10 Best Affordable Turntables for Playing Your Records

Discover the Best Affordable Turntables available when you're ready to upgrade your record player!

If you’re relatively new to the vinyl hobby, then you’re probably in search of the best affordable turntables on the market.  So in this article, I’m going to share my favorite selection for the top entry level and mid-range options when it comes to cheap, affordable turntable options.

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X
Pro-Ject T1
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO
U-Turn Audio Orbit PlusU-Turn Orbit Plus
Denon DP-400

The Best Affordable Turntables (TLDR)

The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO is one of the top affordable turntables ever made.

The best affordable record players on the market are:

  • Audio Technica AT-LP120XUSB
  • Pro-Ject T1
  • Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO
  • Audio Technica AT-LP60X
  • U-Turn Orbit Plus
  • Victrola Re-Spin
  • Denon DP-400
  • Marantz TT42P
  • Pro-Ject Essential III
  • Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC

The cheapest turntables on this list are the Audio-Technica AT-LP60X and Victrola Re-Spin, both costing between $100 and $150.  The AT-LP60X is the best record player for beginners (especially being fully automatic), while the Re-Spin is a great portable option with strong sound.

For those seeking a mid-range affordable turntable, the U-Turn Orbit Plus, Denon DP-400, Pro-Ject T1 and Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO are excellent options.  These record players range from about $350 to $600 and offer higher quality materials like carbon fiber tonearms, glass (or acrylic) platters, and moving magnet cartridges.  

Best Selling Turntables
1) Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB
2) Sony PS-LX310BT
3) Audio-Technica AT-LP3

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB

Enjoy the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB turntable.

Talk about a modern classic.

This record player has been around for a while and it showcases everything Audio-Technica is known for. First and foremost, it falls well within our price range. It’s built like a tank and brings you the type of core performance we were talking about earlier.

With the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB, you can play 33, 45 and the far less common 78 RPM records. It’s a direct drive unit, which isn’t really optimal but is more than acceptable in this case.

One thing that puts this particular model on top of our list is the amount of control you have over the record and the turntable itself. The tone arm is fully adjustable, which means you can calibrate the anti-skate dial and the height of the tone arm. On top of that, the cartridge is removable, as is the counterweight.

What all of this means is a lot of customization options down the road. Audio Technica comes with a built in pre-amp and a USB connection. You can bypass the pre-amp if you want to, which earns it another cookie point in our book.

All things considered, this record player is by far the best value for the money option at the moment.


  • Stellar sound quality for the listed price
  • Sturdy build
  • Tonal versatility


  • Not everyone appreciates the addition of those plastic parts
Audio-Technica AT-LP60X
Pro-Ject T1
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO
U-Turn Audio Orbit PlusU-Turn Orbit Plus
Denon DP-400

Pro-Ject T1

Now I used to often recommend the Pro-Ject Essential III, but it’s time to start paying more attention to the Pro-Ject T1.  What I like about the T1 is that it offers you a beginner’s-like entryway into the world of audiophile turntables.

Now unlike some of turntables you’ll find on this list, this one isn’t the most friendly for anyone that’s never touched a record player before.  There’s no automatic operation here, and there’s no built in phono preamp.  

But, if you’re committed to the vinyl hobby and are looking for a quality turntable, you will love the Ortofon OM5e cartridge that comes pre-installed on this table.  

On top of that, I absolutely adore the heavy glass platter you get here.  Putting your records on a solidly constructed glass platter will make you truly understand where your money has gone in terms of the construction of this turntable (which is built by hand in Europe). 

Pro-Ject Essential III

Pro-Ject Essential III

Now this is a turntable you’re going to need to search for on the secondary market to find. Compared to the Audio-Technica we just talked about, Essential III is a bit more refined turntable that also comes with a higher price tag. However, there is a perfectly good reason for this. Let’s start things off by saying that there are two versions of this model.

One version comes with a pre-amp and USB support, which is a bit pricier, and the other version doesn’t sport these features. The Pro-Ject Essential III plays your standard 33 and 45 RPM records and features a fully adjustable tone arm. However, it has no height adjustment and features a very rudimentary anti-skate device.

