There are a number of different quality lavalier microphone brands on the market and prices can range from cheap and affordable to exorbitantly expensive. Audio fidelity can also fluctuate widely from brand to brand. Knowing which lav mic to go with can be a difficult choice for the independent filmmaker. In this list, we’ll be counting down eight quality lavalier microphone choices, ranking them by price, and helping you determine the best lavalier mic for filmmaking within your budget range.

Before we get starts, if you don’t already know what a lav mic is, or if you need a quick refresher, be sure to read our What is a Lav Mic explainer article.

Good lavalier mic

8. Sennheiser MKE-2-PC

MKE-2-PC lapel mic with XLR connector

MKE-2-PC lapel mic with XLR connector

The Sennheiser MKE-2-PC is the most expensive lavalier microphone on this list by a significant margin clocking in at $399.95. This is still far from being the most expensive lavalier on the market. The MKE-2-PC has great audio fidelity and has strong background noise reduction capabilities. Two cool bonus features with this lapel mic are the stainless steel cable and waterproofing which both help ensure a long life span for the product. Despite the drawbacks, it is still one of the best wired lav mics on the market.

90%
quality
50%
value
70%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Water proof
  • Background noise reduction
  • Stainless steel cable
  • Price
  • No clip on lapel mic
  • Requires accessory kit

Best Lavalier Microphone

Conclusion

The Sennheiser MKE-2-PC lapel microphone is on the pricier side but it’s plain to see where that extra money goes.

Best lapel microphone

7. Sony ECM-77B

ECM-77Bwith XLR connector - Best lapel mic

ECM-77Bwith XLR connector  •  Best lapel mic?

Priced at $274.99, the Sony ECM-77B lapel microphone is a good deal cheaper than a previous entry but still toward the more expensive end of the scale. Unlike some of the others on this list, the ECM-77B lavalier microphone is considered industry standard and finds extensive use in the television, theater, and radio industries. The audio quality is very high, making it one of the best lav mics available. This lavalier microphone can be run on phantom power or on AA batteries. This mic is also extremely small, even by the best lapel mic standards, measuring just 5.6 millimeters in diameter. If low-profile/invisibility is a priority in your lavalier microphone decision making, then the ECM-77B may be your best choice.

95%
quality
60%
value
78%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Industry standard
  • Discreet size
  • Power options
  • Price
  • Requires XLR connection
  • N/A

Best lav mic

Conclusion

The Sony ECM-77B lavalier microphone is great for professional productions but not the best lavalier mic for DSLR filmmakers as it requires XLR connection.

Best lapel microphone

6. Audio-Technica AT899

5mm AT899 lavalier microphone

5mm AT899 lavalier microphone

The AT899 lavalier microphone is similar in price to our previous entry, landing at $269. This lapel mic is considered sub-miniature at just 5 millimeters in diameter, meaning a great deal of attention has been paid to the size and profile of this mic, making it one of the top lapel mics if invisibility is a high priority for you. The small size, luckily, does not translate to a drop in audio quality. This lavalier microphone also comes with a generous accessory kit.

90%
quality
65%
value
78%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Audio fidelity
  • Accessory kit
  • Sub-miniature size
  • Price
  • Somewhat delicate
  • N/A

Best lavalier mic for DSLR

Conclusion

The AT899 lavalier microphone is another great choice if low-profile is of great concern to you and if your budget isn’t too tight.

Best lapel mic

5. Tascam DR-10L

Tascam lav and portable recorder

Tascam lav and portable recorder

The next step down in price is the Tascam DR-10L which lands $199.99. Unlock other entries on this list, the DR-10L is not just a lav mic but also a portable audio recorder. This lac/recorder combo is a great value for what is on offer and allows for wireless recording. The DR-10L is a favorite amongst documentarians and videographers.

80%
quality
75%
value
78%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Wireless
  • Lav+recorder
  • Adaptable and dynamic
  • Less for traditional film shoots
  • Light on internal settings
  • N/A

Best lavalier microphone

Conclusion

If running and gunning or guerilla style filmmaking is your style, then the DR-10L is a great choice for lav and recorder.

