We’ll be honest…it’s one of our favorite hobbies in the world. There’s something about being able have false hope that you’re better than everyone around you at singing, but the minute you open your mouth you’re met with the harsh reality that your genes did not have any type of coding that included being able to match melodies with your voice. I digress, and although we speak for ourselves, you may be one of the best singers in the world — regardless, karaoke is an extremely fun past time to bring friends and families together. You don’t always have to go to a bar or restaurant around a lot of people to enjoy one of the most popular activities in the world! There are some pretty affordable models out there to do this in your own home or other’s parties, which we’ve done some extensive research on to help you choose the best.
How to choose your karaoke machine
- Your budget. As always with our guides, this is the top decider for which model you’re going to purchase. Unless you’re looking for a professional piece of machinery that’s going in a bar or a restaurant, there are some pretty affordable karaoke machines out there. We chose a few in different price ranges to give you some options.
- How many mics? Most we chose come with two (or at least two inputs), but others you may need to buy separate microphones. If you need an extra mic, be sure to read our best microphone for karaoke article — a lot of popular models are super cheap and worth grabbing even if it’s just in case.
- Extra features you may desire. Recording built-in? Disco light shows? How big of a screen would you like? Flash drive function? Portability? We provide the extra features most of these come with. Some of you may want a cool light show while others just the simple capabilities.
Our picks for the best karaoke machines
The following is our list of best karaoke machines in the market. Note there is no particular order here but each model may be better for you so read through our descriptions to see which is best for your needs. We’ve chosen the best overall machine, budget-friendly, portable, as well as semi-professional model. If you’re looking for a more specialized machine geared towards children, read our best karaoke machine for kids article. Otherwise, continue on and give us some feedback in the comments if you’re in the mood!
Karaoke USA GF829 System
This is one of the best karaoke machines we’ve come across, and our logic is not only because is it decently priced and manageable within a budget but it provides us just what we need: A built-in 7″ LCD flat-panel screen (TFT), the ability to record (comes in handy if you’re able to get by the embarrassment like me), and a USB\SD card slot. You have audio and video outputs for connection to a big screen TV or any display for that matter. It runs off batteries (120VAC) and it comes with a disc that has 300 MP3G file songs (newest format of karaoke) songs but you can always play your own (you’ll need a Karaoke CDG for them to work properly with both the song and graphics). It comes with two microphones to pair up with a friend. The only thing is you’ll need the karaoke CD’s to use it — it won’t load lyrics from an ipod or smart phone (remember this!). The internal speakers are convenient and save you money in case you weren’t looking to buy an external sound system or stereo, although they’re not a crazy PA system you’ll at least get a workable amount of volume. Not to mention the reviews are extremely positive so it gives us that confidence as well.
Singing Machine SML-385
We’d say this model wins the best karaoke machine for those on a budget. Coming in just under $100, it’s a CDG system with two microphone jacks attached. Some separate volume controls for custom levels and it has “auto voice control” but you’ll most likely have to adjust them manually (which isn’t too big of deal). You can control the level of the song and mics separately, which is very important with karaoke because what often happens is not being able to hear the singer’s voice over the music (or vice versa). It’s important to keep the mic a few inches away from your mouth as well, so keep that mind. It’s top-loading so you’re able to switch out your CDG’s pretty conveniently but the most notable feature of this (and what they market it with) is the “disco light show” for some extra spunk! You can hook it up to the TV and the mic cable is about 11″ which is plenty in our opinion. Grab this one if you want a cheaper solution but a model that still gives you the essentials with a karaoke machine, not to mention if you’re in a disco-light kind of mood.
Memorex MKS-SS2 SingStand
This is reviewed extremely highly and is considered a ‘portable system’ but is perfectly fine staying where it is. What stands out to us the most is the convenience as well as smart device implementation (you will still need the special files). There’s a built-in amplified speaker at the bottom and although we recommend hooking it up to an additional speaker or two, it can get by with just the unit itself. You get the volume, microphone and overall volume control down there as well. It comes with a mic but it has an external mic jack for a second (we’d be worried if it didn’t). As seen in the photos, you get a little mount in front of you to put your iPod, iPad (recommended since it’s bigger an easier to read), or pretty much anything else you want to use for this reason. It’s got an ‘instrument input’ for additional companions you want with it (keyboard or guitar would be fun if anybody knows how to play!).
Electrohome EAKAR535 Portable System
Here’s another option and we like it because it’s super portable (the screen is about half the size as others in result). It has two built-in speakers (plays all forms of karaoke CD’s and MP3G). What’s cool is you can download some MP3G, put them on a flash drive and load them up easily — one of my favorite forms of storing all of my songs that’s also great for traveling to a friends house in a simple USB-drive or flash card. Two microphone inputs again and you can hook it up to a TV if you wish using the RCA cables that come with it. The 3.5mm aux input is great for use of your smart phones, computers and other devices with the USB input (as seen in the image). Just note that if you’re playing just a song from your device, it will not show the lyrics. You’ll need a +G file to show the words while you listen. It’s one of the karaoke machines we recommend if you’re traveling, otherwise go with one of the above mentioned.
Singing Machine iSM1030BT
This is a bit nicer of a karaoke machine than the others. It most notably provides us with Bluetooth audio streaming via your ipad/iphone pretty much any device that offers Bluetooth connectivity. You can play CDG and MP3G as well. The 7″ color LCD is a lot nicer than other models out there (although this karaoke machine is double price, you get what you pay for). You can also see from the picture that you get two tower speakers for a lot better quality projection of your vocals and music everybody included. You can record what you’re playing and it comes with two microphones so you’re able to play with it right out of the box.
Check prices/reviews: US