So, everything so far seems to be inferior to the Audio-Technica, yet it costs more. Why is that? Well, the Pro-Ject Essential III definitely is a bit more limited in the features and customization departments. However, it offers one benefit which compensates for all of the shortcomings we have listed—its anti-vibration technology used by Pro-Ject is superb.

This translates to incredible sound quality, which is what we are all looking for at the end of the day.


  • Sexy design
  • Sound quality matches that design we just mentioned
  • A punchy cartridge
  • One of the best deals you can get for this price


  • Stock mat is a bit on the sticky side
  • Fans of vintage turntables may not fancy the design

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC

Yup, we got another Pro-Ject model for you, this time it’s the Carbon record player. This one, similar to the Essential III, is going to have to be a turntable you track down one thie used market (as the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO–discussed later–) has overtaken the Debut Carbon DC.

Now, this one is pushing the limits of your budget, but it definitely belongs on this list. Generally, you get similar specs to Essential II in terms of RPMs supported and how adjustable the tone arm is.

Again, just like the Essential II, it comes in two versions. One has a pre-amp and USB support, the other doesn’t. Unfortunately for us, the more expensive Carbon with the pre-amp and USB goes outside of our budget, so be prepared to spend some extra money on a dedicated pre-amp.

The only reason why this record player is on our list is the tone arm. That is it. The package as a whole is not that attractive, but the tone arm simply warrants mentioning Pro-Ject Carbon at some point.

What makes this particular tone arm so special is the fact that it’s made out of carbon fiber, hence the name. Using carbon instead of usual metal alloys gives you way better, unwanted resonance damping as well as the general performance of the tone arm. For this reason alone, Pro-Ject Carbon is among the top 3 consumer grade record players on the market.


  • An outstandingly warm and punchy sound
  • Can genuinely stand up to much more expensive models on all fronts
  • Classy looks
  • A strong tonearm backed with a heavy platter


  • Some users report minor noise issues after extended periods of use
  • The cartridge could be better

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO

I really wanted to make every turntable on this list fall under the $500 price point, but I had to make an exception for the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO.

Now the second turntable I ever owned was the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, so I felt it was only right to recommend the latest evolution in the Debut Carbon line—the Debut Carbon EVO.

The first thing that makes the EVO cool is its variety.  You can get this turntable in everything from satin black to glossy yellow to a walnut wood grain finish.  So whatever kind of room color (or wallpaper) you’re rocking on the walls, your turntable will fit in just fine.

On top of that, though, I always appreciated how reliable the Debut Carbon line of turntables is.  They just work—and work quite well (in my opinon).  A big part of their appeal is the Carbon Fiber Tonearm the turntable is affixed with.  If you’re used to record players with tons of plastic (or rocking a ceramic cartridge), you’re going to immediately notice the difference in weight and quality when you start playing your records on the Debut Carbon EVO.

Do note, however, that you will need a phono preamp for this record player.  I personally use the Vincent PHO-701 (which I love), but you can also check out this video below I made on finding a relatively cheap phono preamp.

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X
Pro-Ject T1
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO
U-Turn Audio Orbit PlusU-Turn Orbit Plus
Denon DP-400

Marantz TT42P

Similar to a couple other turntables on this list, you’ll likely have track down this record player on eBay or some other website. And compared to the models we listed above, this Marantz is consumer grade to the core. What you get is a more or less plug-and-play turntable that requires little to no calibration.

Depending on what your attitude towards record players is, this can be a good or a bad thing. We personally don’t like the user being limited in this way, but Marantz TT42P has some qualities which make it a great choice for our purpose.

In terms of records it can play, both the 33 and 45 RPM are supported. This is a belt driven unit with an exceptionally well-made motor that does a decent job at eliminating unwanted vibrations. The tonearm is pretty much calibrated out of the box, and you won’t be able to change much at all.

This is why we have a grudge against this model. If your cartridge or stylus goes belly up, you will pretty much have to use the OEM part. No customization is available what so ever. With that said, the sound quality is great and you get some automatic features like auto start/stop.


