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Top Picks 7 Best Aviation Headset Options in 2020

7 Best Aviation Headset Options in 2020

Stellar Picks for Beginners and Expert Pilots

7 Best Aviation Headsets
Short on Time? This Aviation Headset Ranks #1 on Our List

Bose A20 Aviation Headset

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Aviation headsets are designed to provide pilots with the utmost comfort, help in clear communication, and protect their ears from the loud cockpit noises. After all, pilots need noise-canceling headsets to eliminate even the minutest of background noises and concentrate on flying the plane. Therefore, if you are a pilot, you already understand the importance of purchasing the best aviation headset.

To help you find the best aviation headset, we shortlisted the top 20 aviation headsets on the market and tested them thoroughly to pick the 7 best aviation headsets. We obviously could not try them in the cockpit since we are not pilots, but we created a similar environment to ensure we’re doing the job right. We also considered the existing ratings and reviews provided by pilots while choosing the 7 best aviation headsets.

In this guide, we’ll discuss different things you need to keep in mind while finding the right aviation headset, review the top 7 aviation headsets per our testing, and list their pros and cons. Let’s get started!

How to Find the Right Aviation Headset – Buying Guide

Before discussing the top 7 aviation headsets in detail, let’s quickly look at 3 important factors you should consider while looking for the right aviation headset:

Type of Aviation Headset

All in all, there are 3 types of aviation headsets on the market based on the amount of noise reduction they can provide. These include:

  • Active noise reduction (ANR)
  • Dynamic noise reduction (DNR)
  • Passive noise reduction (PNR)

Let’s look at each type of aviation headset in a little more detail.

Active Noise Reduction Aviation Headsets

ANR aviation headsets actively cancel and reduce noises using electronic elements in the headset. The majority of ANR aviation headsets on the market are powered by a battery. They eliminate frequencies less than 300 Hz and block out unwanted signals. 

Most ANR aviation headsets can achieve noise reduction levels between 10 dB to 20 dB. Therefore, they are popular among pilots.

Dynamic Noise Reduction Aviation Headsets

DNR aviation headsets are expensive versions of ANR aviation headsets. They provide excellent noise reduction and can be the best choice for pilots. The only difference between ANR and DNR aviation headsets is that DNR aviation headsets use digital electronics to eliminate unwanted signals. 

DNR aviation headsets are typically lighter than the ANR aviation headsets, and more comfortable too. They can easily achieve noise reduction levels between 15 dB and 25 dB. 

Passive Noise Reduction Aviation Headsets

PNR aviation headsets are typically cheaper and more cost-effective than ANR and DNR headsets. They comprise a special type of foam in the ear cups to block external noises and sounds. 

Comfort

Comfort should be the second most important factor you should consider while looking for the best aviation headset. After all, you’ll be flying a plane and cannot afford to wear an aviation headset that is uncomfortable and heavy on your head. You don’t need such distractions while flying, right? So, ensure you buy an aviation headset that comprises cushioning on the ear cups and is not too bulky. Don’t forget; you have to wear your sunglasses too!

Read Also: The Most Comfortable Headphones in 2020 – A Comprehensive Guide

Microphone

The third most critical point to consider is the type of microphone in the aviation headset. Is the microphone amplified dynamic, dynamic, or electret? Ensure you check the compatibility of the microphone with your radio before purchasing the headset. Compatibility issues can lead to unclear communication during the flight. 

Type of Plug

All aircraft don’t support the same types of plugs. Therefore, ensure the aviation headset you are planning to buy has the correct plugs. Aviation headsets typically comprise the following plugs:

  • 6-pin plug (LEMO)
  • Airbus plug (XLR)
  • Dual plug (PJs)
  • Helicopter plug (U174)

Most of the aviation headsets on our list comprise dual plugs.

Additional Features

Who doesn’t like extra features, especially when you are purchasing expensive headsets? If the aviation headset of your choice has the following additional features, you can buy it without thinking twice:

  • Bluetooth
  • Mono-stereo switch
  • Volume adjustment controls
  • Boom mic

Top 7 Aviation Headsets on the Market – Tried and Tested

Before we deep-dive into the detailed product reviews, here’s a quick roundup of the 7 aviation headsets that impressed us:

1. Bose A20 Aviation Headset With Standard Dual Plug: Best Bose Aviation Headset

  • Premium quality headset
  • Great audio clarity
  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Excellent noise reduction
  • Fits comfortably over sunglasses
  • High-performance microphone
  • Comes with an optional dual plug cable
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Connecting cables are short

The Bose A20 Aviation Headset is not just the best aviation headset by Bose but also the best noise-canceling aviation headset on the market. We found it to be approximately 25%-30% more noise-canceling than all the other aviation headsets we evaluated. We tested the headset in a concert and were highly impressed by the amount of noise reduction it provides.

