- 1. Audio-Technica ATLP60USB LP to USB Digital Belt Drive Turntable
- 2. Victrola Navigator 8-in-1 Classic Bluetooth Record Player
- 3. Crosley Cruiser Deluxe Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable
- 4. 1byone Nostalgic Wooden Turntable Wireless Vinyl Record Player
- 5. DIGITNOW Bluetooth Record Player Turntable
- 6. Audio-Technica AT-LP3BK Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable
- 7. Victrola 6-in-1 Wood Bluetooth Mid Century Record Player
- 8. Crosley C100 Belt-Drive Turntable with S-Shaped Tone Arm
- 9. Crosley C200 Direct-Drive Turntable with S-Shaped Tone Arm
- 10. BT-28SPM Boytone, Bluetooth Classic Style Record Player Turntable
You have this itch you so badly want to scratch, but cannot get your hands on the means. Whatever you’ve found so far is either too expensive or severely lacking in functionality. Now you’re beginning to think that perhaps it’s time you gave up and save your efforts for other quests. Well, you’ve come to the right place.
We’re talking about the search for an affordable turntable, just in case you’re wondering. Scoring decent equipment is proving a challenge even as vinyl makes a comeback, seeing as the best turntables are still priced in the thousands. But don’t give up just yet; there’re quite a few models in the entry-level range that are up-to-scratch (sorry), and which probably escaped your radar. Read on for a compilation of the top turntables under $200 on the market today.
1. Audio-Technica ATLP60USB LP to USB Digital Belt Drive Turntable
Dust off your vinyls and start spinning the wheels of steel like a pro -- the ATLP60 has your back with a fully-automatic action. Its belt driven turntable employs a die-cast aluminum platter and thick rubber mat to cut out vibrations, which means you can trust it to yield a crisp, clean sound. You just need to plug the unit to powered speakers via the built-in phono preamp.
Keep in mind that this is a two-speed unit supporting 33 1/3 and 45 RPM records, however. Any 78 RPM albums you still have in your collection are a no-no. For everything else, though, the ATLP60 will allow you rip songs into MP3 files and save them on your computer. That doesn't seem bad for a $99 price tag, does it?
-Straightforward setup and operation
-Build quality is pretty good
-Sound is OK for the price
-Cartridge isn't replaceable like is the case with most Audio Technica turntables
-Inbuilt audio-out cables are ridiculously short
Why settle for a mere turntable when you can have a fully-fledged system like the Victrola Navigator Classic? Unlike the ATLP60 above, this packs everything from FM radio to CD/cassette player. Oh, and it comes in a handsome retro wooden case -- a bonus for veterans looking to reminisce the good old days.
There's an argument to be made for keeping things simple, of course. But taking a look at this unit's specs list makes it clear that Victrola have nailed a more-than-satisfactory recipe:
-3-speed top-loading turntable with recording function: You can play vinyls at 3 spin speeds (33 1/3, 45 & 78 RPM) and also record to MP3 using the included software and USB cable/port.
-CD/cassette player, FM radio and lots of connectivity options (3.5mm, Bluetooth, RCA Out with cable included).
Retailing at $122.22, the Victrola Navigator Classic is well-suited for those who want to play music from just about every format.
-Handsome retro design fits in any setting
-Remote control adds a degree of convenience
-Phonograph has 3 extra needles
-Remote control doesn't include some functions (on/off and radio tuning).
-Sound quality leaves a lot to be desired
-Cannot rewind cassette tapes
3. Crosley Cruiser Deluxe Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable
Crosley has emerged as the brand of choice for people who're just wetting their feet in the world of vinyl, and for good reasons. Their entry-level models are invitingly cheap, and have a a degree of appeal that most other record players lack. I mean, just go to Amazon and take a look at this unit in particular, the Crosley Cruiser Deluxe Vintage. What seems more inviting than a turntable tucked inside a bright turquoise housing?
