Last updated: June 30, 2020

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Digital voice recorders are great tools for both professionals and amateur artists. Whether you are looking for high quality sound for a video, or recording a new song on an album, you need to have good audio. Voice recorders are also handy for interviews and voice memos. With so many uses, it is important to have a voice recorder that is high quality and reliable.

In the digital age, more people are using voice recorders now more than ever. They are not only tools meant for professionals, as even amateurs and students can get great use out of these tools. Choosing a voice recorder is not always easy, and it can be difficult to know which is the best for you. If you are interested in finding the best recorder for your needs, then read on!

Key Facts

  • Journalist use voice recorders for interviews, but their uses go far beyond the professional realm. Students can also use these tools for effective note taking and recording important lectures. And of course, many musicians use voice recorders for recording new songs.
  • Portable voice recorders make portable audio recording possible. Many people use them to save time, increase productivity and perform various tasks in the workspace
  • Most voice recorders generally use MP3 and WAV formats, although some also support other types of extensions.

The best voice recorders on the U.S market

There are several different types of voice recorders available on the U.S. market. Some are designed for professionals, while others are suitable for students. To help you navigate the different types of recorders out there, we have put together this ranking to help make your decision easier. We have chosen the best voice recorders out there based on user reviews, available functions, price, and more!

EVISTR 16GB Digital Voice Recorder

This voice recorder by Evistr is great for students, professors, teachers, businessman, writers, and anyone who loves to record. The dynamic noise cancellation microphone captures 1536kpbs of crystal clear audio. It is also very simple to use, just press REC to start recording, and press STOP to save the recordings easily.

This is great device for the classroom as it has special features for students. With this recorder, you are able to set an “AVR voice activated” function, which allows you to record only when someone is speaking, saving space and time.

Sony ICD-PX370 Mono Digital Voice Recorder

This is a great option for those looking to record large amounts of data. The ICD-PX370 comes with 4 GB of memory built-in, which gives you a max recording time of 59hrs 35m. There is also an SD card slot, so you are able to add more storage if needed.

This device is very versatile, as it allows you to choose from four ‘scene’ pre-sets (music, meeting, interview, dictation) to optimize the audio settings depending on your situation. Transferring files to or from your computer is also convenient, just plug the ICD-PX370 straight into a USB port!

Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder

This is a top choice for editors and professionals. It is the most expensive in our ranking, so it is meant for those looking to make an investment for good quality sound. This device records directly to SD/SDHC cards up to 32 GB.

With advanced X/Y microphones, incredibly natural-sounding preamps, and a super-low noise floor, you can record everything from loud sporting events, to quite nature sounds. The back-lit LCD screen makes controlling this device easy. The rubberized, ergonomic body is perfect for use in the field or with a camera. This is not your standard voice recorder, and we highly recommend this one for professionals.

Tascam DR-05 Stereo Portable Digital Audio Recorder

At $79.99, this is a mid-range recorder. Good enough for most professional jobs, but will a cheaper price tag. TASCAM’s DR-05 brings high-quality stereo recording to an easy-to-use portable device with a size that anyone can handle. The DR-05 records in MP3 or WAV format – including 96kHz/24-bit high-resolution audio – to microSD or microSDHC media.

This recorder is also equipped with omnidirectional stereo condenser microphones that can not only record sounds directly in front of the microphones, but also record ambient sound from all directions. This is a great option for those looking to record live events with concert quality sound.

Homder 16G Touch Screen Voice Activated Recorder

This is a great recorder for a students or amateur professional looking to step up their recording from a smart phone or computer. It is very simple to use with a touch screen design, and color LCD display that allows you to read the content clearly. All recorded recordings are named with time-stamps, so you can easily find the file you are looking for.

The touch screen on this device is very intuitive. The control panel automatically locks during recording to prevent accidental touches, and touching it will only wake the screen up but the recorder won’t react to the operation. This device is also an MP3 player!

