Best Survival Whistles [2021]

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Updated March 6, 2021 – Survival whistles maybe inexpensive pieces of emergency gear, but they are essential for anyone who understands their importance.

Survival whistles are absolutely vital yet they are one of the most underrated survival items you can carry with you, or have in your emergency kit.

I won’t waste time explaining what a whistle is or what it does as I’m confident anyone reading this will know that already.

However, what does need explaining is the importance of a survival whistle.

Why are Survival Whistles So Important?

Blowing a Survival Whistle

Communication is a key element in successfully surviving situations in which the help of others will be essential.

It doesn’t matter what type of life-threatening situation or SHTF scenario you find yourself in.

Having the ability to communicate successfully with others will help them find you, or you find them.

Such communication will quickly turn a bad situation into a manageable one.

Obviously, there are a number of communication methods available. Handheld ham radios, walkie-talkies, CB Radios, are all viable options, all of which have their merits.

However, the simplest and most reliable of communication methods, particularly in an emergency, is the simple survival whistle.

A well-made survival whistle will be durable, reliable, small, very light, and extremely loud.

The survival whistle is a victim of its simplicity!

Survival whistles are pieces of survival equipment that are often under-rated and frequently overlooked or dismissed. This is because people deem them unnecessary because they have more sophisticated, forms of communication packed away in their bug-out bag.

In short, they are wrong and are making a huge mistake neglecting the whistle!

Why we all need Survival Whistles

A survival whistle requires no power source and is easy to carry on your person at all times. It can be either attached to your belt, rest in your pocket, or hang around your neck. And as long as you have the ability to blow your whistle you will have an effective way to communicate.

During and after natural disasters, a good loud survival whistle can be heard through all the noisy chaos that accompanies such things.

Often a person shouting for help, buried under a collapsed building is not heard. The sharp, shrill sound emitted by a continuously blown survival whistle makes it much easier for rescuers to locate them. It also requires much less energy to blow a whistle than to shout.

Best Survival Whistles for Child Protection

A whistle’s benefits are not just limited to survival and emergency situations either.

Use a whistle to raise alarm, very useful if you’re under attack or being robbed.

A loud whistle will very often scare off would-be attackers or thieves.

If you have children, a whistle can also keep them safe.

Make sure they always have a whistle with them and know when and how to use them.

A child blowing loudly on a whistle when feeling unsafe will deter any unscrupulous advances made by a stranger.

What to Look For When Selecting Survival Whistles?

Most emergency whistles do the same thing, make a loud noise!

Some have extra little gimmicks attached to them like maybe a compass or a flashlight for example.

Extra gadgets may seem like an attractive proposition but they are just gimmicks to get you to buy a whistle that might not be that good.

Your sole focus should only be on how well the whistle does its job, not what else it can do!

Loudness:

You want the loudest survival whistle you can find!

You are looking for a whistle that produces a high-pitched sound that will carry over a long distance. And one that can also be heard over a lot of other noise.

Excessive noise is unfortunately something that is unavoidable in many disaster/SHTF situations.

Effort:

You want an emergency whistle that can produce a loud sound like mentioned above but with the minimum of effort.

There’s no point in having a survival whistle that sounds great if it requires a lot of effort to blow. What if you get hurt and are unable to fully blow your whistle?

Durability:

It doesn’t matter how good a whistle sounds if it breaks the first time when dropped or is accidentally sat upon.

Your whistle will be out in all weather conditions. Therefore, it will need to be resistant to water, intense sunshine, freezing temperatures, and extreme heat.

The material used to make the whistle will have a big bearing on your decision-making process.

Metal whistles may seem like the most durable option. However, they can stick to your lips in freezing conditions and possibly burn them in extreme heat. Plastic whistles on the other hand are more brittle than their metal counterparts.

Basically, you have to match a survival whistle with the environment and climate.

Reliability:

You will need a survival whistle that will not let you down in your hour of need. It is for that reason you should only consider whistles that do not use a pea!

Whistles that contain a pea, or any other moving part, are much more likely to fail.

Dirt and moisture can enter a whistle and reduce its effectiveness. Eventually, the whistle will stop working altogether.

No pea!

Size and Weight:

Not too important a factor as most whistles will not be very big. In fact, most, if not all, will fit comfortably into any pocket.

Nor is it likely that you will find a whistle that that is too heavy. If you do, you may want to scratch them from your list of potential choices!

Note: It sounds obvious but before packing any survival whistle into your bug-out bag or putting it into your pocket. Make sure it works properly.

You don’t want to have an accident only to find out that the only item you have for summoning help doesn’t work!

Even the highest quality survival whistles can have problems, so don’t risk taking one out with you without first checking it.

Also, before heading out with your survival whistle, make sure you know the internationally recognized signal codes. They are:

  • Distress Call (Help me) – Three blasts
  • Call back (Come Here) – Two blasts
  • Where are you? (or acknowledgment signal after hearing another whistle code) – One blast

Each blast should be 3 seconds in length and you should take a few seconds between each blast. Repeat the signal as often as needed, make sure you wait long enough between each signal.


Review of some of the Best Survival Whistles


It’s pretty hard to pick out a survival whistle that stands head and shoulders above its competitors. There are so many good ones to choose from.

I hope the selection of whistles we review below will in some way help you make a good decision.

