Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.The Rundownin this articleExpandOur PicksFAQsAbout our Trusted expertsWhat to Look for in Portable CD Players:
The best portable CD players offer a great alternative to MP3 players if you own a large collection of music on discs and want to listen to them on the go. Though streaming music has nearly completely overtaken physical media, there is still a certain amount of satisfaction in loading up a CD and enjoying some high-quality audio. There is a deliberation and purposefulness in choosing a specific album from your collection that results in more thought being put into your choice of music than just burning through a playlist on your favorite streaming service.
Most portable CD players adhere to a simple yet effective design philosophy, and are basically small clamshell boxes. Even smaller and less feature-packed portable CD players include extra functionality, such as a radio receiver, or they throw in free accessories such as earbuds. We've tested a wide range of the best portable CD players to help you find the one that best suits your needs.
Best Overall:Tenswell Portable CD playerWhat We Like
Packed with features
Eye catching design
Bluetooth controlWhat We Don't Like
Large and bulky for a portable CD player
Needs to be plugged in
Not designed for durability
The Tenswell Portable CD player isn't what comes to mind when you think of a portable CD player. This device is really more of a Frankenstein's monster hybrid of boom box and CD player, and that's a good thing. Let's face it, most portable CD players are pretty drab devices. They do what it says on the tin, but not much else. The Tenswell, though, not only packs in the features, but with its eye-catching good looks you'll want to display it in your home!
The Tenswell portable CD player can be mounted on your wall or set on its included stand. CDs are placed on its front, where they spin openly without an enclosure. This adds an extra visual flare to the experience of playing music on CDs. This CD player also comes with a remote control, and can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. In addition to playing CD and Bluetooth audio, you can also plug in USB drives, or take advantage of the built-in FM radio. Furthermore, a 3.5mm AUX input/out allows you to pipe audio in from an MP3 player, or out to headphones.
Of course, all this comes at the cost of portability, durability, and the need to plug it in to use it. However, it still gets the top spot on this list because of its impressive functionality and attractive design.
Runner-Up, Best Overall:Gueray CD DiscmanBuy on AmazonWhat We Like
Up to 12 hours of battery life
Compact and exceptionally portable
Excellent warrantyWhat We Don't Like
User reviews report inconsistent quality
For all-day listening, you need a big battery, and that's just what the Geuray CD Discman offers. This portable CD player features a large, rechargeable lithium ion battery that will provide 12 hours of uninterrupted use on a single charge. That's enough to last even the most avid audiophile a full day of pleasant listening. You won't have to worry about packing extra batteries for this device.
You also get a variety of optimization presets for bass, pop, jazz, rock, and classical, and the Gueray features 100 seconds of anti-skip protection. Furthermore, it includes various playback options such as repeat and shuffle, and is both sleek and compact for easy transport. It comes with earbuds, among other accessories, and an impressive 12-month warranty in addition to a 90-day return and exchange window.The 4 Best CD Recorders and CD Recording Systems of 2021
Best AA Battery Life:GPX PC332BBuy on AmazonWhat We Like
60 second anti-skip
up to 6 hours of battery lifeWhat We Don't Like
Less battery life than players with built-in batteries
Unlike many CD players, the GPX PC322B uses AA batteries rather than a built-in rechargeable battery. This is ideal if you're traveling to remote locations and don't have access to power sources. You can bring as many batteries as you're likely to need and not worry about running out. However, with each set of two AA batteries, you get 6 hours of playback. That's plenty, though rechargeable players can get as much as 12 hours on a charge.
For features, you get a built-in FM tuner that has programmable preset stations, as well as 60-second anti-skip functionality. Track names, radio stations, and settings info are displayed on a black and white LCD screen. The GPX PC322B also includes a pair of stereo earbuds for listening in private on the go.
Best Rechargable:Naviskauto CD PlayerBuy on AmazonWhat We Like
Includes headphones/AUX cord/USB charging cable
Up to 12 hours of battery life
Last memory functionWhat We Don't Like
Some cars may not recognize the CD player
Some cars may not recognize the CD player
The Naviskauto CD Player sets you up with all the accessories you need: earbuds, a USB charging cable, and a 4.9-foot AUX cord, but it's most impressive quality is its battery life. This CD player will keep your tunes going for a whopping 12 hours.
The system also features presets for pop, jazz, rock, and other music, as well as a “last memory” function with which it's able to remember your track location after it's turned off so you can resume listening from the same location. There's also repeat, shuffle, and other playback options, and the LED display is backlit to make it easy to use in dim or dark conditions.
