Traditionally, microphones have been known for tripping people with their long wires (if not taped properly). With the advancement of technology, microphones have mostly become wireless devices even when they are handheld! But, with so many different options in the market, it is often difficult to choose the perfect wireless microphone.
The best wireless handheld microphone for most people is the Shure PGXD24/SM58. It provides great sound quality, an operating range of over 200 feet, enhanced durability, and an attractive extended warranty that is perfectly suited even for beginners.
In this article, I’ll first take you through what you should consider when buying a microphone for an event (specifically handheld wireless devices). I’ll also discuss why Shure PGXD24/SM58 [links to Amazon] wireless microphone systems are the best choice for most people as well as provide alternatives that are better options in certain situations.
Types of Microphone
Before you make a buying decision, I feel it is important for you to understand the various types of microphones that can be used during a presentation. Why? Well, I don’t want you to make the mistake of purchasing the wrong device for your event (just the way I did the first time around!).
There are basically 4 types of microphones that you should consider for a presentation or a public speaking event –
- Handheld Microphone
- Lapel or Lavalier Microphone
- Over-the-ear Microphone
- Desktop Gooseneck-type of Microphone
Each type of microphone has its pros and cons. The first three are available as wireless devices usually. However, a more traditional handheld microphone also comes with a wired option.
The desktop gooseneck type microphone is mostly wired since the presenters or speakers using this type of microphone usually stand on one side of the stage (or sit on a table), and usually don’t require mobility.
I’ve covered these microphones in detail in another article where I go in-depth about which microphone is suitable for what type of purpose during a presentation. Make sure you check out our complete guide on how to choose a microphone for presentations!
What to Consider When Buying a Wireless Handheld Microphone?
There are quite a few that you need to consider in addition to the sound quality when choosing a microphone for presentations, conferences, or public speaking events.
- Operating Range
- Frequency Band
I’ll explain all these factors briefly below –
Did You Know!
A microphone system has 3 critical components – a microphone, receiver, and speaker. When buying a wireless microphone, make sure you buy the receiver along with the microphone for it to function. Don’t fall for a standalone microphone that may be lower priced but will require you to invest in a receiver separately!
The operating range of a wireless microphone is basically the farthest distance from the receiver that a microphone will continue to operate.
For most presentation events, the audio console is usually set at one side of the stage. In some cases, you may even be directly in front of the event stage. An operating range of about 100 feet should be good enough for most small to midsize presentation events.
Remember, don’t go by the range mentioned on the box of the microphone as that is usually in ideal conditions. A general rule of thumb is to go for a microphone that has double the range that you need!
For larger events, there are multiple other factors that come into play that are beyond the scope of this article.
When we say wireless microphones, people often assume that it operates via Bluetooth or WiFi! However, in reality, wireless microphones operate on radio frequencies.
Most professional microphones function in VHF or UHF frequencies – and that is what I would recommend considering as well. The VHF frequency band varies from 174 MHz to 216 MHz, whereas the UHF frequency band operates in 400 MHz and up.
Do keep in mind that certain frequency ranges are regulated and prohibited for the use of wireless microphones by law.
You also get certain microphones operating in the 2.4GHz frequency range. However, they don’t have a very long operating range. And the range can get affected further if there are multiple walls inside the room or if the mic is expected to be passed around among a bigger audience size as this can affect the signal strength. This type of microphone operates best in a direct line of sight (such as a presentation on stage).
Another factor that you may want to consider while shortlisting your microphone is the features.
Now if you are a geek, you probably will check out a ton of features before you make a decision (and if that’s the case, you may not even need this article).
But if you’re like me and you’re just looking for a good microphone system set for presenters without letting all the technical stuff confuse you here are some of the basic features to check for –
- Number of mics that can work with a single receiver – this can come in handy if you’re looking for more than one speaker for a presentation.
- Separate On/Off and a Mute switch – Try to go with a mic that has a separate on/off switch from that of a mute switch. This will save you a fair amount of money in running costs as the batteries won’t drain out faster.
- Backlit mic display – you don’t have to go with a mic that has a display. But if you do, make sure that it is backlit. Otherwise, the added cost of the mic display may not be worth it as readings are difficult to see in dark.
Another factor that you may want to consider is the brand of the microphone.
