Aside from the organic sound turntables and record players provide and the history that comes with their influence on music, the equipment built for this timeless object continues to evolve. Now listing to vinyl records is as widely accessible as ever thanks to budget turntable options on the mark, allowing people all over the world to enjoy the authentic sound quality of vinyl for themselves without breaking the bank.
Regardless of how accessible turntables have become, this isn’t to say the equipment can’t get expensive. There’s a lot of different music tech out there for those interested in listening to vinyl music or potentially sampling records. It’s always a good idea to get the most for your money if you’re going to go all in. This article will give detailed insight into the 5 best budget turntables that you should consider whether you’re looking for your first or want to upgrade your equipment.
Looking for something higher quality? Check out our best turntables under $500 buying guide!
How we pick our turntables
Here at HiFi Hippo, we pride ourselves on providing objective reviews using while using price, quality, and prior experience to develop a ranked order.
Our product curators are not only vinyl enthusiasts but work professionally in audio and music. Through our professional experience as well as our involvement with many vinyl and home audio forums we curate and develop our lists to best serve our readers.
Best Budget Turntables
Our top pick: Sony PS-LX310BT Belt Drive Turntable
- EASY OPERATION: Effortlessly enjoy your favorite records with...
- TWO SPEEDS: 33 1/3 rpm and 45 rpm, with the 45 rpm adaptor stowed...
- HIGH QUALITY AUDIO: Built in switchable phono output / line out...
- Fully automatic and wireless
- Bluetooth and USB output
- Two RPM speeds
- Switchable phono output
Reasons to buy
The Sony PS-LX310BT is one of the best budget turntables as it comes with features built around efficiency. It’s fully automatic, meaning you can auto-start, stop, or return with a single action, and you can choose between 33 ⅓ or 45 RPM. Audiophiles also appreciate the excellent sound quality this turntable produces. It has three gain settings and a phono output/line out as well as a phono preamp built into the design. One of the most notable features is you can rip audio from vinyl records by connecting the turntable to a computer, allowing you to create MP3 files from vinyl.
The Sony-PS also boasts a Bluetooth wireless connection feature and is compatible with many external speakers. You’ll never skip a beat either, as it has an aluminum pipe tone arm for precision tracking of each unique groove.
Cons to consider
There have been a few comments that claim the tech behind the Sony PS-LX310BT is outsourced, with design and image being branded by Sony. This isn’t to say this turntable is a facade, but you should consider the quality of its components.
The durability of the components of this turntable can also be questioned as some parts don’t feel as sturdy as they should be. For example, it seems many parts are held together merely by a strong glue adhesive rather than being screwed in for reliable security. There are multiple reviews regarding its Bluetooth capabilities stating that the turntable can’t connect to computers or tablets, and it has fairly inconsistent connectivity overall.
The most significant selling point of the Sony PS-LX310BT Belt Drive Turntable is that you can easily rip audio from any vinyl record and turn it into an MP3 through its USB recording functionality. This makes it a great choice for audiophiles, music producers, and audio engineers who love to work with sampling. It’s also extremely easy to function and works well with multiple vinyl record sizes.
There are features to help with automation, the turntable comes with a fully automatic start, store, and return. Furthermore, considering how expensive high-quality turntables can get, the Sony-PS is one of the more affordable turntables on the market with the tech that’s built into it.
The disc platter is made out of aluminum which helps with stability and noise reduction when in motion. You can also make mild adjustments to the audio output by switching between low, mid, and high gain settings. It may come with a few flaws that are primarily pointed out by audio enthusiasts; it still makes it an excellent choice as one of the best budget record players for those who are starting their vinyl record journey.
It only weighs around eight pounds and offers a slim design that allows it to fit into your home without taking up too much space. Many shoppers appreciate the vibration-dampening slip mat that adds to the stability of the audio playback. The construction is primarily made out of vinyl material, and it comes in a jet black color that won’t obstruct the style of any room. It’s one of the more expensive options on this list, but its multiple use cases and benefits to musicians make our top pick for the best budget turntable.
