Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve written about wireless headphones, headphones for kids, earbuds, and even waterproof headphones, here we’re going deep on the best aviation headsets that you can find on Amazon. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)
Best aviation headset for student pilots
“These are a great buy! For a [passive noise reduction] headset they are very comfortable, and definitely don’t over clamp your head. The ear cups are nice and roomy, and I did go ahead and buy the cloth covers, and I would recommend them. If you’re a student pilot, this is absolutely the headset to go with. You get the quality of a headset two to three times the price. They are comfortable, they are affordable, and the audio quality is superb. I am very satisfied with this purchase.”
Best cheap aviation headset
“I recently started taking flying lessons, and my [fixed-base operator] charges $5 per hour to use their headset, so I decided to get my own … The price and features of the Rugged caught me and I got it. It is more comfortable to wear than any of the [other headsets] I had rented previously. The material is soft, cups my ears, and completely blocks out the surrounding sound. I position my microphone once at the start of my lesson and that is usually sufficient. I love being able to control the volume from the headset since sometimes it gets simply too loud with the radios going on, my instructor talking to me, and the constant hissing of the radio. I have not yet used the auxiliary input to play music, as I am a new ‘pilot’ and prefer to hone my skills first, but it is certainly a feature I plan to use on my cross-countries. Stylistically, I also love the look and feel of the Rugged. Overall, I would highly recommend this product!”
Best aviation headset with gel earpads
“I’m a student pilot, and I’ve been using the flight school’s cheap headsets for a little while. I decided to get my own. I didn’t want to drop $1,000 on a Bose, so I went with David Clark. I couldn’t be more pleased. The gel ear cups are very comfortable and fit well around sunglasses. The noise reduction is more than adequate for flying a loud single-engine plane. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better value in a headset, and the green [David Clark] headsets are always a timeless look.”
Best aviation headset for passengers
“I have a Bose A20 headset with Bluetooth, and I absolutely love it. However, when shopping for a headset for my passengers, I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the thought of buying another $1,000 headset. This fits the bill perfectly. This headset is very durable, looks nice, and sounds excellent. Although I really enjoy the noise-canceling capability of my Bose A20, I would have no problem using this headset instead. The headset has a mono-stereo switch on the junction box. If you’re only getting sound in one side, try moving the switch; that should fix you up. The headset that was shipped to me does have the flexible mic boom. That is a very nice feature. The boom is a bit larger than the one on my Bose A20; I’m not sure if that is a feature or a detriment at this point though … If you’re looking for an extra headset or even just a beginner headset, you can’t go wrong. But once you start flying, check out the Bose A20 or another higher-end headset; you’ll thank yourself for the investment.”
Best noise-canceling aviation headset
“I am a relatively new pilot on the Boeing 757 and had a few embarrassing moments talking to ATC [air traffic control] in Europe using the company-provided in-ear headset. I simply could not hear well. After some research, I decided to buy the DC Pro-X. My ATC problems were instantly solved. While in a quiet room with noise cancellation on, there is a hiss, but it’s not noticeable in flight at all. The system works perfectly. I had the headset on pretty much the entire time on both ocean crossings (even while on the ‘bunk’ during my rest period, listening to music). The music quality is superb; a large frequency range from low bass to high treble, and it’s stereo! The headset did not bother me whatsoever. I flew regional for almost 19 years and used the heavy David Clarks almost exclusively. While I didn’t like the weight of those, I always liked the rugged quality. The Pro-X is the perfect merger of quality and comfort. I highly recommend this headset.”
Best Bluetooth aviation headset
“This was a very pricey purchase but worth every penny. My husband is a charter pilot, and his old headset was so noisy. He would come home with headaches from the wash noise. He had the chance to try a friend’s Bose headset and couldn’t believe the difference. I bought him this one for his birthday and he has been so happy. No more headaches, and he says he can concentrate better now when he flies. The Bluetooth is great, too, because now I can call him while he’s in the air, which was a no-go before.”
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