On the same breath, the Cruiser is as good as it gets in plug-and-play operation. Open the lid, put your record on the platter, (carefully) position the arm, and you're good to go. Words like 'setup' are alien in Cruiser's vocabulary.
And it's not to say that the unit sacrifices the essentials in exchange for user-friendliness. You still get a proper 3-speed turntable alongside built-in stereo speakers, plus Bluetooth and RCA In/Out for added flexibility. What more could you ask of a $70 record player?
-Super easy to operate
-Suitcase housing makes it ideal for kids
-Abysmal sound: Audiophiles look elsewhere.
-Plastic construction: Don't make any long-term plans with this unit in mind.
4. 1byone Nostalgic Wooden Turntable Wireless Vinyl Record Player
Coming in a wooden console adorned with mid-century playback controls and dials, the 1byone Record Player wants to take you back to the days before color TV. The days when you used to sit around the turntable listening to your favorite classical tunes, perhaps? Time to bring out that case of vinyls you have stowed away in the attic.
No need to worry about details -- the 1byone belt-driven turntable is equipped to play records of all sizes (7-, 10- & 12-inch) and speeds (33 1/3, 45 & 78 RPM). And if you happen to have CDs and cassettes, bring them along too. The unit will not only let you listen to your collection, but also make digital copies for backups. Other key features include a quartet of in-built Hi-Fi speakers, AM/FM radio, and a full range of connectivity options (Bluetooth, USB, as well as 3.5mm and AUX-Out RCA jacks). Sounds like a good deal for $169.99, doesn't it?
-Magnificent vintage design that fits into any decor
-Powerful Hi-Fi speakers are noticeably better than those on comparable systems
-Loads of functionality
-Dust cover can be closed during playback to protect your precious LPs.
-Radio reception is weak
5. DIGITNOW Bluetooth Record Player Turntable
After vintage flamboyance comes the cool, calm and mundane. So ordinary-looking is this Record Player from DIGITNOW that you could easily confuse it for any other run-of-the-mill stereo system. Only the turntable platter at the top offers a clue of what the device really is. The front face is a black silhouette punctuated by a tiny, blue screen and control dials/buttons.
But hey! No one buys a record player just for the looks -- not when you're comparing the top turntables under $200 anyways. The DIGITNOW Bluetooth Record Player is worth an audition if you want versatility that doesn't sacrifice audio fidelity. With an in-built amplifier and twin detachable speakers, this record player keeps the sound crisp and clean no matter the source.
On that note, you'll be delighted to know that this unit can play everything in your memorabilia: CDs, cassettes, digital tracks -- and vinyls, of course. A vinyl-to-MP3 encoding function lets you back up your LP collection to your PC (you can record from CDs as well). You also get an AM/FM tuner to supplement your sources, and a full-function remote control for added convenience. All that for just $126.99 online.
-Tri-speed belt driven turntable supports all kinds of vinyls
-Immaculate sound quality
-Non-intuitive controls: Customer feedback hints a lack of user-friendliness.
6. Audio-Technica AT-LP3BK Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable
Okay, enough with the adolescent jacks-of-all-trades brimming with bells and whistles. If you're looking for a proper turntable -- one that'll take you back to the essence of vinyl -- look no further than the Audio-Technica AT-LP3BK.
This is a 2-speed, fully-automatic, belt-driven unit tailored for hard-core vinyl enthusiasts. At its core is a die-cast aluminum platter with a 4mm mat for minimal resonance, and a bespoke cartridge employing a diamond stylus. This yields a balanced, high-fidelity performance that prioritizes your music's character above everything else.
You can upgrade to a different cartridge if you're not pleased, by the way, thanks to this unit's removable headshell. Elsewhere, you will love the switchable phono preamp with dual RCA-Out. This affords the sound a direct route to your preferred setup; whether it's a home theater or just a combination of speakers, you can connect directly without a dedicated turntable input.
So yeah, the AT-LP3BK is meant for those who want more of a turntable than a record player, and one that offers room to experiment and upgrade. If you're one such individual, why not grab it for just $199 on Amazon? You'll be hard pressed to find a better audiophile-centric turntable at this range.
