Karaoke can be surprisingly fun either on your own or in a group. But it’s not just about entertainment, it can also really help to bring people together and make any party go with a bang.
Today, it’s more popular than ever. What’s more, as technology has advanced, there are increasingly more new ways of bringing karaoke to an even wider audience.
Whatever your karaoke-style, here are our top picks of the very best karaoke machines currently on the market.
What Is A Karaoke Machine?
The first karaoke machine was invented in 1971 by a Japanese musician and inventor, Daisuke Inoue. It was called the Juke-8. Although the first karaoke machine was invented by Onoue, it was patented by a Philipino inventor, Roberto del Rosario in 1975.
Invented in Japan, and patented in the Philippines, karaoke is still very firmly planted in the East and South-East Asia. It might have spread throughout the world over the last 50 years but the East will always be its homeland.
Karaoke machines have come a long way since the first machines were built back in 1971. But despite this, the concept remains the same. A karaoke machine is simply a device that can play music and display the lyrics in real-time.
Real-time lyrics are displayed in pretty much the same way as we used to see lyrics displayed back on some of those old TV shows. They used to use a bouncing ball graphic. Remember that? These days, karaoke machines use a sliding color to highlight the words, but it’s the same principle.
There are plenty of different types of karaoke machine, which we’ll look at in detail a little later, but basically, if it can play the backing track of a song, display the real-time lyrics, take out the original vocals from the mix, and allow you to substitute your own vocal efforts in place of the originals, you’ve got yourself a karaoke machine.
Benefits Of Owning The Best Karaoke Machines
The fact is that owning a karaoke machine is fun.
Karaoke is something you can do on your own or with a group. Although it’s often seen as a social thing, why not sing when you’re on your own? Kids love to do it so why don’t we do it too? Singing is not only enjoyable but can really help to unleash all that tension at the end of a stressful day.
When we think of karaoke we can’t help but think of those overworked and stressed out Japanese executives we’d see in those old Hollywood films. All singing their hearts out in the bars before they’d stagger their way back to their homes late into the night.
If you do use a karaoke machine on your won, one advantage, if you’re in a band or thinking of joining one, it’s a great way of learning any new cover songs you’re going to perform. It’s also a great way to get a bit of practice in, before singing at a karaoke party, to impress your friends, or just give yourself that little bit of extra confidence.
If the karaoke machine is not being used for your bedroom warbling it’s a great thing to have around at a party or just about any social event. Karaoke machines are a real ice-breaker that can get your party going and keep it going well into the night.
Most karaoke machines are highly transportable so they can easily be taken to a friend’s house, party, bar or club. Some machines have battery power so you can even take them out into the garden or out and about in general. Hell, why not take it camping with you?
These things are an instant party in a box.
Before we start our review of the best karaoke machines currently on sale we have to put out a special mention to all the kids and all of those with little ones of their own. Children love to sing. They genuinely do. Get a karaoke machine and see your child’s eyes light up!
If you’ve got kids, however old they are, you’ll definitely have some options the next time they have a party or their friends come around. You might even be able to stop them from staring at their phones for a few minutes and they might even start to enjoy themselves in a healthy and socially interactive way. What a win!
Maybe they even get you singing and enjoying yourself too!
Best Karaoke Machines For Adults
Best Portable Karaoke Machine
Best Karaoke Machines For Home
Best Karaoke Machines For TV
Best Bluetooth Karaoke Machines
Best Wireless Karaoke Machines
Best Professional Karaoke Machines
Best Cheap Karaoke Machine
Best Karaoke Machines For Kids
Best Karaoke Machines For Adults
1 Karaoke USA GF840 DVD/CDG/MP3G Karaoke Machine
This is about as portable a karaoke machine as you’re ever likely to find. Measuring just 13 x 10 x 17.8 inches and weighing only 10 lbs you can take your party just about anywhere.
It’s got an easy to read 7-inch color screen, a built-in light show, and it comes loaded with 300 MP3G songs. It has Bluetooth, can be connected to your electronic device by its auxiliary input, and it has a USB connection too. Additionally, you can play any standard karaoke CDG or DVD Karaoke. So, if you fancy a break from Karaoke you can even watch a standard DVD.
The Karaoke USA GF840 machine can record your singing on an SD card which we really like. The ability to charge your MP3 player or your mobile phone on-board the machine is also highly useful.
The machine has two integrated good quality microphones. It also has a good quality speaker and receiver that’s capable of delivering 35 watts of peak power. That should be plenty loud enough to make some noise and keep the party going.
If your singing needs a little help, and whose doesn’t, there’s a built-in analog echo and some basic FX controls to get you on track. You’ll be singing like Ariane Grande in no time.
This little machine has all the angles covered to get your karaoke party started.
- Two good quality microphones.
- 7” color screen.
- Ability to record.
