5 Best Turntables Under $500 – 2024’s Top Picks Reviewed

Best Turntables Under 500 Reviews

Struggling with finding a turntable that offers premium quality without breaking the bank?

In this blog, we explore the best turntables available for under $500, ideal for vinyl enthusiasts who seek a balance between affordability and high-fidelity sound. We cover a diverse range of turntables, from those with built-in preamps and USB connectivity for digital conversion to models boasting superior craftsmanship and audio performance, catering to both modern and traditional vinyl listeners.

With our extensive 20 years of experience in the realm of vinyl playback and audio equipment, we’ve guided numerous music lovers, from budding vinyl collectors to experienced audiophiles, in choosing a turntable that fits their budget and audio expectations. Our selection of turntables under $500 is based on thorough, real-world testing, ensuring our recommendations provide both quality and value.

These turntables aren’t just cost-effective; they excel at delivering a rich, detailed vinyl listening experience. We’ve evaluated them on their audio quality, build integrity, ease of use, and additional features, finding them to be exceptional choices for those wanting to enjoy the vinyl revival with a turntable that offers a perfect blend of performance and affordability.

Best Turntables Under $500 Reviews 2024

Fluance RT85 Reference High-Fidelity Vinyl Turntable Record Player with Ortofon 2M Blue Cartridge

Fluance RT85 Reference High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable Record Player with Ortofon 2M Blue Cartridge

The Fluance RT85 Vinyl Turntable is top-notch. It brings quality and style together. This turntable has an Ortofon 2M blue cartridge. It also boasts an acrylic platter. The speed-control motor is a great feature. The high-mass MDF wood plinth keeps vibrations low. This turntable comes in a sleek piano black finish. Fluance is a company known for its high-fidelity audio products. The RT85 shows their commitment to sound and design. This turntable is a perfect fit for serious music lovers.

Design and Build Quality: The Fluance RT85 boasts a solid build. It has a piano black finish. It adds style to your home or studio. It features a crafted cabinet with a real wood finish. The high-density MDF wood adds mass. This dampens vibrations and ensures isolation.

Specifications and Unique Features: The Fluance RT85 gives you pure analog performance. You’ll hear warm and natural music. It features an isolated motor. This helps to prevent unwanted noise and vibrations. The turntable has an AC power adapter. It works with 100–240V and 50–60Hz.

Ortofon 2M Blue Cartridge: The turntable includes an Ortofon 2M Blue Cartridge. This improves linearity. It gives higher channel separation and less distortion. You’ll hear high-resolution sound. You’ll feel like you’re in the center of the performance.

Speed Control Motor: The turntable has a speed control mechanism. It maintains a consistent platter speed (0.07% Wow/Flutter).

High-Mass MDF Wood Plinth Vibration Isolation Feet: The Fluance RT85 features adjustable resonance damping feet. These ensure superior isolation from unwanted micro-vibrations. The platter is made of metal. It’s highly precise.

Note: The phono preamp is not included.

High-Density Acrylic Platter: The turntable features a high-density acrylic platter. It’s great for damping unwanted vibrations. This platter gives you improved 3D sound. It has a fuller midrange, tighter bass, and better clarity overall.

Why did it make the cut?

The Fluance RT85 made the cut because of its high fidelity. It gives off a warm, natural sound. Its high-resolution Ortofon 2M Blue Cartridge adds to its charm. It reduces distortion and improves sound quality. The speed control ensures constant platter speed. Its high-mass MDF wood plinth provides great isolation. It also boasts a high-density acrylic platter. This feature enriches the bass, midrange, and overall clarity. Despite its premium features, it competes well with costlier devices. This turntable provides a great balance between cost and quality. That’s why it made the cut.

What We Like

  • The Fluance RT85 provides a warm and natural music experience. It transports you into the center of the performance.
  • The Ortofon 2M Blue Cartridge offers detailed, high-resolution sound. It reduces distortion and improves linearity.
  • A high-density acrylic platter ensures tighter bass, a fuller midrange, and enhanced clarity.
  • The speed control mechanism guarantees a consistent platter speed.
  • The high-mass MDF wood plinth damps unwanted vibrations and provides superior isolation.
  • This turntable offers great value for money. It competes favorably with much more expensive devices.

What We Don’t Like

  • The turntable doesn’t include a phono preamp. You might need to purchase it separately, which is an added cost.
  • To get the best sound, a high-quality stereo system is required. It might not perform as well with a mediocre audio setup.
  • The turntable requires careful setup for optimal performance. This might be challenging for some users.
  • While the turntable is able to provide a great vinyl experience, it might not satisfy all digital music enthusiasts.
  • Some users might find the process of digitizing vinyl for on-the-go listening cumbersome.

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB-BK Wireless Direct-Drive Turntable, Black

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB-BK Wireless Direct-Drive Turntable

The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB-BK is a top-notch turntable. It’s from Audio-Technica. This firm is a world leader in audio gear. It has a long history, too. It began in Japan in 1962. Its focus is on creating high-quality audio equipment. That includes turntables, headphones, and microphones.

