I won’t list all the reasons why you could be looking for the best record player under 100. But I’ll bet you want to know where to start finding the one for you..
Also, if you’re wondering if there’s a difference between a record player and a turntable – there is. So check out my handy buyer’s guide where I list the 7 criteria I use to review record players specifically.
Best Record Player Under 100
Jensen JTA 230 Record Player
The Jensen JTA-230 is a best seller on Amazon and for good reason.
It boasts tone and pitch controls which is more the exception rather than the rule with record players. Especially considering the price tag.
Having pitch controls will also allow you to play the rare 80 RPM vinyl, if you can find them. And it offers a 3 speed transmission and plays at 33, 45 (adapter included) and 78 RPM. The Jensen JTA-230 is a decent size.
The speakers are smaller than other record players in its class and it won’t give you high fidelity sound but they still give more than sufficient sound to fill a room.
Ion Audio Max
It’s got some good features and for a price tag under 100 bucks it’s worth a look. The Ion Audio Max allows you to convert your vinyl tracks into digital format.
It’s super easy to use and you have the added benefit to plug and play your MP3 device and listen through the built-in speakers. It’s a neat little record player for the price tag and it looks smooth with an eye catching design.
Electrohome Archer EANOS300 Record Player
If you’re looking for something to play vinyls on and you’re not too fussed about ripping the vinyl to digital format – this record player could be what you’re looking for.
With it’s nostalgic 60’s look and acoustic wooden case it does the job and still looks great. It’s portable and takes up very little space and you can also play your digital devices through the built-in speakers.
Note: The case pictured above is included as an optional extra which will push the price tag up.
Record Player Buyer’s Guide and Criteria
Record Player vs. Turntable – What’s the Difference?
Firstly, most websites providing information about the machines we use to spin our stax make the mistake of mashing record players and turntables together in one confusing lump.
But there are actually very distinct differences between the two…
I wrote in detail about the differences here, but I’ll briefly touch on the main ones…
Find a picture of any phonograph from way back when and you’ll notice that they all have built-in speakers or in much older versions a mono speaker. Yes, that’s the main difference between a record player and a turntable.
Record players are self-contained units and you don’t need anything else before you can kick back and enjoy your vinyl records.
Turntables on the other hand require external speakers and sometimes a phono preamp to bring the sound to line level. Although some turntables do have built-in phono preamps.
Record players also have very little in the way of fine tuning their performance. Some will be factory fitted with pitch or tone controls but that’s pretty much the exception, not the rule. Turntables are usually more sophisticated and the higher end you go the more fine tuning is available. They also cost more than record players.
7 Criteria to Finding the Best Record Player Under 100
I base my reviews on a set of 7 criteria which I think is very important when considering which record players make the cut – no pun intended there! 🙂
And you should keep these in mind when making your choice.
- The speeds at which the unit can play – all record players will play 33’s and 45’s. Some claim to play 78’s too. The problem is you’ll need a different needle to keep from ruining those 78’s.
- The overall size of the unit – the bigger the better. A bigger unit should in theory have bigger speakers and be more sturdy. Although in reality this is not always the case.
- The drive of the unit – record player as mostly belt drives. A belt is great to absorb vibrations which is a good thing with these all-in-one units. Less vibrations means less interference with the sound.
- The cartridge and stylus of the record player – it’s usually a case of what see is what you get. Of course you can replace the needle when it’s worn down. But you’re not likely to be able to improve on it by upgrading to a better make or model.
- The factory fitted speakers – here size also matters. The bigger the speakers, the better the sound should be. Also, I prefer speakers that are front mounted for better sound projection. But top mounted speakers are also fine.
- The factory fitted bells and whistles – in my opinion, the more moving parts the more vibrations. So I like to avoid units with radios and CD players. If you want those then get them separately. Keep your record player for vinyl.
- The connectivity the unit offers – headphone jacks are a nice extra which some units don’t have. I also like record players that allow you to add external speakers. And of course a USB function to rip vinyl is also a nice-to-have.
Picking the best record player does require research. But if you know what you’re after, it’s easy to narrow choices down. Of course with a tight budget, you get what you pay for.
Although as a starting point, a record player under 100 should meet your needs.
You know what criteria to be on the look out for, and you have some great options to choose from. Now you can shop with confidence and make the right choice for your pocket and your needs.