Passive acoustic monitoring, mitigation, animal density estimation, and comprehensive understanding of the impact of sound on marine animals all require accurate information on vocalization source level to be most effective. This study focused on examining the uncertainty related to passive sonar equation terms that ultimately contribute to the variability observed in estimated source levels of fin whale calls. Differences in hardware configuration, signal detection methods, sample size, location, and time were considered in interpreting the variability of estimated fin whale source levels. Data from Wake Island in the Pacific Ocean and off Portugal in the Atlantic Ocean provided the opportunity to generate large datasets of estimated source levels to better understand sources of uncertainty leading to the observed variability with and across years. Average seasonal source levels from the Wake Island dataset ranged from 175 to 188 dB re 1 μPa m, while the 2007–2008 seasonal average detected off Portugal was 189 dB re 1 μPa m. Owing to the large inherent variability within and across this and other studies that potentially masks true differences between populations, there is no evidence to conclude that the source level of 20-Hz fin whale calls are regionally or population specific.