The best voice recorders for 2022 have one key feature; a stellar battery life. When customers voiced their opinions on the quality of voice recorders, and better battery life was a functionality many of them highlighted.
Digital voice recorders, in particular, are having a moment because they're versatile - you can use them to tape interviews, record a conversation, take lecture notes, and collect meeting minutes. They're more reliable than recording with your phone, and the audio quality of digital voice recorders trumps mobile phone recording any day.
Last year, we saw a surge in the popularity of digital voice recorders, especially with tech companies working to improve an audio recorder's battery life. Interestingly, many of these purchases came from professionals who use audio recorders for work-related solutions. So, it's a new year and a new age for tech development in the digital voice recorder niche.
With most people back at college and work, we expect digital voice recorders to experience another purchase bump, so we thought we'd look at the best voice recorders. We discuss our favorite digital voice recorder, the best budget recorder, the recorder with the best battery life, the best covert recorder, and more! Jump ahead to get straight to it. Or, read on to find out more about what makes a great recorder.
After being in this industry for a while, we've realized there are specific things that make a high-quality digital voice recorder, and it's not something you can skimp on. It's easy enough to get them cheaply, but there's a massive difference in quality and battery life. To help you search for the best recorder, we'll look at the features and details that make a topic class recording device.
What makes an excellent hidden voice recorder?
Audio quality: This is worth mentioning twice. If your recordings are even slightly static-like or soft, then no amount of fine-tuning software will help you make out what someone is saying. The whole idea of a recording is to pick up on things that you miss, and it's no use to you if the audio isn't clear.
Audio recorders in WAV format are lossless and sound way better, while MP3 files are compressed and not as good.
Battery life: A strong battery life goes hand-in-hand with decent audio recording quality. Without it, your recorder will die before you've had a chance to get the audio you need. Battery life is one of the first things cheaper voice recorders will forego to save on costs. Unfortunately, what usually ends up happening is the voice recorder doesn't last long enough to gather what you need. You end up buying a high-end one anyway. Battery life is often a sign of a device with a decent standard, so it's worth looking for something that will give you a good working time.
Voice activation: It's the best way to save your battery because it will only start recording once it detects sounds, and if there's a period with no sound, the recording will stop. It saves your battery life, storage, and time as you won't have to sift through hours of silence. Remote recording is the way forward - messing around with buttons can be inconvenient and time-consuming. What's the point of recording a bunch of silence? Sound-activated recorders are the way to go.
Storage size: Having a limited amount of storage is quite cumbersome as you'll find yourself spending ages transferring and deleting files. Our power bank recorder has about 570 hours of recording time - which is A LOT! We try to stick to products that give you more space, but this does mean that they'll be slightly more expensive.
Usability: The idea of voice recording pens and power banks might still seem like they belong to the future and customers often think they'd have no idea how to use them. We've seen several devices with fancy features: too many buttons and LEDs and a little too tricky for the average person to use.
All of the digital voice recorders at SpyGuy are easy to use. It's best to look at our list of products and decide which ones you'd be most comfortable with clicking and recording at a moment's notice.
The Size: Smaller digital voice recorders are more convenient, especially when recording covertly. However, the tradeoff is the battery life. The smaller and more stealthy the device, the less battery life you'll have.
Disguise: Digital voice recorders are embedded within everyday objects, so it draws away any suspicion and makes for a great disguise, but of course, these will cost you a little more. Your other alternative is to hide a standard recording device in your pocket or bag.
Okay, let's get to the recommendations for the best hidden digital voice recorders!
Best Voice Recorder: The 16 Hour Voice Activated Recorder Pen
A sleek-looking pen that covertly records audio from 45 feet away? No, it's not a James Bond movie. We can deliver the recording pen to you within a few days with one click. You can even use the pen to write and take notes, so you've got an extra layer of disguise. You can keep the pen in your pocket, so it's easily accessible if you need to grab it quickly to record.
