I mentioned in my article best record player under $100 that although there is a significant choice available, however, sound quality was an issue. A record player between $100 – $200 is significantly better but, sound quality is still not the best.
I always recommend people stay away from the all-in-one record players but if that’s what your heart is set on, I have a few recommendations in this article.
Rather than a record player, focus on purchasing a decent turntable. Even your basic PC speakers will usually be better than a record player’s built-in speakers.
Things to Consider
Before purchasing your portable record player, you need to consider a few features. Modern-day portable record players come with loads of features, most of which are unnecessary. Let’s have a look at these features and what they do.
Bluetooth is a popular feature for portable speakers these days. While great for MP3s and other digital audio formats, when it comes to analog signals like a record player, Bluetooth is not recommended.
Frequency loss, poor sound, and tone quality are common when it comes to Bluetooth connections for record players. Connecting your phone to a Bluetooth record player’s speakers is not an issue. It’s when you transmit a signal from a record player that you notice the difference.
While Bluetooth can be useful and convenient, it’s not recommended for vinyl records. Having said that, every feature serves a purpose to the user so, I have included a recommendation for the best Bluetooth record player under $200.
Turntable vs All-in-One Record Player
If your maximum budget is $200 for a record player, I recommend buying a decent turntable. Record players with a CD player, tape cassette player or radio are not focused on making the best record player for this price range.
While it’s nice to have all these features in one unit, you are not getting the best vinyl record player with all these additions. I do have a recommendation for an all-in-one record player but if you’re serious about your vinyl, go for a turntable with quality parts.
Built-in speakers are convenient but with a $200 budget, they are going to sound thin and tinny. Rather than purchasing a record player with built-in speakers, go for a decent turntable with external speakers.
If you purchase a decent turntable and some inexpensive speakers, you’re able to upgrade your record player or speakers when you have a bigger budget. If you spend your money on an all-in-one system, you’ll have to purchase a whole new system when you upgrade.
Tonearm and Cartridge System
With a budget of $200 the turntable you purchase will usually come with a better tonearm and cartridge system.
A good tonearm is extremely important when it comes to vinyl record playback. The tonearm on a record player needs to be perfectly balanced so the needle sits as deep as possible in the grooves without damaging the records.
Tonearm balance is important because if it’s too light the needle will skip across the record scratching the vinyl. Too heavy and it’ll dig into the vinyl and damage the record.
On a budget turntable, you’re limited to swapping out the needle only. As you move up in price bracket, you’re able to swap out the stylus and cartridge. This gives you more choice and the option to switch to a premium cartridge set up.
Best Record Player Under $200
If you’re looking for the best record player under $200 the Fluance RT80 wins hands down. The RT80 is a turntable of exception quality for under $200. The balanced S-Type tonearm and removable cartridge deliver exceptional playback.
The RT80 comes with a built-in phono preamp and gold plated RCA outputs. A phono/line switch gives you the option to choose your preferred output.
If you are looking for quality on all levels, the Fluance RT80 is the best choice for a record player under $200.
The 1byone Nostalgic enables you to record vinyl, tape, CD or AUX input to USB in MP3 format. There is a stereo RCA output should you wish to connect your record player to external speakers.
The 1byone Nostalgic is available in a vintage wood finish.
Our best vintage record player under $200 is the Crosley CR6231A. The CR6231A is beautifully finished and stands on 25-inch legs. Surprisingly, the CR6231A delivers a decent sound for a record player under $200.
Connect your other devices to the CR6231A via the ⅛ inch (3.5mm) AUX in. The only output is a ⅛ inch (3.5mm) headphone jack. For around $40 more you can get the Bluetooth enabled CR6231D.
The Crosley CR6231A is available in black, green & cream or red.
Best Portable Record Player Under $200
Best portable record player under $200 is the Goodnew suitcase record player. The Goodnew’s 1800mAh built-in battery means you can take this suitcase record player anywhere you go.
Choose between listening through the Goodnew’s built-in speakers or, connect your headphones to the ⅛ inch (3.5mm) headphone jack. There is a built-in preamp making the RCA output line level. This means you can connect to speakers or HiFi without the need for a phono preamp.
Inputs include a ⅛ inch (3.5mm) AUX, USB or SD card. A USB output allows you to connect the Goodnew to your PC to record vinyl records.
Best Record Player with Speakers
If you’re looking for a record player with speakers for under $200 then the Audio-Technica AT-LP60 with Edifier R1280T powered speakers are the best option. This setup is the best value and sound quality you’ll get under $200.
The AT-LP60 is Audio-Technica’s entry-level turntable and the best you’ll find under $100. It features a built-in phono preamp with switchable phono/line RCA output. Switching to line level will allow you to connect directly to the Edifier R1280T speakers.
The R1280T’s are powered bookshelf speakers delivering a combined 42W output. The sound quality and power are far superior to any record player with built-in speakers under $200. A second RCA input allows you to connect your other devices.
Best Bluetooth Record Player
If you are looking for a Bluetooth transmitting record player for under $200, then your best option is the Audio-Technica AT-LP60-BT. As well as transmitting Bluetooth, the AT-LP60-BT has a stereo RCA output with cable included.
A switchable built-in phono preamp allows you to connect directly to external speakers via the RCA outputs. The Bluetooth output will connect to speakers, wireless HiFi receivers and wireless headphones.
The AT-LP60-BT is available in black, white or silver.
Best for Recording Under $200
If you wish to record your vinyl to PC, the Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB is the best turntable to achieve this under $200. The AT-LP60-USB is essentially the USB version of the AT-LP60 I featured in the best record player with speakers.
The AT-LP60-USB also has RCA outputs with switchable built-in phono preamp. You could purchase the AT-LP60-USB with the Edifier R1280T and have the best of recording and speakers for under $200.
The AT-LP60-USB is available in black or silver.
As you may have noticed, Audio-Technica dominates the turntable market for record players under $200. When it comes to electronics, always go with a reputable brand, especially when you are on a tight budget. This will ensure you’re getting the best quality for your money as well as after sales service and support.
If you are serious about collecting and listening to vinyl records, don’t buy an all-in-one system. These units are more for aesthetics than sound.
Spend your money on the best turntable your money can buy. Connect your turntable to any speakers you have available and upgrade once you have the money available. I have an article on the best speakers for a vinyl record player which includes recommendations for all budgets.