It’s crazy to think about how much you can spend on a turntable – the best turntables in the audiophile market can cost tens of thousands of dollars, or even much more, and even just the needle for one can cost more than most of us will ever spend on audio equipment our whole lives!
At the same time, it is equally interesting (and a lot more useful) to consider just how good an inexpensive turntable can sound – in fact, the best turntables for 300 dollars or less can sound surprisingly close to the absurdly expensive top-tier models – and you can have thousands and thousands of dollars left over for records. Or, you know, food…
And so I am really happy to put together a list of what I consider the best turntables available for under 300 dollars – x beautiful sounding and high quality ‘tables that anybody would be thrilled to own.
This is a fairly in-depth article, and so if you’d like to skip the rest and get right to the best, here are my top choices:
- Best Turntable Under 300 – Overall: Fluance RT82 Reference Record Player with Ortofon OM10 Cartridge
- Best Turntable Under 300 – Bluetooth Wireless: Sony PS-LX310BT Fully Automatic Belt Drive Turntable Bluetooth and USB
- Best Value Turntable Under 300: Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-GM Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable
- Best All-In-One Record Player with Speakers: 1 by ONE High Fidelity Belt Drive Turntable with Built-in Speakers
What To Look For in the Best Turntables Under 300 Dollars
What / who are you buying it for?
If you are purchasing a new turntable or record player as an all in one solution for playing records, and don’t want to get involved with a bunch of add-on equipment, wiring or connections, there are a few brilliant choices below – one super cheap (the Victrola Vintage Portable Record Player), one a bit more expensive (the next-level SeasonLife Record Player with Dual Stereo Speakers), and one pretty premium but still really affordable (the 1 by ONE High Fidelity Turntable with Built-in Speakers.
Any one of these would make a wonderful gift for a kid, a parent or for yourself, and they all offer great sound and great quality overall, and an especially good value for their respective price levels.
On the other hand, if you are purchasing a more high-end turntable only – that is, without included speakers – we come to another important question:
How will you be using your new turntable, and with what other equipment?
If you are planning on using a powered Bluetooth speaker, I’ve selected a couple of great basic turntables with Bluetooth connectivity, and I personally love the Sony PS-LX310BT, which is inexpressibly beautiful, has stunning sound and is also fully ready for digital recording of your precious vinyl. I also strongly recommend the less expensive Teac TN-180BT-B, which sounds almost unbelievably good for the money, but if you can afford the bump, that Sony is really something…
Both of these choices also have a built in phono preamplifier, or phono stage, so they can be used with pretty much any powered speaker or stereo system out there in either physically wired or wireless mode.
I will also recommend a non-wireless turntable that has extraordinary sound for the money, and is one of the most popular, beloved and highly rated products in all of audio – the Audio-Technica AT-LP60X, which has noticeably better sound than any of the excellent products above, but at the sake of wireless connectivity. It does, however, have a built in phono preamplifier, so you can use it in wired mode with nearly any powered speaker or stereo system.
On the other hand, if you want the best audiophile turntable for under 300 dollars, and don’t mind purchasing a separate phono preamp (or already have on, like a phono stage built into your receiver), the Fluance RT82 is the best sounding turntable I’ve ever auditioned at this level. But remember, it not only does not have a phono stage (I think the Schiit SYS Passive Preamp works particularly well with the Fluance), it also doesn’t have Bluetooth wireless – really quite old-school, but the sound is as good as it gets!
There are also other considerations, like build quality and long-term reliability, layout and ease of use, value and the company behind the product, but you can trust that all of my choices have taken these important factors, and a lot more, into due consideration.
So let’s get spinning shall we? I proudly present Speakergy’s official guide to the best turntables and record players you can find for under 300 dollars!
The Best Record Player Under 300 Dollars: 7 Great Choices
Best Cheap Record Player
What I Like:
- Cheap, but Very High Quality
- Warm, Rich Sound
- Easy to Use
- Great Retro Styling
- More expensive turntables sound better…
It’s funny that when I was writing my list of pros and cons for this super-budget Victrola Vintage record player I couldn’t really think of any negatives – strange considering how very, very low the price is!
I finally came up with the fact that more expensive turntables will sound better (duh!), but in fact this is a wonderful sounding product, much better than you would expect. The build quality and fit and finish are also far beyond what you might imagine for a record player at the lowest price level, and it’s just plain cool looking.
The Victrola Vintage has lots of connection options – you can connect headphones, you can connect this player to a bigger stereo system, you can stream music from your phone through the Vintage’s built-in speakers via Bluetooth, and a lot more.
But to me the real beauty of the Victrola Vintage is the simplicity. For all the available options, the most satisfying thing is to simply play records, and this couldn’t be easier on the Vintage, which really brings the analog quality of vinyl through so beautifully. A great starter, a great gift, and a great little record player overall!
