Last Updated on October 13, 2020
Whether you need it to record a conversation, or any other reason, a spy microphone can be an interesting device to buy. However, the market is actually full of them, and you wouldn’t be surprised at how difficult it is to come across one that does the job well and can actually stay hidden. That’s the whole point of a spy microphone – to do its job while remaining inconspicuous.
So, with that in mind, we’ll try to help you in the endeavor of finding a good spy microphone. First, we’ll take a look at 7 options that we consider to be some of the best ones around, then we’ll talk about their characteristics a bit, so you can better understand what their job is and how to pick one. Once we’re done with that, . They’re all pretty reputable, and they come in different shapes and sizes, but more on that later.
Now, there is one thing that we must mention here. When you’re using a spy microphone, you should know that it may not be completely legal to record your conversation with someone. There are some states that are a single-consent situation, where you can do so, but that doesn’t apply when it’s a conversation that other parties reasonably expect to be private. If you want to be sure, you should check the specific laws where you live, so you can know for certain you aren’t breaking any laws.
Quick Summary: Best Spy Microphone of 2020
Our editors go through and research, test and qualify our recommended products. We receive commissions on purchases from certain links.
- Best Overall: Hidden Voice Recorder 600 Hours
“A waterproof hidden voice recorder”
- Best Compact Design: EVIDA Mini Voice Recorder
“Unique design with metal body and great disguise for recording”
- A Great Pocket Alternative: TCTEC 16GB Pen Recorder
“Super clear audio with great storage capacity”
- Best Tiny Option: ATTO Small Voice Recorder
“With size of just a paper clipper, this makes an excellent pick”
- Best Budget Variant: QZTELECTRONIC 16GB Voice Recorder with Playback
“Store plenty of recordings in this 16GB clear audio recorder “
- Most Secure Option: YOUHE 16GB Magnetic Mini Voice Activated Recorder
“Get the comfort of protecting Your files with the ATTO recorder”
- Best Extended Recording: SOTA Voice Activated Digital Recorder
“Never run out of battery or storage, equipped with 32GB storage and 3200mAh battery”
- Best Premium Option: SNAHIKE Voice Recorder
“Never miss out on any conversation, with this voice activated recorder”
600 hours recording: YES
200 days standby: YES
Our top pick is the Hidden Voice Recorder 600 Hours. It has a magnetic absorption and voice-activated recording features. It is also a waterproof device that you can take advantage too.
This hidden camera also gives room for memory just in case it gets full, it will automatically delete the oldest recording you have stored in the device. And just in case you forgot to charge this device it has a saving feature that enabled the device to save your recording before it gets shut down.
Best Compact Design
Battery: 24 hour battery
Memory: 8GB (36 hours recording)
Recording: 512Kbps PCM
Another device that can provide excellent results is this voice-activated recorder. Here you will notice that the capacity provides you with 145 hours of recordings when using the entire storage memory. Besides, the design is best suited for subtle and efficient use in various locations.
You will have 24 hours of battery life and only need two hours to fully recharge the battery. Here, voice activation allows you to supplement the battery and extend the time of use. Besides, it is necessary to consider that you do not need additional software to be able to listen to the recordings. Each of the recordings will be available in the MP3 format.
Finally it is a very resistant device that can provide you with an extended life. It is necessary to note that the structure of this device has an aluminum alloy. So this device is not only very simple to use but also resists the most intense uses. You will notice that the LED light gives you the proper operation as well as the continuous recording mode.
Best Pocket Option
Recording: 192Kbps PCM
Memory: 16GB (260 hours recording)
Smart Voice Activated 4.0
If you’d rather get something that you can carry in your pocket, and it won’t look out of place there, the TCTEC Pen Recorder could be a good option for you. It looks just like a regular pen, and you can have it on a desk as well – it will record pretty good quality sound.
Whether you use it to record a lecture, or conversations in your office, the TCTEC is voice activated, so you don’t have to press any buttons for it to start recording. It does work as a conventional pen, too, so you could also use it while you’re writing, for example, if you want to remain inconspicuous.
