We have rounded up the best portable record players (a.k.a turntables). Our review focuses on sound quality, usability and features like speakers, bluetooth, USB, etc., to help you find the best turntable online. After all vinyl is back, BOOM!
The best portable record player won’t come with the same amount of features as a traditional record player. Models with speakers won’t have the same type of sound quality you’re accustomed to if you have a home audio system, but what they do offer is convenience, and of course, portability.
Do you enjoy traveling? Are you short on space at home? A portable record player allows you to travel with your vinyl collection and enjoy your favorite music, wherever you are. These portable record player reviews showcase the top-selling models curremtly on the market. Each model has something special to offer, whether it’s ease of use, best value or best sound quality. We hope these reviews will help you find the right turntable that will meet your listening needs as well as work with your budget.
1byone Belt-Drive 3-Speed Portable Stereo Turntable:
This eye-catching portable turntable is packed with all the bells and whistles you could want. Very versatile, you can plug the record player into your home sound system, or hook up your MP3 player and enjoy listening to your favorite music wherever you travel.
CMC Portable Bluetooth 3 Stereo Speed Turntable:
Cute, compact, and lightweight, this portable record player is the perfect travel companion for anyone who spends plenty of time on the road. You’ll love the ability to plug in headphones, stream your favorite tunes, or enjoy a quiet night in with your record collection.
Crosley CR6230A-TU Snap Portable USB Turntable:
Featuring a unique speaker design and retro color scheme, Crosley’s take on the classic record player comes loaded with plenty of updated features that any audiophile in search of a high-tech model will love.
AudioTechnica AT-LP60 Fully Automatic Stereo 2-Speed Turntable System:
This high-quality turntable system features excellent sound quality, multiple connection options, and a push button operation that makes it perfect for new audiophiles.
JORLAI Portable Record Player:
This is one record player you won’t want to deal with. Faulty speakers, poor sound quality, and glitchy software, this bargain buy can quickly turn into a nightmare.
This 1byone record player features a well-balanced, dynamic tonearm with damping control, built-in front-facing speakers, headphone jack, and a line-in port. Despite its vintage look, this is a record player that features all of the modern updates you could want in a highly portable model that’s equipped with excellent sound quality.
This turntable offers a three-speed damping feature and two built-in speakers. The RCA and AUX ports will allow you to connect the record player to external speakers so you can enjoy a more personalized setup and louder sound. On the flipside, the headphone jack will allow you to listen to your favorite music any time of the day or night without the worry of waking other members in the home.
The turntable is housed in a thick, sturdy PU leather case and equipped with a built-in carry handle which makes this model safe for travel and highly portable.
The record player is available in two color options: black or turquoise.
We found that this record player isn’t able to play thicker records with proper sound. The three speed options can’t be adjusted accurately in order to handle newer records. Most consumers found that the turntable worked the best with 45RPM records.
This 1byone turntable is not only eye-catching, it’s very versatile and packed with features as well. you’ll love how highly portable this model is, not to mention the fact that it comes with an RCA and AUX inputs so you can hook up your MP3 player or plug in some headphones and enjoy your favorite music wherever you go.
This CMC turntable is Bluetooth compatible and offers both USB and SD play functions. It also features a headphone and RCA jack, so you can plug in your headphones or connect your record player to your home stereo for improved sound.
This is a suitcase Victrola-style record player that’s very versatile, portable, and easy to use. The model’s Bluetooth capabilities will allow you to wirelessly stream your favorite music from your Bluetooth enabled device.
It also features three speed settings, and built-in speakers so you can enjoy great sound quality whenever you travel.
Weighing in at just six pounds, the built-in handle, and lightweight design makes this one of the most compact and portable models on the market.
There were some reports that the turntable’s speakers didn’t work, right out of the box. If you run into this issue, contact the manufacturer right away for a replacement. Additionally, some consumers had issues with Bluetooth connectivity. Fortunately, the customer service team is very responsive and knowledgeable and can help you troubleshoot any issues.
Downright adorable and portable, this turntable offers great sound quality and the ability to stream music. We love that this lightweight record player not only travels well, but it comes with a ton of features that will allow you to enjoy the comforts of home while you’re on the road. We recommend this model to anyone who’s looking for the perfect travel companion.
This Crosley belt-drive record player features three speeds, so you can play 45, 33 1/3, and 78 RPM records. It’s also USB enabled so you can connect the turntable to your MAC, PC, or laptop and stream away. This package includes a software suite for editing and ripping audio content so you can create your own MP3s.
Equipped with a headphone jack, AUX input and RCA output, you can plug in your headphones, or hook the record player up to your home stereo and crank the volume up when you’re playing your favorite vinyl.
With a black and turquoise color scheme and a classic design, this retro model features a unique fold out speaker design that offers big sound. Traditionally, portable record players feature built-in speakers or must be plugged into external speakers, but these fold-out speakers allow you to enjoy your favorite music without having to deal with speaker wire or connecting them to your home stereo system in order to listen to your music at a higher volume.
