11 Best Aviation Headsets In 2021

If you’re in the aviation sector and/or are a practicing pilot, you will know the importance of getting the right aviation headset. These are quite differently designed as compared to standard headsets or headphones, which is why getting the right version is crucial, especially for those that suffer from hearing loss. While standard headphones have an increased focus on music quality and bass, aviation headsets are mostly designed to offer the best communication while also providing ear cups for noise isolation. However, some best aviation headsets don’t possess ear cups, yet are equally effective.

ProductBrandNamePrice
BoseBose A20 Aviation Headset with Bluetooth Dual Plug Cable, BlackCheck Price on Amazon
David ClarkDavid Clark DC ONE-X ENC HeadsetCheck Price on Amazon
LightspeedLightspeed Zulu 3 Aviation Headset - GA PlugsCheck Price on Amazon
LIGHTSPEEDLightspeed SIERRA ANR Aviation HeadsetCheck Price on Amazon
David ClarkDavid Clark H10-13.4 Aviation HeadsetCheck Price on Amazon

* If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.

While standard headphones have an increased focus on music quality and bass, aviation headsets are mostly designed to offer the best communication while also providing ear cups for noise isolation. However, some aviation headsets don’t possess ear cups, yet are equally effective.

There’s also the big question of whether one should get an ANR or PNR aviation headset as well as the differences between each other.

Active Noise Reduction (ANR) headsets are what experienced pilots usually prefer. These headsets contain a microphone that generates something known as “anti-sound” to block out external noise. This is basically how most noise-canceling headphones work today.

Passive Noise Reduction (PNR) headsets, on the other hand, come with some sort of noise blocking by design, relying more on this aspect rather than on additional components for default noise reduction. These are also somewhat cheaper as they don’t require an additional microphone inside.

While Bluetooth is a feature that’s making its way to most aviation headsets today, many pilots say that it serves mostly as a novelty feature given the flight arrangements available currently. However, having Bluetooth on your aviation headset is definitely not a negative.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best aviation headsets for pilots available today.

Best Aviation Headsets in 2021

1. Bose A20 Best Aviation headsets

The Bose A20 will make it to the top of the list on most aviation headsets list, and with good reason. The company mentions that this offering provides 30% improved active noise reduction as compared to standard aviation headsets. Budding pilots will also like the fact that these headphones come with Bluetooth support by default, allowing you to pair your mobile devices. Features like customizable audio prioritization on the Bose A20 allow users to mute a particular audio signal while receiving communication and users can also mix the two together.

The Bose A20 aviation headset uses soft-touch cushions/foam cups that make them comfortable even with prolonged use while also offering excellent noise reduction as we touched on above. This headset also uses 30% less clamping force as compared to traditional aviation headsets for pilots. The Bose A20 has an ergonomic control module that consists of AUX/Intercom input with priority switching. Needless to say, the sound quality on this headset is pretty exceptional as well.

Pilots will also like the fact that this headset is fairly easy to use and is ready to go as soon as you plug it in. The Bose A20 uses a high-performance electret microphone for superior audio quality for in-air communications. Bose mentions that this headset uses two AA batteries which can reportedly last for 45 hours at a time. The company supplies two batteries with the headset to get you started. This over-ear aviation headset is covered by 1 year of limited warranty.

Buy it Now: Amazon


2. David Clark DC ONE-X Best Aviation headsets

The David Clark DC One-X is our runner-up on this list. This headset offers secure leatherette ear seals with slow recovery foam for optimum noise reduction. As you would expect, the David Clark DC One-X offers noise cancellation by default thanks to the M-55 electret microphone, putting it among the best headsets for aviators. Further, the manufacturer also provides Bluetooth connectivity with this offering for wireless audio and communication.

The manufacturer also uses Digital Signal Processing (DSP) for optimum audio reproduction. The presence of a stereo/mono switch basically means the DC One-X by David Clark can function with pretty much any aircraft audio panel configuration out there. The manufacturer mentions that the design of the headset ensures they stay comfortable for a long time while also avoiding “hot spots” around the ear. The provided in-line control module comes with a backlit touch-key user interface for added convenience.

Pilots or student pilots will also appreciate the fact that this headset is foldable and comes with a handy carrying case, making it easy to carry it around when not in use. The brand mentions that this headset uses two AA batteries and is capable of running for 50 hours at a time, making it slightly better than the Bose A20. The fact that this offering comes with a 5-year warranty makes this one of the most trusted and best aviation headsets out there. Be sure to have a closer look.

Buy it Now: Amazon


3. Lightspeed Zulu 3 Best Aviation headsets

The Lightspeed Zulu 3 GA rates among the best headsets right now for aviation. It offers contoured ear seals to match the size of your ear perfectly while it is designed to naturally hug your jaw, thus enhancing comfort. This is backed by cables built with Kevlar core for maximum durability even with rugged use. This material also has the advantage of being lighter and more flexible as compared to other cables.

