Top 10 Best Portable Record Players 2018: Your Easy Buying Guide

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portable record player, portable turntable, suitcase record player, best portable record player, record player with speakersNumark

Want to enjoy vinyl wherever you go?

A portable all-in-one turntable has everything you need to play your favorite records all in one convenient suitcase size.

Any longtime vinyl enthusiast will tell you that you have to drop hundreds of dollars on a top of the line hi-fi system to truly appreciate the format, but this simply isn’t the case.

No matter your setup, vinyl records provide an intimate and tactile experience that connect you to your favorite albums in a way that can’t be done with digital formats.

After all, there is nothing like pulling out a fresh LP, finding the groove for you favorite track, and dropping the needle.

Sure, the high fidelity of vinyl audio is best showcased at the upper price range, but there are plenty of low-priced portable turntables that meet the needs of a budding vinyl enthusiast.

They are compact and durable. They have built-in speakers for on the go listening, and a USB connection for ripping audio.

These features also make portable record players a great tool for crate digging at shops or yard sales. But which portable player reigns supreme? It’s honestly hard to tell.

Admittedly, some of the best names in portable record playing are well out of production. You would be well off to find a used Audio Technica Sound Burger, or a Vestax Handy Trax, or a SONY PS-Q7 on a secondhand marketplace.

But with vinyl’s resurging dominance of the physical media market, these sought after models fetch an obscenely high price used. According to the Nielson Group, vinyl album sales in the United States increased by more than 1,000 percent over the past ten years.

That’s why you’ll find dozens of new and inexpensive options on the market. To make choosing one easy, we’ve rounded up our ten favorite portable record players for all variety of uses.

Whether you are appraising, archiving, or simply appreciating, read on below to browse the best portable turntables for the job.


1. Crosley CR6230A-TU Snap Portable Turntable

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Though they are the go-to punching bag for audiophile vinyl enthusiasts, Crosley’s budget turntables provide an accessible entry point for the beginner vinyl collector.

Sure, these portable units won’t sound as clear as a high-end vintage Rega turntable, but all-in-one record players help undercut the massive expense of a proper speaker system.

The CR6230A-TU Snap Portable Turntable packs some of Crosley’s best portable speakers, which fold out from the side of the suitcase-sized unit.

The speakers sound great, if not a little flat. They have a loud enough max volume to interfere with your record’s playback, so adjust the volume dial with caution.

Of course, the speakers aren’t worth a thing if they aren’t connected to a decent turntable.

That said, the CR6230A-TU plays surprisingly well considering its price range. It isn’t quite as well built as mid-range picks like the Audio-Technica AT-LP120, but it offers a clear and accurate sound.

It has an NP5 needle, which is a remarkable improvement over the no-name needles many other players in this price range offer.

But there are still a few shortcomings in the design. The platter does not come with a proper slip mat, but rather three small rubber feet to hold the record.

This works if you want to get right into the fun, but you should upgrade to a quality slip mat asap to avoid damaging your records.

One more glaring issue is that the tone arm does not come with a counterweight. Installing one is another upgrade you’ll want to make, as the less control you have over your tracking force, the more likely you are to damage your records.

Aside from these gripes, the CR6230A-TU runs pretty smoothly. This turntable plays at all three common record speeds (33 1/3, 45 & 78 RPM), and offers a variety of hookups for different uses.

You get an auxiliary input, a headphone jack, an RCA output, and a USB output. The USB output can be used to convert analog audio to a digital audio format like MP3.

The Snap is far from the slimmest portable player around, but this is a great choice when you need to pack some power without a full sound system.

Price: $147.22 (26 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Crosley CR6230A-TU Snap Portable Turntable here.


Pros:

  • Powerful fold-out speakers
  • Clear three-speed playback
  • RCA and USB output

Cons:

  • No tonearm counterbalance
  • No included slip mat
  • Bulky form factor

Find more Crosley CR6230A-TU Snap Portable Turntable information and reviews here.



2. Numark PT01 USB Portable Turntable

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The Numark PT01 isn’t the most stylish portable turntable out there, but this compact belt driven sound system is a perfect choice for crate diggers who need to sample every enticing record they come across.

Its protective dust cover, built-in carrying handle, and battery powered performance allow you to use this turntable just about anywhere.

Battery operation isn’t something you get out of every portable turntable, but it makes such a nice difference for mobile use. The PT01 runs on six D batteries (not included) for over 20 hours or on AC power indefinitely. It has its own built-in speaker to make things even easier.

The speaker is clear enough, but far too quiet for anything beyond personal listening. This deck has both a 1/4-inch and an 1/8-inch headphone jack, plus USB out and RCA out.

