10 Best Turntables Under 1000 Reviewed – Our Top Picks for 2020

Whether you are an audiophile with a huge vinyl collection or some who wants to start after being impressed by your friend’s collection and set up, don’t worry, there’s a turntable out there for everyone.

The hard part is finding one that fits your budget and needs as you might have to go through hundreds of different models and spend 5-6-hrs or few days doing research. 

Sound tiresome, right? That’s why we are here. 

Our team has tried and tested over 50 turntables and picked out the best 10 best turntables under 1000 that offer great sound and versatility.

Here’s everything you need to know.

#1: Rega Planar 3 

Rega RP3 Turntable

The Rega Planar 3 is the standard among turntables at this price range. If you are a true vinyl lover, this is a buy you won’t regret, and here’s why.

Unmatched sound quality

Planar 3 comes from one of the most trusted brands in the form of Rega. A brand that has been perfecting the art of making amazing turntables for 30+ years now.

Only constant innovation and quality can get any brand this far and Planer 3 typifies it. With top of the line materials, it 3 truly excels where it matters the most, sound quality.

With a belt-drive system, the 24V motor is placed on the sides thus ensuring barely any vibrations produced by it reach the platter.

Talking about the motor, it remains ultra-silent even after hours of use and generates lower resonance compared to some others as it has been individually fined tuned to the circuit board in every P3. This also gives it a consistent speed.

Furthermore, Rega also introduced 3-millimeter phenolic braces at the top and bottom that improve stability, in turn, lowering vibrations and the absorption of energy that creates distortions.

But the crown jewel of the turntable is the RB303 Tonearm. This is a one-piece tapered arm that comes with an intelligent mass distribution to reduce resonance. 

This, in tandem with the high precision ball bearings, ensures zero friction movement allowing the tonearm to capture maximum info from the record (you won’t miss a beat with this baby)

Sure configuring the tracking force, anti-skate, etc. can be a bit of a task but once you get it right, the music will be clear as a bell.

Lastly, since it has a moving magnet cartridge, you can expect higher output compared to MM cartridges. Plus, it combines easily with phono preamps in hi-fi speakers (so you get the best hearing experience).

What We Liked

  • Equipped with the latest RB303 tonearm
  • Produces minimal vibrations and noise
  • Connects seamlessly with other preamps
  • Very durable, will last you for 7+ if maintained well
  • Easy to maintain, comes with a dust cover
  • Comes from a brand with 30+ years of experience with turntables
  • Cartridge is replaceable

What We Didn't Like

  • Price is on the higher side but worth it
  • Does not support 78rpm speed
  • Setup requires some expertise

#2: U-Turn Audio - Orbit Special Turntable

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Special Turntable

U-Turn Audio is another very popular brand when it comes to turntables and its Orbit Special model shows exactly why.

Tailor-made for audiophiles, the Orbit special does an excellent job of lowering vibrations to improve sound quality. 

So how does it do it?

Well, apart from being a belt-driven turntable, U-Turn utilizes a special inverted bearing. What does that mean?

Unlike with traditional turntables, here the bearing well has been shifted to the inner platter while the long shaft now points upwards rather than downwards.

Okay, we got a bit technical there but what it does is ensure noise or vibrations are minimal for clean, crisp sound. Plus, it ensures speed stability and increases the bearing’s durability so it turns perfectly for years to come, record after record.

Also, they are one of the very few brands to provide acrylic platters rather than glass or metallic platters as this price range. So it is not only more durable but also absorbs vibrations better.

Even the Plinth isn’t MDF. Yup, U-Turn gives you a more vintage, premium plinth that’s not only solid but also low resonance and won’t warp in a few years. How do they do that? 

By using natural wood from the forests in Indiana and Pennsylvania (compliments on the turntable coming in 3, 2, 1).

But that’s not the only reason you’ll get those compliments. The tonearm is a crucial element for sound quality and U-Turn hasn’t forgotten about it. 

This is why the Orbit Special has been equipped with a tonearm, headshell, and bearings built with a special glass-filled nylon material that makes them friction-free and durable. 

To top it, the factory-set height is perfectly in sync with the Ortofon Red moving magnet cartridge eliminating the hassle of time-taking adjustments. 

