Nothing gets a party going like Andrew WK doing this thing, but if you can't book the Michigan musician, the next best thing is choosing one of the best karaoke machines instead and getting your friends round on a Saturday night for a good old-fashioned night in.
Being able to grab a mic, selecting a song of your choice and then belting it out while friends and family stand in admiration (or howl with derision) is one of life's guilty pleasures. And in this guide to the best karaoke machines, we'll help you experience that pleasure for yourself and bring the party home, giving our expert opinion on the most fun and feature-packed singing tech available today.
As well as recommending our top picks in a number of categories – including the best budget choice, the best portable karaoke machine and the best option for free songs – we'll explain the kind of things you should look for when buying one of the best karaoke machines, to ensure that you get the best possible value for your investment. By the time you reach the bottom of the page, you'll have everything you need to get started. Singing ability? Erm, maybe not – but just remember, it's the taking part that counts.
The best karaoke machines: The Louder Choice
The Mr Entertainer Digibox (opens in new tab) isn't one of the cheaper karaoke machines on the market, but you get what you pay for. This sturdy unit comes with a large colour touchscreen that's pre-installed with karaoke apps, meaning you can get started with the fun and games straightaway, along with an Android operating system for downloading loads more content.
With two high-quality wireless mics in the box, you can perform Run-DMC and Aerosmith-style duets – and even record your efforts for posterity. What's more, the Digibox features a carry handle and a rechargeable battery, enabling you to use it both indoors and out.
If you need some flashing lights to bring out your inner spandex-shaped rock god, then the Easy Karaoke EKS-878-BT (opens in new tab)is a great choice. With its funky aesthetic and powerful 160W output, this pedestal-style machine will inspire you to perform at your best. Two (wired) mics will let you sing in tandem with another person, and recording is possible via the machine's USB port. While the EKS-878-BT doesn't come with any karaoke software installed, its front-loading CD/CD+G player and smart device connectivity mean you can easily provide your own songs.
The best karaoke machines: Product guide
Mr Entertainer is one of the UK's most respected karaoke companies, and this machine shows why. Powerful and built to last, the Digibox contains everything you need to get started with your crooning capers straightaway.
With karaoke apps pre-installed, there's no need to hook up a smart device or insert a CD – simply choose the track you want using the colour touchscreen and sing to your heart's content. Want even more options? Thanks to the machine's built-in Android operating system and Wi-Fi connectivity, there are effectively millions of songs at your fingertips. The machine even comes with 80 built-in, though these are primarily aimed at children.
It's not perfect – the battery could be better and it doesn't come with disco lights. But for high-quality karaoke singing right out of the box, you'll struggle to find better.
Do you dream of performing at Download or the Aftershock festival? Let's be honest, it ain't gonna happen – so settle for the next best thing (sort of) and buy a karaoke machine with some flashing lights.
Our pick of the bunch is the Easy Karaoke EKS-878-BT, a funky, pedestal-style machine that'll bathe you in multiple colours while you holler yourself hoarse. This device is more than just a novelty, though – there's a colour screen for displaying lyrics from your CDs (you can also connect up a smart device for streaming), while 160W of power will leave the neighbours in no doubt that you're on the mic.
Speaking of mics, the two supplied with this machine are tethered, meaning you won't be able to fling open the doors and continue your Meat Loaf and Cher Dead Ringer For Love routine outside in the garden. In case you were wondering, that's probably a good thing.
If you're planning to conquer your local high street with a bit of Motorhead, then you'll want something that can project your voice. With its 300W output, the Vocal-Star VS-P120 will ensure that your dulcet tones are heard all the way up the street.
The machine's luggage-trolley build means it can be easily wheeled from one location to the next, while eight hours of battery life will enable you to serve up Ace Of Spades till the shutters come down.
And don't worry if you don't sound like the late, great Lemmy Kilmister (and let's face it, who does) there's a professional-sounding echo effect for hiding your imperfections.
If you're worried about where you're going to source your songs from, then the Lucky Voice Karaoke Kit will put your mind at rest, coming with a free month's subscription to the company's 9000-song subscription service. With all the latest chart tracks represented, as well as many old rock favourites, there's something for the whole family.
This machine works slightly differently to others on our list, requiring you to hook up a laptop or smart device plus a home speaker system before you can start singing. It can be a bit fiddly at first but once you're used to it, it'll become second nature.
The Lucky Voice Karaoke Kit comes in a sleek and stylish form factor, made even more attractive by the fact that you can choose from a range of chic colours. If you're a fan of singing, you won't want to be without it.
