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The Best Aviation Headsets for Student Pilots in 2021

68 views | 15 min read | Posted on August 05, 2021 by Senne Vandenputte | Last update August 26, 2021

The Best Aviation Headsets for Student Pilots in 2021

An aviation headset is probably one of the most important investments in your own health, safety and comfort you will ever make in your flying career.

The problem is, this investment has to be made at the very start of your flying career, even before your very first flying lesson. As a student pilot, you already have more than enough costs (avgas, your flight instructor, a ground school,..), so the less you can spend on a headset, the more money you have for what matters the most: flying.

Now, we are not saying that you need to go with the cheapest aviation headset you can find. We just mean that buying your first aviation headset has to be a well-thought-out decision, one that involves multiple factors and a lot of research.

Luckily, we already did the research for you, so read on to discover which aviation headset suits you best as a student pilot!

The Best Aviation Headsets for Student Pilots in 2021

In a Hurry? See Our Top Picks

Just click on any image below to see price, ratings and reviews on Amazon.

Faro G2 ANR FaroCheck Price
David Clark H10-13.4 David ClarkCheck Price on Amazon
Kore Aviation KA-1 Kore AviationCheck Price on Amazon

Now, let’s dive into the best aviation headsets for student pilots.

If you’re interested in learning what to look for when buying a (new) aviation headset, make sure to read our buying guide below as well!

The Best Aviation Headsets for Student Pilots in 2021

Below you will find all kinds of headsets to suit different budgets and preferences. We focused on quality aviation headsets priced below $600.

1. Faro G2 PNR Aviation Headset

The Faro G2 PNR is a headset we personally own and love. Faro’s basic headset model is perfect for student pilots and those not willing to spend a fortune on a headset.

The Faro G2 PNR is Faro Aviation’s least expensive model. With passive noise reduction up to 26dB, the G2 is quieter than most other PNR headsets we cover in this guide. The large soft cushion provides extra comfort for long cross-country flights and makes the headset feel light. The G2 also comes in different colors, has dual volume controls and an MP3/iPhone input. All in all, a great inexpensive starter headset for pilots or their passengers.

What we like about this aviation headset:

  • Inexpensive
  • Made by pilots
  • Free shipping in Continental US
  • MP3 audio input
  • Comfortable

What we don’t like about this aviation headset:

  • No ANR: Not as quiet
  • Microphone could have been more sensitive

Bonus: You can get 10% off every Faro headset with coupon HANGARFLIGHTS!

10% off with coupon HANGARFLIGHTS
Check Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

2. Faro G2 ANR Aviation Headset

The Faro G2 ANR is the G2 PNR’s bigger brother, with active noise reduction. For about $200 more, you get noise reduction up to 52dB for the quietest cockpit and most comfort.

If you are looking for an ANR headset but not willing to spend $500+, the G2 ANR gives you the most bang for your buck!

What we like about this aviation headset:

  • Great value for price
  • Made by pilots
  • Free shipping in Continental US
  • MP3 audio input
  • Comfortable
  • Great ANR noise reduction (52 dB)
  • Leather ear cushions

What we don’t like about this aviation headset:

  • Microphone could have been more sensitive
  • Significantly less noise reduction once batteries run out

We wrote an in-depth review about the Faro G2 ANR aviation headset, you can check it out here:

Bonus: You can get 10% off every Faro headset with coupon HANGARFLIGHTS!

10% off with coupon HANGARFLIGHTS
Check Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

3. ASA HS-1 Aviation Headset

ASA's HS-1 is one of the most inexpensive aviation headsets you can buy. This was the first aviation headset I bought during my own private pilot training, and I’ve used it for many hours.

Personally, I found that during longer flights, the HS-1 started to put some excessive pressure on my head, which quickly started to become uncomfortable when flying longer than 45 minutes. However, this is just a personal experience, when reading through the hundreds of Amazon reviews, many people believe this is an excellent inexpensive aviation headset, perfect for student pilots on a budget!

What we like about this aviation headset:

  • Very inexpensive
  • Good build quality
  • Dual volume control
  • Can become a good passenger headset once you upgrade

What we don’t like about this aviation headset:

  • No audio input
  • May become uncomfortable after longer flights (clamping force)
  • Does not come with carry case or bag

Check Price on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

4. David Clark H10-13.4 Aviation Headset

David Clark is one of the oldest and most trusted brands when it comes to aviation headsets. The H10-13.4, its most popular model, has been around for many years and used all over the world in every different type of aircraft imaginable. Wherever you go, you will always see people wearing the trusty DC H10-13.4.

The super-soft, double foam head pad make the headset comfortable to wear, even on longer flights. It comes at a slightly higher price point than other comparable headsets and doesn’t have the double volume controls or auxiliary audio input, but it is backed by David Clark’s famous reputation for quality and service. When buying the H10-13.4, you’re set for years of reliable service.