While this might not be rock-solid criteria to buy a microphone, it can definitely help you shortlist your options. A branded microphone will usually get you good quality, but it will also make your wallet lighter.
I would recommend going for either Shure, Sennheiser, or Audio-Technica microphone systems as these have the best quality products and a legacy.
This doesn’t mean that lesser-known brands are not a good option. It just means that you will have to research and try them out before making a final decision. Fortunately for you, I’ve already recommended some budget non-branded microphone options so that you don’t have to spend time for the same.
The last factor that I would like to mention is the cost. In fact, this would be one of the first things that you may have considered even before looking out for options.
A good microphone will cost you anywhere in the range of $100 to upwards of $750! Some of the higher-priced microphones usually come with professional-grade features that you may not usually need for presentations or events.
Thus, for this article, I’ve capped my budget at a maximum of $750 to $800 (most products recommend here fall well within this limit).
5 Best Handheld Wireless Microphone Recommendations
Now, let’s get down to the details and understand what microphones you should buy if you are looking for a handheld wireless microphone.
Here are some of the best options for a handheld wireless microphone –
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall – Shure PGXD24/SM58
- Best Bang for the Buck – Phenyx Pro Wireless Microphone System
- Best Budget Microphone – Innopow Wireless Microphone System
- Best Branded Microphone on a Budget – Audio-Technica System 1102
- Best Branded Microphone – Sennheiser EW 100
Best Overall: Shure PGXD24/SM58
If you are looking for a well-rounded microphone, then Shure PGXD24 Microphone System will be a great choice for you!
Shure has a great brand name when it comes to microphones. The company makes some great devices that produce an amazing sound! That said, in my experience, not all of Shure’s products deliver the same quality. So, you have to be a bit selective about which microphone system to choose.
Shure PGXD24 is a powerhouse. It doesn’t come with a lot of bells and whistles, but it does the job really well of what it is supposed to do. The receiver body itself is made entirely of plastic and really lightweight, but the microphone has a really solid build quality. It feels like this microphone can easily stand a few mic drops (not that you should really try).
The operating range is an excellent 200 feet – one of the rare microphones that actually deliver what is mentioned in the description! The sound quality is really good. Obviously, there are better-sounding microphones in the market but for a budget branded microphone, the quality is really really good.
The receiver comes with just one mic, so if you are comparing it to the budget options, you may feel it is too expensive. That said, you don’t want to compare apples to oranges!
The receiver is compatible with other Shure mics. So, if you ever want to upgrade your mic from an SM58 to BETA87 or other mic options from Shure, you can easily do that and upgrade your sound quality further.
There’s really not a lot that I want to say about this system except that you won’t be unhappy with this microphone system. If you have about $350 to $400 as your budget, definitely go for this microphone system.
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Best Bang for the Buck: Phenyx Pro Wireless Microphone System
If you are looking to get the most value of your investment, you definitely need to go for this Phenyx Pro 4 Channel UHF 5000A!
I was pleasantly surprised by the Phenyx Pro Wireless System. The sound quality is surprisingly good for the price range. It can easily compete with some of the mid-range microphones from Shure. It’s that good!
The distance is pretty good as well. The microphones use a UHF frequency band, so it didn’t seem to have any problem even when used across long ranges, or between a group of people. This will serve as a perfect microphone to pass around the crowd during Q&A sessions!
The mic seems to be made of quite a good quality. It definitely feels heavy and sturdy but that’s also partly because the heavy battery cover (the thing that you turn around to add or remove batteries from the mic) is made of metal and adds to the weight. If you remove the cover, it suddenly doesn’t feel all that heavy.
What is really cool about this system is that it comes with 4 microphones that work with a single receiver! So, this system will work great when you are having more than just a presentation or one speaker at an event. You can just as easily even hold a panel discussion!
Having multiple microphones is great because these can easily serve as a backup in case one of the mics fails to function or runs out of battery (can happen with even a branded microphone)
One thing that I didn’t like about the Phenyx Pro is that you can never really turn off the microphone. There is a power button (which itself feels slightly inaccessible because it is partly covered by the battery cover), but it only turns off the light and mutes the microphone! The mic doesn’t completely turn off.
So, that’s not a deal-breaker, but you just have to remember to remove the batteries once the event is done.