Best Cheap Wireless Lavalier mic

4. Movo WMIC50

Transmitter and receiver + lav + single earbuds x2

Transmitter and receiver + lav + single earbuds x2

Our next option is a huge leap down in price. This is our first lav under 100 dollars and finds itself selling for just $79.95. This is an especially great value considering that the WMIC50 is a wireless system which includes a transmitter, receiver, and the lav itself. The way this mic system works is through a bodypack transmitter worn by the subject which sends the information to a receiver pack that is mounted on the camera itself and plugged directly into the camera’s microphone port. Battery life is one concern with this product as both the transmitter and receiver require two AAA batteries each, and those will typically need replacing after 3 and a half hours.

80%
quality
80%
value
80%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Wireless system
  • Camera mount pre-syncs
  • No field recorded needed
  • Battery life
  • Possible connection issues
  • Requires testing on different settings

Best budget wireless lavalier mic

Conclusion

The Movo WMIC50 is a great value for what’s included with the purchase. They even throw in a pair of single earbuds for audio monitoring.

Best budget wireless lavalier mic

3. Rode smartLav+

smartLav+ packaging

smartLav+ packaging

The Rode smartLav+ is essentially the same cost as our previous list entry, just 95¢ cheaper at $79 flat. Rode is one of the most trusted names in audio recording and the smartLav+ is one of the cheapest offerings, designed for budget conscious and indie filmmakers. This lav was made specifically for use with ios devices, though adapters are available to allow compatibility with other devices. The smartLav+ features a common headset jack that plugs straight into your iphone or ipad to record audio directly to that device. Under the right conditions, this cost-efficient and user-friendly lav mic can produce professional quality results.

70%
quality
90%
value
80%
OVERALL SCORE
  • User-friendly
  • Convenient
  • Wireless
  • Few options
  • Tricky to get perfectly clean audio
  • Not quite professional quality

Best cheap wireless lavalier mic

Conclusion

The smartLav is designed for low budget indie filmmakers and for those just getting into the craft, or those who don’t require the most pristine audio quality for what they are making.

Best lavalier microphones

2. Shure MOTIV MVL

Shure MVL with common headphone jack

Shure MVL with common headphone jack

The Shure MOTIV MVL is a similar price to the two previous entries but just a little cheaper. The MVL runs just $69 and, similar to the smartLav+, is designed for use with smartphones. The MVL has a leg up on the smartLav+ as it is not confined to Apple devices specifically; the MVL will work with both ios and Android. This mic can also be run directly into a DSLR camera but requires an adapter to do so.

70%
quality
90%
value
80%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Cheap
  • Adaptable
  • User-friendly
  • Settings can be confusing for best results
  • Not professional grade quality
  • N/A

Best lapel mics

Conclusion

In direct competition to the smartLav+, the Shure MOTIV MVL has the advantage on both price and options.

Best cheap wireless lavalier mic

1. Giant Squid Audio Lab

Giant Squid lav with 6’ cord

Giant Squid lav with 6’ cord

This goofily named lav mic is the cheapest by far, clocking in at just $40. This is insanely cheap for a quality lav mic. Any mic being offered for cheaper than this is likely not going to perform the job you need it to do. The sound quality is surprisingly high for a mic of this price and rivals the audio captured by either of the other lav options in the under-$100 range. The Giant Squid is designed to be plugged directly into the camera’s microphone port and also works well when plugged straight into many models of laptop.

70%
quality
100%
value
85%
OVERALL SCORE
  • Extremely cheap
  • Surprisingly high quality audio
  • N/A
  • Not professional level
  • Poor windscreen
  • Short cord

Best budget wireless lavalier mic

Conclusion

The Giant Squid Audio Lab is as cheap as you can get without sacrificing too much audio fidelity. Well worth the $40.

UP NEXT

Ultimate Guide to Sound Recording

There is always more to learn about the art of capturing audio for film and television. Take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Sound Recording: Audio Gear and Techniques to further your understanding of the audio arts and to pick up some tips and tricks.

Up Next: Ultimate Guide to Sound Recording →
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  • Sam Kench is an internationally-awarded screenwriter, independent filmmaker, and film critic. Lover of foreign films; hater of American remakes.

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