While the technology for listening to music both in terms of the playback devices and the audio format has changed, there are still plenty of people drawn to “obsolete” technology. Less than a decade ago, vinyl records made a comeback in a big way and currently stand as a legitimate niche market.
After the passage of generations, people often turn to their youth with thoughtful, nostalgic eyes. There are many technologies that are currently undergoing a similar activation. Compact and VHS cassette tapes begin to reclaim a glimpse of popularity, as Gen-Xers become the old guard. The best portable CD player is the perfect way to enjoy music played from a CD on the go.
- Best Portable CD Player 2018
- 1. HOTT (LASTEST VERSION 2018) – Best Portable CD Player
- 2. Sony DEJ011 – Best Portable CD Player Sound Quality
- 3. HOTT CD611 – Best Anti-skip Portable CD Player
- 4. Insignia NS-P4112 – Portable CD Player For Car (People’s Choice)
- 5. GPX PC807B – Best Portable CD Player For Audiobooks (Best Price)
- 6. Bose PM-1 – Best Portable CD Players
- 7. Sony CFDS70BLK – Best Portable CD Player with Speakers (Editor’s Choice)
- 8. NAXA NPB-251RD – Best Price Portable CD Player with Speakers
- 9. Sylvania SRCD1025 – Best Smart Device Portable CD Player with Speakers
- 10. KECAG – Best Portable CD Player With Bluetooth
- Best Portable CD Player Reviews – Buyer’s Guide
Best Portable CD Player 2018
That said, figuring out which portable CD player is the right one for you can be confusing and difficult. That is why we have put together a list of the 10 best portable CD players, highlighting what each one does best. Then we provide a buyer’s guide, so you can find the best portable CD player to suit your needs.
| HOTT (Lastest 2018)|
|5.6" x 5.6" x 1"||CD/-R/-RW/MP3/WMA||No|
|Sony DEJ011||5.5” x 5.5” x 1.1”||CD/-R/-RW||No|
|HOTT CD611||5.6” x 5.6” x 1”||CD/-R/-RW/MP3/WMA||No|
|7.0” x 9” x 2.36”||CD/-R/-RW||No|
|8.3” x 5.9” x 1.5”||CD/-R/-RW/MP3||No|
|Bose PM-1||11.8” x 11.8” x 3.9”||CD/-R/-RW/MP3||No|
|13.7” x 6.1” x 9”||CD/-R/-RW/MP3||Yes|
|NAXA NPB-251RD||9” x 8.1” x 5.4”||CD||Yes|
|Sylvania SRCD1025||10.5” x 5.2” x 9.5”||CD/-R/-RW||Yes|
|KECAG||7.4” x 7.4” x 1.4”||CD/-R/-RW/MP3||Yes|
1. HOTT (LASTEST VERSION 2018) – Best Portable CD Player
HOTT is an online exclusive brand that is centered in China. On occasion, that can send up red flags regarding the product’s quality and durability. Thankfully, no such issues plague the HOTT as this one of the more reliable portable CD players that we saw. The HOTT arguably the best portable cd player that we saw. It seems today handle up well nigh-indefinitely.
This CD player does not suffer from some options related to the playback ability. For one, there are few audio control options including playing modes and different EQ effects. That said, the HOTT does offer a key protection button while listening to the audio CD. Moreover, this Best portable CD player does have an onboard memory.
Another advantage of the HOTT is its versatility. This portable CD player can support a wide variety of disk types including CD, CD-R, and CD-RW. On top of that, the HOTT can also read DA, MP3, and WMA files. While this does exclude some of the more advanced and higher fidelity file formats, it is more than enough for most people’s needs. Finally, HOTT portable cd player arguably excellent anti-skip protection that we saw.
2. Sony DEJ011 – Best Portable CD Player Sound Quality
This portable CD player is significantly more expensive than every other option on our list, and the comparison is not even close. However, this product comes with a feature that is incredibly unique and difficult to find with older hardware. The Sony DEJ011 made our pick for the Best portable CD player sound quality.
This CD player can input the audio signal into large sound quality stereo systems and even hi-tech mixing boards. As such, if you have digital mixing equipment, you could mix a track from a CD into live music.
