Best Pilot Headsets – 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.
As a pilot, our headsets protect our ears and allow us to communicate with ATC and other pilots. We can even use them to listen to music.
We’ve talked about what to look for in an aviation headset and have shared the top 10 that made the cut for us.
For an awesome aviation headset, look no further than the David Clark DC ONE-X, which is practically an industry standard. In use by the United States Air Force and Private contactors, this headset is second to none. But, if you’re looking for something more commercially viable with excellent noise cancellation, we recommend the Lightspeed Zulu 3.
1.David Clark DC
- David Clark Headset Bag, (2) AA batteries included
- Weight (without cord assembly) 12.3 oz
- TSO-C139a Approved
- Five-year warranty and 30-Day, money back guarantee, backed by industry leading customer service.
- 30% greater active noise reduction than conventional aviation headsets
- 30% less clamping force than conventional aviation headsets
- Clear audio with active equalization.Automatically shapes and equalizes incoming signals for enhanced clarity and intelligibility
- Customizable audio prioritization control lets you mute an audio signal when receiving a communication, or mix the two together
- Connectivity technology : Wired
3.Lightspeed Zulu 3
- New contoured ear seals are designed to hug the curve of the jaw, reducing side pressure to get a more natural fit for more comfort and stability. These ear seals create 30 to 50 percent more space for the ear than other ANR headsets, a key feature of long-term user comfort.
- Zulu 3 is outfitted with new cables built around a Kevlar core, which are stronger, lighter, and more flexible than standard cables. The more durable cables complement the other premium materials used in the rest of the headset construction, including the magnesium cups, sliders, and the stainless steel headband.
- Retains the same award winning Lightspeed ANR and all of the most popular features of Zulu.2, such as Bluetooth for phone and music, Auto Shutoff, and ComPriority. It also has an exclusive user adjustable mic gain adjustment to get the audio and side tone just right for all voices.
- A taller head pad option ensures maximum comfort and performance on smaller head shapes.
- Backed by an industry-best 7-year-warranty from Lightspeed.
4.HyperX Cloud Flight
- 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
- Next generation light-weight battery-free ANR headset for Airbus Pilots
- 3.5mm Input Jack for Music Devices
- Foam Ear Seals Provide All Day Comfort
- EM56 Noise Reflective Cup Microphone with New Flex Boom
- Includes Headset Bag Featuring Soft Interior Liner and Nylon Shell
- 50mm Performance Audio Speakers and 24dB Noise Reduction Hearing Protection
- FOR CLEAR COMMUNICATION - Premier noise reduction rating (NRR) of 24db and electret noise-canceling microphone with preamp on 360 flex boom
- FOR COMFORT - Ultra plush silicone gel ear seals and extra thick head pad with adjustable headband for all day comfort
- FOR PERFECT SOUND - Independent volume control on each ear with ultra-lite neodymium speakers and 3.5mm input jack for phone connection (AUDIO ONLY)
- FOR DUAL COMPATIBILITY - Mono and Stereo radio adaptability with built in switch on cable for easy switch
- FOR CONVENIENCE - Custom fit headset bag included for easy carry and protection
- 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
10.1MORE True Wireless
- Unrivaled Sound Quality: Featuring a 13.4 mm dynamic driver which delivers impeccable sound with rich details, 1MORE ComfoBuds are skillfully tuned by Grammy Award-winning sound engineer so you can hear the songs in the way the artist intended them to be heard.
- Comfort that You Can Feel: The 1MORE ComfoBuds are ergonomically crafted with a semi in-ear design which envelops your ear canals in ultimate comfort while ensuring a secure fit. Feel nothing but the beat, with each earbud weighing merely 3.8 g.
- Four ENC Microphones: Save your phone calls from noisy environments with the four built-in (Environmental Noise Cancellation) microphones, which effectively suppress outside noise while amplifying your voice.
- Instant Pairing: Say goodbye to fussy pairing processes and hello to more music thanks to the instant pairing technology which connects the earbuds automatically (after initial pairing) with your device once you open the case.
- Auto Play & Resume: The infrared sensor will automatically pause music playback when you take the earbuds out of your ears and resume when you put them back on.
Best Pilot 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do aviation headsets work?
Aviation headsets work like gaming headsets. However, they are more expensive and sturdy. Most of the aviation headsets are over-the-ear style and comprise a cable with one or two plugs. The dual plug models typically comprise one plug for the headphones and one for the microphone.
As already mentioned in the beginning of the guide, there are 3 types of aviation headers: ANR, DNR and PNR. However, the majority of the pilots prefer ANR or DNR aviation headsets as they provide excellent noise reduction. Also, ANR and DNR models are more expensive than the PNR models.
Pilots use aviation headsets to eliminate cockpit noise, reduce disturbance while flying, and communicate with the air traffic controller (ATC). The aviation headset is connected to the airplane’s audio panel. The amount of hearing protection required will depend on the aircraft you will be flying.
How to test an aviation headset at home?
You can test an aviation headset at home by connecting it to your PC or Mac. Most aviation headsets come with two plugs (one for the headphones and one for the microphone) and a mono-stereo switch. However, the plugs can vary from headset to headset depending on the flight you will be flying.
Ensure you switch to the stereo mode when testing the aviation headset on your computer. First things first, you need a PC adapter to connect the aviation headset to your PC. The adapter should comprise two inputs, similar to the inputs on the aircraft’s audio panel. The other end of the adapter should comprise the standard PC input jacks (one for the speakers and one for the microphone). Once you have successfully connected the aviation headset to your PC, you can test it using your favorite songs or use a flight simulator to evaluate features, such as noise cancelation, audio clarity, microphone quality and so on.
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.
Imagine someone asks you, “What is the purpose of an aviation headset?” Naturally, your mind goes to comms. Headsets are vital for communication, right? Absolutely, and they play another role which may be less obvious to new pilots – noise reduction.
At first it may seem quiet inside the cockpit of your aircraft – after all, it’s not like you’re at a heavy metal concert. Still, put on a noise reduction headset and you will instantly notice the difference.
Although the cockpit’s background noise isn’t overly loud, it is loud enough that long-term exposure can cause permanent damage and hearing loss.