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Top 5 Best Cheap Voice Recorder of 2023

We use audio in so many ways these days. Of course, we have it at home and in the car; we even have it in our pockets when on the go. But there is a lot more to audio than just entertainment.


The Recorded Voice

We can use our voice with a voice recorder in a variety of ways. Making a podcast or holding an impromptu interview, to give a couple of examples. Maybe taking verbal notes in a study class to write up later or just commenting on something you have seen for later use.

You Can Carry It Around With You

As I say, we use audio in so many different ways. And now, there are tools to help us make the most of these options. In many circumstances, it can be a good thing to have a portable recorder to carry around with you. However, some people might not want to spend a lot of money. 

So let’s take an in-depth look at the best cheap voice recorders currently on the market and find the perfect one for you.

Best Cheap Voice Recorder

Top 5 Best Cheap Voice Recorders of 2023

  1. Olympus Voice Recorder WS-852 – Most Versatile Cheap Voice Recorder
  2. SONY ICD PX333 Digital Voice Recorder – Best Value for the Money Cheap Voice Recorder
  3. DR-05X Tascam Portable Audio Recorder – Best Easy to Use Cheap Voice Recorder
  4. Zoom Digital Multitrack Recorder – Best Multi-track Cheap Voice Recorder
  5. Zoom H2n Handy Recorder – Most Durable Cheap Voice Recorder

1 Olympus Voice Recorder WS-852 – Most Versatile Cheap Voice Recorder

Just because an item is listed with an attractive price point doesn’t mean it hasn’t got plenty of features. This Olympus voice recorder is a good example. Very much for those on a budget but still with plenty to offer.

This voice recorder is made to be compact and easy to carry around with you. It measures only 4.4 inches by 1.5 by 7.1 inches and only weighs just over two and a half ounces. Furthermore, it has an easy-to-read screen that is about 1 by 1.5 inches. As a result, it’s one of the best compact cheap voice recorders on the market.

Two Modes

One of the clever design features of this recorder is that it has two modes. One for those people that understand the technology and will be able to access the recorder’s more complex features. The other mode has a more basic operation.

Basic Mode

In the simple mode, only the most basic of operational information is displayed. This allows the screen to show larger text. As you use it, it will store information on the features you use regularly. Then, it will display access to them on the screen. A nice touch.

Full Function Mode

In full function mode, it gives you access to a wider range of features. It also displays more information on the screen. There are also several different sound options like filters for producing a good reproduction.

Built For Convenience

Voice recorders, besides being easy to use, need to be quick, efficient, and convenient. And the WS-852 offers it all. There is a USB connection built-in that hooks up to your computer. This makes saving items you have recorded very easy, and no Cables are required.

It also has a small built-in stand so you can use it hands-free. This will also cut down any handling noise while in use. Likewise, it means that visual access is improved.


The operating design includes two microphones that are positioned at the top of the recorder facing forward. This allows it to capture sound across 90 degrees. An important plus point if there are more than two people you may be recording, as at a meeting. Having two mics, it will also record in stereo.

Sensitivity Adjuster

Not everyone speaks at the same volume. The Auro mode function adjusts the sensitivity of the mics to accommodate varying levels. This means that you don’t have to keep adjusting record levels, and it is easy to set up through the menu.

A Hundred Hours

It operates on two AAA Alkaline batteries, which are included with the recorder. They will give you over 100 hours of use. As an alternative, you can use two rechargeable batteries, AAA Ni-MH. 

Either way, it’s one of the best battery life voice recorders you can buy. For the price point, this represents excellent value for money and needs to be considered as the best cheap voice recorder.

Olympus Voice Recorder WS-852
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)


  • Plenty of good features with two operating modes.
  • A two-mic setup with automatic level settings.


  • More features may be needed by some.

2 SONY ICD PX333 Digital Voice Recorder – Best Value for the Money Cheap Voice Recorder

Where there is audio, you will find Sony, that is a given. But you will also find good quality at an affordable price. With Sony’s ICD PX333 Digital Voice Recorder, they wanted it to be practical but also cost-effective.

That Is Exactly What It Is

Incredibly practical as well as not costing a fortune. The operation is screen-based and easy to use, and it has an adequate size internal flash memory of 4GB. If you need more memory, there is a micro SD available.

