The Best Record Player Under 200 Dollars – A tough nut to crack
Finding the best turntable under 200 isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s one of those price points that are right in the middle of everything. On one side, you have the $100 turntables that are the spendthrifts’ domain. While, it’s usually shoppers with fatter wallets and keener ears, that head north of 200 in the quest for the top deck in the store.
We must say though that picking the best record player under 200 does have its perks. Turntables in this price bracket have much better features than entry level decks. Also, most of the top brands offer models in this price range giving you more options to choose from.
With some research and some help, you can find yourself a turntable that can hold its own against a much higher priced unit.
The help part is where we step in.
We have been vinyl hoarders for ages. And we have dabbled in more turntables than you can ever imagine.
Based on our experience with turntables, here’s our pick for the best record players under 200.
#1 – Victrola Nostalgic Aviator Wood 8-in-1 Bluetooth Turntable
Without sounding blasphemous, turntables can no longer be limited to playing vinyl. Not in the digital age when we are surrounded with wireless devices. The tendency to look for more is natural. That’s one of the reasons why we love modern age turntables that can do a lot more than put a needle on wax.
Our first pick, has 8 functions integrated into it and it is the best looking unit in this list. This is the Victrola Nostalgic Aviator Turntable that resembles a vintage boom box with a rich mahogany finish, large rotary dials and an analog radio dial.
8-functions in one player
The big draw, apart from the looks is the 8 functions that the Vicrtola features. It can play vinyl in three speeds, play audio cassettes, play CDs, record MP3 (128 kbps) from your records, cassettes and CDs (to a USB stick or to a CD), be used as a Bluetooth speaker, be connected to an external speaker and also has an am/fm radio. There’s very little that you cannot do with it. Hence the name, the Victrola Music Station. Also thrown in, is a wireless remote control for added convenience, though it does not allow you to tune the radio wirelessly. You’d still have to use the old rotary tuner for that.
Integrated Stereo Speakers
We hate tinny sounding speakers a lot more than you do. So, the rich and full sound of the Victrola is one of the reasons why it tops this list of the best turntables under 200. You’d still miss the fullness and solidarity that comes with a higher priced unit and an external speaker. But for casual music listeners, the Victrola offers enough depth in sound. You won’t be disappointed.
At this price, you’d expect it to have a built-in phono pre amp. But we guess you cannot have it all. We wouldn’t call that a deal breaker, especially when there’s an easy workaround by using the AUX IN jack (not convenient, but it works just fine).
- 8 functions in one
- Vintage boom box styled design
- Large rotary dial and radio dial
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Wireless remote control
#2 – CMC Portable Bluetooth 3 Stereo Speed Turntable
Suitcase-styled Turntables have become a rage due to their portability and all-inclusive design. This 3-speed turntable from CMS is Amazon’s pick among hundreds of other portable turntables and it boasts of a near flawless customer rating.
Like most modern-age turntables, it can do everything. Well, almost everything. We love the styling, the gaggle of features and the reasonable pricing. Most importantly, it sounds fantastic and would even impress a hardcore cynic.
Super compact footprint
With all the talk about portability, one often tends to forget that your turntable will be parked some place for most part of its lifetime. This portable one from CMC is just 13 inches tall and 10 inches wide. It will save valuable counter space and will be the centerpiece of your décor. The distressed blue finish on wood (also available in Khaki and black) looks stunning and is perfectly complimented with the antique brass accessories. For the ones who like to lug their turntables along, this weighs a feeble 7 pounds.
Complete Value for money
At a time when most turntable manufacturers are trying to cram as many features as they can in budget priced models, CMC reinvents the wheel by throwing in an SD card slot. This allows you to play your favorite songs (automatically) by inserting an SD card. That’s a neat addition to the feature list that is otherwise becoming increasingly common. Another excellent feature is that it allows you to charge your smartphone using the USB slot. There’s a remote control, an RCA out jack that was missing in our #1 pick and Bluetooth connectivity (Bluetooth In only) to boot.
As much as we tried, we found it difficult to find any real flaw with the CMC 3-speed turntable. It is a well-rounded package that delivers what’s being promised.
- Tiny footprint
- Beautiful all-inclusive design
- Brass accessories
- Multiple functions
- SD Card slot to playback your songs
- Rip MP3 files from your records
- RCA Out jack to connect an external speaker
#3 – 1byone Belt Driven Bluetooth Turntable with Built-in Stereo Speaker
When it comes to the best turntables under 200 or even $500 for that matter, 1byone is fast becoming a brand name to reckon with. This belt driven turntable is their mid-range model that takes the classic turntable design and expands it by adding contemporary features.
The result is a decent quality turntable that is perfect for the casual listener. It has enough features to keep you occupied and the in-built stereo speakers sound pretty good for the price. Make no mistake, if you are a discerning audiophile or a vinyl cynic, there are much better options for you. But since the bone of contention here is the price tag, this is one of your best bets.
