What are the best turntables under $300?
While it sounds like a large outlay, $300 is low-priced.
Especially considering you can pay over $2,000 for a high-end turntable.
So within this price range, we MUST expect imperfections.
But WHERE manufacturers cut corners is the key to uncovering the best turntables at this price.
Because if manufacturers make too many cost-cutting measures, you’ll have an underperforming turntable.
Vinyl is meditation, a moment to put my feet up and escape. Of course, skipping records will disrupt the peace. I found this out the hard way.
To my surprise, the skipping wasn’t down to the 70-year-old vinyl playing. In fact, the record player was the culprit.
So, I hunted for an outstanding player… and a budget one at that!
In this article, I’ll share my findings. I’ll share the pros and cons of the best record players under $300.
So let’s help you enjoy the charms of vinyl with an outstanding budget record player. Let’s dive into the best turntables for under $300.
Best Turntables Under $300 in 2021
The best turntables for under $300 in 2021:
- Best Overall: Fluance RT 82
- Best with Preamp: Music Hall MMF-1.3
- Best Bargain: Crosley K100
- Best for DJ: Gemini Professional TT-400
- Best Value For Money: Sony PS LX310BT
- Best With Wood Finish: Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN
Before diving into reviewing each turntable, let’s look at pros and cons at a glance.
|Best Overall||Fluance RT 82||High-definition audio qualitySmooth playback.Available in four colors.||The expense of additional equipment to get started.|
|Best with Preamp||Music Hall MMF 1.3||Built-in preampRemovable headshellAluminum tonearm and platter||Lightweight MDF Plinth|
|Best Bargain||Crosley K100||AffordabilityPro features inc. Anti skate, hydraulic lift control, and height adjustment.Included 30 watts powered Bluetooth speakers.||Weak preamp level. Replacement cartridge recommended.|
|Best For DJ||Gemini Professional TT-400||Instant startupUSB connectionFeatures suited to DJs inc. Grip platter, high torque, and pitch bend.||No dust cover included. Replacement cartridge recommended.|
|Best Value For Money||Sony PS LX 310 BT||Stylish contemporary design.Bluetooth connection for wireless speakers and headphone playback.Fully automatic tonearm finding the groove and returning at the end of the record.||Besides aluminum tonearm and platter, the predominant material is plastic.Low output level|
|Best Wood Finish||Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN||Contemporary wooden minimalist designCarbon fiber tonearm durabilityThe great sound quality for the price.||Not feature-richSome dynamic compression|
Best Overall: Fluance RT 82
Earning the crown of the best record player for under $300 is the Fluance RT 82. The RT 82 receives rave reviews from audiophiles and here’s why.
The Fluance RT 82 does what any record player should do… Produce amazing sound quality.
Shouldn’t all turntables do this?
Yes! But manufacturers often neglect sound in favor of gadgets and boundary-pushing.
The RT 82 is the player for the muso. The pure analog signal gives you full control of pre-amplification.
Reference turntables like the Fluance RT 82 offer heightened sound quality. Sure, you’ll have the expense of a preamp, but the positive is the improved audio.
Pairing the RT82 with a PA10 preamp is the ideal combination if you’re starting from scratch. This setup excels beyond a beginner’s Hi-Fi system. Be sure to add a magnificent set of speakers for prime sound quality.
An RT 82 is a player very much for the purist. Shipped in parts to reduce damage, you’ll have to set it up. Once ready, it’s not an automatic process to play a record, it’s every bit manual.
When the Ortofon OM10 cartridge drops, the listening experience is worthy of a higher-priced player.
The RT 82 plays records with a pro smoothness. With a high-end motor and adjustable rubber feet, there’s minimal vibration leading to consistent playback.
The downside is the additional outlay for a good preamp and set of speakers.
But the core principle of this turntable is sound quality. So if you have the Fluance RT 82 as part of your system, you’re close to experiencing high-level audio.
Best with Preamp: Music Hall MMF 1.3
Having read the top pick, it’s legit to think… I don’t want to buy a pre-amp!
Let’s introduce you to the Music Hall MMF 1.3. With a built-in preamp, just add a magnificent set of speakers and a vinyl for a top listening experience.
But a big plus next to the Music Hall MMF 1.3, is offering room to develop your system.
Say down the line if you wanted to boost the gain with a pre-amp. With the flick of a switch, you can choose to use external amplification.
The removable headshell adds further flexibility to upgrade and maintain.
Attached to the headshell by screws, the cartridge is changeable but can be tricky. So it’s much easier with the headshell.
You can have cartridges in different headshells and change them fast. The quick-change is helpful for achieving different nuances in sound or swapping faulty gear.
