Updated on December 22, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
Every vinyl collector, both veteran and beginner, wants the best possible sound available. That’s probably the whole reason you got into records to begin with.
But just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t find a great turntable to enjoy your record collection.
Looking for a turntable under $200? Overwhelmed by the options and not sure what to think of the reviews? Here are the 7 best turntables based on what audiophiles think in 2020.
Best Turntables Under $200
(Best for beginners)
The price point of the AT-LP60X makes it a great entry-level option if you’re just getting started and don’t want to spend a fortune as you explore the hobby.
It’s fully automatic, which means the platter will stop spinning when the side has finished playing and the tonearm will return to its starting position on its own. This pretty much eliminates any danger of causing damage to both your turntable and records.
Keep in mind: There’s no wireless capability, so you don’t have the option of using Bluetooth to play digital music. But if you’re just looking for a great record player and nothing more, it’s perfect.
Good for: Beginners and budget-minded collectors.
(Best fully automatic)
The PS-LX310BT is no exception. An aluminum platter offers a nice weight for eliminating resonance and reducing distortion.
It’s the best option if your priority is a fully automatic system; reviewers consistently praise the quality of this feature.
RCA cables are included to plug into wired speakers, but there’s also the option to connect wirelessly with very little compromise in clarity.
Keep in mind: Don’t let the 3-level gain switch be a deciding factor: most users don’t feel like it’s necessary and that the medium setting is always perfectly fine.
Good for: Keeping your equipment and records safe due to the fully automatic platter and tonearm, wireless connectivity, converting records to USB format.
(Best design update)
It still boasts the signature die-cast aluminum platter, which provides ideal weight to avoid distortion from vibration.
But this newer model has a new type of tonearm base that is better for avoiding the kind of tracking that keeps the stylus from properly reading a record’s grooves. The updated headshell helps as well.
Keep in mind: The AT-LP60XBT is labeled as fully automatic, which is true about start and play. However, you do need to stop the turntable manually, or it starts replaying the a-side. But that is sort of a minor complaint given the value and quality at this price.
Good for: Beginners, wireless connectivity with Bluetooth devices, rooms prone to vibration interference.
Why it’s great: First of all, if you’re looking for a turntable with some serious vintage appeal, this Victrola turntable has that covered. The throwback style is part of the draw for many people who are fond of all things old school.
But that’s not all: in addition to vinyl, the Navigator can play CDs and cassettes, has an FM radio, features Bluetooth capability for playing digital music wirelessly, and even has built-in speakers.
Also worth noting is that this turntable has 3 speeds, which is important if any of your records were pressed before 1955.
Keep in mind: The remote control is a huge perk, but oddly enough you still have to use the power button on the unit itself to turn it on and off. But since this turntable isn’t fully automatic (or automatic at all), that’s probably ideal anyway.
Good for: Converting records to MP3 format via USB, playing multiple music formats, avoiding the additional cost of speakers.
(Best value for price)
A diamond-tipped Audio-Technica stylus comes standard, as well as an adjustable counterweight to ensure the best and most accurate reading of your records’ grooves.
There’s a built-in preamp and the option to use either wired or wireless speakers.
Keep in mind: If you want louder volume, you’ll want to add an amplifier as there is no way to adjust the volume on the turntable itself. Another option is to invest in really high-quality speakers.
Good for: Converting vinyl to MP3 format, great initial out-of-box value, simple setup.
You can use wireless Bluetooth speakers with this turntable, possibly bringing down the total cost of your setup. It sounds fantastic with wired speakers as well.
The 3-speed options are also a perk, depending on what size and how old some of your records are.
Want to convert your vinyl collection to MP3 format for listening on the go? It does that, too.
Keep in mind: Yes, this turntable does feature an internal amp and speakers. But for best sound quality, you’ll likely want to use external speakers connected via RCA or a wireless Bluetooth device.
Good for: Wireless play, converting vinyl tracks to digital format, and collectors who want to be able to adjust speed, pitch, and stylus pressure.
Why it’s great: LuguLake spared no details when it comes to the design of this gramophone-style record player. From the rich wood to the real brass petals of the horn, it’s handcrafted to be a truly unique find.
But just because it looks old doesn’t mean you have to give up modern technology. This retro turntable has Bluetooth capability and an AUX input for listening to your digital music whenever you prefer.
There are 2 full-range stereo speakers built-in, reducing the total cost of your setup if that’s ideal for you.
Keep in mind: It can be a little tricky to replace the needle, but it will be fine as long as you follow the manufacturer instructions and contact customer support if you have trouble or questions.
Good for: Vintage enthusiasts, wireless play, keeping total cost low due to built-in speakers.
FAQs about turntables
1. How should i select a turntable under $200?
That totally depends on what you want and what you need.
If your priority is a wireless connection to a Bluetooth speaker, make sure you select a turntable that reviewers feel provides quality sound that way.
Want to convert your collection to MP3 format so you can listen anywhere, anytime? Make sure the product you choose has a USB port. Some even come with software for this specific purpose.
If you want the best out-of-box quality, it’s worth it to spend on the higher end of the price spectrum to ensure you’re getting the most premium parts available in your price range.
2. What can I do to get the best sound quality?
Having a quality turntable is important, but where and how you place it matters.
You’ll want to reduce resonance (vibrations) that affect how smoothly the stylus runs along the grooves of the record.
Place your turntable on a stable, solid piece of furniture. If you still notice distortion in the sound, you might want to get an anti-resonance mat.
It’s also worthwhile to invest in a cleaning kit for both your record player and the vinyl themselves. Keeping everything free of dust produces more accuracy of sound and protects your products.
Do NOT just use all-purpose cleaners and paper towels: you might do more harm than good, and cleaning kits for this exact purpose won’t break the bank anyway.
3. Can I eventually upgrade parts on my turntable?
Most of the time, you can buy higher quality parts to replace what comes standard with any turntable.
You can replace the platter, cartridge, and stylus relatively easily (but make sure you watch tutorial videos and know what you’re doing before you start). It’s more complicated to replace things like the tonearm, but it can be done.
4. Is it better to use wired or wireless speakers?
Generally speaking, all of the turntables on the list have received positive reviews about the quality of sound using wireless Bluetooth speakers (if this functionality is available for that product).
However, it is sometimes a matter of preference. Some people feel like the best sound comes from wired speakers. If you’re not sure which you’ll like more, opt for a turntable that has both options.
5. What should I do if I change my mind about my purchase?
It’s possible that after making an educated decision, you decide a product you purchased isn’t what you hoped for.
Particularly with something as personal as a turntable, you’ll probably want some peace of mind and flexibility.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to spend just a little bit extra for purchase protection, which will allow you to return the product if you’re not happy (but read up on exactly what’s covered before committing).
Many manufacturers allow you to register your purchase with them directly. Depending on the issue, they may replace the unit or certain parts if you experience a problem within a certain time period.
A quality turntable that’s perfectly right for you is within reach if you’re hoping to spend less than $200. You can still find a quality product that meets your needs, with the potential to upgrade later if you want to.
This list definitely includes a turntable with every need in mind. However, it’s important to review the information yourself to be sure the one you choose has the features you’re looking for.
Still on the fence? It’s always wise to browse reviews. Dedicated audiophiles typically write very honest, detailed accounts of their experiences that can be really helpful.
Enjoy your new turntable and the thrill of collecting vinyl.