Do you want a DJ controller but don’t want to spend too much money? That’s ok, there are many models that won’t break the bank. You will still be able to have an amazing DJing experience. Cheap beginner gear is more than enough for people just starting out in this industry because they can learn the fundamentals with something cheap before moving up to some better-quality equipment from there.
But which one should you get? – as a beginner, you must be asking that question. Well, don’t worry cause we’re here to help you out. We conducted some research and talked to a few professionals to make a list of the best DJ controllers under $100. We came up with a list of 7 DJ controllers that we think would be great for beginners.
If you don’t have the time to go through the whole guide then you can go for our top pick the Hercules DJControl Compact. It’s super portable, easy to use and has all the essential mix controls to get you started with learning the basics of DJing. But we recommend that you read the complete guide before settling on a DJ controller. So, let’s begin.
The list of best DJ controllers under $100
The Numark Party Mix is a light and compact DJ controller that we think would be a great starter DJ controller. It comes with Serato DJ Lite DJ software which is quite popular. It’s got lots of mix controls and a simple aesthetic interface that should appeal to new and casual DJs.
This would be a great choice for party animals. It has got three light projectors at the front of the device and project red, blue and green lights in various patterns. It like a little portable club that you bring to parties.
Clean Design: The Numark DJ controller looks aesthetic and minimalistic. This makes it great for new DJs who’d rather not be confused by tons of complex controls.
Plug and play: Setting up this DJ controller is as simple as just plugging it to a computer and you are all set.
Show lights: It comes with built-in show lights that can project different colored lights in various patterns.
Serato DJ Lite: This is a great DJ software for newbie and casual DJs. It’s easy to use and not very demanding on the hardware side.
The Hercules DJ control starlight is another beginner level compact DJ controller that we have found to be quite nice. It’s got EQ and bass/filter buttons and a good number of other control options to provide you with maximum productivity.
The buttons are backlit with RGB lighting. So, you can easily perform with this controller in dark and low light environments. You can even control the lighting with the software it comes with.
Compact: The controller is quite small in size and lightweight as well. So, if you move around a lot this would be a good choice.
RGB lighting: RGB lighting allows you to use your DJ controller even in poor lighting conditions. It also looks cool which is always a plus.
Serato DJ software: The controller comes with the Serato DJ lite included that is great for beginner DJs just looking to learn the basics of DJing.
The Korg KAOSSDJ is a super-compact Serato DJ controller. It’s got two channels and some essential controls that should get you started with learning the basics of DJing.
What really sets this DJ controller apart is the wide range of KAOSS effects that you can apply and control with the touchpad in the middle. We have found it to be quite useful. Getting the hang of using it will take some time. But once you do it you will know how awesome it is.
KAOSS FX: This DJ controller comes with 120 KAOSS FX that you can easily apply using the KAOSS touchpad.
Compact: The Korg KAOSS DJ controller is pretty small and should fit easily in your backpack. So, you can take anywhere and everywhere with you as you go about your day.
Lightweight: At 1.61 lbs. it is pretty lightweight. So, carrying it in a backpack shouldn’t be a problem.
At number six we have another DJ controller from Hercules. It is the Hercules DJ Control Compact. It is the most well-rounded sub-100$ DJ controller we have tested for this list.
First of all, let us talk about the design. It is just clean, simple and easy to use. This great as a compact device like this will only be used by newbies and DJs who want to bring a personal controller to a small party. So, the clean design appeals to both sorts of users.
It has some of the very basic and essential mix controls which are expected. We also love the jog wheels on this one. They don’t feel as great as the Casia XW-DJ1 but they are better than touch. All in all, we’ve found this DJ controller to be a pretty good purchase for new DJs.
Super Portable: The device is small and lightweight allowing the user to easily carry it around in a backpack. Just throw it in a bag and forget about it until you need it.
Jogger wheels: Compared to touch jogger wheels are way better. So, we were kind of glad to find that the Hercules DJ Control Compact comes with jogger wheels. They have a tactile sensation to them which really feels good while DJing.
Minimal design: At a glance, you will notice the simplistic interface of this DJ controller which is great for new DJs.
If you are looking for an ultra-portable DJ controller then it doesn’t get any smaller than the Numark Orbit. It’s got a good number of controls and some basic DJing features. Portability is the main focus of this one. So, lacking in features is understandable.
It’s a wireless device that you can connect to your laptop. The pads are backlit with bright colors making navigation a breeze. This is a great buy for DJs on the go and casual DJs who just want to party.
Compact: The device is very small and can easily be held on one hand as you operate with the other.
Wireless connectivity: With 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity you don’t need to be restricted by wires and connectors. Just plug in the wireless connector, pair and you are good to go.
Easy mapping: It comes with its own mapping software that you can use to program the buttons to your preference. The software is easy to use and pretty straightforward.
From the world-renowned Casio brand comes the Casio XW-DJ1 which is quite a unique looking DJ controller. Ditching touch scratchers it has got a 7-inch scratch disk to emulate the look and feel of scratching on vinyl. We think a lot of DJs out there will prefer this over touch scratching.
The controller can be connected to anything from PCs, Macs, iPhones and even Android devices. As long as it’s got a DJ software you can easily just plug the DJ controller into your preferred device via USB and you’re good to go. It even comes with a nice little phone holder.
It also has some decent number of controls, FX and faders to get you started on your DJ journey.
Large scratch disk: The 7-inch scratch disk gives the look and feel of scratching on vinyl disks. It is even textured on the top to feel like an actual vinyl disk.
Unique design: The teardrop shape design is quite unique and eye-catching. Mainly due to the large scratch disk. So, if you want to do some DJing while looking cool doing it then you should definitely check this controller out.
