Are you a true-blue audiophile? Want to feel nostalgic? Interested in adding an aesthetic appeal and retro vibe in a boring space? In all of these cases, there is one thing that you need to have – a record player.
The problem with record players, however, is they often come with steep prices. For the average joe, this hurts the wallet, making it a practically impossible item to have.
No need to worry! You can get the best record player under $100! The rest of this post lists down some of the top choices for an affordable turntable.
Table of Contents
- The 12 Best Turntables Under $100 (2019)
- Jensen JTA-230 3-speed Stereo Turntable
- Audio-Technica AT-LP60 Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable
- Victrola Vintage 3-speed Suitcase Turntable
- Victrola Nostalgic Classic Wood Bluetooth Turntable
- Jensen JTA-222 3-speed Turntable
- Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK Fully-Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable
- Electrohome Archer Vinyl Record Player Classic Turntable
- 1byone Belt-Drive 3-speed Portable Stereo Turntable
- ION Audio Max LP
- Crosley CR6019D-BR Executive Portable USB Turntable
- Pyle PLTTB1 Professional Belt-Driven Manual Turntable
- Musitrend Mini Stereo Turntable
- Understanding the Technical Aspects of Record Players
- Other Factors to Consider When Choosing an Affordable Record Player
- Wrap Up
The 12 Best Turntables Under $100 (2019)
Elevate your music listening experience without spending a fortune by owning any of the turntables that are briefly reviewed below.
Jensen JTA-230 3-speed Stereo Turntable
One of the top-sellers from Amazon’s Home Audio category, this model is capable of altering the tone and the pitch of the records. Traditionally, this is a technology that is reserved for the high-end models. It comes with a belt-driven 3-speed stereo, which is capable of playing at 33, 45, and 78 RPM. There is a pitch control for effortless adjustment of the speed. The USB port with cable is also a good thing, making it easy to convert your vinyl recording into a digital format. With the sleek design and black exterior, this is also great in terms of aesthetics. It combines affordability, functionality, and simplicity, making it our favorite for an economical record player.
Audio-Technica AT-LP60 Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable
This is another turntable that excels in terms of simplicity. It is known for having a high-quality audio output, which can be easily compared to the more expensive options available on the market. The platter is made using premium die-cast aluminum with anti-resonance properties, making it great for minimizing vibration. The latter is also made possible by the belt-driven design, which helps to produce high-fidelity sound output. A lot of its users were also happy with the front-mounted buttons that are effortless to control. Nonetheless, it has several drawbacks, which include the lack of built-in speakers and limited portability.
Victrola Vintage 3-speed Suitcase Turntable
Using this 3-speed turntable will allow you to play vinyl records at 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM. It has a suitcase design that makes it excellent in terms of portability. There is a convenient handle that will allow you to easily bring it anywhere. The built-in Bluetooth also makes it impressive. The latter comes handy when it comes to wirelessly playing music from your device of choice. Meanwhile, if you opt to play music wired, there is a 3.5mm aux-in. While you can listen to the music from a headset or connected speaker, the unit also comes with built-in speakers.
Victrola Nostalgic Classic Wood Bluetooth Turntable
This is made by the same manufacturer as the turntable mentioned above. Its most significant advantage is its design. Although it is quite bulky, it evokes nostalgia because of its classic design and wooden exterior. This belt driven turntable can play music at three speeds – 33 1/3, 45, and 78. For modern users, you can also connect it using the Bluetooth technology and play music wirelessly from your device of choice. Aside from being a vinyl player, it is also a cassette and CD player. Plus, it also doubles as an FM radio.
Jensen JTA-222 3-speed Turntable
The old radio design of this turntable is an effective way to add a retro feel in your space. It also doubles as an AM/FM receiver, making it a great choice if you are after versatility. There are two built-in speakers, plus an external output if you would like to plug in your own speakers. If you want to listen on private, on the other hand, such is also possible as it comes with a jack for a headset. Similar to the options that have been mentioned in this post, it also comes with a dust cover, which will protect the turntable from external elements that could speed up wear and tear.
Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK Fully-Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable
This is priced slightly higher than most of the turntables listed, but it is still below the $100 mark. It can play vinyl records only at two speeds – 33 1/3 and 45. With the belt-driven design, the platter is placed in isolation against vibrations, which will also be effective in improving the audio quality that the unit produces. It is also fully-automatic, so there is no need to worry about its use even if it is your first time to own a record player. Lastly, you will have diverse options when it comes to connectivity, including outputs for earphones or powered speakers.
Electrohome Archer Vinyl Record Player Classic Turntable
It is another excellent choice for a classical way of listening to music without going broke. It has a design inspired by the 1960s. It is packed like a suitcase, which also makes it excellent when it comes to portability. There is a USB connectivity, allowing you to play music straight from your phone. There are also built-in speakers for high-fidelity sound wherever you go. The unique design of the ceramic needle, which has a conical shape with a sapphire tip, is another reason why it is impressive. The latter helps to produce a more natural sound without being harsh on your vinyl.
