best portable cassette player

There is a huge retro trend happening around us lately, not only vinyl records, but those old cassette records and players are every day more visible, mostly because the feeling they bring to the user, the sound quality and of course their style.  

In this article, we will guide you through the path of identifying and finding the best portable cassette player you can get and suggest you some cool options to make this choice easier.  

Top 5 Best Portable Cassette Player Reviews

NameWeightHighlightCheck Price
Jaras JJ-2016Popular Modelbuy from amazon
ION Tape Express PlusBest for your carbuy from amazon
Sony WM-FX195 Top Productbuy from amazon
Panasonic RQ-L31Best for recordingbuy from amazon
Sony TCM 400DVAffordable Model for Qualitybuy from amazon

1. Jaras JJ-2016 – Best Cheap Portable Cassette Player

Jaras JJ-2016 Limited Edition

My rating:

buy from amazon

With a very simple but techy design and a size that is barely bigger than the cassette itself, this Walkman includes a Cassette playback to get you through hours of music and AM/FM radio tuning to give you all that airwaves have to offer.

It includes an FM antenna to increase its power range, radio and audio recording with its inner microphone to keep those never-coming-back moments on tape and also counts with a small speaker that has power enough to create some environment if you are not a headphone jack fan.

The Jaras JJ-2016 Limited Edition has a nice battery life using two AA batteries for about 20 hours of music and can also be played while plugged to a power cord.

This device is also backed up with a long term 3-year warranty and alway is voted in best portable cassette player 2016 list until now.

Things we liked

Extremely small with some nice features which make it unique
Simple tape mechanics, easy to use.
Excellent AM reception with a Bandwidth tuner which grants station’s sound fidelity.
Plays for hours with two AA batteries.
3-Years Direct Warranty

Things we didn’t like

AC power cord is not included.
FM tuner can turn noisy.

This model is one of the best options that you will find on the market if you run with a low-bucket.

   Check Price On Amazon

2. ION Tape Express Plus – Best Portable Tape Recorder

ION Tape Express Plus

My rating:

buy from amazon

With a more actualized goal, this device is presented in a modern black model that gives it a cool look. It isn’t meant to be just for private listening. Its main feature is the possibility to convert your tape records and recordings into digital mp3 files.

With a really decent audio output, really easy to use recording and converting features and a really low price, the ION Tape Express Plus is a good choice if you’d like to keep your collection intact by converting your music to newer formats.

When it comes to energy, it works for an average of 15 hours and can be charged by plugging into a mini-USB power cord with your computer.

This model comes with the EZ Tape Converter software that will guide you step by step into converting your tapes to mp3 or iTunes, USB cable, user guide, and a nice set of headphones for personal use.

Things we liked

Decent audio output, quite powerful with the included headphone gear
Wonderful feature of converting your tapes into digital files
Easy to use converting software.
Really good price-quality balance.
Cassette tape loop feature to reproduce both sides of the tape in one go.

Things we didn’t like

No auto-stop function.
Made of plastic and really delicate, not meant for the outside world.

Overall, if you are looking a pocket device to listen for your car, this model will be best portable cassette player for car. You shouldn’t miss this on your car.

   Check Price On Amazon

3. Sony WM-FX195 – Best Sony Portable Cassette Player

Sony WM-FX195

My rating:

buy from amazon

Sony, well there is plenty to say since Sony was the king of the Walkman industry during the whole boom in the 80’s.
This model comes with a nice and refreshing 90’s design, includes an AM/FM stereo tuner with an extra-large tuning scale that makes the tuning more precise and easy.

With a Wide-band AM tuner that counts with a powerful frequency of up to 1710 kHz and the feature to switch between local and distant (DX) FM, the Sony WM-FX195 guarantees an awesome radio signal.

About the Cassette player, it counts with a high-quality sound output with features to enrich the bass and volume experience.

Also, it includes a cool set of Sony basic headphones, an Anti-rolling mechanism that smooth down the sound and automatic shut off feature in playback mode. It’s the reason why this model is the best portable cassette player with speaker that we suggest for you.

When it comes to energy, this model excels, with two AA batteries you will enjoy of up to 25 hours of tape playing and up to 55 of radio reception.

Things we liked

Awesome quality sound
Almost no tape playing noise with the anti-rolling mechanism.
Automatic volume limiter and mega bass systems to improve quality based on the style.
Long battery life.

Things we didn’t like

Quite expensive.
No extra features, recorder or anything like that.

Summary, Sony WM-FX195 will guarantee all function that you want with high quality. So, we recommend you to this model if you don’t mind about the budget.

   Check Price On Amazon

4. Panasonic RQ-L31 – Best Portable Cassette Recorder

Panasonic RQ-L31

My rating:

buy from amazon

This model is presented with a natural and serious design, and it focuses its utility towards tape recording mostly.
It is quite compact, almost the same size of the cassette. It counts with a voice an activation system to save up your tape’s space and a really clean sound in the built-in front speaker which allows you to check your recordings easily.

The recording feature works in two speeds, one that fits better for long recordings with cleaner quality and another that is better for quick recordings, like memos, voice notes and such and includes a highly sensitive microphone to give you an even better tape content output.

