If you are trying to go as cheap as possible but still be effective, I don’t think you can beat the price for disposable foamies. They are typically over 30NRR, and they can commonly be found for 200/$20. I keep them as spares for loaning out
I’m a big fan of electronic ear muffs, so that’s most of my experience. I don’t mind spending a few extra bucks here and being able to hear range commands. Also just being able to talk to whoever I’m at the range with, sometimes giving a newbie instructions, hearing their questions, or just discussing where to eat afterwards is invaluable.
I’ve had 3 different sets of electronic ear pro. Howard Leight Impact Pro, Peltor Sport Tactical 500, and currently Walker’s XCEL 100 & 500.
My first pair was the Howard Leights. Comfortable, the cups never had any issue going over eye pro/eyeglass lens frames. Electronic amplification is pretty decent, if you’ve never had it it seems like a miracle. Their NRR is on the low side, I think around 22NRR if memory serves. I’m basically always at an indoor range, so frequently I would have to double up on ear pro using foamies underneath the cups if people were shooting large caliber pistols or rifles. If you primarily shoot outdoors this may be less of an issue. Batteries (AA?) last effectively forever. They are very slim profile, so I never had to worry about shooting rifles with these on. If you want inexpensive electronic ear pro, around $50 or less online, and don’t mind the lower NRR these are an excellent option.
Next up I bought the Peltors because I wanted improved NRR. They are/were over $100. The increase in NRR is very noticeable. I rarely doubled up on ear pro anymore after switching to this pair (caveat below). The most impressive feature that I didn’t think would be that big of a deal is the cutoff when switching amplification on/off. What I mean is this… Imagine someone is talking to you at the range and mid-sentence someone fires. The mics switch off/reduce for just a moment during the “bang” and then come back up. On the Howard Leights, this off/on cycle was noticeable, you could miss whole words in the lag. But on the Peltors it was basically negligible. It made having conversations much easier, almost as if you weren’t surrounded by people shooting. Their only downside is that they are not very slim, so firing rifles the stock would frequently “bump” the ear cups off of the ear and let in volume. So whenever I would shoot rifles I would have to double up, which basically negated the entire reason for my “upgrade” from the Howard Leights. They were awesome when using pistols though, and depending on where youe face is against a rifle stock it may not be as much of an issue for you.
My current and most recent purchase is Walker’s XCEL series. They have the same NRR as the Peltors but are almost as slim as the Howard Leights. Additionally, the cost splits the difference as well. The 500 model (which has bluetooth) is available in a lot of places for less than $100, but if you don’t need bluetooth the 100 model is at least $20 less and I’ve seen it as low as $70. MidwayUSA has them right now for $40 for hulk green and $45 for orange if you don’t mind the garish color. They have 4 “amplification modes” Universal, Speech Clarity Mode, Hi Frequency, and Power Boost. The speech mode really brings out people’s voices, and supposedly the HiFrequency setting is good for hearing steel rings at distance (I dont have experience with that though). Most importantly for me is their slim profile doesn’t get bumped off by a rifle stock. They are a very good choice and worth the price, and a steal if you don’t mind an ugly color
The Peltors and Walkers have Bluetooth which I don’t use, but I hear in theory you could take a phone call or listen to music. I have been tempted to pick up a shot timer app, which would play the “go” audio tone in my headset, but I don’t know how it would pickup my gunshot audio amongst all the other shooters at the range.
Overall, I’d recommend the Walker’s XCEL in either 100 or 500.