- Charging port for mobile phone or MP3 player.
- No HDMI output.
- The pre-loaded songs are old-fashioned.
Best Portable Karaoke Machine
1 ION Audio Block Rocker Plus | 100W Portable Speaker, Battery Powered
This ION Audio Block Rocker can push out some 100 watts of peak power. Wherever you are that’s going to make some serious noise, get the windows shaking, and annoy a few neighbors in the process.
As well as power, the good news is that the Ion Audio Block Rocke is also able to deliver high-quality audio, courtesy of an 8” woofer and a 1” wide dispersion-tweeter. Together they can get down and produce both punchy thumping lows as well as accurate and clear highs.
The Ion comes with two high-quality microphones. These can be used for karaoke or for announcements if you’re using the machine for a PA system.
Regardless, if you choose to use the Ion Audio Block Rocker like a PA or karaoke machine, it can be run off either mains or battery power. And with 50-hour battery life, your voice is likely to pack in long before the batteries die.
The Ion has all the connections and functionality you’d expect from a modern karaoke machine. The highlights include; Bluetooth, auxiliary input to connect to your mobile phone or MP3 player, CD compatibility, a USB port, and a built-in AM/FM radio.
More great news is that you can also download an app to your iPhone or Android device to help you along with the sound. The app allows you to shape the sound and add in a few effects to help you get the very best out of your karaoke party.
- Sturdy build quality.
- Good connectivity.
- 50-hour battery life.
- Downloadable sound app.
- Good sound quality.
- FM radio reception could be better.
2 Memorex MKS-SS2 SingStand 2 Home Karaoke System
The Memorex MKS-SS2 SingStand 2 Home Karaoke System is a karaoke machine situated cleverly at the base of a microphone stand. It’s a neat design with room to dock your MP3 tablet or electronic device at the top of the stand, together of course with your microphone or microphones.
At the bottom of the stand, nicely integrated into the base, are all the controls you’d find on any typical karaoke machine. Controls include; master volume, volume controls for two microphones, guitar volume and echo level.
The Memorex MKS-SS2 SingStand 2 Home Karaoke System can be used with the electronic device of your choice. It’s also USB and Bluetooth compatible.
The Memorex does have a built-in 5-watt speaker in the base of the unit. The sound quality is reasonable but the volume level is quite low. However, if you really want to crank things up, the cool thing is that you can link up the karaoke machine to your home theatre or speaker system to step up the volume.
There are features we specifically like about the Memorex. One is the ability to be able to plug in a musical instrument to jam along. Another is the built-in Audio Voice Control that automatically brings in the original vocals from the recording if you stop singing.
We also like the fact that the stand allows you to place your mobile device close to eye level. This means that it’s in a position where you don’t have to continually bend your head down. It’s a much more natural position for singing and one of the few small-sized karaoke machines to have it.
- Instrument input.
- Can be paired with an external speaker or speakers.
- Allows for singing in a more natural position.
- Easy to store.
- The volume of the built-in speaker is low.
Best Karaoke Machines For Home
1 Singing Machine SML385UW Bluetooth Karaoke System
This is one of the best selling karaoke machines and we can see why.
Karaoke is all about having fun and this small, compact karaoke machine perfectly epitomizes the spirit of karaoke. It’s bright, brash and instantly puts a smile on your face just by looking at it.
Beneath the fun and sparkle, you get a machine that can take CD+G discs, it has Bluetooth, an auxiliary input, RCA Cables, headphone input, USB and a single microphone. Although the karaoke machine only comes with a single microphone you can plug in a second microphone for those all-important duets.
Check this out. This thing might be tiny but it even has enough room to cram in 54 LED disco lights on the front of the unit. What’s not to like about that? Absolutely nothing!
As far as the sound goes, it’s OK, but not the best. When you consider that this is a relatively inexpensive unit it’s not too bad. However, the volume doesn’t go very high, and if you do try to blast it, it’s liable to distort. The Singing Machine SML385UW does, fortunately, have connections for external speakers which we’d encourage you to use.
The SML385UW does have some ability to shape the sound and also has brilliant Audio Voice Control. You can even record your efforts as well if you fancy.
All in all, maybe not the best sounding or best-built karaoke machine, but it has plenty of functionality, it’s loads of fun and the kids will absolutely love it.
- Looks fun.
- Can be attached to external speakers and TV.
- Good functionality.
Best Karaoke Machines For TV
1 Akai KS213 Portable CD&G Karaoke System
The Akai KS213 Portable CD&G Karaoke System looks to be a mix between a 1970’s Atari games consul and a 1950’s jukebox. Possibly even with a touch of 80’s disco thrown in for good measure. An interesting look indeed!
Under the hood, it has CD+G compatibility, Bluetooth, auxiliary input for your electronic device, and two microphone inputs. It’s also got a decent docking system for your tablet or phone.