Best All-In-One Record Player – Budget
What I Like:
- Big, Rich and Beautiful Sound
- Separate Stereo Speakers
- Surprisingly High Quality Overall
- So Simple to Use
- Gentle on Records
- Doesn’t play super loud
In some ways this SeasonLife record player is pretty similar to the much less expensive Victrola just above, but in one crucial way the SeasonLife pretty easily trumps the Victrola – sound.
Don’t get me wrong – the Victrola sounds amazing for its size and price. But the SeasonLife is a next-level product, with a bigger, more clear and dynamic sound that’s quite remarkable at this level. The separate speakers have surprisingly strong and solid bass, very realistic mids and sweet, nicely extended high frequencies, and music is dynamic, fun and engaging.
There are a lot of nice options for connecting and using other gear – you can attach external speakers, you can connect this SeasonLife record player to a bigger stereo system, you can even stream Bluetooth music to the SeasonLife’s nice included speakers from your phone or PC.
But you can also just use it as it comes – a complete basic record player with high quality stereo speakers and remarkably good sound. The SeasonLife record player is very simple to use, will play any kind or size of record, is gentle on your precious vinyl and is built to last.
There are a lot of all-in-one record players for around a hundred dollars, and some of them are pretty good, but I’ve never found any that can be as easily recommended as the SeasonLife, which is not just a great record player but an amazing value as well.
Best Value Turntable Under 300
What I Like:
- The Best Sound for the Money
- Extremely Gentle with Records
- Superb Material and Build Quality
- A Beautiful Included Cartridge
- Great Design and Functionality
- No Bluetooth connectivity
With the Audio-Technica AT-LP60X we are getting into not just a different type of product, but a different realm as well.
The LP60X is not an all-in-one record player, but a dedicated turntable without speakers. This means it must be connected to a larger stereo system or a powered speaker.
But this also means that Audio-Technica – a legendary company among audiophiles – can focus their engineering and resources on making the AT-LP60X sound as good as possible for a very affordable price.
And it definitely does – with very low vibration throughout, a superb tonearm and cartridge, a stable and low noise motor, an off-board power supply and the best components, materials and wiring throughout, the Audio-Technica AT-LP60X offers stunning stereo sound, with deep, solid and well defined bass, extended highs and ultra-realistic mids, incredible stereo imaging, wide dynamic range and intense musical energy, and an overall sweetness and musicality no turntable I’ve found anywhere near this price can come close to.
The Audio-Technica AT-LP60X is also a very well made, solid turntable, built for a lifetime of reliable use, and has an ideal layout and very nice, solid and well designed controls and switches and a great feeling overall.
A simple wired turntable, the AT-LP60X does not have Bluetooth wireless, which means if you are using a powered speaker it must have an auxiliary input (which most do). The turntable does have a phono preamplifier, though, making it compatible with pretty much any gear out there, and it is also a fully auto design, which will start and stop your records automatically.
To me the Audio-Technical AT-LP60X is the ideal basic audiophile turntable – a beautifully made product with sound that rivals much more expensive ‘tables, with a perfect design and superior material and build quality – one of the best values in the hi-fi market today!
Solid, Simple and Satisfying
What I Like:
- Audiophile Sound Quality
- Incredibly Simple and Easy to Use
- Minimal Setup
- Superior Material and Build Quality
- Bluetooth Wireless and Wired Connectivity
- Cannot upgrade the cartridge (though why would you?)
I think that the Teac TN-180BT turntable is the perfect choice for somebody who wants the best possible sound from their vinyl records but doesn’t want to mess and fuss with a lot of gear and complicated setup – a high quality turntable that comes completely set up and ready to simply connect to Bluetooth wireless speakers or pretty much anything else.
Of course some of us geeky audiophiles love the gear and complicated setups, but it seems the vast majority of people out there don’t want to upgrade cartridges, or purchase separate amplifiers, or think about phono preamps or wiring or optimally matched components.
What people do want, though – just like I do – is that gloriously warm, rich, musical and dynamic sound that records offer, and the that’s where the Teac 180 comes in – a very simple turntable that comes fully set up with a superb cartridge, and can easily connect, using wires or Bluetooth wireless, to any speakers or stereo system.
Really, setup couldn’t possibly be easier, and in particular connecting to a Bluetooth speaker is so straightforward, and the sound you’ll get is so very, very special. The layout and the simplicity of the controls and operation are also as nice as it gets, and everything looks and feels top-notch.
Fussy audiophiles may be resistant to the utter simplicity of the Teac TN-180BT Bluetooth wireless turntable, but they will for sure absolutely love the sound, which is as good as it gets at this still very affordable price level, and music lovers will be thrilled to finally hear their records in all their sonic glory – very highly recommended!
Best All-In-One Record Player with Speakers
What I Like:
- Amazing Sound from an All-In-One
- Excellent (and Upgradable) Included Cartridge
- Very Easy to Use
- Beautiful Construction Quality
- Good Connectivity Options
- No Bluetooth wireless output
If you have heard all-in-one record players before – even more expensive models – and have been frankly underwhelmed by the sound quality, you are in for a treat with the wonderful 1 by ONE belt drive turntable with speakers.
