Best UK Portable Pa System
Updated: September 2020
Here are our top ranked selections in the category of best portable PA system to buy in the UK.
#1 Selection: Overall Review Score = 90%
#2: Top Ranked Alternative
#3: Best For Positive Review Scores
Portable PA Systems: A Buyer’s Guide
PA systems are a must if you need to make your voice known. However, some of the biggest – and best-rated – systems can be clunky, and difficult to set up. The fact is, a PA system is something which often needs a lot of technical rigging. But what if you don’t have the know-how, the time or the availability to hook everything up? What if you simply need a good, solid portable speaker system that you can take with you on gigs, public speeches and more?
That’s where portable PA systems come in. Rather than having to muddle around with various inputs and outputs, a portable model should give you everything you need in one neat package. Ultimately, it’s all about bringing together some serious tech, but by tying it all together in a convenient bundle. It’s safe to say that this innovation has saved a lot of headaches, hours of planning, and plenty of backs from straining.
But what should you really be looking for in the perfect portable PA system? You should, ideally, be looking for more than just portability alone. As you might already see, there are plenty of different models out there in all kinds of shapes and sizes. For that reason, we’ve put together a buying guide to help you sift through the pack.
At the end of the guide, we’ll also run through a few commonly asked questions, too, to show you what buyers are saying about these products while searching and comparing online.
Why Buy a Portable PA System?
A portable PA system will likely appeal to you if you need to make use of a public sound system regularly. For example, you might give public addresses, or you might be performing live on stage. However, PA systems of this nature are likely going to be a good idea if you are going to be travelling to public spaces in need of some form of speaker system.
The fact is, traditional PA systems need a lot more than just a simple plug. Many of them will need additional amplifiers as well as a variety of outputs which you’re likely to want to use to portray your words and music to the world. With a portable system, you get everything in one neat package. This means that your amp, your speakers and your microphone are all taken care of, and there’s no need for you to fumble around with any extra tech.
Portable PA systems are ideal for small areas, rather than for full concerts or to play to big crowds. Many people use them for small events, for example, as well as for rallies and poetry recitals. Truth be told, you can probably use a portable PA system in a variety of different scenarios – as the technology is fairly versatile. They may also be a great asset to singers and buskers, as it means you can take a chargeable unit with you on the street from spot to spot. No need to rely on the power of your own voice.
Things to Look For
Of course, there are always going to be a few things that set different PA systems apart. The main objective is that you find a system which is easy to move around and given that portable PA systems are – well – portable, that’s pretty much a given. Therefore, you’re going to need to drill down and look at some of the finer aspects if you really want to look for a system that will do you proud for years to come. Here’s a rundown of the essentials we think you should be keeping an eye out for.
Cords or No Cords?
Not all portable PA systems are wireless, however, for maximum portability, you are obviously going to need to consider setting up a battery-operated system. Many PA systems will let you charge up for an hour or so before you take them on the road. However, you may find that a corded system offers a bit more value for money. Essentially, it all revolves around whether or not you can easily find a plug socket to attach everything to. If you’re likely to be carting your PA everywhere you go, then it’s time to go cordless.
Size and Bulk
Of course, you are going to need to think about the size, shape and bulk of a portable PA system if you are going to take it with you to various places. It’s worth knowing your own strength! You should also keep size in mind for storage purposes. Don’t let size dictate the quality of product that you buy, however, as it’s not a given that all portable Pas of a particular heft will work better than the rest. Therefore, do be willing to shop around for smaller systems if the tech stands out to you a little better.
Bits and Pieces
As mentioned, most portable PA systems will have everything you need available in one box. For example, you should have access to an amplifier, a speaker system and a microphone. However, this isn’t always the case, so make sure to choose one which has all the crucial elements you are likely to want. However, keep in mind that those systems with less peripherals are likely to be less bulky, and may even offer a trade-off on power. It’s worth keeping a balance.
Naturally, a portable PA system is going to come with more than just a simple input jack and an on-switch. Therefore, you should think about looking around at some of the many extra features that can help you connect easily from performance to performance. For example, can you connect to your portable PA via Bluetooth? What if it allows you to plug in more than just a microphone? You can even find some Pas that offer advanced mixing and FX, meaning that you can enhance and tweak your sound on the go. This is likely to be a very attractive feature for some performers.
Power level is something which does separate most portable PA systems apart. It’s important to look for enough power for your pound, as otherwise you may not be able to play as loudly or as much to your crowds as you like! The higher the wattage, the bigger the crowds you can play to. Generally, most portable PA systems will work best in small spaces and for intimate crowds. However, look at a big system with around 400-500 watts, and you could be playing to a fair size party.
However, if you’re only ever going to be playing to small crowds or intimate audiences, around 100-200 watts will likely be enough for you. It’s not always a given that you need to pay more for higher power, so do make sure you shop around and compare carefully.
Frequently Asked Questions
Portable PA systems are not something you will buy every day. What’s more, they are never likely to be easy purchases if you’re new to the tech. Therefore, it’s worth looking at a few frequently asked questions from other shoppers to narrow down your choices. You want to make sure this will be an investment you can rely on!
Can I Play Instruments Through a Portable PA System?
Not always. Generally, a PA system is set up for your voice only. However, you will find that there are some high-end systems which will allow you to plug in instruments such as bass and guitar as and when you wish. However, you may find that you need to pay a little more than you normally might for the privilege.
What Does a PA Actually Do?
A PA is more than just a simple speaker. PA actually stands for Public Address, which means that these systems are generally used to help people speak to large audiences. For example, you might find a PA system in a school hall, on a public stage, or in cafes and bars where intimate gigs take place. A portable system simply allows you to take this tech on the road, which is a massive boon to many people.
How Much Do Portable PA Systems Cost?
Generally, you will need to invest money in the range of £150 – £250 for a good, entry-level system. However, this can really vary when it comes to power and other features, meaning it is worth comparing those systems which offer you the tech and compatibility you actually need. In our collective opinion, it is worth investing over £200 at least if this is something you are going to take on the road a lot. Otherwise, you might end up with something flimsy that just doesn’t cut the mustard.
Portable PA systems are fantastic innovations. They may well help you to narrow down your technological setup and will help you to play to wider audiences than ever before. They are amazingly affordable, and surprisingly powerful! Do take our tips into account and take a look at the variety of products available online right now.