Sony has given it some interesting features. There is a repeat function and a cut-out for excess background noise. There is also a track marker, which can be a big plus depending on how you are using it. In the package, you also get a USB cable to connect up to your laptop or computer.

A Compact Size

When it comes to the best portable cheap voice recorders, they need to be able to be carried around easily, and this one fits the bill perfectly. It measures only 1.48 inches by 4.49 inches, so it will fit easily into your pocket or bag. It requires two AAA batteries.

A Great Performance

Sony has taken this little recorder to a higher level than some. It has voice-activated recording. As soon as someone speaks, this facility enables recording mode. So just by the sound of the voice recording will start. That saves you having to turn it off and turn it on again.

But, of course, one of the big assets of this recorder is the quality of the sound. That is something Sony knows how to do. Therefore, it is one of the best sounding cheap voice recorders you will find. A very good recorder at a competitive price. Highly recommended.

SONY ICD PX333 Digital Voice Recorder
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)


  • Good quality build and easy to use.
  • Some great features at an affordable price.


  • None.

3 DR-05X Tascam Portable Audio Recorder – Best Easy to Use Cheap Voice Recorder

Tascam and TEAC are both respected names in the audio industry. At one time, Tascam operated as the research group for TEAC. But since then, they have been manufacturing products under their own name, and the DR-05X is one of them.

The Build

It has been designed and built to be portable and compact. It measures only 1 inch by 2.4 inches by 5.5 inches and weighs a little over four ounces. The design allows it to be mounted on a small stand or used handheld.

There is a 3.5mm connection if you want to use a Lavalier microphone. And there are built-in Limiters and Automatic leveling that will give you a clean sound and prevent any distortion.

Great Design

This little recorder has two microphones, both with omnidirectional polar patterns. They are set up in an A/B-style which will give you decent stereo recordings. Recordings are made on a micro SD card. Alternatives are micro SDHC and SDXC cards. Using a 128GB card, you can record in stereo for up to 190 hours. 

It operates using two AA Alkaline batteries that are included as part of the package. Battery time is about 17 hours, or you could power it up from a computer using the USB port. If you prefer, it can be used from an AC outlet. The adapter is not included.

Connections to your computer are through the USB port located on the side. All the controls are nicely placed on the front panel. They are easy to see and use, especially when handheld.

More Than Just a Voice Recorder

This is a bit more than your average recorder. It is great to record meetings, take notes or use it as a reminder. But it can also operate as the sound source when shooting video. It will, therefore, be a great cheap voice recorder for podcasts and broadcasters who are on a budget.

A great little recorder with some good features, an easy-to-read screen, and a quality sound.

DR-05X Tascam Portable Audio Recorder
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)


  • Compact and easy to use at an attractive price point.
  • Plenty of recording options.


  • Some will need some more features and a larger screen.

4 Zoom Digital Multitrack Recorder – Best Multi-track Cheap Voice Recorder

Zoom was a company set up by an ex-employee of Cisco Systems. The idea was to develop sophisticated communications for a variety of uses. Originally, it was for meetings and video conferencing.

Incredible Growth

In recent months Zoom has received a new profile as the growth of their video conferencing facilities grew by over 2000%. This was due to the different circumstances forcing people to focus more on online communications. They produce a whole range of products in support of voice and visual applications. Their voice recorders are just one.

The Build

This is a compact unit that measures just 5.4 inches by 1 by 6.4 inches. It is also extremely lightweight at 2.4 ounces. It is fitted with two condenser mics that are set up in an X-Y 90-degree shape. This facilitates stereo recording.

They are set in what looks like a cage for protection. They have a high SPL of 120dB, which is not something you often find on products like this. This gives this unit a variety of uses, making it a great cheap voice recorder for interviews.

The High SPL lowers the risk of distortion. This little unit is ideal for recording music rehearsals or live shows that can be played back later.

The Controls

It has an LCD screen that is 1.25 inches wide. This displays all the necessary information you might need regarding the recorder’s operational status. All the controls are one-touch, making them easy to use.

Using the various features is conducted through various menus. These do take a little while to understand, so there is a learning curve to undertake to get the best out of the recorder. Nevertheless, it has been made to be as easy as possible to use.

There are some built-in features to ensure you get a good sound. There is a Limiter and a Low-cut filter, as well as options for voice enhancement. You can also overdub an existing take.


