Best Voice Recorder [2020]


The EVISTR V508 Digital Voice Recorder was specifically designed for lectures, meetings, and capturing dictation. Yet it still has enough versatility and special features to handle other functions.

It has a built-in microphone with noise-canceling that is rated to be lossless at 1536 kbps. At the same time, it also has an accessory port for an external microphone. The V508 also comes with voice-activated recording, which limits pauses and interruption in the audio during times of silence. Not only is this convenient for smooth playback, but it also saves on the overall size of the data files.

This digital voice recorder comes with 16 GB of built-in memory, and also has an SD port for additional memory capacity. It’s user-friendly interface even allows you to save music in multiple formats outside of the dedicated “Record” feature. This means you can use it as an MP3 player to bring your music with you.

If privacy and security are a concern, it also comes with FileSafe technology which lets you password protect access to your recorded data.

A digital voice recorder built into a pen that can record while you write can be very attractive for college students and business professionals. The TCTEC 8541723780 16GB Digital Voice Recorder fits this bill nicely, while also being a quality writing instrument with long term value. It even comes with four ink refills.

With a built-in memory capacity of 16 GB, it can record up to 220 hours of audio files. It can also support MP3 files, which means you can take your music with you. It records at 192 kbps even while writing, which is sufficient clarity for most meetings and lecture halls.

This 2-in-1 pen and digital audio recorder come with a built-in lithium polymer battery that can last up to 15 hours on a single charge. A USB cable is even included in the purchase, along with headphones and a cable to connect to speakers or a laptop computer.

Zoom has a broad line of digital audio recorders and accessory devices. Each is tailored to a key niche. The H5 was specifically designed for videography, broadcast, and electronic newsgathering. They also offer it in a “Deluxe Bundle” with added accessories that save you on the overall price compared to buying them separately.

The Zoom H6 is multi-channel with stereo and can also accommodate up to 6 inputs. It records at 24-bit/96kHz. There are four XLR TRS combo jacks on the side for quick connection to microphones and other audio devices. It also has gain control knobs, and pads, as well as redesigned preamps with a low noise floor.

There are phantom inputs for each channel that can handle 12-Volt, 24-Volt, or 48-Volt devices. It also has a line-out that allows you to connect audio to a video camera and headphones. The Zoom H6 can also accommodate up to a 128 GB memory card.

How We Picked

Digital voice recorders are becoming increasingly popular in our multi-media culture. Business professionals tend to use them to capture meeting notes, while allowing them to stay actively engaged with the conversation, rather than typing or handwriting information. In a similar vein many students, especially those at the university level value some type of digital recording device to help them absorb the considerable amount of information a professor might deliver in a single lecture.

Though, these aren’t the only areas where a digital audio recorder comes in handy. Broadcasters, journalists, and logistics specialists frequently use digital voice recorders to make sure their quotes and essential information are accurate.

Musicians and performance artists are also increasingly turning to digital voice recorders that pair special features with crystal clear audio capture. This allows them to rehearse, develop new pieces, or capture atmospherics that simply can’t be reproduced in the studio setting.

Of course, with all these different interests, there are different features that need to be prioritized. Throughout the course of our reviewing process, we tried to look for things like a high bitrate, which translates into audio quality. We also tried to look for special features that maximized versatility or catered to a specific need.

Memory capacity was also a key factor we considered. The higher the bitrate and other special features that a device is designed for, the more likely it was to generate large data files. This means that a digital voice recorder for a performing artist or a broadcast journalist was more likely to prioritize a high memory card capacity. In contrast, a business professional or student who just needs to capture the spoken word can usually get by with a smaller amount of data. Sometimes this came in the form of an SD memory card capacity or built-in data in the device itself.

The user interface was also an important factor we considered. With some digital voice recorders, capturing audio requires little more than the press of a button. Yet for performers and musicians developing a piece of music special features and easy to use software helps maximize a recorder’s overall value.

At the same time, we also kept an eye out for some of the more popular bells and whistles. In the case of a digital voice recorder meant to capture a lecture or meeting notes, things like dictation software compatibility, and special features like automatic voice recording rose on the priorities list.