Oh, and it also works with Ortofon, Grado, and Audio-Technica cartridges so you aren’t completely reliant on one cartridge.

What We Liked

  • Comes with an acrylic platter and high-end fly mat
  • The belt-drive mechanism and inverted bearings reduce vibrations
  • The plinth is made using natural wood for low resonance and premium looks
  • It is rock-solid, will last you 6+ years
  • Special material makes the bearings, tonearm, and Headshell durable and friction-free
  • Requires little to no adjustments
  • Also, works with Ortofon, Grado, and Audio-Technica cartridges

What We Didn't Like

  • An in-built phono stage costs extra
  • Speed needs manual adjustment
  • It is only two speed

#3: Victrola 8-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player (Budget Pick)

Victrola 8-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player

Are you just starting with a vinyl collection and want something on the cheap? What if you could get a turntable for less than $200? Yup, meet the Victrola turntable.

Vintage in design but packed with modern features, this more than just a turntable. It can also play CDs, cassettes as well as FM radio.

And on days you are more choosy about your music, the Bluetooth gives you the freedom to connect your smartphone and other devices for a wireless experience. 

There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack for moments you want your privacy and an AUX port for connecting devices. 

The turntable can be used right out of the box as it has built-in stereo speakers. But keep in mind, they are average. Thankfully, you can connect external speakers using the RCA line outputs and Bluetooth.

Whether you want to tune the FM, play/pause/forward/rewind the music, or eject the cassette, everything can be done in seconds with the intuitive control panel. And if you feel too lazy to get up and reach for it, there’s a remote control as well.

When it comes to playing vinyl, the best part about this turntable is that it supports all 3 speeds i.e 33 1/3 rpm, 45 rpm, and 78 rpm. This means you can even play records of all sizes and generations. 

This is a simple plug and play turntable and does not need any adjustments or installation. Plus, the stylus does not scratch the vinyl thanks to its diamond-shaped stylus.

Though it isn’t something an audiophile would be too excited about, if you are a beginner and want something vintage looking and easy to use on the cheap, this is a good buy.

What We Liked

  • Ideal turntable for budget buyers
  • It is a 3-speed record player
  • Comes with inbuilt speakers
  • It has RCA line outputs for connecting external speakers
  • Also plays Cassettes, CDs, and FM Radio
  • Comes with Bluetooth and AUX to connect external audio devices
  • 3.5mm Headphone jack also available
  • Intuitive control panel and remote for easy adjustment of settings
  • Can be used right out of the box

What We Didn't Like

  • Not ideal for serious vinyl collectors
  • Inbuilt speakers are average

#4: Pro-Ject T1 BT Turntable (Best Turntable Under 1000 with Bluetooth)

Pro-Ject T1 BT Turntable

A belt drive is a de-facto standard when it comes to the best turntables and just like the RP3 and U-Turn, even the Pro-Ject T1 BT is a belt-drive turntable.

Thus, even here the motor’s further away from the platter thanks which helps lower vibrations transferred into the platter.

And since the turntable has a slightly thicker glass platter at 8mm, it does a better job of absorbing the light vibrations ensuring your music experience remains uninterrupted.

Also, the thicker, more weighted platter in tandem with the belt creates a smooth flywheel effect that provides good speed stability so the sound is more life-like.

Further ensuring any vibrations from nearby speakers does not reach the platter are the 3 vibration-resistant feet that provide good stability to the turntable on any flat surface.

Pro-Ject has also come up with a newer tonearm for the model. Its one-piece design lowers resonance, plus, it is also armed with new bearings for lower friction. 

Furthermore, it eliminates the hassle of having to adjust the vertical tracking and anti-skate. Yup, the tracking force, and cartridge are set from the factory.

Wait, isn’t that problem?

In most cases, it would have been but Pro-Ject guarantees that the arm is a perfect match to the OM5E cartridge. This makes it a truly plug n play turntable ideal for beginners (you can get it up and running within minutes).

Also, ensuring that the stylus remains perfectly in contact with the groove and you get to hear every nuance is the elliptical design of the stylus. 

Other turntables in this price range come with the spherical stylus but not the Pro-Ject turntables (because when it comes to sound quality, there’s no compromising).

