The 8 Best Portable CD Players of 2022

The value of these devices is more than sentimental

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Portable CD players may feel like a thing of the '90s and early aughts, but that doesn't mean you can't still buy a Walkman-style device today. Most people have moved past the age of physically stored media, opting for streaming for its convenience and affordability. But if you still have a massive collection of CDs that you love and (more importantly) that you've spent a lot of money on, top models can help you make the most of your classic CD collection.

We've researched the best options on the market, including classically designed picks or modernized players with premium new design elements. All of them will play CDs, but several will bring some contemporary features with them.

Here are the best portable CD players to consider.

Best Overall: Naviskauto CD Player

Naviskauto CD Player

Amazon

What We Like
  • MP3 playback functionality

  • Very bright screen

  • EQ options

What We Don't Like
  • No Bluetooth connectivity

  • Not the cheapest option out there

In many ways, CD players available for purchase today are all very similar to each other. They sit in two camps: simple, nostalgic devices or all-in-one, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink options. This rechargeable unit from NAVISKAUTO earns our best overall spot because it nails the fundamentals, offers a few upgrade features, and doesn’t try to throw in extras that you don’t need.

You get 100 seconds of skip protection, MP3 and WMA playback functionality, and a sizable 12 hours of listening with the onboard rechargeable battery. Some extras that NAVISKAUTO has included are extra equalizer (EQ) controls that help you tailor your sound and a super-bright LED control array that’s easy to see and use. It all comes in at a really solid price point and in a sleek, no-nonsense design.

MP3-capable: Yes | Skip protection: 100 seconds | Rechargeable battery: Yes | Included accessories: Earbuds, charging cable, and AUX cable

Best Value: Gueray CD Discman

Gueray CD Discman

Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordable price point

  • Sleek, simple design

  • Rechargeable battery

What We Don't Like
  • Overly simplistic display

  • No modern features like MP3 support

The Gueray CD Discman looks and feels classic, with a familiar circular shape and easy-to-find control buttons right on the top. But, without any flashy features like in-depth MP3 controls or over-the-top display tech, you’ll save a bit of money over some of the more involved competitors.

For a budget-friendly price, you get a reliable CD player with a USB-rechargeable 1400 mAh battery (which charges in about four hours), reliable playback functionality, and a sleek, unassuming black design. This setup also brings you modern-leaning wired earbuds with a handy inline remote, a charging cable, and a carrying bag to get you started listening right out of the box.

MP3-capable: No | Skip protection: 100 seconds | Rechargeable battery: Yes | Included accessories: Earbuds, charging cable, and carrying bag

Best Option With Radio: GPX PC332B

GPX PC332B

Amazon

What We Like
  • Very affordable

  • FM functionality built-in

  • Skip protection

What We Don't Like
  • Cheap build quality

  • Not intended for jogging

  • No MP3 functionality

Many of the once upgrade features on CD players are now available at really budget-friendly price points. The GPX PC332B is undoubtedly on the low end of the price point, but you still get the option to listen to FM PLL radio as well as CDs. This option offers tremendous versatility for those who want to use a CD player in the car or while working out.

You’ve also got the option for CDs, but nothing flashy like MP3 compatibility. There are 60 seconds of skip protection built-in, so this isn’t the best model for jogging or bouncy workouts. But, all of this is likely an acceptable trade-off if a simple CD player with FM functionality is your goal. And the price is compelling here.

MP3-capable: No | Skip protection: 60 seconds | Rechargeable battery: No | Included accessories: Earbuds

Best for Kids: Craig Electronics Personal CD Player with Headphones

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What We Like
  • Kid-friendly process

  • Fun, nostalgic color

  • Included, on-ear headphones

What We Don't Like
  • No advertised skip protection

  • Overly simplistic controls

The Craig Electronics CD2808 gives the aesthetic impression that it's straight out of 1999. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. The light blue color with contrasting black edges and the matching Koss-style headphones scream nostalgia and the classic CD era. This portable CD player is excellent if you're looking to buy a unit for kids. Because it's got a resilient color that likely won't collect a ton of scuffs, and it's got straightforward controls.

It lacks some step-up features; there's no advertised skip protection, no MP3 compatibility, and the display is extremely simplistic. But none of that matters if you're looking for a small portable player that you don't have to worry about knocking around. And the price point is just right for that use case.

MP3-capable: No | Skip protection: None | Rechargeable battery: No | Included accessories: On-ear headphones

Best All-in-One: Lukasa Rechargeable Portable Bluetooth CD Player

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What We Like
  • Built-in speakers

  • Bluetooth connectivity

  • Rechargeable battery

What We Don't Like
  • Chunky design

  • A little expensive

  • Simplistic display

One of the major drawbacks of a portable CD player is that you typically need to plug in a speaker or a pair of headphones to hear any sound. Thanks to modern speaker driver technology, we can fit sound-producing modules inside tiny enclosures. That’s exactly what this rechargeable CD player from Lukasa brings to the table with CD and MP3 CD support and the ability to play sound right from an onboard speaker setup.

If you’d prefer more powerful sound, you can use the auxiliary output to feed your CD playback to whatever sound system you want. There are also rechargeable capabilities here, so you won’t be fishing for new AA batteries, and you can even use the Lukasa as a Bluetooth speaker, bypassing the need to play CDs. This model is on the expensive side as far as portable CD players go, and the thick, white design feels just a bit dated. But all in all, this is a really nice all-in-one device.

