The nostalgic vinyl, which everyone assumed was long gone, actually didn’t go anywhere and is back with a bang. As the world of music changed massively with music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, the retro vinyl that belonged to a niche audience became mainstream. Read more about the reasons for the return of vinyl in our article on the future of vinyl records.
With major new releases such as music albums, film soundtracks and podcasts released on vinyl, prestigious turntable brands and some new ones are producing some of the best turntables. From expensive models build form the highest quality of materials and features like vinyl digitalization, to more basic retro-styled record players, there are many models to choose from. But with this wide variety of models it can be hard to find what is actually needed and what not. The price can also vary a lot, from low quality but fun record players of 60 dollars to the top HiFi players in the prize range of 4 digits.
To help you with this search, we are going to look at some of the best-valued record players. The list consists of the best record player within a particular price range. We will be looking at the best-valued record players under $150, $200, $250, $300, $400 and $700 dollars. So whether you are a vinyl starter or an audiophile this you should help you in the direction on what to look for. Of course, you can also take look at more in-depth guides for your particular needs such as our Best Beginner Turntables guide or particular feature such as our favorite USB Turntables. But if you are simply looking for the best around turntable within a certain budget you have come to the right place.
The Best Value Record Players
We have taken a look at the wide range of turntables available (over 30 actually) and have filtered based on personal experience, expert opinions, and customer ratings. Therefore you will find these 7 models in our comprehensive guide below:
Best under 150$: Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-BK
The best true budget turntable for beginners
Dimensions: 360.0 mm (14.17″) W x 97.5 mm (3.84″) H x 356.0 mm (14.02″) D | Motor: Belt drive | Platter: Die-cast aluminum | Phono preamp: Yes | USB: No | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm | Stylus: ATN3600
Vinyl can be an expensive hobby, especially when you want the very best material and sound quality. However, you might just want to start with a basic setup that provides you with all you need for playing records in good sound quality. While Audio Technica has a lot of expensive and premium models available, the AT-LP60BK is one of the only budget models you can choose from. And we have been a fan of this model ever since we did an in-depth review of the Audio Technica AT-LP60X-BK.
In terms of design, the turntable features a few hardware buttons such for adjusting the speed and turning the built-in preamp on or off. The matt black finish and the physical keys in front of the player will appeal to analog enthusiasts. The build quality is rather decent although we feel that the number of plastic materials used could have been avoided, but that would probably increase the price.
The device is rather easy to setup. Just place your record, set the speed and press start as the device is fully automatic. What is quite remarkable for this low costing turntable is that it also has built-in Bluetooth so you are able to connect any Bluetooth setup or speaker to it.
The design of the belt drive helps to keep costs down and avoid motor vibrations, resulting in a resonance-free sound experience. Audio Technica also supplies cartridges to other companies and have an overall great reputation in terms of quality of the products they manufacture. Lastly, the diamond needle can be easily replaced so you can make the most of the budget-friendly turntable.
- Really great sound quality for such a low price.
- Built-in Bluetooth to connect any device.
- Retor design with contrasting colors.
- It is far better than Crossley and Lenco in this price range.
- The use of plastic within the build
Best under 200$: Audio Technica AT-LP3BK:
Reasonable price and high performance.
Dimensions: 21 x 9 x 19 inches | Operation: Automatic Motor: Belt Drive | Phono preamp: Yes | USB: No | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm | Stylus: AT91R
The Audio Technica AT-LP3BKt combines the ease of use as its an automatic turntable that has some HiFi components. If you’re a little skeptical about spending a small fortune on vinyl and players in the age of Internet streaming, Audio Technica generally provides a good balance between pricing and high performance without compromise.
The design can be best described as modern with the metallic ring around the platter and red cartridge being the eyecatchers. The pure black finish adds a premium look.
The player is equipped with a fully-automatic belt drive that can be tuned to 33-1/3 and 45 RPM depending on requirements. Automatic means in this case that you can simply lay down your record and press the play or stop button.
It is equipped with an integrated preamp that also has a switch to bypass it. The AT91R cartridge does a really great job of picking up the sound signal. The sound is really balanced, meaning it has no preferences when it comes to frequencies or genres. It is not the most detailed but really still feels spacious which helps with heavy music, of course not on the same level as Hifi turntables, but it still holds its ground and will blow away any Crossley player you might be considering.
Overall we think this is the best pick in this lower budget price range. It features some nice built-in components that are also very easy to upgrade, such as the cartridge or an external preamp. You could go for a little bit more sound performance with the AT-LP5 or the PS-HX500 but if you want a nice entry-level turntable this could be more than enough.
- Balanced and rich sound for its price.
- The ease of the automatic mechanism.
