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Home / Features / Best cassette players 2024: tape players for a retro audio fix

Best cassette players 2024: tape players for a retro audio fix

The best tape players will have you rockin' and a rollin' in no time (pencils not included)

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There are a few reasons why you might be searching for the best cassette players. Maybe you’re on a retro kick, looking to separate yourself from the cold, soulless world of streaming digital music. Or perhaps you recently came across a dust-laden collection of tapes during a clearout, and want to relive your youth. Or maybe the thought of a portable mechanical music player simply appeals to your quirkier nature.

Whatever your reasons, we’ve rounded up our top picks of some of the best cassette players (or tape players, if you prefer), around. Just plug in a pair of the best headphones and happy listening!

What are the best cassette players?

If you peruse enthusiast forums like the r/cassetteculture subreddit, the general consensus is that a second-hand Sony Walkman from the 90s is one of your best bets if you’re looking for a quality, authentic cassette-playing experience. With that in mind, you’re welcome to peruse eBay and second-hand shops if that’s the route you want to go down.

If you’d rather pick up something newer, more modern, and unused, then you’ve got a few options, and these are the products we’ve focused on below. Or number one choice would be FiiO’s CP13 Portable Stereo Cassette Player, but it’s now sold out after its initial run, with no word on when or if another batch will be released. So with that in mind, our current top choice is the beautifully made We Are Rewind cassette player, which combines a stunning aluminium build with modern features (including Bluetooth and a rechargeable battery), with retro blue, orange, and grey colour options.


Other cassette player recommendations

Is the We Are Rewind Portable Cassette Player not quite your jam? Here’s a quick glance at our other top picks:

Best cheap cassette player

The DIGITNOW! Portable Cassette Player (buy now) is incredibly cheap, while packing in a tonne of useful features, such as the option to use its built-in rechargeable battery, or a pair of AAs in a pinch. You can also connect it to a PC to record your cassettes to MP3 via USB.

Best cassette speakers

The NINMLab IT’S REAL Bluetooth Speaker Cassette Player Combo (buy now) has built-in speakers to share your cassette collection with the wider world, while also doubling up as a Bluetooth speaker for additional functionality.

Best mid-range cassette player

The Docooler Portable Cassette Player (buy now) is similar to our best budget pick above, but you get a more pleasant design for a little more cash, with a transparent window and a white/orange colour combo, along with the same tape-to-MP3 recording features.


The best cassette players you can buy today:

Best-Cassette-Players-We-Are-Rewind

1. We Are Rewind Portable Cassette Player

We Are Rewind Portable Cassette Player specs
Weight404g
Bluetooth5.2
Rechargeable batteryYes (USB 5.0V DC cable)

We Are Rewind’s cassette player is, hands down, the most desirable modern offering currently available. Forged from hardy aluminium and available in a trio of colours (grey, blue, and orange), it’s a guaranteed head-turner. Aesthetics aside, it packs the convenience of a built-in rechargeable battery, along with Bluetooth for wireless headphone streaming. The latter might seem a little pointless given the fact you’re willing to lug around a bulky cassette player, but it’s still nice to have the option of going cable-free. Functional and delightfully tactile, it’s all but impossible to resist. Better yet, its covetable design will go a long way in convincing sceptics why you’d want a cassette player in the first place — which is something that can’t be said for the cheaper plastic alternatives on our list.


Best-Cassette-Players-Digitnow

2. DIGITNOW! Portable Cassette Player

DIGITNOW! Portable Cassette Player specs
Weight173.3
Bluetooth5.2
Rechargeable batteryYes (also accept 2x AA batteries)

It might not be made from premium metal materials, but at this price, that’s more than acceptable. A no-nonsense, admittedly uninspiring black and faux chrome plastic design makes for a cassette player that won’t draw much attention, but it’s the tech within that holds this player’s true value. While you can enjoy your tapes the traditional way via a built-in 3.5mm headphone jack (with the option of using a rechargeable battery or a pair of AAs), you can also hook it up to a PC for directly converting your cassette collection to MP3, for archival/more convenient listening purposes. Clever stuff.


Best-Cassette-Players-Docooler

3. Docooler Portable Cassette Player

Docooler Portable Cassette Player specs
Weight253g
BluetoothNo
Rechargeable batteryYes (also accept 2x AA batteries)

If you want the same cassette-to-MP3 recording functionality of the okayer above, in a package that’s a little more attractive, then Docooler’s cassette player should serve you well. It too, has the option of a rechargeable battery or pair of AAs for power, but makes for a more compelling package with its retro white and orange finish, complete with a transparent tape cover. Whether or not that’s worth paying around a tenner extra for, is up to you.


4. Toshiba Aurex AX-W10C Wireless Cassette Player

We Are Rewind Portable Cassette Player specs
Weight200g
Bluetooth5.0
Rechargeable batteryYes (also accept 2x AA batteries)

Toshiba’s ultra-minimal modern player has a gorgeous all-white build, complete with that all-important transparent front cover to properly show off whatever tape you happen to have on the go. As with many of the other picks on our list, you’re getting dual-battery functionality, with a USB-C rechargeable internal battery along with the ability to use a pair of AA batteries if required. You’re also getting the option to switch on virtual surround sound, along with Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless streaming. If you fancy something a little less transparent, there’s also a white model with a much smaller transparent cutout. It can be tricky finding it in stores, but eBay has proven to be a safe bet so far.


5. NINMLab IT’S REAL Bluetooth Speaker

We Are Rewind Portable Cassette Player specs
Weight713g
Bluetooth5.0
Rechargeable battery4x AA

Sure, this isn’t going to be the absolute best-sounding Bluetooth speaker around, but how many have built-in cassette players and a design this funky? With two 5W speakers, satisfyingly chunky control buttons, and a unique design that makes for a funky statement even when not in use, this remarkable entry also has another fancy party trick — a Bluetooth-enabled cassette tape, which can convert any cassette player (like those found in older cars or boomboxes), into a Bluetooth receiver for streaming tunes from your phone. How’s that for a twofer?


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About

Esat has been a gadget fan ever since his tiny four-year-old brain was captivated by a sound-activated dancing sunflower. From there it was a natural progression to a Sega Mega Drive, a brief obsession with hedgehogs, and a love for all things tech. After 7 years as a writer and deputy editor for Stuff, Esat ventured out into the corporate world, spending three years as Editor of Microsoft's European News Centre. Now a freelance writer, his appetite for shiny gadgets has no bounds. Oh, and like all good human beings, he's very fond of cats.