Finding the best turntable under $200 is not that difficult. Record players in this price range can be a good addition to your system if you are not ready for the big-ticket item yet.
Before choosing a device in this price range, there are some things to consider. First of all, there aren’t that many good record players in this price range. And most of them are quite similar in terms of quality to those under $100. So if you won’t find a good fit below, make sure you take a look at devices listed in the under $100 article. As mentioned, the increase in quality between players that cost slightly under $100 and those above and up to $200 isn’t that big.
The list has a few vintage-looking players with built-in speakers and lots of additional features like a CD player or AM/FM radio. If you’re looking for an all-in-one type of solution, that you can just plug it into the power supply and play some records, you should easily choose one of those. They will do a good job of both playing records and looking really well in the room where they’ll be placed.
Image used under Creative Commons from Richard Ha
If, on the other hand, you’re searching for a turntable to add to your home stereo system so you can play vinyls using your speakers or stereo system, Audio Technica AT-L60USB is your best bet.
If none of the models meets your needs, please take a look at the under $500 list. While the title of that article might be a bit scary, you’ll find in it players that cost less than $300 and offer significantly better sound quality than those in this list. Even if you won’t find one that’s within your budget, at least you’ll learn what’s available on the market and be able to make a better decision when buying.
Last but not least, if you’re not that experienced with turntables, we have a guide that goes through turntable basics. Even if you’re a wife trying to find a perfect gift for your husband, please take a little bit of time to learn about record players. This way you’ll be able to make a better choice and ultimately have a higher chance at buying the perfect gift for your spouse. Also, if you don’t quite understand a concept or a term used below, the mentioned guide is there to help.
- Best Turntables under $200
- Best Turntables under $200: Comparison
- How to choose the best turntable under $200 for you?
Best Turntables under $200
Audio Technica AT-L60USB
- Best entry-level turntable with USB
- Great sound quality
- USB output
- No support for 78 RPM records
Audio Technica AT-LP60USB is a great option in the under $200 price range. It’s a belt-driven turntable that plays 33 1/3 and 45 RPM records, so unless you have some very old 78 RPM records you want to play, that’s enough for your needs. Unlike most inexpensive players it’s one that operates automatically. That means the device sets the tonearm in place for you which many people find really helpful as they don’t have to worry they’ll damage the needle or the vinyl itself.
AT-LP60USB doesn’t feature built-in speakers so you have to take care of that on your own. The device can output phono-level or line-level (thanks to the built-in preamp) signal. Because of that, you can connect the turntable to a home stereo system using RCA cables and the line-level signal. Or connect the player using a preamp along with the same stereo system and the phono-level signal. While using a separate preamp instead of the built-in one is definitely a better choice, not everyone has a preamp or a stereo system with phono input. You can also connect the device to your computer using the USB output port, which is a great option for anyone who’s interested in digitalizing their vinyl collection or listening to the music on the computer.
Electrohome Signature Retro Hi-Fi Stereo
Signature is an Electrohome unit with a very neat retro look that will be good in your den or on your patio. The walnut-finished cabinet is well built and serves to absorb vibrations well. It’s a belt-driven player that spins records at all 3 speeds: 33 1/3 RPM, 45 RPM and 78 RPM. It features a bunch of additional features like a CD player, AM/FM radio, or 3.5mm jack input. As you can see you can play music from various sources, not only vinyl records. Another feature some people value is the ability to convert vinyl records to MP3 without using a computer or any additional software. You just connect a USB storage device, cue a record and press a button. That’s it. Unfortunately for some, there isn’t a way to connect the device to external speakers or a stereo system. You can only listen to records using the built-in speakers.
- Built-in speakers
- Supports all three record speeds
- No support for external speakers or stereo system
Winston is another one of vintage-looking turntables from Electrohome. It’s a belt-driven device that plays 33 1/3 RPM, 45 RPM and 78 RPM records. When it comes to using it, you have to manually place the needle onto the record to start playing the record (it automatically starts spinning when you put the tonearm above the vinyl). The great thing about it is that the arm goes back automatically when the record finishes, so leaving the turntable playing music without supervision isn’t something you have to be concerned about.
