7 Best Basketball Referee Whistles In 2024

In a rush to make a decision? My choice for the best referee whistle is the Fox 40 Classic CMG Official Finger Grip Whistle.

Like the ball, a whistle is vital to any game, regardless of sport.

Referee whistles can be the bane of demise for most players, whereas some have made it their uncanny friend.

Without a whistle, a coach or a referee will find it hard to get themselves noticed. A reliable whistle can make it much easier for them to call for plays or officiate a game.

If you’re on the hunt for some good, high-quality, and really loud whistles for officiating a game or calling practices, below are some of the best choices.

7 Best Basketball Referee Whistles

The hunt for the best referee whistles shouldn’t be as challenging. There are hundreds or even thousands of available whistles on the market today.

Fortunately for you, I’ve done the hardest part, as I’ve reviewed some of the best whistles today. Continue reading to find out which whistles get into my top 7 spots. Check them out!

1. Fox 40 Classic CMG Official Finger Grip Whistle – Best Overall


  • 3-Chamber Pealess Whistle
  • Cushioned Mouth Grip (CMG)
  • Up to 125 Decibels of Sound Power
  • ‎ABS Plastic

If you are looking for an amazing whistle, the Fox 40 Classic CMG Whistle is happy to commit to this purpose.

This whistle cracked the top spot for several reasons. First, it has a really loud sound which Fox 40 brand whistles are known for. With just a simple blow, you can hear it from afar. Because of its high pitch sound, this can be a viable alternative to an emergency whistle as it can help attract attention in case of calamities.

Second, it has a built-in finger mount and a convenient finger grip that reduces slipping.

I prefer whistles with finger mounts to traditional whistles with lanyards. The convenience of not having the whistle bounce around your neck while running will keep you focused on the game. It does have a variant that works with a lanyard if you prefer.

Lastly, it has a cushioned mouth grip which makes it comfortable to use for extended hours of game time.


  • Exceptional quality
  • Used by most professional referees
  • Durable whistle with its high-quality ABS plastic construction
  • Has finger-mounting system
  • Cushioned mouth grip
  • Classic finger grip whistle


  • The high pitch can be too loud for some users

2. Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG Whistle with Break Away Lanyard – Best Value


  • Pealess design
  • 100% made of high-impact ABS plastic
  • 120+ Decibels of high pitch sound

While it may not be the cheapest whistle, the Fox 40 Sonik Blast is the best value because it can produce high-pitched sound with a simple blow.

As far as ratings go, it is one of the best soccer referee whistles on my list and is also a great candidate for basketball referee whistles.

This whistle can produce sounds up to 120 decibels in a single blow. In addition, its cushioned mouth grip feels very firm in the mouth, and you’ll have nothing to worry about slipping.

And because of its high-pitched sound, it can be heard from a one-mile distance. It has a darker tone than traditional whistles and is made of ABS plastic, known for durability. This makes it better than most plastic whistles which could be prone to cracking over time.


  • It can be heard from long distances
  • Produces consistent sound
  • Cushioned mouth grip
  • Best value pealess whistles in the market
  • Great for soccer, football and basketball games
  • Lanyard included in the package


  • Too high-pitched for some users
  • Accompanying lanyard is not the best quality 

3. BLARIX Guard Pea Whistle and Lanyard  – Best Budget


  • Nylon Lanyard
  • Guard Whistle
  • Pea type design

The BLARIX Guard Pea Whistle is capable of producing very loud sounds that can be comparable to the range of the best ones in the market. You can hear the sound from a mile away and could border on obnoxious levels.

While being a traditional pea type whistle, the BLARIX Guard Pea Whistle is a favorite for soccer referees and could be a contender for the best soccer referee whistles. This is also a fine option for basketball.

This is a decent basic whistle if you are on a budget. Do note that as one of the more affordable choices in the market, you do have to accept a trade off on the materials used.

It doesn’t have cushioned grips and is not the most comfortable compared to the finger grip model. If you are all for the sound, this might be the best and loudest one out there.


  • Better than most metal versions
  • Cuts through crowd noise with ease
  • Comfortable mouth grip
  • It comes with an adjustable lanyard
  • Universal whistle
  • Affordable


  • Made of basic plastic

4. Molten Valkeen Whistle with Flip Grip


  • Flip Grip Mechanism
  • Intended for outdoor settings

If you don’t mind the price, the Molten Valkeen is the best soccer and basketball referee whistle on the market today. It also performs very well as a safety whistle.

