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Blue Yeti vs Blue Snowball iCE (2021): Choosing Affordable USB Microphones

Without a doubt, Blue is among the most well-known USB microphone makers in the scene. In fact, many podcasters, YouTubers, Twitch streamers, and the like turn to its mics for everyday recording with high-quality audio.

Each one of its products offers a little something different over the others, making it fairly difficult to choose. Lots of people narrow down their choices to the standard Blue Yeti and Snowball iCE since both have a decent price-to-performance ratio. In a word, the former is relatively feature-packed, while the latter is more of a bare-bones mic. But that’s oversimplifying things.

Blue Yeti vs Blue Snowball iCE Comparison Chart

ModelBlue YetiBlue Snowball iCE
 Amazon productAmazon product
PriceAmazon productAmazon product
Sample Rate48 kHz44.1 kHz
Bit Rate16-bit16-bit
Frequency Response20 – 20 kHz40 – 18 kHz
Max SPL120 dB120 dB
Pickup PatternsCardioid, omnidirectional, stereo, bidirectionalCardioid
WeightMicrophone: 1.2 lbs
Microphone and stand: 2.2 lbs
1 lb

Design and Build

Arguably, the Blue Yeti is the better looker, and it’s more durable to boot.

Blue Yeti vs Blue Snowball iCE Design and Build
The Blue Yeti (left) has a metal build, while the Snowball iCE (right) is plastic.

Now the first things that’ll likely jump out at you is the Blue Yeti and Snowball iCE have radically distinct form factors. The Yeti has a cylindrical shape that’s typical of the Yeti line, while the Snowball iCE is circular, as its name suggests.

Regarding build quality, the Yeti has the clear upper hand. From its stand to its body, it’s made out of solid metal that promises long-lasting durability. Along a similar vein, its dials aren’t loose, and they’re hard to turn but in a good way. On the other hand, the Snowball iCE is a plastic affair, and even though that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, it still feels quite sturdy.

Features and Performance

The Blue Snowball iCE can’t hold a candle to the Yeti in features.

Blue Yeti vs Blue Snowball iCE Features and Performance
The Blue Yeti’s (in photo) controls and ports.

Specs-wise, the Blue Yeti trumps the Snowball iCE across the board. For starters, it has three capsules as opposed to one. Also, it has a higher sample rate of 48 kHz and a wider frequency response that ranges from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The Snowball iCE has a 44.1 kHz sample rate and a 40 Hz to 18 kHz frequency response range, for the record.

It doesn’t end there either. The Snowball iCE only has a cardioid pickup pattern, but the Yeti has four to choose from. Namely, it has cardioid for streams and podcasts, omnidirectional for 360-degree audio, stereo for capturing a realistic sound image, and bidirectional for face-to-face interviews.

Compared to the Yeti, the Snowball iCE is devoid of physical controls. There’s no mute button or volume and gain control knobs, and there’s definitely no built-in mic monitoring or pickup pattern toggle, all of which the Yeti has. However, that somewhat makes the Snowball iCE appealing because it offers a no-frills, plug-and-play experience.

Price and Value

The Blue Snowball iCE blows the Yeti out of the water when it comes to price.

Blue Yeti vs Blue Snowball iCE Price and Value
The Blue Snowball iCE (in photo) gives “basic USB microphone” a whole new meaning.

Right off the bat, the Blue Yeti costs more than twice as the Snowball iCE. The main thing to consider here then is whether the features of the Yeti are worth the higher price tag. On that note, a mute button, gain control, and mic monitoring are hard to pass up.

For professionals or those who simply want more control over their microphones, the Yeti gives more bang for the buck. However, for casual streamers and podcast makers, such features might not really be necessary. In addition, being limited to the Snowball iCE’s cardioid pickup pattern is probably a nonissue for them since it’s likely what they’ll use most of the time anyway.


The Blue Yeti clearly has lots of advantages, but the Snowball iCE still has its appeal.

Amazon product

Both USB microphones can deliver in terms of performance, but the Blue Yeti is just better. That’s because it has more features, controls, and pickup patterns. On top of that, it has a wider frequency response range and a higher sample rate.

Still, the Snowball iCE isn’t without its charm. As mentioned earlier, it’s a basic, straightforward plug-and-play microphone, and if nothing else, simplicity is its biggest strength. What’s more, it’s a lot more affordable than the Yeti.


📌 Is Blue Yeti better than Snowball iCE?

Yes, the Blue Yeti has more features, better specifications, and controls than the Snowball iCE. It also feels sturdier, thanks to its metal body instead of plastic.

📌 Is the Blue Yeti worth the buy?

Yes, the Blue Yeti has plenty of features to up your recording game. For one thing, it has four pickup patterns, a decent sample rate, a wide frequency response range, and a lot of controls to tweak its settings.

📌 Is the Blue Snowball iCE worth it?

Yes. Even though the Blue Snowball iCE is as basic as USB microphones get, it performs really well for its affordable price point.

📌 Does the Blue Snowball iCE have a mute button?

No, the Blue Snowball iCE doesn’t have a mute button. It also doesn’t have dials for gain control or mic monitoring, for that matter.

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.