What we like about this aviation headset:

  • Well known and long-established brand
  • Great build quality
  • Excellent microphone
  • Volume control knob
  • Comfortable

What we don’t like about this aviation headset:

  • No audio input
  • No ANR (but still decent noise compression)

Check Price on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

5. Faro Air in-ear Aviation Headset

Most pilots put up with carrying a large heavy headset on their head for hours and hours. The Faro Air changes this.

With its 28 grams, the Faro Air is the lightest and the only in-ear headset in this list. Its noise reduction of up to 50dB makes the Faro Air also as quiet as most ANR headsets, which is great for pilots looking for an ANR headset but not willing or able to spend too much.

What we like about this aviation headset:

  • Great value for price
  • Made by pilots
  • Free shipping in Continental US
  • MP3 audio input
  • Very comfortable
  • No more bad hair days!
  • Extremely light (28g)
  • Comes with additional earplugs in different sizes

What we don’t like about this aviation headset:

  • Takes some time to get used to
  • Putting it on your head takes more time
  • Microphone may not always stay in position
  • May not fit your head well, so make sure to try it first

We wrote an in-depth review about the Faro Air in-ear aviation headset, you can check it out here:

Bonus: You can get 10% off every Faro headset with coupon HANGARFLIGHTS!

10% off with coupon HANGARFLIGHTS
Check Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

6. Kore Aviation KA-1 Aviation Headset

The Kore Aviation KA-1 features dual volume controls, a flexible mic boom, great noise reduction and aux audio input for your smartphone. It’s a great inexpensive headset for pilots, passengers, instructors, student pilots, flight schools and more.

What we like about this aviation headset:

  • Very inexpensive
  • Great build quality
  • Dual volume control
  • MP3 audio input
  • Comes with carry case
  • Great sound quality

What we don’t like about this aviation headset:

Check Price on Amazon
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Things to Consider When Buying an Aviation Headset as a Student Pilot

There are a couple of things you need to think about and consider, or else you might buy something you don’t need, or worse, which doesn’t work well. And that’s going to make it harder for you to concentrate, both on the ground and in the air. Not good!

Plus, as a student pilot, you need to form good habits from the very beginning. Therefore, in order to best deal with your budget and not go over it too quickly, we advise you to put good consideration in your first-ever important pilot gear investment. Read our guide, see what’s important to keep in mind, and try on different headsets to see if they’re comfortable for long training flights and whether its noise attenuation is good enough for you to concentrate or not.

In a previous, more extensive, aviation headset buying guide, we already dove deeply into what makes a good aviation headset and what you should consider when buying one.

You can check it out here:

Below, we will look at some of the specific factors you should consider when buying an aviation headset as a student pilot.

1. Type of Aviation Headset & Headset Plugs

First, you will need to decide on the type of aviation headset you want/need to buy.

In general, you will mostly come across two different types of aviation headsets: the on/over-ear aviation headset and the in-ear ones.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but the on-ear headset options are far more common. Below, you will notice we included one in-ear aviation headset on our list.

The best way to decide which type of headset is right for you is to read through our list and recommendations below, test out different headsets, and ask other pilots for their preferences when it comes to the best aviation headsets for student pilots.

Depending on the type of aircraft you fly, another type of headset plug is required. Helicopters, for example, use other connectors than fixed-wing GA airplanes, and manufacturer Airbus uses another connector, XLR, which is also used in professional audio recording. We’re going to assume you’re not doing your initial flight training on an Airbus, so you most likely just have to choose between the helicopter/fixed-wing headset plug.

The Best Aviation Headsets for Student Pilots: Common Headset Plugs

2. Comfort

One of the most important factors to consider as a student pilot is how comfortable the headset is. You will often be wearing it for hours at a time during your flight training, make sure they properly fit and feel comfortable.

Ear cushions and the headband will have a big impact on the comfort, to make sure to try some different models and brands. Some headsets have the bad characteristic of starting to squeeze your head after wearing them for a while. Be sure to wear the headset for at least 10 minutes to really feel how they sit.

Training flights can already be stressful enough, no need to put yourself through a headache caused by a bad aviation headset.

Another factor that determines the comfort of your headset is the weight. PNR (Passive Noise Reduction) headsets are less expensive, but they are usually also heavier since the earcups contain noise-reducing foam.

Make sure to try out a few different headsets to see which feels the most comfortable, and remember heavier doesn’t necessarily mean less comfortable.

3. Features

Know the difference between nice to have features, and need to have. Don’t worry too much about additional features, such as Bluetooth, app pairing, etc, until you’re finished with your flight training and budget is no longer such a big issue.