The Lightspeed Zulu 3 also comes with Bluetooth connectivity built-in which lets you pair it with your wireless devices, including smartphones and tablets. We also like the addition of the stainless steel headbands that are designed to last a long time. The Lightspeed Zulu 3 GA is also backed by a user-adjustable microphone, much in line with other headsets in the same range. Expectedly, active noise cancellation is included as well. The noise attenuation levels are pretty decent for any pilot.

Given that this headset features Bluetooth, battery life can be a big concern. Thankfully, the Zulu 3 GA by Lightspeed offers an auto-shutdown feature that automatically turns off the headset when not in use. While the company doesn’t specify a noise reduction or hearing protection rating for this offering, the inclusion of ANR should help a great deal. Lightspeed sells this active noise cancellation headset with an industry-topping seven-year warranty.

Buy it Now: Amazon


4. Lightspeed SIERRA ANR

This is a professional-grade ANR headset and expectedly compares well with the best ANR headsets selling in the market today. Much like some of the aviation headsets we’ve talked about so far, the Lightspeed Sierra ANR also comes with dual volume controls, allowing aviators to switch the volume on either ear with relative ease. This ANR headset also comes with support for Stereo/Mono (switching included). We also like the sound quality offered by this headset.

This ANR headphone runs on two AA cells much in line with the bulk of aviation headsets on this list. As for battery life, the manufacturer mentions that it can last for up to 40 hours before needing replacement batteries. Users will also appreciate the inclusion of Bluetooth for wireless audio performance. Noise-canceling features work pretty much as expected, and the hardware is decent enough to block out cabin noise among other background noises.

The Lightspeed Sierra ANR is also compatible with the FlightLink in-flight cockpit recording application. One of the unique features of this headset is the reversible headband which allows wearers to switch the positioning of the microphone from the left to right and vice versa. This active noise reduction headset comes with a comprehensive 5-year warranty, putting this among the best out there.

Buy it Now: Amazon


5. David Clark H10-13.4

It’s clear by now that the brand David Clark, much like Bose and Kore Aviation, has built-up a decent reputation for some of the best aviation headsets out there. From the same brand that produced the runner-up of this list, the David Clark H10-13.4 comes with a super soft double foam head pad for exceptional comfort even with prolonged use. The manufacturer also uses gel ear seals on either ear for excellent noise reduction and excellent sound quality by default.

Customers will also find a universal Flex Boom that allows seamless movement of the microphone. Keeping things simple, the H10-13.4 comes with a volume control knob accompanied by detent settings. Further, this headset has a 5.5 ft cable while it uses a .25 inch phone plug for audio input. It’s worth pointing out that these headphones don’t have Bluetooth onboard, which consequently means there’s no battery underneath.

This headset offers passive noise reduction by default, which is the preferred mode if you’re looking to not rely on electronics for noise-canceling. If the David Clark headset we spoke about above was for premium users, consider this an excellent offering for budget customers or beginners. As with the other headsets produced by this manufacturer, the H10-13.4 also comes with 5 years of warranty coverage.

Buy it Now: Amazon


6. Kore Aviation KA-1

This is a slightly different aviation headset, though not short on features by any means. The Kore Aviation KA-1 comes with mono and stereo support accompanied by a built-in Y-block switch on the cable. This headset is also designed for hearing protection and comes with a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 24db. As for comfort, the headphones use gel ear seals with a flexible boom microphone. Adding to the list of features are dual volume controls on each ear cup and a 3.5mm headphone slot for audio input using your phone, tablet, or other supported devices.

The manufacturer mentions that this headset makes it suitable for student pilots, instructors, and even passengers. The aforementioned ear seals also allow excellent noise reduction by default, though there’s no noise-canceling chip underneath given that this is a PNR headset. Despite this omission, the Kore Aviation KA-1 is among the best out there, something that any longtime pilot agrees with.

The low price tag also makes this an excellent aviation headset for pilots, particularly those new to the field. The best part about these headphones is the fact that it doesn’t have a battery, thus saving you a trip to the store every other day. The manufacturer is also kind enough to offer a carrying case with this aviation headset. Kore Aviation provides a 5-year warranty with this headset.

Buy it Now: Amazon


7. Rugged Air RA200

Getting a pilot headset is no easy job as we’ve already illustrated, and the choice is particularly harder when you have options like the Rugged Air RA200 GA. This offering uses foam ear seals for added cushioning and adequate noise cancellation. The company also uses an EM56 noise reflective cup microphone accompanied by the new flex boom. As for performance, the Rugged Air RA200 GA uses 50mm performance audio speakers while the company also provides Hearing Protection with a 24db noise reduction rating.

However, this headset lacks stereo output, sticking to just Mono. Bluetooth connectivity is missing here as well, so you won’t be able to wirelessly access your mobile devices. As a bonus, this also means you never have to worry about batteries for this particular headset. Despite not having noise cancellation tech built-in, this headset can reduce background noise pretty well.

As aviators would expect, this headset also includes a 3.5mm audio port for supported devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers. We also like the fact that this headset uses an adjustable headband (stainless steel), adding to the long list of features. This is an excellent headphone with noise reduction technology built-in, particularly for beginners.

