Best Aviation Headsets 2020 – Pilot Headset Buying Guide

You may be able to borrow a basic headset from your flight school. But you’ll inevitably want the convenience, additional comfort, high performance — and style — that comes with having your own. That’s why aviation headsets tend to be the first major purchase for student pilots.

Whether you’re an aviation student looking for your first headset, or an experienced pilot seeking an upgrade, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of the very best options on the market. All budgets and specs are considered in our list.

So here’s our favourite pilot headsets…

 

David Clark H10-13.4

The H10-13.4 is the most commonly used aviation headset at flight schools. It’s recognised among aviators as the “industry standard”, and the benchmark by which many other pilot headsets are compared. This immensely popular headset lives up to its strong reputation and is our #1 recommendation for student pilots.

£316.78 + £6.94 UK Delivery

Best Aviation Headsets 2020 (Pilot Headset Buying Guide)

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Pros

  • Regarded as the benchmark for which pilot headsets are measured
  • David Clark’s lightest headset
  • Perfect for pilots of all levels
  • Very highly regarded by flight schools, and often recommended to students
  • Proven to offer years of reliable service
  • Provides clearer audio than cheaper headsets
  • Good noise reduction (Noise reduction rating – 23 dB)
  • Designed for comfort, with double foam head pad & comfort gel undercut ear seals
  • Great value for money

Cons

  • Tighter fit than some other brands, which isn’t comfortable for all pilots
  • No aux input included
  • Less noise cancellation than other more expensive headsets
  • The green army-style look isn’t to everyone’s taste
  • Carry case not included

 

KORE AVIATION P1 SERIES

The Kore Aviation P1 has been designed for pilots seeking a low-priced headset. Its strong combination of high performance & comfort rivals many popular, more expensive options on the market.

£81.35 + £8.38 UK Delivery

Best Aviation Headsets 2020 (Pilot Headset Buying Guide)

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Pros

  • Well established over several years of production
  • Good noise reduction (noise reduction rating – 24 dB)
  • Microphone seamlessly picks up voice
  • Clear audio — even when set to a low volume
  • Aux input supported
  • Padded headband & soft ear seals provides more comfort than several popular brands
  • Neutral black colour
  • Recommended by several instructors for student pilots
  • Exceptional value for money — a highly recommended budget option

Cons

  • The metal mic adjuster doesn’t always stay in a steady position
  • Some pilots find the headset uncomfortable if worn with glasses
  • Relatively heavy
  • Less noise cancellation than other more expensive headsets
  • Doesn’t come with a headset case (but this can be purchased separately)

 

SPIDER WIRELESS

The Spider Wireless aviation headset has been brought to the market to provide an economical alternative to the hugely popular David Clark H10-13.4. While the Spider Wireless brand is less established than others on this list, their headset has so far been well received for both its quality and value for money.

£149.99 & FREE Delivery

Best Aviation Headsets 2020 (Pilot Headset Buying Guide)

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Pros

  • Good noise reduction (Noise reduction rating – 24 dB)
  • Clear audio, with volume controls on the headset
  • Sturdy flex boom microphone
  • Aux input supported
  • Potential option for students seeking a low-cost headset
  • Carry case included
  • Ideal headset for a passenger

Cons

  • Tight and uncomfortable for some pilots
  • Less padding is provided on the headband than other brands
  • Less noise cancellation than other more expensive headsets
  • It’s a relatively new to the market, meaning less pilots have been able to establish its long-term durability

 

Cadence CA501 Premium

The Cadence CA501 aviation headset represents excellent value to a beginner pilot, and has received glowing reviews from pilots and instructors. The consensus is that you wouldn’t expect such high build quality and comfort for such a low price tag.

