Are you looking for a relatively inexpensive record player that can get the job done without any hassle?
Then step right up, for today we will be attempting to find for you the best record player under $100, scouting through a variety of different brands, both established and relatively new!
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What to Look for in a Budget Record Player
All present will surely already be aware that purchasing a record player at this price is not exactly going to do wonders for the sound quality of the listening experience. The built-in stereo speakers that such record players come equipped with are usually not very good, but this can be changed if you already have external speakers through which you can feed the audio, either via the headphone jack or via the RCA outputs.
So, those looking for an utterly sacred and audiophile listening experience will want to avert their gaze right about now, for these kinds of record players are not going to be among the finest hour of your vinyl records.
What makes these record players, at least in my eyes, is the fact that there are built-in speakers that mean you can play music without the need for an entire stereo setup of your own. They are often cheap and convenient, and even rather upgradeable nowadays, some going so far as to offer conversion of analog files to a digital format and Bluetooth connectivity.
You will, thus, want to: a) measure up whether you are looking for a more audiophile listening experience; b) see how these desires measure up with your budget; c) work out which extra features you will and will not need and/or want for your own record player.
For just a little more than $100, you could purchase a dedicated turntable like an Audio Technica AT-LP60X, though for this you would need a dedicated stereo setup, including speakers, stereo amplifier, and the like. For under $100 the record players you are about to see are a real bargain indeed.
1. Jensen JTA-230 (For an Alternative)
If you are looking to stand out from the crowd of millennial aesthetes who are far more likely to favor the kind of suitcase models that Crosley and Victrola churn out without blinking, then look no further!
For the price, you are getting a whole host of different features in one neat package that belies the price of cheap record players considerably.
The addition of a USB connector means that anyone not quite willing to go all the way with vinyl technology can easily digitize any analog discs into digital audio files, meaning that they can play records wherever they wish.
The aux input is also a rather modern touch that will no doubt grab the discerning millennial’s attention, allowing them to use in-built speakers while completely sidestepping the act of playing records. Hooray!
These speakers are not so bad, especially considering the cheap, cheap, cheap price, though you can very easily connect to any external speakers you might have lying around thanks to the RCA output included.
- RCA output means you can export your sound to better speakers, should the time come.
- Headphones out and in will appeal to the discerning millennial listener.
- The pitch and tone control do the job and offer some customization of the timbre of the record.
- Plays all three standardized vinyl record types.
- Can play multiple different file formats.
- USB connector means that analog music can be converted to digital music with ease.
- The sound quality is good relative to the price, though the record player sounds distorted compared to other models.
- The tonearm is too light and too sensitive to external vibrations, with no option to change this.
2. Victrola VSC-550BT
If, however, you are looking to join the ceaseless hordes of millennials looking to tap that nostalgic vein and inject a pure dose of the past into their bloodstream, then look no further than either Victrola or Crosley.
Out of the many that are produced on a daily basis, there is little doubt that the Victrola is one of the best suitcase record players around, edging just ahead of the infamous Crosley Cruiser with slightly superior speakers, and all condensed into a very reasonable price point.
Here, you are going to see a slightly superior build quality match that of the speakers, built into a lightweight frame that is perfect for traveling around, so that you might show your friends your new audiophile finds, even if they do not collect records themselves.
As with the Jensen, there are options to outsource the audio, with RCA jacks that allow for the record player to send its signals to external speakers that might be better suited. If you can find the budget to change the stylus to a better one, then you will have a real workhorse on your hands.
- Cueing is automatic, something that is rarely seen at this price.
- Many colors to choose from.
- Bluetooth connectivity!
- RCA outputs offer plenty of options for outsourcing audio
- And the headphone jack means you can plug into the built-in speakers, too!
- Plays all three of the most common record speeds and sizes.
- Decent enough sound quality,
- Especially considering the cheap, cheap, cheap price.
- Certain parts of the construction feel kind of cheap, like:
- The platter, whose individual components you can feel, and
- The tonearm can scarcely withstand the weight of external vibrations.