Design and build quality: The AT-LP120XBT-USB-BK is a fully manual turntable. It’s built with a sturdy design. Its sleek black color adds a touch of elegance. The die-cast aluminum platter adds to its durability. It also includes a hinged dust cover.

Functionalities and specifications: This device plays 33-1/3, 45, and 78 RPM records. It has a direct-drive DC servo motor. Also, it has adjustable dynamic anti-skate control. The turntable includes a pitch control feature. It has a quartz speed lock too.

Wireless capabilities: This turntable includes Bluetooth wireless connectivity. It pairs with wireless speakers, headphones, and other devices. The device also supports Qualcomm aptX audio codecs.

USB interface: A USB cable comes with the turntable. This lets you connect to your computer. You can then convert your records to digital audio files.

Other unique features: There is a built-in switchable phono preamp. It allows you to connect to your home stereo or powered speakers. The turntable features an S-shaped tonearm. It has an adjustable tracking force. The device comes with an AT-VM95E dual-magnet phono cartridge.

What We Like

  • Plays problematic vinyl records without skipping
  • Has a solid and sturdy body that is not easily disrupted
  • It comes with an attachable light for visibility in the dark
  • Offers Bluetooth connectivity for flexible listening
  • Has a pleasing aesthetic that fits well in the living room
  • Provides good value for its price
  • It is suitable for serious collectors looking to upgrade their turntable

What We Don’t Like

  • None

In conclusion, the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB-BK Wireless Direct-Drive Turntable is an excellent device. For vinyl enthusiasts, this turntable offers an exceptional listening experience. It’s robust, performs well, and comes with handy features like Bluetooth connectivity and a target light. Despite a slightly higher price tag, its quality and features make it a worthy investment.

Pioneer DJ Direct-Drive DJ Turntable

Pioneer DJ PLX-1000 Professional Turntable

The Pioneer PL-30 is a full-automatic operation and is equipped with a dual-layered chassis with a 4 mm-thick metal plate and a low center of gravity, which provides stable playback. There is also a built-in phono equalizer with an on/through selector (“on” for connecting amps without the phono terminal and “through” for when you are using an external phono equalizer). Additional features include a high-performance MM cartridge, an efficient belt drive system, and a thick rubber mat that effectively suppresses external vibrations while being able to firmly grip the record. Those who purchase this turntable for under $500 can also expect a turntable sheet, dust cover, adapter for EP records, spare lead wires, power cord (of course), and an easy-to-read instruction manual.

What We Like

  • The price of the Pioneer is definitely a bonus, costing less than $200 on Amazon. The sound that comes from the Pioneer is concise and amazing, with clarity coming in spades.

What We Don’t Like

  • There have been some incidences of the turntable slowing down only after a couple of uses, at least by 10%, which is annoying.

U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Plus Turntable

The U-Turn Orbit Plus comes in several vibrant colors and will only cost you about $300 on Amazon. The U-Turn is a high-performance turntable made in the USA by U-Turn Audio Precision (a highly valued manufacturer) that comes with a tonearm Ortofon OM 5E cartridge, machined acrylic platter, and manual belt drive (33/45 RPM). More specifically, the specs of the U-Turn are: 12.5 LBS (5 x 17 x 13″), 0.125% wow and flutter, a -79dBA S/N ratio, and a -63dBA rumble, with additional accessories that include a dust cover, RCA cables, a felt mat, a 2-year warranty, and an adjustable counterweight.

What We Like
  • The U-Turn is incredibly easy to set up, and the manufacturer offers lifetime technical support, so that is definitely a bonus.
  • The sound that the U-Turn offers is also amazing, and it is a perfect fit for those who are new to the world of vinyl and for those who are veterans.

What We Don’t Like

  • If you are switching speeds on your turntable, unfortunately, the belt may come off (or if you happen to leave the table on all night).
  • Even so, for the price, it’s a pretty good buy.

Audio Technica AT-LPW50BT-RW Bluetooth Turntable Manual Belt-Drive 33/45 (Rosewood)

Audio Technica AT-LPW50BT-RW Bluetooth Turntable Manual Belt-Drive 33 45

The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK is a unique turntable.

Design and build quality: The Audio-Technica AT-LPW50BT-RW Turntable is well-crafted. Its plinth is made from medium-density fiberboard (MDF) for reduced resonance. A sleek rosewood veneer wraps the plinth, giving it a classic look. It also comes with a professional anti-resonance, die-cast aluminum platter, and a rubber mat. Its design ensures durability and high performance.

Functionalities and Specifications:The turntable offers fully manual operation with two speeds: 33-1/3 and 45 RPM. It features a DC servo motor with an active speed stabilization system. This provides accurate platter rotation speed. It also has a straight carbon-fiber tonearm, ensuring stable tracking.

