Aviator headsets are expensive! There's no way of getting around it. They're made out of high-quality materials, and they have a long lifespan, but the price tag is simply too much for some people to pay.
Luckily, there are plenty of affordable alternatives that provide great performance at an unbeatable price.
In this guide, we'll be looking at six cheap aviation headsets. These will not only look good on your head, but also perform well when you need them most.
Read on to find out more about these headphones below!
OUR TOP PICK
Starting off our list on the slightly higher side of our budget options, we have an old favorite of aviators around the world, David Clark's H10-13.4 set.
If you are looking for a headset that offers the best sound quality, comfort, and durability, look no further.
The David Clark H10-13 4G/5G features a super soft double foam head pad, new comfort gel, universal flex boom for perfect microphone placement, exclusive m-7a, low profile volume control knob with detents, and 5-year guarantee.
It has been designed to deliver excellent audio performance in all environments.
With the David Clark H10-13 headphones, you get the best sound quality possible without sacrificing comfort.
The headband has been redesigned to allow for better audio isolation while maintaining its soft touch. This means less pressure on your ears. And because the pads are made from double foam, they stay softer for longer.
The new design also allows for greater flexibility, so you can move around comfortably.
The David Clark H10- 13 headphones feature the exclusive M-7A noise-canceling mic, which offers exceptional performance and great value.
It’s designed specifically for use with David Clark speakers and features a low-profile volume control knob.
There are a lot of features packed into it. You get an 8" boom, low profile volume knob, flexible boom arm, and foam head pad. All of these features add up to one thing: comfort.
The H10-13.2 was already a comfortable mic, but the new model has added an extra layer of softness on top of that. With the new foam head pad, you don't feel like you're wearing a helmet anymore.
The headband is also much more comfortable than quite a lot of other headsets.
Overall, the best way to describe it would be as "super comfortable." If I was purchasing this headset, I would be really happy with this mic.
- A reputable brand name that you know you can trust.
- Excellent volume control with the attached knob.
- The great build quality of the headset.
- Extremely comfortable to wear too!
- The microphone is a high-quality piece of kit for any product in this field.
- There are no audio input ports for this headset. It's wireless or nothing with this purchase.
- Active noise reduction on the headset doesn't quite match the price tag, even if the compression is high-quality.
Also Available From: mypilotstore
For another favorite amongst aviators on a budget, we have Faro's famous G2 ANR.
Pilot's Faro G2 ANR headset is one of the best available headsets for pilots, even when not taking budget into account.
It provides superior sound quality, superior comfort, and unmatched reliability.
The pilot's new premium pleather ear protection is designed to fit comfortably inside the pilot's helmet while offering up to an incredible 52dB of noise reduction.
This means you'll enjoy crystal clear communications without having to worry about distracting background noises.
The manufacturer has also included an MP3 player and radio compatibility so that you can listen to your favorite music or podcasts during flight.
And if you need to use your iPad or iPhone to communicate, just plugin via the 3.5mm jack.
As always, the Pilot G2 ANR headset comes backed by FARO's legendary commercial-grade three-year warranty.
If anything goes wrong with your headset within those first three years, simply return it along with proof of purchase for a free replacement.
This headset has a great fit on pretty much any head. I could easily wear it for hours without feeling uncomfortable.
There is no pressure on the ears. It is easy to adjust and put on. You don't have to worry about getting tangled up as some headsets do, and the sound quality is excellent.
- Incredibly comfortable to wear for long periods.
- High-quality noise reduction.
- Also includes mp3 audio input.
- Tailored made for pilots, by pilots.
- The microphone on this model isn't exactly the most sensitive.
- The noise reduction only performs best whilst there is still a charge in the battery. That goes pretty quickly once they run out.
Also Available From: mypilotstore
The Kore Aviation KA-1 is a premium noise reduction headset designed to meet the needs of those who are hard of hearing or have sensitive ears.
The KA-1 offers superior sound quality and comfort along with a unique design that reduces noise by up to 26dB.
KA-1 is designed to protect against harmful noise exposure from aircraft engines. It has been specifically engineered to meet military standards for hearing protection.
It is made with premium materials and is comfortable enough to wear all day.
The ear cups are ultra-plush gel foam and the headband is covered in soft leather.
It features ultra-plush silicone gel ear seals and acoustic foam ear cups for maximum breathability and comfort.
The dual volume controls on each ear allow users to adjust the volume independently while listening to music.
The headphone jack allows you to listen to music from your mobile device without having to remove it from the case.
The headphone cord has a gold-plated plug and is detachable so you can use it with other devices.
The custom-fit headband bag makes carrying the headphones easy and protects them when placed inside your backpack or suitcase.
This headset was recommended to me by a friend who has been using them for many years.
I had never heard of these headsets before, but they sound great! They are comfortable, easy to use, and the sound is crisp and clear.
I would recommend these to anyone looking for an inexpensive way to listen to music while working outside.
- Great build quality for a cheaper set of aviation headphones and microphones.
- MP3 Audio Input comes included.
- Even comes with a carry case!
