Best Turntable Under $150

best turntable under 150

Best Turntable Under $150

Vinyl records and turntables have made a huge resurgence in the past few years. There are turntables for every type of collector, on any budget. Obviously, the very high end turntables will cost more, with some costing as much as $800 or more, but those are really only for very serious collectors and are certainly not necessary to enjoy the benefits of turntables and vinyl records. There are several great options for turntables under $150, but before we get into that, there are a few things you should know before shopping.

Benefits of Buying a Turntable Under $150

Better sound quality

Fans of turntables swear the audio is better than digital copies of the same music. While this is true for higher end turntables, it’s not necessarily true for all lower end turntables. Still, a decent turntable will allow you to hear warmer and richer tones, creating a more immersive music experience. A lot of enthusiasts love the “experience” of listening to a vinyl record, it can even feel like a time machine of sorts.

Budget friendly

A clear benefit of purchasing a turntable under $150 is that it’s relatively inexpensive. Like I said earlier, there are turntables that can cost over $800, so narrowing it down to turntables under $150 keeps you from spending more than you really need to. While they won’t be as advanced as some of the $800 ones, they are all leaps and bounds ahead of suitcase record players and are overall good machines.

Building a tangible collection

Many people agree, the best part of a turntable is the record collection that accompanies it. Having a tangible collection of all your favorite music, and building upon it over the years, takes on a special meaning. Finding new records and adding to your collection can be one of the most satisfying things when you own a turntable. Building a tangible collection also goes into the whole “experience” of turntables, which is kind of hard to explain, but if you already have a record collection you know what I’m talking about.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Turntable Under $150

Space

Before you buy a turntable, you will want to consider what size space you have for the turntable and your record collection. Some turntables will need a larger space, and if you choose to connect speakers and a system, you will need even more space. Before you buy anything, make sure you have a space cleared out that you can dedicate to your turntable setup.

Drive type

Before buying, you should also consider how the turntable is driven, or how the turntable is actually spun. There are two main types of turntables, direct drive turntables and belt drive turntables. Direct drive turntables have their platters connected directly to the motor, whereas belt drive turntables spin the platter using an elastic belt that is connected to the motor. Direct drive turntables offer better torque and more consistent playback sound, along with requiring less maintenance. However, they are also known to cause unwanted vibrations, so make sure if you go with a direct drive model that is well damped.

Belt drive turntables tend to offer a cleaner sound. The belt absorbs any unwanted vibrations from the motor, so what you hear is often times better than what you’d hear on a direct drive turntable. Unfortunately, belt driven models usually have less torque than direct drive ones, so you may experience problems with consistent playback speeds. You should also keep in mind the normal wear and tear a belt drive turntable will go through. The belt will eventually wear down and you will have to replace it, so it requires a little bit more maintenance than a direct drive. Still, belt drives tend to be audiophiles’ preference.

Speeds

Playback speeds are another important factor in choosing a turntable. Some turntables will have only one or two speeds, while others have three. The more speeds the turntable has, the more records they can play. Some records have to be spun at 45 RPM, if your turntable doesn’t spin at 45 RPM, you won’t be able to play any of those kind of records.

Tips for Choosing the Best Turntable Under $150 for Your Needs

Consider your needs

Before committing to any single turntable, you should consider what you need from it. Do you need something that can play any kind of record? Do you need something that is USB compatible? What about Bluetooth compatible? There are lots of things to think about, but figuring out your specific needs will help narrow down your choices greatly. It will also help to keep you from splurging on things that you don’t really need.

Appearance

You should also keep appearance in mind. It would suck to spend money on a turntable that you don’t even think looks nice. But it happens, and then you’re the one that loses out. Picking a turntable that you think looks cool increases the chance of you using it and actually getting your money’s worth out of it. Some people have a certain aesthetic they like to maintain, and with so many vast choices of turntables, there’s no need to abandon your personal aesthetic.

Do lots of research

Before taking that final step, make sure you’ve done plenty of research and that you are happy with the one you selected. You can never do too much research, and this list is a great place to start. We’ve put together seven of the best turntables under $150, all the important things you need to know about them, and ultimately, we’ll declare a winner after looking at each one.

Denon DP-29F Turntable

Top Features/ Specs

  • Motor: Belt drive
  • USB: No
  • Speeds: 33 1/3 RPM, and 45 RPM
  • Weight: 6.2 lbs.
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Easy to Use

This turntable is simple enough, and is unlikely to come with a large learning curve. The turntable is automated to start playing with the simple touch of a button, and stopping it is as easy as returning the tone arm to the original position. It also conveniently plugs into any receiver’s analog line-level input. You can easily switch between speeds as well, all you have to do is change the speed setting and put down or take off the 45 RPM adjustment.

