All about Karaoke Machines
What led to karaoke machines? Well, have you ever wondered what people did to be entertained and connected in ages past without computers, TVs, little league, even without books as household items? One popular age-old pastime was to sing together. Imagine, you’re a pioneer travelling the Western frontier. The kids are asleep in the canvas tent and a small fire burns. The adults wrap themselves in their scratchy old-time coats and sing. Or in a quaint whitewashed hut in remote tropical mountains, the humidity of the day dispersing into the hum of insects and occasional bleats from animals nearby. And you gather the family by candlelight and sing.
Songs bring connection, joy and sentimentality. From the elderly to the tiniest kids, songs invoke a desire to wiggle or dance, bask or chime in. Depending on the performer and song selection, you may be afforded some memorable chuckles. Unfortunately, singing together is not routine for most households these days, but your family (and friends and neighbours too) can still get in on the action! Today, we present to you the hype of 21st-century household music – the karaoke machine!
Karaoke machines are fun for all and also a great way to get kids practicing singing on the beat, on key, with correct lyrics. Surely many stars have gotten their start with a plastic microphone in their living rooms.
Bluetooth integration and wifi connection have brought at-home karaoke machines a log way from their emergence in the 1970s. So keep reading to check out the best options for 2020 karaoke fun in your home! It’s probably simpler and more affordable than you expect!
Which Karaoke System is For Me?
The “best” karaoke machine depends on what you intend to use it for. There are all sorts of features you might decide are essential for your next living room showdown. If you want to take the party outside, you might look for a machine that’s durable and weather-proof. If you are a sucker for the extra pizazz, you might look for something with built-in lights that change to the beat of the song. If you don’t have reliable internet, you might opt for a less modern, CD-drive/USB-port style of obtaining songs instead of using an app. With all that said, I will start by introducing you to a top option in two categories – fancy systems and portable all-in-one kid’s machines. In the end, I’ll reveal an innovative fourth category option that, in my mind, takes the cake for a more versatile, quality, affordable family system.
Note that there are really no brand name karaoke machines. This is an industry dominated by one-off electronics suppliers generally coming from China.
Also note that all of these karaoke machine reviews below are not professional, bar and tavern quality karaoke machines. These are home machines only.
Best Home Karaoke Machine with Lights
Pyle Portable Bluetooth PA Speaker System
What is it: The Pyle Portable Bluetooth PA Speaker System includes disco lighting, a microphone and an impressive stereo system. This is almost an all-in-one karaoke system. It is important to highlight that this karaoke machine, like most home karaoke systems, requires a TV screen and a separate app for displaying song lyrics.
Who this is best for: People looking to have a near-professional quality karaoke machine for epic, next-level parties. This karaoke machine is definitely for the party-lover or karaoke-enthusiast.
- dual 10″ subwoofer
- dual 3″ tweeter
- 2000-watt peak power / 1000 RMS at 4 ohms
- Bluetooth compatible
- 6 inputs, including 1 USB flash drive, 1 SD card reader, 1 RCA (L/R), 1 Aux (3.5mm) inputs, 2 1/4” mic/guitar inputs, & FM radio.
- comes with a wireless microphone
- multi-color flashing disco LED lights
- rolling wheels and handle
Pros: Superior sound quality, fun lighting and overall experience. This is a loud karaoke machine, and it also doubles as a stereo if you don’t already have an audio system that is capable of producing high-quality sound. Also, it is a plus that this karaoke machine has Bluetooth.
Cons: This is a relatively expensive karaoke machine. Also, you will need to add your own karaoke interface on your TV as this is only a speaker and microphone system. Note however you can just use Stingray Karaoke (also called the KARAOKE Channel App) as your lyrics display, which can be downloaded on LG, Samsung and Sharp smart TVs or on the Google TV or Chrome Store app. Also, this machine isn’t exactly portable or wireless per se, rather, you need to connect this machine to a power source.
Best Home Karaoke Machine With a Screen/Lyrics
Karaoke USA GF844
What is it: The Karaoke USA GF844 comes with a 7 inch screen, two microphones and a speaker. This is truly an all-in-one karaoke system. Accordingly, unlike like most home karaoke systems, you do not need a TV screen and a separate app for displaying song lyrics. You can buy CD-G CDs and put them right into the machine to display song lyrics.
Who this is best for: People who do not want to use their TV as their karaoke lyrics display.
- 35W Amplifier (25W RMS)
- 7″ Color Screen.
- 3.5mm to RCA Audio Cable
- Record Voice and Music Mix. USB Flash/ SD Card Compatible
- 2 Microphones
- CD Tray
Pros: Inexpensive portable karaoke machine. One of the few karaoke lyrics machines with lyrics display available for purchase. Good overall experience for kids. This is not a loud karaoke machine, so it won’t annoy parents.
- As this karaoke machine uses CD-Gs, not an external input, you cannot use Youtube or Stingray Karaoke (also called the KARAOKE Channel App) or any other app to display lyrics on the machine’s lyrics display. However, you will be able to see the lyrics on the TV or phone.