We are so used to seeing turntables that mimic retro music boxes that the 1byone turntable with its see-through cover and minimalistic wooden frame looks refreshing. It draws inspiration from the classic but timeless turntable design. There are no ungainly knobs or buttons. Instead, the design is streamlined. The control buttons are positioned flush on the turntable almost concealed from view while there is a tiny volume knob on the side. Most of the controls can be accessed via your smartphone or any other Bluetooth compatible device as well.
Easy to use out of the box
We hate to fiddle with a bunch of parts to start using a turntable. We figured that most people do so too. The 1byone Belt Driven turntable comes ready to use out of the box. Also, you can manually lift or lower the tone arm if need be giving you better control. The in-built speakers are pretty loud with a consistent and near-perfect sound reproduction. The only thing lacking was a little bass. But plug in an external speaker and you should be good to go.
When you rip MP3 files from your records, it will record it as one single track. It won’t auto detect the pause between each track on the side of a record.
- Minimalistic but attractive design
- Ready to use
- Bluetooth connectivity (In only)
- RIP MP3 files from your records
#4 – Audio Technica AT-LP60BK-BT
If you have read our list of the best turntables under 100 and followed our quest to find the best turntable under 200, you’d notice that we are yet to review a deck that can stream wirelessly to an external speaker set. All of them had Bluetooth connectivity that was limited to using the in-built speakers as a playback device.
Audio Technica’s AT-LP60BK-BT is the first one that allows you to stream your records to an external speaker system. Cord-cutters or not, you are going to love the convenience and the better sound quality that this brings to the table.
Midi-System inspired design
The AT-LP60BK-BT looks like a clone of an old Kenwood turntable that we owned in the 80s. It is minimalistic, has a plastic chassis with a see-through cover and four push buttons on the front control panel. Basic, but impressive! The footprint is as small as they get and it is pretty lightweight too. We doubt if portability was one of the USPs of the AT-LP60BK-BT. But you can easily pop this into a tote and carry it along if need be. It is a fully automatic system. So once you press start, the needle is placed automatically on the record.
Two speeds, Bluetooth memory
The AT-LP60BK-BT is a two speed turntable and can play 33 and 45rpm records. Unlike most budget-priced turntables, this features a die-cast aluminum platter with a felt mat. The result is a much better flywheel effect while it churns out a solid and rich sound. The tonearm has a counter balance and comes with a replaceable stylus. One of the best features of the AT-LP60BK-BT is the Bluetooth connectivity. It can store the details of up to 8 Bluetooth devices in the memory allowing you to connect and play at the touch of a button. Other connectivity options include an built-in pre-amplifier and an RCA out jack for wired connections.
Personally, we’d have preferred a replaceable phono-cartridge over a replaceable stylus.
- Fully automatic model
- Two speed
- Bluetooth connectivity (Bluetooth out)
- Store up to 8 Bluetooth device details after pairing
- In-built Phono Pre-amp
#5 – Electrohome Winston Vinyl Record Player 3-in-1 Classic Turntable
Last but not the least, we have this vintage looking vinyl record player from Electrohome. Anyone who has lived in the US in the 60s or 70s will be familiar with that brand name. We owned an old Electrohome radio that lasted for an eternity. Later, we got ourselves an Electrohome Apollo stereo combo record player. Guess that’s still lying around somewhere in our vintage stashes.
And we weren’t a wee bit surprised when we found that the company is still around creating a stunningly beautiful line of retro-inspired turntables, radios and karaoke systems.
First things first, if you crave a vintage-styled turntable, there’s no better choice. For this is as authentic as it can get! It features an old fashioned veneer cabinet that houses the record player. We felt that this also improves the acoustic quality but that could just be us. On the front is a metallic control panel with vintage looking push-buttons and rotary dials. A large backlit radio dial completes the styling. On the middle, you have a tiny LCD display flanked by LED lights to indicate the various functions. This will accentuate your décor theme for sure.
Novelty features aside, the Electrohome turntable can play all types of records, CDs and has an AM/FM radio. Cord-cutters might cringe at the lack of wireless connectivity. But there are a lot of people who’d hate to convert that warm analog signal to digital after switching to vinyl. Besides there’s a 3.5 mm Aux input that lets you plug in your smartphone and other devices. The audio quality is full and warm, pretty much what you’d expect from a turntable at this price point.
There’s a compatibility issue while playing newer records on the Electrohome turntable. Newer records tend to skip or sound wobbly. Now, there’s a purported workaround for this by sticking a nickel on the needle using tape. But to be honest, it should work right out of the box. This problem only occurs when you play newer records mind you. All your older collections should still work flawlessly. So, if you are looking to play some of the newer vinyls along with your older ones, we’d recommend that you pick one of the other ones in this list of the best turntables under 300.
- Authentic retro styling
- Internal stereo speaker
- Diamond tipped ceramic needle
- 3-speed turntable
- One of the oldest brands in the business
Like the entry-level models priced under $100, the best turntables under 200 are also all-enclosed units with negligible room for upgrades. That’s the tradeoff that you have to accept against the price tag.
Having said that, all of these units produce excellent sonic quality and should be more than sufficient for anyone looking to kick back their legs and enjoy the warm sound of their vinyl on a weekend. We hope that you enjoyed this read.