Portable karaoke machines are self-contained units that come ready to “plug and play” whenever you want to start singing. Many come with built-in screens for you to read the lyrics, along with built-in speakers and amplifiers so you can blast some tunes wherever you want. Portable karaoke units tend to be compact and easy to use, and are perfect for camps, DJ’s, and family vacations. The primary limits of these portable machines are sound quality and the type of power source they require to function properly.
The 5 Best Portable Karaoke Machines of 2018
1. Karaoke USA GF839
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Karaoke USA’s GF839 portable karaoke system aim to be a one stop shop for your karaoke needs, and I have to say they do a pretty great job. With an integrated screen and integrated speakers, you’ll never be without karaoke for long when the GF839 is near. This unit is perfect for families and aspiring entertainers!
Read my full Karaoke USA GF839 Review
2. Singing Machine SML-283P Review
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The Singing Machine SML-283P might as well be the gold standard for truly portable karaoke machines. It’s not necessarily a top of the line karaoke setup, but Singing Machine set out to make a fantastically reliable portable karaoke player and they did just that.
Read my full Singing Machine SML-283P Review
3. ION Audio Party Rocker Plus
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ION Audio’s Party Rocker Plus karaoke setup / PA system is one of the most premium units out there. It has everything you need to go pro with your karaoke, and more. And then still more. The Party Rocker Plus can power huge venues with it’s superior audio and will take any serious karaoke singer to the next level.
Read my full ION Audio Party Rocker Plus Review
4. Akai KS808
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The Akai KS808 is a wonderful stand-up karaoke system that has everything you need to really spice up your karaoke performances. There seem to be some quality control issues with the unit, but when it works – it works! I truly enjoyed singing along with this wonderful setup.
Read my full Akai KS808 Review
5. Singtrix SGTX1
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The Singtrix SGTX1 might just be one of the most “famous” karaoke systems out there, with its Shark Tank appearance and multiple celebrity endorsements. I’m happy to say this awesome machine really lives up to its reputation – this is one of the best karaoke systems I’ve had the pleasure of trying out!
Read my full Singtrix Review
What To Consider When Buying Portable Karaoke Machines
Portable machines can be a bit more finicky than units that just sit in one place. It’s important to have your ducks in a row before purchasing a portable karaoke machine. Here’s what you ultimately need to consider:
Most portable units come with a built-in screen so you can see the lyrics while you’re singing. These screens can vary greatly in quality, so it’s necessary to decide what sort of screen you’re okay with. Portable screens will never be as high quality as a dedicated TV or monitor, so don’t set you expectations too high with these built-in screens. They’re usually just good enough for you to read lyrics off of them, although some will play videos or display images too.
Portable karaoke machines almost always come with built-in speakers. This is obviously very hand from a portability perspective, but you shouldn’t expect stellar sound quality from most of these units. The built-in speakers tend to be smaller and more stripped down so that the unit itself is lighter and easier to transport, but that comes at the cost of sound quality. If you’re looking for a portable karaoke unit that can really crank some music, you should pay special attention to the sound output specifications of each machine you check out. There are units out there more than capable of delivering decent sound to entire rooms at a time if necessary.
You should look at two things here: power input and power output. Power input refers to what sort of power source you need to get the machine up and running. All portable units are compatible with standard wall outlets, so there shouldn’t be a problem there. However, if you’ll be running the karaoke machine off of a generator or something similar, it’s worth taking some time to make sure the output of the generator is enough to power the karaoke machine.
As for power output, there’s typically a direct correlation between wattage and sound quality (for example, an amplifier literally measures sound output in watts). As a quick reference, here are some numbers: In terms of decibels, human breathing measures around 10 dB, normal conversation volume clocks in around 60 dB, and someone shouting in your ear measures around 110 dB.
110 dB is around 120 watts, which is right around the maximum wattage most people consider for a pair of decent home speakers. For portable karaoke machines, you can find wattage ranging from 5 right on up to 300+ for those units that power big outdoor venues.
The point is, keep a close eye on the wattage of whichever karaoke setup you’re considering. With a bit of simple math, you can quickly figure out if the sound quality will be what you’re looking for or not!
Size And Weight
This one’s straightforward, but still important. Most all portable karaoke machines are…well, are portable, but there’s definitely some wiggle room in what “portable” really means.
Depending on how much you plan to travel with your portable karaoke setup, you want to make sure it’s both compact and light enough for consistent, easy travel.
Like I’ve said, most portable karaoke units do come with built-in speakers, screens, and so on. However, plenty of portable setups also allow you to plug them into dedicated TVs, speakers, etc when possible.
If you’re looking for a portable unit that you’ll also have at home a lot, or if you’ll end up bringing it to a venue that does have dedicated A/V equipment, you should make sure the karaoke machine is capable of hooking up to external components in the first place – not all are.