The controls on the front of the machine are all well-laid out and easy to operate. There’s a master volume, mic volume, AVC, balance, echo, and the usual controls form CD+G operation.
A couple of things we like about the Akai KS213 Portable CD&G Karaoke System include the fact that it can be run on batteries as well as mains power. We also like the flashing lights on the front of the unit that inject a bit more fun into your karaoke.
The machine only comes with a single wired microphone. The fact is though that this is a super cheap unit so we can’t really complain. You’d have to be paying significantly more than this if you wanted a couple of microphones included.
This is a small and lightweight unit that also has a small volume output. However, despite it not being too loud, the sound quality is not bad for its price-point. If you’re looking to shake some windows this is probably not for you.
It’s great for a bedroom or small room but not for larger parties.
- Great retro styling.
- Good value for money.
- Fun LED lights on the front.
- Light and easy to move around.
- Does not work with karaoke apps.
- No USB connection.
Best Bluetooth Karaoke Machines
1 ION Audio Tailgater Plus – 50W Portable Outdoor Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
Ion makes a comprehensive range of audio equipment to include karaoke machines and tailgate speakers. All their audio equipment is well-built with good audio quality. The ION Audio Tailgater Plus is no exception.
With 50 watts of power, this Bluetooth tailgate speaker has more than sufficient volume to be used at a good-sized party. What’s more, the quality of sound is powerful enough to allow it to be pushed to its limits with very little distortion. You’ll continue to get some nice deep bass and clear trebles even when you dial it up to 11.
The Ion Audio Tailgate Plus has an auxiliary output, microphone input, and USB along with its NFC Bluetooth connectivity. There’s even an onboard FM radio with 20 presets.
It’s light and compact, measuring just 9 x 13.5 x 12.6 inches and weighing a reassuringly heavy 11.9lbs. However, that’s still light enough to carry around despite the lack of wheels.
A couple of things not included in the package are dual microphone sockets and CD+G karaoke capability. The fact is that this is not a dedicated karaoke machine, so, consequently, we can understand these few obvious omissions.
However, what it doesn’t have in outright functionality, we think it makes up for in its audio quality. It would be very hard to find something this well built and sounding this good for the same price.
One final plus for the Ion Audio Tailgater Plus is that it can be run either on mains power or from the rechargeable battery. If you use the battery it will give you up to 50 hours of use. That should easily be long enough to give everyone a turn at the mic.
- Well built.
- Good value.
- Good quality audio.
- 50 hours of rechargeable battery life.
- Built-in FM radio.
- You may require PSU extension cables.
2 Singing Machine iSM1030BT Bluetooth Karaoke Pedestal
This thing looks like a robot.
It’s quite impressive that you get both the pedestal and speakers for this price. However, we do want to give you a word of warning.
At only 29.1 inches tall, other than children, you’re going to have to do some stooping to read the screen and the lyrics.
The screen is 7 inches wide, so we’ve no problem with this, it’s just a shame they couldn’t have positioned it at a more convenient height, like with the Memorex MKS-SS2 for instance.
Another thing we’re not so keen on is the number of hard plastics in its construction. They look like they’ll be easily damaged and also look a bit cheap.
There’s no doubt that once it’s on and running this is a good karaoke machine for the price. The twin speakers are loud enough for use in a medium-sized room and the quality of sound is good. Nice, punchy bass with accurate trebles are present from low to high volume.
The Singing Machine iSM1030BT also has some ability to shape the sound with effects and EQ controls. What’s more, you can achieve a wider field of sound thanks to it having a pair of attachable stereo speakers.
The Singing Machine iSM1030BT Bluetooth Karaoke Pedestal has Bluetooth, of course. It’s also got all the other good stuff you’d expect from a karaoke machine. This includes; auxiliary inputs, USB, RCA connections, dual wireless microphone, and CD+G capability.
Unfortunately, despite having wireless microphone capability the two microphones provided are wired. On the plus side, they both have long wires and are of decent quality.
- Good sound quality.
- Good connectivity.
- Wireless microphone compatible.
- Stereo sound.
- It’s too close to the floor.
- Wireless microphones are not included.
Best Wireless Karaoke Machines
1 Wireless Portable PA Speaker System – 360W Bluetooth Compatible Battery Powered
This well built PA speaker measures 8.7 x 12.6 x 25.8 inches, weighs 23.6lbs, and has an impressive 400 watts of maximum output power. Now that’s a lot. It achieves all of this not insubstantial power with twin 8” woofer and twin 1” high-performance piezo tweeters.
Better still is that not only is this PA and outdoor DJ sound system seriously powerful but it sounds great too. You have to get to some ear-bleeding volumes before you start to get any distortion, and at more sensible volumes, it’s crisp and clear.
Thanks to the two subwoofers the bass easily gets down nice and low. What’s more, the two piezo horn tweeters do a great job of creating accurate and clear highs without becoming shrill.