Zoom H2n Handy Recorder With Tripod, Memory Card And Headphones


  • 24-bit/96kHz Up To 320 kbps
  • 5 Built-In Microphones
  • 4 Recording Modes
  • 2-Channel And 4-Channel Surround
  • Low-Cut Filtering
  • Chromatic Tuner
  • Automatic Gain
  • Metronome
  • Tripod Included
  • 16GB Memory Card Included
  • Closed Back Over-Ear Stereo Headphones By Samson
  • Runs On AA Batteries
  • Up To 20-Hours Of Runtime

The H2n digital voice recorder by Zoom was designed to be very versatile. It’s capable of recording a live concert performance or a rehearsal recording. Yet it also has all the essential functionality to record less dynamic things such as lectures, dictation, business meetings, and wedding vows.

Zoom H2n Headphones

It has 5 built-in microphones with 4 recording modes with 2-channel and 4-channel surround options. It’s capable of recording at 24-bit/96kHz and up to 320 kbps. The H2n also has a few bells and whistles built into its suite of special features.

Zoom H2n Handy Recorder Tripod

This includes things like low-cut filtering a metronome and chromatic tuner as well as an automatic gain feature.

Zoom H2n Handy Recorder

It also comes with some additional accessories in the form of an expandable tripod, and over the ear headphones. It runs on two AA batteries and can record for up to 20-hours on a single pair.

What We Liked

The bells and whistles like the low-cut filtering a metronome and chromatic tuner as well as automatic gain features speak to this digital voice recorder’s ability to accommodate musicians as well as those who like to record live performances.

You also can’t turn your nose up at the fact that it comes with a memory card, tripod, and headphones for only a little bit more than you would pay for just the recorder itself!


This is a great all-around digital voice recorder that can properly process music rehearsals and live performances. Though it might have a few too many bells and whistles worked into the price to just be used for office dictation. Still, the added extras like the tripod and the earphones included making this a great value bundle.

Philips DPM8000/01 Digital Pocket Memo with Speech Exec Pro Dictation Software

Philips DPM800001 Digital Pocket Memo with Speech Exec Pro Dictation Software


  • 3D Microphone Technology
  • Speech Recognition And Dictation Software
  • Ergonomic Slide Switch
  • Single-Handed Operation
  • Large Color Display
  • 1.85-pounds
  • Lithium-Ion Battery

Executives, sales professionals, and journalists rely on accurate quotes and information as a part of their daily duties. Errors caused by short-hand notes or garbled speech can have potentially serious professional implications. To avoid these mistakes many of these professionals will turn to a hand-held digital voice recorder to capture high-quality audio.

Philips DPM800001 Digital Pocket Memo

The Philips DPM8000/01 Digital Pocket Memo was designed with a cutting-edge 3D microphone to capture quality audio with highly accurate speech recognition. It has an easy to use slide switch for single-handed operation. This allows the user to hold the digital voice recorder while also taking handwritten notes for key points.

Philips DPM800001

This digital voice recorder comes with special Speech Exec Pro Dictation software. This allows it to take the accurate sound recording and process it into an easy to use a text file.

Weighing in at 1.85-pounds the Philips DPM8000/01 Digital Pocket Memo has a built-in lithium polymer battery. The large color display was also designed to be easy to use without special training.

What We Liked

The Speech Exec Pro Dictation software that comes with the initial purchase is a nice touch for executives, sales personnel and other professionals who rely on accurate information in their career. The built-in rechargeable lithium-polymer battery is also handy for times when you need to record a particularly long session.


The Philips DPM8000/01 Digital Pocket Memo is designed for professional use. In this light, the Speech Exec Pro Dictation software is also a great time-saver. Just keep in mind that it isn’t really geared with a lot of the bells and whistles you might prioritize in a voice recorder meant for musical purposes.

EVISTR V508 16gb Digital Voice Recorder

EVISTR V508 16gb Digital Voice Recorder


  • USB Rechargeable
  • 800 mAh Rechargeable Lithium Polymer Battery
  • Noise Canceling Technology
  • Lossless at 1536 kbps
  • 16 GB Built-In Memory
  • Port For An SD Card
  • Auto Record Feature
  • Voice Operated Recording
  • Line-In To Support An External Microphone
  • File Safe Technology With Password
  • Can Store Music To Double As An MP3 Player

EVISTR V508 Digital Voice Recorder was specifically designed for lectures, meetings, and capturing dictation. Though you shouldn’t let that tempt you into thinking that it’s a one-trick-pony. In fact, there are a lot of features built-into this value-priced digital voice recorder that add to its versatility.

