Lifeguard Whistle Selection

Looking for lifeguard whistles? Get advice and interesting facts about how to select the perfect whistle. Here’s your first big decision-

Choosing Pea Whistles Vs. Pealess

Lifeguard whistles can be categorized into two main types: pea whistles or peal.

Pea Whistles

Pea whistles contain a small ball or “pea”. Air pressure and currents passing through the whistle chamber cause the pea to vibrate in a patterned motion and produce a high-pitched trill or vibrato that’s hard to ignore.

The pea whistles was invented by Londoner Joseph Hudson in 1883. Hudson’s creation was submitted as to the Metropolitan police in a contest to design a device that would attract the most attention. Hudson won the contest and his creation, later called the “Acme Thunderer” is still one of the most popular whistles.

Pea Whistle Pros:

  • The unmistakable trill produced by a pea whistle grabs your attention and is very commanding.
  • Pea whistles are generally less costly.

Pea Whistle Cons:

Pea whistles have more moving parts, drawing criticism that they may be more difficult to clean and can fail due to jamming.

Pealess Whistles

Although once known as a less effective solution that predated pea whistles, the pealess variety experienced a resurgence in popularity due to the introduction of Ron Foxcroft’s Fox 40 whistle in 1985. Introduced as a more reliable and more hygienic alternative, Fox 40 whistles led the way for other new pealess whistles.

Pealess Whistle Pros:

  • They have less moving parts, so and are less prone to failure and are easier to clean.
  • Water drains easily from the sound chamber.

Pealess Whistle Cons:

They tend to be more expensive. Having trouble deciding? Get the best of both worlds- the Kiefer Tri-Power Safety Whistle uses both pea and pealess chambers.

Choosing Metal Whistles Vs. Plastic Whistles

Ultimately this comes down to personal choice, but here are some of the big differences between metal and plastic whistles:

Pro Plastic:

  • Plastic floats, metal does not.
  • Metal corrodes after prolonged exposure to chlorine and salt.
  • Metal whistles can heat up in the sun- ouch!

Pro Metal:

Metal whistles are stronger than most plastic whistles.

What metal whistles does Kiefer carry?

Kiefer carries two different metal whistles, the Acme Thunderer and the Kiefer Deluxe. Both metal options are pea whistles. If you want a metal whistle, the Kiefer Deluxe is the way to go because it is less expensive than the Acme version inspired its design.

What Plastic whistles does Kiefer carry?

Kiefer carries seven plastic whistles.

Kiefer Brand

  • Kiefer Pealess Whistle: offers a lower price option for those unwilling to pay a premium price for Acme and Fox whistles.
  • Kiefer’s Tri-Power Safety Whistle: a superior, three-chambered whistle, louder than Metallica and covered by a Lifetime Guarantee.
  • Kiefer Ecoguard:  economical and red plastic lifeguard whistle with a non-degradable cork

Fox 40 and Acme Plastic Whistles

Both Fox 40 and Acme Thunderer offer pealess whistles available in large and compact designs. Fox 40 & Mini Fox 40 deliver loud, shrill tones and feature self-clearing chambers. Acme Tornado 2000 bills itself as the world’s most powerful lifeguard whistle at 122 decibels. It’s smaller relative, the Acme Slimline Tornado Whistle delivers analogous performance in a more compact package.

Whistle Lanyards

Whistle lanyards are a must to keep whistles handy and prevent loss. Breakaway lanyards are a bonus, preventing flailing patients from choking and injuring lifeguards, giving way to fdsorce when grabbed or tugged, instead of collaring the lifeguard. Wristband lanyards allow lifeguards to wear whistles (or keys) on the wrist instead of around the neck.

Looking for more advice on water safety?

Be sure to read our posts on Rescue Tube History, Rescue Can History, and my Accidental Lifeguards story.

See you at the pool- Robin

About Robin Kiefer

Robin Kiefer is the Grandson of Adolph Kiefer, the Founder of Kiefer Swim Products. Today Kiefer Swim Products is a multifaceted company focused on serving the aquatic industry, lifeguards, and swimmers.

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