The 9 Best Microphones For Online Teaching

By Editorial Staff •  Updated: 08/18/23 •  Teach Online

While most headsets that are designed for chat or online teaching come with a built in microphone, what if you want to use a pair of headphones that do not have a microphone?

Your built-in internal microphone on your laptop should be acceptable in most instances, but just like getting a decent webcam allows you to upgrade your video – getting a dedicated microphone will do the same for your audio which is just as important if not more important.

So what should you look for in buying an external microphone for online teaching? Here is what we here at Teach and GO suggest:

Low price

Microphones that are designed for voice recording are actually quite affordable. With the more premium options being over $100, you can find a decent microphone for a fair price and we’ve tested out quite a few different options.

There is no need to spend an excessive amount on something as simple as a USB microphone for a laptop unless you tend to do more advanced things like voice over work or YouTube videos.

Plug and play usability

Microphones can come with various advanced options to pair with a DSLR camera or be something as simple as a USB connection with a laptop. As we are only looking at quality microphones for voice recording, more expensive and complicated options are not included on this list.

We want something simple that just works out of the box. You plug it into your laptop or computer, your device recognizes it and all you have to do is select it as the audio option when in your online class.

Small, portable size

Some external microphones designed for laptops and professional voice recording are big. The popular Blue Yetti microphone comes to mind. While it does produce high quality audio, it’s way to big to use for an online class.

Only small, portable and easy to use microphones made our list. Another reason is that we also don’t want the microphone to appear in the video, so to accomplish that small is the way to go.

The Best Microphones for Online Teaching

So with that short buying guide out of the way, here are the best, most affordable and practical microphones that are ideal for online teaching. These microphones are the right mix of small size, low price with high quality audio:

Fifine USB Microphone – The low priced premium option

This is a high quality USB condenser microphone that is designed for online content creators that won’t break the bank so to speak. While it’s made for individuals who want to get into streaming, voice over work or YouTube videos it’s actually quite a nice microphone for the online teacher.

Fifine Microphone

A solid mid range that is a step up from the Blue Snowball.

As a condenser microphone, it will produce better quality audio than a cheaper desktop microphone or the built in internal microphone on your laptop. It will also do a fine job of isolating your voice and cancelling out background noise.

Pros:

Cons:

Shure MV7 – The best USB microphone on the market.

The Shure MV7 is the USB version of the SM7B which is currently the most popular podcasting microphone in the world. The MV7 has three types of connections. You can plug it in via an XLR cable to a sound mixer (for professional use) or you can plug it in via the included USB cable or thunderbolt cable.

Shure MV7

One of the best USB microphone available. Multiple connections available for your laptop and a sound mixer.

With more and more modern laptops foregoing the USB connection in favor of USB type C or thunderbolt ports, the fact that you can plug this microphone in directly with no dongle is wonderful.

Last, the audio quality is outstanding. Deep and rich with clear highs. You also get access to Shure’s MOTIV software to adjust the gain and audio profile. This is the best USB microphone we’ve come across. It’s expensive, but in terms of audio quality and aesthetics, the Shure is tough to beat.

Pros:

Cons:

Rhode NT USB – The best mid-range microphone

The Rhode NT USB is a small and surprisingly heavy microphone that produces high quality audio. It’s plug and play, comes with it’s own little stand and overall has premium build quality and a minimalistic design.

Rhode NT USB

The Sun Joe SPX3000® pressure washer delivers it all to tackle a variety of cleaning tasks: homes, buildings, RV’s, cars, trucks, boats, decks, driveways, patios, lawn equipment, and more.

This microphone is a good choice for teachers because it can be positioned in a way to not be viewable on camera due to it’s small size. The only drawbacks we found is that the included stand, while it looks great, is too small and you’ll find yourself leaning forward towards the microphone.

You’ll probably want to prop it up a few inches using a book, that’s what we ended up needing to do in order to get optimal sound using this microphone.

Also, like all lower priced microphones there is no mic gain control. Gain allows you to adjust the microphone sensitivity. Instead, you have to adjust everything via your laptop or desktop, not a big deal for a simple use case like an online Zoom class. Last, it comes with a built in pop filter which is surprisingly helpful.

Pros:

Cons:

Blue Snowball – Best price and performance microphone

The Blue Snowball is the little brother of the more premium Blue Yetti. It rose to prominence as a microphone of choice for aspiring pod-casters due to it’s surprisingly good audio quality.

Blue Snowball

A classic choice that provides excellent sound, though it does have a dated design.

For strictly voice work (not singing or recording instruments) the Blue Snowball opens up a wide variety of options for the online teacher. You can now improve the audio for your online class, online courses all for a low price. The only issue with the Blue Snowball is the build quality of the wire that connects it to your laptop.

