12 Best Turntables Under $200 in 2017
There’s nothing like the warm sound when you put down the needle and hear those first pops and hisses, so let’s get your system set up and help you find the best turntable under $200. There’s a wide array of turntable makers looking to get that empty spot on your stereo cabinet, and we’ve got the information that can help you make the most of your turntable money so you can start adding albums to your collection.
Table of Contents
- Top 12 Turntables Under $200 Ultimate Table
- How to Choose Your New Turntable
- Balance Isn’t Just for Gymnasts
- Try Different Needles
- Top 5 Best Turntable Under $200 Reviews
- Final Thoughts
Top 12 Turntables Under $200 Ultimate Table
How to Choose Your New Turntable
You need those extra dollars to spend on new records, so we’ve got a few things you can keep in mind while you’re shopping so you can get the best turntable under $200 for your needs.
- Consider Your Outputs – In the past, a turntable had one set of RCA plugs that went straight into your amp, and that was that. Today, you can attach your turntable to a number of different devices for a wide range of functions.
In addition to the standard RCA plugs, modern turntables can have digital outs and USB outputs as well. Digital outputs allow you to send the signal from your turntable into a computer, making it easy to convert your analog vinyl into digital files. Portable and smaller turntables will sometimes have a headphone output so you can listen in privacy.
- How Do You Feel About Speed and Direction? – Standard LPs will play at 33 RPMs, and most singles will play at 45 RPMs. If you are thinking of taking your collection back to the 1950s or earlier, you’ll want to find a turntable that plays at 78 RPMs, which was the industry standard in the earlier part of the 20th century.
If you’re thinking about doing some scratching or listening to your Black Sabbath records backward to hear the hidden messages, then don’t try that with your dad’s turntable. Some turntables have functions designed to specifically reverse the spin of the platter. For a bit of scratching, you definitely want to make sure that your turntable has a high-torque, direct-drive motion and a really good slipmat. A good needle like the Shure m447 will also help you get the sound you’re looking for.
Balance Isn’t Just for Gymnasts
More expensive turntables will have an adjustable tone arm; this is a twisty, knob-like contraption on the opposite end of the arm from the needle. It lets you adjust the weight that your needle places on the record, but if the needle presses too hard, it can damage the record. On the other hand, if it doesn’t press hard enough, it’s likely to skip and bounce around your album.
If you don’t have an adjustable tonearm, you can use loose change. A dime taped over the needle can increase the weight on the album, but you can also use a few nickels on the back end of the arm to reduce the weight on your vinyl.
Try Different Needles
While you’re looking for a turntable, knowing which kind of needle your favorite turntable uses can be essential. The needles wear down, and will eventually need to be replaced. Replacing needles isn’t difficult, but sometimes finding the needle can be tricky. Most needle cartridges can be purchased online, but every once in a while you’ll find a turntable with a tricky needle that’s a little harder to find. If you know what you need ahead of time, you’ll never have to wait for the mailman to arrive with your needle before you can listen to your favorite albums.
Top 5 Best Turntable Under $200 Reviews
Audio Technica offers a consistent level of quality in their line of turntables, and the AT-LP60 is a great way for an audiophile on a budget to get started playing their latest record purchases. While this turntable doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, it provides a high-quality aluminum platter with a dual-magnet needle for smooth, noise-free signal.
The automatic function smoothly places the needle on the record, and the hinged dust cover keeps the surface clean and debris-free.
While the standard RCA outputs make it a simple task to connect this turntable to your home system, one of the real perks is the Bluetooth capability of this simple turntable. With this feature, you could have a functioning, vinyl-based home stereo that required no more equipment than this turntable and the Bluetooth speaker of your choice. That feature alone earns this turntable high marks for cost-efficiency.
Perfectly capturing the vintage style that is making vinyl so popular, the Electrohome Wellington gives you the look of an old-timey radio with a function that is anything but old-fashioned. The hardwood body has a mahogany finish with a curved face and smooth lifting lid.
The belt-drive turntable will play at 33 and 45 RPMs with a high-quality tone-arm and removable, high-end cartridge. Not only does this play vinyl, but you the design also incorporates a CD player and an AM/FM radio. A headphone jack lets you plug in for private listening, but you can enjoy a pair of built-in stereo speakers that can easily fill a room with sound, and RCA outputs let you connect to your stereo.
An auxiliary plug gives you the option of playing music through this unit as you stream it from your phone or tablet.
Stanton makes a great collection of turntables for casual listeners and DJ’s alike, and the T62 provides a well-rounded performance at a cost-effective price. The durability and quality construction of Stanton turntables make them a great choice.
The straight tone arm and Stanton 300 cartridge and perfect for scratching, and if you add a second turntable, you can take advantage of the start/stop function for real-time mixing. The textured platter edge is illuminated when it’s spinning, which is a must-have feature for a working DJ.
Even if you’re not a DJ, you’ll love the high-quality aluminum platter and smooth motion of the high-torque, direct-drive motor. Standard RCA outputs make it easy to integrate into any standard home stereo. This turntable plays at 33 or 45 RPMs, and it even includes a molded pocket to hold 45 adapters. The only downside is that you need to have a dust cover of your own.
Sony brings their quality construction and performance to your home so you can begin converting your vinyl collection into digital files. The PSLX3000USB can easily function as part of a home stereo system, but the extra features it incorporates are geared toward making it easy to rip your albums. The automatic tone arm starts and stops the data transfer through the USB port.
The hinged dust cover keeps it clean, and the form is exceptionally sleek, giving it a pleasantly modern profile. A belt-drive system spins the platter at 33 and 45 RPMs, and a molded pocket helps keep your 45 adapters in order.
This turntable doesn’t include software for converting your albums, but it’s designed to play well with GarageBand or the stock audio software bundled with Windows. Once you’ve plugged it in, you can start ripping your albums, and the automatic start/stop function means that you don’t have to babysit your hardware.
Crossley is known for flooding the market with those portable, suitcase-style turntables, but their traditional turntables have always been solid, and even though you might upgrade in the future, you won’t regret spending the money for the C200A-BK.
This straightforward turntable gives you a high-torque, direct-drive platter with an S-shaped arm and an Audio Technica precision cartridge. The anti-skate mechanism and adjustable tonearm weight are going to give you excellent balance and proper sound every time.
This table is no-frills, as it only connects to a traditional stereo via RCA outputs. They are made from a high-quality, low-resistance alloy, but if you’re looking to stream via Bluetooth or convert your vinyl to digital, you may want to spend some of the money that you saved on a Bluetooth transmitter or additional adapters to get the job done. If you need a solid turntable on the cheap, this guy won’t lead you astray.
By now, you’ve probably already decided which one is going to be the best turntable under $200 for you, but here’s what we think.
Audio Technica’s LP60BK is number one for a reason, as it delivers a quality performance on a budget. For normal home-listening, this turntable is an easy solution to having tons of records and nothing to play them on.
For low-cost vinyl ripping, the Sony PSLX3000USB is the easiest way to take your old records and create a digital archive so you can listen to them forever. It’s easy to get set up, and unlike many other turntables designed for digital conversion, this one requires minimal babysitting, so you can spend more time listening to your music.
And for good looks, our favorite budget turntable is the Electrohome Wellington; this would look great on your shelf, and the fact that it has a full selection of features doesn’t hurt either.