EVISTR V508 16gb Digital Voice Recorder

The built-in microphone has noise-canceling features, for superior clarity, making it lossless at 1536 kbps. There is also a port to support an external microphone, and an auto-record feature, as well as voice, operated recording.

EVISTR V508 16gb Digital Voice Recorder

It comes with 16 GB of built-in memory, and there is also an SD port for additional memory capacity. The interface allows you to save music in multiple formats outside of the dedicated “Record” feature. This allows you to use it as an MP3 player for your favorite songs. It also has FileSafe technology to lets you password protect access to your audio data.

The EVISTR V508 Digital Voice Recorder comes with an 800 mAh lithium polymer battery, which is USB rechargeable. EVISTR states that it has a maximum runtime of up to 45 hours on a single charge.

What We Liked

The 16 GB built-in memory with an additional SD card port lets you store an incredible amount of data. The fact that you can save music outside of the Record folder lets you take some of your favorite music, or other audio files with you when you travel. It also makes it a great tool for prepping before a meeting or a crucial presentation.

The noise-canceling features, auto record, voice operated recording and the ability to support an external microphone really adds to the versatility.


This isn’t necessarily the digital voice recorder you want to create and modify music from a live performance. Still, if you want a business-minded digital voice recorder that can serve several different purposes, the EVISTR V508 is available at a great price.

BESTREC Voice Recorder B1

BESTREC Voice Recorder B1


  • Designed As A Comfor table Wristwatch
  • 192 kbps bitrate
  • 16 GB Built-In Memory
  • Voice Activation Feature
  • Upgraded Microphone
  • Rechargeable Built-in Battery
  • 20-Hour Maximum Runtime
  • Weighs .73 Ounces
  • USB Transfer To Your Computer
  • 1-Year Warranty
  • Shell is ABS Plastic
  • 1-Year Warranty

The BESTREC Voice Recorder B1 makes the most out of the latest in microcircuit technology by disguising it in a lightweight, comfortable bracelet. Just make sure to note that while it looks very much like a watch, this .73 ounce “Bracelet” doesn’t keep time.

BESTREC Voice Recorder B1

It records audio at a 192 kbps bitrate, which stores audio data in a 16 GB built-in memory. It has an upgraded microphone for superior sensitivity. The internal battery can run up to 20 hours on a single charge. It also has a voice activation recording feature to minimize wasted silence in your audio files.

BESTREC Voice Recorder B1

If you like it can also be used as an MP3 player. While there isn’t any type of traditional speaker, there is a port to connect earphones or earbuds. So, when you aren’t using it for professional recording purposes, you can use it to listen to music while you are out for a run or to privately review notes before a big meeting.

Audio files can be easily transferred from the BESTREC Voice Recorder B1 to a PC or Mac via a USB cable. It’s also backed by a 1-year warranty and a 60-day money-back guarantee.

What We Liked

The compact “Bracelet” design is what sets the BESTREC Voice Recorder B1 apart from many of the other digital voice recorders on the market. The fact that it can also double as an MP3 player when you are on your morning run or to review previous notes before a big meeting, is another feature in the B1’s cap.


If you are looking for a comprehensive digital voice recorder with a lot of bells and whistles, the BESTREC Voice Recorder B1 might seem a little sparse. If you are looking for a unit that can capture clear audio at a meeting while doubling as an MP3 player, that’s also easy to download, this digital voice recorder deserves to be on your radar.

It’s also worth noting that the shell is made from ABS plastic, and it can feel overly warm when overcharged. So, make sure to disconnect it as soon as it reaches 100%.

