Lectern Buying Guide
This guide will help you choose the type of lectern that is right for your application and needs. First, we will consider the types of construction (i.e. materials). Then we will follow through with size, style, and accessories. The four main types of construction for lecterns are: Wood, Acrylic, Metal, and Molded Polyethylene.
First, wooden lecterns are the most common. These have a myriad of styles and designs, but there are three main groupings: cheaper particle board lecterns, professional particle board lecterns, and solid wood with veneered plywood lecterns. The cheaper particle board lecterns use a lower grade particleboard and a vinyl cover, typically with a wood look. They usually, but not always, require assembly. The advantage of these is that they are inexpensive and cost less to ship. Manufacturers usually have a fewstandard models in stock so that they are able to ship them quickly. There is no customizability with theselecterns. They are a good choice for a small office, or a place where they stay in the same room most ofthe time, and when aesthetics do not matter too much. The professional particle board lecterns typicallyuse a high density particle board and a much tougher veneer, like melamine or plastic laminate. The jointsare typically glued and screwed for durability. They will typically include at least some hardware, like tiltback wheels, and offer accessories like lights and electronics. There is sometimes limited customizability.They tend to be heavy, but are quite durable, and can look like real wood, or there are often other finishesavailable. They are a good choice in a professional environment where there are no obstacles to movingthem around. Real wood with veneered plywood lecterns use solid wood for the styles or frame, andveneered plywood for the panels. This makes them a little lighter than the professional particle boardlecterns of the same size. The better the craftsman, the better they look. They can be customizable, at leastwith the finish, and the whole lectern can be your unique design. These lecterns tend naturally be moreexpensive, especially if there is any customizing. The joints are typically very strong and are structurallydurable, but the finish is fairly easily damaged. They are a good choice for formal locations where they donot get moved around a lot and are not subject to abuse.
Acrylic lecterns are typically clear acrylic. There are several styles to choose from. There are twomain groups, lighter weight bent ones and thicker designer type lecterns. The designer lecterns look sharpand remove the perceived barrier between the presenter and the audience. They can be a little heavy,somewhat fragile, and scratch very easily. There can be some customizing, but there is seldom anyhardware or electronics. The cheaper bent acrylic lecterns are a good choice where they are stationaryand will not get any abuse, the designer acrylic lecterns are a good choice for a formal location wherethey can be protected.
Metal lecterns are diverse in design. Some are of a sleek design and some fold-up to be storedaway easily. They come in a wide price range. Lighter fold-up metal lecterns are a good choice for alocation where they need to be moved around a lot and stored in a small place, and aesthetics do notmatter much. The designer metal lecterns are a good choice for locations where you are looking for ahigh-tech look. If these are left outside, however, they do tend to mimic the temperature around them (i.e.get really hot or really cold).
Polyethylene plastic lecterns either have a plain color or granite finish. The front insert istypically a laminated ABS/aluminum panel with a wood look, but can be anything imaginable. With a 30foot drop rating, they are by far the most durable, and will take a lot of abuse. The lifetime of theselecterns are very long, and when it wears out, or you don’t want it any more, the shells are recyclable!They are also difficult to ding up (unless you’re dropping them from 30 feet). These lecterns are easy andinexpensive to customize, and can come with hardware and all kinds of electronics. For the size they areby far the lightest weight. They are a good choice for a location where they’re going to be moved fromroom to room. They can look good in a casual or formal environment. They are also the best choice for anoutdoor location, as they are waterproof and tend not to get super hot if left out in the sun. For thoseconsidering a budget, these will also help you get the most bang for your buck.
Choosing a Podium or Lectern
There are a lot of criteria to consider when choosing a podium. We offer free consulting and cango over all the criteria that need to be addressed to make sure you end up with the podium that will fulfillyour needs. It is a large investment and it is always important to know what kind of a podium will bemost effective for your situation. Please do not hesitate to call our product specialists at 1-801-966-7148or 1-801-201-0157 with any questions concerning the look and features that will best serve you.
