5 Best Portable Record Players for Vinyl Lovers on the Move

5 Best Portable Record Players for Vinyl Lovers on the Move

Are you looking for the best portable turntable or record player that won’t break the budget? Our expert team has tested a variety of different models to help make your choice much easier. 

As vinyl records have surged in popularity over recent years, the demand for portable turntables and record players has also risen. Top electronic manufacturers have realized that there is a need for portable turntables and record players for music lovers on the move and have developed a range of models incorporating modern technology.

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Why Vinyl?

There’s something quite unique about listening to songs on vinyl records. Whether you enjoy the vinyl sound because it’s nostalgic or whether this is a new passion for you, becoming a collector of vinyl records can turn into a lifetime passion.

In fact, it can be quite exciting when you find that rare vinyl record at your local record shop on a regular visit or at a local garage sale that you just came across accidentally. Many avid collectors have vinyl collections that are worth a small fortune, making these a good investment.

If you’re just starting out on this interesting hobby, having a portable record player at your disposal, means that you can listen to your favorite tunes wherever you go. 

What Are The Benefits Of A Portable Record Player?

The main benefit of a portable record player is that it’s portable. This means you can take it with you wherever you go. You’ll also find that some of the best portable record players are less expensive than larger turntables that need all the accessories to make them work.

With a portable record player, you don’t need an amplifier or separate speakers because the portable unit doesn’t need any of those to start playing your vinyls. However, the audio quality may not be as good as larger systems and may not suit vinyl enthusiasts.

Also, don’t expect these portable units to offer fully automatic operation like the more expensive system that you may have at home. Many also don’t have a die cast aluminum platter like more expensive models do.

Some portable players also feature battery power which means that you don’t even have to be connected to mains power to listen to your vinyl records. You just need to ensure that you have enough battery life when you feel like listening to your favorite records.

The best portable record players also have other uses. Many can be connected to a computer via USB ports. This means that you can store digital files from your records on your computer. 

purple portable record player sitting outside on the grass with a collection of vinyl records

Plus, being portable, these record players can accompany you wherever you go. This makes them ideal if you’re having a backyard barbecue with friends, want some me-time in your garage or will be staying away from home for a few nights. You can even take your favorite music with you in the RV or on a camping trip.

Factors To Consider When Selecting From The Best Record Players

Before you rush out to get your very own portable record player, it’s important to understand the most important features that you should consider when looking at the best portable turntables.

Your Budget

Portable record players can range in price from $50 to $200. Obviously, the more expensive ones will have additional features but even one in a lower price range can still play your records and give you the sound that you want.

The Sound Output

Obviously, a portable all-in-one record player isn’t going to produce the same great sound as your turntable at home in your living room that you have connected to your expensive amp and speakers.

Therefore, you need to be realistic about what you get when you purchase a portable record player. However, you might also be surprised by the quality of sound you can get from one of these units.

Don’t forget though, that if you’re after a better sound, most units can be connected to external speakers so the sound can come closer to what you get with all the best turntables.

Close up of the stylus on a record

What Features Do You Need?

While many portable record players are unlikely to have the type of sound-enhancing features found in home stereo systems, there may be some that you just can’t live without. Decide on the extra features that matter to you most and then base your decision on this.

The Style Of The Portable Record Player

Portable record players come in a whole range of different styles from vintage-looking suitcase-style units to more sleek and modern styles. 

In our reviews, we mainly focused on the suitcase record player because these have a vintage look to them that is so popular right now. But, we’ve also added in a couple of other styles to give you some choice.

Functionality

Lastly, you want to consider whether the portable record player that you’re thinking of buying has all the functions that you’re looking for. Top of this list would have to be built in speakers because there’s no use having a portable record player that you can’t hear unless you plug it into an amplifier.

You also want to check whether the record player can play at different speeds. This is particularly important if you have an older record collection. 

Another important function to think about is whether the unit has USB connectivity. This type of modern connectivity will allow you to convert your vinyl records into digital format when you plug your record player into your computer. This is, in fact, one of the primary reasons that many people purchase portable record players.