BESTREC Voice Recorder B1

  • Designed to look like a sleek, comfortable bracelet
  • Built-in battery and 16 GBs of data storage
  • Transfers to Mac or PC via a USB cable

Dictopro X200 Digital Voice Recorder

Dictopro X200 Digital Voice Recorder


  • Very Small Only Weighs 6.4-Ounces
  • 8 GB Built-In Memory
  • Sensitive Microphone
  • Potential Maximum 60-Foot Recording Range
  • 17-Hour Maximum Battery Life
  • Noise Reduction
  • Voice Activated Recording
  • Password Protection

The Dictopro X200 is another digital voice recorder that is designed for lightweight portability and ease of use. It only weighs in at 6.4-ounces and is designed to fit comfortably in your pocket or your hand.

Dictopro X200 Digital Voice Recorder

It has a sensitive microphone for its compact size. Ditopro rates it to be able to record at a distance of up to 60-feet. It also has noise reduction, as well as a voice, activated recording feature. Dictopro designed it to record with a single button press.

Dictopro X200 Digital Voice Recorder

Yet once you take the time to get to know it, this digital voice recorder has an intuitive, and easy to use interface to maximize it’s potential. The Dictopro X200 also comes with password protection to help you restrict access to what might be audio files with sensitive information.

There is a built-in 8 GBs of data, as well as a built-in rechargeable battery that provides it with a maximum 17-hour runtime on a single charge.

What We Liked

The compact size and 6.4-ounce weight makes it easy to keep this digital voice recorder on you, without feeling like there’s a brick in your pocket. The 8 GB data storage and the 17-hour maximum runtime means you can take it with you throughout the course of a full day, without having to worry about recharging or downloading.


A lot of small units like this are sparse with special features. So, having one that includes bells and whistles like voice-activated recording and noise reduction move it up a notch from many of the Dictopro X 200’s competitors.

Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder Deluxe bundle

Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder Deluxe bundle


  • Multi-Channel With Up To 6 Tracks
  • 4XLR TRS Combo Jacks
  • Gain Knobs And Pads
  • Phantom Power For Each Input In 3 Voltages
  • Preamps With A Low Noise Floor
  • 24-bit/96kHz High-Quality Audio
  • Line Out To Send Simultaneous Audio To A Video Camera
  • Full-Color Display
  • Easy To Use Interface
  • Low Cut Filter
  • Compressor And Limiter
  • USB Port For Data Transfer
  • Accommodates Up To 128 GB Memory Card
  • Tascam TH-02 Closed Back Studio Headphones, Black
  • SanDisk 16GB Class 10 SDHC UHS-I Up to 80MBs Memory Card
  • 4-Pack of Amazon Basics AA Rechargeable Batteries
  • Up To 20-Hour Runtime
  • Amazon Basics Ni-MH AA & AAA Battery Charger With USB Port

Zoom specifically designed the H6 digital audio recorder for videography, broadcast, and electronic newsgathering. This particular “Deluxe Bundle” comes with added accessories at a price that is less than what you would pay if you bought them each individually.

Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder Deluxe bundle

This includes a Tascam TH-02 Closed Back Studio Headphones, A SanDisk 16GB Class 10 SDHC UHS-I Memory Card, 4 Amazon Basics AA Rechargeable Batteries, and an Amazon Basics Ni-MH AA & AAA Battery Charger With USB Port. It also includes mounts for most standard video cameras and digital SLR cameras.

Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder Deluxe bundle

It was designed to be multi-channel with stereo and can support up to 6 inputs recording at up to 24-bit/96kHz. It has four XLR TRS combo jacks on the side for a quick connection to microphones and other audio devices. The Zoom H6 also has gain control knobs and pads.

Amazon basics charger

The redesigned preamps have a low noise floor. The phantom inputs are available for each channel and can handle 3 voltages of 12-Volt, 24-Volt, or 48-Volt devices. There is also a line-out that allows you to connect audio to a video camera while also monitoring through a set of headphones. The Zoom H6 also includes a USB port to transfer your audio files directly to a computer. The H6 can also accommodate up to a 128 GB memory card.

The interface was also designed to be easy to use. It allows you to customize and adjust every facet of the recording process. It includes features like low-cut filters, a compressor and a limiter.

The Zoom H6 runs on four AA alkaline batteries. This particular package comes with rechargeable AA batteries as well as a charger. It is capable of running for up to 20-hours on a single set of four batteries.

