Car horns are one of those items you may not give that much thought to when you’re upgrading or servicing your vehicle, but they are actually a crucial safety device that may just save your life.
Imagine you’re driving down the interstate with your little ones in the back. A large truck pulls across your lane and doesn’t see you because through no fault of your own they can’t see you. What are you to do?
That is where your horn comes into its own; by being able to instantly and effectively alert the driver to your presence. So, what is the best car horn money can buy?
Best Car Horns of 2018
|112 db||330/400 Hz||Superior Bass|
|118 db||300/500 Hz||1 high-tone horn +|
1 low-tone horn incl.
|mAuto||n/a||n/a||Dual 13/15" horns|
Loud train horn
|HELLA||114 db||n/a||Dual Horn Kit|
|Wolo||n/a||n/a||Big Bad Max Horn|
PIAA – Best Car Horn Sound
So, how does their latest offering stack up against the competition, and is it really worth a look as you go in search of the best car horn money can buy?
With a name like the Superior Bass Horn, you’re expecting some real deafening sound at your disposal for when you need it most, and I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed! To start with, I really liked the bass of the overall sound.
Perfect for the peace of mind that you have everything covered to drive safely on the busiest highways and in the most demanding of weather conditions.
PIAA has set the 85115 up so that it can work at either 330 or 400 Hz which gives you an added layer of flexibility that I think you’ll love. By being able to change the frequency to suit your needs and personal tastes you can be sure of making a welcome addition to your vehicle that will last for years to come.
When you add to that PIAA’s well-known reliability and durability, you’re onto a winner that will last and last, as long as you need. Perfect for knowing that no matter when the last time you sounded your horn, it will be there when you really need it!
With everything backed up by a Limited Lifetime Warranty, it goes without saying that PIAA is putting their name to something that they’re rightly very proud to call their own.
PIAA pride themselves on the ease of their installations. After all, it’s no use selling a mid-range priced product if it proves too complicated and overwhelming that your customers.
They don’t want people to pay out more than the value of their new purchase on paying a professional to fit and adjust it for them!
This gave me the confidence right away that I was using something that was built to last.
The latest offering from PIAA does exactly what it says: deep attention-grabbing bass and easy to modify the two-tone sound. What I particularly like is that it can readily achieve the stated 112 dB — certainly loud enough to use on any road and in any weather conditions.
There are however a couple of small questions regarding ease of installation and reliability raised by some recent buyers online that you would be wise to take a closer look at just in case. However, as it is backed by a Limited Lifetime Warranty it’s hard to see how you can go wrong with PIAA: highly recommended.
HELLA – Best Car Horn Brand
With over 100 years of innovation and engineering excellence, they really have mastered the art of combining uncompromising performance with indisputable value for money.
Let’s take a closer look at their most popular offering and see what you get for your money.
The first thing to say about the HELLA Supertone is that it does exactly what you would expect. The tone is true and clear, and easily audible to other drivers on the busiest of highways and interstates.
That’s the key functional requirement ticked off, so how about the rest?
Ease of installation is somewhere many similarly priced products fall down. It’s no good getting what looks like excellent value for money if it takes so long to fit that you end up having to take it to a professional.
Or spending more than the cost of the horn on some never to be used again specialist tool.
Perfect for spending more of your time actually on the road!
The next thing to mention is the adaptability of the system. While you can fit a single horn with fantastic results, you have the option to install a pair.
When you add to that the enhanced power and size of the electric drive that HELLA use as a standard, then you have an unbeatable package that will work in even the most demanding of driving conditions. Perfect for when the snow starts falling, and you still have a way to go before you reach home.
All-in-all, the HELLA Supertone, offers easy installation, a highly effective and adaptable sound, and proven technology that you can rely on in any weather.
When you add to that the fact that HELLA offer it to you at the highly competitive price, you’re onto a winner from day one.
mAuto – Best Car Horn Upgrade
Made with care by masters of their craft in Italy, it comes with that authentic touch that I really appreciated during the unboxing experience.
Weighing in on the far side of 13 lbs I was initially surprised by the net weight of the delivery. But, then to my delight, I saw that it included all of the fixtures and fittings needed.
Plus, the air compressors and related parts. That made an instant good impression as it meant I wouldn’t have to shop around in search of compatible parts.
Twin Horns and an Easy Install
With a 13-inch and a 15-inch horn supplied as standard, you have everything you need to provide the loud continuous sound that you have been looking for.
With each backed by their own compressor channel you may think that there is a substantial amount of installation needed, but as with everything with mAuto, they keep things simple when they need to be.
The instructions are to the point and clear, offering simple to apply advice so that you understand not only what you’re doing, but also why you’re being asked to do it. This is especially important when it comes to mounting the horns and compressor.
This is a great way to give you the confidence that you’re setting up everything right so that you don’t end up googling something insanely specific like how to fit this type of horn to your exact make and model of vehicle.
A Classic Look
mAuto are paying homage to the old country with authentic craftsmanship and a gorgeous chrome finish. That makes it an excellent choice for drivers who’re looking for something a little different.
Something that will add an eye-catching feature, as well as a reliable additional piece of functionality to your vehicle.
By providing that little bit of customization, mAuto have really gone the extra mile to make sure that you’re happy with your final purchase.
mAuto have really done something special if what you’re looking for is a horn that also becomes a feature on the front of your vehicle. I would say that whilst the sound is amazing and the installation very easy, the classic look does make this a slight niche product as it won’t be in keeping with the style of more contemporary vehicles.
That said, if what you’re looking for is a throwback then you certainly cannot go wrong by adding one of these to your vehicle.
What’s more, it’s also backed by a money back guarantee — perfect for the peace of mind that you’re spending your hard earned money on something that will do everything you need it to and stand the test of time! Strongly recommended for buyers who have a particular throwback style in mind.
