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Best wireless microphones

Don't let wires drag you down.
By
March 31, 2021
Shure SLX124/85/SM58
By Shure
Shure SLX124/85/SM58 wireless microphone pack product image.
8.4
Check price
Positives
Different RF band models
Autoscan
Lav and handheld mic
330ft range
960 selectable frequencies across 24MHz bandwidth
XLR and 1/4
Negatives
Cannot use lav and mic simultaneousuly
Requires coordinated setup
The Bottom Line.
This combo pack has everything you need for a wireless microphone setup, and Shure ensures solid audio quality.
Sennheiser EW 112P G4
By Sennheiser
Sennheiser EW 112P G4 product image
9
Check price
Positives
Comes with 3.5mm and XLR cables
Autoscan available frequencies
100-meter range
1680 selectable frequencies across a 42MHz bandwidth
Negatives
Expensive
Doesn't fit smoothly with PA systems
No XLR output on receiver itself
The Bottom Line.
It’s no surprise Sennheiser is giving us the best wireless lavalier out there.
Rode Wireless Go
By Rode
Rode Wireless Go product image transmitter and receiver
9
Check price
Positives
Price
70-meter range
Compact
Easy to use
Negatives
Poor quality inbuilt mic
No direct smartphone mount
2.4GHz interference
Need lightning USB adapter for iPhone
Non-diversity wireless connection
The Bottom Line.
This system is affordable and user-friendly, making it a great partner for your smartphone.
Audio-Technica System 10 ATW-1102
By Audio-Technica
A product image of the Audio-Technica ATW-1102 System 10 wireless microphone system.
9.2
Check price
Positives
Easy to use
Automatic frequency selection
Frequency, space, and time wireless diversity
Digital 24-bit/48 kHz audio
Two independent receiver antennae
Negatives
2.4GHz frequency band interference
Not easily used for video cameras or smartphones
No 3.5mm minijack output
30-meter range
The Bottom Line.
This handheld wireless mic system is both easy to use and reliable.
Movo PM10 Deluxe Lavalier
By Movo
Movo PM10 Deluxe Lavalier product image
8.2
Check price
Positives
Price
Don't need to worry about radio frequencies
Audio quality
Negatives
Not actually a wireless system
Need Lightning USB adapter for iPhone
Manual audio and video sync
Incompatible with video camera and PA
The Bottom Line.
If you want to avoid figuring out radio frequencies and dropping too much money, the Movo PM10 Deluxe Lavalier has got you covered.

If you’re a skit comedian, a vlogger, a church leader, or a DJ, you might be sick of wires getting in the way of your performance—MCs and vocalists too! Wireless microphones can be difficult to wrap your head around, so we’ve listed the top five options for any application.

Editor’s note: this list was updated on March 31, 2021, to address the Rode Wireless GO II and other technical information.

The best wireless microphone system is the Shure SLX124/85/SM58 

The best wireless microphone system comes with four separate components: a handheld microphone, a lavalier, a bodypack transmitter to connect the lavalier to, and a receiver. This system is available in several different models which differ only by the frequency band they operate on. Any of the model options will likely be fine for your needs, but if the region you live in has legal limitations on usable RF bands, you can opt for a different one.

Shure SLX124/85/SM58
8.4
Shure SLX124/85/SM58 wireless microphone pack product image.Shure WL185 wireless lavalier cardioid mic product image.Shure SLX124/85/SM58 wireless microphone pack product image of just the receiver box.Shure SLX124/85/SM58 wireless microphone pack product image of just the SM58 handheld mic.
Shure SLX124/85/SM58
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There’s a lot of meat here, so bear with me: there are 960 available radio frequencies within each model’s bandwidth, so you have many options if you’re in an area with a lot of wireless devices. Don’t want to mess around with trial and error? The system’s autoscan feature locates a clear channel for you: the bodypack transmitter or SM58-integrated transmitter automatically syncs with the receiver at the push of a button. To be clear, though, you cannot connect both transmitters to the same receiver at once. You are able, however, to operate 12 of these systems (transmitter and receiver pair) on the same frequency band at the same time.

