​​The 4 Best Budget Turntables And 1 You Should AVOID! 2022 Guide

Are you looking for the best budget turntable? Then you’re on the right track. Buying a turntable like the Sony LX310BT will transform the way you enjoy music with its clean solid sound, easy setup, and connectivity features.

Best of all? It’s budget-friendly so you can appreciate the rich sound of your records without breaking the bank. 

Many budget turntables out there lack quality construction. Even worse, some have poor-quality platters and drive systems. The problem is that some reviews highlight the other features but not these important details.

It can sway you into buying a turntable with Bluetooth connectivity or a swappable stylus, but if the main components are not up to standards, you won’t be able to get a decent tone out of it. 

To help you make the most out of your budget, we’ve read numerous audiophile reviews and manuals to find the best affordable turntables.

This article will focus on the most important aspect of the record players, the sound quality it produces, before mentioning other features. This way, you can focus on finding the best-sounding unit which is the main reason to buy a turntable.

Once you have decided on a turntable, head over to The Best Budget Turntable Speakers, and complete your set!

​​The 4 Best Budget Turntables And 1 You Should AVOID! 2022 Guide

Top 4 Rated Budget Turntables and 1 to Stay Away From

Sony PS-LX310BT

Sony PS-LX310BT
Sale
Sony PS-LX310BT Belt Drive Turntable: Fully Automatic Wireless Vinyl Record Player with Bluetooth...
  • EASY OPERATION: Effortlessly enjoy your favorite records with one-step auto start, stop and return
  • TWO SPEEDS: 33 1/3 rpm and 45 rpm, with the 45 rpm adaptor stowed neatly in a slot beneath the deck
  • HIGH QUALITY AUDIO: Built in switchable phono output / line out phono preamp and 3 gain settings
  • USB RIPPING: Rip vinyl records to digital MP3 files on your computer to take a favorite LP on the go
  • WIRELESS CONNECTION: Connect to wireless speakers, headphones or other Bluetooth enabled devices. Supports phono and line output thanks to built-in Phono...

The Sony LX310BT redefined the term easy listening. It produces great sound without requiring too much fuss. This belt-driven, fully automatic model is not just easy to use; it is also low-priced, and allows you to enjoy music wirelessly. It may be the best budget turntable that is out there presently.

Impeccable Sound Quality

Sony is an established name when it comes to sounds, but this unit still surprised a lot of enthusiasts. The LX310BT was able to deliver an authentic record-listening experience.

Some users mentioned that details get blurred and that the dynamic punch is somewhat underwhelming, but the sound quality the unit produces is significantly better than those from other turntables in the same price range.

Feature-packed

This model offers Bluetooth connectivity. It can pair with up to 8 devices at one time so you can play your vinyl on your speakers, soundbars, and speakers.

The range is quite high at 10 to 15 meters so you can enjoy your music even if you’re in another room.

It has a pre-installed pre-amp but you can also use your own by attaching it to the line output at the back. You can also calibrate the gain. You can easily switch from low, medium, to high to minimize distortion.

Easy To Use

This model is another nearly plug-and-play set. All you need to do to start listening is to place the platter on the spindle and then position the belt.

That’s it. There is no need to calibrate anything. Plus the pre-installed Audio Technica (Sony-branded) AT3600 cartridge means you can play from the box within ten minutes.

Fully Automatic

Unlike the other turntables in the list, the PS-LX310BT is fully automatic. Just place the record on the platter and press the start button.

The tonearm will find the starting place on its own. And it also has an auto-stop so your platter doesn’t keep on spinning once the album or single has finished playing. Some users say that this feature makes the stylus last longer.

Minimalist and High-Quality Design

The Sony PS-LX310BT features a minimalist design. It’s basically just a plastic plinth with a tonearm and aluminum die-cast platter. It does have a removable dust cover.

It has few controls including a Bluetooth button, and some dials for choosing the play speed and size of the record. You can quickly change the speed from 45 rpm to 33 ⅓ with a turn of a dial. At the front are the controls for starting and stopping the turntable and for lifting the tonearm. 

The turntable feels sturdy despite being lightweight at 3.5 kg. The aluminum tonearm makes it durable and delivers a powerful base, rich sound, and stable playback.

Audio Technica LP120XBT-USB

Audio Technica LP120XBT-USB
Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB-BK Wireless Direct-Drive Turntable, Black
  • Fully manual operation, selectable 33/45/78 RPM speeds with direct-drive, DC servo motor and adjustable dynamic anti-skate control
  • Variable pitch control with quartz speed lock
  • Stroboscopic platter with speed indicator and removable plug-type target light for easier cueing in low light
  • Balanced S-shaped tonearm with hydraulically damped lift control and lockable rest
  • AT-HS6 universal ½"-mount headshell and AT-VM95E Dual Magnet phono cartridge with 0.3 x 0.7 mil elliptical stylus

The AT-LP120XBT-USB is deemed by some reviewers as the jack-of-all-trades when it comes to turntables. The sound that it is able to produce is up to standard, extracting plenty of details for the record.

