Best voice recorders of 2022

Best voice recorders of 2022

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Updated Nov 17, 2022 12: 55 PM

The best voice recorders can be portable and easy to use. They can record lectures, interviews, conversations, or any other audio that you might want to return to later. Voice recorders today can record to SD cards or internal flash media, which is a far cry from the magnetic tapes of yesteryear. This allows for better file organization and compatibility with computers. There are many options for voice recorders in terms of audio quality. Some models can record stereo sound at high bitrates while others can capture compressed speech. The difference can have a profound effect on your listening experience. The best voice recorders are a quick and easy way to capture audio on the move. They will ensure that you don’t miss any detail.

How we picked the best voice recorders

Voice recorders are often used to capture live discussions, interviews, lectures, and lectures in critical situations with the intent of reviewing and playingback. We selected the best voice recorders for their quick startup times and easy-to-use interface.

Most of our picks can record audio with a single button press. This ensures that you capture all details and not miss any. We also wanted to include portable voice recorders, which is a key design consideration. This allows users to travel light and draws less attention that they are recording.

The most compact of our picks tend to record lower quality files, while the bulkier ones can record high-fidelity audio. This list covers all audio quality levels, so it can accommodate any recording application.

Best for lectures: Akaluli Digital Voice Recorder

Why it made the cut: This voice recorder doubles as a pen, allowing users to jot down notes while reviewing their recordings.


  • Memory: 32 GB
  • Weight: 0.6 ounces
  • Recording Format: WAV
Pros: Cons:
  • One-touch recording
  • Built-in storage is not expandable
  • On-device playback
  • Can’t turn off onboard LEDs
  • Records high-quality files
  • Real working pen
  • It can be hard to keep up with lecturers and speakers when it comes to note-taking. The Akaluli best voice recorder for lectures looks like something out of a spy movie. It aims to simplify note-taking and cover all bases. It’s a working ballpoint pen, but there’s a 32-gigabyte digital voice recorder inside. Users can begin recording audio of their surroundings with a single press of the top button, and the onboard memory can store roughly 400 hours of audio before requiring a file cleanup.

    This unit is discreet and simple to use, which makes it stand out from other voice recorders. It is literally a ballpoint pen. This allows it to blend in with any office environment. It also offers convenient features such as one-touch recording, automatic file organisation, and automatic saving in case of low battery. It also comes with a USB cable and small earbuds. Users can enjoy full functionality straight out of the box, without having to buy additional items.

    A pen recorder is not the best choice if you need a voice recorder with expandable storage. It’s limited to the 32GB of built-in storage. The pen recorder has LED indicator lights that indicate battery status and recording status. However, these indicators can’t be turned on at will so some users may find them distracting in dark environments.

    Best for interviews: Sony ICD-UX570 Digital Voice Recorder

    Why it made the cut: Expandable storage and quick-charging features make this pocket-sized recorder a good option for frequent use on short notice.


    • Memory: Up to 32 GB
    • Weight: 4.8 ounces
    • Recording Format: WAV, MP3, WMA, M4A
    Pros: Cons:
  • Built-in USB connector; no cable required
  • Requires AAA batteries
  • MicroSD slot for expandability, plus 4 gigabytes of built-in memory
  • 55 Hours of battery life
  • This compact voice recorder by Sony has automatic file organization and a variety of onboard controls. It is the best voice recorder for interviews because of its design. Two playback navigation buttons are key buttons on the front panel. One quick-forwards in ten seconds and the other rewinds in three seconds. This functionality, combined with the unit’s automatic file labeling system, allows users to quickly review recordings. This makes it a great tool for transcribing interviews or other spoken-word recordings.

    Other standout features of this design include a headphone jack for playback and 55-hour battery life. You will need to have a spare set of AAA batteries on hand, as the recorder does not have rechargeable ones. Users who desire greater control over their recordings will appreciate the external microphone input. The unit’s stereo microphones allow users to switch between stereo, wide-field and focused recording modes. This voice recorder’s USB connector can be pulled out and retracted with a simple switch.

    Best digital: Zoom H1n Portable Recorder

    Why it made the cut: The H1n is a rugged portable recorder built by an industry-leading audio company that features easy controls and 90-degree stereo recording.


