The Best Record Player Under $100

Technics Record Cartridge Close up With Playing A Vinyl Record

Odds are if you are looking to enter the world of vinyl then music is a passion of yours. Listening to vinyl can be a great hobby that can lead you to appreciate your music in unique ways. The ritual of setting up your turntable and having the needle drop onto the LP can cause you to slow down, give the album the attention it deserves, and maybe hear something you have never noticed before. 

Interest in vinyl has been on the rise since its near-death in the mid-2000s. Between the crates of secondhand records being picked through in thrift shops and new artists once again putting their albums out on vinyl, sales of vinyl are poised to outsell CDs for the first time since ’86.

In these days of online-everything and where streaming is constant, there is something enchanting about holding a physical copy of the music in your hands, looking through the art inside, and letting the music take you away.

What to Look For in a Turntable

A Vinyl Home Audio Setup With Small Speakers and A CD Player

There are a few things to consider when starting down the path to buying a turntable—whether it is your first turntable or first one in a long time. To begin, regardless of the turntable you choose, you will need a pair of speakers and an amplifier/receiver to power them, or ’active speakers’ that have an amplifier built into them. This is because turntables do not provide enough voltage to power speakers.

Next step is to look at what kind of audio signal the turntable will send to the amplifier/receiver. Most turntables come with a ‘phono output’. This is a very low-level signal that needs equalization to sound right. Older receivers and some new ones have a ‘phono input’ that will accommodate this signal, otherwise a separate phono pre-amp is needed.

Some turntables can come with a ‘line-level output’, this is the standard audio signal used today and can plug directly into an amplifier/receiver or active speakers without issue, the same way you would for an iPod or computer.

Ok, now that we are done with what happens with the audio signal after it leaves the record player,  let’s talk about the turntable itself. From the outside, a turntable seems to be fairly simple, but each component needs to work together for the best operation.

The motor needs to deliver consistent speed to minimize pitch changes in the music. The platter, the plate the record sits on, needs to translate the motor’s rotation efficiently to rotate the vinyl smoothly. The tonearm must ensure the needle travels across the record properly without skipping. The needle has to pick up the sound accurately, and all the parts need to be constructed in a way to reduce resonances so unwanted noise doesn’t enter the audio signal and make its way to your speakers.

All these components affect the operation, quality of sound, and durability of a turntable, and manufacturers are constantly improving them for the better. Now that you know a little more about the parts of a turntable you will have a better understanding of the differences between the many models available today.

The Best Entry-Level Turntable
Audio-Technica AT-LP60X

The only Record Player Worth considering for less than $100

If you are interested in getting into the hobby of vinyl collecting and listening but are hesitant on spending a lot of money, then Audio-Technica’s AT-LP60X may be the perfect turntable for you. Available for under a hundred dollars, this easy-to-use turntable delivers past its price point in quality, and will have you enjoying vinyl without a lot of commitment.

Audio-Technica has been a leading name in the world of vinyl for decades, and this turntable is an improvement over their successful AT-LP60, with a redesigned tone arm for improved tracking and reduced resonance. They also moved the power adapter to the outside of the unit to reduce unwanted noise.

It comes with switchable phono or line-level outputs, so it can work with a variety of receivers. With its fully automatic start, stop, and pause buttons it is a breeze to use. Simply press the play button and the record will start spinning with the tonearm automatically moving to the start of the record. The AT-LP60X is a great way to get started in listening to vinyl.

This Turntable is For:

Someone looking to get into vinyl without spending a lot of money.

This Turntable is Not For:

Someone looking to make listening to vinyl a serious hobby.

Why to Consider Spending a Bit More

Here at Honestly Audio we want you to have complete trust in our reviews and recommendations. So, when it came to finding turntables under a hundred dollars that were worth your time and consideration, the AT-LP60X was the only turntable we felt would be worth recommending in good consciousness. Not that there are no other options available, only that we felt there was not enough value to them for our readers.

With that being said, while the AT-LP60X is a great entry-level turntable it may be worth consideration to spend a little more and explore some other options. When you look at turntables above a hundred dollars, there is an overall increase in quality, functionality, performance, appearance, and sound quality. While it is easy to continually climb up the price ladder and look into the latest and greatest, there is some great value in seeing what is available for slightly more money. That way you can be confident in your decision, knowing you decided the added cost was or was not worth it.

The Best Turntable Under $200
Sony PS-LX310BT

Simple, Clean, and Best Value Record Player

Worth considering if you are willing to spend more is Sony’s PS-LX310BT—a sleek looking turntable that delivers high-quality audio with some modern conveniences.

It features one-step automatic playback with auto start/stop at a single button press, a switchable phono or line-level output with adjustable gain settings, as well as Bluetooth connectivity. You can use the Bluetooth output to send your vinyl to an enabled receiver, speakers, or headphones allowing greater flexibility. Also included is a USB connection enabling you to use a computer to rip your vinyl records into digital files.

The PS-LX310BT is constructed out of high-quality parts for improved performance, such as the sturdy aluminum tonearm for stable playback, a robust yet lightweight die-cast aluminum platter for improved stability while rotating, and a premium phono preamp. While being more money, this turntable has enough added benefits that it may be worth your time to consider.

This Turntable is For:

Someone looking for a high-quality turntable at a competitive price.

This Turntable is Not For:

Someone looking to simply listen to vinyl with no extra cost.

About The Author

Jack Nemo is a professional sound engineer based in Alberta, Canada. He’s managed to make a career out of his love for music while working with artists from around the world. When not behind a soundboard he can be found taking things apart to see how they work and attempting to put them back together again.