For a pilot, there is nothing more important than having the right gear. One crucial gear that you need is a set of aviation headsets. It often gets noisy in the aircraft cockpit, and you need quality receivers to protect your ears from the loud sound waves. The earphones also facilitate clear inter-crew and aircrew-passenger communication.
It’s essential, however, that you spend your money on the right aviation headset. You have to know what critical factors to consider. For example, you have to prioritize comfort, noise reduction, and audio clarity. Since it is a lot of work choosing the best aviation headsets, we have done the homework on your behalf and have gathered a few recommendations below.
Our Top 7 Picks
The KORE Aviation KA-1 Premium Gel Ear Seal PNR Aviation Headset is an excellent choice for professional pilots and student pilots. It comes in an attractive stainless steel finish and is readily compatible with Android, iOS, and MP3 to allow you to listen to music during a flight. KORE has taken care of every detail that is necessary for better aviation headset comfort.
- Impressive NRR | The headset comes with a noise reduction rating of 24db, which is impressive as it guarantees maximum hearing protection.
- Friendly ear seals and a flexible mic | These two features ensure that the headset feels fit and comfortable when wearing it.
- Dual volume | There is a volume control knob on both sides to allow you to adjust the receiver’s audio.
- Free carrying case | This add-on allows you to carry the headset safely and flexibly wherever you go. The earphones are protected while inside the case.
- Music plugin | You can plug in your MP3 device, iPhone, iPad or mobile Android.
- Free case
- Poor microphone
Since 1941, David Clark has enjoyed the reputation of being a first-rate aviation brand. They are a renowned manufacturer and designer of the best airspace protective equipment, and headsets lead the line. Whether you are a casual or a commercial pilot, David Clark H10-13.4 is a reliable choice. These mono headsets are also popular among student pilots. They come with an impressive five-year warranty and are built for your utmost comfort.
- Padded, contoured head pad | The head pad is large and comes cushioned with durable foam to improve the headset relaxation. It also curves perfectly along the jaw.
- Low-profile volume control | Comes with a single volume knob that allows you to adjust the audio seamlessly.
- M-7A noise cancellation | This cutting-edge technology ensures that noise interference reduces when using the headset.
- Lightweight | H10-13.4 is the lightest aviation receiver in all of David Clarke’s headsets but is more substantial than most models. So, its comfort is not compromised.
- Rubber ear seals | They improve your ear comfort during a flight. The only shortcoming is that they get sweaty. Luckily, you can correct this by purchasing fabric ear pads.
- Shifting microphone | The microphone quickly moves sideways depending on how you like it. This feature prevents the cable from running across your body unnecessarily.
- Extensive warranty
- Only a single volume control knob
FARO is known to manufacture the most comfortable and sturdy airspace devices. So, this headset is one to look forward to using. FARO Air In-Ear Headset is lightweight and promises impressive noise reduction. It also features a fantastic audio input function. The ear tips Noise-canceling for your utmost convenience and the volume controls are very intuitive to make it easy to adjust the audio quality.
- Noise cancellation | The microphone is designed to counter the effects of noise interference for superior audio transmission. The headset also enjoys ANR-like performance and promises up to 50db noise reduction for utmost hearing protection.
- Replaceable ear tips | Following prolonged usage, the ear tips are likely to wear out. Luckily, they are replaceable.
- Premium built-in speakers | The speakers, ensure you get crystal clear audio.
- Intuitive controller | This function is primarily for volume adjustment. It also helps in controlling music input.
- 3-year warranty | This coverage applies to wear and tear. It is a legendary provision associated with the brand.
- Impressive noise reduction
- Clear audio
- Ear tips need replacing
Are you looking to switch to a wireless aviation receiver and still enjoy the utmost comfort? Then the option to go for is the Lightspeed Tango Aviation Headset. You don’t have to worry about the cables crossing your body. The Lightspeed Tango Headsets enjoy a reliable, easy-to -charge lithium-ion battery. Its noise cancellation technology is advanced, and the sound quality is impressive.
- Better battery life | Comes with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery that retains the charge for long to ensure you stay connected.
- Cushioned earpads | The cushioning around the ears makes the headset feel more helpful and more comfortable.
- Noise cancellation | This Lightspeed aviation receiver enjoys powerful noise cancellation properties to offer you maximum comfort.
- Lightweight | The headset weighs 18 ounces. The small weight makes it practical for in-flight usage.
- Noise reduction
- Clear audio
- Longer battery life
- Requires frequent charging
Lightspeed Zulu 3 is another Lightspeed aviation receiver that focuses on better audio quality. It promises the best performance to its users. Zulu 3 is an ANR (active noise reduction) headset that is built with safety and comfort in mind. The cables are robust and so are the headband and magnesium cups. It comes with an impressive 7-year warranty.
- Contoured ear seals | The seals are specially designed to curve around the jaw. The curvature reduces direct jaw pressure and improves user comfort.
- Durable and light cables | The cables are more robust and lighter than conventional ones. They complement other parts of the aviation receiver.
- Adjustable mic | The microphone is easy to tune to ensure that you get the most excellent audio tone and a clear voice when communicating.
- Bigger head pad | The head pad is taller than usual, and this means more head comfort, especially for individuals with small heads.
