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Turntables can be expensive, but their cost isn’t always relative to their quality. Many excellent turntables are available at affordable prices.
Vinyl records have experienced a revival in recent years, despite almost becoming obsolete during the emergence of digital music. This newfound popularity has caused a greater demand for turntables.
A large number of new record players have been manufactured to capitalize on the resurgence of vinyl, which has made it difficult for people to choose the best option for their setup.
In this guide, we’ve selected the best affordable turntables that cost under $300, so that you can find one that suits your budget, and preferences.
In a Rush Roundup
How We Tested
The process of testing these affordable turntables involved focusing on three main areas – sound quality, build quality, and connectivity. We started by monitoring the tone and dynamics produced by the record players when they were connected to various speaker types, checking for prominent or weak spots in the output.
Moving on, we analyzed the components of the record players to determine how robust they are, and whether they are likely to last for a considerable time. Finally, we took note of the inputs and outputs that were installed on the turntables, and how intuitively the controls were laid out.
Best Turntable Under $300 Reviews
Audio Technica AT-LP60XHPGM Belt-Drive Turntable
Audio Technica AT-LP60XHPGM Belt-Drive Turntable Review
Audio-Technica is one of the leading manufacturers of budget record players. With this AT-LP60XHP Belt-Drive Turntable, the company has once again proven that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a capable turntable.
This belt-driven turntable boasts a vintage look, with modern functionality. Its tracking is one of its strongest attributes, with the rubber belt accompanied by other quality components including a custom-designed tonearm and a motor with a servo.
Another high-quality component that has been installed by Audio-Technica is the headshell, which ensures that the stylus and the cartridge are secured in place and reinforces the two sections of the tonearm.
The platter is made from die-cast aluminum, a material chosen for its ability to minimize undesirable vibrations and high-pitched ringing sounds, which often plagued record players in decades past.
The AT-LP60XHP also has an onboard phono preamp, which makes it compatible with the vast majority of audio systems. Finally, you also get two switchable speeds to facilitate different sizes of vinyl records.
- Belt-drive servo-controlled motor
- Die-cast aluminum platter
- Selectable onboard phono preamp
- Very easy to operate
- Compatible with any audio setup
- Conveniently sized and lightweight
- Included headphones don’t produce the best sound quality
Reloop RP-1000 mk2 Belt Drive Turntable
Reloop RP-1000 mk2 Belt Drive Turntable Review
The Reloop RP-1000 mk2 is one of the best affordable options available, with its onboard Ortofon pickup system significantly improving the clarity it produces. This system reduces vibrations and counteracts dampening.
Compared to the successfully original model, this second edition features a tweaked upper panel, which is joined by the addition of metal buttons to make the device more durable and solid.
The tonearm installed by Reloop is also worth highlighting. It has an onboard mechanism to prevent skating and has a curved, “s” shape. With a hydraulic lift, the tonearm effortlessly moves to and from the on/off positions.
If you’re spinning records at a party or late at night in your home, you can benefit from the onboard light which makes the needle instantly more visible without being too harsh on the eyes.
Finally, this belt-driven turntable also boasts pitch adjustment with a range of plus or minus 10%, and the set includes a slipmat, removable headshell, counterweight, and power cable.
- Belt-driven design
- 10% pitch adjustment slider
- Onboard Ortofon OM black pickup
- Smooth performing tonearm achieves consistent tracking
- Comes with a slipmat and removable headshell
- Dampens vibrations and minimizes noise
- No automatic arm feature
Numark PT-01USB Portable Turntable
Numark PT-01USB Portable Turntable Review
In the turntable industry, Numark is considered an icon. Professional and aspiring DJs all over the world use Numark’s devices, along with people who simply love listening to vinyl records.
The Numark PT-01USB is different from most affordable record players, both in its physical and sonic qualities. It is both compact and lightweight in design, and can easily be placed into a carry case for transportation.
Numark has managed to maintain a good level of durability despite the reduced size of this turntable. It has a built-in handle to reduce tension when you carry it, and it can slot inside a standard 12-inch record player case with ease.
