Best Portable Turntable Buyer’s Guide
Turntables are nifty little devices that have aged well with the improvements of technology. Because of this, record players have become a hit accessory yet again for playing music and displaying your love of melodic sounds. In investing in a portable turntable, you’ll be able to show your friends and family some of the best old-school songs with new life breathed into them, or just enjoy the sounds somewhere during a nice vacation. In this article, we’ll show you how to choose the best portable turntable through factors you should consider, as well as tips you should consider before buying.
Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best Portable Turntable
If you live in a climate that’s rather dusty and musty, you’ll want to make sure your turntable unit has a dust covering over it. There are many units that have a plastic casing over it for added protection, not just aesthetics. Those that live in a region with more humidity may want to invest in a cover themselves if their potential unit doesn’t have one. Without, your records may be subject to warping if you leave them on for extended periods of time.
Another thing you should look into is whether or not the unit is automatic or manual. Sometimes, you may find yourself stumbling upon a semi-automatic, too. So, what’s automatic or manual when it comes to a record player? Simple: when you have an automatic system, you’ll be able to put your record on the device, push and button, and everything’s all set. As for a manual system, you’ll actually have to take the arm yourself and place it over your vinyl record. You’ll also have to lift it off after you’re done, too. As for a semi-automatic unit, you’ll be able to put it on yourself, but once the song or record is done, the needle comes off by itself.
Thankfully, the less expensive ones tend to be automatic, while the mid to high-range turntables are usually manual; although, you can find both within that higher price range.
Before we dive in any further, let’s acquaint ourselves with the parts of a turntable, as it may help you decide what your collection requires:
- The platter – the part of the unit that spins
- The plinth – this is the base of the turntable
- The tonearm – this is the most imperative part of the turntable, and ensures the record will actually play
- The counterweight – There’s a chunk of metal that’s in the back of the tonearm. The job for this piece is known as the counterweight, to ensure that the arm’s weight can be balanced
- The anti-skate weight – Depending on your turntable, you may find that there’s something on a fishing line within your unit. This is called the anti-skate weight, and it’s meant to be towards the groove’s center for recording spinning. It ensures the tonearm won’t slide all over the place.
- The motor – Obviously one of the most important parts, the motor ensures that the turntable spins as it’s intended to, while utilizing the motor’s pulley system to determine the vinyl speed required.
- The belt drive – Last but not least, there are some units that are belt-driven (but not all). The motor within your unit may have power provided via the belt, which is connected to the platter portion. There’s also direct-drive turntables where the connection from the motor is direct, instead of using a belt. Learni more about this in your research to determine which option is more suitable for you.
It’s also worth noting that every type of motor that’s electric will have vibrations emitting, and it may even have a bit of a grind. While this means every type gives off some sort of a sound, some are more than others.
Tips to Know Before Buying Portable Record Players
Those that don’t have steady hands will want to invest in at least a semi-automatic, as you don’t want to scratch and ruin your favorite vinyl records. We will mention that it’s not that hard to learn how to pick up the needle safely after.
You should also research more about the rotational speeds an their differences. A wide variety of record players only come in two speeds, but you may find gems that manage to get all three within their product description. Most play 33 and 78, while some others play 33 and 45. You may find that some come with all three, and an adaptor for the 45 option. Those that play 78 are capable of playing much older records that you may have, and 7-inch records are able to be played a 45 RPM. It’s also worth mentioning that 12-inch records play at 33 RPM, so whatever you’re trying to play, make sure your record player reflects that.
At the end of the day, one of the first tips you should look at is how often you’ll be transporting this portable record player. If you don’t travel much, and you don’t move your record player around from room to room often, you may not need to invest in a portable record player. While it’s a nifty option to have, if you need to move it into the next room, most that unplug can be moved with ease. An added bonus of a portable unit is that they tend to be lightweight in comparison with older, non-“portable” models.
The Best Portable Turntable Reviews
- Black option available
- Selectable RPM – 33/45/78 with a 45 adaptor
- Capable of transforming vinyl files into MP3s
- RCA output included, as well as line in/out for easier operation
Breakdown of the Features
Looking for a portable unit that’s reminiscent of a retro suitcase? If so, you’ll want to check out this turntable, as the beautiful appearance is a huge reason why it’s a best seller. We can’t forget about the quality of sound and versatility, though, as it’s capable of playing 33/45/78’s and includes a 45 adaptor.