Buy it Now: Amazon


8. Cadence CA501

This is a premium-grade PNR headset for aviation with a bunch of enviable features under the hood. The company mentions the inclusion of its proprietary AirPunch+ drivers for exceptional sound quality and intercom functionality. The flexible boom mic can be positioned in a number of ways for added convenience. The Cadence CA501 uses lightweight materials which makes it less prone to “headset fatigue” with prolonged use.

The headset comes with both stereo and mono support, allowing you to use it with practically any setup. The headset cable comes with a dedicated S/M switch to help you swap between modes. As for sound isolation, the CA501 uses hard plastic ear seals for optimum performance. This headset comes with a dual GA plug as well. As far as in-the-box accessories are concerned, the CA501 comes with a 6′ AUX cable to get you started.

The company doesn’t specify the hearing protection levels supported by this headset, but the natural seal and the on-ear form factor should do an excellent job at protecting your ears. Prospective customers will also like to know that this headset is accompanied by a decent carrying case that features a zipper and a dedicated front pocket.

Buy it Now: Amazon


9. Faro G2 ANR

The last aviation headset on our list, the Faro G2 ANR comes with an impressive set of features, putting it almost on par with the best ANR headsets in the market today. The ear cups are extremely comfortable on the ear while establishing a firm seal to block external noise. Overall, the headset can reportedly provide 23 dB of passive noise reduction. When combined with an estimated 29 dB of ANR, the Faro G2 ANR can offer better levels of noise blocking as compared to most high-end headsets.

The headset also has an adjustable Electret microphone beam with a wind screen to block out external noise. In terms of connectivity, this headphone uses a standard dual plug for GA. Customers will also like to know that the Faro G2 ANR can support both mono and stereo intercoms.

The best part here is that although this headset runs on two AA battery cells, it can operate on PNR mode when the battery has run out, something that not every headset can offer in this range. And as for battery life, the Faro G2 can last for up to 30 hours on a single charge, which leaves a lot to be desired considering the longevity of other battery-operated headsets we’ve discussed on this list.

Buy it Now: Amazon


10. FARO AIR

This one is for lovers of in-ear aviation headsets who are also on a budget. The Faro Air only measures around 1 oz, meaning it is significantly lighter than over-ear headsets sold today. Though this offering lacks ANR by default, the manufacturer mentions that it can offer similar performance with 50 dB of noise reduction. The ear tips provided with this headset are replaceable and made with slow-recovery foam for improved noise isolation.

Despite appearances, this is not a wireless headset and features a standard aux/music input as well. We also like the design of the controller which allows users to increase/decrease volume along with some other headset-related controls. The manufacturer is kind enough to provide replacement canal/ear tips with this headset, with something suited for each ear size.

With no battery to worry about, these earbuds allow you to use them for as long as you want without having to swap batteries. The fact that it’s lightweight also bears a significant advantage in comparison with other headsets in the genre. The Faro Air is backed by three years of warranty by the manufacturer. Though not the cheapest, we recommend this headset for the easy-to-use controls and versatility.

Buy it Now: Amazon


11. Bose ProFlight

As the company describes it, the Bose ProFlight is designed for ‘moderately noisy, pressurized turbine-powered aircraft’. This is also one of the few headsets on this list to offer an in-ear design as compared to conventional over-the-ear pilot headsets. Weighing only 4.9 ounces, the Bose ProFlight is meant to be used for long intervals without added burden. Adding to the list of features is Bluetooth connectivity that can work with your mobile devices.

The headphones use an Electret noise-canceling microphone that does a great job of reducing background noise and improving clarity. Separately, Bose mentions that this in-ear headset uses digital active noise cancellation technology to cut down ambient noise. Aviators will get access to three levels of noise cancellation, making it one of the best in-ear headphones for pilots out there.

Adding to the customization features, this ANR headset comes with a quick-release side swappable microphone and cable. Users also get a handy case to carry these headphones accompanied by three sets of StayHear+ ear tips in small, medium, and large sizes. If you like the form factor, this is without a doubt one of the best in-ear headsets for pilots. The company mentions that this aviation headset uses AA battery cells and can last for more than 45 hours with Bluetooth off, while it will only last up to 25 hours with Bluetooth enabled, which is fairly decent for modern-day ANR headsets.

Buy it Now: Amazon


ProductBrandNamePrice
BoseBose A20 Aviation Headset with Bluetooth Dual Plug Cable, BlackCheck Price on Amazon
David ClarkDavid Clark DC ONE-X ENC HeadsetCheck Price on Amazon
LightspeedLightspeed Zulu 3 Aviation Headset - GA PlugsCheck Price on Amazon
LIGHTSPEEDLightspeed SIERRA ANR Aviation HeadsetCheck Price on Amazon
David ClarkDavid Clark H10-13.4 Aviation HeadsetCheck Price on Amazon

* If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. For more details, please visit our Privacy policy page.