3. Crosley Cruiser (Runner Up)
Regardless of your opinion (or whether or not you know how to use them), Crosley holds considerable sway in the budget record player business. In fact, for most people, if they were to be prompted to think of such budget record players, this would be their first port of call, followed swiftly by Victrola.
Thus, it is not hard to see why these two brands have been chosen to represent suitcase record players around the world, though it might surprise some to see Crosley playing the supporting role to Victrola.
Of the two models listed here, the Crosley Cruiser is marginally less good, less able to do justice to the music it is served, and considering the fact that it tends to be more expensive, it surely deserves its spot on the list here.
It is more lightweight than the Victrola, and is in fact the most portable record player on this list! Sure enough, it can do just about anything the Victrola can do. And, though the difference between their prices is not so large in the grand scheme of things when attempting to purchase a record player on a budget, such a price makes all the difference.
- Still incredibly affordable.
- Can outsource audio to external speakers via RCA outputs,
- Or can play music from other sources via aux inputs and Bluetooth,
- All through decent enough built-in speakers.
- Plays the three main speeds and sizes of records.
- Comes in a variety of different colors.
- Decent built quality,
- With a light weight that puts all others to shame.
- Unlike others in this price range, there is no option for USB compatibility.
- The speakers are of a noticeably lower quality than some others in this price range.
4. Wockoder Wireless Record Player (Best Budget)
Coming in at just under $50, this is certainly the most affordable record on the list, and one that will offer bang for your buck while still bringing forth all of the key features we have already discussed in other models of a similar price.
Considering the price, the design and build quality is really something! It has a markedly vintage aesthetic that, alongside the suitcase models above, will no doubt appeal to nostalgiacs and enthusiasts of so-called simpler times.
Though these qualities are all very good for the price, you have to consider just how low that price is. Compared to other models on this list, the build quality and sound fidelity do not really cut it. So, anyone looking for that ‘sacred’ listening experience of spinning a disc after work, for example, is not going to be best pleased.
The main issue here is that there is very little quality control, hence the low price. Thus, you could easily come out with a very good or very bad model for the price, all dependent on the chance measures of quality control.
- The RCA outputs, as with other models on this list, mean audio can be outsourced, even to the best powered speakers for turntable.
- The design is compact and lightweight so that, even though it does not have a handle, it is still easily transportable.
- Incredibly low price.
- Plays all three of the main record sizes and speeds.
- Amazingly enough for the price, it offers wireless connectivity via Bluetooth technologies.
- Uses a belt-driven motor that some might consider more reliable than the direct drive counterpart.
- The cartridge that comes built into the record player is cheap and ought to be changed over as soon as possible, lest serious damage be done to records.
- Sound quality pales beside other models here listed.
- Flimsy and unreliable build quality as a result of chance-based quality control.
5. Wcribo Vintage Record Player (Best Simple)
If you are looking to get into record collecting with a minimal setup that is scarce in fuss, then the Wcribo could very well be the vessel for you!
For the price, the speakers are more than adeqaute and will do a fine job of bringing to life the records you currently have in your collection. Thankfully, you can also outsource the audio to a set of external speakers that might be better suited to the task. And, since the record player will act as amp and preamp, you can do this directly.
Like others on this list, there is also the option to completely elide the playing of records and simply use those built-in speakers to propel your digital files or streamed music outwards.
Better yet, you can use this record player as an intermediary, plugging the device into the aux and then feeding this signal through the record player to those external speakers.
- Design boasts a natural wood finish that is bound to catch the eye of any other turntable enthusiasts.
- The cartridge is certainly better than others in this price range.
- Relatively low price compared to other record players with similar capabilities.
- Caters for the three main record sizes and speeds on the market today, something that many modern turntables cannot attest to.
- Minimal design is welcoming to beginners who might otherwise get bogged down in all the particulars.