  • Phono Equalizer

The phono equalizer sounds a lot more high tech than it actually is. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a crucial feature, which allows you to connect this turntable to any amplifier, even ones without their own equalizer. This ensures that you get high quality sound, regardless of what kind of amplifier you choose to use. This, coupled with the belt driven motor, ensures the best sound quality.

  • MM Cartridge

Finally, this turntable comes with a MM cartridge already installed, so you can start listening to your records right away. Other turntables may not come with a cartridge, and you can’t listen to anything until you have one installed, so it’s nice to just have everything you need come with this turntable. MM cartridges are pretty standard cartridges for commercial turntables to have, not too fancy but not cheap either. MM, or Moving Magnet, cartridges feature replaceable needles, so you won’t have to buy a whole new cartridge each time you need for replace your needle.

Pros

The pros of this turntable are numerous. For one, the design is sleek and cohesive, it would blend into almost any space. Because of its automated design, this turntable also prevents you from scratching your records when you try to play them, which is every collector’s nightmare. Lastly, one of the biggest benefits of this turntable is the great warranty that comes with it. All new models come with a 2 year warranty, so you don’t have to worry about something breaking and losing a lot of money.

Downsides

The only downside with this turntable is that it doesn’t play 78 RPM records, which is disappointing, but isn’t a huge deal since 78’s are not all that common. The majority of records that you come across will be 33 1/3 RPM or 45 RPM.

Stanton T52B Straight Arm Belt Drive Turntable

Top Features/ Specs

  • Motor: Belt drive
  • USB: No
  • Speeds: 33 1/3 RPM, and 45 RPM
  • Weight: 14.6 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Skip Resistant Tonearm

The Stanton T52B features a skip resistant tonearm, which prevents accidental scratching while you are playing your records. It also enhances tracking and makes it easier for DJs to “scratch” the records without destroying them. That makes this turntable perfect for not only hobbyists who simply want to enjoy their music, but also DJs who want to mix their own music and need a reliable setup.

  • High Quality Sound Output

Thanks to the belt driven motor and durable construction, this turntable puts out great audio. There are no annoying vibrations interfering with your records, just the warm sound of your music. Other lower end turntables may have a “rattling” sound, which can definitely take away from listening to your favorite songs. But that’s not something you even have to worry about with this turntable, so you can listen to all the music you want.

  • Customizable Settings

Another great feature of this turntable is its customizable settings. It features a pitch control slider, so you can adjust the way the audio sounds until it is just right. This gives you more control than with a typical turntable.

Pros

A big advantage of this turntable is that it comes with a cartridge pre-mounted. This means it is pretty much ready to use once you get it out of the box, you won’t have to go through the hassle of ordering a cartridge separately and installing it.

This turntable also comes with a few accessories, including RCA cables, a slip mat, and a dust cover. The RCA cables allow you to hook up the turntable to a stereo, the slip mat keeps the turntable in place and prevents it from slipping around a bunch if it is bumped into or while you are using it, and lastly, the dust cover is to put on top of the platter while you aren’t using the turntable so that it doesn’t just collect dust. The dust cover protects the turntable and ultimately, using it can extend the life of your turntable.

Downsides

The only downside with this turntable is that it doesn’t come in different colors. We would’ve liked to see a little more personalization options, but it still works great, and the sleek design, even if it is only in one color, is nothing to complain about.

Audio Technica AT-LP60BK-USB Fully Automatic Belt Drive Stereo Turntable

Top Features/ Specs

  • Motor: Belt Drive
  • USB: Yes
  • Speeds: 33 1/3 RPM, and 45 RPM
  • Weight: 8.5 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Various Connectivity Options

The best part of this turntable is that it is super versatile when it comes to connectivity. This turntable can connect to just about anything, including a stereo receiver, speakers, and even a computer. The USB connectivity is what really makes this turntable special, because it means you can actually digitize your entire collection. This turntable comes with software and a USB cord, which gives you everything you need to hook up your turntable and turn your records into portable, digital, music files.

Some hardcore record enthusiasts groan at the idea of digitizing your collection, but let’s face it, it can be pretty dang useful to be able to take your entire collection with you anywhere.

  • High Quality Cartridge and Stylus

The Audio Technica AT-LP60BK comes with a dual magnet phono cartridge, which also has a diamond stylus. These parts are built to last and does a great job of reading the record, without skipping or scratching. Eventually, the diamond stylus will wear down, but it is easy to replace, and you don’t even have to replace the cartridge when you do it. The first time you replace the stylus is always the hardest, but once you do it a couple times you get the hang of it, it gets easier every time you replace it.

