The basic mechanical filtration of pop filters is so practical and efficient, that we still haven't found better alternatives. They are still very much in use today, positioned between the singer and the microphone to stop fast moving air from hitting the mic capsule. In addition to relieving excess air movements, these filters also prevent saliva and moisture from getting into the microphone to avoid potential internal damage.
Stop consonants (also called "plosives") force air to move faster, which hits the mic's diaphragm hard enough to cause unwanted signal clipping. Pop filters dissipate the air velocity, allowing for clean vocal recording even when using words that start with consonants like "P" and "B". As such it is imperative that you get a good pop filter for your mic, and this is where we come in with our guide to the best pop filters in the market today, to help you choose one that fits your budget and preferences.
First, we looked for pop filters that are readily available from US music gear retailers. We then compiled related data about them, including user reviews, forum discussions, expert opinions, and retail store ratings. The data we gathered were then processed by Gearank's algorithm which helped us rank the top pop filters as you can see below. For more information about this process, see How Gearank Works.
Things to Consider When Buying a Pop Filter
Most manufacturers choose to build their pop filters using nylon or other fabric materials, usually because they are cheaper and more importantly they get the job done. Others utilize woven or perforated metal, of which some claim to provide improved clarity and transparency, specifically in the upper frequencies. There is no definite answer as to which is better, many experienced users still prefer nylon mesh material, while more premium builders prefer metal.
The standard filter diameter that many pop filters follow is 6", but there are smaller ones, with 4" being the most common. The bigger the pop filter diameter is, the more room for movement the vocalist has. This allows for natural body movements while recording, instead of being strictly in one position which can sometimes kill inspiration and vibe. Smaller pop filters are ideal for small mics and small recording spaces, they are also lighter, which reduces the stress on the gooseneck, resulting in increased stability.
The length, flexibility and stability of the filter's gooseneck plays a very important role in positioning the filter. You don't want a filter that droops and requires constant adjustments, and you also don't want a neck that requires too much effort to bend to position.
Mounting and Compatibility
Most pop filters come with clamping and mounting mechanisms that allow for secure attachment to mic stands, and they should be fine if you use stand mounted mics. However, if you're using a desktop mounted mic, especially for home recording, you'll want a pop filter that can clip on the desk, or on the mic itself.
Best Microphone Pop Filters
Here are the top rated pop filters which include everything from affordable nylon mesh filters to expensive handbuilt wire mesh ones.
Auphonix Pop Filter for Desktop Mics
While the popularity and affordability of desktop USB mics have made home recording more accessible, some manufacturers didn't take compatibility with standard pop filters into account. This is where Auphonix came in with their specially designed clamps that conveniently and securely attach to popular USB desktop mics like the Blue Yeti. The Auphonix pop filter features a double mesh filter design and comes in a round shape that is 6" in diameter (also available in a smaller 4" version). It also features an adjustable gooseneck for precise and stable positioning.
- Double Screen Mesh
- 6" Diameter Filter Screen
- Adjustable Gooseneck
- Designed for the Blue Yeti Microphone
- Also works with other desktop mics
It's impressive how so many took their time to write good reviews for this affordable pop filter, and a good number of these users described in detail how they are satisfied with the filter's overall performance. From its ability to block pops, to its versatile gooseneck and clamp design, many consider it as the best choice for home recording studios that utilize desktop USB mics.
There are a few that encountered issues with the clamp, some where more specific in stating that the adhesive that holds the rubber pad in place gave out after some time. There was one who reported that the clamp somehow scratched his microphone, but this could also be attributed to improper use.
If you're looking for a workhorse pop filter to improve your podcasting and home recordings, the Auphonix Pop Filter is highly recommended.
Stedman Proscreen XL Pop Filter
The Stedman Proscreen XL Pop Filter features a 6" diameter filter that's made using material that they themselves designed and patented. While they did not give the exact details, some have described the filter material to be more like metal, that louver plosives to stop them from reaching your microphone, while keeping the sound uncolored. The company describes the material to be easy to clean and reliable, other features include a 13" flexible gooseneck and a nylon-tipped clamp that is meant to avoid scratches on your mic stand. Finally, the Stedman Proscreen XL Pro Filter commands a premium price relative to others, but it was still able to satisfy most of its users.
