Best Aviation Headsets – In general, you get what you pay for. Quality headsets can last for a decade, so it will be an investment that will pay off. If you’re still not sure which one you should buy, ask a few pilot friends or people at your airfield if you can borrow theirs for a test flight. Always be aware of cheap headsets, they can be attractive but will do a very poor job protecting your ears.
When in doubt, the best advice is still to “buy the most headset you can afford“.
Now that you know how to find the best aviation headset, we sincerely hope you are able to pick a good option and make an informed purchase. However, our favorite out of the lot is the Bose A20 Aviation Headset. Many 737 pilots also used this headset for its excellent noise cancelation, comfort and durability. Even though it is expensive, it’s worth purchasing if you are looking for a premium-quality aviation headset.
When you want to have the best experience possible, it makes sense to look at things from every angle. Consider these factors when you’re purchasing an headset to ensure that you have a good experience.
1.Bose A20 Aviation
Pros & Cons
- 30% greater active noise reduction than conventional aviation headsets. Connectivity Technology: Wired/Wireless
- 30% less clamping force than conventional aviation headsets. The ergonomic control module includes an auxiliary audio input with intercom/AUX priority switching, ideal for dedicated GPS and traffic warning systems
- Clear audio with active equalization. Simple, intuitive headset operation plug it in, turn it on, go flying
- Now with Bluetooth audio and communications interface for connectivity with your communications and navigation devices
- Customizable audio prioritization control lets you mute an audio signal when receiving a communication, or mix the two together
Pros & Cons
- Lightweight, only 1 oz.
- ANR-like performance with up to 50 dB of noise reduction
- Auxiliary / Music Input
- Replaceable Ear Tips with Slow-Recovery Foam
Pros & Cons
- ALL-IN-ONE HEADSET: In-Ear Canal headphones with Lightning connector. Features high quality music listening, transparent hearing mode, Active Noise Cancellation, 3D sound recording, immersive playback and crystal clear voice calls.
- HEAR THE WORLD: Stay connected to the world and hear what’s going on around you by activating the transparent hearing feature.
- SILENCE THE WORLD: Isolate yourself from the world and enjoy your music to the fullest. The Active Noise Cancellation mode allows you to block out background noise whenever you like.
- RECORD YOUR WORLD: Capture your moments exactly how you experience them. Thanks to built-in, high-quality microphones, you can easily record videos with perfect 3D audio.
- RELIVE YOUR WORLD: By replaying your immersive recordings, you can fully relive your memories as if you’re there again. Or share them with friends. Connectivity Technology: Wired - Lightning Cable
4.Lightspeed Zulu 3
Pros & Cons
- FIVE STAR COMFORT: Embark for every journey sporting maximum comfort. Our over the ear headphones are designed to follow the curve of your head for a comfortable distribution of weight and side pressure. Zulu 3 wired headphones with microphone ear seals are constructed to hug the curve of your jaw for a natural fit while providing a better seal around glasses. Give yourself the luxury head set you deserve.
- FIVE BY FIVE COMMS: We understand reliable communication is key for safety. Our noise-canceling headset with microphone provides advanced noise reduction through ANR performance, magnesium ear cups, and advanced microphone technologies. Zulu 3 communication headset allows full Bluetooth connectivity and offers an integrated control box with auxiliary input to make pairing your devices easy!
- EXCEPTIONAL QUALITY: Invest in your future. Aviation headsets for pilots are essential aviation tools that should be built to last. Our head phones are designed with durability and longevity in mind to endure the harshest flying environments and last long-term. Zulu 3 is made from stainless steel and magnesium for high-quality performance. All of our Zulu 3 headsets are made in America.
- PREMIUM FEATURES: Pair with our exclusive app to capture incoming and outgoing communication. Zulu 3 bluetooth headset with microphone automatically lowers the volume of any auxiliary device during radio or intercom transmissions. The soft mute feature gently eases music back in for a smooth listening transition. Incorporate the features you desire in your bluetooth headset for your ultimate experience.