  • It’s the one and only Marantz!
  • Sound quality – pure vintage organic class
  • Renowned German craftsmanship
  • Will last for a long time


  • Phono leads could be better

Audio Technica AT-LP60X

We’ve decided to include one super cheap model that will appeal to those on a very strict budget. Audio-Technica AT-LP60X is the king of the affordable segment, and ruler of cheap barely acceptable performance.

Alright, so what you get with this package is a very rudimentary system that is designed to give you a basic experience. This turntable plays the standard 33 and 45 RPM records, comes with a built-in pre-amp and delivers a decent sound. What it doesn’t offer is USB support, any kind of counterweight or tonearm adjustment, and no anti-skating systems.

All of this translates to you being very careful with which records you play and how you setup the turntable. If you are seriously under budget, this is only one out of two models we recommend under the $200 range. We’ve seen the vinyl aficionados recommending this puppy quite a few times, and in most cases, people were in awe by how cheap this thing is! On top of that, the original Audio-Technica AT-LP60 (without the “X”) was my very first record player, so I do have a soft spot for this model.


  • Best cheap turntable money can buy, a stunningly low price
  • Top bang for the buck in terms of sound, build quality and durability


  • Needless to say, it’s inferior to other items from the list, but for this price, no complaints!

U-Turn Orbit Plus

It’s hard to not love a turntable company that’s not only designing record players in the United States, but assembling them here too.  And that’s exactly what you get with the U-Turn Orbit Plus, a record player that will be assembled in the state of Massachusetts.

At less than $350, the U-Turn Orbit Plus is very affordable.  It may not have a beautiful glass platter like the Pro-Ject T1, but it does come with an acrylic platter.  That’s still really awesome, and it will absolutely help with the consistently or stability of your record speed when playing your favorite album.  This will also help to prevent vinyl record skipping, as well.

In fact, when I used to have my Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, I intentionally installed a $100 acrylic platter for it to achieve improved playback speed and quality (and the ability for me to finally exile my turntable mat from rotation, which freed me from the concern of unwanted static and surface noise).

Victrola Re-Spin

This photo of the Victrola Re-Spin was taken by Michael for Devoted to Vinyl

Now, if you’re looking for the best cheap turntables on the market, I think it’s hard to go wrong choosing the Victrola Re-Spin.

Now Victrola record players have fairly bad reputation amongst veteran vinyl enthusiasts.  The belief that they’re poorly constructed or will destroy your records is very pervasive within the community.

And while I’m not saying that there’s no merit to these claims at all (Victrola is, after all, making record players with cheaper materials housed within the product), that doesn’t inherently make them bad.  It does, however, make them very affordable.

So when Victrola sent me the Re-Spin a few months ago, I was a little skeptical.  But I have to say, for about $100 on average, I think you’re getting one of the better suitcase record players on the market.

This is a portable player, so you can easily pick it up and take it on the go with you.  And on top of that, I was impressed with the full bodied sound coming out of the built in speakers.

Are these speakers better than getting a two channel setup in your home?  No.  Is it better than having tower speakers?  Of course not.  But, if you’re a casual vinyl fan that is just looking for something solid—and something that has a fun, retro aesthetic (and will actually pump out pretty strong, room-filling sound)—then the Victrola Re-Spin just might be for you.

Denon DP-400

The Denon DP-400

I’m a fan of both the Denon DP-400 and the Denon DP-450USB.  However, because the DP-450USB costs about $200 more than the Denon DP-400, I decided that it’s best to primarily focus on the DP-400.

Here’s what I like about the Denon DP-400—it’s a semi-automatic record player that offers a nice entry point into the early stages of higher end turntables.  And all for about $400 on average.

On top of that, this Denon comes with a built in phono preamp, so you can end up saving quite a bit of money on having to buy an external phono preamp (no longer needed) and instead invest that savings into your speakers (or just getting a few extra vinyl records).

No, you’re not getting the USB capability here that you’d get with the Denon DP-450USB.  But, as long as you’re not in need of transferring your vinyl records to MP3 or CDs (for fun or archival purposes), then this is a great record player that, in my opinion, challenges the likes of the Project T1 and Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO.