Shure SM58 microphone demo:

The system’s receiver is best suited for connection to a PA system due to its size, and is not ideal for attaching to a smartphone or video camera. Additionally, it has an XLR output and 1/4″ output but lacks a 3.5mm minijack output. Connecting from this XLR output to an XLR input is easy, but you’ll need a 3.5mm to female XLR cable if you want to connect the best wireless microphone system to a DSLR camera.

The microphone capsule on the handheld mic/transmitter is identical to that of the wired Shure SM58. Its cardioid polar pattern effectively rejects off-axis sound, which is great for music gigs. The treble amplification provides greater perceived clarity, while the bass attenuation reduces the proximity effect. Since this is a dynamic mic, it can take loud noises without distortion becoming a problem, further increasing its usefulness for live performances. It has a mute button, and lasts 8 hours on two AA batteries.

A photo of the Shure SM58 on the arm of a couch.
The Shure SM58 is virtually identical to the one included here, but it lacks a wireless transmitter.

The WL185 lavalier mic has built-in CommShield technology, which helps reduce interference from other radio frequency devices. Its polar pattern is also cardioid, which means it isn’t the most convenient for placement on the body: you need to be speaking into the top. The benefit: it rejects background noise. Shure also sells omnidirectional and supercardioid capsules that can be installed to replace the cardioid one here. You can also buy windscreens to reduce breath noises as well as plosives from speech.

What you should know about the best wireless microphones

What are the different components of a wireless microphone system?

A wireless mic system is composed of three main units: a microphone, a transmitter, and a receiver. Wireless lavaliers are connected to a transmitter by a wire; otherwise, the transmitter is integrated into the base of a handheld mic. The transmitter takes the audio signal from the microphone and sends it via radio frequencies to a receiver. You can then connect this receiver to a camera, a smartphone, or a PA, depending on the cables and output ports you have. 

What are the different types of wireless mics?

A picture of a man wearing a lavalier microphone.
Android Authority David Imel (formerly) of Android Authority uses a lavalier during video reviews.

A lavalier (“lav”), or lapel mic, is a small microphone often attached to the collar of a shirt by a clip. The lav is connected by a wire to a transmitter which its user can keep in her pocket. The differences between a lav and a handheld wireless mic: how the microphone is built, including its shape, size, and use case. Handheld mics are preferred for live performances as they’re easy to deal with and can be shared between performers; lavaliers, on the other hand, are great when you don’t want the mic to obstruct the frame of a video. You could also connect a shotgun mic to a boompole.

Shure SLX124/85/SM58 wireless microphone pack product image of just the SM58 handheld mic.
Shure The Shure SM58 wireless microphone has a small backlit screen.

The receiver is what determines what your wireless microphone system is compatible with. Typically, a receiver will have several outputs so that the system can be hooked up to a DSLR video camera, a smartphone, or a PA system. Whether you’re recording into a smartphone (with a headset jack) or a DSLR, a 3.5mm minijack is the cable you should be looking for. You may need to get a lightning USB adapter (a dongle) for compatibility with an iPhone.

Even if your receiver only has an XLR output, you can find adapter cables for pretty much any connector type. Keep in mind that not all smartphone apps recognize external microphones. In that case, it won’t register your wireless system, but these apps are few and far between. To connect your wireless system to a PA, your receiver must have an XLR output; these are also used for connection to many video cameras. Once your receiver is connected, it automatically syncs up the audio picked up by your wireless mic to the video being recorded.

Lifestyle image of a man being handed the Rode Wireless Go transmitter.
Rode Wireless microphones require communication between a transmitter and receiver.