And, don’t forget about checking out the power source required by the unit. While most portable record players are AC-driven, you might find that you need one that has a battery backup for those times when you’re camping and have no available power source.

Close up of suitcase portable record player in a blue color

Let’s now look at the top 5 portable record players that our team has selected as being worth your investment.

Top 5 Best Portable Record Players

When choosing these units for our selection of best portable record players, our team has ensured that each one has built in speakers and is reasonably priced. Of course, another requirement was that the record player is reasonably lightweight so that it’s easy to cart around.

#1 – Byron Statics Record Player

Best Option For Beginners

Byron Statics portable record player

Basic Features:

  • Connectivity – wired with a Bluetooth receiver (input only)
  • Motor Type – DC motor
  • Built-in speakers – Yes
  • Powersource – AC adaptor
  • Weight – 5.46 pounds

This stylish Byron Statics record player is available in teal, dark gray and black. It’s a suitcase-style record player that looks quite smart and has built in stereo speakers.

One of the major advantages of this unit is that it has Bluetooth connectivity with a long range. In fact, it can stream music from up to 33 feet away. However, the unit only has Bluetooth input but not output.

The record player also features a diamond stylus on a metal tone arm which is a must for protecting your precious vinyl collection and achieving the best sound. There is also a selection of 3 speed settings so you can easily play your 78s, 45s or 33s.

Other features include jacks for an RCA cable or 3.5 mm AUX input connections on the outside of the case. There’s also a jack for your headphones on the inside for personal listening. Plus, the record will automatically stop playing once it reaches the end.

While the sound that comes from this record player is not exceptional, it is acceptable. This makes it a good buy for someone who is just starting on their vinyl journey and who doesn’t want to invest a few hundred dollars in a more expensive model just yet.

ProsCons
Good valueSound is just acceptable
Compact designNeeds to be plugged into a power socket with a power cord
Great for beginnersBluetooth input only

#2 – Voksun Portable Record Player

Best Portable Record Player At A Budget Price

Voksun portable record player

Basic Features:

  • Connectivity – wired with a wireless Bluetooth receiver (input only)
  • Motor Type – AC motor
  • Built in speakers – Yes
  • Powersource – Corded Electric
  • Weight – 6.58 pounds

This is one of the most compact suitcase models that is available in a range of different colors including brown, black, blue and crimson. Like all the portable record players on our list, it has built in stereo speakers.

With this unit, you can also play music from any device that is Bluetooth-enabled or even from a USB flash drive. Plus it has a 3.5mm AUX input slot. 

There’s also the option to connect the record player to external speakers if you wish or use headphones by plugging them into the headphone jack.

The turntable offers 3 different speeds so you can play records that are both old and new. Plus, you can record directly onto a USB drive using the USB connection. The case is made from PVC leather so it’s durable and easy to keep clean.

ProsCons
Stylish and lightweightBluetooth input only
Can record onto a USB drive or onto a computerNeeds to be plugged into a power source

#3 – Victrola Vintage Record Player

Best Vintage Portable Record Player

Victrola vintage record player

Basic Features:

  • Connectivity – wired and wireless Bluetooth (input only)
  • Motor Type – AC motor
  • Built in speakers – Yes
  • Powersource – Corded Electric
  • Weight -6 pounds

This is another neat suitcase-style portable record player available in a huge range of colors to suit your own personal style. It has in-built stereo speakers but can also be connected to your own speakers if you wish using the RCA connection jack.

The turntable has 3 speeds to play vinyl records that are either vintage or newer. Plus, it comes with a 45 adapter. There’s also a lever that allows you to lower the arm onto the record. 

The unit has Bluetooth input in case you’re interested in streaming audio from your Bluetooth-enabled devices. This can be quite handy when you’re away from home.

There’s also a headphone jack so you can listen to your music without disturbing anyone else. 