  • Easy Operation

This fully automatic turntable is a breeze to use, making it great for any level of turntable enthusiasts. The turntable places the stylus for you, and when the record is over, it returns the stylus and tonearm to its starting position. It really couldn’t be any easier to use and because it gently places the stylus on the record, it prevents any scratching.

Pros

So far, this is the only turntable with USB connectivity capabilities, which is obviously a huge plus, but there are even more. This Audio Technica turntable comes with all the accessories you could need, including RCA cables and recording software. It also comes with a great, 1 year warranty plan, which covers any defects or malfunctions the turntable may have. Lastly, we love that it comes in multiple colors; you can choose from either black or silver.

Downsides

There’s not a whole lot to change about this turntable. It’s made from high quality materials, which all come together in a sleekly presented final product, but if the warranty could be even longer this turntable would be perfect. The warranty is already good, and more than what you get with a lot of turntables, but there really isn’t anything else to change about this one, so we had to get nitpicky.

Pioneer PL-990 Automatic Stereo Turntable

Top Features/ Specs

  • Motor: Belt Drive
  • USB: No
  • Speeds: 33 1/3 RPM, and 45 RPM
  • Weight: 5 lbs. 14 oz.
  • Lightweight Tonearm

The lightweight tonearm on the Pioneer PL-990 is very resistant to resonance, which there is very little to begin with. This makes the overall sound quality better and smoother. Many people tend to overlook the tonearm, but it is a crucial part of the turntable, so it should be taken into consideration when deciding what to buy. This tonearm is particularly great because it is highly sensitive and picks up everything that the grooves of your records hold.

  • Fully Automatic

This turntable is also fully automatic, so using it is very easy. You can play a record with just the push of a button, no adjusting or searching for the right place to put the needle. This is really great for beginners who don’t know enough to operate a manual turntable. It is an easy way to become introduced to turntables and all their benefits, without getting bogged down learning all the small parts.

  • Phono Equalizer

The phono equalizer in this turntable is a real life saver for many people. It allows you to connect any amplifier you want, even ones without an equalizer. Without this built-in equalizer, if you had an amplifier without an equalizer, you couldn’t use it with this turntable and you’d have to buy a whole new amp.

Pros

This Pioneer turntable comes with a MM cartridge, which makes the setting up process even easier. This turntable is also very lightweight, weighing less than six pounds. It is super easy to move around when needed and doesn’t take up a huge amount of space. Lastly, this turntable comes with built in protection from dust, in the form of a hinged dust cover. You can put the dust cover down when you aren’t using the turntable to prevent dust from building up on your machine.

Downsides

As with any machine, there are some problems that you may run into. On occasion, the platter may not rotate, the sound may sound weird, or it may start skipping. These things don’t happen regularly, but they are common problems to run into with turntables. Thankfully, there is a very useful troubleshooting guide included with this turntable.

Sony PSLX300USB USB Stereo Turntable

Top Features/ Specs

  • Motor: Belt Drive
  • USB: Yes
  • Speeds: 33 1/3 RPM, and 45 RPM
  • Weight: 6 lbs.
  • USB Connection

With this turntable, you can connect it to your laptop or desktop, via USB, and then digitize your entire music collection. This is extremely useful because it allows you to take the music you already own with you wherever you go, instead of having to buy it again to get it on your mobile devices. This is also a good way to back up your collection just in case something ever happened to any of your records. USB connectivity is a selling point by itself for many people.

  • Sleek Design

Another feature to love is the overall sleek design of this turntable. It is compact and fits easily in most spaces. The black exterior goes well in pretty much any room, and although you don’t have a lot of personalization options with this one, it is still very sleek and worth considering.

  • Diamond Stylus

The stylus on this turntable is actually made of diamond, albeit a very, very small amount. Still, diamond is the hardest known material, so it is extremely durable. Diamond styluses are key in superb sound reproduction, and since they are so durable, you have to replace them less often. Diamond styluses are a personal favorite of mine, and of many others, so this is a great feature for this turntable to have.

Pros

Sony is a very well established and trusted brand, meaning they have a reputation that they have to maintain. You can trust that you’re getting a high quality product, made from durable materials. If Sony were to sell flimsy, plastic turntables that break after a few uses, they wouldn’t still be selling them.

Downsides

This is one of the more expensive turntables on the list, although it is still under $150. It is worth the money, and is often times even on sale online, so look around before settling for paying full price on this one.