As for physical compatibility with your recording or amplifying device of choice, it’s really a matter of preference. Some wireless microphone receivers attach easily to smartphones, making them portable and easy to use. But any receiver with a 3.5mm output will work just fine. Some wireless microphone receivers come with hotshoe mounts, which are specifically meant for attaching the device to a video camera. 

Connection and radio frequency limitations are region-specific

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) dictates the frequencies that wireless microphones are allowed to operate within. Before purchasing a wireless microphone system, it’s important to examine the radio frequency range that the microphone uses. Most importantly, as of July 13, 2020, the FCC is banning the use of devices operating within the 617-652MHz and 663-698MHz ranges. If you live outside of the United States, research limitations on radio frequencies within your particular place of residence. 

The JBL Quantum 800 lays on a desk next to a Logitech gaming keyboard and mouse.
JBL Quantum 800 headsets—and wireless gaming headsets in general—stream over the 2.4GHz frequency band, too.

Some wireless microphones operate over a 2.4GHz frequency band (2,400-2,483.5Mhz); this is an unlicensed band, meaning anybody can transmit on it. You might be familiar with this number because your Wi-Fi system and gaming headsets operate over it. It’s worth keeping in mind that crowding this range with too many wireless devices may interfere with connection stability. However, many wireless mic systems use additional methods, called diversity, of isolating channels besides frequency—one easy way to diversify is by changing the amplitude of your signal. These methods can reduce the likelihood of interference as a Shure representative explains:

With UHF systems, only one transmitter can work properly at a time on a selected frequency. If two or more transmitters are set on the same frequency, they must interfere with each other (IMD – intermodulation). When more than one transmitters are working at the same time, their frequencies must be set apart in certain calculated way to avoid IMD. For [the Shure] SLX, this means in a typical 24MHz bandwidth, 12 frequencies (channels) can be found and assigned to 12 transmitters without IMD. Similarly, for [Shure] SLX-D, up to 32 frequencies can be found without IMD in a 44MHz bandwidth.

In general, it is wise to look for external antennae on your wireless microphone receiver, because it facilitates a stronger and wider connection range than internal antennae. However, if portability and stackability are important factors, an internal antenna might be worth its compromises.

When using a wireless microphone system, it is important to limit the amount of obstructing objects between your transmitter and receiver, because this can disrupt the connection. If flawless audio quality is important to you, you should opt for a wired XLR microphone instead of a wireless one.

What is frequency response?

Shure SM58 microphone frequency response chart.
Frequency response refers to how much of each frequency your microphone transmits to its receiver.

Different uses of the term “frequency” can be confusing. In this section, we are referring to the audible frequencies that a microphone capsule reproduces, rather than radio frequencies that audio is transmitted over.

A flat frequency response is ideal for accurate audio production. This just means the frequency response chart won’t have a lot of bumps and dips. Sometimes a slight treble boost is beneficial for vocals or instruments because it amplifies the important features of these sounds. Bass attenuation can be beneficial to reduce the proximity effect and low-end distortion.

What is a polar pattern?

An example of a polar chart detailing the pickup pattern of a cardioid microphone
A cardioid pickup pattern can record sound from the front and sides of the unit.

A polar pattern chart illustrates the directionality of a microphone’s pickup. If you’re buying a handheld mic, you’ll likely end up with a cardioid pickup, which is most sensitive to sound from directly in front and slightly to its sides, while rejecting off-axis sound. If you’re buying a lavalier mic, an omnidirectional polar pattern is common because they allow for flexibility in the placement of the mic on your person—you don’t need it to be placed directly in front of your mouth. However, an omnidirectional pattern runs the risk of picking up and amplifying unwanted room noise.