- 6" diameter filter made from exclusive patented material
- 13" gooseneck for positioning
- Nylon-tip clamp
- Angled filter openings that force the plosive energy downwards away from the mic
- Washable filter
The general sentiment of users is that the Stedman Proscreen XL Pop Filter is a great product, exceeding their expectations with its quality build and performance. Many reported that the unique material of this pop filter works really well, resulting in cleaner recordings. While others found the adjustability and reliability to be well worth the extra investment.
Speaking of investment, a few users found the price to be too high for a pop filter, but they are easily overwhelmed by those that say otherwise - that it gives you great return for your money. There are a few who commented that the filter does not work on certain vocal timbres, and others reminded that proper vocal techniques are still required to get the most out of this premium filter.
If budget is not an issue and you're looking for a reliable non-fabric mesh, then this American-made high quality pop filter is highly recommended.
Raxxess Stoppit Pop filter
The RaXXess Stoppit filter is an affordable filter that gets the job done with its straightforward design and practical price tag. It follows conventional pop filter design with a 6" diameter round fabric filter that is attached to a gooseneck and a clamp. The clamp allows for quick and secure attachments to mic stands and desks, making it useable for desktop recording as well. It also features a secondary pivot joint that lets you set the screen angle to match the specific pickup axis of the mic you're using.
- Diameter: 6"
- Adjustable gooseneck and steel clamp
- Secondary pivot joint for screen angle adjustments.
- Fabric mesh
The RaXXess Stoppit Pop Filter has impressed a big number of users with its price to quality ratio, with many finding themselves surprised by how much clarity and improvement it brought to their recordings, considering its affordable price tag. It gets the job done is a good summation of how many feel about its performance.
There are a few who reported out of the box quality issues, where they find out that the filter is damaged before they even started using them. There are also reports of concern over the thin mesh fabric material which may tear if not carefully handled.
Given its price and performance, the Raxxess Stoppit Pop Filter gets an easy recommendation, especially if budget is limited.
Pauly Superscreen Pop Filter
The Pauly Superscreen Pop Filter is a premium handmade filter that's meant for professional studio work. The high-price tag is justified by being handcrafted in Germany, its weapons-grade build quality and its proprietary gooseneck - which is flexible yet stable - able to stay in place for a very long time unless moved. The entire assembly of the pop filter is also designed to produce as little noise as possible, making this a great pop filter to work with in professional studios. The fabric membrane used is especially designed to stop plosives without disrupting the high frequencies.
- High Build Quality
- Fabric membrane
- Handmade in Germany
- Non-reflective gray finish
With its high price tag, many users were skeptical at first, but they quickly turned into fans and endorsers of the pop filter after using it. Many reported being impressed by the build quality, quiet operation and more importantly, the virtually zero sound degradation that they say this pop filter provides.
"High quality but a bit too pricey" is a fair summary of how many describe the Pauly Superscreen. There was one who reported getting low frequency rumbling from the pop filter when it is mounted to the mic stand, so for even quieter recording, he mounted the clamp to a separate stand.
The Pauly Superscreen requires quite an investment for a pop filter, and it is obviously not for the faint of heart, but those who invested on it got more than what they bargained for. Still it is highly recommended for professional studios.
Musician's Gear Double Pop Filter
The Musician's Gear Double Pop Filter employs an interesting method of removing the B and P consonant plosives - two pop filters divided by around half an inch of air space. This configuration has double the efficiency of conventional pop filters, the first filter redirects the plosive consonants to the open space in between which disperses the excess air pressure, while the second filter further disperses any unneeded air movements while allowing the sound to pass through clearly. Other features of this pop filter include standard flexible gooseneck for positioning and a c-clamp for securing the pop filter on a mic stand.
- Diameter: 6" Dual Filter
- Flexible Gooseneck
- C-Clamp (welded assembly)
Many users attest that for close mic vocal recording, and even for capturing whistling, the Musician's Gear Double Pop Filter will get the job done reliably well. Many reviewers comment that it outperformed their conventional pop filters, prompting some of them to retake some vocal recordings for the added clarity. Others also comment on the sturdy and stable assembly of this filter, stating that it is easy to setup and that it stays in plays for a good amount of time.
