That may seem silly – after all, we have the Internet where we can get any song we need in a matter of seconds without paying a dime and streaming services with millions of songs available. Moreover, our phones and mp3 players can carry around 1000s of songs at a time.
Despite all that, vinyl albums have become a premier addition to a collection of every audiophile once again. The inimitable sound of vinyl is just the best and keeps listeners craving more. And that’s one of the reasons why the sales of record players have also skyrocketed.
With the market being flooded with turntables, you’ll find their prices ranging from under $100 and all the way into $1000s. In this article, we’ll look at the best turntables under $200. They are higher quality than the base version record players and won’t hurt your wallet as much as high-end turntables.
Don’t feel like you are getting a bad product when you aren’t spending $1000s on a turntable. If you look carefully (and my list will help you here), you can find pleasing audio reproduction and lasting quality for under $200. You know what, judge for yourself!
Alright, here are the champs themselves!
1) Music Hall USB-1 Record Turntable
Music Hall went above and beyond when developing this unit. We all know some turntables under $200 look cheap, sound crappy, and break after a few months of using it. Well, that’s not the case here.
First of all, you have to give prompts to Music Hall – the turntable looks like a million dollars. The black metallic look turns this record player into a statement, fashionable yet professional.
It comes with a belt drive, unlike most budget turntables. Therefore, instead of a noisy drive system, you are getting a smooth performance and clean sound from your vinyl records. The tonearm is S-shaped, and you can detach or replace the headshell if required. It comes with a built-in amp, so you don’t have to connect it to a separate audio interface to increase the power of the signal.
You also get an Audio-Technica cartridge included, with space for an extra cartridge in the turntable if you have your personal favourite. The record player lets you control the speed and pitch to adjust everything up to your liking. Lastly, the USB port on Music Hall USB-1 and the software included in the package turn recording songs to your PC into a breeze. It’s incredibly easy to save your collection to a drive and keep it safe for years to come now!
2) Gemini TT1100-USB Belt Drive Turntable
Gemini isn’t a big brand in the music industry, but it’s quite prominent in the world of cheap turntables. They specialize in one line of products and do their best cutting the costs while delivering a quality product. And it’s also made in China, so that saves some costs.
Speaking of design, I am not impressed. Of course, I am picky when it comes to the way a record player looks, but I can’t go easy here. I understand that it was made mostly as a part of a DJ setup or home music production studio rather than a regular vinyl record player, so the rugged look of it indeed makes sense.
I can see it being used for scratching and spinning a lot, with the cool features of a reverse motor that lets you play your tracks backwards. Add pitch control and dual start and stop switches, and you got yourself your first little setup for DJing (you may also want to get yourself a DJ laptop for that).
Same as the previous turntable, Gemini record player comes with a USB port to turn all your vinyls into digital files if necessary. If you are into DJing, you won’t find a better one for the price.
3) Crosley C100A-SI Turntable
Crosley is once again coming with a beautiful product that sounds well. Even with a cheaper price tag, it’s full of features to make your listening experience incredibly pleasurable.
Design is vintage, and the turntable looks like something from an audiophile’s collection rather than a unit that costs under $200. While this record player is delicate and not quite suitable for DJing, it’s a perfect choice to listen to your vinyl in the comfort of your home. It’s also belt driven, which is my personal favourite, and comes with a diamond stylus needle (lab created diamond, but still impressive).
It comes with a phono-preamp built-in (similar to an audio interface unit), so you don’t have to spend more money on accessories in future. Featuring the aux and RCA outputs, it can be connected to your PC or studio monitors for an even better listening experience.
While reviewing the product, I’ve noticed a neat feature I haven’t yet seen on the turntables of the similar price range (which you can see in the pricier turntables under $500), which is the ability to adjust tonearm weight. Pitch control is also a neat thing to tweak and adjust the record sound up to your liking.
Overall, one of the best bangs for the bucks on the market.
4) Stanton T62 Turntable
If you are a DJ wannabe, you’ve just found a beautiful addition to your home studio. With a direct-drive motor, it’s perfect for scratching and spinning. Also, you’ll need a preamp to deliver the best signal to the sound system if you choose to use the turntable as a part of your setup.
T62 doesn’t look like a simple record player. If you were to ask me, I’d say it looks like a turntable that’s built to be used extensively – on gigs, performances, and so on. I wouldn’t call it aesthetic, but the turntable gives out a serious vibe nevertheless.
