Are you looking to expand your arsenal of records but want an upgraded record player that is going to be up to the task? Are you unsure of the distinction between record players and turntables?
Then step right up, for today we hope to find the best record player under $200 for you!
|Electrohome Kingston 7-in-1||Prime||Buy Now||Buy Electrohome Kingston 7-in-1|
|1 BY ONE||Prime||Buy Now||Buy 1 BY ONE|
|Victrola 8-in-1||Prime||Buy Now||Buy Victrola 8-in-1|
|Crosley CR6233D-RE||Prime||Buy Now||Buy Crosley CR6233D-RE|
|DIGITNOW Record Player||Prime||Buy Now||Buy DIGITNOW Record Player|
|Boytone BT-28MB||Prime||Buy Now||Buy Boytone BT-28MB|
|Crosley CR42D-PA||Prime||Buy Now||Buy Crosley CR42D-PA|
|LoopTone 9 in 1||Prime||Buy Now||Buy LoopTone 9 in 1|
What to Look for in a Budget Record Player
Though they likely will not be much to write home about, a piece of record playing kit at this price will serve you well and will be able to do justice to the sound quality of the vinyl records it meets.
One thing you as a buyer will want to be wary of is the swapping of terminology, of the term turntable vs record player.
You might wonder whether the difference matters, especially considering how fluidly people seem to swap the two around. In essence, a record player is technically a turntable that also includes speakers and an amplifier system, and the like; a turntable is simply that which does the spinning.
But, it is our view that, in this price range, a listener ought to start thinking about expanding their stereo setup instead of simply relying on the all-in-one record players to deliver the goods. There are some that can do a decent job, though the vast majority are not going to get you anywhere near as close to perfection as a proper stereo setup.
So, as this is also a list of the best turntables under $200, it is important to consider in more depth the kind of features you might look for in a turntable.
Some, for example, do not cater to certain vinyl record types, not able to spin at 78 rpm. Others might offer pitch control, which might be desirable to you, whereas some others might not. You might be after a belt-driven turntable, believing it to be the best turntable compared to a direct drive turntable (or you might simply wish to know what direct drive vs belt-drive turntables are).
You might even already have a decent turntable like an Audio Technica and want to see what else the affordable market has to offer!
1. Electrohome Kingston 7-in-1 (Best Everything)
Many of the best record players in this price range are not just turntables, but also offer plenty of multimedia capabilities!
The Kingston by Electrohome is no exception and the clue is in the title, for this record player can offer Bluetooth connectivity, Radio, USB, Aux, and CD, atop being a record player!
And, if you like, you can even send the signals out to another set of speakers.
- The belt-driven turntable is more than up to the task of playing those hit records time and again.
- Offers three speeds of playback and caters to all three of the main record sizes.
- Multimedia playback is perfect for the discerning millennial listener who wants more than to revel in nostalgia.
- Among its many extra uses is the ability to double up as a Bluetooth speaker should the situation require it.
- Decent enough sapphire needle for the price.
- Built-in speakers do a decent job of translating the bits to the hits.
- Spreading thin its capabilities, the Kingston does not particularly excel at any of the 7 things in its name.
- Would probably need an Audio Technica cartridge replacement to excel.
- Seeing as it is made from wood, it is far heavier than some of the other offerings on this here list.
2. 1 BY ONE (Best System)
Offering as they do a more modern take on the record player, the folks over at 1 BY ONE manage to bring forth one of the best all-in-one systems on this list.
Coming with its own set of stereo speakers, there is no need to outsource the audio through the RCA outputs to another set of external speakers, though you certainly could if you put your mind to it.
Unlike other offerings on this list, there is no real option to convert the records to digital files, though I suppose if you are choosing to take your listening experience a bit more seriously, you will not be desiring the extraneous extras.
This is a reasonable-quality turntable with decent speakers that is going to be able to get the job done.
- There are many small touches that belie the low price, like the
- Tonearm having an anti-skate weight that prevents it from jumping all over the place when met with the ruffles of a warped record.