This portable PA speaker from Pyle has a spec list longer than Lord of the Rings.
Some of the main features include; Bluetooth and Wireless compatibility, RCA input/output, auxiliary input, wireless microphone, USB, SD memory card, recording ability, and FM radio.
We’re not 100% sure but it can probably make toast as well!
Used as a karaoke machine it has a mic priority switch to automatically turn on the vocals. Although there is no onboard screen to read lyrics it can be hooked up to a TV.
However, as it’s not a dedicated karaoke machine, unfortunately, there is also no ability to read CD+G karaoke discs.
This great value package can be operated on either mains or battery power. There’s a battery indicator to let you know when it’s running low. It should give you 20 hours on battery mode under normal use.
Finally, it comes with an easy to use handle and set of wheels, making mobility easier.
- Great sound.
- 400 watts of peak power.
- WIFI and Bluetooth.
- Wireless microphone
- Easy to transport.
- No online screen.
- Cannot play CD+G karaoke discs.
Best Professional Karaoke Machines
1 Singtrix Smart Karaoke Party Bundle Stadium Edition
If you want to take the karaoke experience to a whole new level then Singtrix can help you.
Although Singtrix Smart Karaoke Party Bundle Stadium Edition has a lot of features you don’t normally get on a standard karaoke machine, it doesn’t have all of the connectivity we’d typically expect.
The Singtrix relies on the connection of your electronic device via the internet to source its material. This is then linked to the Singtrix via an auxiliary input. It doesn’t have Bluetooth, WIFI, USB or SD card connectivity.
The lack of USB or SD card connectivity is not a deal-breaker but we’d have expected either Bluetooth or WIFI. Instead, to make up for these couple of ommissions, it has an easy to use built-in effects controller that is clamped onto the mic stand.
The effects controller has three skill levels. It also has a choice of a further 375 effects to add to your efforts. Even better, it has a Hard Tune option, which is similar to Auto-Tune, to add that professional touch to your singing.
Additionally, the Singtrix can quickly tune to your voice and create auto backup singers with up to four-part harmonies.
Now that ain’t bad.
Other things we like about the Singtrix Smart Karaoke Party Bundle Stadium Edition are the professional-grade mic stand, the high-quality microphone, and the powerful, detachable 40-watt speaker.
The speaker can be positioned anywhere in the room and is guaranteed to deliver good quality sound. It has a large subwoofer and can get down nice and low to accompany you on even the most bass-driven of tracks.
It has built-in EQ controls and can handle the mids and trebles in its stride to deliver some clear and accurate audio. The Singtris is also easy to operate and can be set up in minutes.
Overall, it’s a great karaoke machine for use at home or in clubs, bars or at parties.
- Good quality sound.
- 375 built-in voice effects.
- Can produce vocal harmonies.
- Has Hard Tune technology.
- High-quality mic stand and mic.
2 Wireless Portable PA Speaker System – 600W
This is the most powerful of the best karaoke machines we’ve reviewed.
It has a massive 600 watts of peak power which should be more than enough noise to get things going.
This sturdy karaoke machine from Pyle also has more microphone inputs than any of the other machines we’ve looked at. With three inputs, it’s only got one more than the rest, but still, three is better than two, eh?
The standard features on the Pyle PA Speaker System include Bluetooth and an auxiliary input. Additional features you might not expect to find are the three guitar/instrument inputs. We like that!
The impressive amount of power from the Pyle PA Speaker System is delivered via an 8” woofer which delivers some deep punchy bass. This is coupled with a 3” compression tweeter that neatly projects your voice to create a really big sound.
Onboard the Pyle are EQ controls to help you dial in your preferred sound. Like all the controls, they’re well laid out, easy to read and easy to use.
This well-built machine weighs in 26.4lbs but can be easily transported thanks to its wheels and telescopic handle. If you do take it outside and away from a power supply it has a battery that will keep it going for three hours.
There’s also a four-light LED battery indicator on the front panel to let you know how your battery is holding up.
- Sturdy and well-built.
- Total of 600 watts of peak power.
- Three instrument inputs.
- Three microphones can be used at the same time.
- Can run on batteries.
- There’s nowhere to mount an electronic device.
- No mic stand.
Best Cheap Karaoke Machine
1 Singing Machine STVG785W Karaoke Machine
Singing Machine have an excellent range of karaoke machines and seem to have a machine for every budget and occasion.
The Singing Machine STVG785W Karaoke Machine with Disco Lights we’re reviewing is a great option for anyone looking for plenty of features on a budget.
Well, you get a 7” color TV screen, an auxiliary input, USB, two microphone jacks, RCA connections, and that all-important CD+G capability.
This little machine has certainly got you covered for everything you’d expect for some good karaoke sessions. But it has another couple of things up its sleeve as well.
