Whether you’re a bit old school and can’t part with your CD collection or you’re just into listening high-quality music and other audio files, you’re going to need a CD player.
Now, some of you may still have boomboxes with a CD player around the house, but if you want portability, you’ll need a personal player. These are round and slim devices that only take one CD at a time and use headphones or speakers to deliver the sound (no built-in speakers).
Now, choosing the best portable CD player can be confusing, especially for young listeners. As such, we created a buying guide and reviewed some of the best products on the market. So, before you make any purchasing decisions, make sure to read our reviews and browse the guidelines below.
Last update on 2023-11-12 // The links above are affiliate // Images from Amazon
How to Choose the Best Portable CD Player
Here are the features we considered when we decided which products to review:
Since these are portable devices, you want to make sure they can resist being moved from one place to another. Now, most low-cost CD players will not feature a very solid build, but you should look for products that feel good in your hands.
Also, it’s better to select a design with the control at the top or on the edge of the device. This way, they are easy to reach and don’t require any special finger movements to activate.
Of course, the quality of the sound a CD player can produce is important. However, since they don’t have built-in speakers, the type of headphones or speakers you are going to use with them is also important.
Overall, it’s best to select a device that reproduces high-quality sounds and supports a bit of bass.
Most portable CD players use AA batteries (some are rechargeable and some not). However, the more modern devices use Lithium rechargeable batteries, which is the best choice since you no longer have to carry AA batteries wherever you go.
Supported Audio Formats
Most devices support CD-R (CD-Recordable) and CD-RW (CD-ReWritable) discs. Still, if you own other types of CDs, you should consider getting a product that also supports MP3 disks. This way you don’t have to worry that half of your collection will lie around collecting dust.
This feature is important for portable devices as it protects your audio experience from the vibrations that sometimes affect the disc. It does this by reading the MP3 or CD content a few dozen seconds ahead and storing it in the anti-skip memory.
As you can notice from our reviews, some products have a different memory capacity for CDs and MP3 files (more about this here).
In most cases, this is a 3.5mm port that allows users to connect headphones, speakers, and even the audio system of a vehicle. Since CD players don’t have speakers, this port is crucial for the quality of your audio experience.
Best Portable CD Players
Gueray Portable CD Player
Perfect for Listening to your Favorite Tunes
The Gueray CD player is probably the best sounding portable CD player with its support for various formats (MP3, CD, CD-R, CD-RW) and the multitude of sound effects (such as BBS, Pop, Jazz, Rock, Classic).
It also features a modern-looking design, a durable case, and several easy-to-use functions on the cover. For instance, you’ll find the four built-in play modes (Repeat a track, Repeat ALL, Play first 10s of a file, Play in random order) and the 3.5mm port that lets you connect the player to headphones, speakers, or the AUX port of a vehicle.
There’s also an LCD screen that displays important information as you play your favorite disc.
To make it travel-friendly, the producer added an anti-shock system in MP3 mode and ASP (prevents sound interruption in case of vibrations) that can’t be switched off.
Lastly, the large capacity rechargeable lithium battery (1400 mAh) offers up to 12h of playtime. Also, the player has a Hold option that prevents the other keys from accidentally being activated when you put the player in your pocket. To charge it, you can just use the provided USB cable, which makes things easier when it comes to transportation or listening on the go.
- Great size and build for traveling
- You can use it with headphones or speakers
- It can be connected to the AUX port of a vehicle
- Great sound quality
- Lots of options and functions
- Amazing value for the money
- Large rechargeable battery
- The supplied headphones are not of a high quality
- The 3.5mm jack is a bit sensitive to movement
Oakcastle CD10 Portable CD Player
Affordable Portable CD Player
We know, it’s the current year and all that, but some people still prefer to listen to their music collection on old school devices, and that’s why portable CD players are making a comeback. Enter the Oakcastle CD10, a sub-$50 “walkman” with 7 hour battery life and anti-skip technology, i.e. it won’t skip tracks if you bump it or something like that.
The design is as retro as it can possibly be, and the retail package contains 2 AA batteries and a decent set of headphones.
Realistically speaking, for a fortyish CD player, you can’t ask for more. The unit is relatively compact, lightweight and portable, and it’s also audiobook ready, which means you can use the CD10 to listen to your favorite audio books while on the go.
Overall, the CD10 makes for an awesome opportunity to go all 90s retro in a black on black design, which is definitely not a head turner, but then again, you win some, you lose some.
You do get a few cool playback features that I don’t recall existing in the 1980s Walkman CD days, such as the ability to play your tracks in a random order or define a custom order in which to play the tracks on the CD, and even something called “INTRO” mode that plays just the first 10 seconds of each track. You also get MP3 and WMA compatibility, as well as CD-R and CD-RW, everything at a very reasonable price.
- Cool retro look
- Digital display
- Reads MP3 and WMA
- Well designed
- Adequate SQ
- No USB charging
Portable & Easy to Use CD Player
The feature that stands out with this CD player is that you can play the music on wireless headphones or speakers. The BT connectivity is reliable and the pairing happens without problem (most of the time). Of course, you can also use the 3.5mm port to connect wired headphones or speakers.
The highly portable design (lightweight & flat) is backed by a strong rechargeable battery (1000mAh) that can last for up to 7h of continuous playtime. Since it is made to be moved around, the CD player has anti-shock protection – a feature that provides a stable audio experience when on the move.
