When you think of record players, you may think of the clunky old machine your grandparents used to listen to, but you couldn’t be more wrong!
In the past few years, record players have made a big comeback. With this comeback, portable vinyl players have advanced to the impressive range of high-quality, stylish turntables that we have today, boasting a wide variety of modern features to choose from.
Gone are the days of bulky, cumbersome and heavyweight vinyl record players. Instead, there’s now a whole host of compact, lightweight models to tempt you, available from some of the biggest brands in the music business. To help you make the best choice for you, we’ve put together a line-up of our favourite portable record players and put them all in this handy buyer’s guide. So, whether you want to play your tunes in every room of the house or want to take your turntable on the go, this guide will help you find the perfect portable record player for your needs.
What do you need from your portable record player?
Before setting your heart on a portable record player, there’s a few key features you need to look out for. To make your shopping experience even easier, we’ve picked out four of the most important elements you should consider before buying your new portable record player.
Lightweight design: A lightweight design to a portable record player is key - after all, you don’t want to have to lug around a super heavy piece of kit wherever you go! Unlike their heftier counterparts, portable record players are intended to be moved from A to B with ease, so having a relatively lightweight design is essential for these nifty gadgets. If you’re likely to take your record player with you on the go quite often, a suitcase design with handles might be the best option for you. Luckily for you, we’ve got a few of these models right here in this guide.
RPM speed: Rotations per minute (or RPM) speed is an essential factor to look at when purchasing a portable vinyl record player. Vinyl records come in three speeds, 33 1/3 RPM (commonly referred to as simply ‘33’), 45 RPM and 78 RPM. In your collection of records, you may have a mixture of different RPM speeds, so we recommend purchasing a turntable that’s compatible with all three variations.
Sound quality: Arguably one of the most important factors to any hi-fi system - the sound! Thanks to technological advancements, you no longer have to sacrifice sound for portability. Record players have come a long way since their rise in popularity in the ’60s and ‘70s. Today’s portable record players now boast full, clear bass, mid and treble. If you’re looking for a real boost in volume, look for a record player that can connect to your home sound system for extra oomph.
Bluetooth and multimedia: Bluetooth is a handy feature if you’re looking to play more than what your vinyl collection allows. Simply connect to your phone, computer or laptop, and stream your favourite hits in an instant. USB and AV ports also allow you to hook up your turntable to your devices, using the turntable’s internal speakers with ease.
Which portable record player should I buy?
With such a broad range of record players on the market, all boasting various features and functions, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed. Product descriptions can use terms that even the biggest record enthusiasts can feel stumped at! So, to help your search feel a little less confusing, we’ve outlined the top five portable record players with their pros and cons summarised for easy comparison. Let’s get started!
Pros: Lightweight and easily portable, vintage briefcase design, compatible with a home stereo, built-in stereo speakers, adjustable to play 33 1/3, 45 or 78 RPM speeds, converts your vinyl to MP3 or WAV
Cons: Doesn’t support Bluetooth, no dust cover, needs to be plugged in to play
Kicking off the list, the Denver VPL-120’s dynamic full-range stereo speakers give you quality listening, while the portable suitcase design lets you easily pack up and bring life to the party. Not only does it look great, but it also plays 33 1/3, 45 or 78 RPM and can support your whole record collection.
Don’t let its vintage style fool you: this vinyl player has many modern features. Although it doesn’t have Bluetooth functionality, it does feature a USB port to connect to your devices and the ability to convert your records to MP3 or WAV.
It needs to be plugged in to play, so it may not be an ideal choice if you fancy taking it to the park. However, it does support home stereo connectivity, so you can plug it into your speakers and fill your home from top to bottom with the sweet sound of music!
If you’re after a classic, vintage-style vinyl record player, the Denver VPL-120 is a stand-out choice. With a sumptuous leather-look design and a vibrant turquoise blue finish, this portable record player doesn’t just sound great, it looks it too!