Runner-up: Fluance RT80 Classic High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable
- PURE ANALOG LISTENING EXPERIENCE - Premium components allow this...
- HIGH PERFORMANCE CARTRIDGE - The Audio Technica AT91 featuring a...
- SUPERIOR RECORD TRACKING - Enjoy perfect playback using the...
- Audio Technica AT91 cartridge
- Belt driven
- Built-in phono preamp
- Adjustable counterweight
Reasons to buy
The Fluance RT80 offers a true analog listening experience that couldn’t sound any more organic. With a perfectly crisp sound, this turntable is belt-driven and is created with premium components to ensure a high-quality display of each frequency. Moreover, the Audio Technica cartridge this turntable comes with aids in the clarity of the sound output, and the diamond-tipped stylus ensures every groove and soundwave is tracked with finite precision.
It’s also relatively durable as it’s crafted from thick wood with raised feet for added isolation, and the turntables platter is aluminum which helps reduce vibrations during playback. Many users also love the built-in phono stage, and it even comes with gold-plated RCA outputs, which are generally regarded for aiding a clean overall sound.
Cons to consider
Some users have mentioned that the feet on the RT80 don’t help with isolation too much and can be a little uneven. Although the record player comes with a built-in preamp, to really harness the full sound quality potential you’ll want to purchase an external phono preamp.
We consider the Fluance RT80 the best budget turntable option for those who are looking for an excellent starter turntable with various upgrade options down the road to further improve sound quality. This particular turntable boasts a built-in phono stage, a precise Audio Technica stylus that moves fluidly, and vibration insulation built into the design. Based on its overall features and turntable community advocacy, it’s an excellent pick for anyone looking for a new record player.
Notably, this turntable allows you to plug it into a phono-in connection to a separate phono preamp. It’s very versatile, and many customers feel it comes at a reasonable price with how adaptable it is. The needle of this turntable continues to surprise many with its outstanding build quality and clean movement across vinyl. Not only is this turntable a great starter option, but it’s also a decent choice for those who need a replacement or upgrade from their current situation.
Most affordable: 1 By One Belt Drive Turntable
- Bluetooth Connectivity: Pair with Bluetooth speakers or...
- Magnetic Cartridge Stylus: The diamond-tipped stylus cartridge is...
- Adjustable Counterweight Force: Get perfect playback every time...
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Belt-driven system
- Adjustable counterweight
- Built-in phono pre-amp
Reasons to buy
In our modern era, you can’t go wrong with Bluetooth compatibility, and you can either connect the 1 By One to external speakers or even a pair of headphones for a more immersive listening experience. You can also set it up to be entirely wire-free as you don’t need a receiver for playback to work. It comes with an Audio-Technica diamond-tipped stylus, which effortlessly moves across vinyl without any abrasion or friction noise.
Feel free to adjust the tonearm’s counterweight in addition to the advanced anti-skating system. This is one of the features that sets this turntable apart from some others, and you can connect it with any amp by utilizing the built-in pre-amp. An external preamp isn’t needed either, as it boasts interchangeable phono and line outputs. If you’d like to have MP3s of your timeless classics, its USB recording functionality allows you to convert your vinyl records into MP3 files on your computer or tablet device.
Cons to consider
At a glance, it seems that the adjustable weight features are ideal for a customized sound, but there have been a handful of comments that feel like this feature can easily damage vinyl records if not properly set. Moreover, the stock stylus seems rather standard, but it doesn’t seem to win over many buyers with its actual quality.
Unfortunately, the turntable doesn’t have an auto-return feature for the tonearm. Many buyers have been left accidentally damaging records as the tonearm just continues to spin at the end of a record.
If you’re in search of a stylish turntable that has the necessary surface-level features, the 1 By One Belt Drive Turntable is a good buy. It looks great, and it does come with more adjustable features than other turntables on this list, especially pertaining to the tonearm and anti-skating system. The turntable design is crafted with solid MDF wood coated in a high-gloss piano lacquer for a high-quality shine.
