The Best DJ Turntables Under $500 (Review & Comparison) Of 2020 – Our Top Picks Reviewed
You shouldn’t have to pay through the nose for a good turntable. But what separates the best from the rest? In this guide, we’ll take a look at turntables and players which we think are worthy of your money, and which will serve you well for performing, mixing and recording for years to come.
we have put together these reviews of The Best DJ Turntables Under $500 of 2020.
The goal of this review is to educate and inform you of the best turntables under $500 on the market today, assisting you make the correct decision when buying your turntable.
The Products We Reviewed – Click to go
3 DJ Turntables Under $500 You Must See – Our Winning Picks
The Best DJ Turntables, Decks and Record players
1. TEAC TN-300 Analog Turntable (#1 Top DJ Turntable)
Manual Belt-drive Turntable – Color: Black or Cherry – Size: 13.4 x 16.5 x 7.1 in – Weight: 11 lbs
Smart and glossy, this turntable could be a winner for anyone who looks at aesthetics first and functionality later. However, that doesn’t mean it performs badly, far from it. It’s a manual system with a belt drive, which means that anyone who wants to seize physical control can do so without fuss. There’s a built-in equaliser on board, and anyone who wants to wrangle their own amps can do so.
It’s probably not the best choice for newbie mixers and DJs. It could be a good budget choice for anyone looking for a good all-rounder. It appears solid for digitisation, and it has picked up fans both at home as well as on the circuit. It might just be worth a look.
- Manual Belt-drive Turntable supporting 33/45 rpm
- USB output for transferring music from vinyl records to your Mac or PC.
- Built-in Phone Equalizer
- Audio-Technica MMVM type phonograph cartridge AT95E
- Gold plated terminals for oxidation resistance
2. Sony PS-LX300USB (#1 Best Value DJ Turntable)
Drive: Belt – Size: 14.17 x 3.74 x 16.53 in – Weight: 7.7 lbs
Sony might not be a name many people think of when it comes to DJ equipment, however, their PS-LX300USB could work wonders for the right scratcher. A relative bargain at the low end of your budget, fans of digitisation might enjoy the easy USB connectivity. It is fully automated, too, which may work well for those who are struggling to get a handle on their existing turntable equipment.
It is a belt drive system, which may not work well for everyone, but for those DJs looking for a meatier sound, it could provide the technology they are looking for. The system is anti-damage thanks to its automated system, which means it might also be a good choice for anyone who struggles to keep their vinyl looking and performing great.
- 33 1/3 and 45 rpm Speeds
- Fully automatic operation
- Built-in phono preamp
- Static balance tonearm
- USB audio output
- Belt Drive System
3. Numark NTX1000 (#1 Premium Pick DJ Turntable)
Pro Turntable Performance – Drive: Direct – Size: 13.7 x 17.71 x 5.9 in – Weight: 20.9 lbs
Numark’s NTX1000 might be a good option for anyone getting started with scratching. It’s a reputable direct drive model with pitch fading and customisation knobs offered as standard. On a budget? You might not baulk at the price, as you’ll generally pick this system up for within budget.
This Numark standard is also marketed to be ‘club-ready’. What that means to you and I is that it should be easy for most people to set up, and the sound design should resist some of the most crowded soundscapes. It seems pretty powerful, which means, for the money, you might be looking at a real dynamo. Adjust between two RPMs and upgrade to a USB system if you fancy the digital approach.
- Full-size platter
- High-torque Direct-drive Motor
- 2-speed Design
- S-shaped Tonearm
- Pitch fader with Reset Button
- Adjustable Counterweight
Start and stop time knobs for adjustable time ramping
4. Dodocool Vintage 3-Speed Turntable
Drive: Belt – Size: 14.6 x 13 x 5.7 inches – Weight: 6.2 lbs – Built in 2 Stereo Speakers
Heading back towards traditional record playing turntables, this Dodocool standard might appeal to anyone looking to take their vinyl on the go. That’s because it’s built into its own suitcase. Some people may find these systems a little on the tacky side – but for sheer portability and functionality, there are few other options quite so versatile. If you want a basic turntable to connect up to on the go, this might be a good choice.
It has two stereo speakers built in, but you might want to mix things up and choose separate outputs depending on where you are playing music or performing. As such, on a basic level, this turntable is great for playing music on holiday or on the go. However, your experience may vary both at home or when performing. We think it’s a good all-round choice, however, it is presents great value for money.
- 3 selectable speeds can play all vinyl records
- Built-in 2 stereo speakers
- 3.5mm aux-in jack for traditional stereo connections
- Alternatively recording and converting your favourite vinyl to WAV or MP3 format for your MP3 player
- Headphone jack for private listening
5. Pioneer PL-990
Drive: Belt – Size: 13.9 x 16.5 x 3.9 in – Weight: 5 lbs
Pioneer is a reputable name as far as DJ equipment goes. The PL-990 is a very affordable option for most scratchers. This could be good news for starter DJs working to a budget. If you are a beginner on the decks, you might benefit from automatic controls, sensitive tone arm functionality and low noise emission.
