12 Best Turntables Under $500 in 2017

Whether we are ‘80s kids or modern people of the 21st century, we all have a certain amount of appreciation for a vinyl record. It’s a memory and a piece of history at the same time. And honestly speaking, we are sure that your parents still have their old vinyls at home, just waiting to be played.

Unfortunately, we do not all have that much money to spend on sophisticated turntables, which is why we set a budget. If you are looking for the best turntable under $500, then this guide will tell you some good options under that price category, as well as how to choose them.

Top 12 Turntables Under $500 Comparison

DesignNameDriveUseRating (1-5)
  1. Audio Technica AT-LP1240-USB Direct Drive DJ TurntableDirect DriveDJ4.6
  2. Audio Technica AT-LP120BK-USB Direct-Drive Professional TurntableDirect DrivePersonal4.5
  3. Fluance High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable Record PlayerBelt DrivePersonal4.5
  4. Akai Professional BT500 | Premium Belt-Drive TurntableBelt DrivePersonal4.4
  5. Numark V7 Motorized Turntable Software ControllerBelt DrivePersonal4.4
6. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon White Turntable with Ortofon 2M REDBelt DrivePersonal4.4
7. TEAC TN-300 Analog Record PlayerBelt DrivePersonal4.2
8. Monster GO DJ Portable Mixer Digital TurntableDirect DriveDJ4.0
  9. Music Hall MMF 2.2 White Turntable with CartridgeBelt DrivePersonal4.0
  10. Pro-Ject Essential II Digital USB TurntableBelt DrivePersonal3.9
  11. Ion USB Turntable with Built-in CD RecordingBelt DrivePersonal3.8
  12. Numark NS7 DJ Turntable Controller with Serato ITCH SoftwareDirect DriveDJ3.0

How to Find the Best Turntable

Some people may say that vinyl falls short to modern, digital alternatives since there are more risk factors to be considered: the vinyl can break, the needle can become degraded or the speakers may sound like they are drowning.

When it comes to turntables, the prices are usually like this:

  • Under $100 – These are generally low-budget turntables which won’t do much other than putting the needle on the record. It is a good option if you want to dip your toes in the water, but do not want the commitment.
  • $250- $500 – This is what you’d call the turntable sweet spot. It’s the middle ground, one that produces a high-quality sound for the average user. Not too fancy, but not too cheap either.
  • Over $500 – Once you get over your beginner stage, you may want to dive into more professional equipment. Turntables over this price category are exotic and mind-blowing, definitely for pros in the field.

Before making your purchase, make sure that you do some proper research or get a second opinion on the best turntable under $500.

Belt Drive vs. Direct Drive

One of the first things that people are looking for is whether the turntable is belt drive or direct drive. Here is how they both work:

  • Direct Drive –The platter was placed “directly” on the motor shaft, leading to more vibration and noise. This platter can be spun back and forth for sound effects, which makes it perfect for DJ use.
  • Belt Drive – The turntable has a motor thatis separated from the platter so that it is less noisy. It is connected by an “elastic” belt, which means that you can’t spin it backward without the risk of damage.

Each type was made to provide separate different features, so choose wisely.

Manual vs. Automatic

You may also want to know if you want a manual or an automatic turntable. Basically, an automatic turntable will start playing on its own once the vinyl has been placed and you pressed the start button. The tonearm will know exactly where to place the needle so that you won’t have to go through the bother.

A manual turntable, on the other hand, will let you control the tonearm. You will have to do the work yourself, but at the same time, this option is more flexible; you can start the playback at any part you want.

Buying a DJ Turntable

Certainly, you cannot go into DJing with your grandmother’s old turntable – it wouldn’t last a session! There are some key components to choosing a good DJ turntable.

First of all, you will need to get a direct-drive turntable. There are indeed some manufacturers that claim that their belt-drive turntables are “perfect for DJ use!”

That is NEVER the case! The reason behind that is because belt-drives can’t hold on to a constant platter rotation speed. For a DJ, this aspect is crucial, since even the slightest fluctuation in speed may lead to galloping.

Here are some other features you may appreciate in a DJ turntable.

