Undoubtedly, record players are a wonderful way to enjoy your music.
But you may still be skeptical about whether or not they are worth the hit to your wallet and what the ballpark prices are.
The reality is that record player prices range greatly. To you give you a general idea: beginner to intermediate record player setups may cost as little as under $50 or as much as $450, depending on several factors.
As you upgrade your system, you could be looking at over $800 for a high-quality setup.
At the end of the day, you are the only one who can decide if it is worth it or not but since the prices vary so much, there is something for everyone.
In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about the cost of a record player and what bang you get for your buck.
Since we know that record player prices vary across different levels, it’s helpful to look at them according to a few categories. So, no matter what level you’re looking at, you’ll have all the insider information to make the best choice for yourself.
Budget turntables are perfect for people who are just getting started with vinyl and want to test the waters or simply want to minimize their spending. They hang around the $60 to $150 mark and can be quite the bargain if you know where to look. We’ve already done the deep-dive for you and come up with a well-researched list of the 8 Best Budget Turntables Under $100 (Some Under $50).
Designs and features change between brands and models but usually, budget turntables are very simple setups that are self-contained. This means that everything you need is enclosed in the body and there is no need to connect it to anything else to enjoy those sweet melodies from your record collection.
Common characteristics include a suitcase-style design, an internal preamp that is already rigged up for you, and its own speaker setup that is neatly tucked away in the base. These record players are quick to set up, easy to use and they are space-efficient.
Budget turntables are the kings of convenience: merely place your record on the platter, drop the needle and crank the volume!
However, a lower price means that you generally compromise on things like build quality, upgrade flexibility, and special features like vinyl to digital recording. When looking at budget record players, be sure to check for a speed switch so that you can listen to different-sized records.
Also, you may need to replace the needle with a higher quality one to achieve a smoother listening experience. Luckily, replacement needles are usually easy to find and install, plus they don’t break the bank as much as other record player components can.
Beginner record players are usually quite affordable. It’s only fair that people taking up a new hobby may want to become familiar with a simple setup before selling a kidney to invest in a high-end system.
There are several fantastic options that are beginner-friendly and would only set you back by $150 to $300. We’ve already done the leg work and scouted out the best options on the market in 7 Best Turntables Under $200 (You Will Love).
So what’s the difference between beginner record players and budget record players? Well, there isn’t much difference in terms of basic functionality; both will play a vinyl record. However, there is a jump up in the quality of the components like the needle.
Of course, being new to vinyl doesn’t mean that you are limited to purchasing any type of record player. We know that everyone has varying budgets and some people prefer making a one-off investment from the start. So, we put together an extensive list of the 8 Best Beginner Record Players (Across Multiple Budgets).
Since these are setups that are mostly targeted to people who are just getting started, you can make massives wins in convenience and simplicity. Most beginner systems are easy to set up and simple to use; no complicated preamp configurations or anti-skate features need to be deciphered.
However, the counterpart of affordability and simplicity is that these systems may not be the most sturdy. So, they probably won’t last you a lifetime and the internal stereo system may not be as crisp and robust as you would like.
An easy way to work around the lower-quality sound system is to simply connect the record player to an external set of speakers.
Ever wondered what the difference between a turntable and an all-in-one record player system is? The short answer is that a turntable still requires a sound system to be able to play the music from the vinyl records out load, whereas an all-in-one record player already comes with speakers and an integrated preamp.
We’ve gone to the liberty of breaking down all the differences you need to know about in Turntable Vs Record Player – Key Differences Explained.
It’s important to know the difference when considering the pricing of record players. Contrary to what you may think, an all-in-one stereo system isn’t always more expensive. Many budget record players are all-in-one systems because they are convenient and work perfectly for beginners.
Many people who are more experienced actually prefer a standalone turntable so that they can customize it and interchange parts.
Overall, all-in-one systems range in prices all the way from budget options to high-end complete setups. The main distinguishing thing to take away from this is that the addition of a stereo system would increase the price of a turntable if you were comparing identical turntables.
An all-in-one record player and a standalone turntable isn’t necessarily better than the other; it’s simply a balancing act that depends on what your specific needs are.
To help you sift through the overwhelming number of options, we’ve created a list of the Best All In One Stereo System With Turntable (Across Multiple Budgets). This will help you compare different systems at several price points by providing a concise overview of what is and isn’t included at each price level.
For aspiring audiophiles, mid-range turntables are a welcome shift in gears. Typically, these turntables will cost you anything from about $300 to $500 and come with more desirable features and design considerations. Hop over to 6 Best Turntables Under $500 for our top picks.