- The speakers that come as part of the stereo are also of a decent quality considering the price, able to carve their way through many different styles of music.
- This record player is not as portable as some of the other offerings on this list, owing to the fact it is a bundle of a turntable and separate speakers,
- That does not include separate EQ settings.
3. Victrola 8-in-1 (Best Budget)
The record player that is available for the most value is probably this offering from the turntable kingpins over at Victrola.
They have been in the game of manufacturing record players for about as long as the technology has existed, major players in the very first days of the gramophone. Being at the turn of the 20th century, that will be over a hundred years ago now, and their continued success into this century says all you need to know.
And yet, they have not let their reputation and long history get the better of them, still offering decent quality products at a price that almost anyone can afford, appealing also to the modern millennial audience by not just catering exclusively to vinyl records.
- The major appeal here will be the handsome aesthetics which, like the Kingston, are made from real wood.
- Secondly, listeners will take note of the sheer number of media capabilities on offer, one more than the Kingston, and by an established brand that has seen over a century of service.
- Atop this, there is even a built-in cassette recorder to maximize the nostalgic appeal.
- Sadly, there is no option for Bluetooth connectivity like the Kingston has, which I imagine will displease the discerning millennial.
- Unlike the 1 BY ONE, the tonearm is light and delicate to the advances of external vibrations.
4. Crosley CR6233D (Best Lightweight)
If the design of the Kingston or the Victrola were a little too vintage for you, then perhaps you will be interested in this rather space-age offering from the similarly-priced competitors manufactured by Crosley.
This offering is far more of a piece for the home, with tall legs that mean you can slip on any disc you like without doing your back in. Do not let these legs fool you, though, for they are completely removable.
And, when they are indeed removed, the true light weight of this record player is revealed, rendering it both stunning in the home and completely transportable, weighing only 12 pounds or so.
The design is simplicity itself, harkening back to a time when extras were not on the menu (and when nobody minded about it either)!
- Incredibly portable, with removable legs that do not add much more to the already low weight of 12 pounds.
- The built-in preamp and speakers are pretty capable and offer a rather nostalgic tonal response that very much informs the way that it looks.
- And boy, does it look good!
- Very much in line with its nostalgic appearance, there are limited options for tonal customization, with only two speed controls and two knobs (one for volume, and one for tone).
- Contrary to the nostalgic appearance, there is no option to cater to 78 rpm record speeds.
- The light weight could be viewed as not very heavy duty.
5. DIGITNOW (Best Modern)
As with several other offerings on this list, this a multimedia unit for the masses, offering below its turntable the options to use CDs, cassette tapes, and even Bluetooth functionality!
The included speakers are pretty good, though you are easily able to connect them elsewhere, either through the headphone jack or the RCA outputs, meaning that you can make use of any of the spare speakers you might have lying around your abode.
What sets this piece apart from the rest in my eyes is the modernity of this take on the budget record player format, even going so far as to offer USB capability and the option to insert an SD card if that more takes your fancy.
- This record player likely has the most resplendent abilities to cater to just about any mainstream media format you throw at it, including USB, Bluetooth, cassette tapes, vinyl records, CDs, SD cards, and everything in-between.
- The addition of the remote control is just the icing on the cake and certainly another thing that sets this record player apart from the rest.
- Sound quality is sub-standard – the capabilities spreading it meagrely thin.
- The turntable and other media players have been known to randomly skip tracks without any notice, which is not exactly what you want.
6. Boytone BT-28MB (Best Speakers)
As with plenty of others on this list, this will be ideal for the primary audience for this article, those who are wanting to get into record collecting without fully committing, looking for something that can do it all in one neat package.
Thankfully, unlike some of the others on this list, the Boytone comes with a set of speakers that do a far better job of bringing the music to life, with a varied and rich tonal response that is relatively clear and loud considering the reasonable price point.
The remote control comes in at the opportune moment to seal the deal and make this one of the most affordable record players to get the job done.
