Last updated: August 6, 2021

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Nowadays, almost every person carries around millions of music titles on their smartphone ready for retrieval through music portals such as Spotify, iTunes or Deezer. But CDs also still take up a large part of the music industry. In 2019, 40 million albums were sold in Germany. Choosing a suitable CD player can be difficult, so we would like to support you in this task.

We present the most important criteria when buying a CD player, explain what you should look out for and give decisive tips and advice so that you can enjoy your music experience with complete satisfaction.


  • The abbreviation CD stands for "compact disc". It is a data carrier for storing music. The first CDs were put into circulation in the early 1980s. CD players come in different versions. Which one is best for you depends on what you want to do.
  • A good CD player will play the most common audio formats without any problems. In addition to the common audio CD, it should be possible to use burned CDs, rewritable CDs and MP3 formats.
  • Basically, there are three different types of CD players: single CD players, CD players in compact systems and portable CD players. There are also CD players that have been specially developed for children.

The Best CD Player: Our Picks

Buying and rating criteria for CD players

There are several characteristics for classifying different CD players. To keep the most important things in mind when making your purchase decision, you should consider the following criteria:

For portable CD players, the power supply should also be considered. Below you will find more detailed information with valuable tips on the respective features.

Size & weight

CD players come in different sizes and all kinds of weights. If they are permanently installed, for example in compact systems or single CD players, the weight plays a rather subordinate role. In this case, you should make sure that you choose the dimensions so that the unit fits where you want it.

For portable CD players, you should pay special attention to the size and weight. In general, the smaller and more compact the model, the easier it is to transport.


In general, a lot is possible here. From a simple model that can only play CDs to a CD player with wireless charging and voice control. To keep an overview of the extensive range, you should make clear what you want.

Do you like to be surprised when listening to music? Then the shuffle function might be right for you. Do you like listening to audio books to fall asleep? Then you should think about a sleep timer. Can't get enough of your favourite song? With the repeat function, you can listen to the song as often as you like. Knowing what you want not only reduces the choice, it also makes it easier to decide.

Tip: Make sure your portable CD player has an anti-shock function. This way, you can continue to listen to your music without interruptions even if you are slightly shaken, for example when jogging.


CD players can have many connections for connecting to external devices or speakers. Here is an overview of the most common connection options:

  • USB
  • Bluetooth
  • AUX
  • Clinch/RCA

Some players have docking stations for iPhone & iPod. The advantage of this is that you can not only play music easily, but your device is also charged at the same time.

Playback formats

Nowadays, CD players use a large number of different playback formats. Make sure that your preferred format is readable and playable. The most common formats include:

  • Audio CD
  • CD-R's
  • CD-RW's
  • MP3 format/WMA format

If you are unsure, check the product description. All playable formats should be listed there. If in doubt, the rule of thumb is: better too much than too little.

Sound quality

Sound quality is at the heart of music enjoyment. Tinny or shrill sounds have a disturbing effect on the music experience, while clear and rich sound, on the other hand, is fun.

A major factor influencing the sound is the material used in the equipment.

Portable CD players often use lightweight components such as plastic. For good sound quality, however, you should look for a high-quality sound box with good resonance power. Single CD players often consist of high-quality elements, which leads to comparatively high prices.

Features such as the material used, the quality of the material processing, the output power of the speakers and also the cables used have an influence on the sound quality. In the end, it all comes down to what you are willing to spend for the sound quality you want.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about CD players answered in detail

In the following, we answer the most frequently asked questions about CD players. In this way, we would like to help you clear up any uncertainties and deepen your knowledge.

What types of CD players are there?

There are basically three different types of CD players. Each device has specific features and is used according to its characteristics. You should therefore think about your individual wishes in advance. There are:

  • Single CD player
  • CD players in compact systems
  • portable CD players

In addition, a further subdivision into form of use and target group is possible. These include wall-mountable CD players, CD players for the car and CD radios. CD players have also been specially developed for children.

What does a CD player cost?

The following table gives you an overview of the costs you can expect when buying a CD player.

Price category Product type
from approx. 20 - 80 € portable CD player
from approx. 40 € CD player in compact systems
from approx. 100 € single CD player

Which CD player is the best?

Unfortunately, the question of the best CD player is not so easy to answer. Which device is best for you depends above all on your intentions and, of course, on your budget. Do you like to be flexible and don't want to miss out on your favourite music when you're on the road?

How important are clear tones and rich bass to you? Do you like to explore the many different coloured buttons on the remote control or do you prefer to keep your hands off too many "bells and whistles"?

CD Player

With the right device, you can also enjoy music in your car. (Image source: haraldheuser/ Pixabay)

To make the best possible choice, you should think about what is important to you in advance. In order to be able to answer the question of the perfect CD player satisfactorily, numerous very individual factors would have to be taken into account. There is simply no such thing as the "best" CD player, only the model best suited to your needs.

How do you clean a CD player?

The easiest way to clean your CD player is to use a so-called cleaning disc. This CD has fine bristles on the underside that remove small particles of dirt and dust from your device when it is played.

Caution: Not every CD player is designed for this type of cleaning. Read the instructions for use of the player and the operating instructions for the cleaning disc carefully beforehand. Manual cleaning is an alternative to the cleaning disc. Follow the steps below:

  1. Disconnect the power supply: Disconnect your unit from the power circuit.
  2. Clean: Remove any superficial dust from the CD player.
  3. Open the CD player: Expose the lens(note: once you open the player, the unit's warranty will be voided).
  4. Clean it: Use a microfibre cloth or cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and gently wipe the lens.
  5. Reassemble: Reassemble the unit(note: the alcohol should have dried).

If the playback does not run as desired, it may make sense to change the CD. Often the problem is not with the CD player, but with the CD. You can also clean the CD with a microfibre cloth.

Which CD players are suitable for children?

A CD player that is suitable for children should be easy and simple to operate . The most important buttons should be clearly visible and easy to reach. The buttons should be suitable for children's hands and have an appropriate marking. Shock resistance & robustness have a positive effect on the lifespan of the device.

Colour & design should not be underestimated. Remember, the CD player should not please you, but the child. Note: When making your choice, bear in mind that CD players are often used for years.

You should also pay attention to the quality. Differences in quality are not always obvious at first glance, but it is worth taking a closer look. A weak anti-shock function or poorly made material can cause a lot of discontent, and not just among children.


To enjoy your listening experience to the fullest, take your time when choosing the right CD player. Choose the CD player that best meets your needs and desires. The most important features can help you not to lose the overview. Size & weight, connections, functions, playback formats and sound quality serve as a guide.

The wide range of different CD players should not unsettle you. In an age of digital music portals, an analogue data carrier can be a tangible alternative. The audio CD still offers a solid possibility to experience great music enjoyment and is in no way inferior to the MP3 format in terms of sound quality.

(Cover picture: Spence Selover / Pexels)