The recordings are crisp, clean, and top of the line, and the battery life lasts for about 16 hours - a feat considering its small size. The storage size is slightly smaller than other recording devices as it's only got about 1GB of space, but that's enough for 17-71 hours' worth of audio files. You can adjust the recording settings to capture more or less audio.
The voice recorder activated pen also comes with a controller and earphones to listen to recordings straight from the pen. It ticks every box in our books, and even with all those features, the price is reasonable. It's up there with the best.
Watch the Youtube video about the voice-activated pen here.
Voice recorder with the best battery life: The Power Bank Voice Recorder
A battery needs space, and when you're trying to be covert, space isn't something you have in abundance. Luckily, the power bank voice recorder blends with your school or office supplies. Wherever it is, it looks like it belongs there. And it's one big battery, so it won't suddenly die on you.
The battery on this power bank recorder is large enough to hold 14 days of straight recording. When there's no sound, it switches to battery saver standby mode, where it can have a charge for 150 days - that's almost half a year!
The 16GB of space is another excellent factor. It's enough space to hold 576 hours of audio, around 24 days. At $169.99, it is our most expensive recorder, but it is worth the money as it ticks all the boxes of a top-end, reliable voice recorder.
Watch the Youtube video about the power bank voice recorder here.
Best Budget Voice Recorder: USB Flash Drive Audio Recorder
Even though it's tiny, the USB Flash Drive Audio Recorder packs a punch. With 10 hours of battery life and 48 hours of recording storage space, it's ideal for students who want to record lectures, anyone who wants to record meetings, or even to hide in a room for surveillance purposes. It's a built-in USB connector, so you don't have to worry about storing extra wires.
We also love this recorder because it's so easy to use. On the side of the USB, there's a switch that you flip, and voila, it will start recording. When you're finished recording, you flip the button again.
Watch the Youtube video about the USB Flash Drive Audio Recorder here.
Best Recorder for Phone Calls: Phone Call Recorder Earbud
There's no need to search, download, and try to learn how to use complicated apps to record a phone call. The phone call recorder earbud works by connecting to an audio recorder, putting the earbud into your ear, and then holding your phone up to the earbud to capture the sound and send it to the recorder.
We recommend using the micro stick voice activated recorder, which we discuss more below, but the phone call recorder earbud works with any recording device. The phone call recorder earbuds work on cell phones and landlines, and both conversation sounds are recorded.
Micro Stick Voice Activated Recorder
It's a teamwork effort between the micro stick voice-activated recorder and the phone call recorder earbud. To record phone calls, you need an external recorder, and the Micro Stick has an input for the earbud connection.
The Micro Stick also works with any headphones, and you can adjust the audio volume settings.
The Micro Stick is compact, but it's not disguised like some other audio recorders. It looks big in this picture, but it's the size of a paper clip. It may not look like an everyday object, but it's still easy for you to hide.
The battery life lasts about 12 hours and to charge it, all you need to do is plug it into your computer. There's no need for a built-in USB connector here because it conveniently has playback functionality, so you can playback recordings and hear them straight from the device. If you have speakers with an aux cable, you can plug them into the Micro Stick to play the recording through the speakers.
Our overall favorite for 2022: The Pro USB Drive
This tiny, unassuming device packs a punch in the hidden voice recorders domain. You will get 24 hours of continuous battery life, but it also has the power to last for 25 days if you have the voice activation on.
As soon as you connect it to your computer, the battery starts charging. It comes with a built-in USB connector, so to listen to your recording, all you have to do is open it in iTunes or Windows Media Player.
It's perfectly fine to use the device out in the open because it looks like a USB drive, but if you want to put it in your pocket, you can do so without compromising on the audio standard.
It's just a convenient, easy-to-use device with excellent battery life. While we love the bells and whistles of other hidden audio voice recorders, sometimes, simplicity and durability are all you need.
Watch the Youtube video about the Pro USB Flash Drive Audio Recorder here.
And that's it! Our top pick digital voice recorders for 2022 and our best voice recorder overall. We hope you found these options helpful, and if you'd like to take a trip down memory lane, check out our best-hidden voice recorders for 2021.