- It comes with one CD-G with 300 songs, but the included disc is old fashioned music. You will need to buy separate CD-Gs for popular newer music.
- It has a weak speaker.
Best Portable Kid’s Karaoke Machine
Singing Machine SML682BTW
What is it: A single, portable unit that includes a microphone and speaker and connects to a tablet or smartphone or TV or computer to display lyrics.
Who this is best for: This one is designed with kids who like to play karaoke in mind. Great if you’d like to be able to use the machine in a bedroom, garage or other (sound-insulated) space.
Pros: This system is completely self-sufficient and very easy to use. Easily portable and fun-looking for kids, with flashing lights all around. This machine has hundreds of five-star verified reviews, so you can be sure it is family tested.
- Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming
- USB port to record, save & share performance
- Aux input to connect to music and lyrics
- Output via RCA cables
- 2 microphone jacks with separate volume control for duets, although there is only 1 wired microphone included
- Has an AC adapter, but it can be powered by 8 C batteries (which are not included).
Cons: It is more costly than most portable kid karaoke systems. This is definitely not a good device for larger groups. The manufacturer has not published the amp power of the speaker, but it tests very weakly. Although this system can play CD-Gs, it cannot display CD-G lyrics.
Best Microphone Only Karokee System
Bonaok Wireless Karaoke Microphone
What is it: Microphone only systems are newly popular and for a good reason. They sync up with apps on your phone to play karaoke. It’s as simple as this: You download an app on your phone and connect your phone to this colorful microphone, and the music and your voice will play out the speaker on your microphone.
Who is this best for?
This microphone is best for kids as a stocking-stuffer or small gift. It is also good for adults to store in a box for dinner parties. Really, this unit is for everyone. Kids will like it just on its own, while adults who own a stereo system already will like it just as much. We do not recommend this microphone for adults or parties if there is no existing stereo to connect to. The included speaker is just too small.
This system is very affordable because it doesn’t have any built-in screens or even software. It is very easy to transport and uses relatively very little space, making it a piece of cake to stash in a drawer or on a shelf. Despite the cheap cost, this microphone is very pretty.
Although the included speaker in the microphone isn’t great, if you have already invested in a great audio system for your home or have a speaker that you already like, this is a perfect way to make use of it because you can connect it!
This system is not too tacky for adults but not too tricky for kids either – meaning that you can entertain little guys or host a song-filled hang-out with friends.
The microphone is also wireless (via Bluetooth) – perfect for jumping off the couch in the final refrain of “I’m a believer” or for a little dancing to “Sweet Caroline.” However, Bluetooth is a problem, you can connect the microphone to your phone with the included USB cable.
Also, the microphone has various buttons, including echo mode, sound volume, mic volume, and, quite nicely, play, pause and skip.
Another nice thing is that this karaoke microphone has a built-in chargeable battery (tested at about 4 hours battery life).
Download the free Smule app to play songs and lyrics through the mic on your phone.
Check out this fun video review on the Bonaok Wireless Karaoke Microphone by Vannie3000 that we enjoyed watching (be sure to like and subscribe to her content):
The only cons are that you do still need a smartphone to make this system work. Since most people have these readily available anyways, it doesn’t put too much of a damper on things.
Some reviews point out that the quality of sound from the built-in speakers isn’t up to standard, but that’s sort of expected at this size and price. Still, if you want something a little louder or more powerful, this microphone is easy to plug it into your existing speaker system.
Best Outdoor Karaoke Machine
VeGue Portable Karaoke Machine
What is it: The VeGue Portable Karaoke Machine is a waterproof, battery-powered, heavy-duty outdoor karaoke machine. The speakers in this system pack a punch.
Who this is best for: People who throw parties in their backyard, beach or on camping trips. This is a waterproof and rugged karaoke machine, meaning it can brought anywhere.
This speaker is ideal for BBQ and family parties in the summer. It was a blast to have my friends over Memorial Day and mix things up a bit with a little karaoke, although I’m sure the neighbors weren’t too pleased.
- 200 Watt app
- 6.5″ subwoofer
- Two 3″ tweeters
- Lithium battery: 11.1V/4000 mAh
- Playtime: 4-10 hours
- The vocal cut function
- Recording mode
- Echo, bass, and treble controls
- 1 x Remote Control (2 x AAA batteries required, but are not Included)
- 2 x Wireless Mics (each mic requires 2 x AA batteries, but batteries are not included)
Pros: One of the most powerful portable, battery-powered karaoke machines. Decent battery life. Can double up as an amp for guitars or just an outdoor stereo. It also has charging ports for phones.
- Hard to imaging people connecting displays to this machine other than phones.
So grab the family and let modern technology bring your family closer to an age-old pastime – breaking into song!
Hi, I’m JD (Big Daddy). After I became a lawyer and ran a successful law practise for a while, I became interested in blogging, developing new technology for the law, playing in the outdoors and taking lots of vacations. I still spend time being a lawyer, but I’m trying to pursue my other passions, and I’d like to document all my fun in various blogs.