Vinyl record sales have recently surpassed CDs for the first time in decades. Studies show that more people are buying vinyl records now than they were back in the 1980s!
But what’s the big deal?
The reasons for the popularity of vinyl making a comeback are twofold: CD sales have plummeted dramatically in recent years, while sales of vinyl records and turntables are on the rise this year.
While you’ll be forgiven for thinking that these buyers are nostalgic Boomers or Gen Xers, but in fact, surveys show that Millennials and Gen Z are the main consumers driving these sales.
Many people choose to opt for vinyl for its authentic sound. Music on vinyl is commonly described as “warm,” or “full.” So for some people, the familiar crackle is a pleasing and nostalgic sound.
It’s no surprise that vinyl records and players aren’t exactly cheap. In fact, they’re significantly more expensive than their CD rival. However, there are still some bargains to be found.
It’s possible to get your hands on a good-quality turntable for less than $200, but you’ll need to know what you’re looking for. Fortunately, we’ve done all of the hard work for you!
We’ve hunted down the best quality turntables for less than $200 and looked into their key features and selling points.
Top 5 Best Turntables Under 200
MY TOP PICK
Taking the top spot is this 8-in-1 Bluetooth turntable from the brand Victrola. They create and manufacture vintage mid-century style turntables that look they’ve been pulled straight out of the 60s.
The term “turntable” probably doesn’t do this product justice. It’s more of an entertainment center that has the ability to play vinyl records, CDs, and even cassette tapes.
It comes with an integrated FM radio, Bluetooth, and Aux, and a headphone jack for streaming music or podcasts straight from your smartphone.
The turntable itself has 3 different speed settings (33 ⅓, 45, 78 RPM) and can play any vinyl record or album effortlessly. Additionally, it even allows you to record any vinyl records or CDs you play and save them directly to your computer or smartphone.
As a company, Victoria prides itself on only using premium upgraded sound quality with minimum vibrations. This makes it perfect for use anywhere in the home, from the lounge, the bedroom, and even the office.
Looking for a loud experience? This model has got you covered— simply crank up the volume and attach some of your own external speakers or amplifier via the RCA line outputs. For personal listening, simply plug your headphones into the jack.
- Multiple listening options (e.g USB, FM radio, CDs, Vinyls) mean that you’ll only ever need one entertainment system.
- It looks great. The vintage design looks authentic and expensive.
- Multiple options for Auxiliary inputs
- Easy to pair with your smartphone- connect to Bluetooth in under 60 seconds to customize your listening experience.
- Some reviewers didn’t like the fact that you can’t switch on the power using the remote control provided. This must be done by hand.
The next model worth mentioning is this Automatic and Wireless Turntable from the brand Audio-Technica. This is the upgraded version of their AT-LP60X fully automatic belt-drive stereo, and it doesn’t disappoint.
When you purchase this turntable, you’ll have everything you need to get started. It comes fitted with a built-in pre-amp that allows you to connect it directly to your external speakers or a receiver that you’ve already set up.
It’s able to play vinyl records at 33 RPM and 45 RPM which is perfect for the sort of vinyl that is being released today.
This Audi-Technica turntable can also be connected straight to your computer via a USB. This gives you the freedom to convert older vinyl into mp3s on your computer.
The table itself is a fully automatic belt drive that has won numerous industry awards.
You’ll also find a die-cast aluminum platter and an integral dual magnet photo cartridge with a replaceable diamond stylus. In turn, this improves the overall sound quality.
This player is slim and lightweight, so it won’t stick out like a sore thumb if you try to incorporate it into your home decor.
It weighs just 5.73 pounds, which makes it easy to move around, and it comes fitted with a dust cover to protect your unit when it’s not in use.
- A small and lightweight unit makes it easy to move, store, and incorporate into your home.
- Comes with a fully automatic belt-drive, which helps to play vinyl records at a consistent speed.
- The AC adapter handles AC/DC conversion outside of the chassis, which reduces the noise in the signal chain and increases overall sound clarity.
- Many accessories included such as the RCA output cable and removable dust cover will save you money in the long run.
- Some reviewers didn’t like the fact that you need to unplug this device to switch it off, as it doesn’t come fitted with an ON/OFF button.
Next up is yet another turntable from the brand Victrola. This is because they’re dominating the budget turntable market right now and consistently receive 5* reviews for their products on Amazon, and this one is no exception.
The first thing you’ll notice about this turntable is how it looks, and it’s certainly not for those who want a “subtle” record player.