1byone Belt-Drive 3-speed Portable Stereo Turntable
It is another affordable turntable that packs a built-in speaker in the front, allowing it to deliver an impressive music listening experience. The front part also comes with a convenient handle for the portability of the record player. More so, there is a headphone jack and an RCA output to provide you with more options on how you would like to listen to music. Lastly, the case comes with a polyurethane cover that gives it a classic appeal. The cover is available in either turquoise or black.
ION Audio Max LP
The style of this record player is quite different from most of the products listed in this short guide. The base is flat wood where the vinyl would sit and there is a transparent top. Onboard, there are two built-in speakers on the sides, which are capable of producing a rich sound. This makes it easy to fill the room with sound even without using external powered speakers. It also has a USB connection that will allow you to unlock a plethora of possibilities, such as converting music using the software that is already provided by the manufacturer.
Crosley CR6019D-BR Executive Portable USB Turntable
With the built-in Bluetooth receiver of this turntable, you will be able to listen to your favorite music wirelessly. It also allows versatility. For instance, users can select the speed at which the record plays. There are three choices – 33 1/3, 45, and 78. The pitch control is also adjustable. More so, it comes with full-range speakers. If you want to use your own speakers or headset, such is also possible with the auxiliary input. It is also USB enabled, making it easy to have it connected to your computer.
Pyle PLTTB1 Professional Belt-Driven Manual Turntable
The style of this turntable is more contemporary compared to most of the products that we have. To add aesthetic appeal to this product, there is also a strobe light that illuminates the edges. Aside from its modern design, it also has a host of innovative features that will redefine the way you listen to music. There is an adjustable pitch control, which can be customized at +/-16%. Lastly, there is a one-year warranty from the manufacturer.
Musitrend Mini Stereo Turntable
Wrapping up our list is another 3-speed turntable that comes with an elegant and vintage design. It offers vinyl-to-MP3 recording. Even if you are a novice, with the software that is provided by the manufacturer, it will be effortless for you to make MP3 files from the vinyl records. While it is already cheap, it provides even better value for money as they provide a spare stylus needle. Lastly, you can also enjoy a 12-month warranty from the manufacturer.
Understanding the Technical Aspects of Record Players
As you try to narrow down the possibilities, you have to be aware of the various technical features and how they relate to the performance of the vinyl player. This makes it easy to weigh the pros and cons of the possibilities.
Belt vs Direct Drive
The drive system describes how the motor spins when vinyl is on the top. The popular options on the market come with a belt-drive motor. There is an elastic belt that is connected to the motor and this is the one that spins the platter.
On the other hand, in the case of a direct-driven turntable, the platter is connected directly to the motor. They have better consistency and torque, which will positively impact their performance.
Generally, there are three-speed settings at which the turntable can produce music 33 1/3, 45, and 78. For versatility, it will be best if you settle for a product that offers three-speed settings, which will provide you with more choices. They are the RPM of the unit, or the revolutions per minute. Most of the vinyl records can be played at 33 1/3 and 45.
Signal to Noise Ratio
Also expressed as S/N Ratio, basically, the music that you wish to hear is the signal. On the other hand, the noise is the static or hissing that is produced by the electronic components. The higher the ratio is, the better. On average, it will be best to look for one that comes with a 50 to 60 dB.
Wow and Flutter
This is a technical detail that shows the exact variation at which the turntable spins the platter. For most audiophiles, a wow and flutter that is below .20% is alright. This way, the difference won’t be that evident at all. If the wow and flutter is too high, the sound will appear distorted.
Other Factors to Consider When Choosing an Affordable Record Player
In your search for the best turntable under 100, it is also important that you take into account the factors that will be mentioned below:
- Style: Most of the models mentioned in this post are designed like a suitcase. The handle makes them excellent in terms of portability. There are also those with a vintage design made of a wooden cabinet. The style of choice is a matter of personal preference.
- Connection Ports: If you want to enjoy versatility, look for several connection ports. This way, you can connect your smartphone, computer, headset, and external speakers, among others.
- Built-in Speakers: It is also good to look for one with built-in speakers. This eliminates the need to buy costly speakers. The internal speakers, however, must be able to produce a rich and crisp sound for the best music experience.
- Dust Cover: If possible, choose one that comes with a dust cover, which is the one that you can find on the top of the record. This will be handy when it comes to protecting the player from dust and dirt that can speed up its wear.
- Cartridge and Stylus: These are the parts that are held by the tonearm. The stylus is the needle and the cartridge is the housing that supports it. These parts should demonstrate exceptional quality as they will have a direct impact on the quality of the sound.
- Manual or Automatic: This refers to the manner at which the needle is placed on the top of the record. With automatic, it will be done on its own after pushing a button. With a manual system, meanwhile, you need to do it yourself.
Owning a turntable does not need to cost an arm and a leg. As it has been shown above, even with less than $100, you can find a product that will provide you with a more organic experience of listening to music!