It’s truly a beauty to look at, but you shouldn’t ignore the apparent cons of its components. It’s a solid option for those who like to play a record every now and then or those who want to convert analog to digital audio files for sample making and safekeeping. The design of the anti-skating weight helps reduce scratching skipping and aids the movement of the tonearm to move with each vinyl groove.
Regarding the price, it’s pretty hard to beat, especially when comparing it to other turntables on this list. Some of the characteristics of this turntable come down to personal preferences, but many audiophiles would have harsher words for the pros and cons of its components. Nevertheless, don’t let a few bad reviews be a deal-breaker for this record player, but don’t shy away from looking at the fine print of its components to ensure its features are suitable for your intended use.
Most Modern: Crosley C100BT-BK Belt-Drive Bluetooth Turntable
- Two-Speed belt-driven turntable with adjustable tonearm...
- Bluetooth out lets you easily connect your favorite wireless...
- Low-vibration synchronous motor and vibration control feet ensure...
- Low-vibration synchronous motor
- Two-speed and belt-driven
- Bluetooth connectivity
- High-quality AT95E Audio Technica cartridge
Reasons to buy
A unique feature about the Crosley C100BT-BK is the adjustable strobe manual speed change which allows you to fine-tune your sound with a single knob. It comes with an integrated phono stage, and you can plug it into any powered speaker system. If you like to work with wireless speakers, the turntable also has Bluetooth capability for wireless playback of your favorite vinyl records. These various playback options are a great way to hear all of the frequencies the original recording has to offer.
Although this is a feature geared more towards the avid audiophile, the turntable is also built with a stellar adjustable tonearm and counterweight. The stylus drops in place with purpose, yet it won’t cause any damage to the grooves of the vinyl.
It also comes with notable audio quality, thanks partially to the Audio Technica AT95E cartridge. Many will appreciate the turntable’s synchronous motor as it adds minimal vibrations, while the feet of the design is built to absorb any other external vibrations.
Cons To Consider
The general construction of this turntable doesn’t seem to hold up to expectations, as many customers have made comments about the item’s durability. Some of the functions of the turntable don’t seem to operate with integrity. There have been quite a few reviews that mention the turntable’s tonearm, as it doesn’t seem as smooth as it’s promoted to be. Small, isolated issues may seem like random occurrences, but this turntable appears to be consistent with minuscule hindrances that are deal breakers for some buyers.
As with any item on this list, you’ll find your fair share of positive reviews from many people who are quite happy with the turntable, but it’s clear most of them aren’t hardcore audiophiles.
People that have any experience with turntables or the more specific nature behind audio will be able to point out most flaws due to experience with various types of music equipment. You’ll want to take the details of this turntable with a grain of salt.
The reviews about the Crosley C100BT-BK Belt-Drive Bluetooth Turntable aren’t split 50/50, but there are enough worrisome reviews to warrant speculation. On the surface, the turntable seems like a great option from the description alone, but once you get down to customer comments, that narrative might start to change. When the turntables are in perfect condition, they provide a pretty standard, convenient listening experience. For some buyers, their turntables had faulty components straight out of the box. There are multiple reviews about particular parts not working at all or certain functions that won’t work correctly, such as the tonearm clasp.
Even with some of the five-star reviews, many customers suggested either upgrading or simply pointing out minor lackluster performance qualities. Many people love the efficiency and slim look of the turntable but considering it’s one of the more expensive options on this list, it’s hard to commit based on the recurrence of the same types of issues for quite a few customers.
Of course, each person’s experience and opinion will be different, but these apparent observations can’t help but leave you wondering if you’ll end up with a faulty turntable yourself. This is a decent turntable for its simple functions and playback, but it wouldn’t be the go-to purchase because of the unique features it provides, as they don’t seem to hold up all that well.
Final choice: ANGELS HORN Turntable
- 【Wireless Connectivity】Built-in Bluetooth 5.0, you can enjoy...
- 🎶Two-Speed Turntable (33 1/3 And 45 RPM): Belt drive system...
- 🎶Built-In Phono Preamp And Line Output: Built-in Phono Preamp...