The Molten Valkeen Whistle does not look like your traditional whistle. The packaging feels premium and the design is rather refined. The good looks does not compromise the volume of the sound it produces. It is well-known for going well over the 120-decibel range. 

I’m a huge fan of this whistle. It easily cuts through crowd noise, which means you will automatically command attention from afar. No matter how crazy things go on the field, you will get noticed with a simple blow of this good whistle.

Overall, I’m impressed by how well this whistle performed. I actually like that it offers a different look from the traditional whistle. The performance is more than enough for people to hear you from more than a mile away.

If perhaps they could get the price down a little then it is definitely a contender for my top spot.


  • Made of long-lasting materials
  • High-pitched noise
  • Sturdy materials
  • Extremely loud
  • Made from the latest high-technology plastics
  • Flip grip design


  • Expensive
  • It can be too loud for users

5. Acme Tornado


  • Seven Distinctive Sounds
  • Marine/Water Safety
  • Waterproof

If you are looking for a pealess whistle that can rival some of the most advanced electronic whistles on the market today in terms of loudness, the Acme Tornado is your best bet.

What I mean by loud is just plain obnoxious. Plastic whistles do not usually perform this way, but I was wrong. This pealess whistle has got to be one of the loudest on the list.

It can serve as a referee whistle when officiating different types of games. You will be easily noticed without exerting too much effort to blow the whistle.

Overall, I’m impressed by how well this referee whistle surpassed my expectations. Most whistles from this price point cannot perform this way, but this is an exception.


  • Incredibly loud
  • High volume sound
  • Durable construction
  • Many referees are using this


  • It can be a bit shrill to users
  • It doesn’t include any chain or lanyard

6. Gladiour Whistle


  • Double Loop Key Ring
  • Pealess design
  • Waterproof

The Gladiour Whistle is often referred to as the universal whistle because it is versatile enough to be used in soccer, basketball, and other sports.

This whistle features a double-looped lanyard, so you don’t have to worry about dropping this whistle during live games.

In addition, this whistle is equipped with a rubber mouth grip, which is comfortable for users to use for a long time and reduces the risk of biting or hurting their lips.

Unlike traditional metal versions, the Gladiour Whistle is waterproof and great for coaching swimming lessons. Like any other whistle, it can serve as a safety whistle for its high-pitched sound.

This whistle is weather-resistant, durable, and can be used for a long time without breaking. It is a well-rounded whistle used for a wide variety of reasons.


  • Amazing decibel range
  • Made of durable materials
  • Offers multiple sets of pitches
  • Extremely loud
  • Versatile and convenient to use


  • It can be a bit shrill for some users
  • Extremely loud might damage the ears

7. Acme Thunderer Official Referee Whistle


  • Heavy Nickel Plated Brass
  • Easy Blow Rate
  • High Blow Tone

The Acme Thunderer is arguably one of the most traditional-looking whistles on my list, but don’t let this bad boy fool you. It can hurt your ears without putting in too much effort.

It comes in a very bright metallic silver color reminiscent of throwback whistles from our time. While this whistle is made of metal, worry not, as it is water-resistant, ensuring it won’t rust.

As far as performance is concerned, the Thunderer has lived up to its lofty expectations.

What I love about this whistle is it can match your output. Meaning if you will blow harder, the decibel range that you get back will be borderline deafening. So, be careful when exerting too much effort to blow, as it can hurt your ears.


  • Nice throaty sound
  • Comfortable, polished edges
  • It is made of metal
  • Throaty-beaded design
  • Incredible sound output


  • It doesn’t come with any chain or lanyard
  • A little bit pricey

Why Is a Whistle an Important Tool in Sports?

Only a few sports don’t rely on whistles, golf, fishing, and driving; the rest use a whistle to command attention when there is a violation or a stoppage.

Whistles have become a vital piece of any sport. It has become a medium for users who don’t have to shout to get someone’s attention. You can be easily detected or noticed with a simple whistle-blow.

Simply put, a whistle is a tool capable of saying stop without intentionally uttering a word. It simply conveys the message that a play should be stopped.

Just think of this, what if whistles weren’t invented? A referee’s vocal cords won’t last long if they constantly shout to get a player’s attention.

And for the most part, they can’t be heard because of the thousands of people watching.