Pros:

Cons:

Fifine Mini Gooseneck microphone – The tiny option for laptops

This little gooseneck microphone is very small and ideal for anyone who teaches English online using a laptop (which is most of us). It’s a small, no frills microphone that plugs into your laptop via a USB connection and gives you much improved audio over your internal audio.

Fifine Mini Gooseneck

Comically small and cute. Surprisingly good sound for the price point.

This is the best budget microphone to get if all you’re looking to do is get something that will improve the audio of your online class. It has no advanced features as you should expect but it does allow you to use a headset of your choice and still have quality audio without pickup too much background noise.

Pros:

Cons:

CMTeck USB Computer Microphone – The noise cancelling option for desktops

This is a good (not great) USB noise cancelling microphone. Perfect for any laptop or desktop. With it’s low price, long cable and small size, this is an excellent option for any type of video call.

CMTeck

Cheap, noise cancelling microphone for your desktop computer.

While this particular model is designed for online gaming, it doubles quite well for the online teacher. With it’s small body and long goose neck design, this microphone is easy to setup and position out of sight of your webcam while conducting class.

Pros:

Cons:

Samson Meteor Mic – Great for travel and home use

This is a well designed, premium looking little microphone that pairs well with any laptop for better audio. Inside, it is designed with a large condenser diaphragms of 25mm so you can be confident that the audio you record will be clear and accurate.

Meteor Mic

Little travel mic, perfect for a laptop computer. Ideal for online teaching.

It comes with a built in tripod that is also removable and it connects to your device via a USB like all the other microphones. This particular model does not have any pro features like a mic gain control or ability to change the direction of the sound pick up.

But if you’re looking for a more premium microphone compared to the Blue Snowball. One that has better build quality, then consider the Meteor Mic from Samson.

Pros:

Cons:

Hyper X Quad Cast – Pro mic features without the pro price

This is designed with a gamer in mind, but the audio quality is excellent and it’s a plug and play USB mic with a lot of pro features. First off, it has an anti-shock mount which is decent for when you accidentally hit the desk where you’re teaching (it happens).

Hyper X Quad Cast

Microphone for gamers, but it’s low cost and provides excellent audio for online teaching.

Next it comes with a mic gain and four different polar patterns (stereo, cardioid, omnidirectional, bidirectional) so you can set the audio settings to your liking. We find that the cardioid pattern sounds best typically, but you may also like the stereo pattern.

It can also easily be mounted on any mic stand with ease, but the base stand is tall enough to where you can set the mic next to your laptop as you’re conducting class. Overall, we are quite surprised with this microphone as it’s a significant step up with regard to sound and features when compared to budget mics.

Pros:

Cons:

Hyper X Solo Cast – Best budget mic

Finishing off our list is the Solo Cast from Hyper X. It’s a very small, budget friendly mic that produces sound almost on par with the larger and more expensive Quad Cast mic. It pairs perfectly for teachers who intend ot use their laptop to conduct class.

Hyper X Solo Cast

Our favorite budget microphone. Small in size, you’ll need a mount of some sort for this.

The features we really liked about the Solo Cast are obviously the sound quality, but it comes with a “tap to mute” button which is actually quite helpful in those rare instances when you need to turn off the audio quickly.

It’s mounted on a tiny stand that is adjustable to you can place the mic on your latpop and because it’s so small, it won’t be in sight on your webcam. Finally, it comes with only one polar pattern, cardioid. Which is best for teaching as it picks up sound in front reduces background noise.

If you want the best cheap mic that’s simple, well designed and small then consider the Solo Cast mic. It’s surprisingly good.

Pros:

Cons:

Alternatives to a USB microphone

External microphones are great because you can get high quality audio for your students. However, please be aware that you do have alternatives to look into.

Headsets for online class – There is an entire product category of headphones with built in microphones that are designed for chat. Some headsets even have noise canceling microphones built in too. If you’re required to wear a pair of headphones as you teach you may want to look into our buying guide on this.

Webcams for teaching – External webcams often come with their own high quality, built in microphones that out perform the built in, on board audio of your computer.

Best Microphones for Online Teaching

So that is it for Teach and GO’s best microphones for online teachers. If you already have a headset with a built in microphone we would skip on getting an external microphone unless you wanted to vastly upgrade your audio.

If you would prefer to get a more premium set of headphones (which usually don’t have an attached microphone) then consider getting an external USB microphone. They make a significant difference in audio quality.

Editorial Staff

I'm David Unwin and I head the editorial staff here at Teach and GO. I've taught as an ESL teacher in Thailand for 5+ years at all levels of education, from elementary to University. I was also one of the first 1000 VIPKID teachers. I and my team now share my extensive experience as a teacher here at Teach and GO. Learn more.

Keep Reading