- Cartridge and Preamp are easily upgradable.
- Not the most detailed sound
Best under 250$: Fluance RT81
Best turntable with a wooden finish and Audio Technica cartridge
Dimensions: 16.5” x 5.5” x 13.75” | Motor: Belt drive | Platter: Aluminum | Phono preamp: Yes | USB: No | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm | Stylus: ATN95E
Within the $250 price range, we could have also gone with our usual suspect, The Audio Technica LP-AT120. However, we feel that after 10 years this model is getting a bit outdated and its successor the LP-AT120X is not living up to the expectations.
The Fluance RT81 is a great turntable for its price. It has a similar idea behind it as the AT-LP3BK talked above, it is easy to set up and is easily upgradable making it perfect for beginners or casual vinyl listeners.
What takes this turntable a step further is the quality components it holds where it matters the most. It features a pretty great cartridge the AT95E which is, funnily enough, an Audio Technica cartridge. It also has a decent built-in preamp that comes with a switch making it easy to upgrade your setup.
In terms of design, we really like the walnut wood casing that gives it a more classic vibe. The body is separated with insulating feet and has a rubber slip mat to avoid vibration, however, we sometimes could hear some slight resonance.
The sound is well balanced and quite rich thanks to the quality preamp. Positive reviews from users are proof that his a long-lasting turntable.
- Great sound for the price thanks to the quality cartridge.
- A nice walnut casing giving a premium feel.
- Cartridge and Preamp are easily upgradable
- You can experience some resonance.
Best under 300$: Denon DP-300F
Fully automatic turntable with gorgeous finish and sound
Dimensions: 17-3/32 x 4-51/64 x 15″ (434 x 122 x 381 mm); (WxHxD) | Motor: Belt drive | Platter: Die-cast aluminum | Phono preamp: Yes | USB: No | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm | Stylus: DSN-85
A quick glance at the Denon DP-300F and you know this a quality device. Its glossy and minimalistic design really gives a modern look.
Now one of the standout features for this device is that it is fully automatic and this also shows in the design since it has only two buttons on the plinth, start and stop. Clicking start after having placed your record on the platter will simply move the tonearm above the record and lower it to the correct height. When the record ends or after clicking the stop button the tonearm is placed back into its standard resting position.
While the DSN-85 cartridge has a small limitation that isn’t always precise, it surprisingly manages to create really decent airy sound. The fact that this is a branded cartridge places it a few steps above the noname cartridges from cheaper turntables. The sound is well-balanced and therefore also works well with all genres.
Denon has succeeded in developing a product that is rich in performance. While some lack of features serious turntable lovers, for price and performance, this can easily make an easy choice for you. The player has all the basic features and is fully automatic so you don’t have to queue the albums manually.
- Fully automatic, simply press start or stop.
- Beautiful minimal and glossy design.
- Quality built-in preamp and cartridge.
- The sound could be more detailed.
Best under 350$: Sony PSHX500
Overall great quality and the ability to transfer music to your PC
Dimensions: 16.54” x 13.78” x 4.92”; (W x D x H) | Motor: Belt drive | Phono preamp: Yes | USB: Yes 44.1kHz / 48kHz / 96kHz / 192kHz (16bit / 24bit) | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm | Stylus: Sony 9-885-210-05
Sony has done an impressive job of providing a long list of features in this turntable that will delight even the most demanding users. On top of that it has the standout feature to convert your vinyl records into digital audio files. It converts to such high-quality digital audio that we consider this to be the best USB turntable for digitizing vinyl.
The PSHX500 is pretty minimalistic. First of all, it is fully black and by that, I mean literally all components such as the straight tonearm, platter and button. The low platter and the fact that it only features 1 actual button in the form of start and speed switch gives it a really modern look. All components feel premium and the device is not too light.
As said this turntable is able to digitize your vinyl. A USB output gives the option to connect the turntable to your computer. The package comes recording software that lets you easily record, stop and split individual records. The recording quality itself is what makes this feature so great, it can output DSD 5.6 raw wav files. If this is a bunch of jibberish to your it basically means you can record really high-quality audio files. Actually it is the only turntable on the market that can get to these audio standards.
The sound quality is pretty good for this price range. The sound is dynamic and has a lot of space so it won’t struggle with music that has a lot of audio layers. We feel the sound does have a preference to be a little light although it is overall pretty balanced. The built-in preamp and cartridge do good job of turning the source signal into great sound.
- Available in five colors
- High quality materials, with a one piece plinth, diamond stylus and acrylic platter.
- The cartridge Ortofan OM5e is something special. It just gives a more warmth, bassy and detailed sound.
