Top four cheap record players and turntables for 2020
By Oliver Trebilcock
We’ve discovered these great record players for less than £150 – proof that you don't have to spend big to get the most out of your record collection.
Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean you have to compromise on quality. We’ve discovered Best Buy record players that won't cost thousands, or even hundreds, of pounds. In fact, the table below shows you great record players for less than £150. Although the price may be small, they’re all easy to use and produce good sound quality, so listening to your records will be a delight rather than disappointing.
But, beware, we've tested plenty of cheap turntables that don't live up to these bargain models. Pick the wrong one and you'll be fumbling around to start your records, before being subjected to horrible sound. We've also rounded up three of the worst-offending models we've tested at the bottom of the page.
Our tests go further than those carried out by other organisations and, because Which? is independent and doesn't accept advertising or freebies, you can trust our reviews to give you the full, honest and impartial truth about a product. We use an expert listening panel to review the big brand record players and because we’re independent we only work for you, the customer, so you know our recommendations are only influenced by our test results.
Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the tables below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by taking a £1 trial to Which?.
Best record players for under £150
This turntable aims to bring the very best sound to an entry-level price, and it certainly delivers. This fully manual turntable has a premium build and matches the very best sound our lab has seen. Besting many players we’ve tested three times its price and more, you’d be hard-pressed to get better sound for the price.
This record player is great value. It's in shops for less than £150, still produces excellent sound quality and digitises your records with ease. Although just short of a Best Buy, we still highly recommend this record player to those on a budget or wanting to test the waters.
Most models from this budget manufacturer disappoint, but this one excels. In fact, this model very nearly gets a Best Buy. We were impressed with the sound quality from this turntable, and it's very easy to use thanks to its automatic tonearm. Bluetooth streaming works well, so it would be a good choice for those who are looking for wireless music around the home.
Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct at January 2019.
Not found the product for you? Browse all of our record player and turntable reviews.
And here are three record players to avoid
Some of the record players and turntables that pass through our test lab are nothing short of dreadful. We've seen models with sound quality so bad your records will sound like they're being played down a dodgy telephone line. While price is of course no guarantee of quality, with record players and turntables it's unfortunately often the cheapest models that are the worst made. To avoid making a real error with your next purchase, make sure you steer clear of the models in the table below.
Cheap record players to avoid
The turntable is a cheap, stylish turntable that on paper aims to reduce the cost of getting into vinyl. However, it's not what it seems. It's so poor you'll feel conned. It does a woeful job of playing and digitising your records, so we've made it a Don't Buy. It's nowhere near the quality of one of our Best Buy turntables - you'd be really disappointed.
Record players with speakers
Many of the cheapest record players you can buy come with built-in speakers. In theory this sounds great - you don't even need to plug them into a hi-fi to start enjoying your records. However, having speakers built in to a portable record player is actually a pretty bad idea for sound quality.
Record players work by dragging a stylus (commonly called a needle) through a groove in the record. Tiny vibrations in the groove are turned into an electrical signal by the stylus. This powers the music you hear through the speakers. The stylus has to be very sensitive to pick up these tiny vibrations - the best turntables are very good at stopping external vibrations from reaching the stylus or they'll ruin the signal. By putting built-in speakers in record players, manufacturers are introducing lots of unwanted vibrations.
This also means that built-in speakers can never be very loud. If they vibrated too much, they'd run the risk of causing the stylus to jump right out of the groove. Not only are built-in speakers generally bad for sound quality, you generally can't even turn them up to a volume you'd want to listen at anyway.