Our Guide to Find the Best Record Player Under 100
There was a very interesting discussion on Quora the other day about the best turntable under 100. Talks about turntables in the age of Spotify and Pandora never fail to amuse us, especially, when we were termed audiophiles for taking inkling to vinyl, when the world was swooning over CDs.
Nevertheless, vinyl is back and how. And it’s no longer the domain of the technics. Casual music listeners are digging up vinyl record stashes from their grandfather’s collection and discovering that the sonic quality is unlike anything that they have ever experienced.
The caveat is that you need to own a decent turntable to know why Vinyl is giving digital music nightmares.
And if this is your first outing into the turf, then you are bound to be overwhelmed, for there are hundreds of turntables to pick from, in varying price brackets.
As an ode to the Quora discussion, we will help you pick the ones that don’t cost an arm and a leg.
To be more precise, we will help you select the best turntables under 100. Neat, aint it?
So, sit back and enjoy this read.
#1 – Wockoder Portable Bluetooth 3 Speed Turntable
The Wockoder Portable Bluetooth 3 speed turntable being our number one pick for a budget turntable might raise some eyebrows. Yeah, we know it’s not an Audio Technica or a Denon. But this is a near-perfect package that looks good, plays 33,45 and 78 rpm records and has in-built Bluetooth connectivity to boot. The most important part is that it is priced under $100 (Blue and Khaki versions).
Let’s take a closer look.
Portable Music box styled design
Nobody said that the best turntable under 100 had to look mundane. With a briefcase/ music box styled design, an exquisite tan wooden finish and brass handles, this one is a stunner. It weighs a pleasant 6 lbs. allowing you to lug it along for impromptu parties and the likes. The design also makes this a fantastic gift option for beginner vinyl listeners.
Built-in Stereo Speakers with RCA Line Out
The Wockoder has four dynamic full range speakers that churn out good quality audio. The treble and bass are evenly balanced and the mid-range is rich. If that doesn’t satisfy your eardrums, you can hook it up to any external speaker with the RCA Line Out port. It also has an Aux-in jack that lets you connect your smartphone or digital music player to the turntable if you wish to use it as a speaker instead.
- Stylish design
- Can play 33, 45 and 78 RPM records
- Plug and play
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Aux in jack and RCA Out port
The Bluetooth connectivity option only allows you to connect your smartphone or digital music player to the turntable and use it as a speaker. It cannot be connected to an external Bluetooth speaker.
Verdict: One of the best record players under 100!
#2 – 1byone Suit-case Style Turntable with Speaker, Bluetooth support
The first time we saw the 1byone Turntable, we thought that it was an attorney briefcase. The svelte leather finish, the integrated handle, everything seems tailored for portability, durability and style. But the feature list goes beyond the aesthetics for it can play all types of records, has an in-built phone pre amp, has Bluetooth connectivity and can also record MP3 files from the Vinyl, which can then be played back on your MP3 player or Smartphone.
As rugged as it can get
We love the suitcase-styled design. It is just 15 inches in length and about 12 inches wide and weighs about 10 pounds. That’s a tad heavier than the Wockoder, but not by a lot. Not only does it allow easy portability, it also ensures that the turntable stays protected from dust/dirt. Also, the leather case is incredibly durable. An accidental bump or two is not going to damage the player. You can choose from a matte black or a wine red finish in the leather.
Includes the 45-RPM adapter
1byone throws in a 45-RPM adapter in the pack that lets you play your maxi-singles and EP records. Also, the adapter has a dedicated slot in the briefcase and you do not need to carry it separately. One of the best features of the 1byone record player is that it has an integrated USB port that allows you to connect a USB stick up to 32GB in size and record MP3 files from your vinyl records. Other than the USB stick, there’s an RCA Out jack to connect an external playback device and Bluetooth connectivity to use the turntable as a speaker.
- Compact and portable design
- Stylish leather finish
- Can play all types of records
- USB port for connecting a USB stick
- Allows you to record MP3 files from your records
- Bluetooth connectivity to use it as a playback device
- RCA Out jack to connect to an external speaker
There have been a couple of instances where the turntable stops playing a few seconds before the song ends when you activate the record MP3 function. However, there is an easy workaround for this problem. There’s a tiny screw under the unit with a red tag on it. Just rotate it counter clockwise to increase the playback time when you activate the record function.
Verdict: Good budget priced package for the beginner vinyl user.
#3 – Musitrend Mini Stereo Turntable 3 Speed Record Player with Built-in Speakers
If you are looking to dip your toes in the world of vinyl before upgrading to a better quality player down the road, then you’d love this Mini Stereo Turntable from Musitrend. It has an impressive feature bundle clubbed with a neat design that’s perfect for beginners. Integrated stereo speakers, multiple connectivity options and a wood casing with a see-through cover complete what is a well-rounded package. This is definitely one of the best turntables under 100.
Adjustable record player
Maxi Singles, LPs, EPs, the Musitrend Mini Stereo turntable can play all types of records. The in-built stereo speakers are pretty loud for a player this size. When you are travelling, you can plug in your smartphone to it, avoiding the need to carry a separate portable speaker. The Musitrend Mini Stereo Turntable also features a CD to install Audacity, an open source software that lets you record MP3 files from your records.