-Very easy to set up, operate and upgrade: Every button and switch is clearly labelled, and the manual provides instructions and measurements for switching out components.
-Has a stellar sound out-of-the-box, thanks to the effective vibration isolation features and great stock cartridge.
-Automatic function makes it beginner-friendly.
-Cannot play 78 RPM records: Seriously?
-Hardwired RCA-only cables cannot be swapped out
7. Victrola 6-in-1 Wood Bluetooth Mid Century Record Player
Perhaps you'd like a piece of Victrola's retro charm but aren't sold on the Navigator Classic. The 6-in-1 Mid Century Record Player will do the trick. A luxurious wooden case combines with a bold retro dial to create that perfect 50s feel you so badly want.
The recipe stays unchanged elsewhere; you get a 3-speed turntable, CD and cassette player, FM radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and the usual 3.5mm jack. Stereo speakers are also included. However, there's a remarkable jump in sound quality coming from the 8-in-1 Navigator Classic. It's the least Victrola could do, given the steeper price tag (149 bucks, to be specific).
-Visual appeal: You won't find a more stylish system on this side of $200.
-Great sound clarity and punch
-No record function included
8. Crosley C100 Belt-Drive Turntable with S-Shaped Tone Arm
Manufacturers have long been trying to break into the turf held by Audio Technica with their ATLP60 series. The C100 is Crosley's first serious attempt. It packs a built-in preamp for a direct route to your speakers, and there's a fully-adjustable S-shaped tone arm for effortless control. This is further enhanced by an adjustable pitch control mechanism. The arm has a detachable headshell for upgradability. The turntable itself is a 3-speed unit as usual.
-Relatively affordable at a nickel under $140
-Offers room for customization
-Sound is pretty poor: Again, Crosley aren't exactly the last word in audio fidelity -- not with the C100.
9. Crosley C200 Direct-Drive Turntable with S-Shaped Tone Arm
Yet another Crosley turntable aimed at budding DJs and gearheads. But unlike its sibling above, the C200 employs a direct drive mechanism (i.e. the motor's connected directly to the platter with no belt in between). That, in addition to the manual operation and $190 price tag, makes it clear that this is best suited for experienced turntablists. The C200 is limited to 33 1/3 and 45 RPM records, so don't bring any relics as you upgrade.
-The most affordable direct-drive unit on the market
-Solid construction, with die-cast aluminum platter cancelling out vibrations
-Sound quality is said to be stellar
-Cartridge alignment isn't straightforward, and the manufacturer doesn't offer any directions
10. BT-28SPM Boytone, Bluetooth Classic Style Record Player Turntable
A 90s era stereo system that wants to be your Swiss Army knife... That's the Boytone BT-28SPM in a nutshell. It's that familiar console packed with all the best music-playing technologies.
The belt-driven turntable atop the console supports the usual trio (33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM discs). So no problem playing any LPs in your collection -- including those passed down from your grandparents. For your more recent albums, there is a CD player as well as a cassette player/recorder. Bluetooth connectivity and the AUX IN port will come in handy elsewhere, and there's an AM/FM tuner to keep you up with the latest trends.
That sounds like a great deal for a price of $129.99, but this unit has another neat trick up its sleeve. You can rip music from any source and save to your PC. Or just skip the PC and save directly to a flash drive/SD card using the onboard slot. Oh, and not to forget the ability to record content from radio and save into MP3 files.
-Comes with 2 detached stereo speakers that can be positioned for optimum sound quality
-Unbeatable value for money: You won't find a better deal at this price range.
-Backed by a 1-year manufacturer's warranty
-Build quality is said to be wanting
-Confusing functionality: With more flexibility comes more difficulty in navigation.
George A. Smith received a Masters Degree in Music Education from the University of Berkeley. George has been teaching music professionally for the past 8 years. George regularly contributes content to several music websites including LoadRecords.com.