Other features of this portable CD player include an excellent anti-skip feature. But Sony DEJ011 doesn’t play MP3s. However, the few buttons mean it is not the easiest to use, and while it can be powered with an adapter, it requires that you purchase one separately.
3. HOTT CD611 – Best Anti-skip Portable CD Player
HOTT has quickly exploded onto the market with products that cover virtually every consumer electronics product available. When it comes to their portable CD player, they have been able to fit more features than most thanks in large part to the more advanced firmware.
Specifically, this portable CD player is one of the few on our list that can read a wide variety of audio file formats including all of the CDDA file formats, MP3s, and more. On top of that, this portable CD player also comes with an anti-skipping function though it is noted for being the absolute best in this regard.
HOTT CD611 also offers a couple of other nice features, some of which are not found on any other portable CD player that we reviewed. Specifically, this portable cd player can limit volume when turned on to offer ear protection. While it may seem like a minor thing, it is one of the features that set this portable CD player apart from the rest.
4. Insignia NS-P4112 – Portable CD Player For Car (People’s Choice)
The insignia was once a well-respected brand in the electronics industry. These days, they are seen more of a mid-tier brand, but they still put out a reasonable product at a decent price. This product made our pick for the Best portable CD player for car.
This CD player, for example, has a surprisingly good DAC for its price range, only slightly inferior to the Sonys or HOTT. That alone would make this a worthwhile purchase for budget-minded audiophiles. However, this CD player is also designed to be taken on the go. With an adequate, if unimpressive, anti-skip feature and the only CD player to offer behind the head peripherals, this CD player is more than adequate to handle light exercise and walking.
Car’s audio system without CD
On the other side, this also makes it a solid the Best portable CD player for a car. For example, If a car’s audio system came without CD, you can also connect one end of an Aux Cable to the portable cd player’s headphone jack and the other end into the car’s audio. There is no problem to power portable CD player from the car using the universal Power Adapter that fits Insignia NS-P4112.
5. GPX PC807B – Best Portable CD Player For Audiobooks (Best Price)
The first GPX on our list is only suitable for certain environments. However, if limited to that environment, it does offer a feature that definitely sets it apart from many of the other options on our list. The GPXPC807B made our pick for the Best portable CD player for audiobooks.
One of the best things about this portable CD player is its ability to play MP3s. Only about half of the CD players on our list do so, and few of them are in this price range. Moreover, this CD player can also support a variety of disc types including CD/R and CD/RW. We think it is the best portable cd player for audiobooks at home or office.
However, the ability to play MP3s does increase the cost over its competitors somewhat. Moreover, this CD player does not offer any audio controls at all, and it does not provide some of the more advanced programming features that others do.
6. Bose PM-1 – Best Portable CD Players
Out of all the brands on our list, there is certainly none on our list that has earned as high of a reputation as Bose though it could easily be argued that Bose is the best-performing consumer audio equipment brand on the market. That said, Bose is generally far better known for manufacturing high-end speakers regardless of the size or the situation.
Bose is just as willing to put the same degree of attention to detail in their source devices as they do in their more popular speakers. In fact, though this portable CD player may be a bit on the barebones side when it comes to features, there are numerous inherent features and compatibility options that increase its versatility.
When judging portable CD players, it is important to understand that there are basic functions involving the translation and secondary or peripheral functions that will alter or in some way manipulate the read audio signal. While Bose is well known for their hardware which can read those audio signals, you do not necessarily hear as much about their hardware which decodes the audio signal from a physical source.
Thankfully, Bose uses an excellent firmware that has kept up with the progression of digital technology as this portable CD player can not only play all of the most common types of CDs including traditional CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs but can also play MP3 file formats instead of just the standards CDDA that most CDs use.
7. Sony CFDS70BLK – Best Portable CD Player with Speakers (Editor’s Choice)
When it comes to electronic and especially when it comes to legacy electronics Sony is one of the few brands that you can essentially trust wholeheartedly. This is especially true of audio playback devices considering that Sony is either responsible for the product’s emergence altogether or improved upon the original designs such that theirs became the standard.
