Our Top 5 Best pilot headsets

Best pilot headsets for any pilot experience level

Bose A20

Our Rating
Best Overall

Lightspeed Zulu 3

Our Rating
2nd Best Overall

Rugged Air RA200

Our Rating
Kore Aviation KA-1

Kore Aviation KA-1

Our Rating
Best Starter

David Clark H10-13.4

Our Rating

Our Top 5 Best Pilot Headsets For Any Pilot

Arguably the one thing that will make you turn around to go back home because you forgot it would be your headset. This piece of equipment is your lifeline in the air. Communication is key, especially when you are thousands of feet in the air. Here is a guide to help choose your pair!

Planes are loud…. shocker. For this reason, it is important to make sure you are equipped properly in the cockpit. As a pilot, your eyes and ears are your money makers and you need to protect them. The noises associated with the aviation world are very damaging to a person’s ear drums if they are not properly protected. Likewise, the ability to effectively communicate with everyone inside or outside of the cockpit is crucial, especially in emergency situations.  For this reason, professional pilots are normally outfitted with the best gear for not only proper and effective communication, but for safety as well.

What Are The Different Types Of Pilot Headsets?

First, lets break down the different types of noise reducing headsets you may come across. These include passive, active, and dynamic noise reduction. (PNR, ANR, DNR)

  1. PNR headsets would be the first tier and tend to be the most affordable but the least effective at reducing the outside noise.
  2. ANR headsets would be considered your middle tier. They usually use an outside power source to cancel out the noise.
  3. DNR headsets would be the top tier and tend to be the most expensive for this reason.
There are also different styles of headsets. The two styles are known as In-ear and On-ear. We tend to recommend On-Ear simply because they are the most common and work best for most people. Below shows an example of each:

Getting Into Our List Of Best Pilot Headsets

Now that we have a little background let’s get into the list. When choosing our 5 best pilot headsets we tried to cover all different types of budgets and levels of flying. Take into account that it always comes down to personal preference and doing your homework before purchasing is half the battle when choosing something as important as a headset. Without further ado, here we go.

Best Cheap Pilot Headset

Rugged Air RA200

For a headset under $100, the RA200 packs a lot of value. They are certainly not the fanciest, but they are reliable and provide all of the basic necessities that a headset should have. They have 50mm performance audio speakers and a noise reflective cup microphone which will allow you to effectively communicate with whoever you need to talk with. These are perfect headsets for passengers or brand new student pilots. The issue we did find with them is how comfortable they are. They can adjust which will help, but over longer flights, they may prove to be uncomfortable. Overall, they are a great option if money is your biggest concern.

Best Beginner/Starter Pilot Headset

Kore Aviation KA-1

Kore Aviation’s KA-1 is the perfect starter headset. It would also serve as a great headset for all pilots, passengers, students, and flight schools. The ultra-soft gel ear seals provide a comfortable experience. One issue we did find with the headset would be the comfortability on longer flights, but generally they are comfortable to wear especially for a normal general aviation flight. This headset also offers noise reduction to provide a clear sound to the wearer. The KA-1 is built well and will serve you well for many flights. Kore Aviation is comprised of pilots and headset experts who really made a quality product for a solid price of under $200. Also, take advantage of the manufacturers 5-year warranty for this headset

Best Value Pilot Headset

David Clark H10-13.4

David Clark is an iconic headset brand in the aviation industry. The H10-13.4 is the company’s bestselling passive headset. This particular headset has was first introduced in 2004 and has reliably been serving pilots since. We chose this to be our best value, or bang for your buck for any pilot. Aviation can be very expensive, and it is important to save some money when you can, but it is also important to make sure you have good quality and reliable equipment. This is particularly true when it comes to your headset. The H10-13.4 offers both. You will be receiving great value for your money. Unlike other headsets, it does not offer audio input. Overall, this would be a great pick for anyone trying to upgrade from their beginner headset, or for anyone wanting a high-quality set that does not have the funds to invest in more expensive headsets such as the Bose A20s.

Runner-up Best Overall Pilot Headset

Lightspeed Zulu 3

The Zulu 3’s were designed based off the Zulu 2’s but with an emphasis on increased comfort, durability, and value. They come features such as Bluetooth connectivity, flightlink capatability, cellphone and music connection, and auto shutoff. The headset also provides comm priority which will automatically turn down the volume on music or alerts during radio or intercom transmissions. The company offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and a solid warranty option. This headset was right under the Bose A20s but also come at a cheaper price. The quality of this headset is tough to beat, and one that will not disappoint.  

Best Overall Pilot Headset

Bose A20

The Bose A20 headset is the top of the top. This headset provides 30% greater noise reduction than conventional headsets. You will have no issue deciphering your communication due to its active equalization and clear audio. Comfort was another issue Bose tackled with the minimal clamping force, which will make any length of flight comfortable. This headset is also packed with features such as Bluetooth audio, communications interface, an audio prioritization. These are among the lightest of all active noise cancelling headsets, being only 12 ounces. The A20 typically will last 45 hours on two AA batteries. You can also adjust the mic to be on the left or right side. Now what could possibly be a con? These cost a pretty penny, but with that money you are getting the best. For these reasons, the Bose A20 headset takes our best overall slot.

Choose Based On Your Needs

A proper headset is a necessity for any aviator. It is important to get one that is reliable and one that fits your needs. This list is our current favorites of what is being used in the industry. It is important to not just take some random website’s opinion, but also ask around your flying club, community, or an experienced aviator what they would recommend as well! If you decide to purchase a headset and it doesn’t suit you, do not be afraid to return to get another. The last thing you want is to have to worry about is wearing your headset and constantly adjusting it. It should be an effortless item!