Good cheap turntables are hard to get. Vinyl has made a remarkable revival and the record players that play them have returned to the mainstream market as well. And in the age of streaming and downloading, millennials are now more and more craving the materialistic feel that once was. That vintage feel of the ’60s and ’70s, along with its style and colors.
The industry has noticed the demand and while many famous brands have never stopped making turntables. Some new modern brands came up to fill in the need for low budget turntables, the brands like Crosley come to mind. However, these brands and their suitcase like record players have a bad reputation for a good reason. They can harm your vinyl in the long run. Actually, that can be the case within 40 hours of listening because their needles are made of cheap quality instead of diamond. Therefore you should take a look at our guide on what you need to keep in mind when buying a record player.
We think these are the Best Cheap Turntables
So what exactly are our picks? They range from 80 to 200 dollars and are all made by established brands. While the features can differ a lot per model you really can’t go wrong with any of these since they all offer high-quality materials and sound. These record players have lots of reviews and proven track record but still are in the same lower price range you are looking for.
ION Audio Max LP
The only pick with internal speakers.
The ION Audio Max stands out with its unique feature of converting Vinyl records to digital audio files. This can easily do by connecting it to a computer via the USB cable and using free software such as Audacity. This way you could edit and mix that warm vinyl sound or just play them on any device you want, for example on your smartphone. While this feature is not rare it certainly is an achievement they integrated it into such an affordable turntable.
Talking about features, it has a playback speed ranging from 33-1/3 to 45 and 78RPM. But one of the things that really stand out with this turntable, is the design. It is something different from other Vinyl recorders with the use of wooden material giving it that modern industrial look a lot of people are going for in their interior. It is rather user-friendly in the sense that there’s no switch to turn it on or off. If you move the tonearm, the motor automatically starts. By putting it back to its resting position, it stops within a second. There’s only one shortcoming with this model, its internal speakers are just ok but nothing spectacular. In terms of technical features, the ION Audio Max has a USB port, Headphone output, RCA jacks, built-in stereo speakers, 3.5 mm aux input, and is belt. And last but not least, it has a decent needle to preserve your records.
All these features make this record player really great bang for your buck and a perfect choice for beginners or the occasional vinyl listener.
» Uniques wooden design.
» Great value for its affordable price.
» Option to digitize records at an affordable price.
» The internal speakers are not really good.
Some high-end features for a low-end price.
The Audio-Technica AT-LP3 is the top end of this list in terms of its price but for a good reason. This user-friendly record player is fully automatic and has a premium build made of quality materials. While it might not match all the features offered by higher-end models the basics of this turntable are great for its price.
Talking about its features, it is belt-driven and fully automatic meaning you do not have to operate the turntable by touching its arm. To counter unwanted vibrations, its platter is made up of aluminum with a 4.5 mm thick rubber mat. The package comes with a 45 RPM adapter and a removable hinged dust cover which both are great additions and not always standard. This automatic turntable plays two speeds ranging from 33-1/3 to 45 RPM. There also is a built-in switch for the phono pre-amplifier, this way you are able to use its building preamp or connect an external one as most vinyl experts recommend. There is only one disadvantage with this turntable as users say its tonearm is not made of the strongest material and has to be dealt with delicately.
Audio-Technica AT-LP3 offers a high-end design with all the basic features for a great price. This makes it the perfect record player for a beginner that wants to extend his audio setup further down the line.
» Is made of High-quality materials and therefore feels premium.
» Fully automatic making it very easy and safe to use in terms of playing.
» Decent internal preamp
» The tonearm can be fragile.
The easiest way to digitize your records.
The L-85 is belt driven which is the preferable choice with cheaper turntables as this solves a lot of the stuttering issues. It’s solid platter and tonearm make this record player easy to handle. It can play 33rpm or 45rpm records.
The device is also semi-automatic. This means when you move the tonearm the record will start spinning. There is also a reject button present which reverts the tonearm to its original place. Lastly, the turntable features a built-in preamp that is of decent quality, meaning you connect it directly to your amplifier receiver or powered speakers.
The design is modern and beautiful with its rounded corners. It comes in various bright colors such as red and blue which really can make any room unique. The casing is almost all plastic which is understandable for the price but not preferable. However, the casing feels solid and makes the device very portable in terms of its weight.
A standout feature is that the L-85 can digitize records to MP3 simply by putting a USB stick into the device. It not only records the tracks but also splits them easily into separate files. A great way to listen to your vinyl on other devices or to simply save them for eternity.
To conclude, the L-85 is a great looking turntable for the price and has the standout feature to digitize records simply by plugging in your USB stick.
» A unique feature to digitize records via a USB port.
» Very affordable but still offer great sound.
» Decent built-in preamp.
» The casing is mostly plastic, although the design does look good.
U-Turn Orbit Basic
Great Turntable featuring premium materials.
U-Turn is a US-based company that handmakes their turntables and even lets employees sign each model. This clearly shows in the build quality with the use of high-quality materials and a one-piece casing giving it a very solid build.