1byone Belt Driven Bluetooth Turntable

Top Features/ Specs

  • Motor: Belt Drive
  • USB: Yes
  • Speeds: 33 1/3 RPM, 45 RPM, and 78 RPM
  • Weight: 7.1 lbs.
  • Solid Wood Appearance

One of the best things about this turntable is clearly its design. Up until this point we have only seen turntables with a very basic designs, but this one harkens back to the classic turntables everyone used to own. The exterior is made to look like one solid piece of wood. Wood often times has a warmer, more natural and traditional feeling to it, so if you love wooden items or the way wood looks, you’ll love this turntable. And don’t worry about any unwanted sound or resonance from the wood, the manufacturer already has it figured out, which is why this turntable blasts nothing but the best sound with undistorted bass.

  • Various Connectivity Methods

Another important feature is the various connectivity options you have with this turntable. You can connect this turntable to external speakers, like most other turntables, and you can even connect it to your computer via USB. Connecting your turntable to your computer allows you to record and save your songs as individual, portable music files that you can put on your phone, tablet, or iPod to take your music with you everywhere.

What sets this turntable apart from other turntables we have looked at is its Bluetooth and Aux connectivity abilities. This turntable allows you to connect devices, such as your phone, directly to your turntable, turning it into a speaker of sorts. This gives you maximum versatility and allows you to listen to music whatever way you’d like.

  • Full Range Stereo Speakers

As I mentioned earlier, you can connect this turntable is external speakers if you’d like. But, this turntable actually comes with full range stereo speakers built in, so it sounds great by itself, right out of the box. This is a really nice feature because it means even if you can’t afford to purchase separate speakers, you will still get high quality sound. The speakers make the entire turntable more enjoyable and make it a great choice for beginners as well.

Pros

Unlike many turntables under $150, this turntable has three speed settings, so you can play any record you want. If you already have a collection with 78’s, fear not, you can listen to them with this turntable. So far, we have only seen turntables with 2 speeds, so it is nice to see one with 3 speeds. It’s not hard to see how this turntable gives you more freedom than the other ones.

Downsides

Some people have trouble actually connecting the Bluetooth, but this can usually be resolved by carefully following the instructions they have provided. The Bluetooth cannot be connected to Bluetooth speakers or anything like that, only Bluetooth devices. Other than that, there isn’t really any problems with this turntable.

Turntable Vinyl Record Player

Top Features/ Specs

  • USB: Yes
  • Speeds: 33 1/3 RPM, 45 RPM, and 78 RPM
  • Weight: 7.6 lbs.
  • Bluetooth in & out

Unlike the previous turntable, which could not connect to Bluetooth in and out, this one does. Meaning you can connect to Bluetooth devices, like your cell phone, or Bluetooth speakers, like a sound bar. This gives you ultimate control over this turntable and allows you to do pretty much whatever you want with it.

  • High quality sound

This turntable also features 2 stereo speakers, which are sure to pump out the best sounding music possible. But, if you don’t like the speakers that come built in, this turntable also comes with RCA cords, so you can connect it to any other amplifier or speaker setup you’d like. Again, you have all the power to do what you want, without the turntable limiting you.

  • USB Connectivity

Lastly, this turntable can connect via USB. This means you can plug it into your laptop or desktop, whether it is Mac or PC, and create copies of all your songs and save them as MP3s. This makes it super easy to transfer music from one device to another and makes it so you can have your full music collection on all your devices. This is a relatively new feature when it comes to turntables, something that once seemed like a dream, but now it’s real. We can keep our whole vinyl collection right at our fingertips, something many people love.

Pros

The beautiful wooden construction is a big pull factor for this turntable. I, along with many pleased customers, love the way the construction is simple, yet elegant. It doesn’t scream for attention, yet is much more beautiful than some of the plain turntables we’ve seen. A wooden accent in a room never looks bad either, so it isn’t hard to find a place where this turntable seems at home.

Downsides

Some customers have said their models didn’t come with a manual. This kind of sucks, but a quick call to customer service should clear that issue up, if it arises. However, as far as quality goes, there is nothing to really complain about with this turntable, it is a great overall choice.

So Who’s the Winner?

After comparing the seven turntables we have looked at, the ultimate winner, and the best turntable you can buy under $150, is the Denon DP-29F Turntable. It is lightweight, yet sturdy, and everything you need a turntable to be, without compromising quality. It doesn’t have a whole lot of bells and whistles on it, but it’s really great at what it does, which is why it is my top recommendation. The sound quality is unmatched, and thanks to the belt driven system all you hear is your music. If you are upgrading from a dinky suitcase turntable, the sound quality of this one will blow you away. There is no excessive resonance or vibrations, the sound is crisp and clear, offering one of the best music listening experiences possible. The other turntables are great options too, so if you feel pulled towards a certain one, don’t hesitate to do more research and choose a different one. In the end, it is best to follow your gut, deep down you already know what you want.

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