If a device with a bunch of bonus features is something you’re looking for, you’re in for a treat. Besides built-in speakers, it has a CD player, AM/FM radio with illuminated tuning dial, and even and 3.5 (jack) aux input for any music playing device. This way you can use device’s speakers to play music from other sources than a vinyl record. If you’re looking for a turntable to add to your home stereo system, Winston probably won’t be a good option as it doesn’t feature any kind of output for speakers/stereo system to be connected to. In other words, you can listen to the music using the built-in speakers only.
Most people will choose this one for its classic design that makes it a great addition and a natural centerpiece of almost any room. Great choice for someone looking for an all-in-one device which can be connected to a power outlet and used right away. The speakers are good for the price but you’re stuck with them as the device doesn’t feature an output to connect external speakers/stereo.
- Beautiful design
- Supports all 3 speeds
- Built-in speakers, CD player, AM/FM radio
- No support for home stereo
Wellington is yet another one of Electrohome’s vintage-looking turntables available for under $200. As other Electrohome’s record players it’s a belt-driven device that supports all 3 speeds: 33 1/3 RPM, 45 RPM and 78 RPM. To play the record you manually lower the tonearm so the needle touches the record. When it comes to the needle and tonearm, many people pointed out issues with records skipping. There’s an easy fix for that (when needed) – tape a small (really small, you don’t want to damage the stylus nor the records) coin to the needle. Most people found this helpful with the issue.
When it comes to additional features, with Wellington you get built-in speakers, a CD player, AM/FM radio, possibility to play MP3s through USB and a 3.5mm jack input (so you can play music from your smartphone, iPod, etc.). So besides listening to vinyl records, you can use the turntable to play music from other sources. It also allows to directly convert records to MP3 files without using a computer – you just plug in a USB storage device and press record and the records go right to the device. When it comes to outputs, this device doesn’t offer much, just a jack output so you can listen to the music using headphones or computer speakers.
- fully automatic
- doesn’t support 78 RPM records
- the software it’s shipped with is somewhat confusing
Sony PSLX300USB is a fully automatic belt-driven record player. It’s minimalistic look says it all: it has only what’s required, nothing more. It supports two most popular speeds: 33 1/3 and 45. When it comes to outputs, it offers USB and (thanks to its built-in preamp) line-level signal. That means you can either connect it to your existing sound system with line input or computer via the USB port.
The player comes with its own software to restore and digitalize your vinyl collection. Quite a few people have found the software confusing and difficult to get started with, but by any means you’re not required to use the supplied software. You can use GarageBand (Mac) or Audacity (Mac, Windows or Linux) to convert your vinyls and there are plenty of tutorials on how to do it. The sound quality PSLX300USB offers is good (although depends on the rest of your system) which makes it a really good choice in the under 200 dollars price range.
Victrola Nostalgic Aviator 7-in-1
- gazzilion features
- cannot connect external speakers/stereo system
- somewhat difficult to get started due to large number of buttons
Victrola Nostalgic Aviator 7-in-1 has a number of additional features, which makes it more of a music player than only a record player.Okay, this retro-style one is more of a multi-purpose device than a turntable. It has just about every feature one can imagine, just look at the buttons on its front. One will love it for those numerous features, another will hate it for it, and that’s okay. It supports 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM records. You need to manually place the arm on the record to start playing and retract the arm when the record ends. The auto-stop feature is there though, so the record stops spinning when it ends.
The device has built-in speakers so it’s an all-in-one type of device (who would have thought?). Now let’s go through additional features it offers. First off, you can convert vinyls and cassettes (remember these?) straight to CD. The process doesn’t involve a computer which is both good (less hassle) and bad (you can only do what the device allows you to do). Obviously, you can also use it as a cassette and CD player. AM/FM radio is there too. If that’s not enough, there’s the line input that allows you to play music from another device. Oh, and there’s playing music from a Bluetooth-enabled device like your smartphone too.