What We Liked

The features built into the Zoom H6 are meant specifically for videography, broadcast, and electronic news gathering, rather than dictation or music. Taken in this context there are a few features that stand out from the closest competitors.

This includes things like the fact that it has 6 tracks, as well as phantom power for 3 different voltage settings. The 4 XLR combo jacks for microphones and other devices are also a nice touch. It’s also worth noting that Zoom offers audio collection accessories specifically designed to be paired with the H6.


The suite of thoughtfully defined features makes this a premier digital audio recorder for broadcast journalists, sportscasters, and other professions that need to capture high-quality audio while out in the field. It was designed to be paired with visual media equipment to produce a seamless recording.

Tascam DR-05 Portable Handheld Digital Audio Recorder With Platinum Accessory Bundle

Tascam DR-05 Portable Handheld Digital Audio Recorder With Platinum Accessory Bundle


  • Captures Audio At 24-Bit/96 kHz
  • Makes WAV and MP3 files
  • Integrated Microphone
  • Sturdy Tripod
  • 32GB MicroSDHC Memory Card
  • Samson Stereo Headphones
  • Cleaning Accessories
  • Auxiliary Cable
  • 4 AA Rechargeable Batteries With Charger

Musicians, singers, and other people in the performing arts frequently need to capture quality audio for rehearsals and development. Yet they are rarely in an environment that mimic’s a sound studio.

Tascam DR-05 Portable Handheld Digital Audio Recorder

Tascam attempts to slide nicely into this niche need with their DR-05 Portable Handheld Digital Audio Recorder With Platinum Accessory Bundle. This is an updated Version Two with more refined features than the previous iteration. It also comes with some nice added extras including a table-mount tripod, a 32GB MicroSDHC memory card, a pair of Samson stereo headphones, important cleaning accessories, an auxiliary cable, and four AA rechargeable batteries along with a charger.

Tascam DR-05 accessories

It records audio at 24-Bit/96 kHz for superior clarity. The easy to use interface comes with a suite of critical features designed to let you fine-tune the captured audio. It also allows you to make both WAV and MP3 audio files.

The Tascam DR-05 has a line-in port that lest you connect to external mics and sound sources. It was also designed so that the jack can provide plug-in power for mics that need it to operate properly.

What We Liked

The added extras with this package are certainly nice and it spares you the hassle and added expense of trying to source them individually. Which of course raises the overall per-unit costs for things you need to buy.


When you keep in mind that this digital audio recorder is meant for musicians, journalists, teachers, and performing artists, rather than for dictation, you’ll find that it has pretty much everything you need to capture high-quality audio. The bundle of accessories is a great value if this is a first-time purchase. If you already have a lot of these accessories, then you might not want to double down on duplicates.

The 32 GB memory card is perhaps a little on the small side compared to what they could have designed it to hold. Still, 32 GB of audio files is a lot of information in one hand-held unit.

TCTEC 8541723780 16GB Digital Voice Recorder for Students

TCTEC 8541723780 16GB Digital Voice Recorder for Students


  • Record While Writing
  • 16 GB Internal Memory
  • 220-Hour Capacity
  • Voice Activated Recording
  • One-Button Activation
  • Built-In Lithium Polymer Battery
  • USB Charge With Cable Included
  • 15-Hours On A Single Charge
  • 192 kbps clarity
  • 4 Ink Refills

A growing body of research points to the idea that writing down new information, even if you have it available through electronic means, helps to ingrain that information in the brain. So, while the TCTEC Digital Voice Recorder pen might look like it’s something meant for spycraft, it is none-the-less geared toward students.

TCTEC 8541723780

Especially University level students who often have a large amount of information thrown at them in the course of a single lecture session.

TCTEC 8541723780

The TCTEC 8541723780 16GB Digital Voice Recorder can record clearly at 192 kbps while you write. The built-in lithium polymer battery can last up to 15 hours on a single charge, which means you can take it with you throughout your day without worrying about finding a charger. A USB cable is even included in the purchase.


It has a staggering 16 GB internal memory, which is impressive for such a small device. This means it can hold up to 220 hours of recorded audio. The TCTEC Digital Voice Recorder Pen can also be used as an MP3 player. However, these files can take up more space than a basic audio file, which might bite into your total number of recordable hours.

