Which portable record player is best?
Designed with convenience in mind, portable record players are lightweight, simple and easy to use. Portable record players have built-in speakers, making them an all-in-one listening experience in a compact traveling case.
With less bulk than traditional record players, portable record players offer a high-quality listening experience without taking up a lot of space. The Crosley Executive Vintage Portable Suitcase Turntable has excellent sound quality, making it our top choice.
What to know before you buy a portable record player
Before deciding on your portable record player, consider how much you are able to spend. Most portable record players cost less than $100 but players with more modern functionalities or wireless capabilities can be more expensive.
Although portable record players are designed for travel, some models offer greater durability thanks to a hard outer shell and a securing harness for the turntable arm. A more durable option is an investment that will protect your vinyl collection.
While portable record players are designed with travel in mind, some are more portable than others. Most portable record players require a power outlet, but they can be easily moved from room to room. However, if you want to use it outdoors, a wireless player may be the best investment.
What to look for in a quality portable record player
As portable record players have risen in popularity, many brands have added extra functionalities that blend the nostalgia of vinyl with modern technology. These features often include bluetooth streaming, automatic turntables or vinyl encoding via USB capabilities.
With the advanced functionalities of portable record players, there are an assortment of listening options. Most models include built-in speakers and a headphone output, making them effective for casual listening.
Some models have an RCA output for connecting external speakers, which makes them louder. If you are interested in compact external speaker options for your portable record player, check out our full bookshelf speakers buying guide.
As any vinyl collector knows, vinyl records are incredibly sensitive and can be easily damaged if used with a low-quality player. It’s best to invest in a high-quality, portable record player that offers an anti-skating tonearm, diamond stylus and 1.5 to 2 gram counterweight. These factors help protect your vinyl collection from scratches and cracks.
How much you can expect to spend on a portable record player
Expect to spend $50-$150 on a portable record player. Players that have less functionality and lower-quality materials typically cost less than $100. Players with extended functionality and higher-quality materials are more expensive.
Portable record player FAQ
What’s the difference between a fully automatic and manual record player?
A. Fully automatic players do all the work of the tonearm. All you have to do is push a button and the player will automatically lift the tonearm, gently place it on the record, return the tonearm to the resting position and turn the player off once the record is done. In contrast, manual players require you to do all the work of the tonearm and turn the player off once the record is done.
Do you need to replace the needle on a portable record player?
A. Yes. Over time the record player stylus wears out and can damage your records if it’s not replaced. It’s recommended that you replace your record player stylus every two years or after 1,000 hours of play. A replacement stylus typically costs $10-$20 and can be easily found at major retailers or online.
What’s the best portable record player to buy?
Top portable record player
What you need to know: Blending a vintage inspired design with the advanced technology of today, this record player is perfect for any vinyl collector.
What you’ll love: Don’t let this player fool you: Its compact design doesn’t limit its use at all. Boasting built-in full range speakers, bluetooth streaming, RCA outputs and USB digital file transfer, this sleek record player offers a wide range of functionality. It comes with a sturdy traveling case.
What you should consider: Although this record player does come with pitch control and automatic stop, the stylus it comes with is low quality.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top portable record player for the money
What you need to know: Built into a sleek carrying case, this record player is a durable option for vinyl collectors.
What you’ll love: With Bluetooth streaming capabilities, built-in speakers and RCA output, this player is the ideal option for at-home use. The hard shell carrying case and tonearm security harness increases this record player’s overall durability. With a variety of patterns and color options available, any vinyl collector is sure to find a design that fits the aesthetic of their home.
What you should consider: Since this player requires a constant power source, it is not ideal for outdoor use.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: With built-in speakers and advanced functionality, this wireless portable record player is perfect for people on the go.
What you’ll love: This wireless player is compact, making it ideal for outdoor use. It has a built-in speaker, RCA and headphone output and offers a variety of listening experiences. There’s no doubt that this player is great for casual listening but with its advanced functionalities, it can also be used to convert your record collection into digital files.
What you should consider: This player is not constructed using the typical travel case design, making it less durable than other options.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Breanna Culler writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.