With sales of vinyl continuing to impress, many people are looking to get their hands on something new to play their records on. But for many, space can be a premium and that can lead to issues when it comes to installing a full hi-fi system with deck, amp, speakers, metres of cabling and more.
1. Product guide
2. Buying advice
That's when looking through a selection of best portable record players comes in handy as not only will these take up less space than some turntables on the market, but they are easy to set up too. Perfect if you live in a small flat and just want to plug it in and get playing.
Of course, many vinyl lovers will want to equip themselves with a quality Hi-Fi system, but if space in your home is limited or you simply want some flexibility when it comes to where you listen to your music, then an all-in-one system is most definitely an option worth exploring.
In this guide, you'll find our pick of the best portable turntables around – perfect for simplicity and convenience. There are some great deals to be found too, with our widgets displaying the best prices online right now.
Paul has spent the last eight years testing and writing about record players and audio technology for Louder, T3 and TechRadar. As an avid music fan Paul puts turntables through their paces by playing some of his favourite vinyl by artists including Weyes Blood and Nirvana on the kit to see how they hold up. If it's got a good melody, he's on board with it.
Best portable record players: Product guide
Best for true portability
Connectivity: Two-way Bluetooth
+ Truly portable
+ 12-hours from a full charge
+ Space for album storage
- Design is a bit clunky
Branded as the world’s first truly portable record player thanks to its in-built rechargeable battery which gives up to 12 hours of playback from a full charge, the Victrola Revolution Go is our top choice. While it does have a built-in speaker, you can hook up external Bluetooth speakers for a fuller sound.
The dust cover can store up to five albums and the passive bass radiator keeps the sounds going without the record skipping. The Revolution Go, it also has a stop so you can sling it across your shoulder.
Best for small spaces
Connectivity: RCA, line in, Bluetooth receiver
+ Pitch control
+ Understated looks
- Lid needs space to be fully opened
If you’re looking to go for a cool 1970s vibe with your portable record player, then the Crosley Discovery is well worth a closer look. We loved the curved leatherette casing – which appears more briefcase than suitcase – and I found it performed perfectly well across a range of different musical styles.
I have to point out the design issue surrounding the use of 12-inch records because the Crosley Discovery's lid needs to be as far back as it can to allow proper playback. However, if you have a bit of free space, this quirk shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Best for beginners
Connectivity: RCA, line in and headphone
+ Easy to use
+ Compact and travel friendly
- Lacks Bluetooth
While some music fans will be vinyl veterans with massive record collections ready to work their way through, others may be starting out on their journey on the vinyl frontier. The Byron Statics record player offers an inexpensive way to get up and running, and is ideally suited to younger listeners thanks to its simple operation and compact build.
There’s no Bluetooth on offer here, so it’s a pure record player in that respect, but if you plan on treating a record player as exactly that rather than an all-in-one music hub, then this could be a good choice.
The best for looks
Speeds: 33/45/78 RPM
Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB
+ Great price
+ Vinyl to MP3 option
+ Lovely wood finish
If you’re in the market for a no fuss, easy to set up, plug in and play turntable, then this Denver record player could be just what you’re looking for. Seriously, you can get this unit up and running in no time at all making it a top option for portability.
This three-speed record player looks the part thanks to its natural wood finish and it has integrated stereo speakers. And, if you’d rather hook up your own speakers that’s not a problem as that option is catered for. You can also convert your vinyl tracks to digital by using a flash drive, so you won’t need your PC or laptop to do the job - and even if the wood finish isn’t quite your cup of Joe, there also a gloss black version available.
The best for no-fuss set-up
Connectivity: RCA, line in, Bluetooth receiver
+ Great for all record sizes
+ Loads of colour options
- Design not for everyone
The Victrola Journey is an attractive proposition when you consider what you're getting for your money: A purchase will get you a three-speed suitcase-style record player with Bluetooth playback capability, and there are around 30 different colour variations to choose from.