Overall, I think this is a great microphone that can be used more than just for presentations or public speaking events. If anyone were to ask me which microphone to go for, I would totally recommend starting with this one. It is also one of the most affordable options on this list.
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Best Budget Microphone: Innopow Wireless Microphone System
If you are looking for a good microphone system on a budget, then you should get the Innopow Wireless Microphone System.
The Innowpow WM-333 Wireless Microphone has a fairly decent sound quality. It is certainly not the best but really good for a budget microphone. Most people will not be able to differentiate between a decent-sounding microphone (like this one) as compared to a great-sounding microphone (like the Shure, or Audio-Technica) unless they are tested side-by-side.
This microphone system comes with 2 mics with the ability to add up to 10 mics along with 5 receivers at the same time (I did not test this out). The mic itself is made out of metal and feels quite sturdy, but the overall build quality is slightly better than average.
The system operates on UHF frequencies so you get a fairly good operating range on this microphone system. Although the company says that you can get about 200 to 240 feet range, in my testing I noticed that there was output breakage at around 150 feet (with several walls in between the mic and the receiver).
That is still quite good, especially if you are looking for a microphone specifically for presentation purposes.
The receiver comes with 2 antennas which definitely seem to help with the operating range (although I would have preferred if the antennas were on the front). You can control the volume directly from the receiver. You can also sync the mic with the receiver manually with up to 4 frequency options.
One thing that I didn’t like about this device is that you will have to really struggle to make the rechargeable batteries fit in it. I had to try and push it a bit too hard, and so I avoided it entirely. Again, not a deal-breaker but something to keep in mind.
Overall, if budget is your primary concern, choose this microphone as you will definitely be able to host a good presentation or a public speaking event using this microphone system. If you have an additional $60 that you can spare in your budget, I would recommend going for the Phenyx Pro microphone system listed above.
Best Microphone on a Budget: Audio-Technica System 1102
If you want to get a good, branded microphone but the budget is a concern for you, then Audio-Technica 1102 microphone system is a great option for you.
Audio-Technica is a well-known company when it comes to microphones and sound systems.
Audio-Technica’s 10 ATW 1102 microphone system works really well. What I love about this device is that it is really easy to set up. It comes with an instantaneous channel selection feature that allows you to automatically sync the microphone and the receiver. It is an advanced system built for beginners!
The sound capture is pretty good and the voice sounds quite natural as you would expect from a brand like Audio Technica. You don’t need to use a separate equalizer to balance the sound. It just sounds good by default!
This microphone comes with a receiver, and I read somewhere that it can pair with up to 8 devices although I haven’t tested this out.
The only disadvantage I thought of was the lack of a battery gauge. It is really hard to know how much juice is left in your batteries without a gauge. I often ended up switching the batteries even when they weren’t fully used! Not a major drawback though, but still something to remember.
As for the batteries, I couldn’t really test out exactly how long they lasted as I often ended up switching them out in about 4 to 5 hours of usage. I would estimate that perhaps it would last as long as about 8 to 9 hours on a full drain.
Overall, I think this is a perfect wireless microphone sound system to go for especially if you are looking for a simple, easy-to-use, branded, and high-quality microphone that will last long!
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Best Branded Microphone: Sennheiser EW 100
If you really want to get a top-end quality microphone that has a great brand name and sounds really good, I would recommend the Sennheiser EW100 G4 microphone system.
Although there are several really good microphones in the market from good brands, I capped my budget limit for this review article at around eight hundred dollars, and this Sennheiser microphone fits well within this budget.
The sound quality of this microphone is really good as you would expect from a brand like Sennheiser. These are not really like a studio mic that picks every detail, but it is detailed enough to capture a really clear sound without being too harsh.
The interesting thing about this mic is that the mic head comes separate from the mic body (but in the same box). So, in case someone drops the mic accidentally or breaks it, you don’t have to replace the whole mic, you can just buy the mic head.
On the flip side, if you are going to keep the mic in the box it came with, you will have to keep removing it or screwing it back on every time you use the mic. This can be a bit frustrating as it takes a few seconds of extra time every time!
When using this mic, one thing to remember is to hold the mic a bit higher up. The lower part of the mic contains the transmitter and it seems to sometimes drop off signals when it is covered with your fingers. Other than that, it is a fantastic microphone system overall!
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Credit to Stockking on Freepik for the featured image of this article (further edited)