With a belt-drive motor, this turntable can play records at three speeds – 33, 45, and 78 RPM. It also comes equipped with headphone outputs, RCA line-level outputs, and an internal monitoring speaker so that you can listen to records in any location.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the PT-01USB is how easy it makes digitizing your vinyl records. Simply hook the record player up to your computer or laptop via USB, and you can transfer any record into a digital format.
- USB connectivity
- Belt-driven motor
- 33, 45, and 78 RPM settings
- Very easy to set up and use
- Compact and mobile
- Hooks up to any RCA sound source
- The needle may need replacing after a while
Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT Wireless Belt-Drive Turntable with Bluetooth
Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT Wireless Belt-Drive Turntable with Bluetooth Review
The AT-LP60XBT is another great affordable turntable by Audio-Tecnica. It delivers reliable and consistent tracking with its servo-controlled motor and specifically designed tonearm.
This record player also has an Integral Dual Moving Magnet cartridge and a conical stylish measuring 0.6mm, which combine to further improve the smoothness of the sound it produces.
With onboard Bluetooth connectivity, you can easily hook up your wireless headphones to enjoy the sound of your vinyl records without disturbing anyone or having to contend with the limitations of wires and cables.
This turntable is predominantly built to provide high-fidelity sound quality, and it achieves this impressively. It can play at speeds of both 33 and 45 RPM and also has a built-in phono preamp that can be switched on when required.
The Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT also benefits from an AC adapter that performs AC/DC conversion eternally, so that no noise is directed within the chassis and through the sound system.
- Belt-driven servo-controlled motor
- Custom-built tonearm base
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Consistent tonearm motion
- Minimizes noise issues and tonal fluctuations
- Intuitive control layout
- Slightly heavier than most affordable turntables
Sony PSLX310BT Turntable with Bluetooth Connectivity
Sony PSLX310BT Turntable with Bluetooth Connectivity Review
Sleek and distinguished, the Sony PSLX310BT Turntable will enhance both the appearance of your record-playing setup and the sound. Equipped with Bluetooth technology, it makes connecting wireless devices to your sound system quick and simple.
With a roadworthy, straight arm and belt-driven design, this affordable turntable produces a reliable sound quality that isn’t prone to noise issues. It has a 3-way gain switch installed, which allows you to instantly increase the prominence of low, midrange, and high frequencies.
The MM cartridge that comes with this turntable is also consistent in its performance, and unlikely to wear out quickly if it is used correctly. The PSLX310BT is capable of playing records at 33 or 45 RPM, and it also has a USB Type-B output.
A dual ECA stereo analog output is installed for hooking the turntable up to speakers, or you can use the onboard Bluetooth connectivity to integrate the device into your wireless audio system.
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Die-cast aluminum platter
- Belt-driven motor
- Slimline design
- Sturdy tonearm and good quality needle
- Facilitates wireless headphone connections
- No onboard phono preamp
Numark PT01 Scratch Portable DJ Turntable
Numark PT01 Scratch Portable DJ Turntable Review
This unique turntable by Numark makes it easy for DJs to learn the art of scratching. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the popularity of portable turntable scratching, with DJs playing pop-up shows across the globe.
Numark has recognized this and designed a mobile turntable that can handle being transported from one location to another. However, this turntable isn’t only good for scratching – it can also be used to simply enjoy vinyl records.
With an onboard speaker that is surprisingly loud and clear-sounding, the Numark PT01 Scratch allows you to enjoy your favorite records without needing a hi-fi system or wireless speakers.
The “Scratch Slide” switch installed on this turntable is a unique feature, which acts like a crossfader but also allows you to quickly cut the audio. This is likely to be popular amongst DJs who have learned their craft on traditional scratching turntables.
With stereo RCA outputs, you can also connect the PT01 Scratch to a set of speakers, and Numark has also installed an aux input for connecting smartphones or other media.
- Onboard “Scratch Slide Switch”
- Stereo aux input
- Belt driven motor
- Ideal for scratching, DJing, and listening
- Versatile connectivity
- Has an onboard speaker for playback
- Slightly lacking in durability
Turntables Under $300 Buyer's Guide
Modern turntables are much more versatile than those that were popular in previous decades, but they still use similar basic blueprints and designs.
Getting your head around the many features, controls, and connectivity options these devices offer can be tricky. While some may be beneficial to you, others may simply make the operation of the turntable more confusing.
