Whether you’re wanting to get into the streaming biz, want a microphone for Zoom calls, or you just want a microphone that records because you love to hear the sound of your own voice, the search for a microphone has been made easier these past few years.
While a more expensive mic will give you crystal clear audio and last longer, you can find cheap microphones for under $100 that deliver good sound quality. These microphones should be satisfying enough if you’re a new content producer or you need it to talk to someone. Let’s look at the best cheap microphones money can buy.
- What Should I Look for When Buying a Cheap Microphone?
- Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Cheap Microphone
- #1: TONOR USB Gaming Microphone (Best Value – All-Purpose)
- #2: Shure MV5 (Best Mic)
- #3: Bietrun Wireless Microphone (Best Wireless Mic)
- #4: AmazonBasics Dynamic Vocal Microphone – Cardioid (Best Low Cost)
- #5: Mpow HC6 USB Headset (Best Headset Mic)
- On a Budget? Try These:
- How Do I Make a Cheap Microphone Sound Better?
- How Much Does a Good Recording Microphone Cost?
- Verdict: Your Best Cheap Microphone
What Should I Look for When Buying a Cheap Microphone?
When buying cheap condenser mics, you should still be choosy. Here are some factors to consider.
Setting It Up
With microphones, recording with them should be instant. Many condenser mics are plug and play, meaning you just connect them to your PC and you’re good to go. No software or tricky installation.
Cheap microphones should still have sensitivity, which allows the mic to pick up all sounds. With a mic, you should be able to adjust the volume so it hears your voice without hearing unneeded background noise.
Frequency response involves the range the mic can pick up. It’s typically measured in hertz, and the bigger range of frequency response, the more it can pick up.
This is measured in Ohms. The best mics have impedance of under 200 Ohms, but since this is about the best cheap microphones, you probably aren’t going to get that. However, a mic should still have lower impedance, which means it won’t pick up noises that you don’t want.
Some mics, especially condenser mics, may come with a pop filter or a stand that allows you to get started much easier. In addition, some condenser mics may have their own app you can use to assist in recording.
You may hear mics be referred to as either a small diaphragm condenser or a large diaphragm condenser. This refers to the size of the mic itself. A large diaphragm condenser can pick up more and is historically the better mic. However, the small diaphragm condenser has evolved over the years and may have solve your needs too. Of course, it being a small diaphragm condenser or a large diaphragm condenser isn’t the only consideration when getting a condenser microphone.
Finally, try to pick the best condenser mic for your budget. While this article deals with cheaper mics, consider how much money you can spend and if the mic meets your needs.
These are just a few things to watch out for when purchasing a budget mic. That way, you get the most audio quality for your money.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Cheap Microphone
We looked at microphones under $100 and picked from a variety of price ranges, as well as types of microphones. We also looked at several types of microphones you may use for a certain purpose, such as a headset mic. Finally, we picked microphones that had good reviews on Amazon.
#1: TONOR USB Gaming Microphone (Best Value – All-Purpose)
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The first one on this list has to be a mic that is good for most needs. This is one of the best cheap microphones because it’s mid-range in our $100 budget, and it has a design that should satisfy most needs, looking like a cheaper Blue Yeti.
It does come with quite a few accessories as well, including a tripod, shock mount, and pop filter. This makes installation easy, and the mic itself is plug and play, meaning you just plug it into the USB port and you’re golden.
This mic does have a cardioid pickup pattern. The pickup pattern means the mic manages to capture the sound without having to hear your cat running in the background, or someone talking in the next room. While it isn’t a full, home studio microphone, it’s great for streaming or for communicating via Zoom.
Reviews of this microphone have been positive overall. Most say that it has a great pickup pattern and manages to deliver audio quality on par with the some of the more expensive mics. Most negative reviews involve people who got duds, and they were in the minority.
#2: Shure MV5 (Best Mic)
As we mentioned, this article is for people looking for mics that are under $100. For #2, we are picking the mic that goes to the limits of our budget. This is a mic that’s nearly on par with some of the more expensive mics. It has crystal clear audio and works great for iOS. It manages to be a powerful mic without taking up too much space, either. Its three preset modes can make sure your voice sounds best according to what situation you need it for.
Finally, this microphone has its own app, allowing you to edit recordings with it. If you’re going to be recording with microphones, using the mic’s own software can be convenient.
Reviews of the mic have been positive, with most saying that it delivered on sound and worked for almost any use. It’s one of the best cheap microphones if you have a little bit of a budget. While there were a couple of people who were unsatisfied by its audio quality, most ended up loving how it sounded.
#3: Bietrun Wireless Microphone (Best Wireless Mic)
A wireless microphone can deliver some freedom, especially if you’re doing some home karaoke or you are a streamer who has an energetic personality. Back in the day, cheap microphones that were wireless would be a joke. Nowadays, you can find good wireless mics for a decent price.
This mic delivers quality sound and is easy to set up, being a plug and play. It uses a combination of traditional and rechargeable batteries, with the mic portion taking AA batteries and the receiver being rechargeable. While we would like to see both be rechargeable, you can’t complain too much at this price.
