Budget turntables that won’t ruin your vinyl records

When looking for turntables, there are a few things you need to look for on the turntable you need to make sure it won’t destroy your vinyl. While there are many features that make up a great turntable (pitch control, strobe lights, etc. are nice but not essential), most audiophiles consider these the minimum features that every turntable should have.

  1. A counterweight
  2. A moving magnet cartridge
  3. A full-sized platter
  4. Anti-skate

(See: why turntables without these features will ruin your vinyl)

If you’re buying a turntable on a strict budget we strongly suggest buying one of the turntables listed below. You’ll spend slightly more now but you’ll save a lot in the long-run by buying a turntable that won’t break down or damage your records.

So we decided to compile a list of the cheapest turntables that meet these basic specs:

1. Crosley C100 Turntable

The only Crosley you should consider buying. The Crosley C100 is Crosley’s first premium turntable. It comes with a full-sized platter, a magnetic Audio-Technica cartridge and pitch adjustment features. It has a built-in phono stage so it will plug into any stereo or home entertainment with red and white phono inputs.

Buy it on Amazon ($119.99)

2. 1byone Fully Automatic Turntable

This is the ONLY 1byone turntable you should consider purchasing. This record player has a full sized platter and adjustable counterweight. It also has a built in preamp so it will work with any home entertainment system amplifier with a red and white aux input. It’s fully automatic as well which means the player automatically lowers the arm onto the record which is great for new record collectors. A highly recommended product and the perfect gift for somebody who has been looking into starting a vinyl record collection.

Buy it on Amazon ($119.99)

3. The House of Marley Stir It Up Turntable


Perfect for beginners, this turntable features all the basic requirements that turntables should meet. It features a working counterweight, anti-skate, full-size platter and an Audio-Technica AT3600 Moving Magnet cartridge. Another feature that this turntable has is a built-in phono preamp. Built in phono preamps allow you to plug this into any sound system that can take a normal aux cable or RCA cables. Turntables without built-in preamps need a vintage receiver with a dedicated phono preamp to amplify the low level signal produced by moving magnet cartridges to a level that all sound systems can amplify. You could plug this straight into your home sound system, some powered PC speakers or even straight into your headphones thanks to the turntable’s built-in headphone jack.

All for under $200.

Buy it: Amazon ($199.99)

4. Pro-Ject Elemental


Pro-Jects lowest priced offering also has everything you need, except for a phono preamp. If your receiver has a dedicated phono input, you’re good to go. If not, you’ll have to buy one before you can plug your turntable into your sound system.

This turntable comes equipped with the Ortofon OM10 Moving Magnet Cartridge.

Buy it: Amazon($229.00)

I’ve listed this Pro-Ject because it’s the cheapest one on offer but they’re all great really. Get one that fits your budget and catches your eye.

5. Audio-Technica AT-LP120


This one comes with a built-in phono preamp. It comes equipped with an Audio-Technica AT95e Moving Magnet cartridge.

Buy it: Amazon ($299.99)


  1. I bought one of these a couple years back when they were retailing over £100. OK it’s plastic fantastic but has a decent audio technica cartridge, counterweight and antiskate as well as built in preamp/line in phono outputs. Sounds pretty decent through my moderate audio system. No damaged vinyl and still going strong. All I’m all good for the money even if it is most probably Chinese built.

    SoundLAB Professional USB Belt Drive Turntable with Plastic Platter, Lid and Audacity Software https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000UH0QPW/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_TVgpAb3NNZT5V


    1. Actually I’m wrong, it didn’t have the audio technica cartridge, I changed the cartridge not long after buying it. Supplied cartridge sounded decent but I nevertheless upgraded it.


      1. The AT95e is cheap, but rather good as being one. There is plenty on carts that are actually AT95, but covered with something to hide the truth, and also to justify a much bigger price.


  2. I was looking for something with bluetooth to play through the apple speaker or Bose wireless speakers. I had no idea all of these turntables that have flooded the market damaged the vinyls! any suggestions?


    1. Hi Stephanie. If you search for a Bluetooth audio transmitter you should be able to connect any turntable to your Bose. You might need a phone preamp if you choose a turntable that doesn’t already have one built in. Thanks for reading.


  3. Hello, I am currently looking at purchasing a new turntable. I have recently learned that cheap turntables can damage records, and am looking at making a purchase. I wanted to ask if you if the Yamaha TT-S303 would be a good option. I looked at your requirements, but I have been unable to find out what kind of stylus it has. My other option would be the AT-LP120. I have been looking for a belt drive because my current turntable has very noticeable motor noise.


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