The more things change, the more they stay the same. This phrase is often used to describe how trends will fade from the public’s interest only to return decades later. This is exactly the situation with vinyl records as a new generation has discovered something their parents and grandparents already knew: vinyl records have a unique, rich quality of sound.
As such, the new generation has begun purchasing a portable record player and spearheading a revival of the industry. However, this new generation of consumers is not willing to sacrifice the technological progressions made especially when it applies to our fast-paced society. That is why manufacturers seek to bridge the gap with the best portable record player.
- Best Portable Record Player 2019
- 1. GOOD NEW – Best Portable Record Player
- 2. Crosley CR6019D-BK – Best Crosley Portable Record Player
- 3. Feir TP204 – Best Portable Record Player with Speakers
- 4. JORLAI – Most Portable Record Player with Bluetooth
- 5. Musitrend – Best Portable Record Player Under 100
- 6. 1byone – Best Portable Record Player with Built-In Speakers (Best Price)
- 7. Audio-Technica AT-LP120 – Best Record Player (People’s Choice)
- Best Portable Record Player Reviews – Buyer’s Guide
Best Portable Record Player 2019
Figuring out which of this new breed of the portable record player is the right for your needs can be difficult. So we have put together a list of the 7 best portable record player, highlighting what each does best. Then we provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you can find the best portable record player for you.
|33 ⅓, 45, 78||PC, USB, 3.5 mm aux||DC, Battery|
|Crosley CR6019D-BK||33 ⅓, 45, 78||PC, USB, 3.5 mm aux, RCA||DC|
|Feir TP204||33 ⅓, 45, 78||PC, USB, 3.5 mm aux, RCA||DC|
|JORLAI||33 ⅓, 45, 78||PC, 3.5 mm aux, RCA||DC, Battery|
|Musitrend||33 ⅓, 45, 78||PC, 3.5 mm aux, RCA||DC, Battery|
|33 ⅓, 45, 78||USB, RCA||DC|
|33 ⅓, 45, 78||USB, 3.5 mm aux, RCA||DC|
1. GOOD NEW – Best Portable Record Player
It is a bit odd on our list, but the GOOD NEW company does not specialize in portable record players. In fact, this brand does not even truly specialize in electronics and offers a wide array of products. Still, arguably the most impressive part of this business arrangement is the fact that GOOD NEW seems to understand better than most what it takes to make the best portable record player that we reviewed.
If you are looking for a portable record player that can virtually do it all, then the GOOD NEW is just what you are looking for. This portable record player with speakers can play all speeds of record and does not even require a separate adapter to do so. Even better, this the best portable record player features a slightly heavier plinth and platter, so it can handle records, which may not be in the best of a condition.
Best Briefcase Record Player
For the most part, the GOODNEW portable record player is extremely portable. Like many of the other products on our list, this product comes in a self-contained case. As is expected, this case features a latch to keep it closed during transport this time done in a classic brass finish. The handle is made from heavy-duty plastic and matches the case itself, unlike some other products.
This is one of the few portable record players we reviewed to come with a battery, and its battery offers the longest continuous play time that we saw. The only issue is that this is also the third heaviest portable record player on our list.
2. Crosley CR6019D-BK – Best Crosley Portable Record Player
Considering the niche market of portable turntables has generally attracted a number of overnight pop-up companies, the fact that Crosley has been around for almost a century is a welcome sign in a market that desperately needs experience.
That said, Crosley actually has a distinction that goes above and beyond mere experience as this is the actual portable record player that most of the other brands are aping. While this does not mean that the Crosley is inherently better than the other products reviewed, it does mean the quality is a standard unto itself.
By far one of the best things that the Crosley CR6019D-BK provides is a forward-thinking philosophy that understands even if you are making a product centered around anachronism and nostalgia, that does not mean you can ignore the various advancements made in modern technology.
Better Command Options
One thing that is definitely a bit hit or miss in terms of contemporary portable record players is their options once connected to a device. Most of the time, a portable record player can at best serve as the source of the audio signal sent to other speakers or playback systems. That said, the Crosley CR6019D-BK once again distinguishes itself from its peers and imitators by offering a surprisingly robust compatibility with both laptops and desktop, both PC and Mac. Essentially, the Crosley CR6019D-BK portable record player allows you to connect to a computer via the USB port and record the audio signal as a digital file.
3. Feir TP204 – Best Portable Record Player with Speakers
Like many of the brands that are currently manufacturing portable record players, Feir is another only online manufacturer. This business model ostensibly allows the manufacturer to sell their products for less money, but the Feir definitely, and unfortunately, bucks that trend. That said, this is still one of the better products we found with some features that are not too terribly common, easily making it the best portable record player with speakers that we reviewed.
By far one of the best qualities of the Feir TP204 is that it can play virtually any record. With the option of playing at 33, 45, and 78 RPMs and no need for an adapter, the Feir TP204 will not only play any record but be able to do so without additional expense or issue.
When it comes to portable electronics, the audio quality is only half the story as you will ultimately need the product to be able to handle the rigors of being taken from place to place. Thankfully, the Feir TP204 provides plenty of durability with a case that is made out of wood and then wrapped in a polyurethane faux leather.
