When I told my Dad that my Amazon wish list was full of vinyl records, he literally laughed at me.
He had no idea why I’d want some old, antiquated piece of plastic when I could so easily download a digital file or, for even less commitment, stream any song I want for free. I had to explain that owning a record, to me, feels more like “owning the music” than any other form of music media.
You can hold a record in your hand and know that, impressed forever on that piece of plastic is a song or album that has influenced the way your life has turned out. When you’re as obsessed with music as I am, that’s pretty much the equivalent of having unlimited fire power and two extra lives. If music helps keep you centered, and helps you figure out who you are, having a physical copy is a pretty powerful thing. CDs and tapes don’t hold a candle to vinyl records.
Plus, nothing does justice to brilliant cover art like record sleeves. I plan on keeping my records on display in these cool square frames, but first thing’s first: you can’t have a great record collection without a great record player. These records are not display-only.
Hipsters have greatly influenced the record player market in the last 5 years. At least, I have to assume so, being that records hit all of the “cool” markers when it comes to hipsterisms: vintage, music-related, and they come with a high potential for obscurity. What more could you want in audio memorabilia?
Affordable Record Players & Turntables
There are a few different types of turntables out there, many of which aren’t great. If you really want to do your records justice, you can save for a long time and buy a beautiful record player like this one from Pro-Ject, but in the meantime, you can snag one for less than $150 that will live a good life as your aural music delivery service.
Crosley creates some of the cutest and most affordable record players around. Aside from occasionally being the same color as candy, they also focus on making sure you get to enjoy your vinyl records as easily as possible. They have several portable models, as well as some stand-alone players, so finding something to fit your lifestyle needs will be fun instead of stressful!
Here are my favorite models for under $150:
Crosley Cruiser Portable Turntable
This is a beautiful record player that actually comes in at least eight different, Easter-iffic colors. I think this is the most kitschy of the turntables included in this list, but that definitely doesn’t make it bad. At all. In fact, I can think of no less than five places where I could proudly display this adorable little briefcase. It only weighs 5.5 lbs., hence the portability, so moving it around the house wouldn’t really be an issue. You can drag this around with you while you listen on headphones, or it has speakers built-in so you can safely go headphone-commando.
Find it here:
- Bed, Bath & Beyond, $79.99 + Free Shipping
- Nordstrom, $80
- Target, $79.99 + Free Shipping
- Hayneedle, $79.95 + Free Shipping
- Fab, $99.95 + Free Shipping
- Amazon, $79.95
Crosley Traveler Record Player
Despite its handle and suitcase design, this model is admittedly a little less portable than its Radio Tech counterpart, but I definitely don’t mind trading mobility for style, here. You can see the two built-in speakers on the sides of the case, the design of which was inspired by original vintage portable turntables from the 1950s. It also comes in black if you like the shape, but aren’t quite into the super-vintage styling.
It will play 7″, 10″ and 12″ records at the three most used speeds of 33 1/3, 45, and 78.
Find it here:
- Wayfair, $103.09 + Free Shipping
- Amazon, $99.95
- Hayneedle, $99.95 + Free Shipping
- BonTon, $99.99 + Free Shipping with FREESHIP75
- Staples, $119.99 + Free Shipping
Crosley Stereo Turntable with AM/FM
This stand-alone player satisfies both the vinyl addict and radio addict’s needs. I love matte silver and rich wood together, so this might be my favorite player, aesthetically. Not to mention the fact that it is really easily incorporated into your existing media system. While this has built-in speakers, you can also hook it up to your current sound system and blast your favorite records through your own setup!
The footprint of this player is pretty conservative, given the fact that it’s a stand-alone turntable and a radio! It’s only 13″ at its widest, so it could potentially sneak onto a bedside table or a bookshelf without cramping your space.
Find it here:
Crosley Tech Turntable CR6007A
This is perfect for those who want all the goodness of a record player without all that kitschy crap. You know, the people who don’t need their turntable to be in a pastel green suitcase in order to see it being the center of a room. Neither type is better than the other, but there needs to be adequate options for both parties! Besides, this record player isn’t without it’s swanky details, like a super-shiny frontplate, a digital display, and an even narrower footprint than the last player at barely over 12″ wide! It’s lithe.
This can also be connected to your existing sound system, and includes a radio tuner. Update (05/16): These became really hard to find over the last few years, but luckily they’re still around.
Find it here:
If you’ve never had a vinyl collection before, I highly suggest you start one. It’s so much fun to collect records, and it’s pretty multi-task-tastic that they can also masquerade as entertainment and home decor, if you ask me.
Which is your favorite record player? I’m pretty partial to the portable ones, but the silver & mahogany stand-alone player is pretty much perfect, too…