ideal for dog training.
This whistle is so loud, and it has such a high-pitched shrill that it is commonly used as an emergency whistle.
A whistle’s job is signalizing the fouls or indicating a green light to restart the game and cutting the player’s actions. The Jinsuo whistle has a sharp sound, ideal for those short beeps to prevent a restart or stop a heated discussion.
The Jinsuo whistle has not entered the realm of professional soccer yet; it is the first option in soccer’s amateur world. It would be a matter of time before this whistle starts acting in official first division games.
It has a unique design, comfortable and good looking for those interested in causing a great impression. Its design is inspired by Molten whistles, although Jinsuo whistles look a little bit more robust and less symmetric.
It doesn’t count with a soft mouthpiece, which might be a little uncomfortable for some users.
The Jinsuo whistle doesn’t have a finger grip; this model is meant to be used with a lanyard. It has a lanyard ring on its tip, well placed and consistent.
This whistle is one the lightest in the market; it weighs just 0.035 ounces (0.99 grams.)
How to use the whistle correctly, a quick guide.
- Short or medium beep. Used to indicate the restart of the game. Nowadays, it is also used to indicate that the referee needs to check the VAR. It could be translated as “Go!”
- Quick short beeps, choppy beeps. Use these beeps to restart the game or to stop improper behavior. It could be a player trying to take a throw-in out of place or two players in the middle of a heated argument. Its translation into words could be “no, no, no, no, shh, no.”
- Medium beep. Use this when there is a need to stop the game for a foul or an injured player. It can even be used to bring the players back to the field after half-time. It is also used when a decision has been made after checking a play in the VAR monitor. It could be translated as “Stop!” or “You can come now.”
- Long beep. It is usually for both, starting the game in an excentric fashion or stopping the game after a violent foul. It gives the referee power on both occasions, starting and stopping the game. Its translation could be “Stooooop.”
- Medium then long. This kind of whistle is globally used to indicate half time. It is common to hear this whistle when the ball is flying over the half of the court. It could be translated as a short “half” and a long and sustained “time.”
- Twice medium then long. This is the other universal whistle. Every soccer game ends up with this same sound. It is the last whistle every player hears when the game is over. It can be translated as “That” “Is” “Iiiiiiit,” it’s over.
How to choose a soccer referee whistle?
Every soccer referee, a rookie or an experienced one, should consider at least these three elements before purchasing a whistle.
- Mounting System. The main difference between whistles models is the way you carry them. Some whistles have a ring designed to attach a lanyard to them, and you decide if you carry it hanging from your neck or if you tie the lanyard on your wrist. The other option is the finger grip. There are mobile and fixed grips.
- Material. The first whistles were made of metal with a small pea inside of them to ensure high-pitched sounds. Some traditional brands keep producing them, but the tendency nowadays is to create plastic whistles, almost all of them made of ABS plastic. Plastic whistles tend to reach higher-pitched sounds; therefore, they can be heard easily.
Decibel Range. The final end of every whistle is to be heard, call the players’ attention, and eventually, stop the game with its sound.
To reach this goal, the more decibels a whistle can get, the better. Most whistles get between 100 and 120 decibels, and some of them can get up to 140.