What’s the Best Aviation Headset 2016?

If you’re a pilot, no matter whether you fly small, personal aircrafts, helicopters or commercial aircrafts fully loaded with passengers, then you know the importance of the aviation headset you use when it comes to communication and your overall flight experience. Having a good one can make all the difference.

These days, most aviation headsets will range in price from $90 – $1000. This guide is dedicated to help you find the best aviation headset, and to inform you about things to consider when you buy your new aviation headset.

The Best Aviation Headsets Overview

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1. Bose® A20 Aviation Headset (Battery-powered w/Bluetooth, Electret mic, Straight cord, Twin plug)Bluetooth, ANR$$$$4.7
2. Faro G2 - Premium Pilot Aviation Headset, w/ Mp3 Input BLACK ANR$4.6
3. Lightspeed ZULU.2 (Straight Cord, Dual GA Plugs, Battery Power)Bluetooth, ANR$$$4.4
4. ASA HS-1 Aviation HeadsetANR$4.4
5. David Clark DC PRO-X Hybrid Electronic Noise-Cancelling Aviation HeadsetBluetooth, ANR$$$4.3
6. Lightspeed SIERRA ANR Aviation HeadsetBluetooth, ANR$$4.2

Advantages of Bluetooth Headsets

Many pilots like to connect their headsets wirelessly to various devices by using Bluetooth, for example their phones. Bluetooth technology makes it possible for you to receive phone calls, listen to your favorite music or get critical audio alerts from mobile aviation apps, without having to removing your headset. Some pilots may for example need clearance by phone. Either way, Bluetooth can be handy for any pilot.

Active Noise Reduction (ANR)

Also known as active noise cancellation, an aviation headset’s ability for active noise reduction (ANR) is considered as one of the most important qualities that a high-quality aviation headset should possess. Traditionally, a headset is used to reduce, if not completely eliminate, outside noise (for example the Best Headphones for Airplane Travel).

However, it’s not as easy as cancelling out all outside noise. A good-quality ANR headset will cancel out low-frequency noises, the once that you experience over long periods of time and that make you fatigued. However, you’ll still be able to hear some engine or propeller noises, as well as voices from your co-pilot and aircraft staff, since any irregular noise from these sources can be a sign that something is wrong.

Importance of Sound Quality

A good-quality headset will not only cancel out any irrelevant noise; it’ll also allow important sources of sounds to come through the headset clearly. Since headsets are the main source of communication between a pilot and any tower control with whom the pilot is communicating, any information exchange between the two should be clear, crisp, and up to date.

Great sound quality is good for both communication and other things such as listening to your favorite music track or audio book. It includes outstanding sound clarity and balance, as well as deep and accurate bass.

Level of Comfort

Whether a pilot only uses a headset for a few hours or an entire day, it’s important that it’s comfortable to wear for long periods of time. After all, one can never know when an important piece of communication will come through on the headset. Padding materials will determine how comfortable the headset is when pressed against the ears. The adjustability of the headset will determine how easy it is to maneuver on and around the head.

Top 3 Headsets for Aviation Reviews

1. Bose® A20

If you’re gunning for the best of the best, the Bose A20 is the highest rated aviation headset by users and experts. Bose was the first to introduce active noise reduction (ANR) to aviation over 20 years ago, and has been a favorite brand among pilots ever since. Now, the Bose A20 sets a new standard when it comes to ANR, it’s simply unmatched by other brands. It can completely eliminate unwanted noise.

The Bose A20 provides outstanding audio clarity both in the speakers and through the microphone. Communication, music or audiobooks – they all sound excellent with clear, balanced sound quality and accurate bass.

The Bose A20 ear cushions and the well-distributed weight throughout the headset provide a very high level of comfort. You can wear the headset for hours – and even forget you have it on. It comes in several configurations, choose from a 6-pin aircraft-powered plug (LEMO), standard twin plugs and a helicopter plug. You can also connect the headset to your phone wirelessly with Bluetooth to receive calls.

The Bose A20 combines unmatched ANR, maximized user comfort and outstanding sound quality into one stunning package. It’s overall the best aviation headset and an investment for those who are truly serious about their aviation career.

2. Faro G2

In a sea of very expensive entry-level headsets, the Faro G2 stands out as a full featured low cost option. It’s an excellent choice as a first headset for students or for passengers. You get a lot of value for the money.

The active noise reduction (ANR) does a great job of cancelling out engine noise while still allowing you enough outside noise to be alert. The overall sounds quality is good; you’ll have no problem hearing incoming traffic loud and clearly. You can also plug it into any radio, phone, MP3 or other device to listen to music. Although the music quality is good, it’s no way it can match the Bose A20.

The clamping force of the Faro G2 is just enough to feel secure, and the headset can be worn for multiple hours without any issues. The ear cushions are soft and comfortable. The headset also includes a very handy adjustable boom microphone, so you can get it in the spot that works best for you.

The Faro G2 is an excellent choice as a first headset. Although it can’t match the overall performance of the Bose® A20 or the Lightspeed ZULU.2, it scores really high due to value for the money. It’s the best choice if you’re looking for the best and most affordable aviation headset.

3. Lightspeed Zulu.2

Lightspeed ZULU.2The Lightspeed Zulu.2 is a high quality and lightweight aviation headset. With a weight of only 13 ounces and magnesium ear cups, the headset is very comfortable to wear for long hours. Magnesium is good for absorbing noise without increasing the weight. The active noise reduction (ANR) works excellent for canceling out ambient noise.

The sound quality of the Lightspeed Zulu.2 is superb. The headset also includes an audio priority feature that can lower the music volume when for example ATC calls. With Bluetooth, you can listen to music or take calls. The headset also features voice commands, so you can answer or terminate calls, dial or change music with your voice – good if your hands are busy with other tasks.

The most unique and perhaps coolest feature of the Lightspeed Zulu.2 is the compatibility with FlightLink – a free app developed by Lightspeed. With FlightLink, you can record all communication going through the intercom. This is incredibly useful for flight training.

It’s hard to find negative feedback with this headset, the only thing that could be complained about is that the construction is less robust compared to for example Bose® A20. But on the other hand the Lightspeed Zulu.2 is also lighter.

All in all, the Lightspeed Zulu.2 is lightweight, has excellent sound quality and ANR. It also includes some cool features like voice commands and FlightLink. It’s overall a superb choice for an aviation headset.

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