MP3-capable: Yes | Skip protection: 100 seconds | Rechargeable battery: Yes | Included accessories: Earbuds, charging cable, AUX cable, carrying bag, protective case

Runner-Up, Best All-in-One: Arafuna Portable CD Player with Dual Stereo Speakers

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What We Like
  • MP3 playback functionality

  • Built-in speakers

  • Extra controls

What We Don't Like
  • Dull, unimpressive display

  • No Bluetooth connectivity

Putting speakers right inside a portable CD player gives you a lot of versatility for many different use-cases. This Arafuna CD player puts a decently capable pair of stereo speakers right inside the same frame you’re used to in Walkman-style devices. This black, circular build is just a couple of inches thick and otherwise takes up the space of one single CD.

The built-in 1400 mAh battery provides about 12 hours of listening and takes about four hours to recharge with the included charging cable. You can play standard CD formats, plus MP3 and WMA format discs. The screen is pretty basic, and even though there are some added options like speed controls and A/B repeats, it’s otherwise a pretty basic CD player. It certainly isn’t the most full-featured option, but it delivers solid value for a player that is ready to go right out of the box.

MP3-capable: Yes | Skip protection: 100 seconds | Rechargeable battery: Yes | Included accessories: Earbuds, charging cable, and AUX cable

Best Rechargable: Monodeal Portable CD Player

Monodeal Portable CD Player

Amazon

What We Like
  • 15 hours of playback time

  • Bright, oversized display

  • Skip protection

What We Don't Like
  • No extra connectivity

These days, a portable CD player that's rechargeable is pretty standard, but this Monodeal CD player brings with it a few extra options that make it a bit better than the rest of the field in that category. The 1400 mAh battery delivers 15 hours of listening time and takes about four hours to charge up fully—pretty competitive numbers for the space.

While most rechargeable CD players tend to hover around 12 hours of usage, the 15 available here means you'll be able to listen a lot longer. The oversized backlit display also gives you plenty of visibility and control of the device, even in dark rooms. The price is a little high for a portable CD player, and the design isn't the most cutting-edge, but it's a solid buy on battery life alone.

MP3-capable: Yes | Skip protection: Yes, time unspecified | Rechargeable battery: Yes | Included accessories: Earbuds, charging cable, AUX cable, and carrying bag

Best Design: HOTT CD611

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What We Like
  • Handsome, wood-paneled design

  • Skip protection

  • MP3 functionality

What We Don't Like
  • Not rechargeable

  • No backlit display

  • Limited onboard controls

In the late '90s, portable CD players were popular enough that manufacturers were incentivized to create stunning, colorful devices with tons of design options. While there are a lot of shapes, colors, and sizes still available today, there aren't many options that are truly impressive from a design perspective. The HOTT CD611 is a truly new take on the look and feel of a portable CD player.

Sleek, handsome wood paneling covers the entire body and gives the CD611 an upscale look while offering a pleasant, organic feel. There's MP3 playback functionality, skip protection, and easy-to-use controls. The HOTT player does require separate batteries and won't recharge, and the simple display isn't backlit, but that ultimately serves to underscore the sleek, professional look.

MP3-capable: Yes | Skip protection: 45 seconds | Rechargeable battery: No | Included accessories: Earbuds, power cable (to bypass batteries), AUX cable, and carrying bag

Final Verdict

Our best overall pick, the NAVISKAUTO CD Player (view at Amazon) comes at a reasonable price, features excellent onboard controls, rechargeability, MP3 functionality, a sleek design, and solid skip protection. But there are also tons of all-in-one options as well, like the Lukasa CD Player (view at Amazon) with built-in speakers and the ability to use those speakers as a dedicated Bluetooth playback device.

What to Look for in a Portable CD Player

Rechargeable Batteries

One of the key differentiating factors for CD players is how they get their power to function. The early portable CD players used DC adapters (requiring you to be tethered to a wall) or AA batteries (for listening on the go). Many CD players still use interchangeable batteries, but an upgrade feature is the presence of a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. When considering a CD player, it’s important to decide if you want this rechargeability for more modern, versatile portability.

MP3 Playability

Most modern CD players offer the ability to play CDs that feature MP3s as stored files rather than traditionally formatted playback CDs. While a lot of portable players feature this option by default, not all of them do. If you want the convenience of MP3 format support, it’s important to check closely for this functionality.

Modern Features

Portable devices have come a long way, in general. CD players now incorporate a variety of modern functions like backlit displays, onboard speakers to bypass the need for separate headphones/speakers, and Bluetooth connectivity. Opting for a CD player that gives you these functions will help to add more bang for your buck.

FAQ
  • How do CD players play MP3 files?

    It might sound confusing that you can play MP3s from a CD player without any onboard hard drive. Most traditional CD players will play standard, Compact Disc format media, but when you opt for a player that’s MP3-compatible, it means you can store MP3s as files onto a disc and have your player read/play those files back on the go—just like you would a thumb drive on a laptop.

  • Can you listen to CD players without headphones?

    While some modern portable CD players come with built-in speaker modules for playback without any accessories, the default is that you need to plug speakers or headphones into CD players via the auxiliary (AUX) output. If you’d prefer all-in-one playback, look for a CD player with built-in speakers.

  • What do I need for skip protection?

    Because CD players use infrared lasers to read the etchings in a CD, jostling the device around can cause that classic CD skipping that many of us are familiar with. Skip protection isn’t new, and most modern CD players will offer solid 100-second skip protection. Skipping can still happen, but this safeguard will make the CD player largely listenable even with light workouts. A lower second count on the skip protection will yield less reliability during more vigorous activities.

About Our Trusted Experts

Jason Schneider is a musician, writer, and tech reviewer with more than a decade of experience. He remembers his first candy apple red Walkman fondly. When considering modern CD players, he looked closely at the battery capacity, extra features (like Bluetooth and radio tuners), and other modern specs to really make a CD player worth considering in 2022.

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