Best Radio:Supersonic SC-253FMBuy on AmazonWhat We Like
Up to 120-second anti-skip
Excellent radio function
Good included in-ear headphonesWhat We Don't Like
User reviews report inconsistent build quality
LCD screen doesn't show radio station
The Supersonic SC-253FM offers perhaps the best FM radio functionality of any portable CD player, allowing you to listen to broadcast radio in addition to your physical media. This is mainly due to its excellent control system that makes finding a radio station easy.
It also comes with earbuds, which is great if you're picking it up on a road trip and have lost or forgotten a pair of headphones. 40 seconds of anti-skip while playing regular CDs and 120 seconds of anti-skip for MP3 format CDs means that you'll be able to enjoy your music without interruption, and features such as shuffle and repeat are great options to have while listening to your favorite albums.The 5 Best MP3 Players of 2021
Best for Excercise:GPX PC807BMP3UBuy on AmazonWhat We Like
90 day warranty
Up to 200 second anti-skip
Easy to grip rubberized exteriorWhat We Don't Like
No "last memory" function
CD players and their spinning disks are vulnerable to the negative effects of sudden movement, which poses a real problem for those who want to take their CDs with them jogging or to the gym. The GPX PC807BMP3U offers up to 200 seconds of anti-skip protection so that all those bumps and jumps don't interfere with your tunes. It also has a rubberized exterior which makes it easier to hold with sweaty hands.
Additionally, the GPX PC807BMP3U comes with earbuds and can use either AA batteries or a 12V car adapter for power. Unfortunately, there is no “last memory” function, nor is there a built-in radio, and customers report units arriving DOA. Fortunately, GPX offers a 90-day warranty to cover manufacturing defects and DOA CD players.
Best LCD Screen:Monodeal Portable CD PlayerBuy on AmazonWhat We Like
Large LCD screen
15-hour battery life
Good selection of included accessoriesWhat We Don't Like
No FM radio
With its particularly large, backlit LCD, you aren't likely to find a portable CD player with a more readable display than this one by Monodeal. Thanks to its backlit screen and buttons, this device is particularly useful in low light conditions, and the included earbuds and AUX cable enable easy listening on the go or at home.
The Monodeal Portable CD Player also has a particularly long-lasting rechargeable battery that should keep your tunes going for up to fifteen hours. Additionally, this portable CD player features anti-skip and anti-shock technology, as well as support for a variety of CD formats. Also, you get several playback modes such as repeat and random, and sound effects for BBS, Pop, Jazz, Rock, and Classical music. The only real downside of the Monodeal Portable CD player is that it doesn't include an FM radio.The 10 Best AUX Cables
While the Tenswell Portable CD player is by far the most exciting and feature-rich portable CD player, with absolutely amazing looks to boot, everything that makes it great comes at a cost in terms of portability. A much smaller and lighter option is the Geuray CD Discman which also features a rechargeable battery with 12 hours of playback time.
When did portable CD players come out? The first portable CD player was the Sony Discman, and it was released in November 1984 at a price of $300. It proved incredibly popular and portable CD players peaked over the course of the late 1990s and early 2000s, until they were largely replaced by MP3 players, the iPod, and phones.
Do portable CD players have speakers? Most portable CD players don't have speakers. If you want to listen to music, you'll have to plug in with the included headphones (or your own pair). If you want a device that can play music on the go, you should take a look at our list of options for the best Bluetooth speakers.
How do portable CD players work? A portable CD player works by using a small laser beam inside the player to flash onto the shiny side of the CD. The light bouncing off the patterns on the shiny side results in an electric current that pushes a signal that generates music playback in binary (ones and zeroes). The digital to analog converter then decodes the binary numbers and converts them back into electric currents that are transformed by the earphones into music.
About our Trusted experts
Andy Zahn has been writing for Ach5 since 2019 and is an enthusiastic connoisseur of music and an amateur musician himself. Andy has tested and reviewed a wide range of audio equipment and is likely to be found listening to music while working, traveling, or relaxing at home.
What to Look for in Portable CD Players:
Accessories: Portable CD players often come with a number of accessories, with earbuds being the most commonly bundled. These are nice to have if don't have a good set of headphones or are picking the CD player up while traveling and forgot your earbuds at home. However, they're almost never high quality. More useful perhaps is when an AUX cable is included, which allows the CD player to be plugged into a car stereo or other speaker system.
Extra features: Most portable CD players do more than just play CDs, and often include features to improve your experience playing CDs. Look for anti-skip technology that buffer audio and guards against listening interruptions caused by movement of the player, and an included FM radio will keep you entertained when you're tired of your CD collection.
Reliability: It seems that customers often experience issues with their portable CD players right out of the box due to a troubling problem of quality control. It's such a prevalent issue that some manufacturers prominently advertise their warranty coverage of DOA (Dead On Arrival) products. A good warranty is certainly something to look for when purchasing a portable CD player.