Secondly, we really liked the audio quality of the headset. The audio was clear, crisp and sharp. The customizable audio prioritization controls allow you to mix or separate signals when receiving communication. 

Thirdly, the Bose A20 Aviation Headset is highly comfortable and does not feel tight. It is neither too bulky nor too lightweight. The weight is just right. The clamping force is minimum. 

Lastly, the headset comprises an electret microphone that allows you to communicate with the clearest audio quality. 

Overall, the Bose A20 Aviation Headset can be a great buy if budget is not an issue. It is a premium-quality aviation headset by Bose. You can wear it for hours at a time without getting annoyed.

Read Also: Best Bose Aviation Headset

2. David Clark H10-13.4 Aviation Headset: Best David Clark Aviation Headset

  • Great audio quality
  • Fantastic noise cancelation provided by the microphone and headset
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Comes with a visual instruction manual
  • Suitable for pilots of all levels
  • Excellent value for money
  • Does not come with a carry caseCons 1
  • No aux input

The second most popular brand in the aviation headset space in David Clark. Most of the aviation headsets manufactured by the brand are comfortable, durable, and powerful. Even though we tested 3 different aviation headsets by the brand, we really liked the David Clark H10-13.4 Aviation Headset for a variety of reasons.

Firstly, the aviation headset is an epitome of comfort. It comprises an extremely soft, double-foam headband and comfort gel undercut ear seals. The headband feels like a cushion on your head. It fits snugly over sunglasses. We did not feel any pressure on the ears. 

Secondly, the sound quality provided by the aviation headset is good. The sound is nice and crisp. Both the headset and the microphone reduce the background noises to a great extent. In fact, the David Clark H10-13.4 Aviation Headset comprises the exclusive M-7A microphone; one of the best noise-canceling microphones in the aviation headset space.

In conclusion, the David Clark H10-13.4 Aviation Headset is the second-best aviation headset on our list for certain reasons and we have listed most of them above. The headset comes with a 5-year warranty and is durable. We highly recommend this ANR headset for both beginners and experienced pilots.

3. UFQ ANR L2 Hi-Lite In-Ear Aviation Headset: Top In-Ear Aviation Headset

  • Great noise reduction
  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Comes with 6 pairs of ear tips for an accurate fit
  • Value for money
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Comes with a carry bag
  • Bluetooth adapter included
  • The volume control works better without the Bluetooth adapter
  • Headband at the back can feel uncomfortable

Even though most of the pilots prefer over-the-ear aviation headsets, there are some who find in-ear aviation headsets more comfortable. Therefore, we tested a couple of in-ear models too and found the UFQ ANR L2 Hi-Lite In-Ear Aviation Headset to be the best. In fact, it is the lightest in-ear aviation headset on the market right now.

Firstly, it is an ANR aviation in-ear headset and provides great noise reduction. The audio quality is almost as good as the two aviation headsets listed above. The microphone is electret, and ensures clear and hassle-free communication.

Secondly, the UFQ ANR L2 Hi-Lite In-Ear Aviation Headset is comfortable. However, it is not as comfortable as the over-the-ear aviation headsets we tested. The sleek headband behind your head can feel annoying and you may take time to get used to it. To ensure a perfect fit, the headset comes with 6 pairs of ear tips in different sizes (3 pairs of silicone gel ear tips and 3 pairs of memory foam ear tips).

To be honest, we were skeptical about adding an in-ear aviation headset to the list of our top 7 aviation headsets. Nevertheless, upon trying and testing the UFQ ANR L2 Hi-Lite In-Ear Aviation Headset, we really liked it. In conclusion, this in-ear aviation headset can be a good buy for both beginner and expert pilots. We were surprised to see how well the ANR worked in this headset.

4. Lightspeed Zulu 3 Aviation Headset: Best Lightspeed Aviation Headset

  • Excellent noise reduction
  • Great audio clarity
  • Perfect for student pilots
  • Comfortable for extended usage
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Good cable quality
  • Lightweight
  • Audio clarity is not great when using Bluetooth
  • Highly expensive

The Lightspeed Zulu 3 Aviation Headset is one of the most durable and sturdy aviation headsets on the market. Imagine, even the headset cable is built around a Kevlar core. It is an expensive and high-end aviation headset. 

Firstly, it comprises the award-winning Lightspeed ANR. Per our assessment, noise reduction provided by the Bose A20 Aviation Headset and the Lightspeed Zulu 3 Aviation Headset is equally good. The microphone also eliminates background noises and allows you to adjust the gain to get the audio and sidetone right for different voices.

