Are you looking for an affordable yet high-quality record player at a specific price point?
There are many record players on the market, and they all strike a different balance between caliber and price.
A solid mid-range record player could cost anywhere between $400 and $700, but some diamonds in the rough can be purchased for under $300.
If you’d like the find the best record player under 300 dollars, we review and compare five of the best affordable record players in this guide.
- 1 The Top 5 Record Players Under $300
- 2 Buyer’s Guide for Record Players Under $300
- 3 How to Choose the Best Record Player
- 4 How the Record Player Works
- 5 Conclusion
The Top 5 Record Players Under $300
As you can see from the name, this is an 8-in-1 entertainment center that combines modern design features and a vintage look.
The turntable is not only optimized for vinyl’s but can also play CDs, cassette player, FM radio. It can also play mobile devices connected by Bluetooth, AUX cable, and headphone jack.
The system does not need any stereo or additional equipment to function. Upgraded with modern technology, this option is excellent for both beginners and experts who love vintage things.
It features a belt-driven turntable with three different speed levels at 33 1/3, 45, and 78 rpm. Built with premium quality sound and minimum vibrations, this is a great record player that suits various environments.
The system has all the controls you would need, such as a knob for volume, FM tuner, and easy-to-click buttons for different purposes.
With it, you can get extended connection options for external speakers or an amp.
- Product Dimensions: 18.2 x 13.2 x 10 inches
- Product Weight: 16.5 pounds
- 8-in-1 system that can do functions at the same time
- Suitable for both beginners and experts
- Made with modern technology and is convenient to use
- Three different speeds
- Ability to expand connection options such as external speakers and amp
- Some users complained that the turntable stopped working after a few times
- Some users complained about poor customer care
Armed with a built-in Bluetooth receiver, this turntable gives you the flexibility of wirelessly streaming your music on the full-range stereo speakers.
The turntable is normally belt-driven and can play at three different speeds: 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM records.
It is convenient as you simply need to plug it in and play the audio.
The system features a CD player, cassette deck on the side, and an FM/AM radio with an airplane tuning dial.
- Product Dimensions: 17 x 10 x 12.5 inches
- Product Weight: 17 Pounds
- The Bluetooth receiver helps seamlessly stream music.
- Able to play audio at three different speeds
- Easy to use by simply plugging in and pressing play
- Some users had an issue with the CD player
- Some users complained of the sound quality
The turntable by DIGITNOW features a stereo speaker, an LP Vinyl to MP3 converter with CD, cassette, radio, AUX-in, USB/SD encoding, remote control, and built-in amplifier.
The CD changer is convenient when you need to record and play something. The Bluetooth connectivity option plays music seamlessly from an external device.
The detachable speaker duo provides a clear and loud sound with no background noise. It can also play vinyl and an MP3 recording if a digital format is required.
The record player can work at three different speeds: 33, 45, and 78 rpm, so you can easily listen to what you like.
- Product Dimensions: 12.48 x 11.42 x 7.87 inches
- Product Weight: 7.8 pounds
- Convenient and easy to use
- Features Bluetooth connectivity to play music from an external device
- Two detachable speakers that produce a clear and loud sound
- Three different speed levels
- Convenient to use with the remote control
- Some users found it to be defective with a bad reception
- Some users complained the AM radio did not work
This is a retro record player with built-in speakers and a turntable that can play at three speeds. Although it has a retro 50’s look, it is loaded with modern features like record and playing vinyl as mp3.
It is convenient to play because you do not need a stereo system or extra equipment. It is also suitable for beginners and vintage music enthusiasts.
This multimedia center can play at 33 1/3, 45, 78 rpm, which gives the flexibility of the sound you prefer. IT can easily achieve a premium sound with minimum vibrations.
It has all the possible controls you would need, such as volume, FM, and function buttons.
The system is made with a high-quality design and finishing, thanks to the 115-year craftsmanship that makes it durable and stylish.
Its Bluetooth function is not extraordinary, but it allows you to stream music up to 33 feet away.
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 7 x 15 inches
- Product Weight: 8.65 pounds
- Built-in speakers
- Can play at three different speeds
- Beginner-friendly because it is easy to use
- Made with high-quality design and a great finish
- Bluetooth connectivity allows you to stream up to 33 feet away
- Some users complained the CD player does not work
This unique record player fuses a vintage and modern design that would impress anyone. The case is made of real and handcrafted Ashtree wood.
The system is belt-driven and can function at three speeds (78,45, or 33 1/3). The speed level ensures that you get a balanced tonearm with a diamond needle cartridge.
It features Bluetooth connectivity, USB, FM Radio, line-in, and alarm clock.
- Package Dimensions: 17.3 x 16.8 x 11.5 inches
- Product Weight: 8.93 pounds
- It looks vintage and modern at the same time.
- Ability to run at three different speeds
- Balanced tone that will produce an impressive sound
- Some users found the functionality to be confusing
- Some users complained that it did not last long
Buyer’s Guide for Record Players Under $300
If you need some help deciding among the five great options above, here are some features to keep in mind that might help make your decision a little easier.
Although most record players have in-built speakers, some have detachable speakers, such as the DIGITNOW Bluetooth Record Player. Detachable speakers have an advantage because they’re more convenient and portable if you need to move them around.
Non-vintage modern player
As you’ve already noticed, most record players we reviewed are vintage and have modern functions. If you are not keen on the retro look, we recommend going for the DIGITNOW Bluetooth Record Player as it looks modern and can easily convert vinyl to mp3.
