8 Best Voice Recorders in 2020

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:

Recording Quality

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.

Battery Life

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.

Memory Capacity

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).

8 Best Voice Recorders

Zoom H1n Handy Recorder

Professional-Quality Audio Recordings with a Portable Device

zoom h1n handy recorder
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.

Pros:

  • Slim profile & lightweight
  • Protective cover for the mics
  • Easy to use and understand
  • High audio quality
  • Ideal for a wide array of scenarios
Cons:

  • The plastic feels a bit cheap
  • The build is not very solid


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Tascam DR-05X Digital Recorder

The Ideal Voice Recorder for Any Scenario

tascam dr-05x stereo handheld digital recorder
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).

Pros:

  • 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
Cons:

  • 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


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Sony ICD-PX370 Voice Recorder

A Friendly & Reliable Portable Device

sony icd-px370 mono digital voice recorder
The Sony ICD-PX370 is compact, lightweight, and easy to carry around regardless of the size of your bag or pockets. Moreover, it records in MP3 format (128Kbps stereo) and has a built-in USB port which makes it incredibly easy to transfer files to a computer without using any other equipment (such as cables).

It’s also quite powerful, with a 57h battery life and 4GB built-in memory with the possibility to add a micoSD card (up to 32GB and 536 hours of recordings). The device also has Auto Voice Recording function, which puts more focus on the vocal frequencies and reduces background noise. This makes the recorder perfect for interviews or lectures.

The recorder supports a microphone and headphones, and has a user-friendly interface, as well as a display that lets the user follow its actions and the state of the recording.

Pros:

  • Small & lightweight
  • Big display (reported to its size)
  • The interface is easy to understand
  • Perfect for recording speakers
  • Supports mic and headphones
  • Great battery life
  • Built-in memory with the possibility of extension
Cons:

  • No rewind function
  • It’s not compatible with Mac computers


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Olympus Voice Recorder WS-853

The Best Digital Voice Recorder with Smart Features

olympus voice recorder ws-853
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.

Pros:

  • 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
Cons:

  • The buttons can be pressed accidentally in a bag
  • The display is a bit difficult to read


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EVISTR 16GB Voice Recorder

The Best Voice-Activated Recorder

evistr 16gb digital voice 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.

Pros:

  • 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
Cons:

  • The file labeling system is bad
  • The battery is not replaceable


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Zoom H4N PRO Multitrack Recorder

An Advanced Device for Recording Music, Film, Podcasts & More

zoom h4n pro digital multitrack recorder
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.

Pros:

  • 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
Cons:

  • It is a bit underpowered with dynamic mics
  • The controls could be a bit more intuitive


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Tascam DR-40X Audio Recorder

The Best Digital Voice Recorder for High-Quality Audio Work

tascam dr-40x four-track digital audio recorder
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.

Pros:

  • 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
Cons:

  • 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


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EVIDA Mini Voice Recorder

Compact, Portable, Easy to Use

evida mini voice recorder
If you’re a student who likes to record lectures or you just like voicing out your weirdest thoughts, this mini voice recorder can be of great help. While it doesn’t come with advanced powerful mics, it is still great for recording meetings, speeches, and even interviews.

This recorder is the size of a USB stick, has a metallic body, and controls that are very simple and easy to use. The mic can deliver 512Kbps PCM high quality recording and the 110mAh Lithium battery can last for up to 13h. Lastly, the device has a built-in memory of 8GB.

The recorder is compatible with most modern computers that support a USB 2.0 device and it comes with easy-to-use software. Furthermore, it is easily concealable, so it can be used for secret recording (like they do in the movies).

Pros:

  • Compact design & highly portable
  • Can be used to clearly record speakers
  • It is compatible with most computers
  • 8GB built-in memory
  • Solid build
Cons:

  • The audio quality is according to the price point
  • Time stamp on files is not accurate


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Summary

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.