It will record to either SDHC or SD cards that have a memory size of 32GB. Ten hours of use are received from one AA Alkaline battery. If you are using it handheld, you will need to be careful. It is sensitive, and it does pick up some noise.

Zoom Digital Multitrack Recorder
Our rating:4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)


  • Well-made with some good sound control features built-in.
  • Cost-effective price considering the features included.


  • Can be sensitive if handheld.

5 Zoom H2n Handy Recorder – Most Durable Cheap Voice Recorder

We have looked at some very cost-effective recorders. Let’s close this look at the best cheap voice recorder by staying with Zoom. This one’s a little more expensive but is one of the best multi-feature voice recorders you can buy.

Some Good Features

You may have been impressed with some of the voice recorders we have looked at so far. But, possibly you need just a little more in the way of features. If so, this might fit the bill. The Zoom H2n has five mic capsules that offer a variety of choices for recording. There are 90-degree X and Y stereo, mid-side stereo, and also four and two-channel.

 A good inclusion is the data recovery feature. If you happen to delete anything by mistake, the version you saved previously will still be available.

Other features include automatic gain and a Low-Cut filter and Limiter to reduce the possibility of distortion. There is also variable speed playback. If you are a musician and want to use this recorder with an instrument, there is a built-in metronome and a tuner, making it one of the best cheap audio recorders for musicians that you can buy.

The Build

It has a solid build with a screen that is a full 1.8 inches in width. The screen resolution is quite good at 128 by 64. It displays all the current operational activity.

Additionally, it has a reasonably compact size measuring 2.66 inches by 1.68 by 4.5 inches. Plus, it weighs 4.5 ounces. You will get over twenty hours of use from one pair of AA batteries. The H2n takes 32GB memory cards. As a useful extra, it has been given a ⅛-inch line input/output that will allow you the use of headphones.

Learning Curve

There is one with most Zoom products due to the number of features included. However, it will be time well-spent. It can be daunting at first, but once you have got to grips with it, the performance is excellent.

Zoom H2n Handy Recorder
Our rating:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)


  • Rugged build with a nice clear screen.
  • Sound management features are built-in to give you an excellent recording.


  • Not the easiest recorder to use.

Finding Cost-Effective Sound Equipment

Finding Cost Effective Sound Equipment

This can be fraught with difficulty. Usually, but not always, the more you pay, the better the performance of what you buy. Many manufacturers make claims as to what their respective products will do. But you can find bargains, and some of the manufacturers offer some great deals.

When Is It All Too Much?

One of the problems with this sort of technology is that quite often, it is loaded down with features you will never, ever use. Then it all becomes too much. Look at what each product does and consider it in the light of what you need. Then consider what you might need in the future.

That will ensure you don’t spend money on features that you are unlikely to ever need. If you just want a basic voice recorder and nothing else, that is what you need to look for.

Looking for Great Audio Recording Equipment?

We can help you with that. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Portable Audio Recorders, the Best Multitrack Recorder, the Best Digital Audio Players, the Best Audio Interface, the Best USB Audio Interfaces, the Best iPad Audio Interfaces, or the Best Studio Headphones For Home Recording that you can buy in 2023.

You may also like our detailed reviews of the Best Voice-Over Microphones, the Best Interview Microphones, the Best Microphones For Recording Vocals, the Best Lavalier Microphones, the Best Microphones For iPad, and the Best External Microphones For iPhone currently on the market.

What is the Best Cheap Voice Recorder?

If I were looking for a cheap voice recorder, I would be looking for something quite basic. The most important issue for me would probably be portability. And then followed by the quality of the recorded sound. Therefore, I would choose the…

SONY ICD PX333 Digital Voice Recorder

I like the automatic voice-activated feature. And it meets all the criteria I would be looking for.

So, until next time, let your voice be heard.

5/5 - (64 votes)

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About Corey Hoffman

Corey is a multi-instrumentalist who has played in numerous bands over the years, some good, some not so good. He has also written countless songs and recorded five albums in professional studios across America. Today he is a hobby musician but still loves the guitar after over 15 years of playing.

He considers his writing as a way to share what he has learned over the decades with younger generations ad always can't wait to get his hands on the latest gear.

He lives just outside New York with his wife Barbara and their two German Shepherds, Ziggy and Iggy.

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