Record player with long-distance Bluetooth connectivity
If you are big on Bluetooth connectivity and prefer a unit that allows for a wider range for Bluetooth connectivity, then the Victrola 50’s Retro Bluetooth Record Player & Multimedia Center is ideal; it can play music up to 33 feet away.
The least expensive player
The cheapest of the five options is the Victrola 50’s Retro Bluetooth Record Player & Multimedia Center, which retails at $127.76.
You would not go wrong with any of the five options, but the best overall product is the Victrola 50’s Retro Bluetooth Record Player & Multimedia Center. This option is relatively cheaper and does the job well.
If you’re not into the retro look, we suggest going for the modern DIGITNOW Bluetooth Record Player.
How to Choose the Best Record Player
Since there are many record players on the market, you might end up with the wrong one if you do not know how to choose the right one for you. Some of the factors that you should keep in mind include:
Build quality and material
The quality and material of the build impacts the type of sound produced by the turntable. The materials also determine the final cost of the record player as some materials are more expensive. For example, carbon fiber is more expensive than aluminum.
When looking at the quality, it is good to keep in mind that the cartridge also differs in quality.
You can find that the cartridge is pre-mounted on the tonearm most of the time. The cartridge contains a pickup that can read the grooves to produce sound. The kind of cartridge used will influence the kind of sound quality from the record player.
Belt drive vs. direct drive
A motor can be connected to a platter directly or with a belt. When it is direct, speed is increased instantly as the motor spins on the platter. DJs prefer a direct drive most of the time as the response time of speed increases immediately.
On the other hand, belt-driven has its own perks as it can produce different speeds seamlessly.
A record player needs to have a phono preamplifier as the cartridge’s signal tends to be weak.
A preamp will boost the signal so you can hear the sound coming from your speakers. Normally, the preamp is either separate, built into the receiver, or built into the table. An outboard preamp will give you more control.
Manual vs. automatic
This is how you interact with your record player as it starts or ends playing a record.
When you use the manual lever to lift the tonearm, place the cartridge on the record’s lead groove, and put it to the side.
Although the manual might be inconvenient, it is the best choice if you want high sound quality. Most vintage players are fully manual, which may be the reason they are sought after.
This is where you must lower the tonearm manually. Once the record is done, the tonearm returns to its original position, and the motor shuts off.
This is where you must push a button, and everything moves automatically. The tonearm will slide into position and drop the needle to record. Once the recording is done, the tonearm will lift itself and return to the resting position, and the motor automatically shuts off.
If you are buying a record player because of the value analog sound, it is sometimes nice to create a digital version of your creation. Playing a digital device is only possible if there’s a USB port.
You should check which other ports are available on the record player for ease of use.
Most record players have the option of three different speed levels. The more options for speeds, the more flexible the record player is to record something at whichever speed.
Although it is not essential for a record player, Bluetooth connectivity is convenient for those who want to play music from a mobile device.
This is a measure of the amount of background noise. The higher the ratio is, the better it is to hear the music rather than the noise. A good ratio should be at least 65 dB.
Wow and flutter
This will tell you how accurately the turntable can pin the platter. If there is a high deviation, you will get an audible wavering effect. Aim for a lower deviation, ideally below 0.25%.
As mentioned earlier, record players can either have built-in or external speakers. Most of the time, external speakers tend to have more sound than built-in speakers. Regardless of the path you take, your preamp will determine the speakers’ level of sound.
How the Record Player Works
There are different components that all synchronize to produce the desired sound. To know how it works, it is also important to know which components contribute to the sound, including:
A turntable is sometimes used in place of a record player, specifically where the record is placed. It is also known as the revolving platter.
The turntable center has a metal rod that will hold the record in place as it turns. The turntable plate is usually made of metal but covered with rubber or plastic not to scratch the vinyl.
The type of turntable influences the cost of the record player. Steel tends to be cheaper but is unstable with low inertia. Aluminum plates are more expensive, sturdier, have no vibration, and do not affect the motor speed.
The rotation of the turntable can either be direct-driven or belt-driven. The belt-drive is great for noise reduction as the belt can absorb any vibration. The direct-drive tends to have a stronger motor.
The stylus is often confused with the cartridge. The stylus is the sharp point that rests against the record and is normally made with diamonds. In some cases, sapphires are used to make the record needles.
The stylus uses a strip of metal to connect to the tonearm. The metal is typically flexible and allows the stylus to ride up and down the record’s grooves.
The stylus can either be elliptical or spherical. Elliptical is ideal as it allows more contact with the grooves of the record.
Responsible for producing the sounds you get from a record player, the tonearm can either be straight or curved. Many people argue that a curved tonearm is better as it gives a better sound.
The stylus transfers the vibrations to the tonearm, which goes to the cartridge to give electrical signals that are then amplified through speakers to give you sound.
Most audio receivers are customized to give signals that are transmitted through digital devices or streaming services.
That means most record players cannot detect sound from a traditional audio player. An amplifier or a phono preamp is important as it will magnify the sound coming from your record player.
Finding an awesome, affordable record player will give you the best sound experience. Therefore, it’s worth looking into the product details to ensure you select the best record player based on your interests and needs.
We hope this review guide helped you find the best record player under 300 dollars and that you get to enjoy listening to some tunes on a great machine.