Vinyl records have made a comeback in recent years, and with that comes the need for a reliable turntable. However, not everyone has the budget to splurge on high-end models.
That’s where budget turntables come in – they offer a cost-effective way to enjoy the warm, rich sound of vinyl without breaking the bank.
In this article, we’ll explore the best budget turntables on the market, from fuss-free Bluetooth designs to more traditional models that require additional components.
Whether you’re a seasoned vinyl enthusiast or just starting out, our guide has got you covered. So sit back, relax, and let’s find the perfect turntable for you.
What Is The Best Budget Turntable
When it comes to finding the best budget turntable, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost, you want a turntable that will play your records smoothly and deliver a steady sound that your integrated amplifier can work with.
But beyond that, there are additional features to consider. Some turntables come with built-in phono stages, while others allow you to rip your vinyl to your digital archive in hi-res. And if you’re looking for a more modern twist, some models even include Bluetooth connectivity.
With all of these factors in mind, we’ve scoured the market to find the best budget turntables available today. Here are our top picks:
1. Audio Technica AT-LP60X – This workhorse turntable is a great starting point for anyone looking to get into vinyl without spending a fortune. It offers fuss-free Bluetooth connectivity and delivers a smooth, steady sound.
2. Rega Planar 1 – While it’s a bit pricier than some of the other options on this list, the Rega Planar 1 is still an excellent value for its high-quality sound and sleek design.
3. Sony PS-HX500 – This turntable offers the ability to rip your vinyl to hi-res digital files, making it a great choice for audiophiles who want the best of both worlds.
4. Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB – This versatile turntable offers USB connectivity for easy ripping and also includes a built-in phono stage for added convenience.
5. Fluance RT81 – With its solid construction and high-quality components, the Fluance RT81 delivers excellent sound quality at an affordable price point.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Budget Turntable
When choosing a budget turntable, there are several factors to consider to ensure that you get the best value for your money. Here are some key considerations:
1. Upgradability: Some beginner turntables do not allow for upgrading the needle, which can be problematic if it gets damaged or if you want to improve the audio quality of your turntable later on. Look for modular turntables that allow you to swap out or replace the needle.
2. Speed Modes: Make sure that the turntable you choose can spin at both 33/3RPM and 45RPM, so you can play full-sized albums and singles.
3. Preamp: A preamp amplifies the audio produced by a record player to an acceptable volume for music listening. Some turntables have one built inside, while others require you to hook them up to an external preamp before connecting them to a stereo receiver or active (powered) speakers.
4. Connectivity: Consider whether you want a turntable with Bluetooth connectivity or USB connectivity for easy ripping of your vinyl to digital files.
5. Brand Reputation: Look for reputable brands that have a history of producing high-quality turntables. Some of the best budget turntable brands include Audio-Technica, Rega, Sony, and Fluance.
By considering these factors, you can find a budget turntable that meets your needs and delivers excellent sound quality without breaking the bank.
Top Budget Turntables Under $200
If you’re on a tight budget but still want to enjoy the warm, rich sound of vinyl records, there are plenty of great options available for under $200. Here are our top picks for the best budget turntables in this price range:
1. 1byone H009 – This all-in-one turntable is a practical solution for beginners seeking a cost-effective way to get started with vinyl. It boasts a sleek, compact design and comes equipped with built-in speakers and a built-in phono stage, making it a great option for those who appreciate minimalistic and ergonomic design.
2. House Of Marley Stir It Up Turntable – This manual turntable features a built-in preamp and an aux input, making it easy to use with any audio system or amplifier. Its all-wood construction and Audio-Technica cartridge make it a solid piece of kit that delivers clear and crisp sound.
3. Crosley C200 – This direct-drive, high-torque turntable features an S-shaped tonearm and a high-quality Audio Technica cartridge pre-installed. It includes pitch control and a built-in phono pre-amp, making it easy to set up with powered speakers or integrate into an existing stereo system.
4. Audio-Technica AT-LP60 – This workhorse turntable is a great starting point for anyone looking to get into vinyl without spending a fortune. It offers fuss-free Bluetooth connectivity and delivers a smooth, steady sound.
5. Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable – While some may scoff at the idea of a suitcase turntable, this vintage-inspired model from Victrola delivers a surprising amount of bang for your buck. It features Bluetooth connectivity and three speeds (33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM), making it easy to play all your favorite records. Plus, its compact size and portability make it perfect for taking your music on the go.