One of the commonest complaints that customers have with budget-priced record players is that the needle gets damaged pretty easily. To that end, Musitrend throws in a replacement needle in the pack. With a 12-month warranty and 24 hour customer support, it’s hard to go wrong with this one.
- Compact and portable
- 3-Speed Turntable
- Integrated Stereo Speakers
- RCA Out and headphone jack
- Replacement stylus
- 12-month warranty
The sound does sound a little tinny. But at this price point and with the other features, we wouldn’t call that a deal breaker. After all, if you expect professional quality sound, you wouldn’t be buying a budget player.
Verdict: The Musitrend Turntable is an all-inclusive package that is ready to plug and play. With the ability to record MP3 files, it allows you to record those rare LPs that are impossible to find on CDs or streaming services.
#4 – Audio Technica AT-LP60
A list of the best record players under 100 would be incomplete without a mention of the Audio Technica AT-LP60. This fully automatic player is every beginner vinyl lover’s dream machine for it comes from a brand that has been in the business for decades. The AT-LP60 is Audio Technica’s most basic model in the LP series. Yet, it boasts of features like a premounted phono cartridge, an integrated pre-amplifier and clean sound that can impress an audiophile.
Classy metallic chassis
By now, we have seen so many suitcase-styled turntables that the AT-LP60 came across as a refreshing change. It has a plastic chassis with a metallic silver or black finish. The tone arm has a streamlined design as well giving it classy aesthetics. In fact, if the price tag weren’t made obvious, this could pass of for a much higher priced unit with the design alone. At 6.6 pounds, it is also the lightest turntable in this list. However, there’s no handle attached to the cover or the casing.
Easy to use with some DIY
The bulk of the connectivity options, like selecting between a built-in phono preamplifier or an external preamp are positioned on the rear control panel. The front panel has the control buttons (Start/Stop, Speed and Cue). You can hook the AT0LP60 directly to any external speakers of your choice with the RCA cable that is included in the pack. However, the cable is hardwired into the unit and it’s only 24 inches in length. You’d need to invest in a RCA-to-3.5 mm adapter to extend the connection to a boom box or a speaker system.
- Fully automatic
- Clear and crisp sound
- Rip your records to MP3 or Wav Files
- Great styling
- Popular brand
- Easy to use
Audio Technica has always tried to create self-sustaining units that are ready to use out of the box. We wish that we could say that about the AT-LP60. However, this one does take a little time to set up. It’s not too tedious. But if it is the first time you are setting up a turntable, you’ll find yourself fiddling with the user manual more often than not. Also, one expects an upgradable phono-cartridge from a brand like Audio Technica. However, the AT-LP60 features a fixed one that cannot be replaced or upgraded.
Verdict: Desipte a few niggles, the Audio Technica LP60 remains our pick for the best turntable under 100.
#5 – Crosley CR8005D-TU Cruiser Deluxe
Last but not the least, we have the Crosley CRD8005D-TU portable Turntable. This one is the perfect buy for shoppers with a tighter purse string. It is priced under $65. Yes, you heard that right. We were as shocked as you are right now when we saw the price tag on this beautifully designed portable turntable. But don’t let the price fool you into believing that it is inferior to any other turntable in this list.
In fact, it can hold its own against much higher priced models with its impressive feature set and stellar performance.
If there was a turntable beauty contest, then the Crosley Cruiser Deluxe would walk away with the crown. Its retro styling is a hit with customers of all ages. To top it off, it is available in a whole bunch of colors. It has an all-enclosed suitcase design that can be packed and carried with ease. The suitcase is crafted from wood and has a faux leather cover. Overall, Crosley is successful in creating a functional product that can easily be a center piece in your home.
Plug and play
The Cruiser Deluxe comes ready to play. Just unbox it, plug it on, place the record and press Play. You do not have to spend your time fiddling with the tone arm and the belt. For a beginner that’s incredibly appealing. It has two integrated stereo speakers which are powered by a 3W amp. The sound quality is decent. Although, it may sound a tad tinny if you have a keen ear for solidarity. The Cruiser Deluxe can play 33 ⅓, 45 and 78 rpm records and you can adjust it to play your 12s as well. There are multiple connectivity options including Bluetooth connectivity, once again as a speaker only.
- Stylish retro design
- Multiple color options
- Sturdy wooden case with faux leather cover
- All-inclusive design
- Three speed record player
- Full range stereo speakers
- Multiple connectivity options
The tracking weight on the cartridge is much higher than what is typically found on budget turntables. As a result, there have been reports that the cruiser wears out the records faster than normal. Also, this cannot be used to rip your music into MP3 or wav files.
Verdict: The Crosley CRD8005D-TU Cruiser Deluxe with its stylish design and unbeatable pricing is a very appealing choice for a vinyl lover’s ‘First turntable’. However, it does have a few inherent design flaws. If you are willing to look beyond it, there’s no better choice. It is hands down one of the top contenders for the best turntable under 100.
As a rule of thumb, always look for build quality and customer reviews while selecting the best record player under 100. Do your research, read reviews and don’t expect the sonic quality of a $1000 player. There’s a reason these are priced under $100. But if you are starting off in Vinyl, these will keep you good company for a long time.