- The headset comes with dual volume control too.
- The gel ear seals that come with this headset may become a little too hot in warmer weather. And the ear cover that helps stop this is sold separately.
Also Available From: koreheadset
Asa HS-I is designed specifically for aviation use. It has been developed with extensive research and testing by the world leader in aviation headset technology.
The Asa HS-I is equipped with features that are essential for aviation headsets such as excellent noise isolation from outside sounds and superior comfort.
It has NRR23dB and produces a clear natural sound. It provides high fidelity audio quality that matches the highest standards in the industry.
The ear cups of the Asa HS-I are made of high-density acoustic foam to reduce external noise and improve speech clarity.
The flexible boom microphone of the Asa HS I eliminates unwanted noises and increases the signal level during a conversation.
The gold plating on the microphone and plug ensures the best contact and resistance against corrosion.
All these features make it suitable for aircraft pilots, flight attendants, cabin crew, and anyone else who works in an environment where there is a risk of exposure to harmful environmental factors.
When it comes to using it, the headset is lightweight and comfortable to wear. I like that it has a good fit and holds onto the ear comfortably.
I also like that there are two different sizes available for men and women, and I believe it’s a great investment.
- These headphones and microphone are made with an excellent quality
- Comes with dual volume control as standard.
- They can double as good passenger headphones too!
- This headset comes with no audio input. Wireless is the only way to go with this.
- These may become a little uncomfortable after wearing them for a decent amount of time.
Also Available From: mercari
Sierra brings the power of active noise reduction (ANR) and exceptional sound quality to the world of aviation headsets.
With its lightweight, ergonomic design, Sierra provides superior comfort and convenience while remaining durable enough to withstand the rigors of daily use.
Sierra offers five years of coverage under Lightspeed's limited warranty.
With its soft ear pads and flexible headband, Sierra delivers a comfortable fit and secure hold.
Its durable fiber reinforced polymer construction makes Sierra strong enough to withstand everyday wear and tear.
The integrated mic boom and flip-up volume controls let you adjust the volume without removing the headset.
Sierra also comes equipped with a 3.5mm stereo plug so you can connect it to your computer or mobile device.
Designed to deliver high-quality, natural sound, Sierra uses proprietary technology to reduce ambient noise by up to 10 dB.
It includes a three-position switch that lets you choose between low, medium, or high settings. The switch automatically adjusts when you change the volume level.
Sierra has all the tools you need to enhance your flight experience. For example, Sierra's ComPriority feature enhances safety communications.
You can easily answer calls and initiate conversations using the convenient push-to-talk button.
Sierra also supports the Bluetooth 4.0 standard for wireless audio streaming. This means you can listen to music or watch movies on your smartphone through the headset.
With the new Sierra headset, I am finally able to enjoy my hobby again without having to worry about hearing loss or headaches.
My previous headset was an inexpensive one that made me feel like I had a bad cold when I wore it.
Now I can fly with confidence knowing that I won't suffer any discomfort while wearing these headphones. They fit comfortably and stay put during flight.
I would recommend these headphones to anyone looking for quality sound and comfort.
- Incredible noise cancellation
- You have a choice of either a wired or Bluetooth connection!
- Has compatibility with Lightspeed's in-cockpit recording app, FlightLink!
- We are certainly pushing the boundary of what is considered budget here. Still, this will be an investment that will pay off, for sure!
Also Available From: sportys
If your budget is tight, even for this list, then don't worry.
With Rugged Air's RA200 headset, you'll see that even an incredibly tight budget can't stop you from finding the right gear for you.
Designed specifically for pilots, the Rugged Air RA200 headset provides superior comfort and sound quality while maintaining its rugged durability.
The ergonomic design allows for a comfortable fit with minimal fatigue. It features high-fidelity stereo speakers with inline volume controls and a flexible boom microphone.
The headphones are equipped with a noise reduction microphone filter that reduces ambient noise by up to 24dB.
It offers outstanding audio clarity and comfort while maintaining rugged durability and ease of use.
The RA200 features a flexible boom microphone with noise reduction technology, allowing you to hear and be heard clearly in noisy environments.
The ear cups are made from impact-resistant polycarbonate plastic material to withstand the rigors of everyday use.
The RA200 comes with a headband that allows for easy adjustments to tighten or loosen tension around your ears. This makes it comfortable for hours of wear.
Our experience with the Rugged Air headset has been great! We were able to get it set up right away and use it immediately. There were no issues with getting the audio quality and volume levels correct.
We are also impressed with how comfortable they are and how easy they are to adjust. The noise reduction feature works as advertised.
I would recommend these headsets to anyone looking for a good deal on an aviation headset.
- Great build quality, especially for the price range it is normally sold at.
- Excellent volume control.
- Includes an in-built AUX audio input.
- Even comes with its ballistic-nylon bag!
- Very light too, less than 14 oz!
- Maybe more uncomfortable on longer flights, as it feels a little too tight.
- Despite it being quite light, it still feels quite bulky to carry around.