Not that you’ll need to remove the cartridge just yet. See, it’s fitted with an Audio Technica AT3600L which delivers crisp, detailed music.
But it’s nice to know that this turntable can grow with your enthusiasm.
The Music Hall doesn’t feel like an entry-level table. You’ll find lots of aluminum. From the platter to the casing, it’s sturdy.
And with three speeds, you’ll have versatility. By its very nature, the MMF 1.3 is an entry-level turntable because of its price.
But in reality, there’s so much that makes you think this turntable is here to appease the fussiest of audiophiles.
Best Bargain: Crosley K100
Now let’s look at the bargain pick. What if you want a turntable for under $300 but don’t want the expense of a preamp and speakers?
You drive a hard bargain!
With criteria like this, don’t expect performance like the top pick. But here at Set The Record Player, we like to give you options.
So here’s the true bargain on the list… the Crosley K100.
One transaction and you’ve got all the tools. The record player comes with a built-in preamp and speakers. We’re not talking about internal speakers here. This package comes with 30 watt powered speakers.
Furthermore, these Crosley branded speakers have Bluetooth connectivity.
At this price, you’d be right to have your suspicions.
But is it too good to be true?
Crosley doesn’t have the best rep, but the K100 is one of the better in their catalog.
It comes with advanced features like an adjustable counterweight. The S-shaped tonearm has an anti-skate feature, these work well for precise playback. There’s no more skipping second-hand vinyl here.
An NP5 needle supplies fidelity in sound. Audiophiles may want more bass from the cartridge and oomph from the preamp.
But you can’t have it all and this player allows for upgrades.
At a bargain price, the Crosley K100 is the surprise package. And it’s very much a package. With everything to go from the off, it’s ready to go out of the box.
Best For DJ: Gemini Sound TT-4000
So what if you’re a DJ? A record player is also a tool for performance, but you’ll need a player suited to this application.
Designed with DJs in mind, the Gemini Sound TT-4000 has features to make life easy.
Four isolation feet with rubber grips keep the player in situ. So scratch without fear of skipping or moving the player.
An easy-grip platter is reachable without putting your hand on your records. Scratching and reversing the turntable is smooth and precise.
Fitted with LED lights in all the appropriate places, it’s easy to handle even in the dark. So when performing under stage lights or in a dark corner of a club, you can still have control.
Gemini is a company created by DJs dating as far back as the 70s. They have a wealth of knowledge in this field. So the TT-4000 is a player with the DJ in mind.
It’s a top performer in this field for both functionality and sound quality. If there was one small gripe it is the lack of a dust cover. So keep this in mind between DJ sets when dust can settle.
Best Value For Money: Sony PS LX310BT
An evolution of the famed Sony PS-LX300USB, the PS-LX310BT finds its way onto many best-of lists.
Why? Well, it’s a stylish player that not only looks the part but delivers high-definition audio.
Why is it the best value for money on this list? It’s under $200!
A Sony turntable for this price is a sure-fire hit. But beyond the name, let’s look at why it’s so good.
It’s a modern player designed to sit on shelves of contemporary decorated houses. If tradition is your thing, it won’t be for you. From the tidy buttons to the sleek tonearm, the smooth design is futuristic.
There’s Bluetooth connectivity to play vinyl through wireless speakers. With the two 33 ⅓ and 45 rpm playing speeds, it has everything you need for a starter player.
It’s an effortless listening experience with the PS-LX310BT. One press of a button and the tonearm finds the groove. No messing with flimsy tonearms. Furthermore, upon the record finish, the tonearm returns to its seated position.
Some features enhance the sound quality. The built-in preamp has a gain control feature. You can adjust the level to avoid distortion. The aluminum platter and stable torn arm have the power to produce clean yet powerful audio.
Making a list with a $300 threshold is a testament to this player. Pitted against the top pick, the LX310BT won’t have the same dynamic range. Also, the dust cover scratches easily. So take care during the cleaning.
But there’s no doubt the Sony PS-LX310BT offers bang for the buck. For the fashionable spinner wanting appearance to take priority, this is a top pick.
Best With Wood Finish: Audio Technica LPW40WN
This list wouldn’t be complete without an Audio Technica entry. You’ll find plenty of praise for the AT-LP120 and its predecessors. But let’s give acknowledgment to a turntable not as recognized.
For under $300, the AT-LPW40WN is a mid-level turntable offering solid performance.
While the famed AT-LP120X might have one foot rooted in the DJ world, the AT-LPW40WN is for the avid listener.
So let’s dissect some key features.