There’s only one major drawback of this model. You cannot upgrade the needles if you want to. That means you are stuck with the ones that already come with this model. However, this shortcoming isn’t really a dealbreaker.
The design can be best described as minimalistic and modern. This U-Turn Orbit Basic is available in different colors and you can even customize a model according to your likeness. What is also great is that most separate components are outside the casing making it very easy to repair or replace. It features open RCA ports making it a breeze to swap out cables and replace them.
The U-turn Orbit Basic is a belt-driven turntable, which can spin the platter at 33rpm or 45rpm, dependent on the speed of our vinyl record. An option is to let U-Turn install a small box on the rear panel containing the Pluto built preamp. Its sound is quite serene and pleasing to the heart and ears.
An upgrade from this model is the Orbit Plus that comes with an acrylic platter and a really high-quality needle, the Ortofon OM5E. It improves the sound quality but also highers the prices. If you want to know more you can read our in-depth review of the U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus.
Overall, this turntable is one of the best basic turntables on the market that offers a product that is not packed with features but rather just focusses on the most important part, great sound.
» Beautiful minimalistic design.
» High-quality materials and overall build quality.
» Handmade by a US based company.
» Amazing sound for its price.
» You can’t upgrade the cartridge, but you can replace it with the same model.
A decent Bluetooth Turntable.
This turntable is another great option for people on a budget since it offers a lot of features for the price.
Let’s talk about some of these stand out features first. It supports Bluetooth, meaning you are able to connect Bluetooth speakers and play your favorite records anywhere inside your house. Accompanied with this, there is the option to transfer your vinyl to digital files. It works by connecting your PC via Bluetooth and then using software to digitize the records. A unique feature in the budget record player landscape.
The turntable is belt driven and the tonearm delivers stable playback. A thick tinted dust cover is also provided by Sony to protect your precious vinyl records. The PS-LX310BT is simple but good looking in its design and color, it is available in all black. Do keep in mind that the built is mostly plastic which might turn off high-end buyers. Most importantly the sound quality is vibrant and compelling. With crisp highs that warm vinyl deep bass audios.
Overall the record player offers amazing features for its price making it a great combination of a classic turntable with a modern twist.
» Has built-in Bluetooth, which also allows for digitizing records.
» It offers a lot of features for the price.
» A nice warm vintage sound.
» The build is mostly made from plastic.
Perfect choice for the lowest budget possible.
For people that are on a really tight budget this the only decent option there is in the lowest price range. It is built by the premium brand Audio Technica and has a proven track record. It is a great beginner turntable as it is fully automatic so you don’t have to worry about damaging the needle, tonearm or records.
What is also nice is that this model features a built-in preamp. Of course, it is not of the highest quality but it does a decent job and is certainly better than most Suitcase style record players in the same price range, *cough* Crosley *cough*. There is a switch placed on the back of the turntable to bypass the integrated preamp and use your own external preamplifier. A great upgrade if you want to get more serious with vinyl.
The designs are not premium as the record player is mostly built from plastic but the looks are actually really decent. It comes in many colors such as gray, black and blue which makes it very suitable for different interiors. What is unique about this record player is that is really compact and lightweight at 6.6 pounds, making it easy to take to parties or other occasions.
Something we would have liked to see was the possibility to use different cartridges. It is build into the AT-LP60 meaning it can only be replaced by the exact same brand. However, we do like that is belt-driven since this is the best way for more affordable record players to spin records, causing less crackling and stuttering.
All in all, the AT-LP60 gives amazing value for its low price point. And while there are better record players in this list for a bit more you certainly won’t make a mistake going totally low budget with this one.
» Astonishing price.
» Best possible sound quality for a budget turntable.
» It comes with a built-in preamp.
» It is mostly made of plastic.
» Can’t upgrade the cartridge but you can replace it.
There are great options if you have a tight budget
These six turntables prove you don’t need to break the bank to explore the hobby of vinyl music. While the market is flooded with cheap Chinese suitcase turntables, the models above show that high-quality design and materials can be achieved for an affordable price.
One of the most famous brands right now is Crosley, and while they are making better models at higher prices now, most models are rather low quality. With needles that can wear out as fast as after 40 hours making it very easy to damage your records. If you want to know more watch the video below.
While all these models differ in their functions the basics of a good motor, tonearm and needle are all present. But in order to help you pick let me categories the mentioned models and help find you the record player that suits your needs:
If all the features such as USB output and Bluetooth are not important to you than the U-Turn Orbit Basic would be our top pick as it offers a great design with high-quality materials.
A close second would be the Audio Technica LP-3 as it is also made of good materials. But if you would like to have certain features within your turntable other record players are the best pick for you.
For example, if you would like to digitize your records than the ION Max LP or the Lenco L-85 would be your best option. If you would like to make use of Bluetooth speakers the Sony PS- LX310BT is the only option providing this feature.
And lastly, if you have a really small budget you really can’t go wrong with the Audio Technica LP-60, as it has built up a proven track record over the last few years.