    • Memory: Up to 32 GB
    • Weight: 2.4 ounces
    • Recording Format: WAV, MP3
    Pros: Cons:
  • High SPL limit for recording loud sources like concerts
  • Requires AAA batteries
  • Built-in microphone cage
  • Plastic construction can be noisy when handling
  • Wide 90-degree stereo recording
  • Records to SD card for flexibility
  • Zoom portable recorders have a reputation for being a great choice for recording audio at events. The H1n is a compact digital recorder that packs this reputation into a small and affordable package. It can be used for everything from recording interviews and musical samples to recording lectures and concerts. Because it has a high volume limit and records in resolutions of up to 24-bit/96 kHz, this is the best digital voice recorder to consider if sound quality is your primary concern.

    Design-wise the H1n features a simplified user interface and monochrome display. These can be controlled via a series buttons on the front panel. The H1n has one-touch recording and auto distortion prevention. These are key features that allow it to excel in settings where setup is difficult or impossible.

    Its array of two condenser microphones record in a fixed X/Y stereo configuration, allowing users to pick up a wide field of audio without any adjustment required, and these microphones are protected within a cage that’s integrated into the body of the recorder.

    The H1n’s lightweight and portable plastic construction makes it easy to transport. The H1n should be mounted on a tripod using the built-in threaded mounting. However, if you have to use it handheld, wrap the body in a microfiber cloth, or another type of dampening material. The H1n also operates using traditional AAA batteries, which can feel slightly inconvenient and antiquated in terms of portability, but it does prevent the need to stop and charge up when the battery runs out. Another reason it’s so popular is because of this.

    Best voice-activated: SciTech Mini Digital Voice Activated Recorder

    Why it made the cut: At only 0. 19 inches in thickness, this compact card-shaped recorder is one of the best options for taking notes on the fly.


    • Memory: 32 GB
    • Weight: 3.2 ounces
    • Recording Format: MP3
    Pros: Cons:
  • Onboard noise reduction offers enhanced clarity
  • Limited user interface
  • One-touch recording with autosaving
  • Won’t record with headphones connected
  • Fully charged in one hour
  • Records in MP3 only
  • 360-hour recording capacity
  • If you need hands-free operation of your voice recorder for safety or convenience reasons, this best voice-activated recorder by SciTech is the one for you. It is smaller than a credit-card. To manually start or stop recording, it uses one switch. To activate voice-activated mode, a separate button can be pressed. Voice-activated recording prevents memory card from filling up with silence and gaps. It doesn’t require user intervention during recording. It is useful for taking intermittent notes and recording in multitasking situations.

    This voice recorder charges in just one hour using the included USB cable. After recording, it can also be used to transfer files from a computer to it. Although the DSP chip onboard provides some noise reduction for voice recordings, it cannot be turned off. This limits speech recording to ensure optimal sound quality. The recorder’s 32-gigabyte capacity and default MP3 recording format allow it to hold up to 360 hours of material at a time, which is plenty for note-taking purposes, but bear in mind that its limited user interface and controls make onboard playback of such a large quantity of audio somewhat impractical.

    Best for iPhone: Shure MOTIV MV88 Condenser Microphone

    Why it made the cut: This Lightning-powered condenser microphone is a compact and convenient option for traveling light and recording files straight to your smartphone.


    • Memory: Uses smartphone storage
    • Weight: 1. 28 ounces
    • Recording Format: WAV
    Pros: Cons:
  • Records high-quality stereo WAV files directly to iPhone
  • Prevents device charging while in use
  • Offers an abundance of DSP options via a proprietary app
  • Phone notifications interfere with recording
  • Windscreen included
  • This convenient, iPhone-powered microphone by Shure is the best for recording voice and is a great way for you to improve your phone’s sound quality without having to use a separate recorder. The Shure MOTIV app is required to access all recording functionality and a variety of DSP options, including noise reduction, compression, and EQ.

    Due to its ability to record high-quality audio and apply post-processing effects via an app, the MV88 falls somewhere between a classic voice recorder and a portable audio production setup, making it a particularly good option for acquiring polished audio that’s intended for production purposes.

    Users have the ability to adjust the stereo width of recordings via the app. This allows them to customize their recording in a variety acoustic settings. The microphone itself can also rotate on its hinge up to 90 degrees in either direction, which offers some additional customization of directionality. The MV88 also includes a robust removable windscreen to help capture quality recordings in outdoor settings, which is a feature that’s often sold separately when it comes to the best voice recorders.