£142.64 + £6.32 UK Delivery

Best Aviation Headsets 2020 (Pilot Headset Buying Guide)

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Pros

  • Good noise reduction (Noise reduction rating – 24 dB)
  • Clear audio, with volume controls on the headset
  • Sturdy flex boom microphone
  • Aux input supported
  • Potential option for students seeking a low-cost headset
  • Carry case included
  • Ideal headset for a passenger

Cons

  • Tight and uncomfortable for some pilots
  • Less padding is provided on the headband than other brands
  • Less noise cancellation than other more expensive headsets
  • Not as well established as other budget headset brands

 

David Clark DC One-X

The DC One-X headset from David Clark is a huge step up from the company’s very own, high successful, H10-13.4’s. This headset is most suited to experienced pilots seeking noise cancellation levels that almost match that of the legendary Bose A20’s. As reflected by the price tag, the DC One-X is most comparable to the Lightspeed Zulu 3 headset.

£840.39 + £7.11 UK Delivery

Best Aviation Headsets 2020 (Pilot Headset Buying Guide)

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Pros

  • Excellent build quality, produced from premium materials
  • Lightweight, compact design that’s perfect for long flights
  • Maximum comfort — even when worn with glasses
  • Vented design absorbs excess heat to keep you cool and eliminates ‘hot spots’
  • Renowned for excellent noise cancellation, with a noise reduction rating if 23 dB in passive mode & additional 17-22 dB when ENC is activated
  • Crystal clear audio, with volume controls on the headset
  • Sturdy flex boom microphone
  • Recommended by experienced pilots
  • Carry case included
  • Significantly cheaper than the Bose A20’s

Cons

  • Premium price tag
  • Less noise cancellation than the Bose A20s

 

LIGHTSPEED ZULU 3

The Lightspeed Zulu 3 aviation is the third iteration of the ‘Zulu’ range and delivers the same high quality pilots have come to expect from the company. The headset builds on the performance and features of the original Zulu and Zulu 2 — offering superb noise cancellation, maximum comfort, and excellent build quality. Similarly to the David Clark DC One-X, the Zulu 3 headset stands as an cheaper alternative to the industry-leading Bose A20s.

£798.73 + £9.64 UK Delivery

Best Aviation Headsets 2020 (Pilot Headset Buying Guide)

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Pros

  • Solid construction, designed for durability, produced from high quality materials
  • Slightly better quality than the Lightspeed Sierra headset
  • Contoured ear seals are designed to hug the curve of the jaw
  • Cables around a Kevlar core are stronger, lighter, and more flexible than standard cables
  • Includes all its award winning features from the popular Zulu 2
  • Taller head pad ensures maximum comfort and performance on smaller head shapes.
  • Excellent noise cancellation; magnesium ear cups are superior at blocking out high-frequency noise
  • Crystal clear audio, with volume controls on the headset
  • Sturdy flex boom microphone
  • Recommended by experienced pilots
  • Carry case included
  • Industry-best 7 year warranty included
  • Significantly cheaper than the Bose A20’s

Cons

  • Premium price tag
  • Significantly more expensive than the somewhat comparable Lightspeed Sierra headset
  • Less noise cancellation than the Bose A20’s
  • Microphone length is relatively short, which some pilots do not like

 

Bose A20

The Bose A20 is the leading aviation headset. It boats 30% higher active noise reduction than conventional pilot headsets, while providing considerably less clamping force. While the A20s certainly come at a cost, it leads the way in performance, comfort and build quality. Very few pilots would dare to contest the fact that the Bose A20s are quite simply the best headset on the market.

£900-£1,000

Best Aviation Headsets 2020 (Pilot Headset Buying Guide)

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Pros

  • Unmatched build quality that’s designed for maximum performance durability
  • Crystal clear audio with active equalisation
  • Cushioned headband, achieving complete comfort during flights
  • Audio prioritisation control for muting audio signals when receiving an incoming transmission, or mixing the two together
  • Lightweight design that’s perfect for long flights (12 ounces)
  • Auxiliary audio input, ideal for use with GPS
  • Sturdy flex boom microphone
  • Feeds through part of your voice into the earpieces, making for a natural talking experience
  • Optional built-in Bluetooth, to seamlessly pair the headset with your other electronics
  • Highly recommended by experienced flyers
  • Commonly used by commercial pilots
  • Carry case included

Cons

  • Very expensive — but you get what you pay for

 

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