- DESIGNED BY FELLOW PILOTS: As a company of pilots and flight enthusiasts, we strive to know our customers well and deliver an innovative in-flight experience. Our Zulu 3 bluetooth headphones with microphone are constructed by our finest engineers who understand what pilots need. Zulu aviation headsets are designed as pilot headsets for airplanes but can also be used as a tactical headset or military headset.
5.Lightspeed SIERRA ANR
Pros & Cons
- Auto Shut-Off
- Battery status indicator
- (2) AA Batteries - 40 hours of operation
- Stereo/Mono switchable
- Left and right ear volume controls
6.HyperX Cloud Flight S
Pros & Cons
- Frequency response 10Hz–20kHz.Headphones fit type:Over-Ear
- Gaming-grade 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity
- Long lasting battery life - up to 30 hours
- Qi Certified for wireless charging
- HyperX custom-tuned 7.1 surround sound
- Game and chat, audio balance
- Signature HyperX comfort and durability
- Detachable microphone with LED mute indicator
- Customizable onboard controls
- 90° rotating ear cups
7.David Clark H10-13.4
Pros & Cons
- Super Soft, Double Foam Head Pad
- New Comfort gel, undercut ear seals
- Universal Flex Boom for perfect microphone placement
- Exclusive M-7A, the most advanced noise-cancelling microphone available
- Low-profile volume control knob with detent settings
- 5-year Guarantee
8.KORE AVIATION KA-1
Pros & Cons
- Mono & Stereo Support with Built-in Y-block Switch on Cable
- Extra Comfortable Gel Ear Seals with Flexible Boom Mic
- 5 Year Manufacturer's Warranty on Headset
- Ultra soft, double-knit, 100% cotton material designed to absorb and wick moisture away
- Padded carry bag to protect with ballistic nylon material and soft inner cotton liner
Pros & Cons
- Next generation light-weight battery-free ANR headset for Airbus Pilots
Pros & Cons
Best Aviation Headsets – BUYER’S GUIDE
About the Microphone
The microphone is another aspect of these headsets that you need to keep in mind. You see, having a good microphone is essential due to the fact that you need to be able to communicate with others clearly. If you have a headset with a microphone that doesn’t have any noise-suppression capabilities, then you’re not going to be able to enjoy clear calls or communications. Most microphones will come with a sort of windshield or foam padding, but this isn’t going to be enough to suppress noises by itself.
If you want to have the best possible sound quality, then it’s a good idea to buy a microphone that has solid noise-suppressing capabilities. It should include some type of noise-reducing foam, and it would also be good for it to have a jacket over the foam. This can make the noise suppression of the foam more effective, and you’ll be able to communicate with greater clarity. Don’t forget that a high-quality microphone is every bit as important as good noise-reduction technology.
You Have to Pay for Quality
You might be tempted to try to save money by purchasing a headset that is inexpensive. There are some good budget options on the market. You can find some headsets that are under $200 listed above, and you’ll also find a good option that falls under the $500 range. Even so, you have to remember that you need to pay more to get a truly quality experience.
If you aren’t willing to put down some money on a high-quality headset, then you can’t expect to have a premium product. The less a headset costs, the further it will be from something that is truly top-tier. If you want the best aviation headset possible, then you’ll need to be prepared to spend a bit of money. Don’t be afraid to invest in a good headset, as it can truly enhance your flying experience and make your life as a pilot easier.
Test Headsets Out
It’s actually a good idea to consider testing headsets out before truly committing to a purchase. You can speak to most of your local pilot shops about what their return policies look like. This should present you with an opportunity to try something out to see if it’s a good fit for you. If you don’t like it, then you should be able to return the headset and find something else.
Part of shopping for a comfortable headset is about finding the right model that will suit your needs. Don’t hesitate to try out several headsets. You might feel like you’re being picky, but you really do want to find something that is ideal for you. Don’t just buy the first headset that sounds good when you have the option to test things out to see which ones you like best.