- A balanced and reliable sound matches the sturdy build quality.
- The design itself strikes an interesting balance between older looks and more modern practicality.
- A large and bright display elides any confusion or squinting for clarity, or anybody needing to reach for their glasses.
- The programmable memory is a boon for those in want of convenience.
- Using this vessel is about as simple as plugging in and pressing play.
- Unlike others here listed, the Bluetooth connectivity is far more lubricated of a process.
- The remote control could do with some improvements.
- The cassette and CD players, also, could be better.
7. Crosley CR42D-PA (Best Wood)
With an appearance that totally belies the reasonable price, this Crosley offering is a stunner that shows what wood can really do for a record player in this price range.
Do not let the antiquated looks fool you, though. Not only is this record player’s aesthetic highly adaptable to plenty of differently decorated home environments, but it is also able to cater to plenty of different musical preferences.
It almost feels like cognitive dissonance to listen to music through such an accurately antiquated record player via Bluetooth, but it makes perfect sense once you have used it for a time.
Its uses are, however, not just limited to Bluetooth, for this Crosley (unlike the other here listed) is multimedia functional and able to host a whole bunch of different media formats, including a headphone jack and USB port in its arsenal of outsourcing options.
- A record player manufactured by a brand with plenty of experience in the field.
- Makes use of an antiquated and lush aesthetic that ought to be advertisement enough.
- The design is compact and yet belies the immense multimedia capabilities on board.
- The speakers offer a decent sound quality for the price, able to do justice to a whole range of different musical styles.
- You are limited to using the built-in speakers (which are not very loud), as there is no real way to connect to external speakers other than through the headphone jack.
- Obtuse dials, though aesthetically pleasing, might be annoying to some.
8. Looptone 9-in-1 (Best Multimedia)
Though plenty of the other offerings on this list have offered themselves as multimedia powerhouses, the Looptone reigns supreme over them all, hosting nine different media functions within its pert carcass.
The design itself is worthy of note, for it is surely a wonder that Looptone was able to fit all these different media formats in a chassis that is able to simultaneously the era from whence it came and those days gone by that millennials seem to pine for more and more.
Besides being the best offering on this list for the preservation of most media formats in one, it also holds runner-up for the most compact and easy to transport. Neat!
- This vessel can not only support the use of a whole variety of different media functions but can also convert any of these into digital files via the USB functionality, rendering it utterly useful and completely invalid!
- The design is stylish, touching the heart of both modernists and traditionalists alike, all in a compact package that does not weigh very much at all; this is a transportable package indeed.
- The radio function also possesses the ability to save certain stations as deemed relevant by the user.
- This is a classic example of a product spreading itself too thin and not being very good at any of the many things it can do.
So, there you have it!
Hopefully, this article has been of some use to you in helping you navigate the oft overwhelming world of budget record players. Who knows, perhaps you have even found a match of your own!
FAQs Best Record Player Under $200
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.
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.
The difference in terminology might not seem all that important, especially since both terms get bandied about interchangeably without much clarity, but knowing the differences between them could save you a hell of a lot of trouble in the long run. So, where a turntable is that which spins the record and reads the data imbibed within the record’s grooves, the record player is the entire unit itself. A record player will include the turntable as part of it, whereas a turntable is simply part of the record player as a larger concept. Of course, a lot of people do not really pay heed to this distinction these days, so I suppose it is worth taking it with a pinch of salt.
This will depend on your individual circumstances, your needs, and your wants. If you are only just getting into record collecting and do not really have the money to spare, then perhaps you would be best off getting a record player that has all of the individual components in one neat package. If, however, you have the money to spend and want to take your listening experiences with records a bit more seriously, then a turntable is the way to go. With a turntable, you will need to purchase all of the other individual components of the stereo system, like the amplifier, the speakers, and sometimes even the preamp. Hence, why this can be inadvisable to someone just starting out their audiophile journey, for it is quite an investment to take on.
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.