Reviews of this wireless mic have been quite positive, with most saying it works well for the price and is easy to use. One criticism is that you cannot mute it, and it takes a few seconds to power off. Besides that, most people said it was one of the best cheap microphones if you don’t want any wires.
#4: AmazonBasics Dynamic Vocal Microphone – Cardioid (Best Low Cost)
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Ten years ago, a microphone at this cost would be a joke. Taping some string on a tin can, then sticking the string in the headphones jack of your PC, would have probably given you better sound quality. But nowadays, you can get some good mics without paying too much.
This mic has everything you need. First, it’s easy to connect. Just stick the cable in, turn it on, and you’re good to go. The cable itself is fairly long as well. It has its own pop filter too, helping you get clear sound. A lot of cheap mics end up sounding tinny, but this one manages to deliver clear sound. It’s not going to be a mic you use for a home studio if you’re a professional voice actor, but it’s one of the best budget mics if you’re in a pinch.
Reviews of this microphone have been overall positive. Most people say that this microphone is quite high end. Some musicians even said it’s one of those microphones for recording that works well if you want to livestream a performance. There were a couple of reviewers who weren’t satisfied with the sound quality, but they are in the minority.
#5: Mpow HC6 USB Headset (Best Headset Mic)
A headset mic can be good if you are going through an intense gaming session, or if you want to keep the audio going from your PC to your ears only. It’s also good if you are working as a remote customer service worker. This is one of the best cheap microphones if you are looking for that.
The mic portion itself is noise-canceling and should deliver your voice crystal-clear. The mic is also able to switch between ears. This headset is designed to be worn for hours without feeling too uncomfortable, and you can use it on most devices.
Reviews of this headset have been quite positive. Most say it’s the best cheap headset, delivering high end sound and audio quality for all uses, such as gaming or working from home. A few reviewers had problems, but it was a small amount.
On a Budget? Try These:
Do you need a microphone and your budget is paper-thin? You can still get a functional mic for a cheap price. Let’s look at some mics that won’t break your bank.
#1 Budget: Anself USB Mic
This is one of those Walmart mics that may work well if you need to get one ASAP and don’t have too much money. It does have some mixed reviews, but that’s to be expected.
#2 Budget: Wish Mic
This claims to be a condenser microphone for a cheap price. With Wish, you never know. If you’re looking for a cheapie and you can wait a little bit, this mic may be good for you.
#3 Budget: Cyber Acoustics ACM-51B
This is one cheap microphone. If you need a mic and you have $5 in your pocket, this will work well enough. We definitely don’t expect a high-frequency response or pickup pattern, but for that price, it may work well enough.
How Do I Make a Cheap Microphone Sound Better?
While a budget microphone is limited, there are a few tricks you can use to make it sound better. Let’s discuss some of them.
A smaller room means your voice won’t reflect. This makes it good for having the best audio quality possible. Furniture and other decorations can also offset the reflection if you don’t have a small room.
Putting a pop filter over the microphone can help as well. They are affordable and can save you some grief.
Don’t hold the mic in your hand. Use a microphone stand to ensure the most stable quality.
Unless you are livestreaming, a good piece of audio software can make your sound improve. Free programs like Audacity are a good start if you want to clear any background noise or enhance the quality of your own voice.
How Much Does a Good Recording Microphone Cost?
A microphone you purchase for recording should ideally be over $100. However, these mics in this article can be decent for recording, especially if you have some software to improve the audio. With that said, the more expensive the mic is, the better the results will be. You don’t need to pay thousands for a good mic, but a $10 Walmart mic isn’t going to cut it, either. Most mid-range mics should work just fine.
Verdict: Your Best Cheap Microphone
And there we have it. We picked five microphones under $100 that should fit most needs. Cheap mics have evolved over the years, and it’s quite easy to get a good condenser mic for not too much money. In case you were busy singing karaoke, here are the top five again.
First, the TONOR USB Gaming Microphone. This is a good condenser mic that has everything you need to get started, while delivering audio that is on par with some of the more expensive mics.
Second, we have the Shure MV5. This condenser mic is the most you can pay without breaking the budget we set. It’s small, yet powerful, and works well for iOS.
Third, we have the Bietrun Wireless Microphone. If you’re looking for a mic that has no wires, this plug and play should satisfy your needs.
Fourth, the AmazonBasics Dynamic. This is a condenser mic that’s cheap, yet it delivers phenomenal sound that matches up with some of the mics that cost a lot more. Check it out.
Finally, we have the Mpow HC6 Headset Mic. This is one of the best headset mics if you’re looking for one on a tight budget. It works well for most needs, including gaming or remote work.
So as you can see, you can find quite a few headset mics for a good price. Having good audio quality when you stream or record is no longer gatekept by expensive costs. While a professional mic is still needed, you can get a good quality experience for a fraction of the price. When you are starting out, there is no shame in getting a budget mic and then upgrading as your career progresses.