Lastly, the device is compatible with CD, MP3, CD-RW, and CD-R formats and supports 5 sound effects (BBS, Pop, Jazz, Rock, Classic). The front side of the device offers access to most standard playback features, like volume control, skip forward/back, play/pause, keylock, and more.
- Rechargeable & portable design
- BT connectivity
- Supports stereo headphones
- Anti-shock protection
- Plug-and-play use
- Control buttons are not intuitive
- The display is difficult to read
Arafuna Portable Bluetooth CD Player
One of the Best Under $100 Portable CD Players
The Arafuna Portable BT CD Player retails for less than $70, but it offers a lot of bang for the proverbial buck asked, compared to cheaper models. The most important thing about Arafuna is its built-in Bluetooth 5.0 module, which means two things: first, you can pair it with your high-end wireless headphones (the ones supplied in the retail package are nothing to write home about), and second, you can use it in your car (or inside) to listen to your favorite CD collection via BT streaming, which is as cool as it gets.
Another big thing about Arafuna is its 2000mAh rechargeable battery, which delivers enough juice for 19 hours of playback. And yes, that’s almost thrice as much as other “old-school” portable CD players running on AAA gear.
Moreover, you get 2 headphone jacks, which means two persons can use the CD player at the same time, i.e. you can share your favorite music with a friend or spouse or maybe your cat. Anti-shock protection is also there for a stable audio experience while running or whatever, and the player supports most CD formats, like CD-R, HDCD, MP3 discs, WMA audio files of CD and TF card files.
Controls are ergonomically designed and well placed, sound quality is surprisingly good, even with EQ settings flat, and bottom line, this baby is great for the money and will not disappoint.
- Well designed
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Rechargeable battery
- 19 hours playback
- Good value for money
- Horrible instructions manual
Monodeal Portable CD Player
Excellent CD Player with Bluetooth
Just like the Arafuna beast reviewed previously, the Monodeal is a Bluetooth enabled/rechargeable battery portable CD player which retails for less than $100. It’s worth mentioning that the Monodeal CD player is a bit expensive than the Arafuna, and it makes for an excellent gadget for both home and travel use.
To begin with, the Monodeal offers Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, which works well up to 20ft, dual headphones jack, and a built-in rechargeable battery which gives it enough juice for 15 hours of playback.
One of the main advantages of the Monodeal is its large LCD backlit display, which is great at night, while its big buttons are easy to operate, especially for elder users. There’s also an advanced anti-skip function, to prevent your music from skipping even with shaking, bumping, or driving on bumpy roads, plus a resume/start track from where it was stopped, so you won’t miss a thing.
Another cool feature of the Monodeal is the micro SD card jack, where you can save MP3 files and play them just like with a regular iPod/MP3 player. In this regard, the Mondeal is both a classic portable CD player and a modern MP3 player, i.e. the best of both worlds.
Finally, all important formats are supported, including CD, MP3, CD-R, CD-RW, HDCD, CD-DA, MP3, and WMA.
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Rechargeable battery
- MP3 and VMA ready
- Good SQ
- Nothing really at this price
Stylish Design with Great Features
This device features a simple design, that allows even a small child to use it without too much guidance. It also has a rubber coating and anti-skip protection, so it can be used while you are on the go.
Furthermore, the CD player lets you know when it’s low on battery (which you will have to change since they are not rechargeable). It has an analog volume control, and standard playback options (random, repeat, intro, program).
Overall, it delivers high sound quality, provided you use it with a set of high-quality earbuds or headphones.
- Supports MP3 formats
- Comes with stereo earbuds
- Anti-skip protection
- Rubberized coating for shock protection
- Easy to use controls
- Can be powered using a micro-USB cable
- Works with AA batteries
- The earbuds are low quality
Lukasa Portable Bluetooth CD Player
Really Cool for Travel
The Lukasa portable Bluetooth CD player retails for a little bit over fifty bucks, and it can be best described as an ugly yet highly functional compact disc player, for both home and travel.
Ugliness is close to godliness in this particular case, i.e. the design is a love it or hate thing, but truth be told, the Lukasa has a lot to offer for the price asked: besides a built-in rechargeable 2000 mAh battery, this portable CD player comes with stereo speakers, which makes it basically a boombox.
On top of that, you get a LCD display, plus USB/AUX input, MP3 compatibility, USB flash drive play, programmable play features, everything in a compact and portable design.
Moreover, this little gadget can play almost all music formats known to man, ranging from CD/CD-R/CD-RW discs, to MP3 CD discs, and WMA audio file CD discs. All the standard playback features are there, as well as volume control, skip forward/back, play/pause, electronic skip protection, plus Bluetooth playback features, anti-shock, programming play, Repeat, USB play, LCD display, 3.5mm Aux Input, and a headphone port.
Needless to say, you can always use the Lukasa as a portable Bluetooth speaker, the sound is pretty good, the CDs play flawlessly, and everything is super user friendly. We almost forgot: you can use the USB port to load a bunch of MP3 files onto a USB stick for playback, and everything works really well.
- Lots of features
- Built-in stereo speakers
- Supports USB drives
- 16 hours battery life
- Flawed design
If you’re a bit old school but don’t want to go back to cassette players, or you simply like to hear your tunes in CD-quality, a portable CD player makes a lot of sense. As you can see, there are lots of cool products on the market and some of them provide high quality at really affordable prices.