This bright red unit screams 50’s retro diner and reminds us of a vintage Corvette sports car. If retro-styling is your thing, then this is the perfect turntable for you.
This unit is more than just a turntable, it’s an entire entertainment system. This unit can play vinyl and record them to MP3 thanks to the included Mac/PC software.It also comes fitted with a CD player, AM/FM radio, Bluetooth, Aux and headphone jack, and even built-in stereo speakers.
This 3-speed (33 ⅓, 45, 78 rpm) record player features Victrola’s impressive premium sound quality with minimal vibrations. This makes it perfect for everyday use in the home and looks great in just about any room, as long the unit is flat and level at all times.
To keep you in control, this unit features a volume and FM tuner knob, an input selection button, and a complete set of buttons for the integrated CD player. When you switch it on, you’ll be greeted with a screen that is lit by a blue LED light.
- This unit isn’t limited to just vinyl records, use it to play CDs, cassette tapes, and even connect it to your smartphone via Bluetooth.
- Easily digitize your favorite vinyl records to MP3 thanks to the simple recording software included.
- Great value for money, as it’s much cheaper than models of the same sound quality.
- Some reviewers found that upon the first few uses, they experienced a slight squawking sound. However, this doesn’t happen to every unit and it usually goes away.
Yet another Audio-Technica turntable worth mentioning is their AT-LP60 Fully Automatic Vinyl Record Player. The primary selling point of this unit is its Bluetooth connectivity options.
The integrated Bluetooth transmitter is great for connecting your turntable to external speakers for better sound quality.
However, this model lacks the ability to connect it to your smartphone, which may be a key factor for some people. There are also no internal speakers, so you must connect them to your own external ones in order for them to work.
The sound quality of this turntable is pretty good too.
It comes fully equipped to play both 33-1/3 and 45 RPM records, the turntable features a built-in switchable phono preamp that enables it to be connected directly to a computer, home stereo, powered speakers, and other components, even if they have no dedicated turntable input.
It also comes with an integral Audio-Technica Dual Magnet phono cartridge with a replaceable stylus.
This unit comes in two different color options; navy and red. The platter is made from anti-resonance, die-cast aluminum which helps to minimize any vibrations.
It also has a damped life/cueing mechanism with front-panel control and a removable dust cover, which will prevent damage to the unit in the long run.
- Can play vinyl records at standard speeds, making it a perfect turntable for those on a low budget and beginners alike.
- The unit itself is pretty small (3.8 x 14.2 x 14 inches) and lightweight (2.49 pounds) which makes it easier to set up, move around, and clean.
- The record starts spinning at a press of a button, with a tonearm to follow in suit. Simply place your record onto the turntable mat, and press the button.
- This turntable doesn’t come with any fitted internal speakers. This means that you must have your own external speakers in order to use this unit.
Last but certainly not least is this PS-LX310BT Belt-Drive Turntable from Sony.
With a trusted brand name like Sony, you can have full peace of mind knowing that you’re buying a high-quality product that is focused on sound clarity, performance, and longevity.
The turntable plays vinyl records at a speed of 33 ⅓, 45 RPM and boasts a built-in pre-amp which allows you to plug it directly into your stereo or powered external speakers.
It also comes fitted with a USB output which allows you to connect it to your computer and use the included software to turn your vinyl records into MP3 files.
Thanks to Bluetooth technology, you can enjoy listening to your vinyl records with all the convenience of wireless products.
Simply connect via Bluetooth to listen to your favorite records on your wireless speakers, soundbar, or headphones.
This unit even features Sony’s new straight design and sturdy aluminum construction. The tonearm boosts traceability for stable playback with a rich, clear sound and powerful bass.
Once again, this turntable comes fitted with a thick dust cover which helps to muffle acoustic pressure from your speakers for better stability and less distortion. This can be removed if you like, but it will help to [protect your unit and make it last longer.
- Thanks to the USB ripping feature, you can turn your favorite vinyl records into digital files, so you can take your music wherever you go.
- 3 different gain settings allow you to switch the gain to match the audio level of your record, so you can hear your music distortion-free.
- The turntable features a belt-drive mechanism that is robust yet lightweight, which allows it to remain stable when in use.
- This turntable doesn’t come with any fitted internal speakers. This means that you must have your own external speakers in order to use this unit.
Best Turntables Under $200 Buying Guide
What should you look for in a turntable?
When shopping around for your perfect turntable, there are a few factors that you should take into account before rushing into a purchase.
