One of the most critical accessories and tools in a pilot’s cockpit is an aviation headset. Hundreds of various headset types and brands are available today, but how do you choose? What should your budget be? What about the difference between ANR and PNR aviation headsets?
Finding the appropriate aviation headset for you can be difficult, especially with so many different brands touting their latest models with all the bells and whistles. With this authoritative guide on how to choose the finest aviation headset in 2023, we’ll help you make an informed decision.
Bose A20 Aviation Headset with Bluetooth Dual Plug Cable
- 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...
- Clear audio with active equalization. Simple, intuitive headset operation plug it in, turn it on, go flying
Let’s play a little word association game. What comes to mind first when I say Bose? Immediately, the term noise-canceling probably came to mind. Since 1989, when Bose debuted the first commercially available Active Noise Cancellation aviation headset specifically built for pilots, any pilot with the means has made Bose their first and typically last stop when seeking for an aviation headset.
If you’re looking for the greatest noise-cancelling aircraft headset, the Bose A20 is it. It is exceptional in this sense. Some people may think the A20 suppresses too much noise, but we have no concerns. The noise-canceling ability of some aviation headsets comes close to that of the A20, but what really sets it apart is its constancy. You’re probably well aware that when using some headsets, moving about or even turning your head increases the amount of noise. With the A20, this is not the case.
The Bose A20 is one of the most widely used aviation headsets. Thousands of pilots use it all around the world. It’s made to work in situations with a lot of outside noise, and it uses active noise cancellation to reduce it. In comparison to ordinary headsets, Bose claims that this headset decreases external noise by 30% (admittedly, they don’t define what they mean by conventional headsets).
This headset has a Bluetooth option that allows you to listen to music and make phone calls. You can mute or blend your audio sources as well. A little control module linked to the headset wire allows you to adjust all of the headset’s settings. The mic can be connected to either the right or left earphone, allowing you to personalize it. The headset isn’t as light as the Bose Proflight Series 2 below, but it’s still a light headset at only 12 oz.
Protein leather is used to make the ear seals. Don’t get it twisted: this isn’t real leather. You aren’t the only one to make this error. However, comfort is not compromised, and you may wear the A20 for extended flights with little pain, even if you’re wearing your favorite pair of pilot sunglasses. It’s no surprise, given that it’s one of the lightest, weighing only 12 ounces and exerting very little clamping pressure on your head. It also helps if the weight is distributed evenly.
At this pricing point, there are maybe a few too many plastic parts. However, the lower weight of the headset certainly contributes to improved comfort. The A20 is far from being flimsy. It’s worth noting that if you enjoy listening to music while flying, the A20 will not disappoint, as it outperforms every other aviation headset in this category. After all, Bose is a household name in the realm of personal audio. This is the Best Aviation Headset in 2023.
This is the headset for you if you want to wear one of the best pilot headsets on the market.
David Clark H10-13.4 Aviation Headset
- Super Soft, Double Foam Head Pad
- New Comfort gel, undercut ear seals
- Universal Flex Boom for perfect microphone placement
David Clark headsets are likely to be found in almost every flying school across the country. It’s a reliable headset at a reasonable price. I even have a few pairs on hand for when I take friends up for a flight. The David Clark headsets use passive noise reduction, so they won’t be as quiet as some of the other options that use active noise cancellation, but they still perform admirably.
The David Clark aircraft headset is very adaptable, which is one of its best features: The boom mic can be worn on either side and adjusted to fit your specific needs. The headset does have a noise-canceling microphone that helps to limit the amount of noise transmitted when speaking, and it appears to work effectively in my experience.
This is one of the best headsets for beginner pilots available. David Clark headsets are ideal for use as a first, second, or backup headset. This is the Best Aviation Headsets in 2023.
Faro G2 ANR (Active Noise Reduction) Premium Pilot Aviation Headset with Mp3 Input
- Backed by FARO’s World-Famous Commercial-Grade Three-Year Replacement Warranty. Pilot Care Service Centers in U.S.
- Premium Pleather Ear Protection offers up to an incredible 52db of Noise Reduction with Active noise compression technology.
- MP3/Radio/iPod/iPad Compatible
Faro Aviation’s cheapest model is the Faro G2 PNR. The G2 is quieter than most other PNR headsets we examine in this guide, with passive noise reduction up to 26dB. The wide soft cushion makes the headset feel light and gives extra comfort for extended cross-country flights. The G2 is available in a variety of colors and features dual volume controls as well as an MP3/iPhone input. Overall, a fantastic low-cost beginner headset for pilots and aviation student.
