Podium and Lectern Buyer's Guide
Whether presenting an elementary talent show or annual sales figures to executives, the right platform can make a world of difference for the speaker and the event. We've gathered some helpful tips to keep in mind when purchasing a lectern or podium.
If you simply need an elevated surface to keep notes while speaking before a small audience, perhaps a tabletop lectern is the answer. They can sit on existing furniture and are lightweight, portable, and inexpensive.
A better way for a speaker to draw the audience’s attention is to have a full-length lectern. These full-length lecterns come in a variety of designs and materials. In a small space, such as a classroom, a speaker stand with a simple base will be effective without using up too much floor space. A clear acrylic lectern is also a great solution for a small space or area that should have an unobstructed view.
For larger audiences, full-bodied lecterns will give more presence to a presenter and may act as a comforting barrier that can lessen stage fright. These lecterns come in a variety of wood finishes that will make any presentation look polished and professional. When you need a heavy-duty option, look to our metal lecterns for institutional and commercial use.
Will the lectern be moved frequently? Look for lecterns or podiums that come with casters for ease of mobility. Adjustable height lecterns are also available for spaces that have speakers of all ages and sizes.
The appearance of a podium depends greatly on the material it is made from. The type of finish, the color, and the trim are all factors to consider when making a selection. Different materials have different characteristics.
Wood podiums are more durable and professional looking, but tend to be heavier. For lecterns with a built-in sound system, wood is often the best choice. Most are made from wood composite, however some of the higher end models are fabricated out of solid hardwood.
Plastic or acrylic lecterns are light with sleek lines, but lack the features that wood lecterns offer. They are not for the classic look. Acrylic podiums and lecterns offer a more modern, streamlined style.
Metal podiums have much of the same attributes that plastic podiums have, but tend to come with wood surface.
Durable plastic is another construction material that is often used as a hard case for tabletop audio lecterns. They are sturdy, but have a more basic appearance.
The finish of a podium or lectern refers to the material placed on top of the structure’s foundation. For example, some wood podiums have a laminate or veneer finish, while others have a carpet finish. Solid hardwood podiums come with a natural finish. Metal, acrylic, and durable plastic podiums have no finish.
Lecterns and podiums also come in many colors. Acrylic lecterns are clear. Carpeted lecterns come in either black or grey. The largest variety of choice comes with wood.
Wood podiums and lecterns come in an array of colors, including oak, mahogany, cherry, and walnut. With a veneer finish, the wood is natural and the color depends on the piece of wood the lectern is made from.
There are also variations in trim. Trim is the decorative strip that runs along the corners and border of the outer surfaces. The most common trim options are either metallic or wood.
If you already have a public address system or only need a lectern for a small audience or classroom, a non-sound lectern will be sufficient and cost less.
For spaces that require ample sound and have no other public address system, consider a lectern with built-in sound equipment. Here are a few electronic features that can be found on most sound lecterns.
Controls usually include volume, tone, bass/treble, and also an on/off switch.
Inputs and Outputs
Inputs are used for microphones or other audio devices, such as CD, cassette, or MP3 players. Outputs are used for additional speakers or recording devices.
This refers to the number of watts of output from the speakers. Sound lecterns include an amplifier that usually ranges from 30-50 watts. A 50-watt amplifier can accommodate audiences up to 3,000 people, and a 30-watt amplifier will accommodate up to 900 people.
The power source is something to keep in mind should you need the lectern in a location without an available power outlet. Most lecterns offer both AC and DC power. Plugging the lectern into any standard wall outlet uses AC power, while DC power is used by way of a rechargeable battery.
Most sound lecterns come with up to four speakers and some offer output jacks to hook up additional speakers. When selecting podiums with built in speakers, be sure to find out how many speakers there are and the diameter size.
Wireless Vs. Wired
Many lecterns on the market have wireless capabilities. Wireless microphones allow the speaker to move freely during their presentation.
Audio lecterns include microphones with typically a few different options to use, depending on the circumstance. Many sound lecterns come standard with one wireless microphone and one handheld microphone with a pose-able gooseneck arm. Most will also have extra input jacks for additional microphones available for purchase. This includes wireless handheld microphones, tie clip or lavalier microphones, and wireless headset microphones.
Some other accessories that may be found on the sound lecterns are mounted reading lights, digital clocks, and locking cabinets to secure expensive electronics.
The price of a podium or lectern depends on a few criteria. First is the type of the unit. Freestanding floor lecterns are typically more expensive than tabletop lecterns. A fully integrated audio system also increases the price of the podium or lectern. Finishes and customizations will also increase the price. Some models are available for a couple hundred dollars, while the more advanced models can cost up to several thousand dollars.
For more information about any lectern or podium found on our website, contact our knowledgeable sales staff by emailing [email protected] or call 800-599-6636.
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