HELLA – Best Air Horn for a Car
It comes in the shape of the Sharptone, and comparing it to the slightly more expensive Supertone that we’ve already looked at in detail above certainly makes for interesting reading!
The first thing to say about the Sharptone is that I fell in love with the price instantly. For a great price you’re getting a world-class brand name for little more than the price of a couple of burgers and sodas that you’d pick up at the end of your Sunday drive.
The question is then, does the low price come at a cost? Or are you still getting the quality and reliability that comes as standard with the HELLA name?
A Kit That Lives Up to Expectations
I’m going to cut straight to the chase and say that HELLA have delivered here once again. The fact they’ve been able to come up with something even more affordable than the Supertone without sacrificing the quality of the end product makes this achievement all the more impressive in my honest opinion.
The Sharptone is known as a great value compact option, and it certainly delivers an attention-grabbing sound that will be there when you need it in times of danger or emergency.
Ok, so the install isn’t strictly instantaneous, not even HELLA have managed that (yet). But the instructions and minimal wiring requirements make the Sharptone the next best thing.
The package comes securely boxed and packaged so you can see at a glance all of the pieces you need.
Often with kits deciphering the instructions can be half the battle, but as always with HELLA you’re opting for a brand name that knows how to keep things simple when they need to be.
I find it really hard to walk past anything that has HELLA written on it. When you know the market, you’ll see it standout as a mark of quality that is hard to beat, and the Sharptone is no exception.
Furthermore, as such a great budget offering this product easily competes with the mid-range priced kits.
That makes it a fantastic choice for drivers who want something that does what it is supposed to without them having to spend and spend. Highly recommended: fantastic value for money and simple to install.
Wolo Big Bad Max – Best Loud Car Horn
A well-known brand and an attractive name are one thing, but functionality and performance can be something else entirely. So, is this something you need to add to cart today?
Or is it a victory for marketing over engineering? Let’s take a closer look and delve into those all-important details.
The first thing to say is that we’re looking at a mid-priced horn that is big on promises. By boldly declaring that it is twice as loud as a factory horn it is certainly setting itself up in the frontline performance-wise, so how did it get on when I put it through its paces?
I really like that I could see how to install it straight out of the box. The package is nicely finished and an all-in-one design that encompasses the horn, wiring, and in-built compressor.
Highly Dependable but Is It Twice as Loud?
Wolo certainly knows what they’re doing when it comes to creating products that will stand the test of time. They test and test until they get the design just right, and then you are left with something that will last for years.
That said, there is a little dispute online as to whether they can actually claim they’re twice as loud as a factory horn.
I may be being ultra-critical here as it is undoubtedly a durable and usable horn. But I think just clarifying the spec with a dB value would be a way that will avoid some buyers experiencing disappointment after they sound it for the first time.
Wolo knows precisely how to create buzz around their products, and naming their latest entry into the market. The Big Bad Max is a testament to their ability to get heads turning in their direction.
With the stamp of approval that only an established name can provide, this is a great mid-range option that won’t disappoint.
My only criticism would be that it may be worth a closer look for those who are looking for the loudest sound on the market. Recommended: a solid offering from an established name.
Best Car Horn – Buyer’s Guide
So there you have it, five of the best for you to take a closer look at. Also, though, I’ve put together a handy buyer’s guide that you can refer to whenever you want. It will assist you when you go in search of the perfect horn for, your vehicle.
How Do You Choose The Perfect Sound?
That is quite a personal choice and ultimately depends on what you feel comfortable with.
I always recommend listening to sound samples, or even better; hearing each horn on your shortlist in person if at all possible.
I’m Worried About Compatibility, What Should I Do?
If you are buying a kit with a larger compressor, then it is also worth surveying your vehicle to ensure that you meet the necessary free space requirements.
Remember that compressors are working hard to maintain the all-important air pressure that your horn needs. This means they need plenty of airflow and breathing space to remain cool. If in doubt, consult the manufacturer.
I’m New To This, Why Do I Need a Compressor?
Your horn works by driving a massive volume air out very fast, this creates the high volume that we all know and love. To make that possible an air compressor is needed.
By squeezing air into a small space to generate a high pressure, it will create the build-up of air that your horn needs to operate.
Electric? I Thought They Operated on Air?
Just like a horn they had a diaphragm that moved rapidly backward and forwards at a particular frequency. Change the frequency, and you change the tone of the sound.
Change the amount the diaphragm oscillates, and you adjust the volume. Simple when you know how right?
Tell Me About Direct Air Horns.
The direct air horn is a classic solution to alerting other vehicles to your presence.
The air is driven rapidly through the horn, kind of like a trumpet, and the tone of the sound is largely governed by the size of the horn.
Why Are Some Horns Dual Tone?
This is mostly a matter of flexibility. With a safety device like a car, horn manufacturers know that it is essential that drivers feel confident in their latest purchase.
What’s a Train Horn?
By mounting horns in anything from pairs to batches of five, trains are able to create chords by playing a range of notes simultaneously. This helps other vehicles to distinguish their sound and make them easily noticed amongst a variety of different background noises.
Where Should I Look for Further Advice?
There are a number of additional places you could look for advice. Online stores and discussion boards are good places to go to sample customer reviews.
These will give you a broad overview of how a large number of buyers found their purchase. This can be a great way of identifying recurring problems, such as faulty relays or horns that die inside 12 months, with certain makes or models.
In fact, that was my inspiration for writing this buyer’s guide!
So there we have it, five car horns for you to cast your eye over, with a buyer’s guide added in the end to finish things off. No matter what you decide to add to your vehicle the one key point of advice I want you to take away with you is that your horn is at the end of the day a safety device.
Always think first and foremost about whether it will alert other drivers to your presence.