The best wireless lavalier is the Sennheiser EW 112P G4

This wireless lav system by Sennheiser is portable and compact, making it perfect for connecting to any video camera. The EW 112P G4 comes with a 3.5mm-to-3.5mm cable as well as a 3.5mm-to-male XLR cable, so the receiver is compatible with pretty much everything. However, if you want to connect to an XLR input, you have to use the 3.5mm-to-XLR cable because the receiver doesn’t have an XLR output, and this type of cable does not have as reliable of a connection as an XLR to XLR cable. The receiver itself isn’t intended to smoothly integrate with a PA due to its small size, but you can still make it work; the same goes for smartphone compatibility. The EW 112P G4 comes with a hot shoe mount and is ideal for hooking up to video cameras for high quality audio.

Sennheiser EW 112P G4
9
Sennheiser EW 112P G4
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The lavalier microphone, called the ME2-II, has an omnidirectional pickup pattern so can be placed freely. The frequency response is a little narrower than typical microphones, allowing it to attenuate both the very high and the very low frequencies. While this may not make for the most accurate sound reproduction, for recording music, it allows for high speech intelligibility because it zeroes in on vocal frequencies.

The ME2-II has a combination of high sensitivity and a high max SPL. Additionally, both the transmitter and receiver allow for sensitivity adjustment, and a pre-installed windscreen protects the recording capsule from unwanted sounds like plosives, fricatives, and wind noise.

The Sennheiser EW 112P G4 has an autoscan feature and is compatible with 1680 selectable frequencies across a 42MHz bandwidth, so you won’t need to worry about finding an empty frequency. Additionally, you can operate 12 EW 112P G4 systems (transmitter and receiver pair) on the same frequency band at once. The best wireless lavalier microphone system’s signal range is 100 meters, and operates decently through obstructions.

The best wireless microphone system for smartphones is the Rode Wireless Go

If you are looking to vlog with your smartphone’s camera, you may want better audio quality than your phone’s mic can provide—particularly when filming at a distance. There are wireless microphone systems out there that connect more smoothly to smartphones than the Rode Wireless Go, but the Wireless Go affords consistent wireless connectivity, which is invaluable. The Rode Wireless Go is no-frills and the best wireless microphone system for smartphones.

Rode Wireless Go
9
Lifestyle image of a man being handed the Rode Wireless Go transmitter.A lifestyle image of a woman wearing the Rode Wireless Go transmitter.A product image of the Rode Wireless GO receiver and transmitter boxes.
Rode Wireless Go
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This system comes with a tiny transmitter and a tiny receiver, both of which can easily be clipped to clothing, or a selfie stick’s cold shoe. The transmitter has a built-in omnidirectional microphone, and its small size means you can easily hide it in your collar. Rode includes an attachable windscreen, but it is not very secure. Additionally, the audio quality of the inbuilt mic isn’t great. If it doesn’t satisfy you, we recommend adding a lavalier mic to this setup, and the Movo PM10 is an affordable and good quality choice. The 3.5mm input on the Rode Wireless Go transmitter is non-locking, so you’ll want to make sure your lav isn’t at risk of being ripped out.

The receiver has three options for attenuation pads, so you can adjust your volume to avoid any clipping. If you have an iPhone and no 3.5mm input, you’ll need an adapter to plug the receiver into your phone. Once everything is properly connected, audio and video will be synchronized.

The receiver has three attenuation pad options, so you can avoid audio clipping on the fly.

The wireless connection on the Rode Wireless Go is very easy to use and operates over a 2.4GHz bandwidth, automatically finding the clearest channels available, so users don’t need to understand RF jargon. Convenience is great, but the 2.4GHz bandwidth can be very crowded by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, interference may occur. Don’t let that deter you: all wireless microphone systems are prone to interference. The connection on the best wireless microphone system for smartphones extends to 70 meters, and you can operate eight of these systems at the same time in one location. Both the transmitter and receiver have a rechargeable battery with about a 7-hour battery life.

The Rode Wireless GO II includes more features

While the Wireless GO II looks nearly identical to the Wireless GO, it adds important features like dual-channel recording, expanded device compatibility, and onboard storage. The second-generation model includes two transmitters with integrated omnidirectional condenser mics and one dual-channel receiver. You’re allotted 24 hours of recording with the onboard storage (compressed) or 7 hours of uncompressed audio.