Why is a direct-drive turntable more suitable for DJing? Simple – it’s more robust and stress-resistant, so you won’t break it in a couple of months after intense practice sessions in your studio. Moreover, this bad boy comes with two start and stop switches, so you can take your mixes to the next level with ease.
To sum up, I’d say that this Stanton turntable is suited much more for performers rather than just listeners. If you happened to be the former, T62 is undoubtedly one of the best turntables under $200 that you can find.
5) Teac TN100 Analog Auto-Return Turntable
If you are looking for a budget turntable, you’ll have a hard time finding a better product for its value than Teac TN100. Besides looking like a champ, it also comes with a really nice feature that you’ll love. Alright, let’s talk about everything in order.
First of all, the looks. TN100 looks clean and neat, without any extra knobs, faders, or switches on it to distract from the platter and the tonearm. The product looks it’s best in polished black and doesn’t seem to have any noticeable flaws. While I am not a fan of transparent dust covers, they come in handy if you only use the product occasionally and don’t have a record player stand or something to keep it clean.
Function-wise, it comes with a couple of cool things I loved. First of them is the automatic tonearm. Instead of you having to do all the work yourself, the tonearm simply adjusts on its own when right above the record. Another thing is the output from the system, that is switchable between phono and line out. Now you can use the preamp and phono EQ to be paired with monitors and receivers.
If you are ready to invest in this bad boy, you won’t be looking back anytime soon.
6) Audio Technica AT-LP60 USB Turntable
AT is one of my favourite budget brands of music gear. We all know about their world famous headphones and microphones, so it shouldn’t be a surprise they are taking a fair share of the record players market as well. We’ve looked at one of the turntables in another post, and here is another one – there is just no escape from Audio Technica products. Anyways, let’s talk about LP60 now.
The product looks top notch, with the anti-resonance body to prevent any sort of vibrations and an aluminum platter. As always, the platter has the Audio Technica logo on it, which I personally dislike, but that’s up to a person’s taste. Considering the sound quality and the price, that shouldn’t be much of a concern.
With this bad boy, the initial setup isn’t very straightforward. Unlike most plug-and-play budget devices, you’ll have to google a few things here before playing your first record. You see, you’ll have to install the platter and attach the belt correctly manually. It’s not hard once you’ve done it once, but I suggest watching a video on how to do this to be safe.
Once installed, using the turntable is a breeze. The tonearm is automatic and does all the job for you – just press the start button, and you are good to go. The unit comes with both a built-in preamp and direct plug-in, so you can add another better quality preamp if necessary.
Overall, it’s a fantastic budget turntable, one of the best for under $200.
7) Fluance RT80 Vinyl Record Player
Alright, I have to give prompts to Fluance, they’ve done an outstanding job here and turned RT80 in of the best budget turntables out there. Being on the market for only 20 years, they’ve taken a large share of sound systems market, which includes floor standing speakers, surround speakers, and, of course, record players. Now let’s look at RT80.
The outside comes in glossy black finish with minimalistic design, which turns a budget record player into a classy and professional looking unit. I didn’t like that the surface is so shiny and polished that you’ll be able to see dust after a week of usage. Luckily, the dust cover should mitigate this issue.
The platter is automatic and starts spinning once you move the tonearm or when the vinyl record stops playing (so-called auto-stop feature). The turntable comes with an AT cartridge to improve the tracking experience and a built-in preamp. Both the cartridge and the needle are replaceable, so there is room for upgrading your record player, which is always a plus.
With a ton of cool features and a slick design, you’ll love Fluance RT80.
8) House of Marley Turntable
Not going to lie, I am not the biggest fan of House of Marley. One time I bought a pair of headphones from them, and it broke in a month, so I still have trust issues with this brand. Well, I had up until I found this record player masterpiece.
What can I say, the bamboo construction just always gets me. I like how the unit feels warmer than other turntables simply because it has wood elements in it. It would be the best fit if you own a wooden record player bookshelf or stand – then this bad boy will fit into your room design seamlessly.
Speaking of its features, everything is pretty simple here. The turntable comes with RCA and USB outputs, headphones output, and the power cable. The headphone jack isn’t as universal in a record player in the price range under $200, so I’d say it’s a nice perk. The preamp lets the user customize every track they listen to and make it sound the way they want.
If you are a beginner vinyl enthusiast, you’ll love the unit’s motor. The vinyl records will only spin once the needle is on the edge of the platter, and stop once it reaches the end of the record.
The drawback I can think of is the lack of pitch control, but that’s only an issue if you are getting this turntable under $200 for DJing.
Overall, a classy looking record player that’s great for the price.