The headset also has noise-canceling technology in the microphone, which should make your voice seem clearer when speaking. It also includes separate volume settings for each ear, which can be useful.
It weighs more than 2 pounds, making it heavier than many headsets on the market. The sound quality was the main issue I had with this headset. While the ANR works well, some pilots find that the headset’s audio isn’t loud enough.
Lightspeed Zulu 3 Aviation Headset
- 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...
- FIVE BY FIVE COMMS: We understand reliable communication is key for safety. Our noise-canceling headset with microphone provides advanced noise...
- EXCEPTIONAL QUALITY: Invest in your future. Aviation headsets for pilots are essential aviation tools that should be built to last. Our head phones...
Being able to communicate coherently with the flight instructor/ATC is critical when you’re in the pilot’s seat. A noise-canceling aviation headset is required for this, and we have no reservations in recommending Lightspeed’s Zulu 3. It uses magnesium earcups to block out high-frequency noise quickly, delivering remarkable Active Noise Reduction (ANR) performance over a deep, broad range of low-frequency noise.
The embedded dual-aperture disc microphone improves noise cancellation, resulting in significantly clearer communication. It also has user-adjustable mic gain, which helps in multi-headset scenarios balance loud and gentle sounds.
The Zulu 3 is one of the most robust aviation headsets available today, made almost completely of stainless steel and magnesium, with wires fashioned around a Kevlar core. Wireless communication is provided via Bluetooth, as well as an auxiliary input for connecting cellphones, tablets, and portable music players. Dual GA, LEMO, and U-174 configurations are all available with the Lightspeed Zulu 3.
Rugged Air RA200 General Aviation Pilot Headset Features Noise Reduction
- General Aviation Pilot Headset Designed for Flying and NOT Off-Road setups
- 3.5mm Input Jack for Music Devices
- Foam Ear Seals Provide All Day Comfort
While top-of-the-line aviation headsets with their laundry list of capabilities are fantastic, other users may prefer something a little less complicated. Take a look at Rugged Air’s RA200 if this describes you. The RA200 uses 50mm mono audio drivers to keep things simple. This affordable aviation headset has a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 24dB, making it excellent for beginner pilots, passengers, and even flight instructors.
The foam fit ear seals and deep pocket ear canals provide all-day comfort, while the stainless-steel headband adds to the durability. The noise-reflecting EM56 microphone is equipped with a wind-blocking foam mic muff to ensure clear communication at all times. The Rugged Air RA200 offers gold-plated connectors and a 3.5mm audio input for listening to music through portable music players. A seven-year warranty is included.
Lightspeed Sierra ANR Aviation Headset
- Auto Shut-Off
- Battery status indicator
- (2) AA Batteries - 40 hours of operation
The Lightspeed Sierra is the company’s most affordable device right now, costing less than the Tango Wireless and Zulu 3. It possibly provides the best value, hitting the appropriate price-quality balance. It is the most cost-effective aircraft headset. In terms of ANR and sound quality, it falls short of the A20. The Sierra is a 7.5-8 on the Bose scale. It will, however, complete the task and will not disappoint.
Comfort is impressive, especially when you consider that comfort is one of the key factors that distinguishes less priced flight headsets from those that cost $1,000 or more. Although not as effective as a premium headset, the cushions are comfortable and supple, and any clamping is kept to a minimal.
Bluetooth, an audio input, dual volume controls, and a carrying bag are all included at this price point. It comes with a 5-year warranty. The batteries will last for 40 hours.
KORE AVIATION KA-1 General Aviation Headset for Pilots
- 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)
There’s no point in spending a fortune on a high-end aviation headset if you’re a student who’s just started working on your pilot’s license. You don’t have to, due to Kore Aviation’s KA-1. The KA-1 features high-density acoustic foam cups for best-in-class passive noise reduction, making it the best cheap aviation headset on the market.
It uses ultra-soft silicone gel ear seals that not only offer a pleasant fit but also allow your ears to breathe freely. It has a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 24dB. The headset has 50mm drivers and dual volume controls on each earcup for easy volume adjustments. An integrated noise-canceling electret microphone and a tough-molded Y-block switch for easily switching between mono and stereo modes are also included. The KA-1 from Kore Aviation comes with a carrying case and a five-year warranty.