Headsets – Cheap or expensive?

Here is a great question and long time debate that applies whether you are a student pilot just starting out, or a life-long pilot with years of experience:

What kind of headset should I get?

It comes back to that age-old debate over cost vs quality. Do I spend the least amount of money I can and upgrade later, or do I buy the best quality I can in the hope that I wont have to buy headsets again?

There are so many factors involved that will effect your final decision, but one of course is cost. If you are tight on money, spending $1200 on a brand new set of Bose A20s is not even an option.

At the same time, spending $90 on a headset just because it is affordable might not be the best option either.

If you have read any of my other posts about cost savings in training you will remember that I am big on not paying for more than you really need. So lets apply that principle to this. Do you need active noise-reducing (ANR) headsets? No, we don’t really need that. It sure would be nice, but in reality, a passive reducing headset will work just fine.

When I was looking to buy my first headset I actually researched and shopped around for a long time, and in the end after much deliberation I settled on what I felt to be the best combination price/quality. I purchased a set of David Clark H10-13.4, a comfortable, rugged, passive headset that I can wear comfortably for hours that has great audio quality. After a bit of shopping I was able to find a deal for a brand new headset with a carry bag and warranty for $280, and I have been nothing but thrilled with them.

I have flown using much cheaper, and much more expensive headsets, and I can say for initial training, pay more than the bare minimum. A rock bottom cheap headset is better than nothing in a pinch, but they can be uncomfortable, have poor audio quality, and many of them feel like they wont last more than a few hours before falling apart.

At the same time, while I agree that a top of the line ANR headset is definitely nice to have, for the amount of extra money you will spend, I suggest holding off until later. Put that money instead toward flying. After a while you can upgrade to a higher quality set, and because you chose a durable (albeit still affordable) set, you can now keep those in reserve for your passengers to use!

Here is my bottom line advice: Do your research, and don’t buy more than you need, and you will be happy with the result.

Stay with us for more posts like this. I will be posting again about some more helpful tips that will help you save money while you fly!




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