How you can listen to all this music? Besides the built-in speakers, you can use your headphones. The sound it outputs is really good, especially for the price, you pay so if you’re looking for your first record player with a bunch of other features, Victrola Nostalgic Aviator is definitely worth checking out.
Pioneer PL-990 Automatic Stereo Turntable
- With dust cover
- User-friendly and fully automatic operation
- With built-in phono equalizer
- Upgradable parts
- No headphone jack
- No 78 support
The PL-990 is a fully automatic stereo turntable that promises to be as user-friendly as can be. It features 2-speed automatic operation for a completely hands-free operation. As far as the design and construction goes, the PL-990 looks like a standard turntable albeit sleek and compact. It’s great that the PL-990 has a dust cover to keep your vinyls safe while in use. The dust cover is removable in case you’d rather not use it.
It features a highly sensitive, straight tone arm that generates a refined audio. The PL-990’s precision DC servomotor provides a much smoother platter rotation, which also enhances the audio. The PL-990 is indeed fully automatic. While this feature is not a necessity, it’s a great option to have. For instance, if you hate putting the tone arm in position after the record is finished, the tone arm goes back to its home position automatically.
The built-in phono equalizer is terrific; it gives a nice boost of audio when needed. The equalizer also improves the overall quality of the audio. The PL-990 is a belt-type record player but the motor is surprisingly robust! The platter does not wobble while in use. As for the cartridge and stylus, they have the ability to play records without damaging the delicate vinyls.
Our only gripe is the lack of a headphone jack. You have to use a receiver if you’d like to hook the device up to a set of headphones. Also, the PL-990 doesn’t play 78 RPM records.
Overall, the PL-990 Automatic Stereo Turntable is a highly capable stereo turntable that offers user-friendly features and upgrade-friendly components. The quality of the device is quite impressive although we wish it came with a headphone jack.
Music Hall USB-1 Record Turntable
- Versatile controls
- Upgrade-friendly components
- Consistent, excellent performance
- Ideal for DJ work
- Plastic components
The Music Hall USB-1 Record Turntable is a reliable player with an affordable price tag. Its aesthetic may be simple but it is quite versatile. The USB-1 features a dust cover and a stable platter. The base of the USB-1 is made of plastic and some of its components are made from the same material, which explains its affordability.
Some users may not like the plastic components but the material didn’t affect the overall performance of the turntable. The platter, on the other hand, is made from die-cast aluminum so it’s really lightweight.
We like the features of the USB-1, it comes with a terrific belt drive system for quiet operation and impressive precision. The S-shape tonearm is gentle on the records and upgrade-friendly. The unit also comes with an anti-skating and pitch-adjustment feature for optimum control.
The USB-1 delivers excellent audio quality and is the perfect product to get for casual record fans. It is versatile enough for DJ work too. Since the components are upgrade-friendly, you can customize the USB-1 according to your needs. We wish the product’s built-in phono arm is just as upgrade-friendly as the other components. However, most casual vinyl fans will overlook this con.
Overall, the Music Hall USB1 is a solid choice for record fans. It’s a flexible turntable with upgrade-friendly components. It is a terrific turntable for those who are still testing the waters into this hobby.
Crosley C100A-SI Turntable
- Versatile controls
- Upgrade-friendly components
- Consistent, excellent performance
- Difficult to set up
- Fully manual
The C100A may not offer a variety of extra features but it is a capable turntable that packs quite a punch. The C100A’s construction is made of rigid plastic so it’s lightweight.
However, it is not as durable as other turntables. It features a distinct “vintage” aesthetic so it will appeal to those who love retro designs.This unit comes with an anti-skate feature + a counterweight at the tonearm to protect the records from groove damage.
