Pen voice recorders, a useful tool that subtly ranks among many of man’s best inventions.
When Laszlo Biro improved on John J Loud’s Ballpoint pen invention, people would have thought, “a ballpoint pen cannot be better than that!”
Boy, were they wrong, because fast forward to the 21st century, geniuses have made the pen an ingenious multimedia recorder and for some spooks, a sleek spy machine.
While there are other voice recording gadgets on the market, pen voice recorders just like our top pick—the TCTEC 16GB Digital Pen Voice Recorder— are lightweight and easy to carry, relatively inexpensive, and provide top-quality audio playback which is easily transferable to a computer.
Yes, they are sometimes called spy pens, but they don’t come with a refillable tube filled with chloroform, laughing gas, or anything that Ethan Hunt or James Bond would use.
Our Best Pen Voice Recorders At A Glance
- TCTEC 16GB Digital Pen Voice Recorder
- TOOBOM Rechargeable Mini Voice Pen Recorder
- EVIDA Digital Voice Recorder For Lectures
- Slim Voice Activated Digital Audio Pen Recorder
- ATYIME Digital Voice Activated Recorder
The 5 Best Pen Voice Recorders
Back to serious business, here are the top 5 picks.
1. TCTEC 16GB Digital Pen Voice Recorder
The Best Overall
Storage Capacity: 16GB |Voice Activation: Yes |Battery Life: 15 Hours |Sound Quality: 192kbps|Rechargeable Battery: Yes
My top pick is this super convenient, super lightweight, sleek pen voice recorder from TCTEC.
The pen has a 16GB memory capacity and can accommodate 260hrs of 192kbps quality recorded material. The battery life is excellent, and you can continuously record for up to 15 hours with a full charge.
If you use an Apple computer, download the VLC player. This is the case with many pen voice recorders. Not only does VLC have the required codecs, but the quality of the audio playback is also good on this player.
This beautiful black and gold pen voice recorder is made with zinc alloy anti-rust metal making it a tough and durable recorder.
The package comes with a USB charger, headphones, speakers, and 4 refillable ink tubes. No
- Dual functionality: audio recorder & player
- Long Battery Life
- High-quality sound
- Easy to use
- Buttons are too inconspicuous for secret recording
2. TOOBOM Rechargeable Mini Voice Pen Recorder
Most Hip/Best for College Students
Storage Capacity: 16GB |Voice Activation: Yes |Battery Life: 9 Hours |Sound Quality: 192kbps |Rechargeable Battery: Yes
With a simple one-button switch mechanism and an indicator light that stays well out of sight, this pen houses one of the best concealed recording devices.
To turn the recorder on, all you need to do is gently press down the button on the base of the pen, voila! You’ve yourself a 192kbps professional PCM recording with low noise.
This pen recorder is voice-activated; therefore you’ll only record necessary audible stuff and save some power.
You can wear the Voice Activated Pen recorder on your jacket or shirt, ready to record 190 hours, 9 hours continuous per full charge.
- Classy Design
- Good quality sound
- Easy to use
- The indicator light is not clearly visible in brightly lit settings.
3. EVIDA Digital Voice Recorder for Lectures
Best Executive Look
With Voice recording, an Mp3 player, and a 16GB flash driver, this is a versatile tool for studying. You can use it to listen to recorded lectures while patching up your notes or listen to your favorite songs to set the mood.
The pen is voice-activated and has a built-in smart battery detection software that autosaves recordings before the battery dies.
One thing I like about this recorder is the power indicator light; it tells you how much you have charged with 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% battery remarks.
With a 16Gb memory and a good battery life, you can record for 8 continuous hours without worrying about the battery dying.
- Excellent battery life
- Easy to use
- Multipurpose recorder
- Not good for long ranges
- Awful noise cancelation
4. Slim Voice Activated Digital Audio Pen Recorder
Storage capacity: 1GB |Voice activation: Yes |Battery Life: 20 hours |Sound Quality: 192kbps |Rechargeable Battery: Yes
The pen voice recorder has a slick ‘start/stop recording’ switch, instead of pressing a button like it’s the norm with the other pens, you slide the pen clip.
This super slim pen can store up to 71 hours of high-quality audio files and has a lithium battery that can last up to 20 hours.
For secret recording, this is the best pen voice recorder on this list. It has no buttons and indicator lights, so it can literally hide in plain sight.
And in true spook tradition, the pen has a voice activation feature and can save its own power by cutting off recording during extended periods of no detected sound.