About its energy consumption, it works for up to 25 hours with standard AA batteries in for both recording and playback.

This is one of best Panasonic portable cassette player that we tested.

Things we liked

Awesome for recording.
Voice sensitive system saves tape.
Nice audio output.

Things we didn’t like

Too expensive if you are not recording.

This model counts with a good quality audio output, but it is not the first option and a cassette player since it is quite expensive and focuses on recording more than playing.

   Check Price On Amazon

5. Sony TCM 400DV – Best Cassette Recorder

Sony TCM 400DV

My rating:

buy from amazon

With a standard design, Sony offers this cool and well-made voice recorder with cassette player. Just as our last item, this one is made especially for recording.

It counts with special recording features such as “quick review” which allows you to check the last recorded section of your tape and maybe rewrite, and “voice activation” system which guarantees that the tape starts recording once you start talking and stops as soon as you do.

This way, the Sony TCM 400DV saves up your space while it’s built in microphone guarantees some awesome recording quality.

As you could imagine, Sony wouldn’t step out from the sound quality when it comes to playing back your tapes, producing your tape’s content as clear as water.

This device’s last for about 30 hours with a set of two AA batteries and keeps quality in both playing and recording, yet it doesn’t count with special recording features such as bass or style changes.

Things we liked

Long battery life.
Awesomely clean recording.
Cool and clean playback.

Things we didn’t like

No AM/FM radio to record

With affordable price and good recording and playing function. This model will be the first choice when you don’t want to break your budget.

   Check Price On Amazon

Portable Cassette Player Buyer’s Guide

Why keep going with cassette tapes?

Nowadays, music is the easiest thing to carry around.

Since early 90’s the industry worked its back off to make this happen, passing through CD’s and MP3 formats, transforming music into something basically intangible.

But in these late years this has changed, simpler formats like I-tunes and MP3 files can’t be held in your hands and therefore are less valuable to the fans.

That’s why many artists and music enthusiasts have been showing a lot of love towards old formats in the past few years, a trend that is far away from disappearing.

While Vinyl records covered most of this “retro” market, CD’s and Cassettes are cheaper and easier to carry around making them a nice option if you are into a low-bucket, yet valuable collection.

CD formats are an awesome option as well, are still cheaper than vinyl, easier to find and with a wide a range of players. You can play it on any portable cd player. Check our guide for this device at here: top 10 best portable cd players from expert’s review.

But CD collections can be pretty common and additionally, cassette tapes degradation changes the sound, making it often warmer and the equipment used is 100% music-oriented, focusing on the sound’s quality.

That’s the main point, while vinyl is harder to carry around and newer formats are played in devices that focus in commodity instead of sound quality most of the time.

Your cassette tapes stay in the very middle, giving you a fresh 80’s feeling with nice mobility and awesome sound quality, and if you want higher quality while reducing some portability you can choose a powerful Boombox to keep around.

Features to look for when selecting a cassette player

best portable cassette player

Now, to actually make use of your cassette tapes you will need a proper player and as we said, here you will find out how to pick the best portable one to fit your needs. 

Extra functions and tech

Besides the possibility of listening to your awesome tape collection, there are some extra functions you should consider having in your new Walkman.

  • Recording functions:  While having your own original cassettes rocks, there is the possibility of making mix tapes, voice recording and more. Imagine the possibilities, you are in the Karaoke and there is a song that you want to have forever.
  • Converting functions: Going back in time with your tapes is cool, but having a converter will help you maintain your tapes safer, and also you can transform your recordings into newer formats which make things easier.
  • Sound features: Most cassette record players will skip this, especially those with a lot of functions, recorder, and stuff, but having a bass and style control is something that can improve your experience.
  • Sound quality: You might already imagine, but get the best sound output quality possible. One of the best things about cassettes is that using them changes their sound with the time which makes them feel a bit smooth, but this also lowers down the quality a little.
  • Battery life: Most Walkman will use AA batteries, but you must aim to 20-25 hours of music, more if possible.


Most portable cassette players are made of plastic, maybe with some metal lining, just find one that doesn’t feel like a toy and has a nice warranty.

So, as materials don’t vary too much, focus on the manufacturing quality. This is the way you avoid having to buy a new one after a month or so.


There are not as many options on the market for Cassette players as there are for other formats, but the budgets still vary.

Remember the toy problem we mentioned above? Well stay away from the 10$ Walkman, most items from 40$ to 200$ will do a nice job and won’t end up in your trash can.

What is The Best Portable Cassette Player ?

Looking for the best cassette player or Walkman out there is not an easy path, but it isn’t impossible either, while checking the battery life and sound quality as our most important features, having some recording elements help a lot –Although, you should keep in mind that it is dangerous and you can overwrite by mistake some important piece of your collection if you are not aware-.

Our top product for this list is the Sony WM-FX195. While being one of the most expensive items on our list, it has an awesome coverage and warranty, the best audio output we could find and some extra features to improve your music experience.

If you are running a low bucket though, you can rely on the Jaras JJ-2016 which covers a lot of features while presenting a nice sound quality and good converting software to save out your recordings and collection.

We hope you enjoyed this show, remember to share this information with your friends and let us know your experience in the comments section below.

We wish you a happy walk and an awesome collection.