The unit does well with rhythms and puts a good emphasis on midrange tones. It does particularly well in showcasing vocalists. While it may not be the most assertive-sounding turntable out there, it is still a good one for its price. 

Feature-packed

This Audio Technica model is a 3-speed turntable. This means it can play 33 ⅓ LPs, 45s, and 78s. So if you have all sorts of records hidden away, you’ll be able to play those on this unit.

Instead of being belt-driven, this model is direct-driven, meaning the aluminum platter is connected to its motor.

People who have bought this same unit claim that the belt-driven type models spin the records at a more consistent pace. However, there is still an ongoing debate among music enthusiasts regarding this claim.

Easy to set-up and use

The LP120XBT-USB features a built-in preamp that you can hook up hassle-free to any computer via the USB.

It comes with the Audacity software that lets users convert vinyl tracks to CDs or other digital formats which you can load onto other music-playing devices. This means you can play your records anywhere and anytime as long as you have a music player.

Fully Manual

While other Audio Technica turntables are automatic, this particular model is fully manual. That means you need to lift the tonearm and situate the stylus on the groove to start playing the record.

While some find this feature a downer since you have to be on hand to start playing music, other vinyl fans enjoy the experience.

Sturdy Build

Most affordable turntables are made of cheap plastic. The LP120XBT-USB’s plinth or base and controls are metal. This gives the unit a heftiness that some buyers really like. The plastic components are sturdy as well. 

Pro-Ject T1 Phono BT

Pro-Ject T1 Phono BT
Sale
Pro-Ject T1 Phono SB Turntable with Built-in Preamp and Electronic Speed Change (Satin White)
  • Tonearm and cartridge completely setup at the Factory for simple installation at home
  • 8mm thick bead-blasted glass platter
  • Premium mechanical parts used throughout for smooth, precise playback of records
  • Precise, electronic selection of 33 1/3 and 45 RPM playback Speed
  • Built-in, bypassable phono preamp for connection to any audio system

Pro-Ject is a well-established name when it comes to turntables. And while the T1 Phono BT is considered an entry-level model, it still offers an easy listening experience that is well-suited for all types of music.

It produces minimal surface noise. The bass can be a little overwhelming, but the sound is generally clear. As a bonus, the Pro-Ject T1 Phono BT offers seamless wireless connectivity, and it is easy on the eyes as well. 

Fully Manual

The T1 Phono BT is a manual turntable that also has a manual speed change, so you can customize your listening experience. This lack of an automatic speed change feature may be a deal breaker for music listeners who constantly switch between 33 and 45 revolutions per minute. Worse, every time you need to change speeds, you have to remove the unit’s glass platter, unhook the belt drive and attach it to a different part of the motor pulley, then reinstall the platter. However, this can be a good thing if you like the hands-on experience. 

Easy To Set-up And Use

Aside from hooking up the belt drive and installing the glass platter and felt mat, this turntable comes ready to use. It is a plug-and-play model that is great for turntable newbies. This means you won’t need to calibrate the cartridge or tonearm. 

The T1 Phono BT comes with a built-in phono stage. You can plug it into a speaker with RCA inputs. Do you prefer a wireless listening experience? Just toggle the Bluetooth switch on the side and connect your wireless headphones or speaker. 

Aesthetic But Sturdy Build

One of the biggest selling points of this turntable is its appearance. This model comes in satin walnut foil, satin white, and classic gloss black. Its chassis is made of medium-density fiberboard, making the unit quite thin. The ample space overhead gives the user lots of space to place and remove records even if the turntable is placed on an enclosed shelf.  

The T1 Phono BT comes with removable perspex. This doesn’t add to the authentic feel, the cover also keeps the glass platter and plinth free of dust. 

This model also has an aluminum tonearm that is not only more elegant and more stable, but it also allows for the precision placing of the stylus. The same is true for the factory-installed Ortofon cartridge. These features make placing the needle at the right starting point so much easier.

Denon DP-300F

Denon DP-300F
Sale
Denon DP-300F Fully Automatic Analog Turntable with Built-in Phono Equalizer | Unique Tonearm Design...
  • REDISCOVER YOUR PASSION FOR VINYL -Listen to your analog music in a brand new way with this rigid diecast aluminum turntable that comes with standard mount...
  • LOWER VIBRATIONS DRIVE BETTER PERFORMANCE - This slim and sleek turntable is designed with a heavier base construction that helps decrease vibrations,...
  • SMOOTH & GENTLE AUTOMATIC MOTIONS - The automatic startup feature allows the turntable to begin play. With the touch of a button, the tonearm gets lifted...
  • BUILT-IN PHONO EQUALIZER creates an open, enveloping sound stage that enlivens your vinyl collection while staying true to the original recording. Connect...
  • EASY INSTALLATION & SETUP - Assemble the turntable, set it up in your living room or home theater with simple connections and start listening to your old...

