Best Teleprompters

Updated September 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

109 Models Considered
15 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
87 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best teleprompters

Last Updated September 2019

Teleprompters make it easy to record video and stick to a script without memorizing it word for word. A teleprompter is a display that projects text in a clear and visible manner so the person in front of the camera or the crowd can read lines without looking down at notes.

To find the right teleprompter, you need to think about the size and type. The teleprompter should also be clear and easy to read.

If you’re looking for a great teleprompter, our guide outlines all you need to know before you buy.

If you don’t feel comfortable improvising in front of the camera, a teleprompter is perfect for recording video with a script at home.

Key considerations

Type

All teleprompters do the same thing: display text on a screen that you can read as it scrolls. However, the way they display the text varies depending on the type of teleprompter. Some project an image onto glass, while others simply project the display from a computer monitor, tablet, or smartphone.

The most common type of teleprompter is a camera-mounted display. This type uses a glass panel above the screen to display the text. The screen is positioned horizontally, and the glass sits above the screen at an angle. This setup allows the glass to reflect the screen’s text outward. At the same time, a camera sitting behind the glass records the view without any obstructions.

Presidential or podium teleprompters use the same screen/mirror combination, but the frame lacks a camera mount. These teleprompters are more common for public speaking events rather than video. The glass remains mostly invisible to the audience, and the speaker can easily see the text near the podium.

A few basic floor teleprompters skip the glass entirely. This type of teleprompter may be as simple as a stand to hold a tablet or a dedicated monitor with a feed from a computer. In either case, the setup is simple: position the stand, mount the tablet/monitor, turn on the power, and go. Unfortunately, this setup forces you to look away from the camera or crowd, meaning the audience may be able to tell you are using a teleprompter.

Size

The size of the teleprompter determines how much text appears on the screen at one time and how easy it is to read from a distance.

For standard teleprompters, the mirror is the most important factor since it reflects the screen of a computer or tablet. Ideally, the mirror should be bigger than the screen. Since the mirror sits at a 45-degree angle to the tablet or computer, it needs to cover the entire height of the computer or tablet. Otherwise, it may cut off words near the top or bottom of the screen. The width also needs to match the screen to avoid chopping off letters or whole words on the left or right side of the readout.

Most teleprompters are designed with a universal fit in mind. This means it’s easy to find a teleprompter that will fit common tablet sizes. Larger laptops or monitors may be more difficult to fit. Similarly, smaller devices like smartphones may be difficult to see or read, even if the glass is large enough to fit all of the text.

Camera position

The key to a good teleprompter is a design that is visible to the reader and invisible to the audience. Teleprompters need to stay out of the shot of the camera. Better still, using the teleprompter should seem effortless, as if it wasn’t even there. This makes the camera’s position important.

The right position can make it seem like the people on camera aren’t reading lines but are instead looking directly into the lens. To do this, camera-mounted teleprompters are the best option. With a camera-mounted teleprompter, a camera sits behind the reflecting glass and records what’s in front of it without the words or teleprompter itself showing up in the shot. This setup also allows people to read the teleprompter right where the camera lens is shooting, so their eyes don’t break focus with the camera in news reports or YouTube videos. Most camera-mounted teleprompters have a threaded mount to hold a camera securely.

High-end quality

If you want a teleprompter that rivals what the professionals use, the Ikan Elite Universal Tablet Teleprompter Kit is as close as it gets. Using an adjustable tablet mount, the teleprompter can hold screens up to 10 inches in size. Combined with a beam splitter glass panel and an adjustable base plate for different cameras, this kit offers a compact setup.

Features

Glass

For reflecting teleprompters, the glass affects the quality of the readout and look of the final video. Glass that doesn't reflect the display screen well or that isn’t easy to clean can make shooting difficult.

Some basic teleprompters use reflective plastic instead of glass. While plastic is certainly more durable than glass, it isn’t the easiest to read from or the most seamless for video shoots. A camera recording through plastic will pick up on spots and defects.

Mid-range and high-end teleprompters use optical or beam splitter glass. These types of glass have little or no blemishes, and dust and stains are easy to wipe away with water or glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth.