  • Digital Output – USB, S/PDIF, or any other means of connecting or digitizing the sound into a computer or a similar device.
  • Adjustable Pitch Range – It lets you switch the pitch slider range. Perfect for scratch artists.
  • Reverse – Allows the platter to rotate automatically in a different direction. Great for non-scratchers.
  • Master Tempo – Maintains the original key using the digital signal processing, but at the same time it allows you to change the speed using the pitch slider.

You may also want to keep an eye out for an adjustable torque, interchangeable tonearm, BPM counter, etc.

Top 5 Best Turntable Under $500 Reviews

1. Audio Technica AT-LP1240 Turntable

If you are an aspiring DJ wanting to learn the way of a pro, then this turntable is the perfect thing for you. If you pair it with the right cartridge, you will definitely have one of the best experiences with this product.

This turntable comes with its own detachable cables, so you can easily connect it to a power source.

It also has a switchable internal preamp, meaning that you can use a stereo Aux/CD input, stereo phono input or an external amp.

It also features a “braking” system that can adjust how fast the platter will spin and stop, giving you full control over your sessions.

The direct drive also allows you to spin and scratch for various sound effects.

You can use the USB output to make high-quality digital transfersas well. As a newstarting DJ, you will definitely come to love this DJ turntable. You aren’t likely to find a player with better features in this price category.

2. Audio Technica AT-LP120BK Professional Turntable

Once more, Audio Technica returns with a turntable which will bring your vinylrecords back to life. Being a manually operated device, this one allows you to select when or where you want your song to start.

This device comes with several cables that are compatible with MAC and Windows, as well as several software preamplifiers.

Songs can be taken from the computer as well as SENT to a computer. You can also use the internal stereo phono preamplifier to get the best audio experience.

This is the perfect turntable if you want to play your vinyl records with a quality sound, without tearing them up.

On the plus-side, it also looks fantastic, so you will definitely not be embarrassed to have this in your home.

3. Fluance High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable

This is one of those modern turntables that still manages to hold on to a classy look while offering everything the modern world can provide. Equipped with a belt drive, this device is silent enough so that all you will hear is the record that you are playing.

The built quality is very good, and this also applies to the fit and finish. You can choose between piano finish or walnut base – both sturdy and shiny to the point that you will want to stare at them all day long.

The setup is very easy with this device; it’ll only take a few minutes to play it once it’s out of the box. It sounds great, and the preamplifier does a great job at getting the song out. Speed is dead-on, and you won’t see any fluctuations with this device.

This turntable will literally take you “back in the day” while keeping you anchored in the present.

You can hardly find such a good deal elsewhere considering the price you are paying.

4. Akai Professional BT500 Premium Turntable

This luxurious looking turntable will be a great accessory for every home as well as a faithful companion in playing your vinyl records.

This baby can stream music directly to any Bluetooth speaker using wireless technology. So if it’s not loud enough, no worries; you can make it even louder!

You even have a place for headphones, if you want to listen to a record but you also need to keep the room quiet. Your parents surely did not have this option back in the day.

This can be connected to a computer using USB cables, and therefore you can easily convert your vinyl collection into a CD one.

The recording process is also super easy since it is equipped with a suitable, reliable program.

5. Numark V7 Motorized Turntable

This high-resolution turntable software controller is a DJ’s dream – especially if you are one on a budget.

It’s a direct-drive device that possesses both high and low torque settings, allowing you free control over the adjustments.

This turntable is compatible with all DJ mixers. It lets you make custom system configurations and allows you complete freedom over the effect controls for best audio manipulation.

It’s easy to use, and it’s also fun. All 35 buttons, 5knobs, and 2 switches are laid out in alogical fashion, making your sessions basically effortless.

You won’t have any buyer’s remorse by going with the V7.

Final Thoughts

If you want to get a blast from the past, go for a turntable that will be gentle on your personal records. On the other hand, if you want to blast into the future with new mixes, you may want to go for a DJ-oriented turntable.

So far, the award for best turntable under $500 goes to Audio Technica – for both DJ and personal use. Still, you may check the other options presented as well; each individual has different preferences, and there’s definitely a turntable for music and vinyl lovers of all kinds.