The USB connection is handy for digitally archiving vinyl recordings, as this three-speed player can handle 45s, 78s, and 12-inch LPs.

Just note that if you actually want to play 78s on any three-speed player, you should invest in a stylus specially made for playing them.

In terms of build quality, the PT01 fares better than most sub $100 phonographs. It has a sturdy little tonearm and comes with a decent cartridge. It plays records without issue, even if it doesn’t sound absolutely top tier.

This unit also offers ±10% pitch control, which is a handy addition if you are interested in beat-matching or playing records recorded in nonstandard speeds.

All things considered, the PT01 is one of the best deals you’ll find on turntables for under $100.

Price: $92.00 (7 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Numark PT01 USB Portable Turntable here.


Pros:

  • Battery powered
  • Three-speed playback with pitch control
  • RCA and USB output

Cons:

  • Low max volume on built-in speaker
  • Cheap tone arm locking mechanism

Find more Numark PT01 USB Portable Turntable information and reviews here.



3. Jensen JTA-230 Stereo Turntable

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The Jensen JTA-230 is not the most portable turntable around, but it is one of the best values in entry level record players at under $50.

Most Lego sets cost twice as much as this record player, but it still sounds surprisingly good. It has a decent needle with a metal cantilever, and its three-speed motor faithfully plays 33/45/78 RPM records.

This smaller player has an interesting mini platter, which means the LP sticks out from under gaps of the plastic dust cover. It looks quite cool when it plays, but leaves parts of your record vulnerable.

A bigger issue is the face that the player lacks a way to adjust tracking force. It does have tone adjustment, pitch adjustment, and auto stop, which are all a nice surprise on a budget deck.

It has decently loud 4W built-in speakers, but you also have access to your usual suite of USB output, headphone jack, and RCA out.

As for the trade-offs? You have far less portability. The dust cover doesn’t clip down for travel, nor is it sturdy enough. Its buttons sit exposed on the case and it doesn’t have a carry handle.

But if you want an inexpensive beginner turntable that is compact enough to take all around the house and supports a variety of different setups, then the Jensen JTA-230 is a great pick.

Price: $45.81 (39 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Jensen JTA-230 Stereo Turntable here.


Pros:

  • Loud built-in speakers
  • Three-speed playback with pitch control
  • Low price tag

Cons:

  • No carrying handle
  • No tonearm counterbalance
  • Dust cover doesn’t fully protect records

Find more Jensen JTA-230 Stereo Turntable information and reviews here.



4. 1byone Portable Stereo Turntable

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So you can’t exactly just slap a suitcase handle on something and call it portable. That’s why 1byone’s Portable Stereo Turntable earns major brownie points.

It’s durable, portable, and an overall super fun way to listen to records.

This PU leather suitcase with aluminum trim houses a decent budget record player and a pair of less-than-decent speakers set up to play audio from vinyl or an aux line-in.

Alternatively, you can play out via RCA port or a headphone jack. You can also rip audio to a USB flash drive.

As for how it plays, its quality is about comparable to other record players in this price range. The sound is clear and vibrant, but not as intricately detailed as a high-end chain-suspended turntable with a Koetsu cartridge.

This turntable holds one factor over a lot of its competition goes: it simply works. Most portable turntables that don’t have a tonearm balance (such as this one) are hit-and-miss from one record to the next since you can’t calibrate this one.

However, this three-speed player consistently plays without skipping or skating. It even has a drop level and auto stop to simplify the manual process of record playback.

Its build quality isn’t the best, but it still gets the job done in style.

As long as you don’t mind having to plug into an external speaker system when you need a little more power, this is one of the best choices for no-frills portable vinyl listening.

Price: $57.99

Buy the 1byone Portable Stereo Turntable here.


Pros:

  • Compact and durable
  • Clear three-speed playback
  • Low price tag

Cons:

  • So-so speaker quality
  • No tonearm counterbalance

Find more 1byone Portable Stereo Turntable information and reviews here.



5. Crosley CR6232A-BR Nomad Portable USB Turntable

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The Crosley Nomad is without a doubt one of the classiest portable record players around.

Its tough wood cabinet resembles vintage luggage, and its handle is sturdy like it came from a real suitcase.

The ends of this suitcase house two covered speakers to be used with vinyl or aux-in playback. These speakers put out a full and powerful stereo sound.

Alternatively, you have a headphone jack and an RCA output, allowing you to improve the sound output with a better sound system. It has a USB out port for ripping analog audio.

This three-speed turntable handles all the most prominent playback formats. It delivers a clear and consistent sound.

