When it comes to playing music, a turntable allows you to experience a superior sound quality than other mediums. Additionally, you can get a full record player, which includes the turntable, speakers, and everything else, or you can just get the turntable and hook the rest up yourself. Read on to learn about some of the top turntables on the market.
If you’re in a hurry, here are our top 3 quick picks for the Best Portable Turntables:
- Crosley CR8005F-FW Cruiser Plus Vintage Record Player
- Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player
- Retrolife Vinyl Record Player
Criteria for Choosing the Best Portable Turntables
What makes a good turntable can depend on what you want out of it. A turntable can come as part of a record player, which is often seen with the less expensive options. There are also expensive, top-of-the-line choices out there for maximum sound quality. Some are even meant for DJs. These things were considered when making the list:
- Mechanism: The mechanism used is usually going to be belt-driven, as that is the preferred choice for sound quality. However, if you are looking for something to use as a DJ, a direct-drive turntable is the better choice. You want stable speed and low noise.
- Tonearm: Having a good tonearm is vital for any turntable. Not only should the resonance be kept low to ensure stability, but it needs to operate smoothly.
- Phono Cartridge: While you might be able to upgrade a phono cartridge, it is still an important part of any turntable. A phono cartridge is the sound, with a better cartridge producing better sound with more detail and better dynamics.
- Portability: Another important factor for this list is portability. Compact, mobile designs were selected, with weight and durability being considered. If it cannot be moved easily, it did not make the list.
There were other things considered as well, including the amount of vibration and whether there were any features that stood out. Additionally, what you are getting for the price was a major consideration.
The 8 Best Portable Turntables
There are a lot of turntables out there, and the features and price range vary greatly. The goal of this list was to provide some of the best options at a range of prices. There are also those that are more beginner-friendly and those meant for an enthusiast.
Crosley CR8005F-FW Cruiser Plus Vintage Record Player
The first portable turntable on this list is a go-to choice if you want something that works well while being inexpensive at the same time. The brand is Crosley, which is a reliable name when you are buying turntables. It also features a really stylish suitcase design available in a wide range of colors. And it only weighs 5.5 pounds, too.
The belt-driven mechanism plays three speeds, and it includes dynamic full-range stereo speakers that deliver great sound quality. Moreover, it is designed with auxiliary input, RCA output, and the ability to connect to your phone or computer through built-in Bluetooth. If you are looking for something portable and inexpensive, this is a great choice.
- It does not weigh much and is very compact, making it highly portable
- The design is stylish and makes it easy to take with you
- It plays three speeds, which are 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM
- You get what you pay for in terms of quality and durability
- The sound quality could be better
Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player
Victrola is a well-known name when it comes to vintage-style turntables, and the one featured here is one of their classic products. This suitcase record player has a great look that comes in a multitude of colors, and it is also designed to be compact and portable. Plus, it has everything you need to get started built-in.
The Victrola turntable is a belt-driven 3-speed record player that has a quality build for a low price. Moreover, it has decent sound quality, with built-in stereo speakers, a headphone jack, and an external speaker connection. You can even connect it to your other devices using its Bluetooth connectivity.
- You are getting a lightweight, portable record player
- It has a stylish vintage look and comes in many colors
- Everything you need is built-in to the device
- It includes Bluetooth connectivity
- The sound quality is not as good as a more expensive turntable
- Being portable and lightweight comes at the cost of durability
Retrolife Vinyl Record Player
If you want the same suitcase style and portability with a bit more quality, then you can take a look at this offering from Retrolife. The price is a step up from the previous two entries on this list, but it comes in packing a definite audio punch. While the built-in speakers might not be the absolute best, they provide great audio quality for the price.
This portable turntable does not do much more than other suitcase turntables, but it has everything you might expect, and it does it all at a high level. The features include a solid external case, four connection choices, and the ability to take three different sizes of record at three speeds. It also has built-in Bluetooth connectivity.
- The sound quality is better than similar products
- The external case is made out of stylish and durable PU leather
- There are four connection choices, including Bluetooth
- It works with three sizes of record and has three playing speeds
- The built-in speakers do not have the best volume
- The built-in sound still does not match a heftier turntable
When you look at the cheaper turntables out there, they often have built-in stereo and focus on offering the complete package as a record player over any outstanding feature in particular. This Audio-Technica turntable is a step up, and it is a great choice for beginners who want a real, high-quality turntable.
With this product, all of the focus is on great audio and a convenient device. It is a fully automatic belt-driven turntable that plays at two speeds. It also features a die-cast aluminum platter and tonearm that has improved tracking and less resonance. It even has a built-in switchable phono preamplifier. It operates well and will not disappoint.