I liked the fact it can play records of any size – not a given at this price point – and it comes with an extra stylus too. As for volume, this Victrola copes perfectly well, but the RCA stereo outs offer extra flexibility for connecting to external speakers.
The best for DJs
Connectivity: RCA, line in, headphone jack, USB
+ Solid build quality
- Garish design
It’s not just music listeners that need a portable way of playing vinyl records. The Numark PT01 is designed for DJs and turntable aficionados who need a way of taking their vinyl out and about with them: Whether that's to clubs, venues or rehearsal spaces. The PT01 features everything you need to listen, record or scratch (yes, scratch) on the go.
It might not have the same vintage aesthetic as most other portable record players, but what it lacks in retro patina it more than makes up for in versatility, backed up by the included USB connectivity and the fact it can run on battery power.
Best portable record players: Buying advice
When you’re looking for a portable record player, you’ll notice how most models opt for a traditional ‘suitcase’ design, meaning they can be packed up and moved around simply by closing the lid. While this does enhance their portability credentials, in reality, most will find a specific location and leave the player in place. So, in addition to portability, you’re looking at the record player’s aesthetics. How will it look on your side table?
There are plenty of variations on the theme, from players designed to look like they’ve been removed from a 1930’s time capsule, to more retro 70s-styled models. You’ll know which look will suit you best so it’s worth shopping around.
Thankfully, while we freely admit there are some pretty garish models on offer, there are also some which retain an element of class and understated style.
Can I connect a portable turntable to speakers?
Each of the systems I've highlighted offer speakers built into the unit itself but, realistically, they’re not the best sounding. We certainly wouldn’t trust them with anything where you want to hear a bass line, for example. Instead, check if the players have outputs for connecting external speakers or headphones.
Most will also offer Bluetooth functionality but be aware that this can sometimes be a one-way street, meaning they’ll play music back from your phone but won’t allow you to send your vinyl sound to an external Bluetooth speaker. If you want proper Bluetooth experience, we’d recommend reading our guide to the best Bluetooth turntables.
Do I need a cartridge and stylus?
Vinyl buffs will know the importance of cartridges, stylus’ and drive systems. Being realistic, you’re not going to be getting elite audiophile levels of sound from any of these systems so you may need to adjust your expectations slightly.
That said, there is still joy to be had from the lo-fi stylings of vinyl audio quality. If pristine audio was your goal you arguably wouldn’t be looking at portable players. Take them for what they are; quick, easy ways to enjoy your vinyl records.
How we test record players
You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.
We’re music fans first and foremost here at Louder so, while we are certainly interested in the spec sheet of any record player we test, we’re less focused on the nitty gritty detail of a deck that will deliver marginal gains. For us, we’re all about how the turntable sounds.
We listen to music around the clock - it's part of our job - so we know how albums are meant to sound. For our tests, we hook each turntable up to our home systems and spin an eclectic variety of genres, and albums from classic to modern, to really put the gear through its paces. That means we can test if the deck delivers the fullness of modern metal, the low-end of hip-hop, the richness of classical, the lo-fi grit of punk etc. We’ll often call on the ears of a colleague or family member to give us a second opinion, too.
To cap it all off, we also test how easy the record player is to set up and operate. Anything that makes it harder to get on with listening to our favourite albums gets marked down.
Finally, we take a look under the hood of any other features a turntable offers, such as computer-connectivity for digitising our records, an automatic tonearm or built-in preamp.
- Best Bluetooth turntables: Grab one of the best record players
- The best record players: Treat your vinyl
- The best budget turntables: Spin your sounds for less
- Best vinyl records to test your turntable: The albums you need to own
- Best record players for beginners: Get up to speed with our top picks
- Best portable record players: Turntables for small spaces
- Cool vinyl record storage ideas
- How to properly set up a record player: Get the most from your system
- Here are the best classic rock albums to own on vinyl
- Direct-drive vs belt-drive turntables: What's the difference?
- Best vinyl record cleaners: Keep your vinyl collection in prime condition
- 7 ways to make your vinyl sound better: Get the perfect set-up