It seems that most people have a podcast on the go these days. Where once they were the preserve of a select few, nowadays anyone with a microphone and a laptop can get started. That’s what makes it so inviting to newcomers; there isn’t a huge barrier or cost to entry, either through the equipment or skills you need.
That said, there are some microphones that are particularly suited to podcasting and, best of all, they don’t need to cost the earth. In this guide to the best budget podcasting microphones, we’ll show some of the top options around for getting your voice recorded and your podcasting career off on the right foot. We've also got some useful buying advice if you're not sure where to start. You'll find that at the bottom of the page.
Best budget podcasting microphones: our top picks
When you’re looking at budget podcast mics, the first name that comes to mind is the Rode Podcaster. The clue is in the name. As it’s designed specifically for podcasting, you can record with confidence knowing that it will make your voice sound rich and smooth. Special mention also must go to the Shure MV7 which, despite sitting at the top-end of what you’d call budget-priced, has enough functionality and quality to make it easy to recommend.
Best budget podcasting microphones: Product guide
As a dedicated podcasting microphone, it’s safe to assume the Rode Podcaster will do a tremendous job of elevating your voice and giving it that professional sheen. The Podcaster features USB connectivity, meaning you don’t require a separate audio interface or mixer, making it ideal for anyone starting out. Simply plug it into your laptop and away you go.
We love the chunky build quality, which adds a degree of confidence that it won’t break easily, although this extra heft means it does require a suitably sturdy tripod or boom arm. All in all, one of the best budget podcasting microphones there is.
Read our full Rode Podcaster review
One of the first things people associate with USB microphones, the Blue Yeti is still going strong over a decade after it first launched. Now, the range includes a few different variations, but the OG model is still the first option we’d look at.
With the Yeti you get switchable pickup patterns, which means you can turn it from a solo voice mic to a table-read tool in an instant. It’s perhaps not the best-looking mic on the market, but in terms of sheer versatility there are few that can match the Yeti.
Read our full Blue Yeti review
Another golden oldie in the USB mic market is the Rode NT-USB. It has all the traits you’d expect from a USB mic, like plug-and-play operation and high quality recordings, and is a superb option for anyone starting their podcasting journey.
Its design has stood the test of time, with a much smaller footprint than its competition, and features like the built-in pop filter are as useful now as they ever have been. If you’re looking to buy a budget podcasting mic that delivers great results with zero fuss or faff, then this could be the mic for you.
Read our full Rode NT-USB review
Designed specifically for podcasting, the AKG Lyra is one of the more visually interesting mics in the list. We like it personally, but can understand it might not be everyone’s choice aesthetically. What we did like, however, is the clear and simple operation. Even small details, like the way the switchable pickup patterns are labelled ‘front’ and ‘wide stereo’ rather than ‘cardioid’ or ‘omnidirectional’, breaking down some of the technical jargon that could put off a casual user.
The Lyra is at home being connected to a smartphone, tablet or computer, and produces some great results with the spoken word. It’s not the most portable, but as a studio mainstay for the beginner it’s ideal.
Read our full AKG Lyra review
Sometimes, it’s good for a podcaster to leave the confines of the studio and record out there in the big wide world. The IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD 2 is the perfect podcasting mic for this kind of situation and requires little more than a smartphone to get the best results. It connects directly to a smartphone or tablet - or a regular computer - and thanks to the bundled apps you can be recording in high quality with just a couple of taps.
The mic itself is pleasingly hefty, making it ideal for throwing in a bag after you’ve finished. We have it on good authority that the iRig Mic HD 2 is the go-to choice of some of the biggest broadcasters in the world, and it’s easy to see why.
Read our full IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD 2 review
While a podcast can be as simple as recording a voice, there are times when you might want to broaden your horizons and use audio for other sources. It could be recording a phone interview, or routing sound from another application. This is not always as easy as it sounds, depending on how your computer handles audio, but there are tools to help. The Presonus Revelator has ‘loopback’ functionality baked into it, meaning it can act as a hub for your different audio streams, making the process as simple as it can be.
The mic itself is well made, if a little bulky, and we loved the high-quality audio recordings we got from using it. The built-in effects are great fun to use too. If your podcasting vision expands beyond simple voice recording, then this could be a great option for you.
When it comes to microphones, Shure is arguably the biggest name in the game. With the Shure MV7, there is now the perfect mic for almost every kind of situation. While it’s pitched mainly as a USB microphone, it also has XLR connectivity for using through an audio interface or mixer, while the bundled MOTIV app makes it easy to get great results from your recordings.
It sits at the top of the ‘budget’ price bracket, but sometimes it’s worth investing that little bit extra to get the right tool. There’s very little this mic wouldn’t be suitable for, and for voice recording it is among the best you’ll find at any price.
Read our full Shure MV7 review
Mackie has a great reputation for creating inexpensive yet very well-made audio gear and with the Mackie EM-USB there’s now a great, low-cost option for budding podcasters. The EM-USB features on-mic control for input gain and headphone levels (ready for a pair of the best podcasting headphones), while the USB-C connection should ensure reliable data transfer of your recordings.
Recording quality is perfectly acceptable for the price bracket, while the included accessories and bundled software make for a very well-rounded package.
Read our full Mackie EM-USB review
Best budget podcasting microphones: Buying advice
Choosing a budget podcasting microphone for you
When you’re looking for a budget podcasting microphone, there are some things you’ll want to consider. Microphones come in all shapes and sizes, and for a variety of purposes, but not all of them are ideally suited for podcasting. Music microphones, for example, are designed to capture the nuance of acoustic instruments or match a sound so it can be heard across a crowded stage. Podcasting microphones, on the other hand, simply need to give your voice the platform it needs to shine.
Microphone pickup patterns
Typically, you’ll find certain functions are ideally suited to podcasting. Look specifically for the mic’s pickup pattern - sometimes called its polar pattern - as this dictates the area around the front (or side) of the mic where it actually captures the sound. Most have a cardioid pattern, which means the mic will collect sound from a specific area and actively reject sound which comes from outside that space. This is great for ensuring your voice is recorded but not the creaking floorboards at the other end of the studio.
However, if you’re looking to record multiple people with the same mic, an omnidirectional or figure-8 option might be better, as these pick up sound from a wider field. Some, like the Blue Yeti, even feature multiple pickup patterns built in so you can choose depending on the situation you find yourself in.
Connectivity is important with microphones. Higher-end studios and recording facilities will usually employ mics that connect via XLR, allowing the mic to feed into a mixing desk or audio interface, however USB connections are increasingly common, particularly at the entry-level end.
Finally, give some thought to how the mic will be placed. Most, but not all, will come with some kind of desk tripod, however, the smart money is on using a more robust mic stand or - better still - a boom arm so make sure the mic you choose is compatible with your chosen method of holder.