Secondly, the aviation headset is extremely comfortable. It comprises a generously-cushioned headband to fit well on smaller heads too. The ear seals are huge and cover some part of the jaw to reduce ear pressure. 

Lastly, the Lightspeed Zulu 3 Aviation Headset also comes with other interesting features, such as Bluetooth for smartphone and music, ComPriority (reduces the volume of connected audio devices during radio transmission) and auto shut off (to save battery). 

In conclusion, the Lightspeed Zulu 3 Aviation Headset is expensive; however, it can be a great buy if you are not on a shoestring budget. It is comfortable, durable, long-lasting and value for money.

5. FARO G3 ANR Aviation Headset: Most Popular Bluetooth Aviation Headset

  • Solid build and construction
  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Delivers great sound quality when connecting via Bluetooth
  • 360-degree rotating mic
  • Great noise reduction
  • Value for money
  • Expensive

If there’s one aviation headset that delivers great audio quality when connected via Bluetooth, it is the FARO G3 ANR Aviation Headset. Even though quite a lot of aviation headsets on our list come with Bluetooth, the sound quality is not extraordinary. However, the same is not the case with the FARO G3 ANR Aviation Headset. It quickly connects to Bluetooth devices such as smartphones and music players, and delivers crystal-clear and sharp audio. You can also connect the headset using the 3.5 mm auxiliary cable (included in the package) per your requirements.

Secondly, it is comfortable and durable to a great extent. The aviation headset is made of real carbon fiber. Both the ear pads and headband are covered with soft cushioning. Not only this but the headset is also lightweight. So, you won’t feel any pressure on your head. 

Thirdly, we were delighted to learn that the FARO G3 ANR Aviation Headset comes with separate volume controls for each speaker; something we did not experience with other aviation headsets on our list. 

In conclusion, the FARO G3 ANR Aviation Headset is a great noise-canceling aviation headset that also works perfectly when connected via Bluetooth. However, it is expensive and not suitable for those who are on a limited budget.

6. Telex Airman 750 Aviation Headset: Best Telex Aviation Headset

  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Good sound quality
  • Noise-canceling mic with flexible boom
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Does not come with a carry case

The Telex Airman 750 Aviation Headset is one of the most budget-friendly aviation headsets on the market right now. It is a basic and simple aviation headset with all the features you need for a comfortable cockpit experience.

Firstly, the headset is comfortable and lightweight. Even though it is not as comfortable as the other over-the-ear aviation headsets on our list, it is good if you are looking for a cheaper option. The Telex Airman 750 Aviation Headset weights less than 4 ounces and does not feel heavy on your head. In fact, it is one of the most lightweight aviation headsets on the market.

Secondly, the microphone is electret and noise-canceling. The brand has added a flexible boom that provides a customized fit as far as the mic placement is concerned.

In conclusion, the Telex Airman 750 Aviation Headset can be a good buy for those who are on a shoestring budget and looking for an aviation headset with basic features.

7. KORE AVIATION KA-1 Premium Series: Best Aviation Headset for Student

  • Adjustable microphone with extra padding
  • Great audio quality
  • Excellent noise reduction for a PNR aviation headset
  • Durable cables
  • Comfortable ear pads and headband
  • Easily affordable
  • Neutral black color
  • Great budget option
  • We did not experience any issues with this aviation headset

The KORE AVIATION KA-1 Premium Series Aviation Headset can be a good option for beginners and student pilots. Even though it is a PNR aviation headset, we really liked the degree of noise reduction provided by the headset. Not only this but the headset is also easily affordable; an important purchase criteria for students! Therefore, it is also one of the best budget aviation headsets on the market. 

Firstly, the aviation headset is comfortable and durable. Both the ear cups and headband are covered with soft foam. The headset also comprises a wired boom mic that can be used per your convenience.

We read some existing customer reviews where students who started flight training with KORE AVIATION KA-1 Premium Series have mentioned that “purchasing this aviation headset is one of the best decisions of their lives.”

Secondly, the audio quality delivered by the aviation headset is good. Both the speakers and mic reduce external disturbances to a great extent. The audio was nice and clear. 

Overall, the KORE AVIATION KA-1 Premium Series Aviation Headset can be a fantastic buy for student pilots. The aviation headset is affordable, comfortable, durable and provides great noise reduction; what else do you want as a beginner pilot?

Frequently Asked Questions About Aviation Headsets

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.

Final Words

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.

We sincerely hope you liked our guide on the 7 best aviation headset options in 2020. If you have better suggestions or queries, please share them in the comment section below.