This Sony portable CD player is by far the best portable CD player with speakers on our list for a coupl of reasons. First, while this CD player does not come with anti-skip technology, it is larger and heavier than most other CD players we reviewed and should be able to offer a fairly stable playback without the need for such features.
Echo Dot Connection
On top of that, the 4-ohm loads, both channels rated 1.1 W per channel – minimum RMS power speakers actually end up producing better sound quality than over of the other products on our list as well as to connect Sony’s external speakers for popular smart device Amazon Echo Dot.
Beyond its reliability, this is also one of the few portable CD players with speakers on our list that offers a bass boost which is notably different than the standard setting. Sony CFDS70BLK with speakers also has an AM/FM radio in case you do not want to listen to CDs. Finally, if you want to listen to any of the most popular audio file formats made for CD players, the Sony can handle them all including MP3 files not otherwise formatted for a CD player.
8. NAXA NPB-251RD – Best Price Portable CD Player with Speakers
NAXA is a somewhat recent company but this has merely allowed them to find out what works and what is necessary among CD players and provide just that at one of the lowest prices on our list. Considering not everyone wants to worry about keeping track of earbuds, NAXA saw it fit to make best portable CD player with speakers that is still able to provide everything you need.
The speakers put out a total of 2.4W RMS which is not that much, but the sound quality is better than one would expect at that rating. On top of that, the absence of numerous modes and features on this portable CD player with speakers does make it incredibly easy to use which is likely an ideal portable CD player for a tech-adverse family member.
That said, there is a good reason to suspect an elderly family member might be the best person for this portable CD player with speakers as its absence of features go further than some would prefer. Specifically, this portable CD player with speakers is one of the few that we reviewed which does not feature an anti-skip function at all. On top of that, it is still technically too large to simply carry around and listen too in a casual setting.
9. Sylvania SRCD1025 – Best Smart Device Portable CD Player with Speakers
It was not too terribly long ago that Sylvania was one of the major players for home audio entertainment, but they shifted towards a more consumer-friendly business model and instead have been focusing on less expensive electronics that can appeal to the largest market and provide value for the most people.
First, this is another smart device portable CD player with speakers that is not portable in the traditional sense. It has a handle and can be powered by batteries though it does come with an AC adapter for when you are not taking it anywhere. On top of that, this CD player also has speakers as well as an AM/FM radio in case you do not want to listen to CDs.
10. KECAG – Best Portable CD Player With Bluetooth
KECAG is another brand who has eschewed their online presence in order to provide a less expensive product. Unfortunately, this has not actually panned out with their mountable CD player though it is fairly unique in design, so it makes sense that they would charge more. Still, this is an interesting product that can offer some legitimate value. The KECAG made our pick for the Best portable CD player with Bluetooth.
First, this CD player is not truly portable in the traditional sense. While it may not be one of the largest portable CD players that we reviewed, it does still stand out for its profile. However, that should not be much of an issue as this portable CD player is actually designed to be displayed more than it is taken from place to place.
Instead of serving as a traditional CD player, the KECAG can be mounted on the wall like a clock or it can be placed on the provided stand. Even better, this CD player can also act simply as a Bluetooth speaker using the wireless, but outdated, Bluetooth 2.1 protocol. Finally, this portable CD player with Bluetooth can play the most common audio file formats.
Best Portable CD Player Reviews – Buyer’s Guide
While the first CD players did not have to worry so much about file formats because they all simply read CD-DA files, continued development in technology has produced a wealth of other file formats that can be encoded with audio data. As such, newer portable CD players have adapted to be able to read these different file formats to remain relevant. Sometimes these file formats are not functionally different than the CD-DA file and instead simply add a file “tag” that designates it depending on the device use. For example, CD/R and CD/RW files are still technically encoded with the CD-DA file format when burned.
Then, CD/R and CD/RW files are also encoded with a file tag that lets computers and other disc reading devices recognize the discs as CD/R or CD/RW discs instead of PC games, console video game discs, etc. This means that the CD player’s DAC needs to be able to read those tags for the audio files on the CD/R and CD/RW to be recognized.