On top of that, this the best portable record player with speakers also features the popular briefcase design which keeps everything in place during transport while also providing a helpful carrying handle.
4. JORLAI – Most Portable Record Player with Bluetooth
JORLAI is another of the few brands on our list to focus exclusively on portable record players, though it definitely offers a few features that distinguish it from some of its similar competitors. Like some of the other brands that specialize in portable record players, JORLAI also makes no attempt to take a stab at the higher end market of record players. Unfortunately, this shows up a bit more prominently with the JORLAI than with some of the other portable record players we saw. This product made our pick for the best portable record player with Bluetooth.
On the positive, the JORLAI is likely the all-around most portable record player with Bluetooth that we encountered. It is also one of the few that checks off every potential feature that would make a record player portable in the first place. For one, it comes in a self-contained case though this one is layered in a faux leather wrap.
Beyond its portability, this the most portable record player with Bluetooth is also one of the more versatile that we reviewed. Like the other portable record players on our list, the JORLAI is able to play all speed of record from 33 ⅓ to 45 to 78. It does require an adapter to play the 45, the adapter is actually built into the platter.
This portable record player also features more connections than most of the others including the ability to wirelessly stream music to the record player over a Bluetooth channel. JORLAI is able to record the vinyl signal directly to your computer via a Type B standard USB cable.
5. Musitrend – Best Portable Record Player Under 100
Musitrend is one of the few brands on our list that specializes exclusively in making and selling portable record players. While some of the other brands may offer a wider variety of record player types, Musitrend stays squarely in the portable record player market. They are also one of the brands that do not enter the high-end record player market, which can be both a good and a bad thing. This attempt to find a balance and best all-around value have led the Musitrend to be our best portable record player under 100.
One of the nice things about the Musitrend is that it can play virtually any record. Whether a 33 ⅓, 45, or 78, the Musitrend is able to keep up with all of the different sizes of records available. That said, this record player does require an adapter to play the 45 records. Thankfully, that adapter is included at no extra charge, so it is simply a matter of remembering to use it. Beyond the record speeds, this is also one of the few portable record players that we reviewed which offers pitch shifting. This is where the record player will speed up or slow down just a little bit and is important for playing records which may not be in the best shape.
In terms of portability, this portable record player checks off most of the boxes. It is set in a self-contained case that features a beautiful wood finish rather than the faux leather of other models we reviewed. Beyond its appearance, this portable record player also features a gold-finish latch to ensure the case does not open during transport. To make transporting it easier, this portable record player features a gold-finish handle as well. This portable record player includes the rechargeable battery 2100mA with good quality built-in speakers.
6. 1byone – Best Portable Record Player with Built-In Speakers (Best Price)
Like some of the other companies we reviewed, 1byone does not actually provide any kind of specialization. That said, unlike other unfocused brands, 1byone actually offers a little bit of everything for virtually all aspects of the home and even some beyond. This player makes our list as the least expensive best portable record player with built-in speakers that we found though they actually do span the market a bit broader than most.
In terms of a no-muss, no-fuss portable record player, the 1byone seeks to offer one of the more convenient packages we saw. This starts primarily with the controls, which are easy to understand and do not have any unlabeled buttons. Everything works with either the turn of a knob, flip of a switch, or press of a button. This portable record player with built-in speakers also allows you to play any speed of record and even comes with an adapter for the 45s. The built-in speakers are some of the better on our list, to provide a total package.
As the least expensive portable record player on our list, you should expect it to come with fewer features than some of the others. One of the more glaring omissions is the absence of an adequately portable frame. While this portable record player comes in a self-contained case, the case does not feature either a latch to keep the lid closed during transport nor a handle to make carrying it easier. On top of that, this portable record player does not have a battery, but it is at least the lightest portable record player we saw.
7. Audio-Technica AT-LP120 – Best Record Player (People’s Choice)
In terms of company reputation and reliability, Audio Technica is up there with the best of the best. Anyone who uses high-end audio equipment is intimately familiar with the quality of this brand. They may not specialize in record players explicitly whether portable or not they focus on audio equipment and make sure it is top-tier only. Of course, they also make sure that your wallet knows this as well. The Audio-Technica made our pick for the best portable vinyl record player.
What is the best vinyl record player brand?
The Audio Technica provides by far the best playback out of any portable record player we saw. There really is no comparison. If the playback quality of the record player is your primary concern, this is easily your best option.
Of course, Audio Technica made sure that the direct-drive motor will have virtually no impact on the playback of your record with a number of other features exclusive to this record player. For instance, there are adjustable counterweights and anti-shake features on this record player. That none of the other we reviewed can hope to match. This is important because it allows you to fine-tune how the needle will dig and how the record will respond to the subtle direct-drive vibrations.
Essentially, you can fine-tune the Audio Technica to play differently for each and every record your own. This the best portable vinyl record player also provides the option of speeding up or slowing down the record’s speed to account for irregularities in the vinyl pressing or age taking its toll on the record.