There are a few who were concerned with the extra weight of the double screen assembly, and its effect on mic stand balance. The clamp also got a few users concerned, reporting that the clamp is not designed for the thinner extension arm that holds the mic, adding to the balancing issue.
If you are into close mic singing, or you're looking to record plosive heavy singing and whistling, then this is an affordable pop filter to have ready.
Sterling Audio STPF2 Pop Filter
The STPF2 pop filter from Sterling Audio comes with their own dual layer mesh design, providing improved dissipation of unwanted pops. It also uses the mechanism of having two mesh filters separated by an open air space which helps better dissipate excess air movements, only this one features a 6" mesh made from nylon. The flexible gooseneck is half an inch longer than most pop filters at 13.5", allowing for a bit more leeway in positioning. It also has a mounting bracket that adds to the STPF2's compatibility with various microphone stand sizes, without compromising its flexibility and stability.
- Diameter: 6"
- Gooseneck: 13.5"
- Dual Layer Nylon Mesh Filter
It's interesting that majority of users found the Sterling Audio STPF2 to be a great pop filter for the price, considering that it is priced a few dollars more than most. Users have reported smooth filtered sound for various vocal styles, paired with popular recording mics like the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB mic. Many users also appreciate the mounting bracket that helps the pop filter securely attach to a mic stand.
Because of its solid build, a few users found the gooseneck to be a bit stiffer than their preference. Other than that, it gets mostly praise from musicians and home recording enthusiasts.
If you're looking for a set-and-forget pop filter that will stay in place for a long time, then check out the Sterling Audio STPF2.
Blue Microphones The Pop Universal Pop Filter
Unlike conventional designs that come with a circular shaped mesh filter, this one has a stylish bent rectangle shape. The mesh itself is built using metal wire, instead of the usual nylon, giving this filter a vintage appeal that better complements the look of most microphones. Other features include a flexible gooseneck and a mounting bracket for clamping on to a mic stand.
- Wire mesh grill
- Clamps to your mic stand
- Allow position adjustments
Many found the quality of this universal pop filter to be top notch, as evidenced by the many positive comments on its solid construction and good control of plosives. There was one who found the clarity to be better than conventional mesh filters, allowing sibilants like the S and T sounds to pass through clearly. The Pop also got a lot of thumbs up for its stylish design and reliable operation.
There are some users who expected this pop filter to work with the Blue Yeti mic (since it is made by the same company), and when they couldn't after a few tries, they rated the pop filter lower. Thankfully, some users have contacted Blue Microphones about this apparent incompatibility, and the response they got clearly showed that The Pop attaches easily to the back side of the Yeti - it would've rated higher if more people knew it before they rated the product. Being made of metal, some users cautioned that the filter can add significant weight to a mic stand, so adjustments maybe necessary.
If you're looking for a stylish pop filter for your desktop USB mic, or for your stand-mounted recording mics, then The Pop is your best pick.
CAD Audio EPF-15A Pop Filter
The CAD EPF-15A is an affordable pop filter that doesn't stray too far from standard designs, featuring a 6" washable nylon mesh screen that's made to protect your mic from plosives and from moisture due to saliva. This nylon mesh screen is described by users as having a similar feel to regular hose stockings albeit thicker, and it is connected to a flexible gooseneck holder that allows for positioning. The EPF-15A pop filter also comes with a swivel mount for added flexibility.
- Diameter: 6"
- Washable nylon mesh screen
- Swivel Mount
- Flexible 15" Gooseneck
Many users point to the CAD Audio EPF-15A's affordability and relatively good quality as its strong point. The majority agrees that it does the job of filtering plosives really well, considering the price, providing a cheap way of improving vocal recordings and pod casting.
There are some who reported having issues with stability, stating that the gooseneck droops because of the weight of the filter ring. They pointed to makeshift solutions like taping the filter in place.
If you are looking for an affordable pop filter that can get the job done, or you're looking to improve your home recording without going over budget, then check this one out.