    The ability to use your smartphone for control and navigation eliminates the need for an additional device. However, there are some limitations. Due to its app-controlled nature and smartphone-powered design, the MV88 can’t function as a standalone unit.

    Additionally, it occupies the Lightning port on your phone, so you’ll lose the ability to keep your device charged while using the MV88. Notifications can interrupt recordings and cause unwanted noise so airplane mode is a must.

    Things to Consider Before Buying a Voice Recorder

    Audio quality

    Manufacturers sometimes save space by recording at lower bitrates or in compressed formats. This is usually fine for note-taking applications and transcription purposes, but if you want to use your recorded audio in a production setting, go with a voice recorder that records in high-quality formats like the Zoom H1n or the Sony ICD-UX570. Keep in mind that the better quality you record, the more space you will run out of.

    Type of recording

    The human voice is within a certain frequency range. This is why noise-cancelling headphones as well as smartphone microphones can be used to separate it from background noise. A voice recorder such as the SciTech Mini Digital Voice Activated Recorder can automatically enhance speech and ignore background noise if you are recording speech primarily to take notes.


    Voice recorders that have larger storage capacities are better suited to remote recording conditions. This is true whether you’re recording interviews, concerts or environmental audio. Consider a design that can store SD cards or other removable media if you plan on using your voice recorder for extended periods at remote locations. This will ensure that you have enough storage space to keep you going. The Zoom H1n is particularly good for this type of use, or you can opt for the Sony ICD-UX570, which has its own dedicated internal memory plus SD card compatibility.

    Discreet form factor

    If you want to record audio without drawing attention, a traditional voice recorder might not be the best choice. Akaluli Digital Voice Recorder or SciTech Mini Digital Voice Activated Recorder are both capable of recording high-quality audio and remain relatively discreet. This can help interviewees feel more comfortable and can improve the quality and ease of your interactions.

    Editing software

    While this guide is focused on the hardware needed to record, you should ensure that the device you choose supports AAC or MP3 audio formats. These formats can be used with all paid or free audio editors and media players on Windows and MacOS. Higher quality audio formats such as FLAC, ALAC or AIFF will take up more space. This means that your recorder will not be able to store as many recordings.


    Q: How do I choose a good voice recorder?

    Voice recorders are fairly simple devices that consist of microphones, playback and recording controls, and file storage systems. The best voice recorders have a simple design that is portable and easy to use. This allows users to focus on the conversation or lecture at their fingertips.

    Q: How much do voice recorders cost?
    This all depends on how much you’re willing to spend, but voice records should cost less than $100.

    Q: What’s the difference between dictaphone and voice recorder?

    “Dictaphone” is a trademark that once belonged to a company founded by Alexander Graham Bell that manufactured the first-ever dictation machines. A voice recorder is basically a modern version of the dictaphone. It records speech and plays it back for later reference.

    Q: What is the best voice recorder for students?

    Most students will benefit from a voice recorder that’s lightweight and has a relatively high capacity for holding multiple hours’ worth of recordings. The Sony ICD-UX570 is a good choice thanks to its combination of internal memory and SD card compatibility as well as its long battery life.

    Where should I store my voice recorder?

    Voice recorders can be stored in a backpack or desk drawer without being damaged, just be sure to keep it charged.

    How do I transfer data from a voice recorder to my computer?

    This depends on the voice recorder. You can plug it in directly to your computer in some cases, but you will need to remove the memory card from your recorder and insert it into it.

    How long can a voice recorder record continuously?

    This depends on the size of its internal storage or memory card. Recording voice recorders with large storage can record for many hours at once.

    Do voice recorders come with built-in software?

    Voice recorders have limited software that allow you to begin and end recordings, and in some cases check your volume levels or other basic data.

    Do voice recorders have headphone jacks?

    Yes, most voice recorders have headphone jacks, which allow you to monitor your audio in realtime.

    How much memory does a voice recorder have?

    This varies from recorder to recorder, but the ones that have internal storage have several gigabytes of free space.

    Final thoughts on the best voice recorders

    Voice Recorders are a useful tool to eliminate the difficulty of taking and listening notes. This allows people who are involved in lectures, interviews, and conversations to stay engaged. The best voice recorders have easy playback functions that make it easy to transcribe your audio. A dedicated voice recorder is a great way to make recordings, take notes, and keep track of your audio wherever you are.

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