First up, the materials. The MDF body is heavy-duty, but it also offers a different visual aesthetic to the norm. The high grain walnut body screams expensive record player.
The minimalist combined with the wood finish will make it an ideal choice for some vinyl enthusiasts on looks alone.
With the built-in preamp, any speaker system with aux connectivity fits the bill. If you’ve got a suitable set of speakers, this player will deliver top sound.
The AT-VM95E cartridge attached to the AT-HS4 headshell is versatile for all styles of music. Furthermore, the stylus is part of the readily available VM95 range. So should you need an upgrade, there’s little fuss.
A carbon-fiber tonearm performs with durability ensuring precise playback.
If you’re looking for all singing and all dancing features. Then, look elsewhere, but this table is a no-frills belt-drive turntable with contemporary looks and detailed sound.
Comparison Chart Of Turntables Under $200
Let’s gather all the specs of each of the best turntables under $300. See below for specs at a glance.
|Make & Model||Speed||Built-in Preamp||Bluetooth||Drive System||Cartridge||Dimensions||Weight|
|Fluance RT82||33/45 RPM||No||No||Belt Drive||Ortofon OM 10||16.5” (W) X 13.4” (D) x 4.5” (H)||14.99 lbs|
|Music Hall MMF 1.3||33/45/78 RPM||Yes||No||Belt Drive||Audio Technica AT3600L||17.1” (W) x 14.5” (D) x 4.2” (H)||11 lbs|
|Crosley K100||33/45 RPM||Yes||Included speakers have Bluetooth||Belt Drive (Available as Direct Drive at extra cost)||Stock Replaceable Moving Magnet Headshell||29.00″ (W) x 13.80″ (D) x 9.75″ (H)||26.6 lbs|
|Gemini TT-4000||33/45/78 RPM||Yes||No||DC Motor||Gemini Replaceable Headshell||16.85” (W) x 13.7” (D) x 3.54” (H)||12.47 lbs|
|Sony PS-LX310BT||33/45 RPM||Yes||Output||AC Motor||Sony-branded Audio-Technica AT3600||17” (W) x 14.5” (D) x 4.3” (H)||7.9 lbs|
|Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN||33/45 RPM||Yes||No||Belt Drive||Audio Technica AT-VM95E cartridge on AT-HS4 headshell||16.53″ (W) x 13.38″ (D) x 4.6″ (H)||10.4 lbs|
What is the best turntable for home use?
The best turntable for home use depends on the budget. In the under $300 category… The Fluance RT 82, Music Hall MMF 1.3, Crosley K100, Gemini Professional TT-400, Sony PS LX 310 BT, and Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN are great entry to mid-level players. Each player has a unique look to suit different tastes.
How much should I spend on a turntable?
You can buy a turntable for as cheap as $40. But any turntable under $100 should be treated with caution. These players are often made to a poor standard and ultimately damage records. Entry-level turntables cost between $100 and $400. There are some great turntables in this price bracket that outperform the price but many in this range are of poor quality. Upwards of $400 have a quality to last for many years and a sound quality to shine on most speaker systems.
There we have it, the best turntables for under $300.
In this article, you’ll find some of the top performers in this price range. It pays to be careful in the entry-level price category, as this is where many underperformers live.
But, with our top six picks, we’re confident they’ll meet your needs.
Each player will suit different people. For example, determine whether you want a player for DJ performance or listening purposes. If it’s the first, with features to suit the DJ, the Gemini Professional TT-400 is great.
If you’re a vinyl collector like me, the Fluance RT 82 is the pick of the bunch. It’s a player with the long term in mind. With both build quality and high-definition audio, it’s a bargain.
But, it’s a turntable that needs a preamp to drive the signal. With a PA10, it’ll kick out the signal. More affordable preamps are available, but this is a peak setup.
If you don’t want the hassle, expense, or clutter of a preamp, then the Music Hall MMF 1.3 is the one. Paired with some top-of-the-range speakers, you’ve got a special system.
For a sheer bargain, the Crosley K100 has everything you need from the point of purchase. With external speakers included, this is a step up from most internal speaker record players.
As your budget gets smaller, the chances are the quality will deteriorate.
But, if you’re on a disciplined budget, the Sony PS-LX310BT is the most affordable on this list. For other players within the $200 budget… check out the article Best Turntables for under $200.
The aesthetics of the player matter. If you’re seeking a wooden finish to match your interior, then the Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN is worth considering. Nice wooden and finish, but it has the sound quality to boot.
Either way, I hope this article has been insightful and given you choices to consider.
So over to you. Take your pick, kick back and enjoy the music!