Best Budget Turntables With Built-in Speakers
If you’re looking for a budget turntable with built-in speakers, there are several great options to choose from. These turntables are perfect for those who want a simple setup without having to purchase separate speakers or components. Here are some of the best budget turntables with built-in speakers:
1. Crosley Cruiser Deluxe – This suitcase-style record player is a great option for beginners who want a compact and portable turntable. It offers three speeds and comes in over 20 different colors and patterns to suit any style.
2. 1byone H009 – This all-in-one turntable system includes built-in speakers and a phono preamp, making it easy to set up and use right out of the box. It also includes Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music from your phone or other devices.
3. Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable – This retro-inspired turntable features built-in stereo speakers and Bluetooth connectivity. It also includes a headphone jack and RCA outputs for connecting to external speakers.
4. Jensen JTA-230BT Portable Turntable – This portable turntable offers three speeds and Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music from your phone or other devices. It also includes built-in stereo speakers and an auxiliary input for connecting other audio sources.
5. Byron Statics Vinyl Record Player – This minimalist turntable features built-in stereo speakers and a headphone jack for private listening. It also includes RCA outputs for connecting to external speakers or amplifiers.
Traditional Budget Turntables That Require Additional Components
If you’re looking for a more traditional turntable experience and don’t mind putting in a little extra effort, there are some great budget options available that require additional components. These turntables typically do not have built-in phono stages, so you’ll need to purchase a separate phono preamp to connect them to your amplifier.
One excellent option in this category is the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo. This turntable features a carbon fiber tonearm and an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge, delivering high-quality sound at an affordable price. It also includes a dust cover to protect your records when not in use.
Another great choice is the Audio-Technica AT-LP120X, which offers a direct drive motor and adjustable pitch control for those who want to DJ with their vinyl. It also includes a USB output for easy ripping and a built-in phono stage for added convenience.
Finally, the Rega Planar 3 is a classic turntable that has been refined over the course of 40+ years. While it does require additional components, such as a phono preamp and cartridge, it delivers exceptional sound quality thanks to its low-mass tonearm and precision bearings.
Tips For Maintaining Your Budget Turntable And Vinyl Collection
Once you’ve invested in a budget turntable and started building your vinyl collection, it’s important to take proper care of both in order to ensure they last as long as possible. Here are some tips for maintaining your budget turntable and vinyl collection:
1. Keep your turntable clean – Just like with your vinyl records, keeping your turntable clean is key to maintaining its longevity. Dust and debris can accumulate on the surface of your turntable and cause damage over time. Use a soft microfiber cloth to wipe down the surface of your turntable regularly.
2. Clean your vinyl records often – Regularly cleaning your vinyl records is crucial for maintaining their sound quality and preventing damage. Use a vinyl brush or a microfiber cloth to gently remove any dirt or debris from the surface of the record before playing it. If you need to wash your records, use a vinyl record cleaning solution or a combination of dish soap and water.
3. Replace your stylus when needed – The stylus, or needle, on your turntable is what makes direct contact with the grooves in your vinyl records, so it’s important to keep it clean and replace it when necessary. A carbon fiber brush can help remove any debris from the stylus.
4. Store your vinyl properly – Proper storage is key to maintaining the quality of your vinyl collection. Keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. It’s also a good idea to store them vertically rather than horizontally to prevent warping.
5. Invest in a record sleeve – If your budget turntable doesn’t come with a dust cover, consider investing in a record sleeve to protect it from dust and debris when not in use.
By following these tips, you can ensure that both your budget turntable and vinyl collection will last for years to come.
Conclusion: Which Budget Turntable Is Right For You?
After reviewing our top picks for the best budget turntables, it’s important to consider which one is right for you. If you’re just starting out and want a fuss-free option with Bluetooth connectivity, the Audio Technica AT-LP60X may be the perfect choice. If you’re willing to spend a bit more for higher quality sound and design, the Rega Planar 1 is an excellent investment.
For audiophiles who want to rip their vinyl to hi-res digital files, the Sony PS-HX500 is a great option. And if you want a turntable with both USB connectivity and a built-in phono stage, the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB is a versatile choice.
Finally, if you’re looking for solid construction and high-quality components at an affordable price point, the Fluance RT81 is an excellent option that delivers great sound quality. Ultimately, the best budget turntable for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Consider your budget, desired features, and overall sound quality when making your decision.