With its in-built Phono Preamp and Bluetooth, the T1 BT also allows you to get a truly wireless experience. But if needed, you also have the option of connecting external speakers and phono preamps.

The only drawback here is that the speed needs to be adjusted manually by removing the platter and adjusting the belt but if you want easier speed control rather than Bluetooth, there’s the Phono SB variant.

What We Liked

  • Thicker 8mm glass platter for lower vibrations
  • Belt-drive system
  • 3 vibrations-resistant feet
  • Anti-skate and tracking force are preset
  • New one-piece tonearm and bearings for lower resonance
  • Elliptical stylus for better contact with the record groves
  • Bluetooth for a wireless listening experience
  • Comes with a built-in preamp
  • Also, seamlessly connects with external preamps

What We Didn't Like

  • Speed needs to be manually adjusted via the belt

#5: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC

While the Debut Carbon DC isn’t as advanced as the Pro-Ject T1 BT it sure is a good buy and cheaper as well. 

One of the main differences is that it does not have a Bluetooth variant. Plus, it is on the heavier side.

Also, it requires the anti-skate, tracking force, and speeds to be adjusted manually which can take time as you do not want to get it wrong.

Although when it comes to tonearms, the quality is maintained as this also features an 8”6-inch one-piece model like with the T1 BT. 

But what stands out is that the tonearm is built using carbon fiber, something you will only find in turntables around $2000+. This makes the tonearm stiffer for better durability and almost completely resonance-free.

The Tonearm comes with an Ortofon Red MM cartridge which is a high-end cartridge that has an elliptical stylus for better grip and lower resonance. 

Further ensuring great sound quality is the bigger and heavier platter size that in combination with the belt-drive system provides smoother turning and constant speed. This is also aided by the special DC-driven AC generator.

Pro-Ject has also effectively employed a decoupled motor with TPE-damping to reduce noise and vibrations.

What We Liked

  • Carbon fiber tonearm for low resonance
  • Elliptical stylus for better grip on the grooves
  • A bigger, heavier platter to lower vibrations
  • Belt-drive mechanism
  • Lowered noise and vibrations with effective motor decoupling
  • It has a DC-driven AC generator for constant speed

What We Didn't Like

  • Supports only 33 and 45 rpm speeds
  • Requires manual adjustments
  • There’s no Bluetooth variant

#6: Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK

This Audio Technica turntable is a direct drive turntable. So yes, the motor is right below the platter and while there is a little vibration, there’s a lot to love about it.

One of those things is that it supports all 3 speeds ranging from 33,45 to 78-rpm, thus allowing you to seamlessly play vinyl as old as the 1950s or the 1960s.

Another standout feature is the adjustable pitch control. Yup, you can choose between 8% or 16% and adjust the tempo via the slider control.

It even allows connection with a PC or laptop using the USB port, in turn, giving you the option to convert your vinyl into digital records effortlessly. They even provide the Audacity software for it.

There’s also a special, flexible target light and can be rotated around to ensure the cartridge is perfectly placed on the record even in low light (just the kind of thing you need on a romantic date at home).

Now, let’s talk about sound quality. Yes, the direct-drive motor isn’t perfect but Audio Technica has been clever with the build and stylus to keep vibrations low.

Firstly, there’s the low-resonance, die-cast aluminum platter that in tandem with the high-end fly mat ensures vibrations reaching the cartridge are minimal.

Whether an S-shaped tonearm is useful is debatable, the elliptical stylus sure is as it connects with the record’s grooves better and collects more information.

Also, an underestimated benefit of a direct drive turntable is the hassle-free maintenance as it doesn’t require any belt replacement.

Lastly, there’s an inbuilt switchable phono pre-amplifier for phono or line-level output so you connect external speakers. All the cables like the RCA cables, USB cables needed for it are provided with the turntable.

Set up can take a bit of time as anti-skate and counterweight need to be manually adjusted but it is easier than even the Rega P3 as both are marked with numbers.

