All lecterns theoretically fit on a table or desktop, and, unlike free-standing podiums (that stand on their own pod or foot), lecterns are relatively small and portable.
But some lecterns are less portable than others. These lecterns tradeoff weight and portability for other features that may be of equal or greater importance.
As a result, tabletop lecterns come in a variety of sizes and shapes that serve a wide variety of functions.
With so many different models to choose from, how can you tell which portable tabletop lectern is right for you?
Here are 8 features to consider before buying a tabletop lectern:
1. How much does the lectern weigh and what’s its size?
“Portable” is a relative term for portable tabletop lecterns!
Get the weight and measurements of a lectern before you buy it.
On the one hand, make sure you’ll be able to transport the lectern easily. For example if you are giving a lecture and you drive to the venue make sure the lectern will fit in your car. On the other hand, make sure that the lectern’s big enough to accommodate everything you’ll need – whether it’s a few extra papers or a laptop computer for a multimedia presentation.
2. What kind of aesthetics – wood finish, fabric or high impact plastic – do you want in your lectern?
Lecterns come in a variety of different wood finishes in several different shades; lecterns are also available with other options, from fabric to plastic.
If you know where you’re going to be using your lectern, you can pick a look that will match the room. Cloth or fabric covered housings from Sound Craft are an excellent example of lecterns that can literally be designed to fit a room. Wood finishes like those of Oklahoma Sound offer a classic alternative that always adds elegance.
If you’re going to be using your lectern in several different spaces, you can select something neutral that will blend in almost anywhere. A personal favorite is the sophisticated black high impact plastic casing of the AmpliVox lecterns.
3. Does the Lectern have features that facilitate transport or setup?
Some lecterns fold into a self-contained case for easy storage and transport; others come with special carry bags; and some lecterns have retractable legs.
The importance of these options depends on how portable you need the lectern to be. If you’re moving the lectern from one office to another on the same floor of the same building, a fold-down feature won’t be so important. If you’re traveling with it from state to state, however, being able to carry it like a suitcase is very helpful.
Look into how easily a lectern can be set up and taken down before you buy it.
4. Does the Lectern have shelves and/or storage space for presenters?
Portable tabletop lecterns with integrated storage space are helpful for presenters.
Accessible shelves inside a lectern allow for the convenient storage of lecturers’ pointers, papers, and laptop computers while keeping the paraphernalia out of sight until it’s ready for use.
Built-in storage space gives the presenter and the presentation space a more professional look.
Determine if you’ll need this feature before shopping for your tabletop lectern.
5. Does the lectern have a built-in PA System?
Depending on the size of the room or venue in which you’re going to use your lectern, you may need amplification.
Portable tabletop lecterns are available both with and without built-in PA systems, which would include a microphone, amplifier and speakers. Lecterns without PA systems are also known as lectern housings. If you’re going to be in a small conference room or classroom, or if you already have a separate PA system, you may be better off without a built-in PA system. However, if you’re going to be traveling and you’re not sure where or in what situations you’ll be using it, having a lectern with a built-in sound system can be a good “insurance policy.”
Note, many lectern housings come “upgrade-ready,” so you can easily install PA components if you need them.
6. How powerful do you want the lectern’s PA system to be?
Lecterns with built-in PA systems can have as few as 8 Watts of power or as much as 50 Watts of power.
The power of the PA system you want to buy depends on the size of your audience and the room configuration where you will be using your lectern?
It’s always a good idea to go for too much Wattage rather than too little. Turning the PA’s volume up to maximum can result in distortion and overloading. As a rule of thumb, if you are unsure of the requirements you will face in the future I would recommend getting a lectern with at least 25 Watts of power.
7. What kind of microphone do you want for the lectern’s sound system?
Portable tabletop lecterns with built-in PA systems come with microphones, of course. But which kind of microphone do you need?
You may be fine with a standard wired handheld microphone attached to a “goose neck” mount; this is usually standard equipment with most built-in PA systems. Ideally such a microphone should be removable from the lectern mounting and have a long extension cord to facilitate walking around behind the desk or table.
If you’re going to pass the mic around during a meeting a wireless handheld microphone may be more suitable. In other cases, a hands-free (headset or lapel) mic may be appropriate.
If you think you may want to eventually go with a wireless mic (but not right now), make sure your lectern’s PA is wireless-compatible before you buy it. Adding a receiver and transmitter later can be costly and cumbersome.
8. Is your lectern configured to allow external sound inputs?
If you want to add visuals or audio accompaniment to your presentations, you’ll need a tabletop lectern with a built-in PA, of course. But you’ll also need to have auxiliary inputs to connect components like a CD player, projector or computer. Additionally, it’s helpful to be able to connect additional speakers and microphones, so check to see how many microphone inputs and speaker jacks the lectern’s PA can accommodate.
The top of the line lectern, the AmpliPod by AmpliVox, even comes with a built-in CD player and, that ultimate lectern option, a built-in a reading lamp.
Check out our selection of portable tabletop lecterns with PA systems, as well as our portable tabletop lectern housings without PAs. For additional information and assistance in selecting the lectern that’s right for you, email us or call 1-800-263-0112!