ProsCons
Solid hard caseBluetooth input only
Lightweight and portableNeeds to be plugged into a power source

#4 – Crosley CT8005F-MT Cruiser Plus Portable Record Player

Best Portable Record Player Overall

Crosley cruiser plus portable record player

Basic Features:

  • Connectivity – wired and wireless Bluetooth (input and output)
  • Built in speakers – Yes
  • Powersource – Corded Electric
  • Weight – 5.5 pounds

For those of you who may be looking for a compact record player that you can use with your Bluetooth-enabled speakers, this one is definitely worth considering. Not only does it have connectivity in from a Bluetooth device but it also offers Bluetooth out. This is a unique feature that the other portable record players on our list don’t have.

(Make sure that you select the CR8005F model for this feature as the 5D doesn’t have this functionality).

Once again, it’s a suitcase-style player and comes in a huge range of colors, even a few patterned designs so you can easily blend it with your home decor.

This unit has built-in dual stereo speakers and the turntable features three speeds for all of your vinyl collection. Apart from Bluetooth connectivity, there are also RCA outputs jacks so that you can connect to an external speaker system if you’re looking for a more decent sound quality.

One additional feature that impressed our team with this very affordable portable record player is that it has adjustable pitch control which is not common with many budget record players.

Of course, there’s a headphone jack for a private listening experience and an AUX input jack to connect other mobile devices. 

Here’s a video that shows all the features in this portable record play:

ProsCons
Connect wirelessly to Bluetooth speakersNo USB port
Has an adjustable pitch controlNeeds to be plugged into a power source
Includes a built-in 45 adapter

#5 – Victrola 50’s Retro Portable Record Player

Best Portable Record Player for Retro Lovers

Victrola 50s retro portable record player

Basic Features:

  • Connectivity – wired and wireless Bluetooth (input only)
  • Motor type – AC Motor
  • Built in speakers – Yes
  • Powersource – Corded Electric
  • Weight – 8.65 pounds

If you’re a music lover and looking for a record player that reflects that true 50’s retro styling, then this one is for you. Not only will it play most vinyl records but it also features a CD player and a radio with in-built stereo speakers.

Of course, all these additional features make this unit just a little bit larger than the other suitcase turntables. However, it’s still relatively lightweight and could easily be taken wherever you want to go.

The turntable features 3 speeds and comes with a 45 RPM adapter. There’s also a headphone jack for when you want to listen in private.

You can connect your other devices using the Bluetooth in function or turn your records into MP3s with the USB cable that you can plug into your computer. Software for both Mac or PC is included for this function. 

ProsCons
Outstanding retro designNeeds to be connected to a power source
Excellent value for what you getA little larger than the other portable units
Has CD player and radioHas Bluetooth input only
There are no RCA output slots for external speakers

Easy Comparison

To make your choice a little easier, here’s a comparison table that lists all the features that you’re likely to look for in a budget portable record player.

comparison table showing all the features of the portable record players in our reviews

For more information about vinyl records, why not have a look at this article:

Types of Vinyl Records: What You Need To Know

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Victrola portable record players good?

From their tests, the team found that the Victrola portable record players are of reasonably high quality which is why two of them made it onto our list. However, to get the best sound quality, the ability to connect to external speakers would be a feature they would look for.

Do portable record players damage records?

While some portable record players with standard needles do have the ability to damage records, especially those made from thinner vinyl, if you replace the needle with a diamond stylus, you shouldn’t have any problems with your sound system.

Is it OK to leave a record on the turntable?

Leaving a vinyl record on your turntable is not a good idea because dust will accumulate on the record and this can cause damage to the needle or stylus and can cause the needle to skip while playing some of your vinyl tracks. Even a removable dust cover will not keep all the dust off.

In Summary

For overall quality in this budget range of portable record players, the team couldn’t go past the Crosley CT8005F Cruiser Plus. It’s a nice compact unit and the ability to connect to Bluetooth speakers was a big plus. Especially if you’re a vinyl lover and want a decent sound.

Although we all love the retro styling and additional features of the Victrola 50’s Retro player, the inability to connect to external speakers was a bit of a letdown for us. However, it’s still a good unit and offers pretty good value for money.

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Go with what your budget will allow and one that has the features that you’re looking for.