A whistle might be small, but its ability to command attention despite its size pales compared to some of the technologies these days. The whistle remains one of the better cheap inventions in our world.

What Are Things to Consider When Getting Referee Whistles?

To get the right whistle for the job, there are many things you must consider before making that purchase. You may be considering five whistles or more, but it would be useless without setting a minimum standard.

Here are the factors that can play an important role when choosing the right whistle for you:

  • Volume: One of the first things you should consider is volume. You want a whistle that can produce incredibly loud sounds to be heard across the room, area, court, or open grounds. Also, you’d want something that can blaze past obstacles like crowds. Before you buy a whistle, ensure that the players, watchers, and people generally can hear you from afar. Besides, it is the main purpose of a whistle, right? To be heard. So, be sure to try it out first before buying one.
  • Durability: If you are a referee or a coach by profession, you will want something made of either metal or ABS plastic. These materials are known for their durability, which means you will be using them for far longer than your average whistle. I often recommend checking the quality of the construction first. Is it made of metal or plastic? Does it feel premium or flimsy? You must always consider durability an important factor as well.
  • Ease of Use: You’d want something easy to use. While electronic whistles are becoming popular these days, nothing can still beat the analog ones. Some whistles feature lanyards and chains to avoid dropping or misplacing them during games. In addition, they also provide easy access as they can easily be pulled out. Look for a whistle with a ventilated top, so it doesn’t accidentally block the air passage when you hold it. You will want a whistle that works at all times and doesn’t crack when it is needed the most.
  • Comfort: Like most whistles, you will want something comfortable to use. Many features can add comfort to the overall experience of using whistles. One is a cushioned mouth grip, which prevents you from hurting or biting your lips or tongue when officiating for long stretches.
  • Type of Whistle: Some whistles used today are either pealess whistles or pea whistles. For comparison, a pea whistle is a more traditional whistle as it has a pea inside, either a plastic or a metal chamber that is pushed inside when blown. This creates the high-pitched sound whistles are known for. On the other hand, a pealess whistle means no moving parts inside, which makes them a better choice as you won’t be dealing with deterioration, jamming, and freezing. While it doesn’t have an actual “pea” inside, pealess whistles still produce a very high-pitched sound and are more than enough to give you the attention you need when officiating games.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

You might find the answers below if you have additional questions regarding referee whistles.

What Is the Loudest Whistle?

Of the 7 whistles on my list, the loudest one should be the Molten Valkeen Whistle. It is borderline deafening if you exert too much effort into it, which is why I’m not recommending this one if you are going on a full blast.

How Loud Is a Coach Whistle?

Most coach whistles can go as loud as 120 decibels in one blow.

Other whistles can go way more than that; some are below average. The consensus is right around 120 decibels on average.

What Is the Most Expensive Whistle?

The most expensive whistle on my list is the Molten Valkeen Whistle. It is expensive because of the premium materials used, interesting design and incredibly loud sound that it produces. All these make a coach or referee’s life easier.

The Awesome Choices

To trim down the choices of the best referee whistles, here are my top three picks.

Best Budget – BLARIX Guard Pea Whistle

The Blarix Guard Pea Whistle is an amazing choice if you want a whistle to get by. It doesn’t cost that much, but its performance can rival even some of the best in terms of loudness.

Also, it doesn’t feel flimsy despite its dirt cheap price. Overall, a well-rounded whistle at a budget friendly cost.

Best Value – Fox 40 Sonik Blast CMG Official Whistle

Fox 40 has been an established brand regarding whistles, which is why the Fox 40 Blast is one of the best-value whistles on my list.

It is easy to use, produces high-pitched sounds, and with a cheaper price tag. Overall, it hits the sweet spot of price, functionality, and ease of use.

Best Overall – Fox 40 Classic CMG Official Finger Grip Whistle

The Fox 40 Classic Whistle is made of high-quality ABS plastic, which is sure to be durable and can last for years.

It is one of the loudest whistles on the market today that you can get for a great price. This amazing whistle is definitely the best option for referees and coaches. 

This whistle is not only good. It’s fantastic!


Whistles are, without a doubt, saviors for referees and coaches. It helps them do their job without having to scream at the top of their lungs just to be heard. With a simple blow, their voices can be heard without uttering words. 

Have you made your choice already?

I hope the list above has given you plenty of ideas on which one will best fit your needs. Each one is a great tool for officiating and calling practices.