The turntable is also able to play three speeds of vinyl and comes equipped with an AUX input and a USB port that allows you to connect your turntable to your laptop or MAC so you can stream music, rip, or edit tracks using the free software.
Many buyers felt that while the speaker design is unique, fully detachable speakers would have been a better option.
This Crosley turntable is unique, portable, and comes with some nice features that will allow you to create your own MP3s and stream your favorite tunes, in addition to playing your vinyl. It’s a great package. The software is easy to use, and the speakers offer decent sound quality. For louder sound, you can simply plug it into your home stereo system. All in all, this model is a great buy for the audiophile searching for a record player that features PC connectivity and more playing options.
High-End Portable Record Player- Audio Technica AT-LP60 Fully Automatic Stereo 2-Speed Turntable System Review
The AT-LP60 turntable by Audio Technica is a two-speed model that comes with a pre-installed dual magnet phono cartridge that promises four hundred hours of play time.
This package also comes with a Harman Kardon sound stick, plug and play speakers, a built-in switchable preamp, and RCA input. The turntable can play 45 and 33 1/3 records.
The built-in preamp allows you to hook the record player’s line-level outputs up to an integrated stereo amp, Bluetooth speaker, PC, stereo system, AV receiver, or laptop. This model is perfect for people who are just starting to get into vinyl because it’s very user-friendly and versatile. The four push-button functionality allows you to easily control the turntable’s operation without worrying about scratching your vinyl.
The only issue with this model is the phono cartridge, which can’t be replaced or upgraded since it’s permanently installed. However, the stylus is replaceable and the overall quality of the cartridge is excellent so there’s really no need for an upgrade here.
This Audio Technica model is a great choice for the new audiophile. The fully automatic operation allows you to control the turntable with just a push of a button so you can start, stop or pause a record, making it very beginner-friendly. It comes with more features than competing models in this price range and its functionality will satisfy anyone looking for an alternative to a manual turntable.
The Jorlai portable turntable features a belt-driven design that will allow you to play 78, 45, and 33 1.2 RPM records. It also includes record to MP3 recording so you can transform the vinyl tracks into MP3 or WAV files and stream your music on your phone, iPod, MP3 player, and other compatible devices. This process is done using the free included software.
It also comes with RCA audio outputs so you can connect the record player to your home stereo system.
This retro portable record player comes with a transparent plastic dust cover that can help to minimize dirt and debris buildup on the stylus and platter.
The ability to transform vinyl tracks into an MP3 or WAV format is a huge selling point for consumers.
While the turntable is reasonably priced and comes with several features that give consumers the impression that this turntable is a true multitasker, many consumers reported that the sound quality was terrible and included plenty of hissing, popping, and other types of surface noise. There were also issues with the speakers, which can short out after just a few weeks of use. Others claimed that the turntable came with a defective speaker, which was already blown before they plugged it in.
Additionally, there were several issues with the included software program designed to convert vinyl tracks to MP3s. many buyers felt that the software interface was difficult to use, glitchy at times, and it took several retries to convert tracks. Overall, most users can agree that this turntable is not very user-friendly, and it lacks in quality where it matters. Additionally, the included speakers sound dull and flat. Even when the volume is turned all the way up music can still be difficult to hear if there is any type of background noise. Fortunately, you can remedy this last issue by plugging the record player into your stereo system.
While the manufacturer definitely tried to pack this model with features, they fell short in terms of usability and quality. If the speakers don’t short out, you’re still left with poor sound quality. And while you can solve the low volume issue by plugging the record player into your home stereo system, you’re then left to deal with surface noise. Overall, this is one turntable we recommend steering clear of at all costs. While the price is low, the turntable just isn’t worth the hassle.
Portable Record Player Buying Guide
If you’re not much of a vinyl collector, or you’ve just decided to start collecting, there are certain specs and features you’ll want to pay close attention to. The first thing you should understand is that a portable record player isn’t going to come equipped with as many sound-related features or the type of power as a home deck model. Because these record players are designed with portability in mind, their design tends to sacrifice a lot when it comes to sound quality and extra features.
But that doesn’t mean they won’t offer great sound. You’ll still be able to get close to what a full system record player has to offer if you do your research.
If you’re a collector searching for a portable turntable because you don’t have the room to set up a large sound system, then you won’t need much speaker power since the majority of the time you’ll be listening to your music in small spaces. In cases such as these, it’ll be better to have a belt-driven model because it reduces the shock from the movement of the disc.
However, if you’re looking for a portable turntable for scratching, then you’ll need to look for a model equipped with the best speakers possible, and a longer battery life.
In terms of extra features, another thing to consider is USB, MP3 and Bluetooth compatibility, so you can connect your music using newer formats.
Some models will even have cassette or CD players, which can be a big deal if you have a large collection and you’re looking for an all-in-one player.
Before you hit that buy now button, we’ll take a closer look at some of these specs and features which will help you to narrow down your choice.
