The best voice recorder has a wide range of uses, from recording your wildest thoughts to helping you deliver those thoughts via a modern podcast and everything in between. Furthermore, voice recording devices are the perfect tool for journalists, businessmen and women, researchers, artists, and more.
So, given the diverse areas of use, you’ll find a wide array of products, with all sorts of features and technical specs that may be quite difficult to understand. But don’t worry – our reviews and guidelines are here to help!
How To Choose The Best Voice Recorder
Whether you’re the kind of person who still uses a portable CD player in order to get the best audio quality or you’re happy with streaming services for convenience, you can bet there’s a voice recording device for you out there! You just need to know what you’re looking for.
Below, we have listed the main features to look out for:
The quality of the recording is dependent by the sensitivity of the microphones. As you can see from our reviews, some devices have exposed mics while others integrate them into the body of the recorder. Also, the size of the recorder decides the type of mic it can use.
Overall, if you only want to use the recorder for lectures and personal recordings, you can select a low-cost device. However, if you want it for podcasts, movies, or other professional projects, it’s best to go with the more expensive ones.
Interface & Compatibility
All the recorders we reviewed have an easy to use and understand interface. Usually, the interface is a combination of buttons and menus, to offer access to all the features. Furthermore, some recorders also have a remote control, to avoid creating unwanted noise while the device is active.
In terms of compatibility, you should choose a device that is Plug & Play and can be used with most computers.
Most recorders use AA rechargeable batteries, but you’ll also find recorders with a non-removable battery. Our advice is to select one with removable AA batteries since they are easy to replace and can offer 13+ hours of continuous functioning.
Still, if your heart is set on a device with a Lithium battery, make sure it has a good life and durability in time.
This depends on how often you want to use the device. If you’re mostly using it for a lecture here and there, you don’t need that much space. However, if you want to record high-quality audio on a regular basis, you should get a device with expandable memory (usually a microSD port).
Best Voice Recorders
Zoom H1n Handy Recorder
Professional-Quality Audio Recordings with a Portable Device
Whether you like recording your thoughts as they come or you want to record a teacher/lecturer/speaker, the Zoom H1n is a great option. It is small and lightweight, which makes it easy to carry around, and has a protective mic enclosure to keep debris from doing any damage.
The device has X/Y stereo condenser microphones in 90-degrees format and one-touch button controls. Also, it can keep recording for around 10h delivering high-quality audio. It also has a monochromatic display that lets the user see what the device is doing.
Due to the onboard limiter and lo-cut filter, the device can record distortion-free audio in the loudest environments. It also has playback speed control, which lets you slow down the recording, which is perfect for transcribing. Also, the H1n can be set for dialogue, allowing journalists to use this voice recorder in interviews.
Lastly, the H1n is equipped with a mic line input and an audio output for headphones. This way, you can attach a microphone to the device (to catch the best voice quality) and monitor the recording in real-time.
- Slim profile & lightweight
- Protective cover for the mics
- Easy to use and understand
- High audio quality
- Ideal for a wide array of scenarios
- The plastic feels a bit cheap
- The build is not very solid
Tascam DR-05X Digital Recorder
The Ideal Voice Recorder for Any Scenario
If you’re looking for a device that’s capable of recording high-quality audio, you should take a look at the features promoted by the DR-05X from Tascam. This is a stereo hand-held recorder with a USB interface and dual internal condenser microphones.
The recorder is compact, the control panel is intuitive, and it has a wide range of uses from doubling as a USB microphone, to recording interviews, to being a high-quality camera mic. It’s ideal for recording meetings, music, audio-for-video, dictation, voiceover work, live streaming, podcasting and songwriting with studio-quality audio. Furthermore, given its size and versatility, you can say it’s the best voice recorder for lectures.
It is powered by two AA batteries, which can keep the device going for about 17.5h (depending on the quality of the batteries). However, it can also be connected to a USB mobile battery, which improves its portability and versatility.
Lastly, the DR-05X comes with a series of cool functions such as auto-recording and overdubbing. With auto-recording, the device detects a sound input signal and starts recording without the user’s intervention. Overdubbing allows you to record while playing a previously recorded piece (recording with a guitar solo in the background, for instance). It’s important to specify that overdubbing doesn’t record over the original file, but it creates a new one.
Furthermore, there is a pre-recording function that gives you an extra two seconds of recording (just in case you hit that record button a bit late).
- Compact & lightweight design
- Easy to use interface
- Impressive functions (auto-record, pre-record, overdubbing)
- Good battery life
- The menu on the display is supported in several languages
- Extremely versatile
- Works with microSD card
- The battery door is fragile and breaks easily
- It’s a bit on the bulky side
- The recording can be influenced by routers, phones, and other devices
Sony ICD-UX570 Digital Voice Recorder
Compact, Easy to Use, & Very Portable
Ideal to use in settings where you need to record audio but don’t have access to a studio or high-end microphone. While the audio from this voice recorder cannot compare to an interview performed in studio-like conditions, the built-in microphone is powerful enough to deliver good quality.
Also, its size is perfect for on the go interviews, recording your thoughts, or recording meetings, lectures, and other similar scenarios. Furthermore, the controls are easy to understand and use, and the battery can last for up to 27h. In addition, it can take up to 3 minutes to get another hour of battery life (for when you are in a hurry).
Lastly, the device supports three recording options (wide/stereo, narrow/focus, and normal), which allows users to adjust the settings according to the situation.
- Slim & durable design
- Easy to use controls
- Good recording quality
- Built-in stereo microphone and voice operated recording
- USB connectivity
- Three recording options
- Doesn’t come with a protective case
- On high settings, there is some static
Olympus Voice Recorder WS-853
The Best Digital Voice Recorder with Smart Features
The WS-853 is a fantastic voice recording device for a wide range of scenarios. First, it is compact and features an easy-to-understand interface with one-touch buttons and mic & headphones ports.