With 16GB of storage, you have the ability to keep about 260 hours of recordings on it. It does also have the ability to work as an MP3 player, and those 16GB will actually store a respectable amount of MP3 files, too. The battery can go up to 15 hours of continuous recording, and charging it takes a little over two hours. If you want your spy microphone to be as inconspicuous as they come, this is the one to go for.
Best Small Recorder
Memory: 8GB (141 hours recording)
Recording: 128 Kbps
Even though most of the options on our list are admittedly compact, few come close to the tiny size of the ATTO Small Voice Recorder. What’s interesting is that even though it is so small, it makes no compromises when it comes to sound quality, battery life, or functionality in general.
The entire thing is 1.6 x 0.7 inches, with a 0.35 inch thickness. With a weight of less than 1/3oz, you can take it pretty much anywhere. Despite this, the battery when full can record around 20 hours of audio, which is quite good. The sound quality is excellent, because you have a very sensitive microphone that picks up even quieter sounds that are further away.
Operating it is very easy – the button is pretty large and all you have to do is slide it down for the ATTO to start recording. With the 8GB capacity that’s included, you can expect to store around 141 hours of audio recordings on it. Those 8GB can be used for other files, too, because this plugs into your computer like a conventional USB drive. If you’re looking for one that’s as small as possible, yet doesn’t cut corners, go for it.
Best Budget Variant
Memory: 16GB (72 hours recording)
In a large number of situations, it is necessary to have a voice recorder that is useful and efficient. You will have the possibility to use this device in different moments such as interviews, conferences, meetings, and others.
It is a voice recorder that is very simple to use by any type of user. Here it is the voice recorder preferred by writers, lawyers, teachers, and others. You will notice that voice recording activation has been included here, as well as a continuous recording mode.
Each of these recording modes can adapt to the needs of each user. Also, this device does not produce any sound, which provides subtle functionality. Then you can easily manage the recordings obtained. If you prefer you can incorporate a headset to listen to the recordings.
In particular, you will have 16 gigabytes of storage which gives you 192 hours of recordings. Besides, the time of use is offered to 24 hours, since the incorporated battery is of excellent capacity. Finally this device manages to reduce the noise of the environment to offer clearer and high-quality audios.
Most Secure Option
Recording: 192 kbps
Battery: 3200 Mah Battery
Memory: 4GB (286 hours recording)
To get more ears in many places you can count on this mini-recorder. This device can be voice-activated and also offers a continuous recording mode. In this case, you will be able to use voice activation in outdoor environments whether the recording distance reaches 60 feet. So it can be more than enough to capture a lot of moments.
In particular, the excellent battery capacity gives you 457 hours of use. In the same way, you will have 19 days of use and 192 hours of recording capacity. In other words, it is an excellent capacity to obtain the expected results. You only need 6 hours to complete the battery charge of this device.
Finally, you will be able to use this device in a large number of applications. Once you have obtained the proper recordings you can connect this mini voice recorder to a computer. This way you will be able to manage all the recordings you have obtained in several days. In other words, using this device is very simple for the vast majority of users. That is why it is one of the most recommended options today.
Best for Extended Recording Sessions
Memory: 32GB (2400 hours recording)
Recording: 288 hours of recording
Here you will have the possibility of capturing a large number of sounds and voices. The capacity here is more than ample and provides you with up to 288 hours of recordings. At the moment of the ignition, you will notice that there are no indicator lights and noises. Thus you can obtain a highly discreet operation so as not to arouse suspicion in other people.
Even the voice activation offers you an automatic operation that is complemented by a continuous mode. In turn, in continuous recording, this device offers 24 hours of use or 25 days with voice activation. In other words, this is more than enough time to detect a large number of recordings. For this purpose, a high level of sensitivity is included which allows the capture of different types of voices.
You can connect this device to a smartphone or a tablet or a computer. So the versatility at the time of listening to the recordings is more than appropriate. You will be able to make successful recordings from a distance of more than 50 feet. Of course, the noise level should not be too high. In short, you will have the possibility of obtaining the highest performance with this device.
Best Premium Option
● Mac and PC compatibility
● 180 hours of recording
● Highly resistant metal casing
If you want to get a friendly voice recorder you can count on this option that provides an appropriate use. In this case, it is a device that is compatible with a computer as well as a Mac. After making all the necessary recordings you can use one of these options or your best headset.
