Are you cravin’ a croonin’? Are you pining to perform? Do you have a hankering to howl out your favorite songs for a small but fervent flock of friends, to soak in that sonic glory underneath the sweaty stage lights of your living room? Then you, my dear troubadour, may need your very own karaoke machine.
How we picked
Easy to use
You don’t have to be an AV expert to set these up.
We tested volume and overall audio quality to bring out your best.
Two mics are a must for duets and dance-offs.
A portable party
Each of our picks is simple to transport.
With two good wireless microphones and a delightful disco ball on top, this portable speaker system has everything you need to get the karaoke party started.
The Tonor K20 Wireless Karaoke Machine covers all the bases (basses?) for a successful home karaoke celebration, including a tablet holder, adapter cables, and plenty of other thoughtful accessories. It also has the best-sounding wireless microphones of all the karaoke machines we tested, with a wireless range of around 100 feet in case your performance just can’t be contained. With a built-in LED light show and a disco ball on top, the Tonor can transform any room into a concert hall, inspiring even the shyest singers to take a crack at their favorite tune. Like all of the karaoke machines we recommend, the Tonor doesn’t come with its own library of songs, so you’ll need a Wi-Fi connection and a screen to access YouTube (or some other service) for your music and lyrics. But the Tonor stands out because it offers all the audio connections you’re likely to need, including Bluetooth and an auxiliary-audio input jack (with an included cable). You can even play music from a USB flash drive or microSD card. However, the speaker sounds better at louder volumes, which could be overkill for some users (or their neighbors). As an added bonus, the Tonor has a built-in audio-recording feature, so you can capture your performance to share with friends, or listen to yourself later and work on perfecting your pitch.
The Tonor K20 Wireless Karaoke Machine is the best overall karaoke machine because it’s easy to transport, set up, and use, and because it offers crisper audio quality than other models we tested. It’s basically a 250-watt PA speaker on wheels, with a telescoping handle, and it comes with plenty of thoughtful accessories (including two wireless mics), which makes it easy to transport from party to party. The Tonor seamlessly connects to your tablet or smart TV via Bluetooth or an auxiliary cable. You also have the option to play music from a USB flash drive or microSD card (if you have songs you’ve downloaded from a subscription service, for example), which should cover all the bases. It even comes with a tablet holder, allowing you to prop up your device as a lyric screen and sing along with your preferred service. Plus, it has a totally dope disco ball on top to enhance your overall performance experience. Don’t worry, though—this is easy to turn off if you have any sort of photophobia.
The Tonor comes with two wireless microphones that run on a pair of AA batteries (not included), plus an aux cable, an aux-to-RCA cable, and a DC adapter for charging. It also includes some non-audio accessories, such as a remote control; a tablet holder, which you clip onto the telescoping handle; a pair of washable foam covers (called pop filters), which protect the mics from sibilance and slobber, and a velvety carrying bag that can fit everything inside of it, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of all the pieces between performances. It’s these kinds of thoughtful touches that really make this karaoke machine stand out from the others.
The Tonor had the best-sounding microphones of any karaoke machine we tested, delivering clear vocals whether we sang directly into the top or howled closer to the sides. In our tests the mics had a range of about 100 feet before the wireless connection started faltering. Every other mic we tried had a similar range (except for the VocoPro’s mics, which went only half as far), but none of them sounded nearly as good as the Tonor’s. (At best, our voices sounded fuzzy and distorted, with narrow, unidirectional diaphragms that made everything muddy no matter how we sang into them.)
The Tonor’s built-in speaker sounds good, with two 3-inch tweeters (for the higher frequencies) and an 8-inch subwoofer (for the lower sounds) in a resonant wooden cabinet. Compared with the Moukey MTs10-2, which has a larger subwoofer, and the Ion Audio Party Rocker Max, which has only one tweeter, the Tonor sounded surprisingly less full at lower volumes. When we cranked it loud enough for speaker breakup, however, it sounded even richer than the other models we tested. That said, you might not want to turn it up that much—250 watts of power can produce a lot of volume. If you really want to tweak the Tonor’s sound at lower volumes, it has a pair of bass and treble equalization (EQ) knobs that can help you dial in the tone you want, though you probably won’t need to mess with this too much.
