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The 4 Best Portable Record Players: 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

By djadmin | best turntables

Best Portable Record Player

Vinyl is deservedly making a massive comeback – renowned for its ridiculous sound quality, vinyl is hands down the best medium for listening to your favourite tunes.

The issue is, in a more traditional setting, vinyl has not been the most convenient means of listening to music. Record players are often clunky and immobile, in which they are best suited to a permanent (and well deserved) place in your lounge room.

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Fortunately for us, in more recent times, there has been a large investment in portable record players, allowing us to take our favourite records and listen to them whenever, and wherever.

In the following piece I have outlined the best 4 portable record players available on the market today.

Product Summary

1byOne 3 Speed Belt Drive Portable Turntable

The 1byOne is a fantastic option for those of you looking for a portable record player that won’t break the bank. While not the cheapest option on this list, it still falls within an extremely reasonable price range, while still offering quality sound and durable construction.

This model in particular is absolutely fantastic to look at, and folds up into a simple briefcase styler carry bag – making it both extremely easy to carry around and very aesthetically appealing.​

Vestax Handy Trax USB Portable Turntable

The vestax handy trax is the most expensive option on this list – but don’t let that deter you – you are paying for quality.

This is a gorgeous looking unit that can literally be taken anywhere, in which it runs on both an AC adapter and batteries if necessary. This is a fantastic option for those looking for a unit with extremely high sound quality, that will last years and years.​

Jensen JTA-230 3 Speed Portable Turntable

The Jensen JTA-230 is the most affordable option on this list. Offered as a budget unit, this portable turntable offers decent construction quality and comes with fairly decent in built speakers. Similar to most others on this list, the JTA-230 offers three different speed settings.

It is important to note, that often when it comes to sound quality you do get what you pay for – and in this case it is no different – while not terrible by any means, if you are expecting some serious sound quality with this unit then you are going to be somewhat disappointed.​

Wockoder Bluetooth 3 Speed Portable Turntable

This 3 speed turntable comes in a suitcase style similar to the 1byOne portable turntable, in which it also includes in built speakers and comes with three speed settings. It is extremely nice to look at, designed with classic record players in mind.

It is another affordable option that offers decent sound quality and solid construction, while also including enough features to keep you interested for a long time.​

Comparison Table

Reviews Of The 4 Best Portable Record Players

1. 1byOne 3 Speed Belt Drive Portable Turntable

The 1byOne portable turntable comes in at the size of a standard briefcase, in which it has been designed with faux leather and chrome accents – giving the unit a nostalgic 70s vibe that you won’t find with any others on this list.

This particular model features two front facing speakers that are set into the front of the ‘briefcase’, ensuring that you can simply plug it in and start listening to your favourite records. As an added bonus, this model also allows you to plug in additional speakers and headphones (if you so desire). In saying that, the sound quality of this turntable is fantastic, with the in built speakers providing more than enough oomph to keep you going.

The 1byOne belt drive turntable comes with a well-balanced tone arm with dampening control, and speed settings that can change between 33, 45, and 78 rpm.

While this unit has been criticized for not offering more malleable speed options, for its price it is an absolute steal – offering excellent sound quality, awesome aesthetics, and a high degree of durability at an absurd price.

What we liked

  • Great to look at
  • Extremely well priced
  • Very durable

What we didn’t like

  • Minimal Features
  • Fixed speed settings

2. Vestax Handy Trax USB Portable Turntable

While I will be the first to admit that the reason this unit caught my eye initially was due to the name – the Vestax Handy Trax – but let me tell you, it is a whole lot more than just a catchy name. This portable turntable is absolutely fantastic to look it, in which it has taken inspiration from traditional turntables from the 90’s to draw a highly functional (and appealing) unit.

The Handy Trax has an extremely high build quality, made with heavy duty materials – The Handy Trax will last you an extremely long time.

This particular model offers three different playing speeds (33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM), and includes both tone and pitch control dials. This allows you to tweak the sound of the unit to your liking specifically – an option not often seen on other portable turntables. As an added bonus, the Handy Trax also comes with a USB feature that allows you to record and digitize your records straight onto your computer.

And finally, this unit also provides an extremely high quality of sound – providing an amazing listening experience – and while it will cost you a bit more than the others on this list, I can guarantee you will not regret it for a second.