I haven’t placed the survival whistles listed in any specific order as they are all good. Each one of them has a slightly better result in a specific area than the others. Therefore, singling out one whistle isn’t possible.


ACME 636 Slimline Tornado

ACME 636 Slimline Tornado Marine Safety Whistle Orange

The ACME Tornado looks like an extremely basic whistle. This is understandable when compared to some of the other whistles reviewed here. But even though the Tornado looks very ordinary it packs a pretty big audible punch of 117dB.

The Tornado is a pea-less whistle that will work in all conditions. Its plastic construction seems durable enough. However, when compared to other whistles made of similar material it doesn’t seem as rigid in construction. This may have something to do with the small size and minimal weight of the Tornado (about 0.17oz!).

ACME 636 Slimline Tornado Marine Safety Whistle All Colors

As well as being small and light, the ACME 636 Slimline Tornado has an extremely thin profile. So it is comfortable to wear around your neck and under your shirt.

Acme Whistles is a UK company that has been making top-quality whistles since 1870. You can be confident that the Tornado is a well-made whistle. Whether it is the best whistle is a completely different question.

One thing is for sure though, you’ll be struggling to find a whistle as small that produces as much noise.

The Tornado is available in 6 colors. There is also a glow-in-the-dark version. This can be extremely useful if you need to quickly find your Tornado whistle in the dark.

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HEIMDALL Safety Whistle with lanyard

Heimdall Safety Whistle

You get two extremely visible and brightly colored whistles when you purchase the Heimdall. The Heimdall is extremely durable, pea-less, LOUD, easy to blow, small, and very light.

The Heimdall safety whistle is, in our opinion, and that of many others who have bought it, an excellent purchase.

It ticks pretty much every box.

The unique patented design is pleasing to the eye. The fact that it comes already attached to its own lanyard is a big plus too.

Heimdall says their whistle can produce up to 120 decibels of sound. This makes it one of the loudest whistles on the market. This level of noise can be achieved without too much effort from the user.

Heimdall Safety Whistles hanging by lanyards

The Heimdall can withstand a lot of damage without affecting its performance. Even though it is extremely light and small enough to easily be carried in your top pocket.

It also floats by the way!

The Heimdall Survival whistle is a great buy at a great price. It is unquestionably our pick of all the whistles we have reviewed.

If we were going to be picky and highlight one thing that I think the makers could do to increase sales, it would be to offer it in camouflage or a khaki version. Like I said… picky!

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Markwort Storm Safety Whistle

Storm Safety Whistle in Packaging

The Storm is quite a bulky whistle, much larger than a great number of its competitors. Aesthetically it certainly doesn’t look appealing either.

However, you shouldn’t let the Storm’s size and looks deceive you.

It produces one of the loudest signals of any whistle currently available. An incredible 105 decibels of sound that can even be heard 50 feet underwater!

Due to the Storm’s all-round ability it has been adopted by:

  • Many US Police Departments
  • the US Military
  • the U.S. Coast Guard
  • and a multitude of Emergency & Diving Operations

One of the impressive factors of the Storm is that it can be used inverted. You never know when you’ll need to blow it upside down I guess!

Storm Safety Whistle

It will even work underwater as it will expel any water or moisture contained within immediately upon blowing.

The Storm’s all-weather and submersible use is of obvious benefit to our services.

All in all a great survival whistle. The only issue raised by a handful of individuals is its larger size.

When that solitary issue is set against all the Storm’s benefits then it really is a non-issue.

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S.O.L. Survive Outdoors Longer Slim Rescue Howler Whistle

Survive Outdoors Longer Slim Rescue Howler Whistle 2 Pack

The Slim Rescue Howler whistle by S.O.L is a good first choice for many people and as such is extremely popular.

Although not the loudest whistle, the Slim Rescue Howler still produces an ear-splitting 100-decibel signal that can be heard from over a mile away.

It has no moving parts (pea-less) and will continue to work without fear of freezing or jamming up, no matter what the weather is doing.

It is small and weighs less than half an ounce so it ticks the boxes there.

However, there have been those who have purchased this whistle who have complained the whistle is extremely hard to blow or is not very loud. After investigating, I found the Survive Outdoors Longer Slim Rescue Howler Whistle

problems these people were experiencing were down to poor casting during the production process resulting in plastic flashing sealing vital air slits on the whistle either partially or completely shut.

This problem can be easily rectified by using a sharp craft knife to remove the flashing or you can easily get a replacement from the manufacturer.

Problems aside (of which there were very few) the Slim Rescue Howler whistle is an extremely loud and effective emergency whistle and many people are happy to have it as part of their survival kit.

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Choosing a Survival Whistle is a Very Personal Thing!

We both know that a survival whistle serves an extremely important purpose. You will need to choose one that performs that task well and reliably, hence why I wrote this post.

However, just because we say a certain whistle is great it doesn’t mean it will be for you. You shouldn’t have to make do with a whistle that doesn’t feel right, or you struggle with, simply because a report says it is the best option!

At the end of the day, there are a great number of whistles from which you can choose. The best thing about it is they are so affordable so you can try more than a few out to find your perfect fit. And you won’t spend a shed load of money doing so.

That’s why, as well as the four excellent whistles I’ve covered above, I’ve provided a list below highlighting a number of other great whistles that you can also check out:

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