- Extremely portable – lightweight and comes in a turquoise (or black) briefcase
- Comes with a headphone jack line-in and line-out for the easiest operation, as well as an RCA output
- The built-in stereo speakers are front facing to ensure better quality sound in comparison to competitors
- There are limited color options, but one bold option and one neutral option are available
- Unfortunately, this unit isn’t Bluetooth compatible, but not a true disadvantage
- A beautiful retro wooden appearance
- Capable of transforming vinyl formats into mp3
- Selectable speeds of 33/45/78
- Speakers that are front-facing and full spectrum to give a robust sound
- RCA outputs included
Breakdown of the Features
If you want portability without it looking like you’re carrying around a briefcase, this record player is something you’re looking for. Boasting an incredibly attractive price, this unit is going to give you the robust quality of sound that you desire, while allowing you to play 33, 45, and 78.
- There’s a 45 adaptor included – never worry about not being able to play all of your records every again
- There’s an easy RCA output connection system included
- The aforementioned unit is capable of transforming your vinyl into mp3 format, encouraging added portability
- This device is not Bluetooth capable, unfortunately
- Doesn’t come with a briefcase-styled carrier
- Sound quality could be better, but you’re able to plug into your own system for added robust sound
- Transforms and records vinyl into mp3s for your computer and mobile phones/devices
- There’s pitch control within this unit
- There’s internal speakers and USB playback
- Headphone jack is included
- More compact than any unit here
The Breakdown of the Features
Unlike any on this list, the aforementioned mini unit features a pitch control dial that adjusts the speed of the record, as well as the pitch of the sound. In doing so, you can create the perfect level. It’s worth mentioning that you’re able to play 33, 45, and 78’s with this unit.
- There is USB playback and internal speakers, meaning that you’ll be able to connect the integrated speakers to anything you wish and listen with ease, despite being mini
- The compact styling of this unit ensures that you can place anywhere you wish and listen with ease
- The mini stereo system within may require you to use a better external sound system to get this turntable to its full potential.
- Built-in stereo speakers
- Belt-driven with an extra stylus
- USB recording from vinyl to mp3
- 3 speeds – 33/45/78
- Power indicator and auto stop switch included
The Breakdown of the Features
Have full control over the sound you want from the where you play to how you play. Featuring tone control and volume control, as well as the option for what speakers you can plug it into, you’ll be able to make the most out of your favorite record unlike ever before.
- You’re able to convert your vinyl songs into mp3 format with ease, as well as editing with the included software
- There’s tone control and volume control for those that obsess over every little detail
- Equipped within the contents of this package is also an addition AG101 Stylus
- There is no level for ejection of the needle from the record, which can be tough if you aren’t good at plucking and picking it up off the record
- The sound is decent, but external speakers could make better use of the sound
- USB recording options
- Capable of playing 7/10/12-inch records
- Capable of 33/45/78 speeds
- Dual stereo speakers
- Water-resistant ceramic needle
The Breakdown of the Features
Record straight to your PC with ease, as this unit comes with a USB cable to digitize and save your favorite soulful songs. In doing so, you increase the portability that this unit comes equipped with. The needle within this unit is ceramic and ensures longevity in the record player.
- There are dual stereo speakers with a line out output for better connection
- The needle within this unit is ceramic, as well as water resistant, which increases longevity of the unit
- This record player is belt-driven and has a DC servo structure for the motor for a minimization of vibration when in use
- Doesn’t have a cover of any sort, but with normal maintenance and care, it doesn’t require one
- Doesn’t feature a retro design, but the sleek and minimal design is perfect for mostly anyone, as it’s not an acquired taste
The Final Verdict
At the end of the day, it’s not only about aesthetics and portability, but also sound and price. When you combine these four elements together, it can be quite hard to find the best portable turntable. Lucky for you, we’ve got a great suggestion right here: the 1ByOne belt-driven 3-speed portable turntable is a retro fan’s dream, boasting that beautiful Tiffany Blue color and retro appearance with modern amenities – its the best portable turntable on the market and for a great price!