It’s important to understand how the turntables work and what the most common features are useful so that you can decide whether you need them or whether a more simplistic device would be a better option.
In the remaining sections of our guide, we’ll break down the most important aspects of affordable turntables so that you know exactly what to look for.
Things To Consider When Buying
Consider belt drive or direct drive
Direct drive turntables are the most common type for DJs. They have a motor installed underneath the platter, which rotates the turntable. Belt-driven turntables have an offset motor with a rubber belt that pulls the platter around to move the record. The belt drive is often used on vintage-style turntables.
Think about built-in preamps
Some turntables have onboard preamps, which are responsible for boosting the quiet signal that comes from the cartridge when a vinyl record is played. If the turntable doesn’t have a preamp, you’ll need to use an external to hear the audio through speakers. If the turntable has a line output, this means it also has a built-in preamp.
Do you need wireless connectivity
Many modern turntables come with Bluetooth connectivity which allows you to stream songs from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. If you want to keep your record player solely for vinyl, you won’t need this feature.
Consider inputs and outputs
Turntables commonly have a range of outputs, including speaker outputs, line-level outputs, phono outputs, and headphone outputs. They may also have auxiliary inputs for connecting external audio devices.
Turntable Features & Controls
Turntables have been around for many decades, and there are several well-respected manufacturers who produce a large number of these devices. Therefore, knowing what separates great turntables from average ones is important.
Turntables can play records at multiple speeds. The speed is measured by rotations per minute, commonly abbreviated to “rpm.”
The most common settings that you’ll find on a turntable that costs less than $300 are:
- 33⅓ rpm
- 45 rpm
These speed settings facilitate the majority of singles and LPs, but you may also find that a record player offers a third speed – 78 rpm. However, vinyl records that require this speed are quite rare and were only used for 10-inch records in the past.
Some turntables can perform certain functions automatically.
They may be able to identify the correct speed setting for a record and switch to it so that you don’t need to do this manually.
Additionally, turntables can automatically lower the tonearm so that the stylus comes into contact with the record’s grooves, making it quicker and easier to switch from one side to another or set a new vinyl record to play.
Turntable Preamps & Connectivity
All turntables require a device called a preamplifier to operate. In previous decades, the preamp was commonly externally connected to the turntable or installed in an older stereo system or amp.
Some modern turntables have an onboard preamp, so you can use them without needing an external device.
An easy way to determine whether the turntable has a preamp built-in is by checking for a USB output. If the turntable has this, it has an onboard preamp, and you won’t need a mixer or an external preamp for it to work.
Many turntables have wireless Bluetooth connectivity, which is useful if you want to stream music from a digital device as an alternative to using records.
Wireless connectivity is great for parties and gatherings, as it allows you to take requests and play them from your smartphone or tablet, through the turntable, and out of the connected speakers.
The turntables we’ve listed in this guide come with a cartridge. However, cartridges are not all the same quality – some perform better than others.
It’s a good idea to research the specific type of cartridge that your new turntable uses so that you can easily replace it once the stylus starts to wear out. This will inevitably happen due to the stylus rubbing against the record’s grooves over time.
The two types of cartridges are those that are mounted directly onto the tonearm and those that around mounted onto a headshell
Turntables Under $300 FAQs
What’s The Difference Between a Stylus and a Cartridge?
Every turntable has a tonearm attached to the record player’s body and a headshell on the end. The headshell is mounted to the end of the tonearm, where the cartridge is attached.
A turntable cartridge is a rectangle-shaped component that secures the stylus. The stylus is also called the needle and is the part that touches the grooves of a record and transmits the electronic signal to the turntable so it can be sent to the amp.
Can You Connect a Turntable Directly to Speakers?
Whether or not you can connect a turntable directly to a set of speakers depends on the specific connectivity option the record player offers. If the turntable has speaker outputs, this should be straightforward.
Some turntables may require you to connect your turntable to an amplifier before they can be sent to a set of speakers. The signal will need to be amplified to an adequate level so it can be audibly heard through the speakers.
Do I Need to Use a Preamp With My Turntable?
Some turntables come with built-in preamps, while others may require you to use an external device. It’s more common with modern turntables that they have a built in preamp, but older devices may not provide this.