Portable Record Player Basics
A portable record player may seem like a simple device, but they’re designed to spin a record at a constant rate of speed, thereby transforming the data that’s pressed into their grooves into a signal.
How precisely a record player performs that type of task will determine how well and reliably it’s able to reproduce the music.
Most models will consist of a stylus, phono cartridge, tonearm, motor, feet, platter, bearing assembly, and plinth.
Needle: The record player’s needle, or stylus, is the needle tipped component that traces the grooves when it’s pressed into a record.
Phono cartridge: The needle is supported by the phono cartridge, which is a mini electrical generator that produces a music signal when the needle moves.
Tonearm: This component holds the needle and cartridge steady as the record spins underneath it.
Platter: This is what the record rests on while playing. A platter is usually covered by a type of mat that works to minimize vibration and prevents scratches.
Motor: For belt-driven record players, the motor is what turns the platter using an elastic belt and pulley. Direct drive models feature a platter that’s placed directly on top of a motor.
Bearing Assembly: This is what the platter will spin on if you have a belt-driven model. The more precise the bearings, the quieter, and smoother the rotation.
Plinth: The record player’s plinth or base will hold all of the components that play records and it helps to prevent unwanted vibrations.
Feet: Feet that are well designed will work to further minimize vibration. Adjustable feet allow you to keep your record player level.
Outputs: Most models will come equipped with RCA outputs that will allow you to connect to powered speakers or a receiver. Some models also come with USB ports so you can hook the record player up to your laptop or PC.
All About Sound Quality
There are plenty of good sounding, basic models to choose from under four hundred dollars. Automatic models that stop and start with just a push of a button will be the easiest to use, but many vinyl enthusiasts prefer manual models because some feel that the extra hardware needed for automatic play can detract from the record player’s sound quality.
If your home sound system is missing a dedicated turntable input, then you’ll want a model that features the built-in phono preamp. Record players that have a USB port will allow you to connect to a computer to digitize your music collection for playback on your car stereo or smartphone.
Record players in the eight-hundred-dollar price range will offer better sound quality, which is mostly due to their higher quality components and more precise construction. In this price range, look for a tonearm with adjustments that will accommodate a wider range of phono cartridges, and a more precisely balanced, heavier platter with better bearings. Also check out the quality of the needle and cartridge, which can treat your records more gently while pulling more music from your records’ grooves.
Another big plus for models in this price range is the ability to upgrade. Make sure you check for detachable signal cords that you can swap out for a better quality cable. Some record players will also allow you to upgrade the platter with a beefier one for more dynamic sound. With a higher quality tonearm, your portable record player will be able to handle a higher-end cartridge and your player will enjoy huge sonic improvement from this small upgrade alone.
Models priced at over eight hundred dollars will be geared toward the seasoned collector. For record players in this price range, check for adjustable feet and vibration-absorbing plinth designs.
Other features to look for include a motor that’s physically separated from the plinth and the addition of a top-notch cartridge which can totally eliminate vibration.
When it comes to the specs, while they may not be able to tell you exactly how a record player will sound, they will provide you with a point of reference when you’re comparing models. Here are some basic specs to check out:
Speed variation: Flutter and wow can determine spinning accuracy. Any type of deviation in speed will affect sound quality by altering the pitch or causing a wavering effect that can detract from the sound quality. Ideally, a low number below 0.25 percent is what you should look for.
S and N ratio: Also referred to as signal to noise, this spec will give buyers a better idea of how much background noise they can expect from their record player at every music signal level. The higher the number the better because you’ll want a lot more music signal than noise. Search for a model that offers something about sixty-five decibels.
Playback speed: Make sure you look for a record player that offers the proper rotation speed for the type of vinyl you normally play. Most models will provide 45RPM capability. However, if you own a collection of 78RPM vinyl, then you’ll want to pay extra attention to this spec since some models lack this speed. Also, if you purchase a record player for 78s, be sure that you buy a special needle or cartridge that’s able to handle the wider grooves for this type of record.
Just like any other type of record player, you’ll need to replace the stylus every once in a while. Be sure to purchase a portable model that’s compatible with universal needles. We recommend diamond needles because they have a known lifespan of over twelve thousand hours, which is pretty impressive.
Aside from basic maintenance, taking your record player and records on the road can mean extra cleaning and care, so make sure you take special precautions when you travel. Some models will come with a built-in handle, which makes them even more travel-friendly, allowing you to check them in as carry-on baggage. But if you’re planning on storing your record player in your checked baggage you may need to purchase a travel case, which can provide extra padding and protection to ensure your turntable doesn’t get damaged during your journey.
We hope our best portable record player reviews have helped you narrow down your choices for a model that meets your sound quality needs and works with your budget. Our guide was designed to give you a little more insight into the types of features we feel are the most important and the ones that can affect the sound quality and overall playability the most. Of course, your budget will have a major impact on the record player you choose and the type of sound quality you can expect, however, we feel that each of our models is not only reasonably priced, but they also offer the type of sound quality you would normally expect from higher-end models.