You’ll need to consider the price of the unit, the sound quality, the connectivity options, and extra accessories.
There are two primary types of turntables available on the market today. These are those with manual operation, and those with automatic operation. A manual turntable takes a little more work.
To play a record, you’ll need to place the tonearm directly onto the record and lift it off when you’ve finished listening. Many turntables have a built-in lifting mechanism to make this easier.
Automatic operation turntables take a little less work. To play your favorite record, simply place the record and hit play. The tonearm will automatically move to the edge of the record and return to the same place when it has finished and the platter stops spinning.
You’ll notice that there are two different types of drives to choose from when purchasing a turntable. A belt-drive turntable is arguably the most popular option.
These use a motor and an electric belt to spin the platter that holds the record. The belt acts as a shock absorber, producing less vibration and external noise, giving your better sound quality and clarity.
You can also get direct-drive turntables. This means that an elastic belt isn’t necessary, which can give you consistent speed and high sound accuracy.
Direct-drives are often considered sturdier and more reliable than their belt-drive alternatives. These are ideal for DJs or those interested in creating special sound effects or mixes as you’re able to manually spin records backward and forwards.
Almost every turntable will come with a pre-mounted cartridge which you’ll find on the tonearm. The cartridge is what holds the stylus or “needle.” This stylus is what reads the vinyl record’s grooves and produces sound.
The cartridges that come pre-fitted on most turntables work just fine for entry-level enthusiasts, but many passionate vinyl-lovers may prefer to upgrade their cartridges to improve the performance further.
If you’re a beginner on the hunt for your first-ever turntable, then $200 is an ideal upper price point. You’ll have no problem finding a record player for this price with exceptional features and playback quality.
Turntables in this price range are typically well-made and usually come from reputable brands that you can trust.
However, if you’re a self-proclaimed audiophile, then you may want to consider taking a look at some high-end models instead. These tend to play records with impeccable accuracy and are built to last.
By increasing your budget, you’ll grant yourself access to a whole host of professional-grade turntables. If you’re still unsure, consider calling local dealers and see what they have to say.
It can be helpful to have a turntable with multiple connectivity options to choose from. This will give you more freedom when it comes to listening to your favorite music and move music from format to format.
USB turntables plug directly into your computer via a USB cable. Most of these will come with integrated software that will convert your records into other formats.
Some software will even allow you to clean up clicks and scratches in the recording and eliminate any background noise. However, USB compatible turntables tend to be less expensive, which usually means that the quality of features, such as the tonearm, can be lacking.
Bluetooth connectivity is another great feature to keep an eye out for. If you buy a turntable with Bluetooth connectivity, you’ll be able to hook up your own external Bluetooth speakers. This is a great way of maximizing the sound and bass.
Most turntables give you 33-1/3 and 45 RPM capability. If you purchase a ‘table for spinning 78s, it can handle modern "microgroove" pressings, but not older vintage recordings.
Make sure you get a specialized cartridge that’s equipped to handle the wider grooves of these increasingly rare records.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best record player under 200$?
After considering many different factors and criteria, we found that the Victrola 8-in-1 Bluetooth Turntable is the best you can get for a budget of 200 dollars.
It contains everything you need to get started, without over-complicating its features.
What is the best turntable for home use?
This will entirely depend on how you plan on using your turntable. If it’s going to stay in one place in the same room of your home at all times, you have the luxury of being able to opt for larger systems and entertainment centers.
If you plan on moving your turntable around depending on where you’re spending time in the home, look for a small and lightweight unit instead.
Will cheap turntables ruin records?
Technically, they can. This is because cheaper turntables are more likely to feature a low-quality stylus or “needle” that might deteriorate or snap after as little as 40 playing hours.
At this point, it will begin to scratch and damage your records.
What's the difference between a turntable and a record player?
A turntable can be defined as a platter with some sort of pickup device.
The platter holds a record while it spins and the pickup, usually a cartridge with a built-in stylus that will follow the groove patterns in the record.
On the other hand, a record player differs ever so slightly. They also have a platter and a cartridge to create sound and an electrical signal. However, these usually come equipped with built-in speakers and a preamp, which makes the music audible.
Does vinyl actually sound better?
A high-quality vinyl record will sound great, but so will a high-quality digital file or CD. Most of the time, you won’t be able to notice much of a difference between vinyl and other music formats.
A lot of the sound quality of a turntable comes from the different components. So, if you plan on investing in a record player, consider getting your hands on some good speakers and amps first.