Multi-platform support: It supports basically any device with a proper DJ software installed. So, it’s quite versatile in connectivity compared to most other DJ controllers.
The Behringer CMD Studio 2A is a bit of a step up from the previously mentioned DJ controllers. It’s a 4 channel DJ controller with 24-bit converters for crisp sound output. It’s got a complete mixer with 2 crossfaders and 2 channel faders, 3-band EQs, etc. Aesthetically it’s quite pleasing.
It’s got many control options but the design manages to make the interface seem clean. So, it shouldn’t be too hard for new users to pick it up and start DJing.
24-bit sound processing: 24-bit sound processing will provide you crisp and clear sound output. And we think that you understand the necessity of good output for starting up a DJ career.
4 channels: Whether you’re buying a DJ controller or a mixer the more channels it has the better versatility you will be getting.
Easy to use: With a simple interface and only the most necessary controls the Behringer CMD Studio 2A is a very beginner-friendly device.
Our Top Pick
For our top pick, we select the Hercules DJControl Compact. Why? Well, it has got everything we expect from a DJ controller of this price point.
It has got a compact design, it is lightweight, has most of the essential mix controls and has an excellent user-friendly interface. This makes it greatly approachable by new DJs.
Great design and portability make the Hercules DJControl Compact our top contender for the DJ controller under 100$.
What you should be looking for in an affordable DJ controller:
Every DJ controller is different, so there’s no set-in-stone set of criteria that every beginner should be looking for in a cheap model. However, here are some things to keep an eye out for when browsing:
It’s important to find a controller that has the software you like and feel comfortable using. Most DJ applications, particularly the most popular ones on Mac OS X or Windows (Serato DJ Pro; Traktor Pro) have their own integrated hardware drivers which means that all of your controllers’ features will be available when used with those specific programs. However, if there is one particular piece of gear that you’re interested in but it does not work with any software out there–or doesn’t come pre-loaded with preferred software–then you might want to reconsider the purchase.
This is because when using a controller with an application that it doesn’t support out of the box, there are often certain features (like effects) that simply won’t work and/or need to be mapped manually which can be frustrating and time-consuming for beginners or anyone else who isn’t accustomed to such tasks. So if this becomes an issue then it’s worth investing in something that has software built specifically into its hardware drivers–you’ll save yourself tons of frustration!
The number one thing you should be looking for is a reliable build that won’t break down on you within the first couple of months. It’s also important to make sure it has features like pads and knobs, which are essential for things such as beat matching or tweaking effects levels while performing live. If it doesn’t have these fundamental features then this may not end up being something worth purchasing at all–you’ll need them!
Many lower-end controllers don’t come with as many ports either (like MIDI) but they might be sufficient if you’re just learning how to use a device in general–especially since most software can emulate other features using virtual controls instead. This means that you might only need to use the controller for a few months until you get more experience with DJing.
One thing that is worth mentioning–even though it’s not something typically found in budget models–is having multiple outputs on your device so that if one audio connection goes out then at least there are still other ways of playing music through your speakers or headphones! This way, if anything were to happen while performing live then you won’t have any trouble keeping up and people will be able to hear what they came here for.
The interface is the most important thing to consider when looking for an affordable DJ controller. It should be easy to navigate and have a solid build. The interface of the controller is what you will use when DJing, so it’s important that this has high-quality features in order for your experience with the device to be smooth.
It also needs a reliable way of connecting to other devices for input or output purposes–a port on the back of the unit which allows an audio cable from a mixer or speakers, for example, as well as MIDI connections if needed. Another common feature DJs look out for is having multiple outputs in case one goes down while performing live; this ensures music can still play through sound systems regardless of technical difficulties during set time periods.
Why you should not buy a cheap DJ controller?
Don’t buy a cheap DJ controller just because it’s the cheapest one you can find. Cheap controllers are not worth your time and will only frustrate you in the long run. They don’t last as long, they often take more skill to operate, they have fewer features that make them easier for beginners to use, and there is a higher chance of facing some technical difficulties than if you were using an expensive controller (this doesn’t mean that cheaper models always break).
If money is tight but you’re still wanting to get into DJing, then consider buying used or refurbished gear instead! This way, at least all of your equipment is coming from people who took care of their stuff already. You’ll also be supporting the DJ community by not contributing to a company that is trying to compete in an industry where they’re just using cheap materials and manufacturing processes.
If things do go wrong with one of these cheaper models, good luck trying to find parts and customer service for them! The bigger companies might take care of their customers but we’ve seen firsthand how much tougher life can be as a beginner if you spend your hard-earned money on something that doesn’t have a big name backing it up.
Most frequent questions and answers
It is a device DJs use to control a DJ software of their choice with physical controls.
A DJ controller can cost between a bit below 100$ to as high as 4000$. It really depends on the quality of the DJ controller.
Yes, you can. From our experience, you shouldn’t. Cause your flow won’t be nearly as smooth as controlling with a DJ controller with tactile and responsive buttons.
So, if you want to do some backyard DJing then sure. But if you are looking to become a professional then we highly recommend you buy a good quality DJ controller.
Just like any other art form learning to DJ takes a lot of practice, patience, and hard work. You are not going to turn into Skrillex overnight.
But with the right amount of dedication and perseverance anybody can learn to DJ.
Entering the world of DJing is not really easy. High-end DJ devices usually come with so many buttons and features that can cause major confusion for newcomers. And this is where inexpensive and simple devices shine.
We newcomers in mind we have made this list of best DJ controllers under 100$. We hope this guide was able to help you out on your journey to becoming a DJ.
We wish you nothing but the best. Thanks for stopping by.