When giving a professional presentation at work, school, or at an organization, podiums andlecterns help speakers stay organized and reach audiences effectively. Podiums can make thepresenter/teacher feel more at ease and confident. They can contain tools to help present the message andkeep things organized. If sound reinforcement is needed (i.e. speakers and such), these tools can beincorporated to ensure that every word is easily heard and understood. Conversely, if the wrongconstruction or the wrong tools are implemented it can have the opposite effect. This is where ourconsultants can help.
The common terminology for lecterns is Lectern’, ‘Podium’, ‘Pulpit’ and ‘Rostrum’, they areused interchangeably, and the word choice depends more on the user application than the actual product.
The price of your podium or lectern will depend on the material, construction, and options thatare required to meet your needs. The lecterns with the cheapest material and low quality construction,with no features, start at about $150.00. If you require quality material, construction, with sound, andvideo options, podiums range in the thousands of dollars. There are a lot of options in-between. Considerthe environment the podium will be used in, the decor of the space, what you want the lectern to portray,what tools are needed, if the podium needs to be portable, and how long you need the lectern to last.These criteria are the primary things you need to consider and will affect the cost of the lectern. Table toplecterns are often just a little less expensive as the only variable is a little less material, which does notaffect the price much.
Material / Finish
No matter what material you use, there are different qualities that provide different results. Withwooden lecterns, low grade particle boards with non-durable plastic coverings can result in a lectern thatlooks okay, but not professional and will not last very long. However, if it is not important to lookelegant, and the lectern is not ever going to be moved, these lecterns can be adequate. There are highergrade particle board lecterns that have durable coverings that can look professional and are fairly durable.High quality plywood is lighter weight and more durable, wood veneer is elegant but not the mostdurable, plastic laminate coverings can be durable but not as easy to repair if damaged.
The same applies with wooden or acrylic lecterns. The lighter gauge metal will be lighter weight,but won’t last as long and typically doesn’t look professional. Thick acrylic is more durable but veryheavy. Thinner acrylic is quite fragile.
When choosing a sound system, there are many things to consider to insure you get a system thatwill meet your needs. There’s more to sound quality than just amplifier wattage or generic manufacturersuggested audience size. There are far too many factors that affect a sound system's ability to do its job,which is to make sure that everyone in the audience can hear and easily understand every word. Things toconsider when purchasing a sound system are:
Amplifier/Wattage – This refers to the number of watts of output from the speakers. A 40-wattamplifier is adequate for an audience of up to 2,000 people, and a 50-watt amplifier works well for anaudience up to 3,000 people.
Wired or Wireless – Many lecterns on the market can hook up with both wired and wireless soundsystems. Wireless microphones allow the speaker to move freely during their presentation.
Speakers – When looking at speakers built into the lectern, be sure to find out how many speakers thereare, and the diameter size (in inches).
Microphones – Audio lecterns will come with microphones, often with a few different varieties to use,depending on the situation. Common microphone types include handheld and tie-clip (i.e. lapel mics).
Inputs/outputs – Inputs may be used for microphones or other audio components, such as cassette, CD,or MP3 players. Outputs may be used for additional speakers or recording devices.
Controls – Controls may include volume, tone, bass/treble and also an on/off switch.
Power supply – Most lecterns plug directly into an outlet, and many come with optional rechargeablebatteries.
When choosing the right podium or lectern for your needs, there are many other features whichyou may find helpful. Some of the most common features include lockable wheels or casters, adjustablelight, adjustable height, built-in clock, and internal shelving. Be sure to note the dimensions of thepodium or lectern to make sure it fits your space requirements.
Questions to ask yourself
It is difficult to get the perfect lectern without discussing your needs. Here is a checklist to consider; youcan email in the answers to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to help usguide you to the perfect lectern.
Is the lectern going to be moved around often?
Is the lectern going to be set up on a stage?
Is the lectern going to be moved up and down stairs?
How large of an audience are you going to be using the lectern for?
Do you need a wireless microphone?
Do you need a hand held, lavaliere, neck and or ear set wireless microphone?
Do you need an aisle mic?
Will you always hook up to the house sound system?
Do you need power for the lectern?
Do you need a clock?
Do you need a light?