What We Liked

  • No hassle of belt replacement
  • Supports all 3 speeds
  • Gives you pitch control with easy to adjust slider
  • Target light for adjustment is low light
  • Comes with a low resonance die-cast aluminum platter
  • Elliptical stylus for better contact with the groove
  • Connects to PC/Laptop via USB
  • Converts vinyl to digital records using Audacity software
  • All cables and software are included in the box

What We Didn't Like

  • Set up is manual
  • Sound quality does not match that of the above-mentioned belt-drive turntables

#7: Fluance RT81

Fluance RT81

The Fluance RT81 isn’t as good as any of the turntables above but makes for a good mid-range buy and here’s why.

It is again a belt-drive turntable and thus produces better sound than direct-drive turntables in this price range. Also, it features an elliptical-shaped stylus which tracks the grooves with better precision without scratching them.

MDF isn’t the most durable of materials but the wooden finish sure looks good and will catch anyone’s eye. Plus, works well with the aluminum platter and rubber mat to lower resonance.

It also has an inbuilt phono preamp along with ground terminal and gold plated RCA outputs for long-lasting usage and better connectivity to speakers. 

Plus, we like the auto stop feature where the tonearm leaves the record once it has completed playing it.

What We Liked

  • Comes with an elliptical stylus
  • It has an auto-stop feature
  • Eye-catching wooden finish available
  • Belt-drive system for lower vibrations
  • Comes with an in-built phono preamp
  • RCA outputs are gold plated

What We Didn't Like

  • Manual adjustments can be time-taking
  • MDF isn’t very durable
  • We felt some vibrations during testing
  • Supports only 2 speeds

#8: Victrola Pro Series

Victrola Pro Series

Here's another good budget buy from Victrola. The best part about this turntable is its stylus. The diamond shape does a decent job of remaining in contact with the record and also ensures no scratches come on it.

Plus, it is a belt drive system though the belt itself is poor and will need to be replaced every 2-3 months if you use the turntable every day.

Though cheaper, it still comes with Bluetooth and a USB port along with all required cables so you can connect it to a laptop and have your vinyl converted to mp3. 

You can also connect your smartphone, wireless earphones, and speakers allowing you to privately listen to your favorite vinyl from anywhere in the house. Further making it easier to connect speakers is the inbuilt phono preamp.

You can switch between the two speeds in seconds with the buttons. And while there is a pitch control, this also features volume control, unlike others.

But not everything is easy with the Victrola. Getting the counterweight and anti-skate right can take some time especially if you are new to turntables.

What We Liked

  • Costs less than $150
  • Comes with pitch and volume control
  • It has Bluetooth and USB connectivity
  • Converts vinyl to Mp3 with USB
  • Diamond stylus prevents scratches on vinyl
  • Cables are provided with the turntable
  • Switch between speeds in seconds with buttons

What We Didn't Like

  • Needs manual adjustments
  • Belt durability is average
  • It is not vibration-free
  • Comes with only 2 speeds

#9: Crosley C100 Vinyl Turntable

Crosley C100 Vinyl Turntable

Believe it or not, not all Crosley’s aren’t bad. Yes, some are terrible but the C100 is a decent entry-grade turntable and goes toe to toe with the Vitrola.

Just like the Victrola, this is also a belt-drive system with an S-Shaped tonearm so you can expect decent sound quality. 

We also like its Damped die-cast aluminum platter that has been teamed with a good felt slip and thus has lower vibrations compared to the Victrola.

It also gives you a slider pitch control and is a 2-speed turntable which can be switched easily with the provided buttons. 

Plus, it has an inbuilt phono preamp so you just need to plug in the speakers to listen to your vinyl

Though its conical-shaped stylus is a bit of letdown as it skips grooves more often than you’d like. 

Also, its anti-skate and counterweight need manual adjustments but marked knobs make the task easier than you’d think.

Lastly, it costs a tad higher than the Vitrola but also features a more durable belt that will last you 6+ months so you save on that expense.

What We Liked

  • Belt-drive turntable with a more durable belt
  • Damped die-cast aluminum platter and felt slip mat lower vibrations
  • Built-in phono preamp
  • RCA cables included
  • Comes with pitch control
  • Relatively easier to set up
  • Switch speeds in seconds with buttons
  • Decent entry-level buy

What We Didn't Like

  • Costs more than the Victrola
  • No Bluetooth or USB connections
  • Needs manual adjustments
  • Skips the records at times
  • Supports only two speeds

#10: GoodNew Vinyl Record Player Turntable

GoodNew Vinyl Record Player Turntable

Did you know you can get a turntable for less than $40? Yup, if you are crunched for cash and willing to compromise on quality, this GoodNew turntable is worth the consideration.