The Tonor features a fun, built-in light show, with a pane of colorful LEDs on the front of the speaker and a disco ball on top. That disco ball isn’t as bright as the one on the Ion Party Rocker, but it’s also less likely to hurt your eyes, while still being more than enough to transform your dark living room into a club-like setting. You don’t have much control over the LEDs in the speaker or the disco ball, although they will start moving around a bit more sporadically as the music reaches higher peaks. It’s not quite a synchronized light show, but then again, karaoke’s not really a high-production concert. If you don’t want to use the disco ball—if you have a sensitivity to flashing lights, for example, or if you just don’t like it—it’s easy to turn off with the click of a well-marked button on the front panel. Without the lights, the battery on the Tonor is supposed to last for up to 12 hours. While we didn’t measure this exactly, we found that we were able to enjoy several kick-ass karaoke sessions without having to recharge.
Everything else you need to control the Tonor is on the front panel, too, and more importantly, everything is clearly marked and easy to find. This may sound like faint praise, but sadly, it’s a less common feature of other karaoke machines than you might think. The Tonor is the only model we tested that puts the power switch on the front, for example, and all of the audio-input options are right there, as well. (If you’re nervous or uncertain about setting up audio equipment, the user manual (PDF) is simple, clear, and comprehensive.) The machine’s front panel has a master volume knob; several smaller, individual knobs to control the microphone volume; and an echo-level knob, which produces an effect somewhere between reverb and delay (a little bit will help your vocals sound bigger and smoother, but it can quickly become too much).
The Tonor’s two EQ knobs let you adjust the bass and treble levels of your audio input. We don’t think most people will need to fuss with this—like we said, the speaker sounds pretty good on its own—but if you do want a little bit of bass boost or some of that high-end sizzle, it’s a nice option to have. The Tonor also has an additional ¼-inch input in case you want to add an extra wired microphone. You can even plug a guitar into this jack—it has a preamp that boosts the input up to line level so that the sound comes out at the same volume as the wireless microphones. By contrast, the ¼-inch input on the Moukey MTs10-2 was set at mic level, making it noticeably quieter than the wireless mics that came with that particular model.
The Tonor has an LCD screen that shows both the current audio input and the battery level. If you’re using a USB drive or microSD card for sound, this screen will help you navigate through those menus. Next to the screen are several small buttons that let you control the input source, and pause/play or skip tracks when you’re using Bluetooth or a drive. The fact that you can stop or start the music right at the machine, instead of having to reach for a tablet or remote control, is another thoughtful feature that makes the overall Tonor experience more enjoyable. Other buttons help you control the Tonor’s built-in recording option, which requires you to plug in a USB drive to capture the MP3 data. We won’t go into depth on this—it’s hardly a necessary feature. But it’s another nice perk that’s surprisingly easy to use. The Moukey boasts a similar recording option, but we couldn’t even figure out how to use it.
The Moukey’s mics aren’t as crisp as we’d like, but the speaker itself sounds fantastic and has built-in mic holders on one side. We’re not sure about the owl face, though.
The Moukey MTs10-2 Karaoke Machine has a better-sounding speaker than our top pick, especially at lower volumes. The basic controls are slightly easier to use, as well, even if some of its bonus features can be confusing. The wireless microphones sound and feel a little cheaper, too—although the machine does come with a convenient pair of mic holders built into the side. Like the Tonor, the Moukey can stream songs over Bluetooth or via an aux-in port, USB drive, or microSD card, and it displays a dynamic LED light show to fuel your onstage fantasies. It doesn’t have a disco ball, however, which is more of a downer than we expected, and the speaker itself, which the company says is meant to resemble an owl, actually looks more like a glowering audience member. That might give you the inspiration you need to really rock your next song, though.
If the Tonor is unavailable or you want something with a slightly fuller sound at lower volumes, or if you’re just really into angry owls, the Moukey MTs10-2 Karaoke Machine is a great alternative. Like the Tonor, it comes with two wireless microphones and has all the same audio-input options, plus two ¼-inch inputs for additional wired mics (which means you can use up to four mics at a time, compared to only three with the Tonor). It also has a built-in FM radio, in case you want to sing along with your favorite station. However, the Moukey isn’t quite as easy to use as the Tonor, and while the unit itself sounds better, the included wireless mics both feel and sound cheaper. The Moukey doesn’t have a disco ball, either—which we wouldn’t mind, if its LED light display didn’t make the speaker look like an angry audience member glaring back at you in judgment from behind a furrowed brow.