Some volume control knobs are a good feature to have. Being able to control the audio levels of your own headset is essential if you want to be able to focus on both the radio and your instructor’s instructions. This is better than using the audio panel volume controls which also impact your instructor’s headset audio level.

4. Noise Reduction

In general, there are 3 main types of noise reduction used in aviation headsets: Passive Noise Reduction (PNR), Active Noise Reduction (ANR), and Dynamic Noise Reduction (DNR). The latter is quite rare, so we’ll focus on ANR and PNR here.

PNR headsets are usually the least expensive ones. They have noise suppressing foam that fills the earcup cavity and passively reduces the noise by sealing off sounds that come from outside the headset. For proper noise reduction, PNR headsets should fit firmly around the side of your head.

ANR headsets actively reduce and cancel the noise by using electronics inside the headset to remove or suppress unwanted aircraft noise. Active Noise Reduction helps reduce background noises and improves your focus and understanding of intercom/radio audio. These types of headsets are usually more expensive.

Some pilots and instructors may argue that using active noise reduction as a student pilot will negatively impact your ability to hear subtle engine discrepancies.

However, most student pilots don’t have enough experience yet to detect these differences in engine noise. For them, it’s more important to clearly hear radio transmissions and instructions from the CFI.

5. Price

Price is one of the most important factors you need to consider when starting your flight training. Flying is already expensive enough, we know. So if you can save a few $100 on pilot gear, that means extra cash for fuel!

Most are under the false impression that they should get the most expensive aviation headsets available, such as a Bose or premium Lightspeed.

However, as you will discover below, there are many great options when it comes to quality aviation headsets that are affordable as well.

Just set a budget for yourself and stick to it. If you can afford a more expensive one, it could be the right thing to do. When in doubt, the best advice is still to “buy the most headset you can afford”.

All aviation headsets below are priced below $600. We didn’t include the more expensive models, like the Bose A20, Bose ProFlight Series 2 and Lightspeed Zulu/Sierra. For the complete list, arranged by price, check out our main Aviation Headset Buying Guide.

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6. Product Support & Warranty

An often looked over, but important feature to consider when buying aviation headsets is product support and warranty.

You will most likely put a lot of wear and tear on your headset during flight training, so it’s best to get a good warranty and product support behind the product.

Companies such as David Clark, Bose and Faro are all well-known for their great product and customer support.

7. Flying School Requirements

Lastly, it’s important to check whether your flying school has any additional requirements for student pilots’ aviation headsets.

For example, some pilot schools may require their students have an FAA TSO-approved headset because this ensures it has been tested for sound quality and will pass the government’s additional requirements.

Before buying a headset, make sure to check with your school whether they have some specific requirements.

If you’re training in a flying club, this usually isn’t an issue.

The Best Aviation Headsets for Student Pilots in 2021

Some Additional Headset Buying Tips for Student Pilots

Here are some additional tips that can help you decide on the best aviation headset for your needs when starting your flight training:

  • Always remember: you get what you pay for. Don’t go cheap and buy a knock-off, how tempting that price tag might be, it may not hurt your wallet, but it can seriously impact your safety and ears.
  • If you can, try on the headset of your choice before you purchase it. It is only after flying a few times with a headset that you can really experience how it feels and functions. Don’t be afraid to return a headset if it doesn’t fit as well as expected.
  • If the headset of your choice does not have the most comfortable ear seals or headband, you may be able to easily purchase replacement ones that are more comfortable.
  • Consider purchasing second-hand headsets. It’s common to find high-end, brand new headsets for a fraction of the cost; pilots take very good care of their possessions.
  • If you decide to buy an ANR headset, consider the bulky battery pack and think about how it feels hanging on your neck or where you will put it.
  • When considering a headset, always remember you’ll be wearing it for long periods of time. Cheap and uncomfortable headsets can become expensive if they cause discomfort after a prolonged period of use.

Final Thoughts

In general, you get what you pay for. Quality headsets can last for a decade, so it will be an investment that will pay off. If you’re still not sure which one you should buy, ask a few pilot friends or people at your airfield if you can borrow theirs for a test flight.

Always be aware of cheap headsets, they can be attractive but will do a very poor job protecting your ears.

For student pilots, we highly recommend the Faro G2 ANR Aviation Headset, which I used throughout my own flight training. It’s a comfortable, high-quality aviation headset making Active Noise Reduction very affordable. It’s also comfortable enough for longer training flights and the leather ear seals are very student pilot sweat-resistant 😉

(After my personal flight training, I upgraded to a more expensive headset, Bose's A20, and kept the Faro G2 for passengers.)

If you want to learn more about aviation headsets, you can read our in-depth buying guide here:

Good luck, and have fun in your flight training!

Next, which private pilot ground school and courses should you take? Read our recommendations!


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