It’s also worth noting that this is also a quality writing instrument that is meant to serve you for more than a month or two. To that end, there are four ink refills included in the purchase, along with headphones and a cable to connect to speakers or a laptop computer.

What We Liked

The built-in battery and data storage is very handy. The fact that you also get all the cables and cords you need to properly use the recorder is also a nice touch. They could have been tempted to make this look like a pen that’s really a digital audio recorder. Yet it’s really a functional writing instrument.

At the same time, you shouldn’t overlook the voice-activated recording feature. This essentially pauses the recording during times of silence and activates it again when someone speaks. It spares you unnecessary gaps and pauses in your eventual playback.


This is an easy to use pen, that has the ability to hold up to 220 hours of lecture information and other recorded audio files. Just keep in mind that it’s not meant to do special things like capture live music. It’s also not that much of a secret recording tool, as the record light is rather noticeable.

Buyers Guide

Twenty years ago, digital voice recorders at the consumer level were still in their infancy. You really only saw true digital recording at the professional level in sound studios and video productions. The few that were available at the retail level were very expensive. Most people who wanted to record some basic audio had to do so on a Dictaphone with an old-fashioned microcassette.

Fast forward to today and refined manufacturing processes, as well as improved distribution channels, have made a wide range of digital voice recorders available at a price that the average consumer can afford. However, there are still certain aspects and special features that can significantly swing the cost of a quality voice recorder.

Identifying how you are most likely to use the digital voice recorder will help you determine the characteristics you prioritize. This will go a long way toward dialing in a price tag that makes the unit you choose a true value.

Sound Recording Quality

While digital audio recordings are by and large superior in quality compared to old-fashioned microcassettes, the quality of sound recorded from a low and unit and a high-end one can be dramatic. If you are a poet or a writer who just needs a quick convenient way to capture an inspiring thought as you go about your day, then you probably don’t high clarity audio capture.

On the other end of the spectrum, a songwriter might put sound recording quality at the top of the list to capture the finite changes in a song they are working on or the ambiance of the surrounding atmospherics.

In the middle of the road, a business professional or journalist might need sufficient quality recording to capture a quote correctly or make sure that they can clearly hear the comments of someone sitting on the other side of a conference room. In a scenario like this, the middle of the road recording quality is usually sufficient and will spare them the high price of the kind of high-end unit a singer-songwriter might prioritize.

It’s important to bear in mind that there are a few things that contribute to audio recording quality. It starts with a quality microphone, with the range and clarity to capture sound. At that point, bitrate comes into play. In general, the higher the bit rate the greater the recording clarity. However, a high bitrate can also increase the overall size of the audio file.

Memory Capacity

The higher the bitrate and the more audio information you need to store at any one time, will influence the kind of memory capacity you prioritize. If you just need a digital voice recorder to capture your passing thoughts when you are out and about, you might not need a huge memory storage capacity. You could simply come home at the end of the day to transcribe or download the file.

If you need to capture the finer points of a song you are working on with rich data and clarity, or you need to capture the notes of a long business meeting, then you are going to want to prioritize a higher memory capacity digital recorder.

User Interface

With some digital voice recorders, the user interface is rather basic. These tend to be lower-priced units without a lot of bells and whistles. These tend to be the ones you find in a writer’s pocket, or on a fleet manager’s desk.

A more sophisticated digital voice recorder with special features will need a more complex user interface. Yet you don’t want one that is too complex. If you quickly need to capture notes in a meeting or apply a filter to the chorus of a song, you don’t want to waste five minutes scrolling through obscure settings while everyone else waits for you to get your ducks in a row.

Sometimes it’s worth it to pay a little bit more for a digital voice recorder with an intuitive user interface, rather than enduring the impatient frustration of a poorly designed one.

Platform Compatibility

In the past, different platforms tried to stick to their own proprietary system. Windows didn’t want to work and play well with Apple. Android didn’t want to transfer information smoothly to an IOS device.