The Moukey’s control panel is on top, rather than the front, of the rolling speaker unit. Like our top pick, it has a telescoping handle and an attachable tablet holder, giving you a convenient place to read your lyric cues. The main control knobs—echo, mic volume, master volume, and a bass/treble EQ—are larger and easier to find than the equivalent knobs on the Tonor. We also think they’re arranged a bit more logically. Also like the Tonor, the Moukey has pause/play and forward/back buttons right near these dials, which make it easier to skip or stop songs from the machine itself.
This machine has a few extra features that the Tonor lacks: a “mic priority” setting (which automatically pauses the music when the microphone picks up sound) and an “automatic” vocal remover (which is supposed to help you create a karaoke version of any song). Unfortunately, both are annoying and largely useless. The mic priority setting is more frustrating than anything else—it really only comes in handy if you plan on using the Moukey to give a speech at a party where you can’t hit “pause” yourself. The “vocal remover” essentially cuts all of the midrange frequencies (PDF) where the vocals tend to sit; this also eliminates most of the important guitar and keyboard sounds, leaving the song sounding like a hollowed-out simulacrum of itself. The Moukey supposedly has a built-in recording feature, but we couldn’t figure out how to make it work, and the user manual wasn’t particularly helpful.
The Moukey’s wireless microphones are noticeably lighter than others, and each one has different-color rings around the bottom, so you can tell them apart if you need to. (Though to be fair, there’s not much need to differentiate between the two, since the Moukey doesn’t have individual mic-volume controls.) They also feel like they’re made from slightly cheaper plastic, and seem more prone to breaking if you drop them. Fortunately, the Moukey has two convenient pop-out microphone holders on the side, making it easier to store the mics between songs. Sound-wise, the Moukey’s wireless mics are fine. They somehow have too much gain without being very responsive, so we had to sing directly into the top center of the mic, and our voices still sounded a little distorted and muddy. The echo effect can help soften the edges a little bit, but too much will contribute more mud to the sound. While Moukey promises a wireless range of only 65 feet or so, we were able to reach nearly 100 feet in our tests before the mics started losing signal.
The Moukey also has the option to plug in two additional ¼-inch wired mics. However, unlike the ¼-inch inputs on the Tonor, the inputs on the Moukey appear to run at or around mic level, which we believe is what makes these wired mics noticeably quieter than their wireless counterparts. The company acknowledged this problem in response to an Amazon reviewer’s question, but it remains a strange design choice. However, if you plug an instrument-level source (like a guitar) into these ¼-inch inputs, they should be fine.
Finally, there’s the Moukey’s built-in light display. While the Moukey does have LEDs that you can switch on or off, it doesn’t have a disco ball. As a result, the unit’s light show is more than a little disappointing. You might not think it’s so bad at first, but if you look closely at the machine, which has a slanted plastic brow over two tweeter speakers designed to look like eyeballs, you’ll realize that you have an anthropomorphic speaker staring back at you in glowering disappointment. This face is supposed to resemble an owl for some reason, but we think it looks more like a severely unpleasant human. Maybe you need that kind of motivation to bring your best performance, in which case you’ll be glad to know that the “eyes” light up only when you sing loud enough. Consider it a challenge.
This small, portable karaoke cube doesn’t sound quite as good as our other picks, but it has lots of fun lighting and sound effects to keep you entertained.
If you don’t care as much about audio quality and just want to have some fun, the Singsation Star Burst SPKA25 is a great choice. It’s small enough to carry around in one hand—which you might need to do, because it has two wired microphones with cables that are only about 6 feet long. Like the Tonor K20, though, it has a disco ball on top, along with a variety of LED patterns that you can display on the speaker itself. The Singsation also comes with a variety of pitch-shifting options (think Alvin and the Chipmunks), plus some fun sound effects that let you inject air horns and applause and other embellishments into your karaoke performances. That said, the mics and the speaker sound fine but not great, and this is the only all-in-one karaoke machine we tested that doesn’t have a rechargeable battery built in (it needs eight AA batteries to free it from the DC wall adapter). But if you’re looking for a simple speaker with a light show that lets you amplify your voice to sing along, the Singsation is an affordable source of entertainment.