Also Available From: mypilotstore
Best Budget Aviation Headset Buying Guide
Noise reduction is often described as “reducing background noise”.
Noise reduction microphones reduce unwanted sounds such as engine noise, wind noise, etc., so that you can hear other important things like instructions from ATC.
Noise reduction is only one type of noise reduction; there are two additional methods used to reduce noise: active noise cancellation (ANC) and passive noise reduction (PNR).
ANC actively cancels out the sources of interference, whereas PNR uses a combination of materials and engineering to make a noise reduction effect.
Most aviation headsets come with some form of noise reduction – if not all of them do.
However, many aircraft manufacturers prefer to keep their designs secret, so it’s hard to know which ones offer noise reduction.
When choosing a headset, comfort should always be a priority.
While we understand that comfort is subjective, we have found that pilots tend to choose headsets based on comfort first. If the headset isn’t comfortable, then it will not perform well.
Many people claim that airline pilot headsets aren’t very comfortable, but this simply isn’t true.
Most airlines now offer headsets that provide excellent comfort, and the best headsets are designed for pilots.
However, even if you don’t fly, you might want a headset that fits comfortably because it will feel better when you put it on every morning.
When shopping for an aviation headset, look for those that include adjustable ear pads.
Look for a headset that includes foam padding as well, as this helps to prevent pressure points on your face.
In-Ear Vs Over-Ear
There are two main types of aviation headsets: in-ear and over-ear. Both types of headsets work by amplifying the sound coming from the speakers inside the headphones.
Over-ears are typically larger and heavier than in-ears. They are usually made of plastic, metal, or both, and, as you might have guessed from the name, they sit over your ears rather than inside them
In-ears are smaller and lighter than over-ears. They are almost entirely made of rubber or silicone and are shaped similarly to regular earbuds.
Both types of headsets fit into the same general categories: open-back, closed-back, half-shell, full-shell, and boomless.
A good audio system is one of the most essential features of any aviation headset.
The microphone is the part of the audio system that picks up the voice communications between the pilot and the air traffic control tower.
It converts these conversations into digital signals that allow the headset to amplify them.
The quality of the mic determines how accurately it can pick up voices and convert them to digital signals.
This means that a high-quality microphone will pick up more information about what someone says, making it easier to understand.
A lower-quality mic might distort speech, causing words to seem garbled, something that every pilot needs to avoid.
When we are discussing connectivity, we are primarily talking about how the headset interfaces with other devices.
The two most common methods are either through an AUX audio input or Bluetooth.
AUX Audio Input
An auxiliary input allows you to connect external devices such as MP3 players and cell phones directly to the headset.
This makes it possible to listen to music while flying, and also allows you to use the phone without having to take off the headset.
Bluetooth is a wireless technology that enables devices to communicate wirelessly.
Some models of headsets include built-in Bluetooth capability, allowing you to transfer calls and messages from your cell phone to the headset.
This is useful if you need to make a call during a flight, or if you have a smartphone with a built-in headset.
Best Budget Aviation Headset - FAQ's
What Headsets Do Pilots Use?
Aircraft radios are provided for use by licensed pilots who are operating scheduled air carrier operations under Part 91 of Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR), and by certain private pilot applicants by FAR Part 61 requirements.
The FAA requires that all flight crew members wear approved personal electronic equipment (PEQ) while airborne.
The term "aviation headset" generally refers to any device worn on the head and connected via a cord to the radio onboard the aircraft.
This includes headsets worn on the ears, as well as over-the-head models.
The most common model is the standard in-ear style, though pilot fashion has evolved to include a variety of styles.
Do Airline Pilots Use A Particular Brand Of Headset?
Pilots, when choosing a headset for themselves, will often decide what to purchase based on the brand name.
Pretty much every headset we have covered in this guide is a well-known aviator headset, especially brands such as David Clark and Lightspeed Sierra.
Why Are Pilot Headsets So Much More Expensive Than Regular Headphones?
You may have noticed that, for the most part, aviation headsets are a lot more expensive than your run-of-the-mill headphones, even those used by professionals in other industries.
Why is this?
Well, there are several reasons why they cost so much more.
Generally speaking, however, the equipment that is packed into a certified aviator headset is more expensive than that which would normally be included in a pair of headphones.
First off, aviator headsets come equipped with a microphone. Most often these microphones are built into their design, but sometimes companies make them available separately.
These mics can range anywhere from $50-$300 per unit depending on the brand and quality of the mic.
In addition, some headsets also offer noise-canceling features that add significantly to their price tag.
Second, aviator headsets are designed to match the performance characteristics of the airplane's communication system.
Because the communication systems aboard airplanes vary greatly from one manufacturer to another, the headsets must be custom fitted to ensure that they perform at peak efficiency without causing interference with the plane's electronics.
There are plenty of choices out there when looking for an aviator headset, as you can see.
While it may seem like there's no end to what kind of headset you could get, the reality is that you're going to pay a pretty penny for the privilege of being able to communicate safely in the skies.
Don't be afraid to shop around and find the best deal possible, because there will always be someone willing to sell you something for far less than it's worth!