One of the most common questions we are asked is “what is the difference between the Lightspeed Zulu 3 and the Sierra?”
In this post we will highlight the primary differences (and similarities) and provide guidance based on experience which one may be right for you.
First, let’s start with the similarities. Both headsets are engineered for comfort with plenty of room for your whole ear to fit inside the cup and softened with the ultra-comfortable ear seals. The ear seal is the unsung hero of any headset and you would be surprised how much engineering goes into them. The ear seals of both headsets have a shape designed to make wearing them with glasses or sunglasses much more comfortable.
Both headsets also have all the premium features you would expect in a high-end Active Noise Reduction (ANR) headset. These include full Bluetooth connectivity, auto shut off to preserve battery life, and the ability to give ATC the comm priority over auxiliary devices. They both deliver approximately 40 hours of use on (2) AA batteries and are compatible with FlightLink, Lightspeed’s proprietary iOS app that turns your device into a cockpit voice recorder.
Now, what are some of the differences? The construction is probably the biggest difference, and you can see that right away. While the Zulu 3 has almost no plastic in it, the Sierra is made from a fiber reinforced polymer. This is partly why the cost of the Sierra is less. The ANR of the Sierra, while very good, is not quite as good as the ANR of a Zulu 3. The Sierra has a five-year warranty compared to seven years for the Zulu 3, and the Sierra is only available in the dual GA plug configuration. The Zulu 3 is available in multiple plug configurations. The Zulu 3 also has the Lightspeed exclusive Kevlar reinforced cable while the Sierra has the traditional PVC covered cable that most other headsets have.
One plus of the Sierra that appeals to people flying with youngsters is that the size adjustability ranges from very small (infant size) to very large (comfortable on even the largest adult heads). This means you can buy a Sierra for a child and it will “grow” with them while giving them great hearing protection at the same time.
Which one is right for me? The Sierra is a great choice for children as mentioned above, and for value conscious pilots. It retails for $200 less than the Zulu 3, and you get many of the same features and benefits. The Zulu 3 is the best choice for pilots flying longer legs, more hours, or louder airplanes and helicopters. With the seven year warranty and the Kevlar cable, the Zulu 3 is tough to beat against any competitor.
As always, you can’t go wrong with your decision because we offer a liberal money back guarantee. Try it, fly with it, and then decide whether or not you want to make it your new best flying accessory!
Learn more about the key features and attributes of both the Lightspeed Zulu 3 ANR headset and the Lightspeed Sierra in the videos we share on YouTube. See close ups of the ear seals, hear why the Zulu 3 is most durable and learn all the features that keeps Zulu as the bestselling headset brand in general aviation. Watch as we demonstrate the premium comfort that is standard with any Lightspeed ANR headset, as well as the many features that have kept Sierra on the market for over 10 years!