One of the most important aspects of vinyl records is the method used to listen to them. This is often overlooked by audiophiles new to the vinyl world who often settle for more inexpensive models that don't produce as high of quality of music. Spending just a little more money today on a quality turntable can save you hundreds of dollars in the future. We've compiled a list of options for the Best Turntable Under $500.
Some important aspects to consider when choosing a quality turntable include:
1. Metal Used in Tonearm and Turntable
Many different types of metal are commonly used in turntable construction, some of which include iron, aluminum, and steel. Each of these metals adds a different amount of weight to the turntable, making the different models heavier or lighter depending on the metal used. The more weight a turntable has, the more stable it will be.
2. Bluetooth/ Technology capabilities
Many newer turntables and turntable systems have modern technologies such as Bluetooth and wireless audio connectivity. These can enhance the listening experience greatly and save time in many cases. Many of the models we looked at had some Bluetooth capability which we found to be extremely convenient.
3. Belt Drive vs. Direct Drive
Belt drive systems use a belt to spin the turntable platter. These turntables usually require a little more time to get fully up to speed but are extremely popular and seen in many models on our list. The belts need to be replaced every few years but this process is usually fairly simple and can be done at home without the need of a professional. A direct drive, on the other hand, uses a motor to spin the turntable platter. Direct drive turntables are attractive due to their instant ability to get up to speed and stay at a certain speed. A drawback of direct drive turntables is that they can be more difficult to fix and can sometimes produce a motor noise that can get in the way of the listening experience.
1. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Turntable with Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge (Piano Black)
The Pro-Ject DC Turntable makes our list of the Best Turntable Under $500 due to its simplistic design yet no piece of this turntable was forgotten about. The sound quality is one of the best at this price point. The absence of buttons and automatic stop and play can make this turntable a turn-off for some buyers. This turntable can be customized with additional add ons and upgrades including speakers. It's simple and to the point, providing great sound quality at a fair price.
2. Wooden Turntable Vinyl Record Player Phonograph Gramophone Stereo Speakers System 33/45 RPM FM AUX USB Output Bluetooth 4.2 (Gramophone)
With a classic design, this turntable can add a touch of elegance to any living room. Carved wood details in the front combined with the metalwork on the sides give this turntable a timeless feeling. However, the technology is all upgraded to modern specs. A CD player, record, and radio combination, this turntable is one of the more versatile options that we looked at for the Best Turntable Under $500. Sound quality ranks high with this model. Two speakers on the sides of the turntable plus an additional speaker in the gramophone at the top allow the sound to travel in numerous directions and cover a room well. This is a great option for someone who likes to entertain and is looking for a statement piece for their home.
3. Jensen JMC1250 Bluetooth 3-Speed Stereo Turntable and 3 CD Changer with Dual Cassette Deck
The Jensen Stereo Turntable isn't technically stand-alone but it still makes our list for the Best Turntable Under $500. The most versatile model that we looked at with the capabilities of playing CDs, cassette tapes, radio, and vinyl. This model has it all. With a remote for ease of use too, this model is perfect for any person looking for a turntable that can do it all. With inspiration from the versatile stereo systems from the 90s, this turntable brings those capabilities and adds an element of technology. Bluetooth compatibility allows you to connect your phone to play music and podcasts too. With all of these features, this turntable is the most value for your money on our list for the Best Turntable Under $500.
4. Sony PS-LX310BT Belt Drive Turntable: Fully Automatic Wireless Vinyl Record Player with STRDH190 2-ch Stereo Receiver with Phono Inputs & Bluetooth
This Sony PS-LX310BT has all of the bells and whistles one might want in a turntable. One of our favorite models on our Best Turntable Under $500 list, this model takes technology to the next level. With an additional stereo receiver, more value is added to this already amazing turntable. Bluetooth capabilities allow the user to connect headphones to the device to listen to vinyl wirelessly without disturbing others. An input USB allows users to rip vinyl records to digital files so that they can be listened to on the go. Paired with a modern, no-frills design this turntable is durable and built with quality materials. An aluminum base and arm prove to last through years of wear and tear. Auto start and stop are included in this model too. Overall, this is the perfect model for someone looking to enhance their vinyl experience and make listening to music easier and more fun.
5. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO, Audiophile Turntable with Carbon Fiber tonearm, Electronic Speed Selection and pre-Mounted Sumiko Rainier Phono Cartridge (Satin Walnut)
Similar to the earlier Pro-Ject turntable featured on our list of the Best Turntables Under $500, this model includes the additional feature of the cover. This adds an element of protection to the turntable when not in use. Additional improvements to this model include a carbon fiber tonearm and a Sumiko phono cartridge. Adjustable feet allow the turntable to be placed on numerous surfaces safely and without sacrificing sound quality. A belt drive system can be seen as a negative to some users, but the quality is there and there should be no worry of the belt slipping in any short term outlook. With proper care and maintenance, this turntable can be passed down to the next generation of audiophiles.
6. 1byone Wireless Turntable HiFi System with 36 Watt Bookshelf Speakers, Patend Designed Vinyl Record Player with Magnetic Cartridge, Wireless Playback & Auto-Off
A classic Midcentury Modern look gives this turntable an extra edge on our Best Turntable Under $500 list. With all of the basics included in this model, additional features such as a counterweight to prevent the needle from scratching the vinyl, a USB port, and an Audio-Technica phono cartridge add value to this turntable. The included speakers also make this turntable a more affordable option for someone looking for an entire system instead of a stand-alone turntable. The absence of an automatic tonearm and manual sound controls can be a negative for some users but the immersive audio quality makes up for the lack of these features. Overall, this is a great choice for someone looking to elevate their listening experience at an affordable price.