Of course, our most common experience with modern audio files is the MP3. This file format allows the audio information to be compressed to a much smaller size than CD-DA files. Eventually, this allows a CD/R or CD/RW to hold more than ten times the total number of audio files when compared to CD-DA files. Still, MP3s are not at all like the file tags that CD/R and CD/RW discs assign to CD-DA files. Instead, MP3s are the different type of file format. This means that your CD player’s DAC needs to be able to specifically read an MP3 file format or else the CD player would not be able to read a disc with MP3 files at all.
For portable CD Players, this may arguably be the most important quality. You can listen to your CDs through a portable CD player while sitting in a chair, working or lying in your bed. That is not really what it was designed for. Any home entertainment system with a CD player can accommodate that need a portable CD player is designed to play music on the go.
However, because the CD is housed in a moving system that requires the disk to continuously spin for the information to be read, and the laser must precisely track the information literally burned onto the disk in sequence. Continuous jostling will result in corrupted and unplayable audio signals. This is when the CD player begins to skip.
One solution to this issue is the anti-skip feature. Unlike the name implies, this feature does not actually prevent the CD from jostling within its compartment, thus throwing off the laser’s precision and making the information temporarily irretrievable. Instead, anti-skip features pre-record a limited amount of the audio signal to maintain a continuous playback.
If the signal should get interrupted by a quick jerk, the CD player will continue to play. But, there is generally a limit to the amount of time the CD player will record the more compressed MP3 file format is able to transmit more information, and thus a bigger amount of audio signal, than CD file formats.
Ultimately, the longer anti-skip feature the better. This means your portable CD player can accept more tumultuous environment before it starts skipping and generally indicates superior memory which can play out in other features as well.
An alternative to anti-skip is anti-shock. Whereas anti-skip prerecords the information on the disc to provide a buffer in case the CD player is jostled, anti-shock bypasses the jostling altogether by producing a much stronger laser in the first place. This allows the laser to keep reading the disc, even if it is jostled. Though, there is still an upper limit on how effective either feature can assist.
Every digital audio playback device comes with a digital audio converter or DAC. The quality of the DAC ultimately determines the maximum quality of the audio signal sent to the speakers.
This means that the actual digital information stored on the CD may be artificially limited, bottlenecked, by a substandard DAC. For example, a standard CD-DA audio file format plays at 44.1 kbit/sec. MP3s, but it can play anywhere from 32 kbit/sec to 320 kbit/sec. Essentially, the higher the bitrate, the better quality the audio.
It is important to note that 1080p audio is played under 200 kbit/sec. So 320 kbit/sec is well above Hi-Def audio standards. If the CD player’s DAC is not sufficiently advanced, it will not be able to decode the information above its limited decoding bitrate.
This does not often result in you being unable to listen to your audio tracks. It will definitely have an impact on the quality of the audio. If your CD player’s DAC can only decode a digital signal at 44.1 kbit/sec, you will miss out on the enhanced audio fidelity of the higher MP3 bit rates and their improved sound quality.
A portable CD player is more likely to be dropped, that is why the build quality of the device is paramount. This is even more relevant if the device is intended to be used while working out. There are few portable CD players that can consistently account for continuous disruption to the laser reading the information. Though, there are certain pouches and straps that can help stabilize the CD player. Still, you want a CD player that can handle being dropped or hit and not have an internal component come loose. Even more rare, but potentially as valuable for working out, water resistant of CD player.
Portable CD players are generally powered by one of two means: batteries and an AC adapter. Each of them has their advantages and disadvantages. You will almost always favor one over the other depending on how you intend to use your portable CD player.
If you plan to use your portable CD player while on the go, batteries are pretty much your only option. There are power reserve packs available, and you can connect them to your portable CD player with an AC to USB cord. However, this obviously involves purchasing multiple peripherals.
It might be a preferable alternative to constantly purchasing new batteries or having to purchase both rechargeable batteries and a battery charging station. The point is, if you intend to use your portable CD player on the go, you will inevitably have to pay for one method or another to charge it.
But If you plan to use your portable CD player around the house or an office, an AC adapter should be a necessary powering option. The AC adapter allows you to plug your portable CD player into a standard outlet and power the device for much less cost.