- Very discrete
- Easy and simple to use
- Sleek & slim design
- No indicator lights: confirmation whether it’s on or recording
5. ATYIME Digital Voice Activated Recorder
Best Audio Quality
Storage Capacity: 16GB |Voice Activation: Yes |Battery Life: 8 hours |Sound Quality: 1536kbps |Rechargeable Battery: Yes
I’d love a myth buster moment but I haven’t tried this, so I will take ATYIME’s word. They claim that the pen has a 33-feet range, that’s incredible if true.
There’s something I really don’t like about this pen though; it has a recording mechanism that’s a bit complicated in the beginning. The manual feels like reading an “electrical engineering” textbook. But it’s just a recording pen, so you will get around it.
Back to the specs; check out the audio quality, an impressive 1536Kbps voice resolution.
When you purchase this super smartpen, you are buying 190 hours’ worth of recording time and countless 20-hour non-stop recordings per charge.
The pen also comes with 6 pen refillers, a screwdriver, and headphones among other things.
- Has essential indicator lights
- Inconspicuous button
- Great sound quality
- Sleek design
- Not easy to use the first time
What Is a Pen Recorder and How Does It Work?
Basically, Pen voice recorders are ballpoint pens that have high-quality digital voice recorders inside them. Whether it’s a business and academic setting, they blend in seamlessly so you can document meetings, interviews, and lectures with the recording gadget remaining unnoticeable.
Moreover, pen recorders come in handy when you want to record an instantaneous creative idea which you can use to expand a plot or add a dimension to a fictional character.
Most pen voice recorders have one-touch switches and are voice-activated, meaning that the pen goes into a rest mode once the environment turns quiet.
How Do I Choose the Best Pen Voice recorder?
Finding the best pen voice recorder is a contextual thing. Different settings will require different types of recorders, so you need to look at a couple of things like;
- The environment (inside or outside)
- The acoustics
- Background noise
- Distance or range
Attentively check the features that I have compiled below to determine a good pen voice recorder.
What to Look for When Buying an Audio Voice Recorder in A Pen
A good voice pen recorder needs to record crystal clear sound. Nobody buys a voice recorder that produces buzzy and sometimes guttural audio recordings, so you should look for a pen recorder with a high-quality microphone. Generally, a higher bit rate translates to higher audio quality.
FYI, the higher the bitrate, the more the storage space used to store that playback. So, quality and space should be in the same bracket when looking for a voice recording pen.
Memory Storage Capacity
You’re probably going to be recording for long periods of time, so you’ll need a pen recorder that has ample storage space.
Some pen recorders have an external microSD storage feature, but most have an adequate 16GB inbuilt capacity.
Some manufacturers have gone further to add a feature called cyclic recording. With this feature, the pen automatically substitutes older recorded clips with new recordings. Although this feature enables the pen to continuously record without storage space restrictions, there’s a downside: older files including those that weren’t backed up are automatically lost.
It would be counter-productive to have a Pen Recorder that had a very weak battery. Some pens have rechargeable batteries while others use non-rechargeable batteries.
Whichever option you choose, having a pen recorder that has a good battery life means you can record long continuous loops without worrying about the battery dying in the middle of a recording session.
To conserve battery life, you should use lower quality audio recording formats.
One ‘à la mode’ and intuitive feature is voice activation. A voice-activated recorder automatically starts recording when sound is detected. When there’s a prolonged silence, the recorder stops and goes into a rest mode.
This saves the pen’s power and makes sure that only relevant audible stuff is recorded.
Some pen recorders don’t have this feature, so you should always check before purchasing.
Ease of transferring recordings
You’ll probably want your files to be stored on a computer or backed up on cloud servers. Usually, this means transferring using a USB.
You should always check if a pen is compatible with your computer’s operating system to avoid connectivity hassles.
Moreover, a pen voice recorder needs to be easy to use. A single power on/off button and indicator lights are sufficient for most pen voice recorders.
Can purchase additional ink refills
With standard ballpoint pens, we don’t really sweat about the pen running out of ink—when it dries, we simply get another one.
But with pen voice recorders, you can’t just throw away a whole digital recorder because the ink has dried, but it’s so unhip to carry a pen that doesn’t write. So, it’s better to have a pen that has refillable tubes you can purchase to keep the ballpoint rolling in ink.
Best Pen Voice Recorder Roundup
With high-quality sound, sleek design, and a natural professional environment camouflage, the voice recorder will seamlessly record unsuspecting subjects and record office meetings, lectures, and interviews.
There are a lot of good recording pens in electronics stores, spy gizmo stores, and online retailers, some of which you can access using the direct links from this article.
The best pen voice recorder that I’d recommend, again, is the TCTEC 16GB Digital Pen Voice Recorder—a stylish, easy to use, super smartpen with excellent battery life and good quality sound.