To get you really in the party mood the Singing Machine STVG785W has some great 80’s style disco lights on the front of the cabinet. It’s also got Audio Voice Control and echo controls to get the very best out of your singing performance. What’s more, there’s also a record option to save your efforts.
It does come with a microphone provided, but if you want to get into some dueling vocal duets, you’ll have to put your hand in your pocket to stump up for that second mic.
There are tone controls on the front panel if you need to shape and dial in your own tones. The sound is good for the price but it sounds better at low to medium volumes. At higher volumes, you will start to hear some distortion kick in.
The volume, even when on full, is not going to get so loud as to annoy the neighbors. If you want to do that, use the output to hook it up to your external speakers, which should shake things up a little!
This is a fun karaoke machine that offers plenty of excellent value and functionality, making it the best cheap karaoke machine option by far.
- 7” built-in screen.
- Audio Voice Control.
- CD+G capability.
- Has a record option.
- Good connectivity.
- Great Value.
- Low volume at maximum.
- It only has one microphone included.
Best Karaoke Machines For Kids
1 Singing Machine SML-283P CDG Karaoke Player
We’ve saved our favorite category – Best Karaoke Machine for Kids – till last, for good reason.
The fact is that kids genuinely love singing and it’s an absolute joy to see them having so much fun. We could say that in some ways we have a lot to learn from our kids!
Kicking off our review for kids karaoke machines is the Singing Machine SML-283P CDG Karaoke Player. A huge name in the karaoke world, we’re pleased to say that the guys and girls have again come up trumps with this cute little machine.
We think it’s fair to say that this one is one of the best karaoke machines for girls that we’ve reviewed. The pink color and very feminine styling make this one predominantly for all the budding Selena Gomez fans out there.
But don’t despair, if you’d prefer to get the same great package, but in something more gender-neutral, they make the same model in black.
Whichever color you choose to will have the same CD+G capacity, auxiliary input, RCA connections, Bluetooth and really fun disco lights on the front. It also has two microphone jacks and two separately controlled microphone volume controls.
It has its own small built-in speaker that will give enough volume for a small party or for use in a bedroom. The good news is that there are some tone controls, echo and Audio Voice Control to help your little ones sound a little more angelic!
The Singing Machine SML-283P CDG Karaoke Player can be used with either mains power, or if you want to take the fun outside, it can be operated on 8 ‘C’ batteries.
- Light and portable.
- Good connectivity.
- CD+G compatible.
- Fun disco lights.
- Has dual microphone jacks.
- No built-in TV screen.
- Second mic is not included.
2 Singing Machine SML385BTBK Karaoke System
This is another Singing Machine with all the lights, flash and fun that’s likely to appeal to kids. It’s a little more grown-up than the Singing Machine SML-283P we’ve just reviewed and could, therefore, also quite easily appeal to teens.
Singing Machine genuinely do everything to cover all of the bases for a great price with all of their karaoke machines. We particularly like, regardless of the price-point, that they can create a karaoke machine with all the connectivity and controls you could ever want.
This machine is no different and has enough features to make much more expensive units blush. There is, of course, an auxiliary input, USB, RCA connections, Bluetooth and the all-so-important CD+G capability.
Like most of the Singing Machines we’ve reviewed, it’s got some great disco lights. This one has the same funky 54 LED lights from the Singing Machine SML385UW we reviewed and it also has the same Audio Voice Control, echo and tone controls.
Like a lot of karaoke machines, the Singing Machine SML385BTBK has two mic inputs but only provides one microphone as standard. We think this is a shame. It would be nice at this price to have a second microphone include.
In short, this is another well-specced karaoke machine and probably one of the best karaoke machines for teens currently on sale. In fact, it’s probably one for the best karaoke machines for adults too!
- CD+G compatible.
- Has AVC and echo-control.
- 54 fun LED lights.
3 L P Kids Karaoke Machine With 2 Microphones
This is the last karaoke machine on our list and also the last kids karaoke machine we’re going to take a look at.
So have we saved the best till last? Let’s find out…
If it’s not the best, what we can definitely tell you is that it’s the least expensive and let’s face it, kids toys are not longterm investments.
The design and build of the L P Kids Karaoke Machine put it firmly in the category of a younger kid’s toy with its very bright lights and cheap plastic. In fact, we’d say this is one for toddlers only.
One thing we love about this fun karaoke machine is that it has an extendable microphone stand that can be easily adjusted anywhere between 18.5” to 40”. That really is the perfect height for most of the little ones the little machine is aimed at.
Full marks to L P on that one.
To get your kids party into full swing the L P Kids Karaoke Machine can be connected to your electronic device via the auxiliary input. It also has two mic inputs and it comes complete with two microphones. Other companies take note!