9) Pioneer PL-990 Automatic Stereo Turntable
Pioneer just knows how to make good equipment for a reasonable price. Not only they are well-known for their mixers, software apps, speakers and headphones, but the company is also world-famous because of their broad product line of turntables. While some cost over $1000, others, like PL-990, are a lot more affordable.
Speaking of design, I am not overly impressed by the 70s retro vibe. The exterior just looks cheap. If it weren’t for sound quality and the ease of use, I wouldn’t include this bad boy on the list (I am sure hundreds of happy users will disagree with me here, but I’ve only mentioned the design so far).
As I’ve already mentioned, the turntable is incredibly easy to use. If you are new to vinyl, you’ll love how easy the buttons on the front panel are to use. The buttons can start and stop the recording, adjust the speed up to your liking, and raise the tonearm. As you can see, nothing complex here, everything is done for beginners already.
The drawback I can think of is the fact that you can’t change the cartridge, which isn’t future-proof. For the price, however, you are getting a gem.
10) Denon DP-300F Fully Automatic Analog Turntable
Denon has been around for ages now and has built the reputation of a reliable and high-quality product developer. The best part about the record player is that it’s fully automatic, which is perfect for beginners who are just getting into the vinyl game.
It’s designed really nicely and made mostly of metal that gives the setup this glossy look. I prefer matted surfaces to avoid the fingerprints, but that’s my preference. What I liked is the heavier base than your average turntable, most likely to reduce the vibrations.
As mentioned earlier, everything in this record player is focused on the ease of use. The tonearm action is entirely automatic. It’s lowered and raised very carefully to protect your records and increase their lifetime. The belt drive delivers the smoothest performance and acts as gentle as possible as well. Coming with a built-in equalizer, this bad boy lets you tweak the music up to your liking.
Everything in this turntable under $200 is designed for audiophiles who love the quality analog sound, style, and ease of use. DP-300F is reliable and well-made
What To Consider When Buying a Turntable Under $200
Alright, let’s look at things you should keep in mind when buying a turntable.
As always, our budget is the major decision point. I’d rather get a gold-plated 5k turntable with a diamond needle, but that’s unreasonable for me. Assuming your budget for a record player is around $200, you have so many options to pick from. Don’t expect the best quality, but also don’t underestimate the products. You are getting a fantastic turntable for the price you are paying with a ton of features and all. My point is, don’t simply base the products depending on their price.
You did hours of research and finally found that one product that fulfils your every desire. Most will think the job here is done. Well, that’s not entirely true. While some turntables come with speakers, most don’t.
Moreover, the built-in preamps are enough, but getting better quality preamplifier will make your experience a lot more pleasurable. So you have to think – now you’ll probably have to buy at least a pair of speakers or monitors to connect to your system. This will likely affect your budget as well, so take the system factor into consideration.
If you haven’t bought a record player stand yet, or don’t plan on spending even more money, then you have to think. Where will the turntable go? How about the vinyl records and studio monitors? Where are you planning to put all the cables? This kind of questions is what you should be asking yourself. For example, getting a vertical bookshelf will save some space and add a nice touch to your room design.
Product Condition (a.k.a. New or Used)
Personally, I’d much rather save up and get a product new and shiny, with everything working and a warranty. Paying premium is a drawback, but that’s something I can do. Getting stuff off Craigslist or eBay has never been my thing.
However, buying a second-hand turntable comes with a huge benefit as well. What’s the benefit? Money saved. In theory, you can get a top quality product for next to nothing. Getting a MIDI keyboard that was bought a couple of years ago for $500 can only cost you $200 or even less. Downside? You can get yourself a broken MIDI controller. While there are many precautions, there is always a risk present.
That’s why you have to decide what’s more important to you. Is it saving money or getting a product in perfect condition?
Here is a video to help you a little:
Most budget turntables are assembled in a factory and rarely give you an opportunity to change the platter or the tonearm. This saves the costs to manufacturers and is easier for beginners to afford. If you are investing long-term, consider spending a little more on a record player that can be upgraded.
For me, having a good-looking turntable is a must. I value sound quality more than anything else, but having a bulky piece of equipment without aesthetics is a no for me. While this is rarely an issue with record players, as even the ones for under $100 look beautiful, it’s still something to consider, especially if you are investing a good amount of money into it.
I really hope you’ve liked the article and learned a thing or two. With the least of the best bangs for the buck turntables under $200 and a buyer’s guide, you should have more than enough information to make your first purchase!
Last update on 2021-01-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API