Its tonearm is balanced, though it does not allow you to adjust tracking force without making some modifications. Its motor speed is consistent and does not wow or flutter.

Its cartridge is an Audio-Technica NP5, a moving magnet cartridge that helps faithfully reproduce vinyl sound.

The player has auto stop, but it should be disabled, as it often cuts songs off a few seconds early.

Minor issues aside, the Crosley Nomad is a functional and beautiful option for portable listening. You could get more for this price, but it certainly won’t be as portable or stylish.

Price: $132.99

Buy the Crosley CR6232A-BR Nomad Portable USB Turntable here.


Pros:

  • Stylish and durable
  • Moving magnet cartridge
  • Loud built-in speakers

Cons:

  • Auto stop does not work properly
  • No tonearm counterbalance

Find more Crosley CR6232A-BR Nomad Portable USB Turntable information and reviews here.



6. Pyle Vintage Vinyl Stereo System

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The Pyle Vintage Vinyl Stereo System is the perfect portable record player for the music enthusiast who wants to do it all. This suitcase-style record players can play a number of different media sources through to an equal number of different outputs.

In addition to playing records, this Pyle turntable can also play CDs; read audio files from USB, SD, or Bluetooth; and play AM/FM radio.

It can output to its built-in speakers or a larger sound system via RCA out. Or you could just use the headphone jack.

But no matter how many extra features you add to a turntable, it still has to play records decently. There is little to complain about regarding the Pyle’s playback, aside from the lack of a tonearm counterbalance, which is something portable players tend not to have.

The sound is clear, and sounds fine out of the built-in speakers. The speakers get quite loud, and are cleverly built into the player’s deck. The only thing that’s really counter-intuitive about this suitcase design is that you must remove the lid to properly play records.

Those who want the performance of this without all the extra bells and whistles may be happy settling for the Pyle PVTTBT9BK Record Player instead, but if you don’t mind the larger form factor, then this retro inspired portable sound system is a great pick.

Price: $139.99 (26 percent off MSRP)

Buy the Pyle Vintage Vinyl Stereo System here.


Pros:

  • Built-in support for CD, USB, SD, Bluetooth, and AM/FM
  • Loud built-in speakers
  • Clear three-speed playback

Cons:

  • Lid must be removed to play vinyl
  • No tonearm counterbalance

Find more Pyle Vintage Vinyl Stereo System information and reviews here.



7. Victrola 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable

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The Victrola VSC-550BT-BK is an entry level suitcase turntable whose compact form makes it easy to play 33 1/3, 45/ or 78 RPM records anywhere you please.

Like most portables, its setup is pretty bare-bones. Its stylus and tonearm are of decent quality, though the player lacks elements that many would consider essential.

This includes a tonearm counterbalance, and a separate stylus for playing 78s specifically (something a newbie isn’t likely to need, though).

Still, it plays records decently, and also houses a CD player at the center of the platter for added playback options. Both media sources can be played through the Victrola’s decent built-in speakers, even though they don’t put out a whole lot of power.

If you want a more powerful sound, you can connect a stronger set of speakers using the RCA out or the Bluetooth. Or you could just plug in headphones.

Though the aluminum trim and durable carry handle give this player a rugged look, it is not particularly durable, and can’t be tossed around as much as other portables.

Still, considering its incredibly low price, this is exactly the kind of player that you shouldn’t worry too much about throwing around.

And that’s part of what makes it a great starter turntable.

Price: $69.99

Buy the Victrola 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable here.


Pros:

  • Built-in CD player
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Clear three-speed playback

Cons:

  • So-so build quality
  • No tonearm counterbalance
  • Nowhere to store power cable

Find more Victrola 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable information and reviews here.



8. Ion IT34 Duo Deck Ultra-Portable USB Turntable

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The Ion IT34 Duo Deck is a great way to get in touch with your analog side.

Sure, this portable turntable has an analog-to-digital converter for ripping audio to digital formats, but it also has two different analog audio sources to play from.

This turntable has a tape deck cleverly tucked beneath the control panel, allowing you to enjoy long lost tapes as well as records.

However, many will remember cassette tape as a noisy and compressed format that is not even close to as accurate as vinyl.

With that said, the cassette player is more of a novelty compared to the quality you can expect from the turntable. And how does it fare?

To be blunt, not well. The record player offers playback at decent quality, Amazon reviewers have skewered this player for a number of playback issues.

You are likely to run into skipping along with wow and flutter due to a weak motor and the fact that you can’t adjust the tracking force.

But if you only have a couple of records to listen to, you won’t see too many issues. It plays both 33 1/3 RPM and 45 RPM records.