The controls are nice and simple. There’s a left pedal switch to activate the onboard six preset songs. There’s also a right pedal switch to operate the applause, how cute is that? Finally, there’s a power/control and that’s your lot.
The L P Kids Karaoke Machine does have a slot to store your electronic device whilst they’re singing their little hearts out. We probably don’t need to tell you to keep a close eye on your tablet or phone to avoid any expensive accidents.
One final word of warning; this is a battery-operated machine so you’d better make sure you’ve got plenty of AA batteries in the cupboard.
All in all, we love this little karaoke machine for little people.
- Very easy for small children to operate.
- Two mics included.
- Cute applause button.
- Useful extendable mic stand.
- All plastic toy-like construction.
How Does A Karaoke Machine Work?
Simply put, a karaoke machine works by providing the singer with full synchronized music and lyrics in one form or another. The original vocals are also taken out of the mix to allow the singer to put in their own efforts.
Sometimes, the original vocals might still feature in the mix, but at a low level, just to give the karaoke performer a bit of a backup. How the lyrics and music are delivered to the singer can vary.
If your karaoke machine has a built-in screen, it’s straightforward to display or stream the karaoke you want to sing straight on your machine. If you don’t have a built-in display you can hook the machine up to a TV or monitor, provided you have the inputs on the machine.
CD+G Discs Have Their Limits…
CD+G discs are still popular but are now the most dated of all the options we’re going to look at. CD+G discs are just like a normal audio CD but they have the capacity to also display graphics, like a DVD, but in the form of moving lyrics.
The obvious limitations of CD+G discs are that they are expensive and do take time to access, as well as store. The expense involved is an obvious limiting factor for a lot of people to build up a larger selection of songs. The subsequent lack of choice could easily then become a bit of a turnoff.
Yet, They’re Still Popular…
However, despite the shortcomings of CD+G discs they still remain popular and a lot of people still demand this feature on their machines. More modern alternatives to the CD+G discs are downloads to USB or, increasingly popular options are Bluetooth connectivity or auxiliary connection to your electronic device, tablet, phone or computer.
These last two kinds of connections allow you to stream music and karaoke content directly from the internet, often from YouTube sites. Modern machines then usually have some form of docking slot for the electronic device to make reading the lyrics easier.
Best Karaoke Machines Buying Guide
What Should Be Included With The Best Karaoke Machines?
There’s plenty to think about when you start to consider buying a karaoke machine. Like any purchase, the cost will always be a factor. But other than the price, we feel some of the main considerations in your purchase of the perfect karaoke machine will include; power, built-in effects, built-in screen, connectivity, and microphones.
Let’s now take a closer look at each of these in turn…
We think this is the number one factor in whatever system you’re thinking of buying. Let’s face it, if you’re buying a karaoke machine for your three-year-old niece, to use in her bedroom, a machine with 600 watts of peak power is not going to be necessary.
If you just intend to use your karaoke machine in the house or bedroom, a unit with around 50 watts of peak power should be sufficient in most circumstances. However, most machines will also have the ability to link up to an external speaker system to give a boost in power, should you need it.
Just be sure to make sure that the amplification within the karaoke machine is sufficient to drive any external speakers or speakers you want to connect to.
Generally speaking, the more powerful and expensive systems will give you better audio quality, not in all cases, but in most. If you intend to take your karaoke machine out of the house and use it for larger parties, audio quality will become increasingly important.
If you’re not going to connect your system to external speakers then you need to pay some attention to the quality of the speakers on your machine. A system with larger woofers and better-made tweeters will usually do a good job of getting down to those low notes and delivering some crystal clear mids and trebles.
Also, check-out if the karaoke system has some EQ controls on-board. This is always very useful to help you better shape your sound depending on what kind of music you’re playing. Anything to improve the sound will help to increase the fun and help to keep the party going.
We’re not all great singers, actually, that’s most of us, so a lot of the time we need a bit of a helping hand.
One of the most popular effects you’ll see on a karaoke machine is an echo effect. This is likely to feature on the most expensive machine right down to a kids toy. It can hide a multitude of singing sins and is therefore well worth having.
Other than echo effects most machines, other than professional ones, will provide little else. An exception to this is the Singtrix Smart Karaoke Party Bundle Stadium Edition which has no fewer than 375 built-in effects. That’s a lot and should be enough to get anybody sounding great.
Some other machines, such as the ION Audio Block Rocker Plus, offer a choice of effects and sound/voice shaping possibilities via an app. We think that’s pretty cool too.
Finally, and possibly saving the best effect till last, is Audio Voice Control. This handy feature can detect when you’ve stopped singing and automatically fill in the dead gaps with vocals from the original recording. It’s a great idea, a great way to save some blushes, and a great way to keep the party rocking.
If you have a large amount of CD+G discs and do not intend to connect yourself to an external monitor or TV you’re certainly going to need a built-in monitor.