What we liked

  • Great to look at
  • Fantastic Sound quality
  • Durable Construction

What we didn’t like

  • High Cost
  • Fixed speed settings

3. Jensen JTA-230 3 Speed Portable Turntable

Coming in at a ridiculously low price point, the Jensen JTA-230 is the cheapest option on this list by a long way. Designed specifically for those new to the vinyl game, or those looking for a simple (yet effective) low cost portable record player, the Jensen is a decent option.

The JTA-230 is nothing fancy to look at, opting for an extremely simple design that screams ‘ease of use’, it certainly won’t turn any heads – but in saying that, it has been designed with function in mind rather than looks.

This unit offers three separate speed settings (similar to the others on this list, 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM), while also including pitch, volume, and tone control options. Additionally, this portable turntable comes with in-built speakers, meaning you can listen to it absolutely anywhere. It is important to note that while the sound quality is not great, the speakers actually sound pretty decent, although the volume has often been criticised as they do not get very loud.

This particular model is built with mostly plastic, and as such is not particularly durable (so in short: be gentle), as such both its construction quality and durability is frequently complained about.

But, in saying all that, if you are after a simple and effective option that costs next to nothing, you have found your record player.

What we liked

  • Extremely affordable
  • Sound and speed options
  • In Built Speakers

What we didn’t like

  • Poor construction quality
  • Lower sound quality
  • Low durability

4. Wockoder Bluetooth 3 Speed Portable Turntable

The Wodocker Portable Turntable is an excellent option for those new to the vinyl game, or those looking for a cheap and easy portable unit. Coming in a suitcase style, this turntable is aesthetically appealing, in which it has inspired by the design of vintage record players. Similar to the others on this list, this player has three different speed settings in which it can spin records at 33, 45, and 78 RPM.

It has been made using lightweight material, making it extremely easy to move around. In saying this, due to the materials used, its construction quality and durability has been compromised slightly, so treat it gently and don’t throw it around too much if you can avoid it.

The in-built speakers produce some decent sound, although they have been known to lose clarity at higher volumes. As an added bonus, this unit also offers USB and SD card support, meaning you can listen to music from other modalities if you so desire (although I would argue this may ruin the point of purchasing a portable record player…).

For the most part, this record has been applauded for its sound quality and visual appeal – although it has copped some flak for its sound quality at higher volumes. But in saying all that, it does offer a decent option for those on a budget, who want a unique looking unit that functions well.

What we liked

  • Looks Great
  • Well Priced
  • In Built Speakers

What we didn’t like

  • Lower construction quality
  • Poor sound clarity at high volumes

Value Section

With all this in mind, I do realise that value plays an important role in any new purchase. Getting a solid unit that won’t break the bank is integral to most – particularly considering most of us would rather spend the big dollars on our home unit.

So taking this into consideration, I have provided my top tips to finding a good value portable unit.

Don’t get sucked in by features: This may sound pretty obvious, but it still hold importance. When we are looking at portable turntables specifically, simple units often reign supreme. We should be after a unit that plays are records well, with a high sound quality – anything extra adds unnecessary cost to the unit.

Choose according to sound quality: Building on the above point, it is important that we base our decision on sound quality. Sound is king – if a unit doesn’t sound good, then it is useless. It is for this reason that we should take the time to find a player that offers decent sound quality – considering it is portable this is really the most important aspect.

Find a unit with in-built speakers: while in-built speakers are not always renowned for having the best sound quality, they are extremely convenient, and by taking the time to find a unit with speakers that offer a high degree of sound quality, you can avoid the unnecessary cost of purchasing additional speakers.

And there you have it – by taking the time to follow and implement the above tips I can guarantee you will find a simple, yet effective, portable turntable that will not break the bank.

Conclusion

While I like to think that I have provided the most comprehensive list on the best portable record players available on the market today (all of which are great options) I do believe that there is one clear winner.

I can safely say that the Vestax Handy Trax is the best portable record player available on the market. While it does come at a higher price point, you are paying for quality. Not only does it look great, it sounds fantastic, and is built using high quality materials.

While the initial outlay will be a little higher, this unit will last you forever – making it an extremely sound investment.​

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