If you’re just looking for an affordable way to bring the karaoke party with you wherever you go, or if you have kids who are interested in singing but you’re hesitant to make too big an investment, the Singsation Star Burst SPKA25 is the best you can do without breaking the bank. Like the Tonor, it has a disco ball on top, as well as a moving LED light display across the speaker grill. It also comes with a bunch of built-in vocal effects, such as pitch shifting, plus a collection of silly sounds (sirens and DJ scratches, for instance) that can either add to a party atmosphere, entertain your children for a little while longer, or drive you off the wall—maybe even all three at once. While it’s hardly a great speaker, the Singsation still sounds like any other midrange Bluetooth speaker you might find. The wired microphones aren’t great either. Overall, the Singsation feels more like a toy than a sturdy piece of audio equipment, but it’ll get the job done for about $100.
The Singsation is roughly half the size of our other all-in-one karaoke-machine picks from Tonor and Moukey. This means it’s noticeably quieter but also easier to transport, with a convenient carrying handle in the back that even a toddler can figure out (which my toddler did many times during testing). Unlike our other picks, it doesn’t have wireless microphones, and the wired mics that come in the box have a range of only 6 feet. That’s not a lot of distance, especially if the Singsation is resting on the ground, but it’s certainly workable. (If you really feel the need to dance around your living-room stage, you can place the speaker higher up on a shelf; or, if you’re capable, you could carry it around in your other hand.) The Singsation doesn’t have any sort of EQ options, so what you hear is what you get, whether the sound goes in through Bluetooth or the included aux-in cable. The machine’s microphones also sound a little cheap and muddy. Even if you plug in a better, wired mic, it doesn’t make that much of a difference. That said, the Singsation’s audio fidelity is still decent enough to have fun with it.
Unlike the other karaoke machines we tested, the Singsation has only a single knob on top, which adjusts the master volume. Everything else, including the mic-volume setting, is controlled by buttons on the side of the speaker. We found this a little annoying, but only in comparison to the other models we tested—there are plenty of other, non-karaoke Bluetooth speakers that require you to press a button several times to fine-tune the levels, so we’re used to it. The Singsation’s control panel also has “mode” and “color” buttons that let you cycle through different LED lighting effects and color variations. While we personally preferred the Tonor’s default dynamic light show, this is a nice customization option our other picks lack. (Anecdotally, we found it’s something a lot of children really enjoy, as well.)
Another fun feature that stands out on the Singsation is the option to add sound and vocal effects. Tap the sound effects button, for example, and you can add an air horn, a DJ scratch, or a round of applause into the middle of someone’s song, which is a fun way to cheer them on (or annoy them). The built-in vocal effects go far beyond the echo options on the other karaoke machines we tested: You can shift your voice up or down an octave, and there’s even a fun “alien voice” option if you want to get weird. None of these vocal effects are really practical, mind you, and they’re not easy to sing with due to the slight processing delay. But they’re fun to mess around with, and they can keep you or your kids entertained for a while.
Our only other major complaint about the Singsation is that it doesn’t have a rechargeable battery built in. You can install batteries if you want to carry it around, but be warned: This thing takes eight AAs. You can also plug it into the wall using the included DC adapter, if you don’t mind it being stationary.
If you already have a home stereo setup that you like, the Rybozen is an easy and affordable way to add a pair of wireless mics to your speakers.
The Rybozen K201 Portable Karaoke Microphone Mixer is essentially an audio passthrough that lets you sing out of your existing stereo system with a pair of wireless microphones. It offers an incredibly simple setup: There’s one ⅛-inch audio-in port and one ⅛-inch audio-out port, and it comes equipped with Bluetooth and a variety of adapter cables that should be able to work for almost every home audio system. You can insert the Rybozen between a smart TV and a soundbar, for example, or connect it between your computer or tablet and a pair of desktop speakers, then stream your favorite karaoke songs on YouTube. Other than our top pick, the Rybozen has some of the best-sounding mics we tested, and it’s one of the only models we tried that offers individual volume control for each mic, in case you and your singing partner tend to croon at different loudness levels. Overall, it’s a great choice if you already have a sound system that you’re happy with and don’t want to deal with storing another speaker.