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about voice recorders

Contrary to belief, voice recorders are not all the same. You shouldn’t choose a voice recorder solely based on price or the best ratings, because it may not be best for your needs. Although they all perform the same basic function, some have capabilities that are beneficial for certain professionals and specific types of jobs. This is why we have created this shopping guide, to help you choose the best recorder based on a few different aspects. We also answer some frequently asked questions about these devices.


Many students use voice recorders to take notes as well as conduct interviews.
(Source: Krasovskaya: 101355471/ 123rf.com)

What exactly are voice recorders?

To put it simply, a voice recorder is any device capable of capturing and recording sound. Sound recording and reproduction is an electrical and mechanical process that involves the re-creation of sound waves, such as spoken voice, singing, instrumental music, or sound effects. The two main classes of sound recording  are analog recording and digital recording.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of voice recorders?

Voice recorders have a variety of uses. They are compact and portable, making them a very convenient tool to have. They are great for capturing high quality sound for your projects, which is very important for many professionals. They do come with a few drawbacks, but not many.

  • Record high quality voice and sound
  • High quality microphones and technology that reduces capturing peripheral noise
  • Very easy to use and comfortable to hold
  • Always ready to record and are easily transportable
  • Professional voice recorders can be somewhat expensive
  • Some models use AA batteries that need to be replaced frequently

Is it worth buying a voice recorder?

Given the advantages they offer, there’s no doubt that it is worth buying a voice recorder. Computer based recorders are useful, but they do have limitations. You can’t, for example, walk outside and continue recording unless your computer goes with you. Portable voice recorders make the process easy and convenient.

You may also use the voice recorder that now comes with many smartphones. This is a nice option for non professional jobs that do not require high quality sound. However, these microphones do not offer the same features as voice recorders. The quality is no where near the same, and can only capture sound within a few inches from the mic itself. Finally, the battery of a smart phone is far inferior to a specialized voice recorder.

What are the main applications of voice recorders?

Voice recorders have many different applications and uses. Unlike older tape recorders, digital recorders can often store hours of recordings. They are very useful for journalists, who use them for interviews. Doctors use smaller digital recorders to help them take voice notes when they visit with patients. Lawyers may use them to take voice notes while preparing cases, while criminal investigators record digital notes in the field. Students can also use them to record important lectures.


A voice recorder captures better quality sound than a smart phone app.
(Source: Dolgachov: 81084428/ 123rf.com)

What types of voice recorders are there?

The two most common types are portable voice recorders and mini voice recorders. Each type has its own set of features and suitable uses. To learn a little more about each type, take a close look at the following table.

Type Size and shape Memory Display and buttons
Portable voice recorders They’re portable devices. They are light and transportable. Consist of small hard disk with a memory of 2 GB. Feature an LCD screen and several buttons.
Mini voice recorders They’re very small voice recorders, ideal for staying hidden. They can be pen-shaped to be inconspicuous. Their internal memory is usually between 2 GB or 4 GB. They do not usually have an LCD screen and most only have one button.

How to start using a voice recorder?

You should always read the instructions that come with these devices. After this, you can begin learning the functions and capabilities of our voice recorder. Not all recorders have the same functions, so it is important to familiarize yourself with your own device.

As soon as you’ve done this, it is time to test it. Try a recording of your own voice, and then transfer the file to your computer to test the sound. If the recorder comes with its own computer software or smartphone app, it is important to test these features out as well.

Marc PachterCultural Historian – TED Talks

“The most important job of the interviewer is to feel the interviewee has a story which is important. The interviewer should make the interviewee feel that s/he feels that s/he is sharing something different than is known by the public”.

In what format do voice recorders record?

There are a variety of formats, like wav, mp3, aiff, wma etc. To know which format is set for your recordings, you should understand 2 terms, sampling and bit rate. Sampling rate represents the sound frequency range. This means that the higher the sampling rate, the greater is the audio quality and ensures greater precision in your high notes and low notes. Similarly, the higher the bit rate (also called bit depth), the better the audio quality is.