If you are looking for a budget turntable that sounds good and looks great, then the Denon DP-300F may be the model for you. It is easy to use, fully automatic, well-built with good materials, and even has features to digitize your records.

This two-speed (33 ⅓ and 45 rpm) turntable is belt-driven, allowing it to produce a cleaner sound. It is truly a must-have for music purists who love the sound that only a vinyl record can deliver.

Fully Automatic

With the Denon DP-300F, you don’t have to stand by your turntable when the record ends. You also don’t need to manually queue your albums. The auto start and stop feature prolongs the life of the needle because the arm falls back into position when the album is done playing.

Because you can use this model without needing to deal with anti-skate setup or tracking weight, the DP-300F is one of the best options for those who are new to this listening experience. 

Upgradable

It is important to note that the automatic features come with a price. Sound quality is somewhat sacrificed in the name of convenience.

However, you can easily upgrade this model by swapping out the DSN-85 cartridge for something more accurate and replacing the headshell. Nevertheless, its existing components do produce reasonably detailed sounds. 

Good Sound Quality

Its built-in phono equalizer helps the Denon deliver an open sound stage. It manages to give the vinyl some life without marring the integrity of the record’s original recording. 

The turntable produces good sound with a degree of warmth. It has a rolled-off treble with full mid-range. The bass is slightly uninspiring though, according to some users.

Satisfactory Build Quality

Many users are satisfied with the build quality. The Denon DP-300F features a die-cast aluminum plinth which gives it some stability and reduces external noise.

The build also ensures that the record spins uniformly and flutter-free. Some did mention that the plastic controls lack the tactility that other models had. 

The unit comes in a metallic black finish, making it aesthetically pleasing to fit any listening space style. 

Crosley Cruiser

Crosley Cruiser
Crosley CR8005F-MT Cruiser Plus Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth in/Out Suitcase Turntable, Mint
  • Bluetooth connectivity lets you easily play your vinyl on your favorite wireless speaker, or stream your music wirelessly to the Cruiser's built-in...
  • Belt driven portable turntable plays 3 speeds: 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM records
  • Dynamic full range stereo speakers with an Aux input to connect your mobile devices
  • Adjustable pitch control
  • RCA output to connect to your stereo system, and a headphone jack for private listening

The Crosley Cruiser is a suitcase-style turntable that is designed to be portable. It is very lightweight, small, and comes in a variety of colors (22, in fact). It is pretty versatile and can play records at 33 ⅓, 45, and 78 revolutions per minute.

You can also use it as a speaker when you play your MP3 files by connecting your device to it through its auxiliary input spot or via Bluetooth.

While this budget turntable seems to have a lot of great features, it is one model that you may want to skip if as a lot of comments say, it doesn’t spin at a consistent speed, plus its stylus can scratch your records. 

Easy To Use

One of the Cruiser’s selling points is that it is easy to use. You just pop the lid open and lay the record on the platter. It is a manual turntable so you need to physically position the tonearm at the starting point. But besides that, there is nothing else you need to do.

Slightly Underwhelming Sound Quality

Portability and appearance are the main features of this particular model. That may be why the manufacturer sacrificed sound quality to keep it lightweight and easy to carry. The sound produced by the Crowley Cruiser, according to some users, is tinny. 

Sturdy Build

The turntable is made from wood and leatherette. Users find this very appealing. Its two speakers are built into its case. While this makes the system compact, the speakers do cause vibrations that affect the sound that the turntable makes. 

The lock to the case is quite sturdy and the tonearm, cartridge, and mat all snap into place quite neatly. Unfortunately, while the tonearm is attached firmly in place, the arm bearing is a little shaky. Again, this produces shakes that reduce the quality of the sound. Some users even mention instances of skipping when they play their records.

High Tracking Weight

One thing that you need to watch out for if you care about your vinyl records is tracking weight. The downforce is commonly 2.5g. The cruiser has an unusually high weight on its built-in cartridge (slightly above 7g). And since there is no way for you to adjust this, the turntable will cause wear on your records quite fast. 

Conclusion

Owning a turntable, especially if you have just started exploring the world of vinyl records, is going to change your listening experience for the better. You get to hear the authentic sound of the music. And you don’t need to blow your budget on a record player if you’re not sure about this hobby yet. There are a number of amazing and affordable turntable options that you can get. 

Try to find a belt-drive type turntable so you can play your music with minimal vibration. Remember that vibration means distortion. Additionally, find one that is easy to use if you are not yet adept at calibrating a turntable’s settings. The Sony PS-LX310BT, for example, is as close to a plug-and-play unit as you can get. Not only can this model have you playing music in no time, but it is also fully automatic and produces great sounds. 

Leave a Comment