If you already have a home audio setup that you’re happy with and don’t want to deal with storing an entirely new speaker setup, the Rybozen K201 Portable Karaoke Microphone Mixer is a compact and affordable alternative. It’s essentially a microphone receiver that you can insert between your primary audio source (such as a smart TV on which you’d be watching YouTube lyric videos) and your usual speakers (such as a soundbar). It’s also one of the only models we tested that offers separate volume controls for each microphone, in case you and your duet partner don’t sing at the same loudness level. The Rybozen is a particularly good option for people who are otherwise overwhelmed by the notion of having to set up audio equipment—it has only one audio-in jack and one audio-out jack, and includes a wide variety of cables (plus Bluetooth capabilities) that should be able to connect to your specific home theater setup. As an added convenience, it’s the only karaoke machine we tested that included batteries for the wireless mics right in the box.
The Rybozen is basically just a black box with five knobs: a master volume control (for your audio source), volume controls for each individual microphone, and two knobs to adjust the tone and echo level. Unlike the Tonor and Moukey, both of which have dedicated “bass” and “treble” equalization knobs, this machine simplifies this into one general tone knob. While a multiband EQ might provide more customizable sonic variety, the Rybozen’s approach is far more accessible. You don’t need to stress about balancing the highs and lows—you just turn a knob one way or the other until it sounds how you want it to. That sort of simple convenience makes the Rybozen stand out, even when compared with similar passthrough audio receivers (such as the VocoPro SmartTVOke, which we also tested).
The Rybozen includes two wireless microphones with a range of about 100 feet and metal grills on the head, making them more durable than other, all-plastic options. These were some of the crisper microphones we tested, and while they don’t sound as clear as the mics that came with the Tonor, it’s easy to dial in a decent tone with the control knobs. Like the other karaoke machines we tested, the Rybozen has two ¼-inch inputs, in case you want to add some wired mics. More importantly, these inputs amplified sound at the same level as the wireless microphones, without adding any excess noise or mud. As part of our tests, we plugged a Shure SM58 Dynamic Vocal Microphone—pretty much the industry standard for live vocal mics—into the ¼-inch inputs of each karaoke machine we tested, and it sounded best through the Rybozen.
People have all kinds of home audio setups, and the Rybozen tries to compensate for this with multiple adapter cables. The Rybozen has clearly labeled aux-in and aux-out jacks, and the box comes with one aux cable and two aux-to-RCA cables—some combination of which should be able to work for most home media setups. The Rybozen also has Bluetooth, which broadcasts automatically when the unit is turned on. While it has HDMI ports (one input and one output), we generally think you should ignore them. Just plug your smart TV’s audio output directly into the Rybozen, then plug the Rybozen into the speaker system that you normally connect to your TV or tablet. Or, use Bluetooth. The HDMI can complicate things unnecessarily, and might cause some sync problems between the audio and video. That’s our only real complaint about this particular karaoke machine, and it’s one that’s very easy to bypass.
The Ion Audio Party Rocker Max has, without question, the best light show of any karaoke machine we tested. The disco ball is almost blindingly bright, with multiple patterns to choose from, and the control panel lets you select specific colors to display on the speaker grill. The Ion’s speaker sounds fantastic, too, with a rich bass response. This might make it a great choice for parties overall—but when it comes to karaoke, it falters. The included wireless mic is utterly terrible and almost guaranteed to produce some awful feedback no matter where you stand. And if that ear-piercing squeal causes you to recoil and drop the cheap, plastic mic, we think there’s a good chance it’ll break on the ground. As much as we enjoyed the Ion’s customizable lighting options, they also make for a busy and confusing control panel that clearly prioritizes visuals over sound. It doesn’t come with a tablet holder, either, and the included aux cable is too short to be much use. Again: The Rocker Max is great for parties, but bad for karaoke.