It is necessary to consider that this device provides 180 hours of recordings as well as a more than appropriate time of use. With which you will be able to obtain the appropriate recordings in a meeting, conference, interview, or other moments.
This voice recorder is very subtle to use at all times. Only three easy-to-use buttons are included. Finally the metal structure offers the appropriate strength so that you can take advantage of its full lifespan. By using the continuous recording mode you will have 15 hours of operation.
The sound capture range is from 20 feet to 50 feet. Even if there is wind or noise you will notice that each recording provides excellent audio quality and clarity. One of the best tools you can have.
Our Buyers’ Guide
If there’s one question that you should ask yourself when you’re buying a spy microphone, is what you’re going to use it for. There are many different types, and they serve different purposes, so you should know what you need it for. For example, if you’re getting it for yourself, something like a lavalier microphone can be hidden easily enough. However, if you need to record or monitor conversations in a place such as your office or your home, you’ll want one that can be easily disguised as some household object. Nobody is going to look at it twice, and you should be good to go.
Obviously the most important factor that you’ll be considering when getting a spy microphone is sound quality. After all, you want your recordings to be useful, don’t you? There are a couple of parameters that you should know impact the sound quality. The first one is the sensitivity, which directly impacts how well the microphone will capture quiet sounds. Then, you’ve got the level of noise. This is usually measured in decibels of sound pressure (dBA SPL), and a good level is somewhere around 40 dBA SPL. Last but not least, you have the impedance, which is how much AC resistance the microphone offers, depending on the sensitivity. However, we know that you might not be willing to learn all these specs and how they work with each other, so for the products below, we’ll let you know whether or not they have good sound quality.
The range and coverage matter next, especially if you’re going to be using your spy microphone somewhere outdoors. For indoor usage, this isn’t too important, but when you want to record the sound of birds in nature, for example, this is key. The coverage often depends on what kind of integrated microphone you get in your device, as well as the technology it uses. For example, it is reasonable to expect around 100 yards of coverage with a UHF spy microphone.
Moving on, you should consider the shape and size of the microphone. When it comes to a spy microphone, a smaller device is usually a lot more useful. It’s a lot easier to hide, and you can make sure that nobody will be able to detect it. Fortunately, as you’ll see later on, most of today’s options are actually pretty well hidden. This also has to do with the shape, because a spy microphone today is usually hidden in a common household device, such as a pen, or a USB drive, or a similar item you’d usually leave on a desk or a shelf. This helps quite a bit when it comes to hiding in plain sight.
Connectivity is another thing you’ll want to consider, and here you’ll usually get a few options. With most spy microphones that store data on the device’s internal memory, or on a memory card, you get to either remove the memory card and insert it in your computer, or a USB connection that lets you transfer the recorded data. However, you’ll also come across some slightly more advanced devices that you can connect with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and they’ll make things even more convenient. Sure, you could also get one that uses a SIM card and connects to a phone network, but this is surprisingly easy to find with a bug detector.
Last but not least, you’ll want to consider the battery life. This is especially true for devices you’ll be leaving in your office or home unattended for a longer period of time, because you can’t just leave a pen plugged in – it’s going to raise some alerts. Fortunately, today’s devices, even though small and compact, can last for a good while. To add to this, it’s also a well known fact that their batteries charge rather quickly, so you can re-use them pretty quickly.
Now, one thing to note with all of the aforementioned things is that you might not come across all of them in a single spy microphone. This is especially true if you’re working with a pretty limited budget, because it might be difficult to find one that checks all the boxes without it being priced way above all of the competition. If that’s the case, you’ll want to grab this list of features, and turn it into your own priority list.
As we said in the beginning, first and foremost you’ll want to see what you’ll be using it for. For example, if you’re using it indoors, in a home office, you don’t need long range and too much coverage. And you don’t need it to transmit via a SIM card. However, you do want the sound quality to be good, and you want that spy microphone to look like something that isn’t out of place on your office desk. On the other hand, if you want to record bird noises, it doesn’t matter how it looks. What does matter is the sound quality, first and foremost, and then the range of the microphone.
(1) – PCM in Audio – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulse-code_modulation