It’s one of many turntable systems which might double well as a DJ system as well as a home record player. A built-in phono EQ should also help you achieve great quality sound while playing and scratching on the go. If you have struggled to connect turntables up to audio systems in the past, you could find the PL-990 a breeze to set up given its flexibility with AUX and line in devices.
- Two speeds so you can play LPs and 45s
- Fully automatic operation means you push a single button to play a record and the unit automatically suts itself off
- Low-mass straight tone arm: Highly sensitive and resistant to resonance, track records better
- Universal-type cartridge connector
- Moving magnet cartridge included
- Built-in phono Equalizer – Simply connect to any auxilliary/line Input on your amplifier or mini Audio system
- P-mount cartridge
- Low-vibration, belt-drive design
- Rubber platter mat
- Vibration-absorbing feet
- Hinged dust cover
6. Audio-Technica AT-LP60
Drive: Belt – Size: 14.1″ x 3.8″ x 14.2″ – Weight: 5.3 lbs
Audio-Technica is another name which might seem familiar to DJs and audiophiles the world over. This particular system might appeal to everyday scratchers thanks to its automatic functionality and its USB connectivity. It is a belt drive model, however, which means that it will probably need a steady hand to guide through the motions.
However, it could prove to be a winner with beginners. It has software available for full digitisation, and it could be a good pick if you’re looking for a decent level of clarity in playback. It’s a model which is built for home use and digitisation of old records. However, we think it could work well as a DJ support.
- Convert your vinyl records to digital audio files
- Mac and PC compatible Audacity software digitizes your records
- Fully automatic belt drive turntable operation with 2 speeds: 33 1/3, 45 RPM
- Anti resonance, die cast aluminum platter
- If you are purchasing the product for a sales area outside the U.S; you should consider purchasing the turntable from your sales region; This unit is set to operate on 120 Volt AC
- Integral Dual Magnet phono cartridge with replaceable diamond stylus
- Built in switchable phono pre amplifier with RCA output cables to connect to audio systems and powered speakers
7. Numark TT250USB
Drive: Direct drive – Size: 35.2 x 45 x 15.2 cm – Weight: 7.48 Kg – Perfect speed accuracy
Looking back at Numark, their USB-ready turntable could be a good choice for users who want accurate digitisation. The super-sturdy drive system might also appeal to seasoned scratchers, making it a possible top choice for beginners and pros alike.
If you’re struggling to find a robust turntable which will resist regular use on the go, this system might also be a good choice. The platter is famously reliable and resistant, which is always a good thing if you are spinning and scratching regularly. It’s fully compatible with Mac and PC devices, which means you shouldn’t have too much difficulty converting your mixes and vinyl to digital files.
- Perfect speed accuracy
- Quartz-controlled direct-drive motor
- Die-cast aluminium platter for rock-solid stability and unperceivable wow and flutter
- Rugged, high-quality magnetic cartridge
- Converts records to digital files with USB cable connection to Mac or PC
- Adjustable height support feet
- 1/8-Inch input for remote start capability
8. Lenco L-85
Drive: Semi-automatic & Belt Driven – Size: 14.25 x 16.54 x 4.65 in – Weight: 5.5 lbs
Lenco’s robust system could be a good choice for DJs who want to get up and running with minimal fuss. Again, that’s likely to be most of them. There’s a preamp built-in here, which, as discussed, should be a good thing to look for in most cases. USB connectivity and recording will allow users to transmit mixes to their PC easily.
Many DJs and record fans might like the slimline look and easy portability of the system. It offers the two default RPM speeds you’d expect as standard, along with a decent array of outputs so you can diversify how you play your mixes, whether at home or at a gig. It’s also supposedly got one of the best needles on the market, but you can be the judge of that.
- Integrated stereo pre-amplifier
- Direct MP3 encoding from vinyl to USB with Automatic track splitting
- Semi-automatic & Belt Driven
- 2 rated speed settings 33 RPM & 45 RPM
- A choice of 5 Contemporary Colours
How We Chose The DJ Turntables In Our List
We felt it important to look for turntables which not only offered a decent amount of accessibility, but which also promised plenty of digital-friendly features. You’ll likely have noticed that there are some belt drive models amongst the pack. Many people prefer belts to directs, however, direct drives are generally advisable if you’re scratching. However, your experience is always going to vary.
We picked turntables that should not only support DJs on the go, but also at home, for recreational use, mixing and practice. What’s the point in a decent turntable if it can’t perform all the jobs you expect of it?
DJ Turntable Buying Guide
There are several things to consider when investing in a top rated turntable. This part of the guide will outline the top things to think about when making your choice.
Why Buy a Turntable?
Turntables have long been a reliable standard when it comes to playing old music and mixing old tunes. You first of all have to understand the difference between a good DJ turntable and a home record player. DJ turntables will allow you to easily scratch and cross fade, while record players will – of course – play records.
The digital age has brought in virtual scratching and decks, however, plenty of DJs and performers prefer the solid scratch on a nice piece of vinyl. It’s argued that there’s a lot more control on the mix, too. Your own tastes will likely vary, but when it comes to picking the best kit available for DJs and mixers, you’re going to need to follow the crowd.