- Two-speed turntable
- Solid iron platter
- High-quality cartridge
- Built-in phono preamp and line output
Reasons to buy
Any audio enthusiast will love the build quality of the ANGELS HORN turntable as it comes with a solid iron platter that helps provide a uniform weight and speed to the turntable. It also helps make the sound more consistent, minimizing skips and other potential playback issues. You can select between 33 ⅓ and 45 RPM playback speeds, and you can choose the speed to match the needs of each vinyl record for the best audio playback possible.
The built-in phono stage will bring any music to life with vigor, and you don’t need an external phono preamp due to this. You’ll always have control over the cartridge as you can adjust the anti-skating and counterweight, which helps the stylus rest on the vinyl grooves with precision and intention.
Regarding the turntable’s cartridge, it comes with a Magnet Type AT-3600L, which offers a clear interpretation of the music and fluid listening sessions. The turntable also comes in a beautiful finish that’ll enhance to look of any room in your home, it feels sturdy to the touch, and its components seem to be of substantial built quality. Playback also provides a consistent speed, giving you the authentic sound of each vinyl record without distorting the pitch or correct playback tempo.
Cons to consider
There are a few cons to consider, as with any product. For the ANGELS HORN, it’s not an automatic turntable, so when the record is finished, it’ll keep spinning after it’s done, which could cause wear and tear if left unattended.
Some customers have had isolated experiences with defective turntables. Others have had similar complaints but only with specific components. You’ll also find plenty of reviews that mention the integrity of the construction of the turntable and that it feels and looks much flimsier in person than it does in photos online.
The ANGELS HORN Turntable comes with flaws that will be a deciding factor for some. It does come at a friendly price which is why it catches the eye of many shoppers, but once you get into the reviews, you may not feel as confident about diving into a purchase. The quality of this turntable seems to be hit or miss, and particular components such as the cartridge, tonearm, and adjustable weights don’t uphold the integrity that’s expected for many people.
You’ll also find many positive reviews that rave about the turntable’s audio playback and functionality, but even some four and five-star reviews come with minor warnings about the turntable.
If you’re looking for an affordable turntable, this turntable might be a good fit for you. On the other hand, audiophiles don’t seem to be impressed by what this turntable has to offer, and the negative reviews should tell you everything you need to know about its pros and cons.
What to look for in a budget turntable?
When it comes to the best budget turntables, you want to get the best bang for your buck. This generally pertains to the quality of the internal components and the overall functionality of the turntable. One thing you’ll want to stay away from, if possible, is cheap plastic parts.
Many turntables boast integrity and high-quality materials, only to be let down by facades such as fake wood or poor vibration insulation. Each music enthusiast will have their own preferences, but it’s always better to opt for quality construction, as your turntable will last longer and provide a higher fidelity audio playback.
How to make a budget turntable sound better?
There are quite a few ways to accomplish this, as it’s fairly standard for budget turntables to come with lackluster output quality. Moreover, the overall power of this audio output does come with its limits. One of the ways to achieve a better sound from your turntable is by routing it through an external amp which will give you more control over its output.
Furthermore, suppose the turntable comes with the capability. In that case, you can also route its audio through modern external speakers, also giving you much more control over the strength of the audio playback. It’s also common for turntables to come with a standard phono cartridge, but these can sometimes be upgraded, which can lead to cleaner audio that your turntable wasn’t able to achieve beforehand.
Finding the best budget turntables can be relatively challenging as there are many to choose from, and each one comes with unique features and technical components. When you get down to the fine print on these products, you’ll start to see the pros and cons others have experienced, and it’ll make it easier to decide on a purchase.
Overall, every option in this list comes with plenty to offer. The information laid out in this article on the best budget turntables should give you all of the features and specifications you need to make an informed purchase.
Senior Reviews Editor
Lucas is the Senior Reviews Editor at HiFi Hippo covering a range of topics relating to turntables, preamps, speakers, and everything vinyl. With 15+ years of music experience, Lucas uses his unbiased ear to guide readers in the right direction for all their viny land home audio needs.