Mounts

To successfully display text and record at the same time, several mounts are required to keep everything attached and secure in a teleprompter setup. In addition to display and camera mounts, some teleprompters have extra mounts for accessories like microphones.

On the camera side of a teleprompter, the frame usually has the same kind of threaded mount as a tripod. The camera screws into the mount so it won’t fall off if the teleprompter gets knocked.

The tablet or monitor sits in a cradle on the front side of camera-mounted and floor teleprompters. Some cradles have a two-piece design with a frame that fits over the screen, securing it in the cradle. Most floor teleprompters have an adjustable cradle that fits around the edges of the screen for support.

Finally, the teleprompter itself will also have a threaded hole for mounting a tripod.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some teleprompters come with a remote that works with tablets and computers. This allows you to control the scrolling speed and start and stop the text.

DID YOU KNOW?

Most teleprompters are easily disassembled and come with a carrying case to secure all the parts on the go.

DID YOU KNOW?

If it has a mount for a camera, you can add a teleprompter to your existing setup without buying an extra tripod. For heavier cameras, however, separate tripods are more stable.

Teleprompter prices

If you’re looking for an affordable teleprompter, it’s best to look at home models that use a tablet or small laptop to project the text onto a reflective glass panel. With many professional teleprompters costing $1,000 and up, home and portable options are a better investment for a small recording setup.

The most affordable teleprompters start in the $100 to $150 range. At this price, the glass size tends to be small and best for tablet and smartphone displays. Some teleprompters in this range have a cloth or metal hood around the glass so the text is easier to read.

For around $150 to $250, you’ll find teleprompters made with higher-quality materials and sturdy mounts. Teleprompter kits are common and often include extra accessories like cleaning fluid and a microfiber cloth. These kits are a great option if you are new to teleprompters.

On the high end, teleprompters over $250 are larger and sturdier in their construction. Many of these models can hold 10-inch-plus tablets and monitors that may strain smaller, more affordable options.

An affordable, secure mount

This adjustable teleprompter works with tablets and smartphones and offers high-end features like beam splitter glass at a low price. While the cloth hood can get in the way of the lens, the Glide Gear Adjustable Teleprompter is a light and portable solution that comes with a quality carrying case.

Tips

  • When you are positioning a teleprompter, make sure there is a clear line of sight between the camera and the subject.

  • Play around with different scroll speeds to see what’s most comfortable. The speed should allow you to read at a natural pace.

  • It’s helpful to mark a spot for people using the teleprompter so they know where to position themselves for the best angle for reading and recording.

  • A bit of practice with a teleprompter may be required to get a feel for setting it up and using it. With more experience, your delivery will feel more natural over time.

  • Try to read full lines at a time. If you read each word individually, your eye movements will show up on camera and look “shifty.”

Other products we considered

Sometimes, it pays to go small with your teleprompter and camera setup. While tablets and dedicated monitors are the norm for most recording setups, a smaller teleprompter geared for smartphones may be preferable if you do a lot of location shooting. The Parrot Teleprompter 2 Portable Teleprompter, for example, is small enough to mount most smartphones without getting in the way of DSLR, mirrorless, or compact cameras. Some options, like the Little Prompter Compact Personal Teleprompter, can even be used with built-in webcams and handycams, so there’s no need for a separate camera.

Teleprompters require a dark space around the glass to work properly. That is why most use a soft or hard hood to block out light from the top and sides.

FAQ

Q. How durable are teleprompters?

A. The frame of a teleprompter can take some hits without denting or breaking. Most frames are made from either metal or carbon fiber. A teleprompter’s glass, however, is fragile enough to scratch or dent.

Q. What software do teleprompters use?

A. Most mobile teleprompters use an app that projects the display from a tablet or smartphone. You can download a script onto the tablet, load it into the app, and start scrolling.

Q. How do I clean a teleprompter?

A. The glass is the main part of a teleprompter that needs periodic cleaning. Since you will want to avoid scratching or damaging the panel, use a microfiber cloth with some cleaning fluid. You can use glass cleaner or distilled water. To clean your teleprompter, take the glass off the frame, apply some fluid, and wipe it down gently.

The team that worked on this review
  • Austin
    Austin
    Writer
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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