The best part about this turntable is its design. The suit-case-like design in tandem with the lightweight build makes it easy to carry anywhere and everywhere (yup, it is just like holding a mini suitcase). 

For that low a price, it is quite surprising that the turntable supports all 3 speeds so you can play the oldest of vinyl.

Another good feature is that it has an automatic off. This means that once the record is finished playing, it will automatically turn off thus saving power.

There is also a headphone jack and AUX port so you can use it with various devices like your headphones/earphones, smartphone, etc.

This is another turntable that we are grateful comes with RCA output ports and Bluetooth because its inbuilt speakers are really bad. So bad that its vibrations can result in the vinyl getting scratched.

Also, don’t expect it to last long. Even with good care, we’d say it won’t last you for more than a year, 2 at the most.  Truthfully, this should only be used by people that listen to vinyl on a rare occasion.

What We Liked

  • It has RCA ports and Bluetooth
  • There’s a headphone jack as well
  • Lightweight and portable
  • The suitcase-like design makes it super easy to carry around
  • Costs less than $40
  • Supports all 3 speeds
  • Comes with an auto-off feature

What We Didn't Like

  • The needle scratches the vinyl due to vibrations
  • Low durability, lasts about a year or 2
  • Really bad inbuilt speakers

Best Turntable Under 1000 Buying Guide

If you want to buy a turntable that is easy to use and comes with top-notch parts that produce excellent sound quality, these are a few points to keep in mind.

Direct Drive vs. Belt Drive

Turntables can be divided into two, based on how the internal motor spins the platter. The direct-drive turntable boasts a constant rotation speed. 

This is because the platter is directly attached to the electric motor. This also means higher torque, which is a good thing as the higher the torque, the stronger the platter is. Thus, a direct drive model is less vulnerable to outside vibrations. 

While the platter is directly attached to the motor in the case of direct drive turntables, belt drive models have something different. Here, the platter is not directly attached to the motor. The motor has an elastic belt attached to it which in turn spins the platter.

The sound quality is better in these belt drive models as the vibrations that are generated by the motor are prevented from reaching the platter. 

However, be warned that while the sound may be clearer, you might find that the playback speed is less accurate due to the lower torque. Plus the belt needs replacement every few years. 

MM vs. MC Cartridges

Since it is the cartridge that helps the stylus convert vibrations into sound, the quality of the sound depends on these cartridges. Therefore, it becomes important that you purchase a good cartridge. 

Turntable cartridges can be broadly divided into tow - MM and MC. MM stands for Moving Magnet. They tend to be heavier with a higher output and can be easily used with the phono preamps found in modern-day pieces of equipment such as an AV Receiver.

MC cartridges or Moving Coil cartridges are lighter, which means that their accuracy is more than their counterparts. However, they do come with a disadvantage as their output is low. 

Phono Preamps Explained

The phono preamps not only boosts the signals to audible levels but it also plays a major role in the equalization of sound. 

Thus, the phono preamp smoothes out and clears up the sound coming from the wax disc for superior audio quality. 

High-end turntables like the Rega P3 or the U-Turn Orbit special do not have an inbuilt preamp as their sound quality is average. 

Automatic vs. Manual Turntables

In the market, you’ll come across both automatic and manual turntables. In the case of a manual turntable, you’ll have to physically start the record by turning the player on and placing the tonearm on the record. Once the record has been played, you need manually move it up.

On the other hand, automatic turntables do everything on their own, including raising and lowering the tonearm. 

Some turntables only have an automatic off or auto-stop feature. Though it isn’t as convenient since you still need to place the tonearm onto the record.

Conclusion

Whether you are looking for something professional-grade or a turntable on the cheap, there is something for everyone.

And with this detailed buyer’s guide on the best turntables under 1000, we are sure you easily find a turntable that matches both your needs and pocket. 

If you have any questions about the turntable or believe we have missed on an important feature or a top-notch model, drop it in the comments section below.

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