Best Portable Record Player Reviews – Buyer’s Guide
While all of the portable record players that we reviewed are technically capable of playing all the different sizes of records made, that is simply not the case with every product. There are plenty of portable record players that can only play one or two speeds of record.
Generally, these types of record players can either play the 33 ⅓ and 45 or the 78 and 45. It is important to note that for the vast majority of record players whether portable or otherwise the 45 will generally require some form of adapter.
That said, if at all possible, try to get a portable record player that plays all speeds. The 45 will still likely require an adapter though some can play 45s without one. It is better to have a record player that can play all record speeds then not. That said, some of the less expensive portable record players will often play some speeds better than others. So you should definitely research the reviews to figure out if a record player sute for faster or slower speeds.
The drive refers to how the portable record player spins the platter upon which the record sits. There is no drive that is universally better than any other. It will largely depend on what you intend to use the portable record player for.
For instance, someone who simply wants to put the record on without worry will likely seek a belt-drive. While someone who is more involved in the features of the portable record player will prefer a direct drive.
This is the standard type of drive for consumer grade portable record players. Essentially, the motor uses a belt to spin the platter. This has the advantage of the belt absorbing potential vibrations generated by the motor to ensure a smoother listening experience. It prevents the needle from making minor skips. Belt drives are not as consistent in delivering their torque to the platter. Which can result in the record being playing at a lower speed than it is set to. The belt of a belt-drive portable record player will eventually wear out and need to be changed.
Direct-drive portable record players are generally used for professionals or those who have a bit more experience with record players in general. In this arrangement, the motor connects directly to the platter and spins it without any intermediary.
The downside is that the vibration from the motor can cause the record to skip a bit especially for older records unless the platter is significantly heavier.
While classic record players may not have had too terribly many options in this respect, modern record players have sought to keep up with the times and provide a wide array of ports and outlets that were simply non-existent when record players were first made. The new portable record players will often include various ports to connect to computers or other smart devices and may even be able to connect wirelessly.
This is likely the most important factor when determining how portable record player actually is. The large cabinet record players are clearly not intended for transport. There is still a wide range of variation among even the smaller, more compact record players in terms of weight. That said, there is a good rule of thumb to consider when selling out for a lightweight record player.
The lighter player, the more pronounced vibrations will be on how well the record player plays the record. A record player weighing around 5 pounds might be easy to take virtually anywhere. It also lacks the kind of stability that extra weight can provide. This can lead to the motor causing the record to skip due to vibrations even if it is a belt-drive spun record player.
This factor is a bit more a convenience consideration, but it is still one that bears mentioning. Even if a portable record player is light enough to take on the go, if it is not designed for that, it will ultimately be a large and bulky device that is awkward to carry. To rectify this issue, many manufacturers will design the portable record player to fit inside of a self-contained case. This case will not include only a latch to ensure the portable record player remains closed and safe during transport. It will often sport a handle to make carrying it far more convenient.
The way that a portable record player is powered will have a large impact on exactly how portable it is. This is because even the lightest and easiest to carry portable record player can only be taken to so many locations if it requires a plug to play. All portable record players can be powered by a DC port that is plugged into a standard outlet, some just offer other options as well.
The primary alternative to a plugged-in power system is to have an onboard battery. Of course, this creates a situation where you have to decide specifically what kind of portability matters most. While a battery will inherently allow you to take your portable record places others cannot go, the battery will also add some necessary weight to the portable record player. Generally, batteries will add anywhere from 1 to 2 pounds of weight.
One of the best features to be added to modern portable record players is the ability to record the audio signal of the record into a digital format. This blends the best of both worlds in that you can still get the rich, warm sound that makes vinyl records so popular but takes the recording anywhere with you on the go in a digital format.
In this case, you will want to pay special attention to what the portable record player records the digital file. Some portable record players will connect directly to your computer using a Type B Standard USB connection. Some portable record players are able to record the audio directly within their own system using an SD memory card.
Which one you choose will likely depend on what devices you have and the space available to you. For example, if your computer is located on a somewhat smaller desk, chances are the size of the portable record player may make connecting the two devices together awkward if not altogether difficult. Conversely, if you do not have another device that can read or transfer the file from an SD card, that feature becomes worthless or will require an additional purchase to make use of.
What Is The Best Portable Record Player?
In the end, there is no single portable record player that will suit all people’s needs equally. If you have fairly new records, you can likely save some money and purchase a less expensive portable record player. If your records are a bit older and slightly warped, you will definitely need a more expensive portable record player to ensure a smooth playback experience.
For those whose records are in good shape, we recommend either the Feir or the Musitrend. Both of these portable record players suffer from issues when playing older records. They are reasonably priced options that come with a variety of features. The fact that both can record the records to a digital format and come in a self-contained case with a latch and handle.
If you need a portable record player with a bit better playback, we recommend either the GOODNEW or the Audio Technica. The GOODNEW is similar to many of the other options on our list with a slightly heavier plinth and platter for better playback. While the Audio Technica is a legitimately professional record player that can handle virtually any vinyl thrown its way. That said, both are two of the least portable record players on our list especially the Audio Technica.