If you are looking for the Best Turntables Under $500 to listen to your vinyl records, we recommend a minimum budget of $300 – $500. Although you have seen record players before $50, these turntables are often more for new purposes. They are more of a toy or an item that looks cool on a shelf than a piece of real audio equipment. Because of their low quality and inexpensive parts, they do not offer the distinctive sound you are looking for and can even damage your precious vinyl records. With new records of $30+, we think it is worth investing a few hundred dollars in the equipment it plays.
From about $300 you can buy a nice turntable. Although the sky is the limit (we see turntables that cost well in the thousands of dollars), $300- $500 is a great budget for a turntable that produces great sound, does not damage your records and lasts for decades. Here are the 10 best turntables under 500 dollars that you can buy right now.
Most of the turntables we are discussing today are more listening to music than DJs, but the Audio-Technica LP120 is good for both! It has a direct drive motor with high torque and is even supplied with a slip mat and a pitch lock. A built-in pre-amplifier means that you do not need a separate pre-amplifier. The USB output can be connected directly to your Mac or PC, making it ideal for DJs and digitizing your archive collection. Overall, this is currently the best turntable under $500 that you can buy right now.
Pro-Ject Essential III
The Essential III continues where the Essential II was left. It looks like the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC, which we will discuss in a minute, but by taking a number of strategic decisions, they were able to get the price down. The Pro-Ject Essential III is a belt driven table and comes with an Ortofon OM10 cartridge and adjustable tonearm. The bearing is made of a combination of stainless steel, bronze and Teflon to minimize friction. They even contain high-quality semi-balanced connection cables with gold-plated connectors. The total value of this table makes it one of the best turntables under $500.
Music Hall MMF 1.3
The MMF 1.3 is a belt driven table in a sleek piano black finish. It is combined with a pre-assembled Audio Technica AT3600L cartridge and even has a built-in phono preamplifier. It is a table with 3 speeds and has built-in speed control and a button on top of the plinth, allowing you to switch quickly and accurately between 78, 45 and 38. The platform is made of aluminum from aircraft quality and including rubber mat minimizes vibrations. Such specs make it one of the best turntables under $500.
U-Turn Orbit Plus
U-Turn offers a variety of options on the Orbit, but the version of the Plus we have on Audio Advice offers some of the cheapest options without frills. The table is proudly assembled at U-Turns Woburn, MA plant, here in the US. The U-Turn Orbit Plus comes with an acrylic plate for high-speed stability. It comes with an Ortofon OM5E pre-assembled and the gimbal tonearm has an internal anti-skate and an adjustable counterweight. You have the option to buy this table without a built-in pre-amplifier, but if you add it, the table will still be under $400 and no external phono stage will be needed. Overall, this is, for now, one of the best turntables under $500.
Denon DP 300F
The Denon DP 300F sits well in the mix with the other, offers a heavy construction and a built-in phono preamplifier. It comes with a pre-assembled MM cartridge (moving magnet), allowing you to enjoy your favorite albums for a few minutes after removing your DP 300F from its packaging. It has an auto-lift, which means that once a record has finished playing, the tone arm will automatically rise and gently return to the armrest. This is a nice feature that you do not see so often these days, and thus make it a good addition to our list of best turntables under $500.
The Pro-Ject VTE is a truly unique turntable for a few reasons. First, the triangular shape is a new starting point for the rectangular plinth that we are used to seeing. The shape alone would make this a nice table, but what really sets this table apart is the fact that it has to play vertically. You can place the VTE on a table or even attach it to a wall. For an extra $150 you can even get a version with built-in Bluetooth! The VTE comes with an Ortofon OM5E magnetic magnet cassette pre-assembled and has the tracking power and anti-skate kit out of the box, so you can start it up within minutes of getting it home. Overall, this is one of the best turntables under 500 dollars.
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon
Although all other turntables are great in their own way, you sometimes just want to follow the crowd. The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon (DC) is the best turntables under 500 dollars and with good reason. The value is simply incredible. Before the release of the Debut Carbon, it seemed impossible to build a turntable with a tonearm with carbon tube and an Ortofon Red-phono pattern of $ 100 for less than $ 400. Carbon tube cleaners were always reserved for more high-end tables. The new DC power supply has an extremely accurate frequency, such as the external Pro-Ject power supply, the Speed Box. It is built-in for the greatly improved speed stability. The USB version is also available for an additional $100.
Pro-Ject Debut RecordMaster
The debut record master is a belt drive pulley that supplies a silent AC motor. The electronic speed change of the push button is similar to the legendary Pro-Ject Speed Box, so you can easily switch between 33 and 45. You can even switch 78 and play with a few simple upgrades. The steel plate of 300 mm is heavy and offers nice speed stability and the RecordMaster is even supplied with a pre-mounted cartridge. As if all of this was not enough, there is also a built-in pre-amplifier and a USB output for connection to a PC or Mac. You can get the high gloss black, red or white version of the RecordMaster for $399, or step up to the matte Walnut finish for an extra $50. Overall, this is one of the best turntables under $500.
Rega Planar 1
The Rega Planar 3 is the best selling turntable on this list. The Rega Planar 1 (or P1) is the first in their Planar line-up and it is truly an incredible value. First, it is one of the easiest and easiest turntables to set. We even have an installation video if you need help. Simply balance the weight on the tone arm, remove the needle guard and you’re ready to go! The P1 comes with the Rega Carbon MM cartridge pre-mounted on Rega’s RB110 tonearm. Rega usually makes higher tables – the P1 is the first model in its range with a 24 volt synchronous AC motor with a low-noise aluminum pulley. This is one of the best turntables under 500 dollars that you can buy right now.
Pro-Ject RPM1 Carbon
The Pro-Ject RPM1 Carbon has been specially designed to be a high-quality table that does not damage the sound quality, at an entry price. Before we are still occupied with the functions, it is worth mentioning that this is a very cool looking table. It only has as much plinth as needed, which extends just over the size of the record itself. A combination of a low-resonance chassis with an inverted MDF platform bearing and a ceramic ball minimizes noise and reduces rumbling. An outboard motor with 15 volt AC is powered using an ultra-precise AC generator with a DC power supply for improved speed stability.
There’s just something special about browsing the recycle bins, removing a new album from the cover, viewing the album cover, dropping the needle and losing yourself in the warm, rich sound. Vinyl listening is an experience and our four decades of experience teaches us that you can get that experience nowadays for just $300- $500. All these turntables in our list of Best Turntables Under $500 have decent specs, it’s just a matter of finding what suits you. If you have read this entire article and still have questions, do not hesitate to chat with us – not only do we help you make decisions, but we also like to do it!