- Bluetooth connectivity | Zulu 3 enjoys Bluetooth connectivity for mobile and music. So, you can always connect your mobile device, or any portable Bluetooth enabled music gadget.
- Extensive warranty
- Clear communication
- Most customers complain about low-quality seams
DC One-X ENC is another premium headset from David Clark. This headset comes with state-of-the-art features that give you the most exquisite usage experience. Unlike most brands, David Clark does not sacrifice comfort. One the contrary, every feature is designed to make the headset enjoyable to wear and use.
- Noise-canceling | The manufacturer employs advanced noise cancellation technology to boost audio clarity.
- Bluetooth connectivity | You can connect the headset to smart devices through Bluetooth. The devices have to be Bluetooth-enabled to work. Options include smartphones and tablets.
- Plush ear seals | These improve ear comfort and the overall user experience.
- Extensive warranty and money-back guarantee | The headset comes with a 5-year usage warranty and a 30-day money-back policy.
- Low-profile volume knob | Comes with a volume function that enables you to adjust the audio quality with ease.
- Money-back guarantee
- Great customer support
- Absence of a carrying case
The Bose A20 Aviation Headset comes with a Bluetooth dual plug cable. It is currently the best ANR (Active Noise Reduction) headset in the market, and this explains the hefty price tag. It is engineered for ultimate comfort and performance. Bose A20 is lightweight (about 12 ounces) and enjoys significant clamping pressure reduction. It comes with an electret microphone that is Bluetooth-enabled.
- 30% ANR | Compared to conventional headsets, The Bose A20 enjoys a 30% greater noise reduction.
- Wired/wireless connectivity | Bose A20 gives you the flexibility of enjoying both wireless and wired connections.
- 30% less clamping | The clamping force is reduced by 30% if compared to standard aviation receivers.
- Active audio equalization | The aviation receiver comes with intuitive settings that allow you to enjoy clear audio.
- Audio customization | You can prioritize audio signals depending on what works for you.
- Great noise reduction
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Customizable audio
- Outrageously expensive
- Additional jacks are sold separately
How to choose the best aviation headset
Considering that there are so many aviation headsets that you can buy, you must choose wisely. You need a few buying tips up your sleeve and here are some to get you started:
Ideally, there are three common headset types; PNR, DNR, and ANR. PNR (passive noise reduction) headsets use specialized ear cups to block off sound waves from reaching your ears mechanically. They are generally a budget option. If you want a more advanced way of blocking sound waves, then you should consider DNR (digital noise reduction) headset. They feature a small computer chip that only sends a clear audio signal. They are overall the costliest option. ANR (active noise reduction) headsets work similarly to PNA headsets but digitally. As a result, they are slightly expensive than PNR.
Aviation headsets come in microphone types like electret, dynamic, and amplified dynamic. If you want high-end design, you need to look for an option that has an electret mic. It promises superior audio performance, which is essential for in-flight communication.
Aviation receivers come in different plugs, but the most popular is twin-plug, otherwise known as a dual plug. It is a universal choice that you’ll find in new aircraft. So, if you are planning to fly a helicopter any time soon, you need to consider this plug for your headset.
Nothing is aggravating like aviation headphones that strain your ears. Though they must fit, it doesn’t have to be too tight. So, make sure your head is not clamped when you put the receiver on. The secret is to test them first.
The weight of the receiver directly affects their comfort. Usually, the heavier the aviation headset, the less comfortable it becomes over time. It, however, doesn’t mean that you should go for the lightest design. Remember, lighter receivers can easily slip off your ears. Hence, you should look for a moderate weight, one that feels comfortable on your head and ears.
You also need to consider useful features like Bluetooth connectivity, volume control, music plugin, and noise reduction. An aviation headset that has such features guarantees the best audio performance. Although they may be costly, they are worth the asking price.
What is an aviation headset?
An aviation headset is a type of receiver worn by a pilot during a flight. Since there is so much noise in the cockpit, the headset offers the pilot hearing protection and facilitates inter-cabin radio communications. It is a must-have for pilots.
Should I go for on-ear or in-ear headsets?
Some people find in-ear aviation receivers more comfortable than on-ear options and vice versa. So, it generally depends on preference. You’ll, however, find in-ear headsets to lighter than on-ear choices. The secret is to try out both options before settling on any.
What are the different types of aviation headsets?
We have PNR (passive noise reduction), DNR (digital noise reduction), and ANR (active noise reduction) headsets. PNR mechanically blocks noise through individual ear cups while DNR receivers use digital technology to do the same. ANR, on the other hand, cancels sound waves using a specialized microphone.
How much does an aviation headset cost?
When it comes to aviation headsets, you have to pay for quality. Although there are budget options that cost under $200, standard options cost under $500. There are also exceptional designs that cost under $1,000 or more. Generally, costlier aviation headsets promise more features.
How does noise reduction works in aviation headsets?
The headset features a padded form that forms an effective seal around the ears. The seal only exerts a slight pressure on the ear while blocking off the noise.
If you are looking for the sturdiest, low-key designed, and revolutionary aviation headsets, then you should go through our top picks carefully. They are the best in the market today, and they promise better value for money. We recommend them for active pilots and student pilots.
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