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How to Choose the Best Speaker Mic by Staff Editor

Offering users flexibility not possible solely from a radio, speaker mics come in a variety of styles with a wide range of features, but with so many models available, how do you choose the right one?

Law enforcement, construction, and hospitality all have one thing in common – the need for clear and reliable communications. This is typically provided by a radio worn on a belt, making it cumbersome to remove, speak into and replace. Speaker microphones can be vital in environments that call for hands-free listening. Offering users flexibility not possible solely from a radio, the speaker mic comes in a variety of styles with a wide range of features. 

Enabling hands-free listening and convenient access to Push-to-Talk (PTT) communications, speaker mics lead to an increase in productivity for individuals and teams who are constantly on the go. Speaker microphones keep team members apprised of overall communications. They can be used with an earphone kit for discretion—isolating speech from background noise in loud environments and allowing users to keep locations and actions private. With so many different options available, choosing the right one can be a challenge and there are several factors to consider when searching for the best one to meet your needs.

When deciding which speaker microphone is the right one, start by identifying the requirements of the environment where it will be used. 

  • Public Safety, industrial environments, or construction require a durable speaker mic to work in rugged or harsh conditions.
  • Crowds or loud machinery call for a microphone specifically suited for high noise environments. 
  • Hospitals, casinos, hospitality, or building maintenance, require a lightweight design that produces clear communications. 

After narrowing down the options based on environmental needs, it is time to focus on the features. Rugged or harsh conditions necessitate a device meant to withstand blowing rain, wind, and extreme temperatures. Speaker microphones that meet the MIL-STD-810 ratings for high performance are crucial. The cables should be heavy-duty and maintain functionality under heat or abrasion. A built-in debris screen that guards against dust, dirt, and other foreign objects is imperative. Look for notches in the grill to ensure there will not be any pooling water on an exposed microphone. Water, dust and other debris can cause interference and negatively impact transmission clarity.

In areas where noise is a factor, there are two important features to include. A microphone with noise-canceling technology can provide clear transmissions by lowering background noise to ensure clarity. While excellent, noise-canceling elements do require users to address the mic directly—be sure to consider how you use your mic before making the decision to move to noise-canceling. The ability to adjust the output volume from the mic is another factor to include. Easy volume adjustment will give a user confidence they will hear every transmission, no matter the environment.

An ergonomic design that works with gloves and other protective gear is another important feature to look for. Large textured PTT buttons that are easily accessible and limit self-actuation are important, especially in mission critical applications. where users may wear gloves, vests, and other PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

Light duty environments such as, retail and hospitality, need the same benefits, including hands-free listening and convenient access. However, a low profile or compact-sized option might be more desirable. Even in light duty applications, keeping the environment in mind is important when choosing the best mic option for you. A noise-canceling microphone could be beneficial depending on the location. For example, casinos are often highly populated with patrons cheering over their wins and hospitals have high noise levels in emergency situations where intercoms are can be blaring. If you are working in building maintenance, be aware of how much work is done outside in bad weather and whether that will affect performance.

There are several OTTO microphones that encompass the features needed for a variety of environments. The Revo NC2™  is a corded mic that allows for crystal clear comms due to OTTO’s proprietary noise-canceling technology. It is ideal for sporting or entertainment venues, construction, and for law enforcement. It is comfortable to wear with its slim profile and ergonomic design. The Revo NC2™ is compatible with personal protective equipment and includes a volume control. The textured PTT buttons make it easy to use, and limit self-actuation. It can handle being immersed in up to 1 meter of water for 31 minutes and comes equipped with a built-in debris screen. 

The Bluetooth® Revo NC2 cuts the cable for selected portable and mobile radios and brings mission-critical communication performance to a new generation of speaker mics. It includes built-in high definition voice audio which ensures transmission clarity. It has a top-mounted microphone offering unparalleled passive noise-canceling performance. Designed for rugged applications, a built-in debris screen keeps dust and dirt from impacting transmission clarity. It also meets the MIL-STD-810G ratings for high performance in harsh environmental conditions including 40 mph blowing rain. The Bluetooth® Revo NC2™ is a favorite of military, law enforcement, construction, and mining crews.

The Storm™ is a traditional omni-directional microphone. The durable design meets the MIL-STD-810 ratings and includes a built-in debris screen. It has also been tested to withstand submersion in 1 meter of water for 31 minutes. The Storm™ has a large PTT that offers positive tactile feedback and push-button volume control. It is a favorite of first responders and construction workers.

The OTTO 500 is the ultimate in rugged speaker mics, built for the demanding environments of firefighting and the most difficult conditions. It is designed to withstand heat up to 500° F, functioning for at least 5 minutes at that temperature. It comes equipped with a dual grill that includes a removable and replaceable front screen. The microphone is optimized to reduce ambient noise and it offers a large snap-action PTT for use with gloves and other protective gear.

The Evolution is a versatile and reliable speaker mic for many demanding environments. It has a built-in debris screen, and the sealed housing meets MIL-STD-810 including 40 mph blowing rain. The volume is easily adjustable, and it can be used with an earphone kit for discreet communication in loud conditions.


The Revo NC1™ offers a classic design with a high-performance, and noise-canceling microphone. Just like its name the Revo NC1 is lightweight and compact in size. Built for durability, this speaker mic is ideal for retail, hospitality, food and beverage, and entertainment industries or any situation in which staff have to share mics.


Speaker mics help users communicate more clearly, boost productivity, and increase efficiency for busy workers in any industry. Choosing the right speaker mic can be a challenge, but by determining the environmental requirements and identifying the features that best suit your needs, you can improve communications for your whole team.


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