- Unlike others here listed, the Wcribo is not Bluetooth compatible,
- Which is a shame, seeing as the speakers that the record player comes with are too quiet.
6. ION Audio Max
Finally, we came to arguably the best record player under $100 on the market today, just shimmying ahead of the competition.
Though a little more expensive than some of the other offerings on this list, it makes up for it in the sheer number of features available, edging ahead of the competition with a classic and minimal look built from solid wood.
What really sets this record player apart is the EZ Convertor software that comes included which mkes light work of the transference of old cassette tapes and vinyl records to a digital format.
There are a whole bunch of other features included within this software, too, such as the built-in ability to detect when the record has moved to a different track and to automatically separate these different tracks into different files without the need for human intervention.
For those uninterested in this kind of cross-pollination of formats, this is simply a solid record player that will do a decent job of presenting the magic contained on your records to the world.
- Free software included makes converting vinyl records and old cassette tapes to another digital format as smooth as can be.
- RCA outputs mean that the speakers the record player comes with do not have to do all the work,
- Though if they do, they will do a more than decent job of it with dual surround stereo speakers and decent bass.
- All three record sizes and speeds welcome,
- As well as Bluetooth capabilities.
- Speakers are decent enough but would be vastly outmatched similar external speakers.
- Similarly. the stylus and other components are pretty good for the price, but would be easily devastated by more expensive models.
So, there you have it!
Hopefully, you have found the best record player under $100 that is right for yourself and your own specific circumstances and purposes. At such prices, it is okay to make an investment and not like it so much, for it is all part of a great learning curve.
FAQs Best Record Player Under $100
Short answer: no. Records are constructed from polyvinyl chloride which, though it might last a hell of a long time, does not last forever, and like most things has a natural expiry date. This expiry date does, however, happen to be so far into the future that we might as well not even consider it. This is why records from even the earliest days of vinyl manufacturing are still here with us today. If they are cared for and treated with respect, then they could last a heck of a long time.
Crosley is the brand that manufactures record players, and the record players that they do manufacture are not very good, no. With some adjustments, they can be made to be as good as a competitor record player like the ION Audio Max, though that is not really saying much. Arguably the two most important parts of a record player, the cartridge and speakers, tend to be sub-standard on Crosley record players, so unless you are ready and willing to replace this cartridge and outsource the audio to a set of external speakers (and simply use the Crosley as a turntable cum intermediary of sound) then a Crosley is not going to be a good record player.
This will largely depend on your individual circumstances and the kind of budget you are working with. If you are looking for a record player under $100 that is going to get the job done, then the ION Audio Max is likely to be your best. If, however, you are working with more of a budget, it might be worth, instead, purchasing a turntable and all of the other individual components for a stereo setup.
I suppose this depends on your conception of ‘cheap’ and of ‘good’. If you believe under $100 to be cheap, then there are plenty of record players in this price range that can get the job done, though very few (if any) with the kind of flair and precision that an audiophile might be looking for in their own definition of good. Record players in and of themselves will rarely meet the exacting standards of the audiophile, for the built-in speakers will tend not to do the music justice as much as a dedicated stereo setup would.
One of the main reasons an inexpensive turntable will not be performing quite as loudly as you would like would have to do with the preamp within. If you are looking to boost the volume of this kind of turntable, then you would do best to purchase a dedicated preamp that you can send the turntable through before it goes to the amplifier you already have. There should be an option, either on the outside or inside, to turn off the built-in preamp so that you can preamplify the signal to your own needs, wants, and desires.
Victrola is the brand that manufactures record players, and the record players that they do manufacture are not very good, no. With some adjustments, they can be made to be as good as a competitor record player like the Jensen JTA-250, though that is not really saying much. Arguably the two most important parts of a record player, the cartridge and speakers, tend to be sub-standard on Victrola record players, so unless you are ready and willing to replace this cartridge and outsource the audio to a set of external speakers (and simply use the Victrola as a turntable cum intermediary of sound) then a Victrola is not going to be a good record player.