Key Elements of Record Players

If you look at a record player, you can immediately recognize several components. You are going see the housing, which is the box where all the electronics are, the platter, and finally the tone arm.


The housing hides the motor, which spins the platter where you load records. If you would like to get familiarized with every element of the turntable, check out this neat infographic for a more detailed description.


There are two types of motors (and both have their pros and cons):

  • Belt drive system
  • Direct drive system

The former means that the motor is actually displaced to the side and is connected to the platter using a belt. The benefits of this approach are the reduction of vibrations and cheaper manufacturing costs. On the other hand, belt driven systems take longer to spin the platter and they can we worn out. With that said, the consensus is that belt drive is the optimal choice if you want best audio quality.

Direct drive means that the motor is placed in the center of the turntable and is driving the platter directly. This is a bit more expensive option. The con of using a direct drive is the increase in vibrations, but that is solved using a slip mat which provides a buffer between the platter and the vinyl.

Tone arm

The tone arm is the part of the record player which guides the cartridge and the stylus on top of the record. A cartridge is that bulky piece that sits on the very end of the tone arm and is used to translate the groves on the record into an electrical signal that is later sent to the amp.


This component also houses the stylus. A stylus is basically that needle that reads the grooves, and it’s extremely delicate, so be careful with it! In order to prevent damage to the stylus and the record, there is a counterweight on the opposite end of the tone arm. You need to calibrate the counter-weight so that the stylus is applying the right amount of force on the record, which won’t damage either component.


Just like it’s the case with any other Hi-Fi equipment, pre-amps are a pretty big deal when it comes to turntables. Most affordable models come with built-in pre-amps, but that is not always the best choice. Ideally, you will want to have a built in pre-amp because it’s cheaper, but also an option to bypass that amp when you decide to upgrade.

Record players we have today come loaded with various features. Since we are talking about budget models, most of those features don’t really matter. What we are looking for is the best quality record player for our money. That means we want the core performance to be on point, but anything else comes second.

33 1/3 RPM vs 45 RPM

If you’re a beginner that’s in the market for a new turntable, it’s very important to know that there are different kinds of vinyl records, and that they spin at different speeds.

With that said, there are two main types of records which are being used today. You have the 33 1/3 RPM speed records and 45 RPM ones. These numbers indicate how fast the record is playing. The 33 1/3 RPM is what albums are recorded on—these are often going to be the big, 12” record discs that most people are familiar with.

The 45 RPM record disc is what singles are recorded on.  These discs are usually almost half the size of the 12” record (these are 7”, to be specific), but they spin at a faster rate.  The musical fidelity on 45 RPM records tends to be a bit better than those that spin at 33 1/3 RPM.

Finding the Affordable Turntable

The operating word here is budget. Contrary to popular belief, you can get audiophile level record players in the $200-$500 range. Going lower than that is not really recommended because models in that range can cause damage to the record, and are generally not reliable.

With that said, let’s list some features we are looking for in our preferred record players:

  • It needs to spin both 33 and 45 RPM records
  • It should have a decent motor
  • It should allow for some upgrades
  • It should come with adjustable tone arm
  • It needs to be well built

Alright, now that we know what we’re looking for, hopefully you’ve found my list of the best record players under $500 (or so) listed in this article to be helpful.

Wrapping It Up

If you’re looking for some of the best affordable turntables on the market, well, you’re in luck.  Whether you prefer a very budget friendly option, like the Audio-Technica AT-LP60X or the Victrola Respin, or you’re willing to shell out for something more expensive like the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO, it’s nice to know that the vinyl hobby offers affordable options for those that are both entry level vinyl fans, as well as those looking for quality mid-range record players!

You Also Might Like:

  1. What’s the Best USB Turntable?
  2. Best Semi Automatic Turntable?
  3. What are the Top Turntables Under $500?
  4. Best Places to Buy and Sell Vinyl Online
  5. Are Low Budget Turntables Worth the Money?

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *