The Best Portable Record Player: 2022 Buyer’s Guide to Suitcase Record Players

A portable record player, or suitcase record player, is a vinyl turntable with built-in speakers and often other bells and whistles. The sound quality of these players tends to be less than high fidelity but still decent enough for casual listening. They are typically small and lightweight making them easy to transport. Some come with carrying cases or padded carrying bags.

Suitcase record players serve as both a great learning tool and a nice pastime for those who enjoy old-fashioned music formats. Beginner collectors with small spaces can easily store these players and keep them hidden away when not in use. Others may be interested in suitcase record players as a gift for a friend or family member.

In this article, you will learn about the best suitcase record players on the market today. We have reviewed the most popular models and identified three of our favorites as well as two runners-up.

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What is the best portable record player to buy?

Picking the right portable record player is a personal choice. There are many factors to consider when picking out the right player for you such as price, size, potential uses, and quality.

Here are our top three portable record players:

Best Value: Victrola 550BT-BK Vintage Portable Suitcase Record Player

Victrola 550BT-BK Portable Portable Suitcase Record Player
  • Three-speed belt-driven system
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Built-in speakers
  • Headphone jack and RCA inputs
  • Pitch and volume controls
  • Extremely compact and lightweight: (2.69 pounds)
  • Comes in a variety of color choices

Without a doubt, one of the best-value portable record players on the market right now is the Victrola VSC-550BT-BK. Not only does this suitcase-style record player typically costs under $60, but it also comes with a plethora of additional features to enhance your listening experience.

Play a variety of records at speeds of 33, 45, and 78 RPM. Connect headphones or external speakers through the various audio jacks, and also have the ability to stream music from your phone via Bluetooth connectivity.

There’s a reason why the Victrola VSC-550BT-BK is one of the best portable record players. The features available for the money can not be beaten!

Best Sound Quality: Crosley CR6253A-BK Anthology Suitcase Turntable

Crosley CR6253A-BK Anthology Suitcase Turntable
  • Pre-mounted moving magnet cartridge: Audio-Technica AT-3600 stylus
  • Tonearm counterweight
  • Two built-in Stereo Speakers
  • Three-speed drive system
  • Bluetooth receiver
  • Pitch and volume controls
  • RCA and headphone jack outputs
  • Adjustable pitch control

When it comes to portable record players, none beat the Crosley CR6253A-BK. This record player has everything you could want out of a standard portable player, but also includes an improved AT-3600 stylus, counterweight, and larger speakers.

This system, while still “portable” is definitely intended for more traditional use in a living room or studio. The weight is a little higher than some other portable record players combining in at 10.69 pounds.

While you will pay more for this portable record player than others, the extra expense is made up for with the improvements in sound quality. Many of these features you won’t find until you start moving into some entry-level turntables.

Best Budget: ByronStatics Vinyl Record Player

ByronStatics Vinyl Record Player
  • 3 speeds of playback available: 33, 45, 78.
  • 2 built-in speakers
  • RCA and headphone jack outputs
  • Volume controls
  • Short circuit safety shutoff
  • Compact and lightweight: 5.46 pounds

The ByronStatics is one of the best portable record players simply because of its price. Often, you’ll find this player under the $50 mark. Though the feature-set is a little stripped-down, if your only concern is playing your vinyl records for as little investment as possible, this is the player for you.

The ByronStatics comes standard without Bluetooth, so you will need to purchase the upgraded model for a couple of dollars more if you wish to have that feature.

Honorable Mentions

While we typically recommend considering our top-3 best portable record players, we do have a few honorable mentions that were in close consideration when ranking our top 3.

Crosley CR8005D-WS Cruiser Deluxe Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable

Crosley CR8005D-WS Cruiser Deluxe Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable

The Crosley CR8005D-WS is a solid portable record player. The exterior is vinyl-wrapped and comes in a variety of colors. Like other portable players in its price range, it has built-in speakers, Bluetooth, 3 speeds, and RCA and headphone jacks.

While we typically would suggest purchasing the Victrola VSC-550BT-BK instead, sometimes the price of this portable record player can drop, which puts it right up there with the VSC-550BT-BK. Additionally, Amazon at times offers these players second-hand for even cheaper.

Long story short, it’s definitely worth considering before making your final purchase.

Numark PT01USB Portable Vinyl-Archiving Turntable

Numark PT01USB Portable Vinyl-Archiving Turntable

The Numark PT01USB is a unique device. While we wouldn’t consider it one of the best portable record players, it almost exists in its own category of players.

The Numark doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles the other portable players have, but it does have a few unique features:

Firstly, you can convert your vinyl records straight to your computer via USB. Create MP3 files of your favorite records to have on all your devices!

Second, the Numark PT01USB actually comes equipped with battery power capability, meaning you can literally take this portable record player anywhere and still listen to your record collection.

While the Numark PT01USB is a very niche-use portable record player, it could be very valuable for someone who enjoys its unique features.

What to consider when buying a portable record player

So you’ve gone through our list of best portable record players and are hopefully ready to make the decision. However, there are a few things to consider before making your purchase.

You’ll want to consider:

Quality

Many portable record players get a bad reputation for damaging records due to sometimes poorly designed cartridges. It’s important to consider the build quality of the record players so that this is less likely to happen.

While having a full range of features at an affordable price is great, you want to be sure you’re not going to be paying for the money you saved elsewhere.

Battery Life

Sometimes the word “portable” can be deceiving. While most portable record players have handles and are relatively light and easy to move, that doesn’t always mean that you can play records without being plugged in.

Some manufactures have caught onto this and installed batteries into their devices, but many have not. If this is something important to you, make sure you check before clicking the purchase button.

Additional Features

While portable record players often look like retro turntables, the features they include are far from vintage. We suggest taking a look at many of the options available on the market today to decide which features are most important to you.

Are you someone that likes to plug in an external aux device? Or maybe you want precise control over the speeds and pitch your records are playing at? These are all things to consider before buying a portable record player. All-in-one record player systems include many of these features and more.

Upgradability

While portable record players aren’t nearly as upgradable as turntables, they still provide you a way to enjoy listening to your record collection. Because of this, there are always upgrade paths you can take with a record player to make the listening experience more enjoyable.

Plugging in external speakers, upgrading the cartridge, or even switching out cables are all ways of improving the quality of your portable record player. If this is an avenue you want to explore, you need to be sure the stock player has the ability to support your modifications.

Picking the best portable record player – final thoughts

Finding the best record player is all about personal preference. We hope this guide was useful and helps you make an informed decision.

If after reading this you feel like you’d like something more in the realm of a turntable, we do have an entry-level turntable buyer’s guide you can take a look at.

Consider your existing collection and where you want to take your vinyl hobby in the future. Let your aspirations and budget decide you you get a record player or a more sophisticated turntable. Ultimately, it’s about the music you’re listening to. We hope you found this guide helpful!