One of the main advantages of having a built-in screen is it makes your party completely portable and not reliant on any other technology.
Where a built-in screen becomes less important is when you’re either going to rely on your modern electronic device or you’re at a much larger party and you need to have that big TV or monitor.
In a larger setting, it’s always nice for the audience to be able to see the lyrics too so they can join in the fun and sing along if they want to.
As with most technical things, it’s best to have as much connectivity and options as possible.
As an absolute must, a modern karaoke machine should have an auxiliary input. Every machine we’ve reviewed has this, or it wouldn’t be on the list and we’d advise steering clear of any that don’t have it.
After an auxiliary input, we’d prefer to see Bluetooth. This is becoming increasingly popular, though isn’t available on all the machines we’ve looked at. USB is another popular connection option, but we really feel that Bluetooth has succeeded USB, though USB is better for keeping your electronic device charged.
Though a lot of people see CD+G as old-fashioned technology, a lot of people still use it, so we very much view this as desirable, even on a modern-day machine.
If you intend to use your machine at larger venues such as pubs and clubs, you’re also certainly going to need RCA and HDMI connections to let you hook up to TVs, monitors and speaker systems.
One final connection we don’t often see is an input for a musical instrument. Something nice to have if there’s a guitarist or keyboard player who wants to jam along and add a bit more atmosphere. It can also be used as a great tool to learn a piece of music you’re intending to play.
Wherever possible, it’s going to be best to have two microphone inputs and two microphones included in the machine. Two mics or more are an absolute essential to allow for multiple singers. You can share a mic but it’s really not the same.
Although most machines will provide you with a couple of mic inputs, it’s more unusual to have two mics included. It’s also unusual to have a wireless mic as part of the package. Not a deal-breaker, though at larger venues a wireless microphone would be an obvious benefit.
Types Of Karaoke Machines
The fact is that there will always be some crossover between machines, that’s unavoidable. However, essentially we think there are four kinds of karaoke machines. These are; children’s, home, portable and professional karaoke machines.
So, let’s take a look at these, starting with the kids first.
Kids Karaoke Machines
Kids machines are a great place to start. Kids l fun and love to play with karaoke machines. Systems geared toward children tend to reflect this sense of fun.
Children’s karaoke machines are usually brighter in color and often have plenty of lights and flash about them. They are also generally smaller in size. It’s a bit pointless having a mic stand that goes up to six feet for your five-year-old child!
There are machines that can be used at larger children’s parties but a lot of the systems geared towards children have less power and are mostly suitable for use in a bedroom or for small gatherings.
Some are even smaller still, like the L P Kids Karaoke Machine, which is clearly aimed at very small kids and won’t be much use out of the bedroom or in front of your mum or gran.
Home Karaoke Machines
Home karaoke machines will be used mainly indoors. Despite not needing to be either particularly loud or powerful they will still generally come with connections for your TV or speakers.
One benefit of a home karaoke machine is that you can easily take advantage of all the equipment in your house to help you get a better set-up for both sound and visuals.
Portable Karaoke Machines
If you’re taking your karaoke machine out and about with you, you need to be much more self-reliant in terms of onboard. It could be that wherever you find yourself, your machine is all you’ve got.
A portable machine should definitely have the ability to run on both AC mains power and batteries. Obviously, the longer the battery life the better.
Regardless of the battery life, it’s always useful to have a clearly displayed battery life indicator to let you know how long the party can last.
Also, since you could be using the karaoke machine in a lot of different settings, it should have plenty of volume. There’s no point taking something with only 5 watts of power out to a garden party full of people.
With a portable karaoke machine, loud is good. You’ll often find PA systems being used in a secondary role as a karaoke machine because of their ability to push out some volume. The Pyle Wireless Portable PA Speaker System, which produces 600 watts of peak power, is a great example of this.
Professional Karaoke Machines
If you’re taking your karaoke machine into bars and clubs then it’s time to get serious.
It will have to have plenty of onboard power and audio quality, as well as the ability to connect easily to outside TVs, monitors, and speakers. It will also need to have at least two good quality, preferably wireless, microphones and plenty of ability to control the sound and effects.
The fact is though, that if you’re looking for this kind of system, they don’t come cheap, so prepare to dig deep into your wallet.
Best Karaoke Machine Brands
There are plenty of good brands but there are a couple of clear winners for us on this one.
Singing Machines are karaoke specialists. They make karaoke and that is all. They were founded like so many start-up companies in California in 1982. Initially, this was on a semi-professional basis, but from 1988 onwards the founder, Eddie Steele, steered the company to full-time production.
Singing Machines specialize in the budget end of the market but are able to offer outstanding functionality and value for money for a constantly changing following. Despite the increasing move away from dedicated machines, to using either PA or computer systems linked to YouTube, they continue to do well.