It also supports a USB direct connection and has a built-in stand that lets you see the information on the display without having to pick it up. The recorder comes with 8GB of built-in memory, but it can be extended by up to 32GB due to the MicroSD slot.
The recorder comes with several impressive features such as Voice Balancer (perfect for when you’re recording multiple speakers) and noise-cancellation (for clear playback quality, without background noise).
Moreover, the two directional microphones, positioned in a 90-degree layout, use True Stereo Mic technology to create the best stereo experience possible. The result is incredibly life-like, immersing the listener into the scene.
There’s also an Auto mode, where WS-853 knows when & how to adjust the mic sensitivity to the recording environment (such as the volume of the background or the speaker).
Designed for both beginners and advanced users – the device features a Simple Mode (for beginners) and a Normal Mode (for advanced users). In Simple Mode, users only have access to basic features, without additional information that could be confusing.
- Easy to use
- Doesn’t need extra equipment for PC connection
- Designed for both beginners & advanced users
- A series of advanced features
- Ideal for recording speakers
- True Stereo Mic technology
- The buttons can be pressed accidentally in a bag
- The display is a bit difficult to read
EVISTR 16GB Voice Recorder
The Best Voice-Activated Recorder
Featuring an improved design, the EVISTR voice recorder features dynamic noise cancellation and can record crystal clear audio in both MP3 (128kpbs, 64kpbs) and WAV (1536kpbs) formats.
The recorder is small and can be set to recognize voices and only record when someone is speaking (the voice activation functionality). It’s also equipped with a feature that enhances low voices, so you won’t lose the information if someone is speaking in a lower tone.
Lastly, it is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux computers since it doesn’t require any software to transfer the files (it’s Plug & Play). This makes it perfect for students, journalists, and any other people who need to record speakers.
- Compact design
- Easy to understand interface
- Advanced features for clear audio
- Perfect for recording speakers
- Good memory (16GB)
- Works with all computers with USB ports
- Supports both MP3 & WAV formats
- The file labeling system is bad
- The battery is not replaceable
Zoom H4N PRO Multitrack Recorder
An Advanced Device for Recording Music, Film, Podcasts & More
The H4N Pro is an advanced digital recorder with stereo X/Y microphones (up 140 dB SPL), a low-noise floor, and natural sounding-sounding preamps. The device supports four-channel recording (up to 24-bit/96 kHz) and has two XLR/TRS inputs with locking connectors.
The device uses SD/SDHC cards (up to 32GB memory) and a USB 2.0 audio interface. In addition, the recorder is compatible with most modern computers, as long as they have a USB interface. So, you can use the device as a converter, by recording the sound from a cassette player and then transferring the files to the computer.
Lastly, the voice recorder can be expanded and improved with the accessory kit designed for it. This includes a hairy windscreen, a USB cable, a splitter cable, one attenuator cable, and one AD-14 AC adapter. Of course, the kit must be purchased separately, and it is optional.
- Clean audio recordings
- User-friendly interface
- USB 2.0 ports
- Compatible with most modern computers
- X/Y microphone layout
- Background noise is extremely low
- Ideal for high-quality audio productions
- It is a bit underpowered with dynamic mics
- The controls could be a bit more intuitive
Tascam DR-40X Audio Recorder
The Best Digital Voice Recorder for High-Quality Audio Work
This four-track digital audio recorder uses high-end unidirectional stereo condenser microphones that can be used in both X/Y and A/B layout. It also has a USB audio interface and features a compact design and a user-friendly interface.
The XLR/TRS combo inputs are compatible with +4dBu line levels and there is a built-in +48V phantom power. Moreover, the mics are extremely sensitive, which means they’ll capture anything from whispered voices to loud sounds (up to 125dB SPL).
The device is ideal for a wide range of scenarios such as recording music, podcasts, audio for movies, multi-track recording, or overdubbing without destroying the original track. It also has an MS decoding functionality for mid-side mics and there is an RC-10 wired remote control (purchased separately) for better handling.
Overall, the DR-40X is the perfect tool when you want an easy way to create high-quality audio for live streaming, podcasts, voiceover, or even songwriting.
- Solid build
- High-quality mics
- Extremely easy to operate
- Can record four channels at once
- USB audio interface compatible with most computers
- Supports an SDXC card (max 128GB)
- Good battery life
- Built-in mics are exposed and can be easily damaged
- The volume is controlled by clicking on buttons (instead of a wheel)
- It has a bit of a learning curve
Voice Activated Recorder for Lectures & Meetings
Even though it is quite small in size, this voice recorder offers a multitude of functions and features! Also, it has quite the storage capacity (up to 2,324 hours of recording, or 10,000 songs). In addition, a full charge can last for about 54h of continuous recording.
The recording is clear and can be set to recognize the voice level and start recording. As such, there are six different levels of voice recording (measured in decibels) in order to make sure the device will focus on recording only the voice and not the background noise.
Lastly, the device can also be used as a USB flash drive or an MP3 player (it supports a USB connection). Other features that make it quite a great acquisition for the price are password protection, A-B repeat, auto record, and bookmark.
- Dual upgraded noise-canceling microphones
- Professional recording chip
- Compact & solid build
- 32GB storage space
- Voice-activated recording function
- Multiple uses
- Takes a bit of trial and error to learn how to use it properly
- Doesn’t notify you about battery low
Voice recorders are great devices and have a wide range of uses, from recording lectures to using them for podcasts and even productions. As a result, there are lots of models on the market, with different features and uses. So, the secret to getting the best voice recorder is knowing your needs and preferences before you start shopping.