The 1 by ONE sounds amazing, with real detail and clarity, great stereo separation, dynamic range and lots of musical energy, satisfying bass and beautiful mids and highs, and a realism and accuracy that make listening so engaging. The included Audio-Technica cartridge is superb, and in combination with the high precision low mass straight tonearm is very easy on records.
The way the 1 by ONE looks and feels is also pretty amazing, with a very nice fit and finish and an obviously high quality to the controls and materials. This is a very well designed record player as well, with an intelligent layout and super-simple operation.
You can connect the 1 by ONE record player to a larger stereo or powered speakers using a wired output on the back, and the quality of the turntable will really come through even when connected to pretty high-end gear. You can also play music from other sources through the nice built-in speakers, using either a wired input or Bluetooth streaming from your phone or PC.
There is a lot more I could mention with this wonderful and inexpensive 1 by ONE record player, but the thing that surprises and delights me the most is the sound quality, which is so rich, accurate, musical and engaging. Really, though, the quality is equally high on all fronts, and the 1 by ONE can be recommended without reservation to any budget-conscious audiophile or true music lover, or to anybody who just wants to play, and really hear, records.
Best Bluetooth Wireless Turntable Under 300
What I Like:
- The Most Beautiful Turntable on the List
- Stunning Sound Quality
- Simple Setup and Use
- Easy and Flexible Wireless and Wired Connections
- Top-Notch Quality on All Fronts
- May not satisfy techno-geeks
I absolutely love this Sony PS-LX310 turntable, and honestly I’m not sure why…
Of course, I know exactly why – it is a stunning sounding turntable, with sound so clear, detailed and dynamic it would not be out of place in a very high end audiophile stereo system.
I also love the look, which is sleek and minimalist, completely unadorned and absolutely beautiful, and I love the engineering and the brilliantly usable design, with standard wired and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and even a USB digital output for super-easy digital recording and archiving of your precious vinyl records.
But really, this is not my kind of turntable – there are not dials for fiddling with tracking weight or anti-skating force, you can’t upgrade the cartridge, in fact there’s nothing for a fussy audio nerd to do here at all, except, you know, put a record on and listen.
But when I look at the Sony PS-LX310, and especially when I listen to it, I fall deeply in love. I’ve tried it connected to a few different Bluetooth wireless speakers, with a wired connection to other powered speakers, and also connected to a larger stereo system, and in each case the sound is flawless – so accurate, so open and so very beautiful – and the operation, the look and the feel are unbelievably compelling.
If beautiful style and obviously top-notch overall quality are important to you, at this price level you simply cannot do better than the gorgeous Sony PS-LX310, and if sound quality is just as important to you, well, I can say the same thing – for the price, I’m not sure I’ve heard a better sounding wired/wireless turntable.
Of course, if you want to fiddle with dials and knobs, you may be better served elsewhere.
Best Turntable Under 300 Overall
What I Like:
- The Best Sounding Turntable on the List
- Beautifully Premium Fit and Finish
- Flawless Operation and a Simple and Intelligent Layout
- Superior Vibration Control
- Top Quality Components, Materials and Construction
- No phono preamp
Fluance may seem like a new or unfamiliar name to some of you, but they are actually a well established company, and have a rock-solid reputation among audiophiles and music lovers for making beautiful turntables for very reasonable prices.
To me this Fluance RT82 is the best value in their lineup, especially as it comes with the superb Ortofon OM10 stereo cartridge preinstalled in the precision tonearm.
This is a beautiful product, with a lovely gloss black finish, clearly superior materials and craftsmanship, a very simple and smarty layout and a feeling of solidity and quality in all of the components, controls and overall presentation.
A basic audiophile turntable, the Fluance RT82 is not as fancy as many others in this price range, at least in terms of certain technologies and capabilities – most notably, this is not a Bluetooth wireless turntable, and must be connected to a stereo or powered speakers using the supplied conventional phono wires. In fact, the RT82 doesn’t even have a phono preamplifier built in, and so your stereo or speakers need to have a phono stage – really, quite wonderfully old-school!
In fact, the Fluance is so old-school, one might well wonder why I chose it as the best turntable overall – especially when there are lots and lots of more “advanced” options out there?
Simply because the Fluance RT82 is easily the best sounding turntable I’ve ever used for the money, with alarming clarity and definition, unrestrained dynamic range and intense musical energy, almost holographically precise and wide-open stereo imaging, fully extended frequency response and a tonal beauty and accuracy all the way up and down the spectrum.
So yeah, you can get great turntables with built in phono preamplifiers, which are definitely nice to have – Fluance’s own RT81 is my favorite at around this level – or turntables that also include Bluetooth wireless connectivity – again, I absolutely love the Sony PS-LX310BT, just above.
But for sound quality, the old-school basic audiophile Fluance RT82 is the best of the best, and easily the equal of many turntables at much higher price levels. It is also a superbly made product that is well designed and a joy to use, and can be recommended without reservation.