The Best Cheap Streaming Microphones of 2019

Many professional gamers on YouTube and Twitch use a dedicated streaming microphone.

A well-chosen (and positioned) USB microphone will sound better than the built-in mic in a gaming headset. Before you buy a microphone for streaming or podcasting, consider:

  1. How many people will be speaking into the microphone?

  2. How noisy is the recording environment? Where do the noises come from?

  3. Must anything other than your voice be recorded while you're speaking?

The answers to these questions will help you choose a mic with the right "pickup pattern":

  • Omnidirectional - Records sound from every direction, including background noises like the click-clacking of a keyboard.

  • Cardioid - Emphasizes sounds that are in front of the microphone (like voices), but still records some ambient sounds.

  • Supercardioid - Strongly emphasizes (and isolates) sounds that are in front of the mic.

  • Bidirectional - Records sounds from front and back (i.e. good for interviews).

Cardioid microphones are a popular and flexible choice. Many are mounted on a desktop stand and some can be mounted on a swiveling boom arm (usually sold separately).

Here are well-reviewed USB streaming microphones that have sold for $50 or less in the last 12 months:

Good Price: $48 | Great Deal: $35

Blue's Snowball iCE microphone is well-built and captures voices crisply and clearly, especially when used with a pop filter, according to several Amazon customers. Many say this mic picks up background noise and needs to be positioned carefully (e.g. away from a keyboard). Some customers were disappointed by the quality of the included stand.

Good Price: $30 | Great Deal: $27

This microphone is solidly constructed, has a strong and sturdy stand, and sounds great for the money, according to several Amazon customers. Many customers (even happy ones) say this microphone is quieter than they hoped. Some were disappointed that the mic's USB cable is non-removable.

Good Price: $18 | Great Deal: $17

This plug-and-play microphone offers decent sound quality at a bargain price, according to several Amazon customers (many of whom use their mic for simple voice calls). Some reviewers wish the stand wasn't so bulky; others were disappointed that the mute button makes a clicking noise.

Good Price: $21 | Great Deal: $15

Fifine's USB microphone is a solid upgrade from a gaming headset, according to several Amazon customers. Some critical reviewers say that this mic picks up interference or static; others wish that the mic stand was sturdier and more adjustable.

Good Price: $38 | Great Deal: $29

Samson's Go Mic is small, portable and captures clean audio, according to several Amazon customers. Some gamers wish this microphone picked up less ambient noise; others complain that the microphone is super-sensitive and prone to clipping.

Good Price: $28 | Great Deal: $19

Several customers say that Amazon's plug-and-play USB microphone is a big upgrade over their headsets. Some reviewers complain that the mute button makes an audible click when it's pressed.


John DeFeo