Most superstar DJs still use turntables and physical scratching on tour. Therefore, why change anything?
Things to Look Out For
As mentioned, there are obvious differences between DJ turntables and home record players. It’s these differences you are going to need to compare and contrast between if you want to get your hands on the best kit available. Here are the main factors to keep in mind when shopping around.
One of the first things you should be looking for when shopping for a good DJ turntable is the drive. You’ll generally have a choice between a direct drive or a belt drive – but what’s the difference? Direct drives tend to be quick to react and, unlike belt drives, they are more resistant against scratching. This also means that you get a consistent tempo which will hold the platter and let you drift your records backwards and forwards with ease. However, some DJs prefer belt drives, though they can require a bit more proficiency.
Phono preamps tend to be a good feature to go for if you’re looking for a turntable specifically to DJ on. These widgets help the needle communicate better with your output. Therefore, a built-in preamp, rather than one you are going to need to toggle yourself, is obviously going to give you great audio quality from the get-go.
You should always be looking at torque when comparing turntables. This is measurable, and the higher the number, the quicker your turntable is going to speed up. Naturally, you’re not going to want to wait around for your player to slowly trundle up.
Pitch control isn’t always easy to come by, but it’s definitely welcome. It’s a feature which is probably going to help seasoned scratchers rather than beginners, as it’s often an ally when you’re matching sounds up to beats.
Can your turntable play audio via USB? We think most good DJ turntables should be ready for the digital age, however, it doesn’t always follow. Some DJs prefer old-school tech, and ultimately, this is always going to be your choice.
Just like plenty of other tech, you can buy turntables which are either automatic or manual. The difference here is in the convenience. Want to physically move the arm and take full control? Go for manual. Prefer a more streamlined approach? Head for automatic.
What exactly does a turntable cartridge do? It’s the crucial part of your system which lets you pin the needle to your vinyl. DJ turntables carry coil and magnet cartridges as standard. Magnet models are more affordable, however, coil systems are a bit more dynamic all around.
Being able to reverse the platter on your turntable is a nice touch, particularly if you’re just getting started. However, some DJs might see this as a bit of a gimmick. Take a look at videos online and see what you think.
Which Features Are Important?
This isn’t something which is always easy to answer. If you’re just getting started with turntabling, you should be looking for a system which has the most convenient features and the most robust design. Budget should really only come into it if you’re having to count the pennies.
Of course, in this buyer’s guide, we’ve gone to the effort of finding some great turntables that are less than $500. This means you shouldn’t have to fork out too much for some solid DJing tech. These are all solid investments, but if you do ask our professional opinions, the more you pay, the better tech you are probably going to get. Don’t be swayed by inferior or ‘cheap’ systems.
You should also think about why you want a turntable. We’re only assuming you’re looking for a DJ system. If you’re just looking for a good record player, this might mean opening up a whole new buyer’s guide!
There is a lot of confusion out there over what works best in terms of turntable tech. Should you be looking for a record player or a sleek, DJ-specific system that’s only built for scratching? We think you should be looking at something somewhere in between. You certainly shouldn’t be spending much over $500 unless you are getting a serious amount of tech for your money. Don’t be afraid to compare and contrast.
How Much Should I Pay for a Turntable?
The point of this buyer’s guide was to show that you can, and should, look at investing only a small amount of money in a good standard of tech. There are no good reasons why you should spend more than $500, however, as it generally goes, the more you pay, the better the tech you receive
Do I Need a Direct Drive?
This is the big debate. Plenty of buyer’s guides and audiophiles will tell you that a direct drive is best for scratching. That’s because a belt is going to wear out sooner rather than later. But then again, some people prefer the push on a belt drive. It really is going to depend on how you DJ.
Why Are Some Turntables Built Into Briefcases?
Briefcase turntables are ideal for portability. Think about all the lugging around you would otherwise have to do! With a turntable built into its own case for ease of transport, you can easily pick up and go, and put down and set up.
What Are the Best Brands?
The best brands of turntable can really vary. We’d generally say take a look at lines such as Pioneer or Numark from the off, however, as you can see, we do grade what Sony has to offer pretty highly. Just because a brand isn’t well-known for DJ equipment, doesn’t mean they can’t surprise you once in a while.
Why Does My Choice of Turntable Matter?
If you’re serious about creating unique mixes and grooves, you are going to need a solid turntable which produces clear quality audio. As turntables are physical music players, a lot of what makes them so adept lies in features such as their drives, their platters and their cartridges. If you rely on a cheap turntable that isn’t really built for DJing, you are going to run the risk of pumping out sound which is unstable and unengaging.
Does Turntablism Compare to Digital Mixing?
That all depends on what appeals to you. Many DJs prefer physical turntables because of the grittier sound and the greater physical control. However, digital turntabling is easy to get into, and is often cheaper on the whole. However, again, this is something that’s only measurable by individual taste. Try digital mixing if it appeals to you, but do consider a real turntable if you’re serious about your mixes.