- It is very easy to use and beginner-friendly
- You get a truly powerful turntable at a great price
- It only weighs around eight pounds and is portable
- The design features improved tracking and less resonance
- There is a built-in phono preamplifier
- There have been some reports of synching issues
- It utilizes a good number of less durable plastic parts
1 BY ONE High Fidelity Belt Drive Turntable with Built-in Speakers
The turntable featured here takes the best of both worlds, providing a high-quality turntable that can get the job done while also including a built-in speaker if you want it. Moreover, this turntable only weighs around 13 pounds and has a durable build that allows you to move it from place to place without much worry.
This turntable features multiple connections, including Bluetooth. It also has a magnet-type cartridge and adjustable counterweight, balancing everything and providing a rich, warm sound. In addition, while it does not automatically start, it will automatically stop three minutes after the end of a record.
- The built-in speakers have better sound quality than many others
- It is lightweight and features a design that is easy to transport
- There are multiple connections, including Bluetooth
- The cartridge, counterweight, and overall design provide rich audio
- The way you turn it on and off is a bit unconventional
- The counterweight can be a bit difficult to adjust properly
- Setting it up for the first time can be troublesome
Fluance RT81 Elite High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable Record Player
The Fluance turntable excels in most aspects, being one of the best choices in its class. It starts with a great Audio-Technica AT95E stylus, which has a mere two grams of tracking force. It also presents with low amounts of distortion, excellent clarity, and balance that improves the listener experience.
The adjustable counterweight and s-shaped tonearm also work to make for smooth performance without risking any damage to your vinyl. Even the walnut-finished cabinet is made to improve listening performance, working alongside the sound-isolation feet, aluminum platter, and rubber slip mat for the best sound. It has a built-in preamp, too.
- The stylish has a 2-gram tracking force and provides great clarity
- The counterweight is balanced and adjustable
- The entire design is made to increase sound performance
- There is a built-in preamp
- It is a durable choice while remaining relatively lightweight and portable
- There have been some reports of the speed being off at times
- It only plays at two speeds, which are 33 1/3 and 45 RPM
Crosley C200A-BK Direct-Drive Turntable with S-Shaped Tone Arm
If you are looking for a lightweight, portable turntable with a direct-drive mechanism, then this is the one for you. Crosley returns to the list with this fantastic turntable, which weighs around 11 pounds and has a compact design. It plays at two speeds, and it has fully manual operation with start and stop control, which is great for a DJ.
The s-shaped tonearm comes with a load of features, including hydraulic lift control, anti-skate, and reliable height adjustment. It also has a die-cast aluminum platter and a felt slip mat that keep everything smooth and stable. There is even a built-in preamp for added convenience. It is a quality direct-drive turntable at a fantastic price.
- It is a high-quality direct-drive turntable
- It only weighs around 11 pounds and is easy to transport
- The tonearm is loaded with features for better performance
- The feet ensure that it remains stable
- The plastic used does give it a slightly cheaper feel
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO Audiophile Turntable
While you can enjoy music on any of the turntables on this list, if you really want to go the extra mile, then this belt-drive turntable with an electronic speed changer is the way to go. It is a fantastic turntable that takes every component to the extreme for the best performance, starting with the use of alloy steel.
This turntable also features an improved motor suspension for reduced vibration and adjustable damped aluminum isolation feet for superior stability. Even the record platter is high-quality, utilizing a thermoplastic elastomer ring for even less noise during operation. Everything from the tonearm to the cartridge also stands out.
- There is an electronic speed changer and stabilizer
- The adjustable feel allow you to level this turntable on any surface
- The entire design promotes fewer vibrations and better stability
- There is a great cartridge, and it can be upgraded with ease
- The carbon tonearm delivers fantastic sound quality
- It costs a premium over other turntables on the list
- It might not be as beginner-friendly as other choices
How to Shop for a Portable Turntable
There are all kinds of turntables out there, from those meant for the beginner who simply wants to listen to a few records to those for a serious enthusiast. Here are some things you can think about to make the choice easier:
- Intent: Why are you buying the turntable? If you simply want to listen to a few records, you can go with the whole package and get a record player, combining the turntable and stereo. Additionally, if you want a more sophisticated setup, you want a high-end turntable and separate speakers. A DJ also has different needs.
- Speed: Do you need a turntable that plays at 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM? If so, the options narrow since some turntables only play at two speeds.
- Preamp: Do you want the convenience of having a preamp built-in to your turntable, or are you looking for the highest quality of sound you can possibly get? A built-in preamp is also better for portability since it is another component you do not have to think about.
All of the turntables on this list are great, and they are very easy to move around and take with you. Of course, some require additional parts, but it all depends on what you are looking for when it comes to quality and what you are willing to pay for it.
If you enjoy music, a turntable is a fantastic investment. It offers you a fun way to listen to music, and the sound quality you get is far better than anything else. Just make sure you get a turntable that suits your needs.
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