The Rode Wireless GO II costs about $100 USD more than its predecessor.

The Audio-Technica System 10 ATW-1102 is the best handheld wireless microphone 

If you’re looking to use a wireless microphone system with a PA, look no further. The best handheld wireless microphone system makes pairing the receiver with the transmitter easy. This system operates over the 2.4GHz frequency band, but it utilizes frequency, space, and time diversity when creating a wireless connection; the likelihood of interference is much lower than it would be sans-diversity. Furthermore, the double antennae in the transmitter ensure a stable connection. The receiver antennae also operate independently of one another, so if one is running into problems, the other can save your connection. The System 10 ATW-1102 finds its connection automatically. All you have to do is select your channel, and it will fluctuate frequencies within that channel.

Audio-Technica System 10 ATW-1102
9.2
A product image of the Audio-Technica ATW-1102 System 10 wireless microphone system.
Audio-Technica System 10 ATW-1102
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The receivers are stackable, and you can operate eight of them simultaneously within the same frequency band. They sport both XLR and ¼” outputs, but no 3.5mm minijack output. This should be fine, because this system is not suited for connecting to video cameras or smartphones; it’s not portable as it must be plugged in to a power source. Additionally, the wireless range is on the shorter end (30 meters). If you are only using this system in an auditorium, church, or small performance space, it should work just fine.

The handheld microphone has a unidirectional pickup pattern, and is a dynamic microphone capsule, so it is great for isolating sounds on stage and withstanding loud sounds without distorting. The best handheld wireless microphone has 24bit/48kHz operation, which affords plenty of leeway when editing. The mic also has a mute function, and a 7-hour battery life.

The Movo PM10 Lavalier Microphone is the best no-frills option 

Full disclosure: we’re kind of cheating with this one. The Movo PM10 isn’t technically a wireless option, because it is just a lav mic without any receivers or transmitters. Of course, you can hook it up to a wireless system, such as the Rode Wireless Go, but we’re offering you a hack that saves you from splurging for a wireless system.

Movo PM10 Deluxe Lavalier
8.2
An image of the Movo PM10 Deluxe Lavalier worn by a woman in front of an iPhone.An image of the Movo PM10 Deluxe Lavalier in a man's hand.
Movo PM10 Deluxe Lavalier
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 The Movo PM10 connects directly to a smartphone through a 3.5mm input, and can be used with any audio recording app that can detect external microphones. Once you’ve plugged this lavalier mic in, you just pocket your smartphone or recording device. Video can then be recorded with a separate video camera, and you can manually synchronize the audio during post-production. This is easy enough: clap a few times at the beginning of the recording and later sync the claps up. The Movo PM10’s extra-long cable (1.2 meters) means you can use it while your iPhone serves as the video camera. This will allow you to avoid having to manually sync your audio and video. Keep in mind that the Movo PM10 is not directly compatible with a DSLR video camera and is only meant to be plugged into a smartphone.

See: How to record on a budget

The mic has an omnidirectional pickup, but it does an okay job of rejecting ambient noise due to the ratio of its sensitivity and max SPL, and audio quality is fairly clear for the price. Additionally, this lapel mic comes with two attachable windscreens and tie clips as well as a carrying case. For under $15 and no need to understand radio frequencies, the Movo PM10 is a pretty solid option.

Why you should trust SoundGuys on the best wireless microphones

Each writer at SoundGuys has accumulated years of experience reporting on the consumer audio market, and our staff adheres to a strict ethics policy. We never use ads or sponsored content on the website, so you can trust that our opinions are unbiased. SoundGuys’ survival depends solely on readers enjoying their purchases. We pride ourselves on transparently outlining objective facts, while accounting for the subjective experience to contextualize an audio product’s performance. When we do misspeak, we correct and own up to it.