These turntables may not be bulletproof, but you can expect an improvement in the build quality, which gives you more peace of mind that the setup will last for many years to come. Furthermore, the sound quality becomes a higher priority to manufacturers when designing and choosing each component, from anti-vibration bases to reliable tonearms that carry higher-quality needles.
One thing to note is that mid-range turntables walk the line between convenience and hands-on use. In other words, there are plenty of systems in this price bracket that offer fully automatic operations but there are just as many that are manual and require a bit more knowledge to use them.
So, if you are still becoming familiar with the world of vinyl, we suggest sticking to the more automatic turntables. Otherwise, you could look at beginner record players to ensure that you don’t struggle with the setup.
But if you are an aspiring professional or someone working in the music industry, the manual options may be exactly what you need to take your skills to the next level. Especially if you are diving into vinyl more seriously, choosing a turntable that allows you to swap out parts easily is a massive advantage when improving your setup bit by bit.
These turntables are the elite systems that make anyone drool over their utter perfection. With pristine sound delivery and nothing but the best aesthetics, high-end turntables are a sight to behold.
For this level of quality, you could be looking at spending around $800. But for something that will last a lifetime, there is no price too high for something that creates such joy and invaluable memories.
We know that if you have the budget for one of these high-end turntables, you want to make sure that every dollar is going towards something useful. This is why we’ve compiled a list of the absolute crème de la crème of value for money in 7 Best Turntables Under $1000 In 2022.
When looking into turntables that fall into this price bracket, you’ll notice that the overall build quality is long-lasting and that a great deal of care has been taken to ensure a smooth sound. Superb aesthetics are combined with clever designs to give you beautiful yet functional systems.
And, of course, they almost always include all the bells and whistles like vinyl to digital recording and reliable Bluetooth connectivity.
The only word of caution with these systems is that they are sometimes designed for people who are very knowledgeable and can handle complex setups. So, beginners could struggle to set up and use some of these turntables, depending on what design you choose.
In particular, one should check if the turntable includes a preamp or not. If it doesn’t include a preamp, this could be the perfect opportunity for a professional to choose their own preamp and perfect their setup exactly to their liking.
However, for people who are unfamiliar with preamp specifications, this could be a nightmare of trying to figure out what to buy and how to connect it all just to finally listen to your treasured vinyl collection.
When deciding if it’s worth it to get a record player, you should consider a few things like your lifestyle, whether or not you have a vinyl collection to listen to, and your willingness to use and maintain analog music.
Using a record player to enjoy music has multiple perks, from delving into the iconic retro sound to the therapeutic motions of picking out a record and placing the needle. There is a certain charm to it that can’t be fully replaced by listening to music in a digital format.
Vinyl has been heralded for a long time as giving the sound of nostalgia. On vinyl, music tends to sound warmer, more alive and has subtle nuances that can be lost in digital formats.
On top of that, collecting vinyl is a fun hobby. Hunting down old albums to add to your stash and taking care of your turntable is an adventure in itself. Furthermore, choosing vinyl for a DJ setup can give a heartiness to your tunes and make you stand out from the crowd.
However, if you are someone who wants instantaneous access to multiple different songs, you may struggle with a record player. This is because tracks are grouped per album and you need to switch vinyl records if you want to change the album.
Also, if you don’t have an existing record collection, it can take some time to build one up. So, your listening may be limited until you have purchased more records.
It also may not be worth it if you aren’t prepared to make space for a record collection and the record player itself. While there are some turntables that are designed to be portable, it isn’t easy to carry around the record player and your record collection on a daily basis.
This means that for people constantly on the go, you may not get your money’s worth.
Record player prices change constantly and can range from as little as $50 to over $800 for a high-end setup. And while having lots of options can make it hard to choose, it also means that no matter what level you’re at, there’s always something for you.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned expert, there are plenty of record players that are worth every dollar. So, the only tricky part is picking the right one. But with all of the information we covered in this article, you’ll have all the tools you need to choose the best option for you.
- Hands-On: Victrola Premiere V1 Music System Review
- How to Clean a Record Player (& Needle) – With Photos
- Vinyl VS Record: Are They the Same Thing? What About an LP?
- How to Fix a Warped Record: Is it Possible to Unwarp Vinyl?
- How Much is a Record Player? Are They Worth the Cost?
Trent is a music lover, musical instrument player and passionate audio afficionado.