Whether you are a pilot who wants to have SiriusXM access, primarily plan to use with Foreflight, or are under a tight budget, there is an ADS-B receiver for you.

Best ADS-B Receivers

  • Top Pick: Stratux ADS-B, “You’ll struggle to find a pilot who has a bad word to say about the Stratux ADS-B”
  • Runner-Up: Garmin GDL 50, “Comes with more features than any other ADS-B receiver, including TerminalTraffic which is invaluable for safety”
  • Best for SiriusXM: Garmin GDL 52, “If you want a receiver with SiriusXM, look no further than the Garmin GDL 52”

3 Top-Rated ADS-B Receivers

Stratux ADS-B – Top Pick

Top-Pick A very popular receiver which is almost unanimously praised by pilots for everything from its reliability and features to the company's customer service

New: $389.99
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You’ll struggle to find a pilot who has a bad word to say about the Stratux ADS-B Dual Band Receiver.

It is one of the most inexpensive options, but also manages to be one of the best for flying. I found technical support to be unmatched when I simply had a few questions or needed more information. This also applies in the unlikely event anything goes wrong, too.

Optimized for 978 MHz and 1090 MHz, I was able to receive and display air-to-air traffic, data, and FIS-B weather. I especially liked the very easy to read animated regional and CONUS NEXRAD, METARs, TAFs, AIR/SIGMETs, PIREPs, winds, and temps aloft, TFRs, NOTAMs, and SUA information.

Stratux ADS-B against red background

I also appreciated how the Stratux is compatible with pretty much everything out there, including ForeFlight, FlyQ EFB, Navigator, AvNav, WingX, Avare EFB, FltPlan Go, DroidEFB, AerovieReports, Avplan EFB, iFly GPS, DroidEFB, OzRunways EFB.

ADS-B traffic and weather information, and navigation GPS position using internal GPYes WAAS GPS receiver are all provided. Multiple devices are also supported when connected via WiFi, including iPhones, iPads, and Android tablets.

Why Buy the Stratux ADS-B?

  • High-gain dmurray14 antennas optimized for 978 MHz and 1090 MHz
  • Extensive EFB compatibility
  • Wide Area Augmentation (WAAS) GPS, subscription-free ADS-B weather and air-to-air traffic

 Garmin GDL 50 – Runner-Up

Runner-Up The GDL-50 is one of the more expensive options but comes with more features than any other ADS-B receiver

New: $828.44
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Compatible with a wide range of apps, the Garmin GDL 50 is designed to let you access the subscription-free ADS-B weather and traffic services available in the U.S. — all while providing GPS position, speed, and altitude information as well as backup attitude reference.

I was able to see animated graphical weather plus METARs, TAFs, winds and temperatures aloft, PIREPs, NOTAMs.

The TerminalTraffic feature is a great addition and invaluable for safety, as it showed which aircraft trajectories were most likely to converge with my own. It’s arguably the unit’s best feature.

Being able to receive ADS-B position reports directly from other aircraft in the vicinity is something you will no doubt appreciate. Traffic targets are announced both audibly and visually.

The GDL 50 uses a rechargeable built-in lithium-ion battery that managed to provide up to 8 hours of continuous operation.

Why Buy the Garmin GDL-50?

  • Receive subscription-free animated U.S. datalink weather
  • TargetTrend and TerminalTraffic technology
  • 8 hours of continuous operation
  • Provides GPS position data, backup altitude
  • Compatible with Garmin Pilot, Garmin GPSs, ForeFlight, FltPlan Go

Garmin GDL 52 – With SiriusXM

Best for SiriusXM If you want a receiver with SiriusXM, look no further than the Garmin GDL 52

New: $1,249.00
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The main reason to choose the Garmin GDL 52 over the GDL 50 or any other receiver is down to its support of SiriusXM – something that many pilots just won’t go without while they’re in the sky.

Besides this, it has all the features one has come to love from the GDL 50, including the same reliability, unique safety features, and easy-to-read data at just a glance.

Why Buy the Garmin GDL 52?

  • SiriusXM support
  • TargetTrend and TerminalTraffic technology
  • Provides GPS position data, backup altitude
  • Compatible with Garmin Pilot, Garmin GPSs, ForeFlight, FltPlan Go

How I Picked the Best ADS-B Receivers

  • EFB Compatibility: Some ADS-B receivers are specifically designed for ForeFlight, while others aren’t as limited and are compatible with a very wide of EFB’s. It’s, therefore, a good idea to know for sure the compatibility you will need. It is often better to start with compatibility in mind instead of working backward, especially as some receivers are designed specifically for use with a certain EFB.
  • Battery Life: There are two factors to consider when it comes to batteries: mode of operation and battery life. If you would prefer to cut down on the number of wires in your cockpit or need a backup receiver, one that is powered by the aircraft is the right choice. If not, consider how many hours of continuous operation you want before having to recharge.
  • Size: All ADS-B receivers are relatively compact, but if you want a truly lightweight pocket-sized device there are only a couple you should consider.
  • Price: Just like aviation headsets, one of the largest factors in your decision will come down to price. The Stratux is an exceptional receiver for the money, and I don’t suggest you go much lower than this. Conversely, there isn’t necessarily always a lot to be gained if you spend into the thousands.
  • Additional Features: Some receivers have more practical additional features like a carbon monoxide detector, while others are more focused on entertainment. The Sentry, for example, has the former while the Garmin GDL 52 has the latter with its SiriusXM support.

Additionally, my aim is to be as transparent as possible, so you should know I have made my recommendations based on thousands of owner reviews, and a combination of testing and firsthand experience.

Helen Krasner holds a PPL(A), with 15 years experience flying fixed-wing aircraft; a PPL(H), with 13 years experience flying helicopters; and a CPL(H), Helicopter Instructor Rating, with 12 years working as a helicopter instructor.

Helen is an accomplished aviation writer with 12 years of experience, having authored several books and published numerous articles while also serving as the Editor of the BWPA (British Women Pilots Association) newsletter, with her excellent work having been recognized with her nomination of the “Aviation Journalist of the Year” award.

Helen has won the “Dawn to Dusk” International Flying Competition, along with the best all-female competitors, three times with her copilot.