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The Best Voice Recorders You Can Buy

Close up shot of person pulling compact voice recorder out of pants pocket

Words and ideas, like so many things in life, are fleeting. For a fast and effective way to record and preserve those thoughts, consider these convenient and well-designed voice recorders.

On your way to work, you might think of the perfect words to use in your big presentation that can make or break your future at your company. However, without an efficient way to record your thoughts, your big breakthrough can disappear in a plume of smoke just as quickly as it came to you.

Thankfully for workers, students, and those who are simply forgetful, there are many quality voice recorders that can help you keep track of meetings, lectures, and your million-dollar ideas. However, finding the perfect voice recorder for your unique needs is not always a simple task. There is a wide variety of voice recorders on the market and a few key considerations to make before making a purchase. This guide will help simplify your search by listing the best, most cost-effective voice recorders out there as well as clueing you in on some tips that will help you find the perfect one for you.

Sound Tips for Shopping for a Voice Recorder

Look into these factors:

  • Audio Quality: Audio quality should be the number one factor you consider when choosing a voice recorder. If recorded audio isn’t clear, or gets lost in ambient sounds, understanding or transcribing a speaker’s words can be nearly impossible. Many voice recorders are specialized to record certain types of sounds (voices, low noises, all noise, etc.), so be sure to research your new voice recorder to ensure it will meet your needs.
  • Recording Range: While some voice recorders are capable of long-range recording, others are much better utilized up close and personal. Be sure to note the range of voice recorders you are looking at, especially if you will use it to record lectures or meetings when you may be sitting far away from the speaker(s). Additionally, note whether a recorder will capture sound from 360 degrees or directly in front of the device.
  • Special Features: Many voice recorders come with handy features that can make them perfect for specialized applications. Voice-activated recorders do not require you to turn them on and start recording when activated by sound in the immediate area. This is great for recording things that happen when you cannot be physically present. Additionally, voice isolation, adjustable range, and looping playback can be great features for optimizing and listening to voice recordings.

Top Pick: EVISTR 16GB Digital Voice Recorder

Compact black 16GB voice recorder with digital display, voice activated recording, and noise cancellation microphone

Our top voice recorder is the EVISTR 16GB Digital Voice Recorder, which really excels in quiet spaces with minimal ambient sound. Featuring simple controls and an easy-to-navigate interface, this voice recorder utilizes time stamps to help you easily locate the recording you are looking for. It also captures sound with excellent audio quality that can be saved in MP3 or WAV formats and transferred to other devices via Micro USB. While this voice recorder does pick up a lot of background noise (it might not be the best for lectures or noisy environments), its design and performance are absolutely ideal for personal recordings.

Top Pick

EVISTR 16GB Digital Voice Recorder

This voice recorder features plenty of memory, excellent sound quality, and even voice-activated recording for a very low price.

Best Classroom Recorder: Kokuji 32GB Digital Voice Recorder

32GB Black voice recorder pen with MP3 playback, noise reduction, and ink refills.

For students that find that writing notes aids their memorization of course material, but still desire a high-quality audio recording for studying, the Kokuji 32GB Digital Voice Recorder is the way to go. This pen recorder does well to mitigate recording ambient sounds but clearly records 360-degree audio within 30 feet. It also automatically saves recordings when the battery is about to die, which is a great feature that many recorders do not possess. As a cherry on top, the pen itself is pretty impressive and even comes with four ink refills, so you can get plenty of writing done when you are not plugging in your headphones and going over the day’s lecture.

Best Classroom Recorder

Kokuji 32GB Digital Voice Recorder

This voice recorder looks (and operates) exactly like your favorite pen while offering excellent voice recording, audio playback, and intuitive one-key operation.

Best Recording Quality: Sony ICD-PX470 Stereo Digital Voice Recorder

4GB black compact voice recorder with adjustable microphone range and expandable memory

The Sony ICD-PX470 Stereo Digital Voice Recorder easily scores a place on this guide, thanks to its excellent recording quality that is aided by intelligent technology. This voice recorder sports two key features that set it apart from the pack: adjustable range and auto voice recording. Since these features give you the ability to focus or widen the microphone’s range based on the situation and reduce background noise to prioritize audio frequencies, it is incredibly simple to end up with crystal clear audio once you learn how to use this device. This recorder also scores points for its compact design, great battery life, and simple device connectivity, although its limited memory capacity may require you to bust out a Micro SD card for additional space.

Best Recording Quality

Sony ICD-PX470 Stereo Digital Voice Recorder

This easy-to-use voice recorder allows you to optimize the way it records in order to capture crystal clear audio recordings without all the background noise.

Best Voice-Activated: TileRec Voice Activated Recorder

Ultra thin and compact tile-shaped voice recorder with voice activation sensor

The TileRec Voice Activated Recorder is slimmer, more compact, and even more durable than most voice recorders you will find on the market. Featuring a rugged aluminum alloy case and an impressive 24-hour battery life, this voice recorder can be used virtually anywhere. Its voice-activation mode can even be used to capture your child’s first words in the middle of the night while you are blissfully asleep in the next room. And, with 360-degree recording and a serviceable 15-foot recording range, as well as excellent audio quality, the ways you can utilize this nifty gadget are virtually limitless.

Best Voice-Activated

TileRec Voice Activated Recorder

This voice recorder scores points for its slim, discreet design and for its excellent use of voice activation. It's also incredibly durable given its compact size.

Best Budget-Friendly: Aomago Digital Voice Recorder

Black 8GB compact digital voice recorder with audio playback and voice activation recording

Rounding out our guide is a great voice recorder for those who are seeking excellent functionality at an unbeatable price. Although this product comes equipped with only 8 GB of memory space, in terms of audio quality, battery life, and features, this voice recorder definitely punches above its weight. It even sports voice activation functionality and the ability to loop audio clips so that you can closely focus on a specific portion of a recording. You will likely need to clear up space more frequently due to its limited memory, but at such a low price, this does little to lessen the appeal of this budget-friendly voice recorder.

Best Budget-Friendly

Aomago Digital Voice Recorder

This compact voice recorder features intuitive controls, voice-activated recording, and impressive battery life to complement its budget-friendly price tag.

Zachary McCarthy Zachary McCarthy
Zachary McCarthy is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. He has a bachelor's degree in English from James Madison University and experience in blogging, copywriting, and WordPress design and development. In his free time, he can be found frying up Tangsuyuk or watching Korean films and MMA events. Read Full Bio »
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