Shopping Criteria

There are several different aspects to consider when you decide to purchase a voice recorder. As mentioned, these devices are not all the same, and each come with their own set of features. Consider what you are planning to use a voice recorder for, and this will help you choose the one that is right for your needs. To help, we have created this shopping guide with a list of things to consider when purchasing a recorder. These are:

Sound quality

Smartphone apps can record clearly enough to be understood, which may be all you need. However, comparatively the sound quality of their recordings is very poor if you need to listen for extended periods of time. For example, if you work in transcribing. Spending more than $100 should get you larger, higher-quality microphone, and settings you can customize to your work. As with most electronics, you get what you pay for when it comes to quality.


Voice memos are very useful but always better when captured on a voice recorder than a smart phone.
(Source: Dolgachov: 98669678/ 123rf.com)

Equipment control

Many high end voice recorders come with LCD screens, and these are the best for professionals. If you plan to use your recorder often for everyday work, it is important to choose a device that is easy and comfortable to use. If you are a student or an amateur, do not choose a voice recorder that will be complicated to use for simple tasks.

It’s critical that the recorder you choose has a speciailized edit and fast-forward button to process the voice recordings. This feature is especially useful to eliminate silences or noises and when you want to replay an audio file, you can easily jump to listen to a specific moment.


It is highly recommended that the voice recorder is lightweight and easily transportable.

Memory capacity

The storage capacity of your voice recorder will depend on the size of your SD card. Your voice recordings will be stored on a Secure Digital (SD) card, the most popular external voice recorder storage memory card. If you use other electronics regularly, then you are familiar with these cards. SD cards are used as storage media for all of our portable devices, including phones, cameras, recorders etc. Knowing where (and how) information is stored is very important for voice recording. If you don’t know where information is stored, you won’t be able to find/retrieve it.

As a reference point, with 8 GB you can enjoy up to 150 hours of recording. Ultimately, you can decide how much storage you need based on what you intend to use the voice recorder for. Logically, taking short ten-minute interviews is not the same as recording several two-hour lectures.


When purchasing a new voice recorder, it is important to take note of the battery life. Some recorders come with AA batteries, while others are able to be charged. We recommend voice recorders that are rechargeable. However, if you do opt for battery powered devices, it is a good idea to carry spare batteries with you while using your voice recorder.


If you believe that minimalism is a sign of good design, then you will need a voice recorder that also fits this description. Some recorders can come in a compact size about as wide as two fingers. There’s no question that one-handed operation is the key to a good design. The front of the recorder should hav a small digital display that’s good for viewing even in direct sunlight. All other functions — including volume, menu, fast forward, and rewind, should be easily accessible.

When it comes to function, minimal design does not mean it’s short on features!


You can find devices that can connect via Wifi, Bluetooth or USB. Depending on what you prefer and what is best for your type of work, you can make the decision for which is best for you. If you don’t plan on using the voice recorder for professional functions, a USB connection and a 3.5 mm jack socket may be enough.

Additional functions

An interesting “extra” feature of some digital voice recording devices is the ability to listen to your favorite music with your recorder, similar to an MP3 player. You may also be interested in owning a device that can be voice-activated or has a timer function.


There are many manufacturers of voice recorders on the U.S. market. Some are well known brands, as they manufacture other electronic devices, such as Sony or Philips. Other brands, on the other hand, are less known and specialize in the field of voice recorders.


Audio voice recorders are great devices to have for a number of reasons. If you record a video with poor sound, it will diminish the overall quality of your video. Good quality sound is so important for professional jobs, that many will not accept poor quality audio.

We hope the this guide helped you navigate the different aspects to consider when purchasing one of these devices. Remember, the type of voice recorder you will need will depend on what you want to use it for, as this will help to define the sound quality and storage capacity. We also recommended that you choose a lightweight device, with a rechargeable battery and a simple control system.

If you found this guide useful for choosing a new voice recorder, you can leave us a comment or share it through your different social networks.

(Source of featured image: Mikhail Glushkov: 50914936/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Jaiden Sattlemeyr Cameraman & Tech Nerd
After a lot of work and studying, Jaiden has achieved his dream of building his own home cinema. Through his profession as a cameraman, he knows his way around technology very well. Meanwhile he regularly gives advice to his friends and family and writes about his technical hobby.