The C100A also features a belt-driven turntable mechanism, a diamond stylus needle, and adjustable pitch control. It also comes with standard features such as a protective lid, auxiliary and RCA phono output for added flexibility.
The Audio Technica cartridge, the stylus, and the compact design make the C100A a standout turntable. However, the plastic construction can be troublesome at some point. Since the C100A is more lightweight than similar products with an aluminum chassis, it can be prone to vibrations. The audio quality is good, but it could come across as thin for some listeners. The built-in preamp does a decent job, but if you want to improve the sound quality, use a dedicated preamp.
The C100A is a good turntable for the price and it delivers no-frills performance. Its distinct, vintage aesthetic will appeal to those who love retro designs.
Best Turntables under $200: Comparison
|Audio Technica AT-L60USB||33 1/3, 45||Belt||Automatic||USB, phono, line (aux)||–|
|Electrohome Signature Retro Hi-Fi Stereo||33 1/3, 45, 78||Belt||Semi-automatic||–||Built-in speakers, AM/FM Radio|
|Electrohome Winston||33 1/3, 45, 78||Belt||Auto-stop||–||Built-in speakers, AM/FM Radio, CD Player, 3.5mm (jack) input|
|Electrohome Wellington||33 1/3, 45, 78||Belt||Auto-stop||Jack (headphones)||Built-in speakers, AM/FM Radio, CD Player, 3.5mm (jack) input|
|Sony PSLX300USB||33 1/3, 45||Belt||Automatic||USB, Line level|
|Victrola Nostalgic Aviator 7-in-1||33 1/3, 45, 78||Belt||Auto-stop||Jack (headphones)||Built-in speakers, CD player & recorder, cassette player, AM/FM radio, Aux input|
|Pioneer PL-990||33 1/3, 45||Belt||Automatic||USB, phono, line level||Phono EQ|
|Music Hall USB-1||33 1/3, 45||Belt||Semi-automatic||USB, line-level, phono|
|Crosley C100A-SI Turntable||33 1/3, 45||Belt||Manual||line-level, phono|
How to choose the best turntable under $200 for you?
If you’ve read all the descriptions and still aren’t sure which one to choose, here are some tips for choosing the best record player for you.
Do you already own speakers or a stereo system?
Some of the devices have built-in speakers. Those all-in-one record players are best for people who don’t already have a home stereo system in place. You can just connect the device to the power outlet and get started. If, on the other hand, your audio equipment includes a stereo system, choosing a device with phono or line output is the way to go. The sound quality will be so much better. Let’s face it, the built-in speakers are good for the price, but aren’t that great overall.
Do you want a multi-purpose device or just a record player?
Few of the devices described here have additional features such as the option to play AM/FM radio or CDs. For some, these features might be useful and add a lot of value. For others, having another CD player or radio receiver is not worth a dime because they will never use it. Consider to which group you (or the person who’s getting the device) belong. As usual, there’s no point in paying for features you will never use.
How does the deck fit into your room?
While the looks of the device isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when buying audio equipment, it’s still quite important. In most cases you won’t keep the turntable hidden in the closet and only take it out from time to time. Quite the opposite: it will be visible at all times. To be exact and somewhat sciency, most of the time the player won’t be playing music but just sitting there like a decoration. People will eyeball it. Because of that, think about how it will fit into your room. I, for one, really like the looks of those vintage-style turntables, but in my room they would look and feel odd. If you like good-looking players, check out our article about vintage turntables.
What’s your budget?
I assume you came to this article with a budget of about $200 and most likely are looking for a turntable for starters. For something that simply does the job and allows to experience the magic of vinyl records without obsessing over record players. 200 bucks is definitely enough for a device for starters. But if none of the players in this article seem to be right for you, take a closer look at inexpensive turntables. You can always buy a cheaper one and a few vinyl records to get the ball rolling.
(Featured photo credit: Nan Palmero / https://www.flickr.com/photos/nanpalmero/)