Unlike full entertainment systems, portable CD players will not be able to make ready use of an expansive speaker system. In terms of “traditional” speakers, the best you likely have a possibility to use is a dual speaker system whereby one speaker connects to the portable CD player via and 3.5 mm auxiliary cord and a second speaker connects to the first.
The primary issue with this arrangement comes from the power requirements. First, the CD player powers the speakers with the signal sent. Even two small speakers generally require more power than headphones or earbuds. As such, external speakers, even small ones, will drain the batteries of a portable CD player.
Second, the CD player’s audio signal needs to be strong enough to handle being transformed through a first speaker and into a second. Often, a dual speaker setup has a component which amplifies the signal before sending it to the second speaker. Of course, this will require another power draw from the CD player itself.
More commonly, portable CD players rely on headphones or earbuds to transmit the audio signal to a speaker. You may prefer to purchase your own peripheral in this instance. It is worth noting that many portable CD players provide a set of peripherals for you to use. Of course, the quality of the headphones or earbuds is often somewhat dependent on the initial investment in the CD player.
Like the compact tape cassette players before it, portable CD players are able to expand their versatility by functioning both as a CD player and as a radio. However, the extent of the CD player’s ability to receive and decode radio wave signals differs significantly from one product to another.
Many CD players can only play FM radio waves. This is the standard wavelength for most music stations. It leaves out almost every talk radio station which generally runs on the smaller wavelength AM radio waves. There are even some CD players with receivers that can pick up television signals though.
Ease of Use
Still, the same may not always be said for the other control features of a CD player. This is specifically relevant for programming features such as playlists and radio tuning. The primary issue arises with how the CD player interfaces with these features.
Buttons are the obvious method, but it is the number of buttons that often determines the ease of use. In contrast to the increase in the number of buttons, there is a contradiction that reduces the efficiency and ease of access to the player’s functions.
For example, a portable CD player may provide a button for each function. This makes manipulating the different functions easier. It will also present the issue that pressure along any portion of the CD player will change whatever settings have been programmed.
Portable CD player with few buttons is far less likely to accidentally shift programmed settings. Unfortunately, this means that multiple buttons would have to serve double and maybe even triple duty. While the accidental shifting of programmed settings is unlikely, it is far more expected to cause mistakes while intentionally setting or changing the programming.
While CD players, especially the portable variety, simply decode the digital information and port it to a speaker generally headphones or earbuds that signal itself is not the only method of signal control the CD player can have.
While we are all familiar with EQ settings, the audio signal can be transformed in other ways to enhance the listener’s experience.
This is one of the most common audio controls. The CD player decodes the digital signal and transfers it to the speakers. It amplifies the low-frequency registers of the signal. This allows the CD player to boost the bass of the audio signal, though this will generally require the CD player to expend more energy for this.
This is a far more uncommon audio control especially in regards to portable CD players. With volume limiting, the CD player narrows the volume range of the audio signal, allowing a fairly even playback. This results in tracks with widely different volumes playing at relatively similar levels. Depending on the volume limiter, this can mean that only loud tracks are quieted. It can also increase the volume of exceptionally quiet tracks.
At the end, which portable CD you choose will likely come down to three factors: intended use, potential use, and willing investment. Intended use will generally refer to use on the go vs use at home or the office. Potential use will have more to do with how extensive your CD collection is and how important the nostalgia of playing CDs resonates. Willing investment refers to how much money you are willing to spend.
Of course, if you are looking for the best overall sounding portable CD player, you would be hard-pressed to do better than the Sony Walkman. This iconic portable CD player has one of the better DACs available. It comes with all of the primary features that are expected on a CD player. It also comes with a pair of headphones for out-of-the-box playback. That said, the Sony CFDS70BLK actually comes with most of the same features, but it is not nearly as portable.
If you are not looking to spend quite so much money, then we recommend the HOTT lastest version of 2018. This portable CD player does have a solid DAC as well as anti-skip protection. Though it is a bit more expensive than some of the budget-minded products that we reviewed. It’s can play virtually any format and has an onboard memory a lot of functions.