The $400 VocoPro WiFi-Oke Wireless Karaoke Machine was the only model we tested with a built-in touchscreen display and WiFi capabilities. We considered recommending this for people who don’t already own a tablet, but it has so many other flaws that you’re better off getting one of our picks and buying an Amazon Fire or other cheap tablet to go along with it. The WiFi-Oke’s battery lasts for less than four hours, and as the battery drains, so does the responsiveness on the touchscreen, leaving you frustrated and unable to actually do anything (thus draining the battery further, still without you having any fun). When this happens, neither the included remote control nor the confusing cluster of onboard buttons offer any help. Even more annoying is the giant “YouTube” button on the WiFi-Oke’s home screen, which doesn’t even work. (You can also access the Google Play store from this screen.) Did we mention that the microphones sound terrible and feedback at you almost everywhere you go, which is only half as far as the other wireless mics we tested?
The VocoPro SmartTVOke is similarly full of thoughtful advances in karaoke technology, with utterly horrendous execution. Like the Rybozen K201, the SmartTVOke is a passthrough receiver that you can add to your existing home audio setup to add a pair of wireless mics into the mix. Unlike the K201, which has a receiver with clear, simple knobs, the SmartTVOke puts all of its controls right on the mics themselves. This means that each singer can control their individual volume and EQ/echo effects, as well as the master volume, right from their own microphone. This sounds cool in theory, except the buttons are so small that you can’t figure out which one you’re pressing without looking at it, which you can’t do while you’re holding the microphone up to your lips to sing. On the bright side, it really doesn’t matter which audio settings you choose from the SmartTVOke’s onboard controls—the mics themselves are awful, and every EQ and echo option just gives you a different kind of a muddy, distorted mess of sound.
Other karaoke machines we considered but did not test include the Singsation Performer Deluxe SPKA710, which is similar to the Star Burst SPKA25 but has a built-in mic stand and only one microphone; the Gemini Sound MPA-3600 and the Gemini KP-800PRO Party Caster, both of which seemed more like semi-pro gear; the Masingo Soprano X1, which turned us off because, like a car battery, it requires crocodile clips to charge; the Karaoke USA GF844 Karaoke System, which seemed both too cheap and too complex; Pyle’s PPHP1299WU.5, PWMA230BT, and PWMA325BT portable PA speaker systems, none of which had all the features we wanted; and the Singing Machine STVG782BK Groove XL, which requires you to invest in those CD+Gs. Honestly, just use YouTube—it’s free.
Where to find karaoke songs
One question that came up frequently in both our early research and focus groups was: Where do you even get your karaoke songs, anyway? If you’re of a certain age, you may have memories (fond or not) of doing karaoke at bars and parties, where the KJ passed around binders full of song lists that referenced their extensive collection of CD+Gs—specially formatted discs that combine audio with synced-up lyric graphics. (Believe it or not, you can still buy CD+Gs, which are often sold as song packs.) But while the music will technically work in any CD player—assuming you still have one—you’ll need a specialized device to play the lyric graphics along with the song’s instrumentals. Companies such as Karaoke Cloud and Karaoke Version, as well as the OpenKJ Project, let you buy and download individual video files that, like a CD+G, combine a song’s MP3 with its accompanying lyric graphics. These businesses do offer subscription options—but either way, the costs can start to add up quickly.
That’s why we generally recommend that you find your karaoke songs on YouTube, which is free (with ads) and has pretty much everything you could ask for. (Seriously, the platform even has karaoke versions of hip-hop songs in the Irish language.) If you don’t want to deal with the ads, you can upgrade to YouTube Music ($10 per month) or YouTube Premium ($12 per month for an individual membership and $18 per month for a family plan).
The only other subscription service we’d recommend—and only for the most serious karaokers—is KaraFun. Not only does the app have nearly 50,000 songs to choose from (with decent-quality recordings, too), it also gives you the option to speed up or slow down the tempo, or even change the key. (This is great if you, like me, really like to sing along with ’80s hair-metal tenors who are out of your vocal range.) KaraFun lets you create a running queue of multiple singers so you’re not scrambling to the search bar between every song, a particularly nice option if you’re throwing a big party with lots of soon-to-be singers. The user interface is nice, and the accompanying lyric visuals are certainly no more corny than other karaoke graphics. KaraFun offers a two-day pass for $6 or a monthly subscription for $10, which is about as much as the most dedicated singers in our focus group said they would spend for a premium experience. And if you need a jump start on song ideas, feel free to use the Wirecutter staff’s Spotify playlist of karaoke faves.