- U-Turn Audio is US based and the turntables are signed by the employee that assembled it. It comes with a 2-year manufacturer warranty
- Great transparent sound quality that performs well with all genres.
- The highest quality of audio digitalization. Such DSD 5.6 raw WAV files.
- Minimalistic design and premium materials.
Best under 400$: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC
Premium turntable with high-end hardware for a not so premium price.
Dimensions: 415 x 118 x 320mm (WxHxD) | Motor: Belt drive | Platter: Aluminum | Phono preamp: No | USB: No | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm | Stylus: Ortofon 2M Red
This has been one of our favorite models for a long time and for a good reason, it just has that Hifi feel and sound for an astonishing price.
We have now come into the mid range of the turntable market but we feel that the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC (what a long model name…) is something special. In terms of design the turntable is the lead example of minimalism. The casing features no buttons (not one!) and only has straight tonearm with the Ortofon 2m Red cartridge at the end. It can fit into any interior as it comes in 7 high gloss coating colors, from black to bright yellow!
With Hifi turntables you should know they often have fewer features such as being fully automatic, USB output or a built-in preamp. The effort is put more toward high-quality materials and creating an overall solid build. For example, the plinth consists of one piece which is rather heavy giving a really solid feel to the turntable and minimizing its resonance.
The tonearm is also quite special as it is made from carbon fiber making it really lightweight and easy to handle. The fact that it lacks a built-in preamp is often considered a sign Hifi quality by audiophiles. As they want to choose their own external preamp anyway, creating the ultimate record player setup.
The turntable is fully manual, meaning you have to move the tonearm and placing the needle on the records yourself. Keep in mind that you also have to manually need to move the belt underneath the platter when you want a switch in speed. Now, this is something that most audiophiles enjoy but as a beginner, this might be something you want to avoid.
An now the most important part, the sound. The sound is detailed and balanced. The Ortofon 2m Red cartridge does a great job and gives a rich sound to the turntable. It oozes that analog vinyl sound that a lot of people are going for.
- The cartridge Ortofan 2m Red is something special. It just gives swarm and analog sound.
- Premium materials and build, reducing resonance.
- Minimalistic design that comes in 7 bright colors.
- Hard to handle for beginners. Siwtching speed and placing the tonearm.
Best under 500$: Denon DP-400
Best Hifi turntable with amazing sound output.
Dimensions: 13.46 x 16.3 x 4.13 in Operation: Semi Automatic Motor: Belt Drive | Phono preamp: Yes | USB: No | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45, 78 rpm | Stylus: Moving Magnet
If you have the money to spend, the Denon DP-400 is what we consider one of the best turntables on the market. We came to this conclusion after doing a full review of the Denon DP-400.
It features a great minimalistic design. It has nice curves and a shiny coating that suites almost any interior. It sort of has the look and feel of an Apple product. Keep in mind that his turntable only comes in black and white, but can still be it can easily blend be a great centerpiece in any room.
As for the sound the Denon DP-400 produces, it is amazing. Its quality cartridge and built-in preamp do a wonderful job of bringing you that transparent, warm and very detailed sound. After the first minute of listening, we clearly heard the difference coming from any lower-end to mid-range model. With that, the sound also has no distortions and is very accurate in speed. Because the wow and fluffer is kept to a minimum you will find hardly any resonance. In terms of materials and build it is hard to find something better.
Lastly, the device is easy to set up and use. It comes with a built-in preamp, making it really easy for users as they can connect it directly to an amplifier or powered speakers. As for modern features, it offers speed control and an autostop feature that stops playing records after they are finished.
- The dust cover has a particularly modern look that not everyone might enjoy. You can leave it off of course.
The vinyl turntable, which was once a niche, has now entered the mainstream market where even latest music is released on vinyl. There are a lot of great turntables out there for every need and budget.
Now we don’t know your budget or your particular needs, but we are pretty certain that one of these seven turntables can be the one you are looking for as they are great all-rounder.
In the lower budget segment, both the Audio-Technica turntables can be a great choice. Where the AT-LP60X-BK features Bluetooth and AT-LP3BK has better build quality and sound.
In the mid segment, the Fluance RT81 offer great sound a unique wooden design while the Denon DP-300F is considered one of the best overall choice because of its high-quality materials and great all design. The Sony PSHX500 gets an honorable mention as it offers the option to digitize your vinyl.
In the top segment, we feel that the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC is quite special because of its great Ortofan 2m Red cartridge generating amazing sound and the design that comes in seven colors. And lastly we feel that the Denon DP-400 one of the best turntables on the market because of its great transparent and warm Hifi sound, resonance-free build and at the same time being very user friendly.
Whatever your choice is, vinyl turntables are an excellent g choice to enjoy your favorite music and we hope to guide you along this journey.