Pros: A modern, sleek look, Bluetooth connection, adjustable to play 33 1/3, 45 or 78 RPM speeds, converts vinyl to USB flash drive/SD card in MP3 format, built-in cassette player with eject and fast forward function, aux-in for connecting to other devices, analog AM/FM stereo radio, LCD screen with backlight, dust cover
Cons: Needs a mains power source for use, doesn’t have the classic turntable look
Although this DIGITNOW! record player isn’t wireless, its convenient, compact size and easy-to-transport design are great for those who want to take it along to a friend’s house or move from room to room.
This all-in-one record player is for the trendy homeowners among us, boasting numerous modern features such as Bluetooth, analogue AM/FM radio and an LCD screen. The DIGITNOW! Bluetooth Record Player converts vinyl and even cassettes directly in MP3 format via USB or SD card, allowing you to transfer your LPs to your external devices with ease.
Remote-controlled, you can switch up what you’re listening to without having to physically lift the needle yourself. So, kick back, relax and enjoy listening to your favourite tunes from the comfort of your sofa!
Pros: Lightweight vintage briefcase design, built-in stereo speakers, compatible with a home stereo, adjustable to play 33 1/3, 45 or 78 RPM speeds, converts vinyl to MP3 or WAV, aux-in for connecting to other devices
Cons: Doesn’t support bluetooth, no dust cover, needs to be plugged in to play
The perfect combo of trendy and retro, this black suitcase turntable will flawlessly match your home interior. Its wooden frame is bound in a leather-style exterior with sleek chrome finishes, giving it a classic look, while its red interior packs an eye-catching punch.
Like the Denver VPL-120, this vintage portable record player can be connected to your PC via USB, allowing you to convert all your favourite records to MP3 or WAV format. Alternatively, you can hook it up to your home stereo for the full experience. Simply plug in and rock on!
Pros: Sleek, minimalistic design, compatible with a home stereo, built-in stereo speakers, adjustable to play 33 1/3, 45 or 78 RPM speeds, aux-in for connecting to other devices, transparent dust cover, automatic stop tonearm at the end of the record, headphone jack port
Cons: Doesn’t support Bluetooth, needs to be plugged in to play
The Denver VPL-200 gives rich, warm audio tones that will complement the sweet sound of your vinyl collection from speakers set into the wooden deck. Available in a modern smart gloss black or nordic cool light wood, this stunning record player will fit your interior perfectly.
Although this record player doesn’t support Bluetooth connectivity, it more than makes up for it in additional features. Want to listen to all of your favourite tunes without disturbing your neighbours? Simply plug in your headphones to the jack and enjoy your very own private silent disco! Worried about falling asleep as you unwind to your top tracks? Don’t be, as it boasts an auto-off feature that prevents damage to the turntable and your vinyl records if you nod off.
Pros: Lightweight and easily portable, classic vintage briefcase design, compatible with a home stereo, built-in stereo speakers, adjustable to play 33 1/3, 45 or 78 RPM speeds, converts your vinyl to MP3, aux-in for connecting to other devices, automatic stop tonearm at the end of the record, headphone jack
Cons: Doesn’t have a dust cover, needs to be plugged in to play
Dreaming of the ’60s? Fenton’s RP115 gives a rich, powerful sound that’ll transport you back with a bang! Don’t be fooled by its retro style: this record player is a timeless classic. Covered in blue PU leather, this piece of kit practically screams personality, adding an eye-catching pop of colour to any room in need of a little life.
The lovely pop of colour isn’t the only stand-out feature of this fabulous piece of kit: its lightweight, portable design and Bluetooth functionality will let you bring the party with you wherever you go. Groovy, baby!
Let the music play!
With plenty of show-stopping options on the market, you may find yourself getting drawn in by the aesthetics of the vinyl player itself. But, as with all things tech-based, the real selling points come from its features, so research really is the key to ensuring you pick the right option for you. Regardless of whether you’re interested in an array of dynamic additions or simply just looking for a sound system without the bells and whistles, the record player of your dreams is out there just waiting to be discovered - so shop around and get the party started!
If you’re looking to start or expand your vinyl record collection, take a look at OnBuy’s vast selection of iconic LPS while you’re here. From rock legends like AC/DC to classic soul icons like Marvin Gaye, we’ve got you covered with records that will have you dancing from dusk ‘til dawn.
The information in this buyer’s guide is correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.