3 Best Bike Horns (and Why They’re Better Than Bells)
Most cyclists find that they use their bike horns more than they would like! All kinds of situations from careless motorists, to unaware pedestrians, make a bike horn essential. It might not seem like the most important piece of kit, but a horn will make you a lot safer on the road.
Not all bike horns are created equal, though (and there’s stiff competition from the classic bike bell!). If you’re looking to make your presence known on the road but aren’t sure where to start, read on as we compare the best bike horns on the market.
Bicycle Horns vs Bells
The major difference between bike horns and bells is volume. Bike horns are substantially louder than bike bells. That makes them a better choice for busy roads or the daily commute, especially if you’re surrounded by traffic.
Horns are also better for alerting motorists to your presence, as the sound of a gentle bell won’t always carry over engine noise into a car. For some, that volume is a downside. If you’re a cyclist who prefers a more sedate ride, then sounding a horn might not be to your taste. Some also find horns harder to use than a simple bell. That’s worth considering since you’ll need to relinquish at least a little control (usually during a crucial moment) of your bike to sound the horn.
Bells tend to be slightly cheaper, but horns won’t exactly break the bank. In the end, it comes down to where and when you use your bike, and whether you need a lot of volume to be safe.
|Bike Bells||Bike Horns|
|Simple to use on the move||Extremely loud|
|Cheaper||Great for cutting through traffic|
|Better for more peaceful cycling routes||Adjustable volume|
|Classic design and sound||More expensive|
|Lots of choice||Obnoxiously loud for some|
Electric Bike Horn
The electric bike horn is another option if you need plenty of volume. These are about the loudest horns you’ll find on the market – and they certainly pack a punch! The big downside with electric bike horns, of course, is that they need batteries/recharging.
This means that you could potentially be left without a horn when you need it the most. Fortunately, most electric horns have incredibly long charge times – as high as 1500 blasts (toots?) or around 30 days. Methods of charging differ. Some charge via a simple USB connection to your PC, other more expensive models are charged as you cycle. Many simple use replaceable batteries.
With greater volume comes a greater price, though. Electric bike horns are the most expensive that you’ll find. Nonetheless, horns are generally cheap and even the most expensive electric horn won’t break the bank. If you find that people aren’t noticing you on the road or you simply feel the need to alert the world to your presence, look for an electric bike horn.
Best Horns for Bicycles
- Hornit dB140 Bike Horn [REVIEW]
- ROCKBROS Electronic Bicycle Horn [REVIEW]
- Keenso Bike Loud Horn [REVIEW]
“The World’s Loudest Bike Horn”
If you need volume then look no further. The Hornit dB140 is the loudest on the market at (as the name suggests) an impressive dB140. It’s so loud, in fact, that it’s the equivalent of a jet engine, making it x4 louder than its nearest competitor.
Happily, it does have multiple settings for quieter cycle routes. The ‘piercing’ road mode is best used in dense traffic, but there’s also a lower-pitched car horn (120 dB) designed for cycle paths. That’s still pretty loud, so you won’t ever have to worry about not being heard.
The horn runs off AA batteries and will last a year under normal use. It mounts to any bike like a Garmin, so it isn’t too intrusive. Better still, it comes with a remote trigger that makes it easy to brake/sound the horn at the same time. This is a market-leading product so it’s not the cheapest, but that’s about the only drawback here.
If you’re put off by the price of the Hornit, then this is your best option. It isn’t anywhere near as loud at just 75 dB, but that might be a blessing for some. It’s also smaller, fits snugly to your bike and comes with two batteries that last for around a year.
It might not be as loud, but it does have more settings than the Hornit. You can choose between three volume levels, although changing them (by holding down a button) feels a little fiddly – especially if you’re moving. Nonetheless, this is a versatile horn suited to everything from the daily commute to a more sedate ride through the countryside.
Build quality is high. The ROCKBROS is fully waterproof and shockproof, so you don’t need to worry about taking it out in the rain. It even comes with a one year warranty, making it an excellent budget choice that doesn’t compromise on quality.
Falling between the two price brackets is the Keenso, a no-nonsense bicycle horn that’s all about ruggedness and durability. Its tough silicone construction makes it perfect for off-roading and the horn (at 90 decibels) is loud without being deafening.
This horn is designed with mountain biking in mind. It’s waterproof, weatherproof and extremely rugged. It will see you through the toughest rides and it even comes in several different colours! That’s handy if your bike is customised and you want something to match its unique design.
The built-in battery is good for 700000 rings and it’s replaceable. You can even choose your ringer tone (from three options) and the bike fitting is universal. Far from the loudest horn in the world, this is nonetheless a fantastic choice if you don’t need to navigate heavy traffic and want something robust. It’s stylishly designed too and looks a little more modern than most other horns – perfect for off roaders.
Funny Bike Horns
If you’re after something a little more idiosyncratic there are quite a few…shall we say…more unique choices available. The LUUFAN bike horn comes with an LED siren like a police car and the horn rings ceaselessly, driving some reviewers to distraction.
Why not go for something even more extreme? The Hornster is reportedly louder than Concorde and sounds like a train. Novelty horns might seem like a laugh but they serve a serious purpose. No motorist is going to miss the tones of a fast-approaching train!
- Old fashioned chrome plated bugle style hooter
- Gives a good loud honk
- Get the attention of others on the road and cycle paths
What is the Loudest Bicycle Horn?
The Hornit dB140 is the loudest bicycle horn available on the market (aside from novelty horns). We also think it’s the best. It’s the perfect combination of reasonable price, build quality and sheer volume. If you have the budget, there’s no reason to look anywhere else.
You might also opt for one of the novelty entries if you feel like annoying your friends and neighbours! These can be loud, and they certainly pack shock value. Who doesn’t want to turn their bike into some kind of road-faring train?