Wireless Capabilities: One of the turntable’s distinct features is its Bluetooth technology. This allows for wireless operation. Whether you prefer wired or wireless listening, this turntable provides both options.

USB Interface: Although this model does not include a USB interface, it excels in other areas. It offers wired and wireless listening capabilities. This feature makes it a versatile choice for any vinyl enthusiast.

Other Unique Features The turntable includes an adjustable, dynamic anti-skate control. It also has a built-in switchable phono pre-amplifier. These features enhance the quality of the audio output. Also, this model comes with an AC adapter for efficient power conversion. This reduces noise in the signal chain. It is compatible with any VM95 Series replacement stylus.

What We Like
  • Robust design: It has a solid body with a rosewood finish on an anti-resonance MDF plinth.
  • Quality parts: The turntable includes a professional die-cast aluminum platter and a straight carbon-fiber tonearm.
  • Functionalities: The device offers two speeds (33-1/3 and 45 RPM) and a built-in switchable phono pre-amplifier.
  • Bluetooth connectivity: This feature allows for wireless operation.
  • Unique anti-skate control: It comes with adjustable dynamic anti-skate control.
  • Versatile cartridge: It comes with an AT-VM95E Dual Moving Magnet phono cartridge that is compatible with any VM95 Series replacement stylus.

What We Don’t Like

  • No USB interface: Despite its modern features, the turntable does not offer a USB interface.
  • Limited color options: It is available only in a rosewood color.
  • Power consumption: While not excessive, it does consume 1.8 watts of power.
  • Weight: Weighing 14.8 pounds, it might be heavier than other models in its class.

What to Consider When Shopping for the Best Turntables Under $500

If you’re new to the world of vinyl, shopping for a turntable can be quite a challenge. A multitude of options await. To make it simpler, this guide is here to help. We will explore what to look for in turntables priced under $500.

Sound Quality

Your turntable’s sound quality is key. Look for one with good audio output. Certain parts of the turntable can impact the sound quality. The cartridge, the tonearm, and the motor all play a part. Choose a turntable with a good-quality cartridge. The cartridge houses the stylus. This is the needle that reads the record’s grooves. Good-quality cartridges provide better sound.

The tonearm also affects sound quality. It holds the cartridge over the record. The tonearm needs to be both lightweight and sturdy. It must accurately trace the grooves in your record without adding pressure. A heavy tonearm can damage your records. Look for a turntable with an adjustable counterweight.

Build Quality

A sturdy turntable is a good investment. It should have a solid build and a heavy plinth. The plinth is the base of the turntable. A heavier plinth can absorb vibrations. This gives you a clearer sound. It can also stop the turntable from skipping.

A high-quality turntable should have a good motor. The motor spins the platter. This is where you place your record. A weak motor can cause speed inconsistencies. This can distort your music. Look for a turntable with a strong motor.

Easy to Use

Ease of use is vital, especially for beginners. Some turntables are fully automatic. These can be easier to use than manual ones. An automatic turntable will start spinning when you move the tonearm over the record. When the record ends, the turntable will stop.

On the other hand, a manual turntable allows for a hands-on approach. It can give you more control over playback. You will need to place the needle on the record yourself. When the record ends, you need to lift the needle. This choice depends on your personal preference.

Compatibility and Connectivity

A turntable should have good compatibility. Some turntables come with built-in preamps. These allow you to connect the turntable to your sound system. If the turntable does not have a preamp, you will need to buy one.

Turntables can also connect to your devices in different ways. Some can connect through RCA cables. Others can connect through USB. Some turntables can even connect to your devices via Bluetooth.

Buying a turntable can seem daunting. Yet, with the right knowledge, it can be a pleasant experience. Remember to check the sound quality, build quality, and ease of use. Consider the turntable’s compatibility and connectivity. With these tips, you’re sure to find a great turntable for under $500.

FAQs: Best Turntables Under $500

What additional equipment will I need?

The answer to this primarily depends on how active you plan to be with the turntable; if you just want something to enjoy those records on, then a simple table will probably be enough for you. However, if you are heavily into DJing, you will want to invest in other equipment, which will naturally cost you more.

Are there any turntables that are Bluetooth-compatible and not just compatible with computers?

Actually, there are some turntables out there that can be paired with a separate speaker system (for example, the U-Turn Orbit). Keep in mind that these will probably be more expensive than traditional turntables.

I am getting a rumbling sound when I turn up the volume on my turntable. What does that mean?

It doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong; if you are getting that rumbling sound, try placing a thick mat under the table to give it an extra bit of cushion so the vibrations from the bass won’t be as strong.


Overall, the Pioneer would be my choice; it’s an amazing price, and the quality of this turntable is certainly worth it.

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David Grik, a celebrated turntable expert and audio reviewer, brings over 15 years of experience in sound engineering and vinyl technology. An MIT alum, his insights and reviews guide enthusiasts in the world of high-quality audio. You can learn more on the About Us page.

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