Today these platform compatibility issues are fortunately fading into the background. Yet they still do exist in some units. Sometimes it requires you to download an additional app or install a program to make the transfer of your audio file seamless to another device. So, even when you find one that has all the characteristics you prioritize, remember to take a moment to double-check that it’s compatible with your other devices, or that you understand how to transfer files with minimal frustration.

Transcription Features

This is a somewhat new feature in the evolution of digital voice recorders. Just a few years ago if you needed to take the audio information from a meeting and put it into text, you had to find someone who was willing to sit down, listen and type. This was usually a poor waste of time for office administrative staff or a fruitless way to take advantage of an intern’s willingness to perform tedious tasks.

Today the speed of modern business makes time lost to transcription even less appealing. To answer this growing need, many digital voice recording manufacturers will offer units with some type of transcription feature. This lets your computer and the recorder handle the act of transforming audio files into text files that can be transferred to your preferred word processing program.

While this feature is more popular with business professionals, there are many professional writers and content creators who will use features like this to create an efficient first draft. For some, it’s a way to get information out while they are on a long drive or waiting at the airport.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does The Power Supply Matter?

A: This is somewhat a matter of personal preference. Where it starts to matter is when your batteries are running low.

There are some digital voice recorders that have a lithium-ion or lithium-polymer batteries built-in. They are easy to recharge, and many use some type of USB connection. These units tend to last a long time on a single charge.

However, when they run low, you are forced to plug them back in, or you need to stay near a USB port or other charging station to make your recordings. One minor benefit here is that you can plug it back in for continuous recording on a single recording session.

There are also some digital voice recorders that will run off AAA or AA batteries. The nice thing with these is that when they run low, you simply pop new batteries in and you aren’t forced to stay near a charger. Unfortunately, changing the batteries usually means you have to stop in the middle of a recording session.

If you are recording a long dissertation from a professor, you might end up with two medium-length recordings. Whereas with a USB rechargeable digital voice recorder, you could simply plug the recorder into your laptop for continuous recording.

Q: What Is Voice Activated Recording?

A: Some audio files can be large, and some presentations or conversations have silent stretches where everyone involved is reading something or looking at visual aids. A digital audio recorder with voice-activated recording essentially stops recording during a period of quiet, then starts recording again when someone speaks.

Not only does this reduce the overall size of the data file, but it also makes it more convenient for you when listening to the playback.

Q: Are All Digital Voice Recorders Handheld Devices?

A. With old-fashioned Dictaphones the argument was that it was like carrying a brick around with you. Rather than carry such weight in their pocket, many professionals would stow the recorder in a briefcase or handbag. This could make it awkward if you needed to grad the recorder at a moment’s notice

Despite new lightweight materials and manufacturing techniques, this complaint persists with some modern-day digital voice recorders. Yet advancements in microcircuit technology allows digital recording devices to be smaller than ever. In fact, there are some that are as small as a wristwatch or bracelet.

Q: Is It Legal To Record Someone Without Their Permission?

A: This is a little bit of a sticky area. The legalities of how and when you can record audio can vary from one state to the next. Depending on why you are recording it, there might be federal wiretapping laws that apply.

There are 11 “Two-Party Consent” states, where both people in a conversation need to give their consent to be recorded. They are California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

The other states and the District of Columbia are “One-Party Consent” states where you can record any conversation that you are a party to. Meaning that as long as you are in that conversation to some degree, that you can record it what the other person says.


When it comes to choosing the best digital voice recorder, there are certain features that are sure to be higher priorities for journalists, broadcasters, and performance artists, over professionals and students. Clarifying how you will likely use it the most will help you dial in the aspects that need to top your priority list.

For instance, a student or a business professional who needs to record lectures, meetings and dissertations are likely to place a higher priority on things like voice-activated recording and one-handed operations. On the other end of the spectrum, a performing artist or musician who needs replay to hone their craft might prioritize a unit that can record in multiple channels, at a high bitrate, and includes sophisticated software to filter the recorded sound.

With these priorities in hand, you can start to sort through the digital voice recorders that make the most sense. Which of course, is a handy tool when you are deciding just how much money you are willing to spend. A package that includes added extras like cables, chargers, headphones or accessory microphones can also be a great way to save you money compared to buying them each separately.

Product Boxes: Last updated on 2020-02-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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