Everyone who has ever coached, refereed, played, or watched basketball is aware of how vital the whistle is to the game. Of course, the use of the whistle is most important for coaches and refs. 

If you are a coach or a referee, you know how often you need to use the whistle. You want to make sure it's convenient and comfortable to use, offers the volume level you want, is durable, and more.

To find out our top picks for the best whistles for coaches and referees, keep reading!

  • Best Multi-Use
  • 3 Tones Electronic Whistle
  • Mouth-free whistle
  • Best Pea Whistle
  • Corrosion-resistant stainless steel
  • Adjustable landyard length
  • Best Volume
  • 120+ decibels of high pitch shrill
  • Pealess design means nothing gets stuck
  • Best for Comfort
  • Cushion mouth grip great for referees who keep whistle in mouth
  • Pealess design means nothing gets stuck
  • Best Electronic
  • Mouth-free whistle
  • Able to give commands while using

Best Whistles for Basketball Referees and Coaches

If pea whistles are not your style for coaching or refereeing, you could try an electronic whistle. The Yukee Electronic Whistle is multifunctional and great for all sports, including basketball.

The whistle has three separate tones that you can choose from, such as the regular whistle sound, a siren sound, and a pealess whistle sound. (But let's hope you won't need a siren whistle during a game.) The first tone is probably the loudest and the best for coaching games.

What is also convenient about this whistle, is the fact that you can use it mouth-free. This is especially helpful during the pandemic, where everyone needs to wear masks. If you are coaching in circumstances like Covid19, this is a great choice.

The whistle is lightweight and made of durable plastic, but it might be more fragile than other materials like the stainless steel pea whistle. This whistle also comes with a lanyard, though, to keep it around your neck and hopefully free from any accidents.

However, it is a high volume whistle, but it needs batteries to keep that good volume because it's electric. Thankfully, the whistles tend to work for about 1,000 blasts before the batteries need to be changed.

The Crown Sporting Goods whistle is a classic option made of durable stainless steel. The stainless steel is corrosion resistant and has the classic look of most pea whistles used for sport.

The whistle's sound is incredible, as it is loud, clear, and requires less effort for the user than other pea whistles. This whistle also comes with an adjustable lanyard.

The only problem some basketball coaches and refs might come across is the same with any pea whistle. The pea could get stuck while you're making an important call.

This Fox 40 whistle is a fantastic choice when it comes to pealess whistles. The Fox 40 brand is actually one of the first companies to create them. Thanks to the fact that it is pealess, it's excellent for referees since you know nothing will get stuck when you're making a call.

These whistles still have the same type of noise and volume of a pea whistle, thanks to their design. The Fox 40 Sonik Blast, as its name suggests, is very loud at about 120 decibels so that you can hear the whistle's sound over large crowds.

It also happens to be made of ABS plastic that is not affected by any moisture. Another feature is that it can't be blown too much and stop working. The downside of that is that you'll need to use more force when you want a louder or more powerful sound.

This whistle is another sturdy model from Fox 40, which happens to have a cushioned mouth grip. The body of the whistle is also made of ABS plastic, while the grip is thermoplastic. The cushion mouth grip benefits include protection for officials who keep the whistle between their teeth or in their mouth to make quick calls. 

With this pealess whistle, coaches and referees won't have to worry about moving parts that could break, get stuck, or even freeze. It also has a high pitch sound at 115 decibels and can be heard a mile away. You can still hear it over loud crowds, blustery winds, and even over

Like the other electric whistle on this list, the Windsor Three Tone Electronic whistle offers new technology and is much more hygienic than its traditional counterparts.

Since you don't need to use your mouth with an electronic whistle, you can still use your voice at the same time if need be. It also helps to keep you from being out of breath. 

This whistle has a consistent sound, albeit not as loud at 105 decibels. However, if you're a coach or referee of student basketball teams, this could be a perfect choice. Keep in mind that it does require batteries, so you may need to have spares on hand.

Things to Consider When Buying a Basketball Coach or Referee Whistle

Whether you're buying your first whistle as a coach or referee, or if you're a seasoned expert and looking for what's best on the market right now, this guide can help.

Every whistle will have its own setting where it works best. Maybe one is the top of all the "best of" lists, but it isn't suited to your coaching or refereeing circumstances.

To avoid choosing any old whistle, you should consider the following points while you shop.


As you've seen in this article, there are various types of whistles, and the one you buy depends on your preferences and situation. 

Some whistles come with peas, while others are pealess (like the Fox 40 mentioned previously). Then there are the new electric whistles, which may not be loud enough for those refereeing in large arenas.


If you're coaching a game with a huge crowd and you're in a noisy area, you will need a loud whistle. If no one can hear it throughout the arena, there isn't much point.

On the flip side, if you're coaching elementary school basketball teams, you won't need something so loud and piercing. Volume is probably one of, if not the most, essential features of a whistle.

No matter what, you don't want the game to be affected by a lack of volume, so take care evaluating what you will need.


It's safe to say that any referee or coach dreads the possibility of their whistle not working at the right moment; thus, you fail to make a call at the right moment. 

If you use a pea whistle, there is always the chance the pea could get stuck, or if you use an electronic whistle, it could be that the button on it sticks or the batteries need replacing.

Whatever the reason, you will need a reliable whistle. Check the brand, the price, and reviews to see if you can manage potential difficulty. 


Similarly, you don't want to work with a whistle that can easily break or just completely stops working after a few uses. It helps to find a whistle made of strong material to ensure it continues to work while you do.

Comfort Level

Comfort is also something to keep in mind during your search. If it is not comfortable for you to use during the length of a game, you most likely won't want to keep using it.

For example, if you need the whistle to hang around your neck, whistles that come with good quality or adjustable lanyards can do the trick. It should also be comfortable during use.

Conclusion: On the Best Basketball Whistles for Coaches and Referees

If you have narrowed your list down to a few different whistles you'd like to try, it never hurts to read the reviews. If you find the perfect whistle for your situation with good reviews echoing that, there's your ideal choice!

Of course, this list gives you an excellent place to start, so once you determine your needs and wants, you can get to shopping. 

About the author

My name is Joshua Bast and I have been playing basketball ever since I was 7 years old. I love the game play, I love the feeling whenever I score a basket, but what made me fell in love was the camaraderie with my team mates. This blog is dedicated to help any up-and-coming basketball players maximize their potential.