In fact, a little bit of troubleshooting is a rite of passage for vinyl enthusiasts.

Plus, you really shouldn’t expect much from a portable unit.

It can be powered by four AA batteries (not included), which will allow it to play around six LPs without needing to be plugged in.

This makes it a great candidate for a fully portable setup, though a proper handle and cover are sorely missed.

The built-in speaker helps for portable play as well. It provides decent audio playback, or you could always opt for using the headphone jack.

Though it has its issues, this low priced turntable is still the go-to option if you also have a tape deck on your gift wish list.

Price: $71.99

Buy the Ion IT34 Duo Deck Ultra-Portable USB Turntable here.


Pros:

  • Built-in cassette player
  • Battery powered
  • Solid built-in speaker

Cons:

  • No handle or cover
  • Weak drive motor
  • No tonearm counterbalance

Find more Ion IT34 Duo Deck Ultra-Portable USB Turntable information and reviews here.



9. Electrohome Archer Vinyl Record Player

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Electrohome’s Archer suitcase record player evokes the vintage charm of the swingin’ ’60s with its stylish MDF case.

Its sturdy cabinet can be clipped shut and carried by its handle without fear of damaging your setup.

This turntable stands out for being one of the few budget portable models with an automatic return feature.

You still drop the needle to get the record started, but once the record reaches the final groove, the tonearm lifts and returns to its starting position.

One downside is that the auto return distance can’t be adjusted, so if it starts to act up, then you are out of luck.

But this turntable performs pretty well. It has a decent needle, and its tonearm is of acceptable quality.

its belt driven platter turns consistently, meaning there is minimal wow and flutter during playback. Its three-speed motor spins at 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM.

This player does track a little light, though. And without a counterbalance at the end of its tonearm, you might have to get creative to prevent skipping.

That would mean taping a dime on top of the cartridge, which isn’t something you should have to do if it were properly set up.

Still, this is by all means a budget player at $100, and a considerable chunk of that price goes towards the built-in features.

These two speakers have a combined output of 5W, and can get quite loud. Granted, they won’t sound fantastic at max volume, but they are still a nice addition for portable use.

This turntable also has a USB input, an aux input, and a headphone jack for private listening.

The Archer portable turntable is a solid pick for a vintage throwback novelty or a compact and portable option for a budding vinyl enthusiast.

Price: $99.99

Buy the Electrohome Archer Vinyl Record Player here.


Pros:

  • Portable and durable
  • Auto return tonearm
  • Loud built-in speakers

Cons:

  • No tonearm counterbalance
  • Auto return tonearm cannot be adjusted

Find more Electrohome Archer Vinyl Record Player information and reviews here.



10. Sylvania Turntable Record Player

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Its hard to even call Sylvania’s compact record player a turntable, since it is so far-removed from the tabletop form factor of a full-size turntable.

Instead, this player comes in a super portable fold-out format reminiscent of the old-school Audio-Technica Sound Burger.

It is small, battery-powered, and surprisingly clear sounding, especially considering it costs under $50.

Simply plug in four AA batteries (not included) and you can enjoy about a dozen hours of unplugged listening. Otherwise, you can power this record player via an onboard USB port.

This USB port can also be used to convert records to digital formats like mp3. But chances are, you are more interested in its vinyl playback than its audio conversion capabilities.

As far as playback goes, the Sylvania Portable performs pretty well. The turntable’s no-name needle offers clear playback without skipping.

This player runs at 33 1/3 and 45 RPM, and it includes a 45 RPM adapter. This belt-driven table is fully manual. This means it really should have a tonearm lifter, yet it does not.

The motor speed isn’t the most consistent, either, which can lead to slight pitch changes. However, this occurs rarely, and is hard to notice when it does.

The built-in mono speaker is so quiet that it’s hardly worth using, but it works for personal listening if you want to take it crate digging.

Otherwise, you could use the built-in headphone jack to send audio to a pair of cans or small speakers. Note that there is no line signal output such as RCA.

Whether you plan to pull it out for special occasions, or take it on every crate dig, the Sylvania Portable Record Player is about as good as you can expect out of a sub $50 player.

Call it a pleasant surprise.

Price: $38.21

Buy the Sylvania Turntable Record Player here.


Pros:

  • Ultra portable
  • Battery powered
  • Well-calibrated stylus

Cons:

  • Weak drive motor
  • No tonearm lifter
  • No RCA outputs

Find more Sylvania Turntable Record Player information and reviews here.



Heavy, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Our product recommendations are guided solely by our editors. We have no relationship with manufacturers.

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