Cheap turntables to avoid.

Like everything these days, most turntables are made in China. Chinese turntables include Leetac, Hanpin and Skywin. These turntables are then imported and branded by companies like Crosley. While these factories can make high-end products, these turntables by them should be avoided by them at all costs.

Most of these are turntables are cheaper than $50 and all of them are under $150.

Briefcase turntables – Skywin SW-204, SW-196B, Okly OKG-001


The famous briefcase-style turntable often seen at Barnes & Noble, Urban Outfitters, your friends’ social media profiles and other places that aren’t known for caring much about audio equipment. They’re available in several variants, some have square speakers, some have round speakers and some have speakers on the sides. They’re made by Skywin in China and imported under a huge number of brand names, most famously, Crosley. Here’s a list of the turntables. You should avoid all models (except noted exceptions) from these brands when choosing a turntable. Click on the links below to see an example of a turntable from these brands:

  • 1byone
  • AMOS Retro Suitcase Briefcase Style Turntable
  • Akai A60011N Bluetooth Rechargeable Record Player
  • Assai Vinyl Record Player Retro Turntable Briefcase
  • Audiology
  • Bush Classic Portable Turntable
  • Caseflex Turntable Record Player Briefcase
  • CMC Turntables
  • Crosley Cruiser
  • Crosley Executive
  • All other Crosleys except the Advance and the C100
  • Denver VPL-120 Black 3 Speed Vinyl Record Player
  • DigitNow! Vinyl Transport
  • Digital Tec Retro Record Player
  • Elyxr Audio Revolution Portable Vinyl Player
  • Feir Turntables
  • Funkyfonic Turntables
  • GPO Attache Briefcase Style Three-Speed Portable Vinyl Turntable
  • GoJiaJie Turntables
  • Grausch RPS100 Briefcase Style Three-Speed Portable Vinyl Turntable
  • Intempo Retro Portable Bluetooth Compatible Turntable Record Player
  • ION Audio Vinyl Motion
  • Jensen Turntables
  • Miric Turntables
  • Musitrend Turntables
  • MYWAVE/My Wave
  • Numark PT01 Touring
  • Pyle PVTT2UOR Rechargeable Retro Belt-Drive Turntable
  • Steepletone – All models
  • Tokky Briefcase Style Three-Speed Portable Vinyl Turntable
  • UKayed ® Black Turntable Leather Briefcase Style
  • Victrola Turntables
  • Xenta Vinyl Turntable
  • Zennox Retro Briefcase Style Vinyl Turntable
  • Vinyl Styl turntables

Leetac consoles


The stylish but equally crappy all-in-one console. Made by Leetac of China and sold by GPO, Steepletone, Crosley, Ion and all the other no-no brands.

Imitation turntables


These are meant to look like real turntables but they aren’t. Some may have fake counterweights. Their distinguishing feature is their red cartridge. Look out for this when buying turntables online. This cartridge tracks at 5+ grams and all turntables using it do not have adjustable counterweights. Brands using this turntable include 1byone, Benross, Kenley, Steepletone, GPO, ION and Assai.


Don’t buy a turntable that has this cartridge on it.

Low end tables from high end brands

These turntables come from reputable brands like Marantz, Sony and Audio-Technica but are actually just Leetacs with audiophile brands stuck on to them. These are just as bad as the turntables listed above and should be avoided at all costs.

Audio Technica AT-LP60

Denon DP200

Denon DP29F

Pioneer PL990

Marantz TT5005

See also: Cheap turntables that won’t ruin your records


    1. Unfortunately not. The minimum I would go with is an Audio Technica LP120. It doesn’t have speakers built in but you can plug pc speakers right into it. You don’t need a home sound system.


  1. The “low-end tables from high end brands” (which are actually made by Hanpin) are nowhere near as bad as the Crosley-style players (which are actually made by Skywin). These turntables, such as the AT-LP60, PL-990, etc., use an Audio-Technica AT3600 magnetic cartridge with a diamond stylus tracking at 3.5 grams, and have anti-skating. They sound tremendously better than the Crosley-style players and will not cause any excessive groove wear. They aren’t perfect, but for around $100, they are perfectly suitable as a beginner turntable.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks VWestlife for standing by the entry level turntables both in your videos and in forums. The vinyl community loves to shit on these turntables, but with proper use they are perfectly fine. And I have absolutely loved my PL-990 since I got it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. just stumbled on this article while researching what turntable to get.

    i have to ask, why the long list of “heck-no” record players? is this merely because they break easy and the sound quality from the build in speakers is sub-par, or do these turntables damage records while playing them? thanks for the list of what to stay away from. now i just need to know why! 😉


      1. Well feel free to buy a high end record player for me but until then I’ll stick with my victorola because it works perfectly fine for me and I love it.


    1. excellemt, honestly one of my best purchases of 2019 – phenomenal sound quality and should be £150 on par with others of its quality. the treble is particularly sharp – the construction as well is English made and manufactured and you can really tell.


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