What is the best transcription foot pedal? From my personal experience, it’s the Infinity IN-USB-1 transcription foot pedal. Believe me, I don’t make that statement lightly. And I’ sticking my neck out here, though justifiably, proclaiming that the Infinity is the best transcription foot pedal.
But, we’ve jumped the gun. I’ll get into the reasons why I consider the Infinity 1 to be the best transcription foot pedal, but before I get to that, why do you need a transcription foot pedal and what are the 3 key things to consider when buying a transcription foot pedal.
Transcription foot pedal?
Now, I’ve been a transcriber for over 15 years. In that time I’ve used a foot pedal consistently for the last 10 years. As a transcriber for the first 5 years, I did use a transcription foot pedal, but not regularly. Why would you need a foot pedal for transcription? Transcription pedal allows you to use your feet to control audio playback (and sometimes a little bit more – you can configure them to different shortcuts). In essence, you can use all of your 4 limbs to transcribe!
That might seem like a very efficient way to transcribe, and there are claims that a transcription foot pedal will increase your transcription speed by 30% or by several magnitudes! I’d say hogwash to these claims. Yes, a foot pedal will increase your transcription speed by magnitudes, if you’ve been using your mouse to control audio playback.
But if you’ve been using your keyboard hotkeys, I’ve found that the increase in speed is marginal at best. Realistically, I’d say 5% over keyboard shortcuts. And less if you are a touch typist. Where I’ve found the foot pedal really worthwhile is configuring it to other shortcut keys that I use during transcription. Let me give you a couple of examples.
If I’m inserting timestamps into a transcript. I usually set the center press to my insert timestamp shortcut key (F8 – because I struggle to locate it on my keyboard). When I’m transcribing 1-on-1 interviews, I set the left press to insert interviewer: and right press inserts interviewee: into my transcript. As you can imagine, there are numerous possible use cases. You might need an additional software to configure your foot pedal – but most transcription software have this capability.
So, from my experience, if you are an experienced transcriber and you’ve never used a foot pedal, don’t expect efficiency increases by several magnitudes. If you are on a tight budget, you are better off getting a good pair of transcription headphones. However, a transcription foot pedal can be configured to so many uses that it is a worthwhile investment. And if you are a budding transcriber, get one!
3 Key Things to Consider when Buying a Transcription Foot Pedal
Compatibility with Transcription Software
We all have our favorite transcription software. You’ll need to make sure that your transcription software and the foot pedal are compatible. Most transcription software are compatible with most USB transcription foot pedals. However, they are rarely compatible with serial foot pedals. So please check your transcription software documentation, or contact them, if you’re in doubt. Most foot pedals don’t come with a transcription software – although they are regularly bundled with one.
PC or Mac
If you transcribe on a Mac, you have fewer choices of transcription USB foot pedal. Again most foot pedal work on PCs, compatibility with Macs machines is not guaranteed. Another factor with mac computers is the USB-C port. I’ve yet to come across a foot pedal that supports the USB-C port – which is going to be the standard on all Mac computers, especially the thinner laptops. So make sure your Mac has the normal USB port before buying a USB foot pedal.
If you plan to use your foot pedal every day, like I do, then durability is an important consideration. And here is the reason that I recommend the Infinity – I’ve use it for the last 7 years and it still works like new, and has no sign of tear and wear. 7 years! The foot pedal I replaced with the Infinity lasted 6 months. To be fair, it was a cheap Chinese knock-off – at a third of the price of the Infinity. From my experience, the heavier and more rugged the foot pedal, the longer it lasts.
Those are the 3 key factors you need to consider when choosing a transcription foot pedal. I find that more and more transcription software are compatible with a wider range of foot pedal. This has not always been the case, most transcription software used to come with a propriety foot pedal. This is a welcome trend. From talking to other transcribers, it seems that newer models of transcription foot pedals are more fragile – and don’t last as long… Anyway, what are the top 3 foot pedals I’d recommend?
3 Best Transcription Foot Pedals
Digital USB Foot Pedal
Our first pick is the Digital USB Foot Pedal. A few of my fellow transcribers use this foot pedal and they really like it. To test drive, I borrowed one for a week and I’d say it’s probably as good as the Infinity, and I’ll probably get it as a replacement once mine kicks the bucket. Its main selling point is that it’s a lot cheaper than the Infinity. Very similar build. Lighter and smaller than the Infinity, and a tad more responsive. So great if you plan to move around and transcribe at different places.
Compatible with Express Scribe Pro, and F4 – tested on the older version. My only concern is durability, since it’s so light! I don’t believe it will hold up to the abuse it will live through. Fingers crossed. Best bang for your buck?
This is a great transcription foot pedal. There is a newer Infinity IN-USB-2 version, but there are problems with iffy USB connection with Windows 7 – very annoying. The older version, Infinity IN-USB-1, doesn’t have those issues. As I said, mine has lasted 7 years. In that time I’ve gone through 3 computers – works flawlessly with all of them. I’ve heard it doesn’t work with newer versions of Express Scribe – but it works with practically any transcription software. And it does work on both PCs and Macs.
A couple of years ago, I was looking for a portable transcription foot pedal I could comfortably travel with. I got the Philips ACC2310 and it has not disappointed me. It’s very light – so I don’t use it that much so as not to break it. And I did get some issues getting it to work with InqScribe – I did manage to get a driver that worked. Other than that, this is a great portable transcription foot pedal.
If you are considering getting a transcription foot pedal, I hope this post has been helpful. The more I use each of the recommended foot pedals, the more I like them, and I bet you’ll like them too. Happy transcribing.