Top 10: The Best Turntables Under $300
So you’re looking to delve into the wonderful world of vinyl record collecting, or perhaps you’d just like to dust off your old classics but don’t wont to fork out an arm and a leg just to do so. Well the truth is… you don’t have to. In fact there’s a very wide variety of very affordable turntables which deliver exactly what is required, impeccably at that. Our goal today is to ensure you find the best turntable under $300 available on the market, as well as one that is best suited to your personal needs and requirements, and oh my there are some beauty’s on here! So lets get started…
#10 Fluance RT81 High Fidelity
- AT95E Audio Technica cartridge producing great clarity with a diamond elliptical tipped stylus.
- Balanced aluminum S-Type tonearm ensures the stylus is settled comfortably in the records groove.
- Crafted from solid audio-grade wood, with an aluminum platter, isolation feet and a rubber slipmat.
- Ground terminal and gold plated RCA line outputs that ensure warm, true sound.
The Fluance RT81 is truly a great piece of kit, even though it is in at number 10 on our list we can barley find much to fault. The sound produced by this little bad boy is genuinely really decent. At first it seemed like the lower bass frequencies may have been a little weak but with an affordable and fairly straightforward upgrade of the cartridge the sound was phenomenal. For the price this really is a great machine, and even though it is in at number 10… it is certainly one of the best turntables under $300.
#9 House of Marley Turntable
- Belt-driven 2-speed Turntable 33/45 RPM.
- Eco-minded build and materials.
- Solid Bamboo plinth, solid aluminum alloy platter, metal tone arm and Regrind silicone matte.
- Replaceable cartridge.
So this turntable holds more of a novelty factor than the rest. We really respect the company’s (House of Marley) philosophy of trying to create Eco-friendly and planet conscious audio gear. Using materials such as bamboo and their very own Rewind fabric (30 hemp/30 organic/40 recycled plastics), we think its really cool what these guys are trying to achieve. That said, how do they sound? Well they actually sound pretty good. Not the best sound out there, and if we are perfectly honest there are other turntables under $300 down below that will give you a better audio experience for your penny. However this turntable really isn’t bad at all and considering the eco-factor, we think its a great purchase.
#8 Reloop RP-2000-M
- Direct-drive, quartz-driven turntable.
- Solid and heavy metal build.
- S-shaped pick arm, statically balanced.
The Reloop is a turntable designed for DJ’ing. It’s not the best mixing turntable out there but it most definitely is one of the best turntables under $300, that’s for sure. If you’re looking for something cheap and cheerful that does a good job, these work and they work pretty damn well. However if you are more experienced in the art of mixing than you might want to look into a higher cost bracket. There are some issues with the pitch and you might find yourself babysitting that pitch control more often than you’d like. Overall, for under $300 the Reloop RP-2000-M’s are a heavy quality build and do a really decent job.
#7 Pioneer PL-30-K
- Thick metal plate with low center of gravity.
- Dual-layered chassis.
- Thick rubber mat suppresses external vibration while firmly gripping the record.
The Pioneer PL-30-k is a beautifully simple piece of equipment. It’s sound is crisp and clear, in fact, it sounds surprisingly good. We’re yet to find a fault however, some people have commented on the motor becoming inconsistent. Causing the pitch/speed of the song to be a bit precarious and audible particularly on sustained notes. If this is the case it’s a real shame because this is a beaut of a machine and sounds incredible for a turntable under $300.
#6 Music Hall MMF
- Specialized feet designed to dampen vibrations.
- One-piece alloy tone arm ensures great tracking.
- Moving-magnet phono cartridge.
Now we enter the business end of this list. What are the best turntables under $300? Well this is where you really start to get your moneys worth. This turntable is one for the audiophiles, and one that won’t cost you your mortgage. The sound and build is phenomenal and you really do hear things in the music which you hadn’t noticed before. It used to be in a higher price bracket with an RRP of $450 but at the time of writing this it is currently available for $299. A serious bargain for what this beast of a machine can produce.
#5 TEAC TN-300
- Audio-Technica MM type phonograph cartridge AT95SE .
- Gold plated terminals for oxidation resistance.
- Manual Belt-drive supporting 33/45rpm.
As we get deeper and deeper into this list of wonderful musical companions I’m finding it increasingly more difficult to find anything to criticize. The TEAC TN-300 is an aesthetic beauty that sings to you with such a hypnotic clarity, it is only too easy to get lost in her sound for hours. Another turntable in which the price tag has been gradually dropping, it is currently (at time of writing) between $245-$345 depending on the color you choose to go for. This is truly a magnificent turntable.
#4 Pro-Ject Debut III
- Aluminum tone-arm, Inverted hardened stainless-steel points for superior tracking.
- Ortofon OM-5E moving-magnet phono cartridge
Ahhh the sweet, simple and sexy Pro-Ject Debut III. A turntable for the minimalist at heart. For something that is so bare and basic to look at (in a very good way), it is phenomenal what this seductive little beauty can produce. The sound that comes from this machine as soon as you lay needle to wax is utterly superb. At under $300 ($249 at time of writing) you a truly getting something special for your dollar. Simple and very effective.
#3 Audio Technica AT-LP120
- Internal Pre-amp.
- S-shaped tone arm assembly with adjustable counterweight.
The Audio Technica AT-LP120 seems to be the go-to budget turntable for DJ’s, audiophiles and easy listeners alike. It is a seriously chunky and weighted build, reminiscent of the good ol’ Technics 1200s. The tracking is superb as is the sound. If your looking to start DJ’ing these are perfect to get to grips with the art of mixing. It certainly merits being the worlds go-to budget turntable, and is most definitely one of the best turntables under $300 on the market today.
#2 Pro-Ject Essential II
- Aluminum tone arm with sapphire bearings.
- Belt-drive with low-vibration.
- Smooth rotation and accurate speed.
“Dear Pro-Ject, how is it you create such beauty? so minimal and slick yet with such an effective and beautiful purpose? please… tell us how.” Another of Pro-jects wonderful creations has made it on to our list of the best turntables under $300. Not too dissimilar to the Pro-Ject Debut, we have ranked this higher due to a couple of very slight differences. The motor in the Essential is quieter and the finish is nicer than it’s brother, the Debut. This is truly a phenomenal turntable, however it did take us a bit of time/experimenting with the set up to really get the best out of this beautiful little beast. Once we did, there was no turning back.
#1 U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus
- Precision tonearm with Ortofon OM 5E cartridge.
- Machined acrylic platter.
- Manual belt drive (33/45 RPM).
My oh my oh my!! What an exquisite piece of machinery you are. Now we have to admit… this little badboy is ever so slightly over budget, but for an extra 10-20 bucks it is certainly well worth it. Just look at it, go on. The aesthetics on this are gorgeous, but don’t let that distract you from what really matters. First and foremost it’s simple and good to go straight out the box. The sound is phenomenal and the tag “budget turntable” really doesn’t do it justice. It sounds better than any other turntable under $300 that we’ve heard, and comfortably competes with higher end products enough to please any audiophile. If this is your first turntable… you’re in for a treat and have made a very good choice. If you are a turntable veteran… you’re in for a treat and have made a very good choice. U-Turn… We love you.
Turntable setup for beginners