For some people, karaoke is all about the cheese and cheer. However, if you're looking for a machine with a bit more subtlety, then the JYX 82BT should be right at the top of your shortlist.
With its stylish black and orange insignia, and amp-style controls, this karaoke machine oozes class. But it's more than just a pretty face, and 15W of high-quality sound should add beef to even the weediest of voices. (Strangely, the sophistication doesn't extend to the voice-changing effects, and the novelty of sounding like a 'monster' or a 'baby' will soon become tiresome.)
The 82BT is also highly portable, thanks to its light weight and generous 12-hour battery life. Take it out with you, by all means – just be wary of coveting eyes.
Karaoke is meant to be about letting your hair down and having fun, but if you're really worried about your voice when belting out a bit of AC/DC in front of people, there are loads of machines that can polish your performance.
The Singsation Performer Deluxe SPKA710 is our favourite as it offers a choice of eight voice-enhancing features – from harmonise to high and low pitch shifters – to give your warbling a boost. There are also a bunch of special effects, including applause, DJ scratches and an air horn – though these might start to grate after a while.
We should warn you that the Performer Deluxe SPKA710 comes with just one (wired) mic. So if your prime motivation for buying a karaoke machine is performing Linkin Park's In The End with your Aunt Audrey, then you'd best buy another one quick.
It's probably fair to say that the sound from the GROOV-E GV-PS923-BK wouldn't fill Wembley Stadium, but if you're after a karaoke machine that can be carried between small gatherings, then there's a lot to like here.
With its light weight and ergonomic handle, transporting this device is no hassle at all – and, unlike some of the machines on this list, it's small enough to be stowed away out of sight when the party finishes.
Despite its modest dimensions, the GV-PS923-BK packs some favourable features – including two (wired) mics, voice effects and a lights system. Not bad for a machine that costs less than the price of a night out. GROOV-E, baby!
William Shakespeare once wrote that “all the world's a stage” – and with the Ankuka Karaoke Wireless Microphone Machine, it certainly is. As long as it's charged, this handheld gadget can be used anywhere and at any time.
Getting started couldn't be easier – simply pair up your smart device or insert a TF card, and your songs will be played through the built-in 6W speaker, ready for you to sing along. Want some echo? Just hit the switch. Flashing lights? You'd better believe it!
With around 6-8 hours of battery life at your disposal, you can sing till your tonsils ache or your housemates throw you out – whichever comes first.
Best karaoke machines: Buying advice
How to buy the best karaoke machine for you
Though you're probably itching to pick up a microphone and start howling along to Guns N' Roses' Sweet Child O'Mine at the top of your lungs, we advise you to take a few things into consideration before snapping up the first karaoke machine you come across.
First up, there's the question of where you're going to get your songs from. Most modern karaoke machines enable you to hook up your phone or tablet and stream tracks from specialist karaoke apps or YouTube, using your device's screen to display the lyrics. Some may additionally give you the opportunity to insert a memory card or stick filled with songs that you've downloaded yourself.
Prefer to do things the old-fashioned way? A number of karaoke machines come with a disc player. These tend to play both standard CDs and CD+Gs, the latter of which contain data that enables you to see the lyrics if you have a screen. For the ultimate plug-and-play experience, you could go for something like the Mr Entertainer Digibox, which boasts an Android operating system and Wi-Fi for downloading karaoke apps on the fly (it comes pre-installed with a few to help you get started).
How many microphones do I need?
You should also check the number of mics that the machine comes with – if you're looking to duet with friends, you'll need at least two. Do you want the freedom to strut around like Mick Jagger while you sing? If so, those mics will ideally need to be wireless.
Portability, battery life and voice enhancing features
Other things to look out for include portability, which is especially important if you're planning a garden karaoke party or a bit of busking. If you are, note how long the battery life is, as you don't want the machine conking out when you're halfway through Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.
If your singing resembles an Alsatian spewing down a drain, then voice-enhancing features such as echo and automatic voice control (where the recorded vocals kick back in as soon as you stop) can be useful. And if you want to crank the fun factor up to 11, look out for things such as disco lights and the ability to record your performances.
What are the best karaoke machine brands?
Finally, a quick word about karaoke machine brands. Unlike smartphones or TVs, this is an area of technology that doesn't have a small cluster of dominant manufacturers. Companies such as Mr Entertainer, Lucky Voice and Easy Karaoke can be trusted due to their track record of producing high-quality solutions over a long period of time.
However, that doesn't mean you should shun the lesser-known firms – as our guide proves, there are some excellent options out there from brands whose names you may never have heard of.