Most of their products offer not only every connection option you can think of but also the ability to connect to their own app, through IOS or Android, with over 14,000 songs preloaded. Now that’s one big CD+G collection you’d have to have to match it.
Singing Machine’s continued popularity is a true testament to their products and also an indication of how strong the karaoke market has become. Though karaoke in the States and abroad isn’t, and probably never will, be as popular as it is in Asia, it’s never the less growing.
Fuelled to a large extent by singing and talent shows such as; American Idol, America’s Got Talent, The Voice and various shows worldwide, singing has seen a resurgence in recent years. And we don’t think that can be a bad thing at all.
Ion makes an incredible range of great-sounding machines. Though they are not specifically made for karaoke, they are manufactured as a party and PA speaker that can also be used as a karaoke system.
The truth is that they’re unable to play CD+G discs, but we still think they offer outstanding value for money and are very much the way forward for modern-day karaoke.
These machines can all be used with batteries only and all have a battery indicator to let you know when you need to recharge. This makes them great for indoor/outdoor parties or tailgating. They all have stacks of power so can be used in a relatively large setting.
Since Ion speakers have no onboard monitor you have to rely on your plugged-in electronic device to pull up both the music and lyrics. This is made easy since all Ion speaker systems have an auxiliary output and most of them now have Bluetooth.
We can’t help thinking that this kind of system will become increasingly popular as it offers so much more versatility than a pure stand-alone karaoke machine.
However, we also think it will be a long time before dedicated karaoke machines become a thing of the past.
Singing Machines have no need to worry.
Karaoke Machine Accessories
One of the most obvious karaoke accessories is the mic. In our experience, the mic that comes as standard with your karaoke machine is not usually up to par. You might be lucky and get a decent mic included but this is very much the exception.
Easy Upgrade Options…
So, if you’re looking to quickly and easily upgrade your karaoke system, look no further than the humble microphone. A reasonable quality, standard wired microphone need not cost a fortune. A wireless microphone or a multi-channel wireless system can also be relatively inexpensive.
Other popular karaoke accessories include mic stands with a place to slot in your electronic device. These are particularly useful for machines that don’t have a built-in screen for reading the lyrics.
If you’re thinking of going into things more professionally you might want to think about investing in a couple of external stands and speakers. It’s also probably worth investing in a few extra sets of cable and connectors. Possibly even a spare battery pack for those outside parties.
Check Your Cables…
Before you begin your party, it’s worth checking that you have all your cables first and make sure where they go. Most machines come with easy-to-follow instructions on how to set things up and what cable to put in where.
If you do get stuck, then as ever, the internet and YouTube are your best go-to.
How did we ever manage before the internet, by the way?
How To Karaoke
How to karaoke will be very much down to the kind of crowd and the number of people in the party. There are no hard and fast rules with karaoke other than to have a good time. Maybe one word of caution is to make sure that everyone has a fair turn at the mic and no one hogs it for too long.
If you’re using CD+G discs, try to have something suitable for your audience. It’s pointless having a stack of Metallica or Led Zeppelin songs for teens and children, or Justin Bieber and Drake songs for a group of over 60’s. In these circumstances, tailor your song selection to your party.
Let The Crowd Dictate…
If you’re selecting the songs through the internet, then the sky really is the limit. The crowd will dictate what they want to hear and what they want to sing to. Just go with it.
If you’re running the party, and people are initially shy to come up and sing, kick things off yourself, and invite someone to come up and give you a hand.
No One Wants To Follow A Nightingale So, Please…
If you happen to be a really good singer, and are running things, save your best song, or songs till later on. No one wants to follow some super-singer if they’re already reluctant to get up there.
If you’re at a party and a bit shy to sing, get up with a friend to sing something and just remember that no one will be judging you. No one is expecting anyone to be able to sing well. Put your mind in the place of a child or one of those stressed-out Japanese executives.
They All Seem To Be Having A Huge Amount Of Fun Right?
And that’s because they are. Karaoke is about letting your hair down and not taking things or yourself too seriously. The truth is that there is an inverse ratio between talent and fun when it comes to karaoke.
The people with the worst voices, singing with the most gusto, get the most enjoyment and the most applause. The kids and Mr. Kashitsu from Tokyo completely get it. Time for us all to get it too.
And that’s a fact!
Need More Help Choosing Your Mic & Speaker Upgrades?
Final Thoughts On The Best Karaoke Machines For You
Wow! We enjoyed that.
We hope you found a karaoke machine for whatever your style.
Now, we just want to leave you with our top pick for all of the best karaoke machines we’ve reviewed. We think the best all-round karaoke machine is the…
This fun machine has everything you could want from a dedicated karaoke machine. It’s got a 7” color screen, USB, auxiliary input and two microphone jacks. It even has Audio Voice Control, a record option and of course those funky disco lights.
Enjoy your karaoke and enjoy your new best friend, the best karaoke machine for you!