Aftermarket Ear Seals
You might wind up finding a really good headset that simply doesn’t feel comfortable enough for you. This might seem like a wasted opportunity, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s actually possible to buy aftermarket ear seals to make things more comfortable. This is a smart way to increase your comfort levels while still being able to make use of the good features of a headset that might not have felt as natural as you’d originally hoped.
Buy Used Aviation Headsets to Save Cash
If you’re working on a limited budget, then you might need to get creative. You don’t have to stick to the low-quality models that are available for lower prices. It’s actually possible to buy high-end headsets that are used. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on a new headset, then this can potentially help you to save hundreds of dollars.
Of course, not everyone is going to be comfortable buying a used product like this. It’s just something that you can consider if you want a good headset but need to keep your costs low. Most pilots do take great care of their headsets, so a used one might not be a bad fit for your needs. Consider your options and your budget before proceeding.
Get the Right Type of Microphone
The importance of the microphone was mentioned earlier on in this article. You’re also going to want to make sure that you buy an aviation headset that has the right type of microphone. You see, there are three different styles that you will encounter, and some of them work better with certain radios. Whether your microphone is dynamic, amplified dynamic, or electret will play a role.
It’s a good idea to determine which type of microphone works best for your radio before making your purchase. You want your communications and calls to be as clear as possible. For this reason, you should do your research ahead of time so that you can make a smart choice. This can make quite a difference, so don’t neglect to consider which type of microphone is included with the headset that you’re looking at.
Your Comfort Is Crucial
Your comfort while flying is absolutely crucial when it comes to buying a headset. You can purchase a high-quality headset that has the most amazing features and then find out that it isn’t comfortable at all. Think about how often you’re going to be wearing this headset. You’ll be using this all the time, and you don’t want to have to suffer through wearing a headset that is tough on your ears or neck.
There are many things to consider when thinking about the comfort of a headset. You need to consider how the ear cups feel, and you also need to think about the weight of the headset. If the headset is too bulky for you, then it could wind up causing your neck to cramp up. You don’t need distractions like this while flying, so choosing a comfortable headset is highly recommended.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are aviation headsets so expensive?
Aviation headsets are costlier than regular headphones as they serve not just one but three purposes. They provide you with the utmost comfort when you are flying a plane, protect your ears from cockpit noises, and help you in 2-way communications using the intercom and communication radios. Not only this but they are also FAA approved (the testing adds to the cost), and more durable. Therefore, aviation headsets are much more expensive than regular headphones. They are one of the most expensive headphones on the market.
Can a gaming headset be used for aviation?
The simpler answer is “no.” Gaming headsets cannot be used for aviation as aviation headsets comprise input plugs of different sizes. Even though you can easily find gaming headsets that provide excellent noise cancelation like aviation headsets, you won’t be able to connect the regular gaming headset to the audio panel.
Can I use a Bose Aviation Headset as a regular one?
As already mentioned in the first question, you will need a special aviation headset PC adapter to connect the Bose Aviation Headset to your PC. Moreover, aviation headset PC adapters are expensive. We do not recommend using aviation headsets as regular headsets.
Why are ANR aviation headsets better than PNR aviation headsets?
First things first, ANR aviation headsets provide incredible noise reduction. Secondly, the noise reduction is targeted toward lower frequencies. Lastly, ANR aviation headsets are more comfortable and lighter than their DNR and PNR counterparts. However, they are more expensive.
What is the best aviation headset for student pilots?
We recommend the following aviation headsets for student pilots:
David Clark H10-13.4 Aviation Headset
KORE AVIATION KA-1 Premium Series Aviation Headset
We have already discussed both the aviation headsets in detail above.
What is the best noise-canceling aviation headset?
Per our experience, the Bose A20 Aviation Headset is the best noise-canceling headset on the market currently, followed by the David Clark H10-13.4 Aviation Headset.
If you’re a pilot, your headset is probably one of your most important pieces of gear. It’s sitting right on top of your head, thus directly impacting your comfort and ability to make every flight a success. That’s why you only want to buy the best when the time comes for a new headset. These are the 8 best headsets for pilots for every budget.