This is a list of the best record players for beginners.
You will not find any $1000 units on here.
Or even any $500 ones, though one comes close.
We scoured the market to bring you the absolute best values.
These are excellent turntables that still sell for a reasonable price.
Can you find better?
Of course. But they cost much more.
Dollar for dollar, these are the best turntables on the market.
And we made sure to include various different styles and types, so you should be able to find the perfect record player for you.
Top Record Player Comparison Table
As mentioned, these are the best values. If you want the best money can buy, check out our list of the best high-end record players.
For cheaper options, we have a list of the best turntables under $100 and one for the best under $200. But be warned that build and sound quality drop drastically at those prices.
Best Record Players Reviewed
Let’s take a closer look at each of the models we recommend. We included a large variety of styles and types, so that you are sure to find one that appeals to you.
Best Turntable Overall: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC
- Lightweight yet very sturdy and stable
- Extremely high-quality components for exceptional sound
- Very low price given the quality
- Available in multiple colors
- Consistent speed and reduces almost all vibrations and unwanted resonances
- Comes with 2-year manufacturer’s warranty
- No Bluetooth connectivity
- No USB port
- No headphone jack
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is our top choice because it combines everything we love: incredible value, eye-catching design, and stunning sound quality. We ranked the Audio Technica (see below) as a slightly better value, since it is a bit cheaper and has more features.
But if budget were no issue, we prefer the DC, hands down. It has virtually no features (many would say no gimmicks). The entire design budget and effort and the entire cost of materials all went toward a single goal. The absolute best sound quality possible at this price.
And they achieved it. This model punches so far above its price range, that you’d probably have to spend well over $1000 to get this same quality level.
This record player features an 8.6 inch carbon fiber tonearm and an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. The stiffness of the tonearm reduces resonances, providing a clearer sound. The 2M cartridge gives you exceptional tracking to pick up every single musical nuance in grooves.
Everything else about the design exists to reduce unwanted vibrations, from the hefty platter with felt mat, the low-noise motor and the stable isolation feet.
We would love this turntable even if it was hideous, but it’s not. It looks incredible too! Plus it is available in 9 different colors (black, white, red, blue, yellow, gray, purple, green, and walnut), so you’re sure to find one that fits your home and style.
- 16.3 by 12.6 by 4.7 inches: very small and ultra-portable design
- 12.3 pounds: one of the lightest on the market
- DC motor: consistent platter speed
- Carbon fiber tonearm: decreases unwanted resonance for better sound
- Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge: exceptional data retrieval for clearer sound
- Heavy platter and isolation feet: reduce vibrations
- Felt mat: superior record support
- Available in 9 colors: you’re sure to find one you like
- Dust cover: protect your records while playing
The Pro-Ject DC turntable is an incredible value and it looks stunning. It has fewer features than some of its competitors (ok, no features), but all of the effort and cost were poured into maximizing sound quality.
If you are looking for a record player that also plays CDs, cassettes, radio, streams digital files, and plays them all over internal speakers, this is not the right unit for you. At all.
This turntable is for those who want the absolute best sound quality in this price range (and better than many higher price ranges), but nothing else. All this thing does is play records, but it plays them incredibly well.
Best Value: Audio Technica AT-LP120 USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable
- Compact and portable
- Extremely durable and high-grade materials
- Can digitize audio files from vinyl records
- No issues with skipping or wobbling
- Tons of advanced features for DJs
- Can connect to components with no phono input
- Only plays vinyl
- No built-in speakers
- Non-DJs don't need all of the features
The Audio Technica AT-LP120 Professional Turntable is the most expensive player on this list, but it is in a completely different class. It is a much higher quality than the rest.
It is also the only one (apart from the AT-LP60 below) that is suitable for DJing. In fact, it is the second most popular turntable among professional DJs, after the discontinued Technics SL-1210Mk5.
It only plays vinyl and does not have built-in speakers, but it has a much higher build quality and a ton of advanced features like a high-torque direct-drive motor and forward/reverse capability. Both of these, and most of the LP120’s features, are mainly useful for DJs.
If you’re not a DJ, you don’t really need the advanced features, but you’ll still love the incredible quality. It really is far above the other units listed here. If you only need a turntable, and not a complete stereo system, then this is easily the best option. And if the cost is too high, the AT-LP60 (see below) is a great alternative.
- 17.8 by 13.9 by 5.6 inches — smaller than the complete systems
- Weighs about 17.6 pounds — heavy for its size, but extremely sturdy
- Direct-drive, high-torque motor — plays at consistent speed and great for spinning records
- USB port — connect to computer to digitize your vinyl records.
- Switchable internal stereo phono preamp — plug directly into components with no dedicated phono input
- Balanced S-shaped tone arm with hydraulically damped lift control and lockable rest — plays any record perfectly with no skipping or wobbling
- DC servo motor — more accurate rotational speed
- Plays 7- and 12-inch vinyl records at speeds of 33-1/3 45 or 78 rpm — most standard formats
- Variable pitch control with quartz speed lock — great for DJs
- Popup stylus target light — for easier cueing in low light (for DJs)
- Forward and reverse operation — great for DJs
- Record platter made of cast aluminum and a professional cartridge — high-quality lasts longer and works better
- Equipped with adjustable anti-vibration feet — great for DJs
- Comes with elliptical diamond stylus — effectively tracks the record’s grooves, so no skipping
- Sold with mounting hardware along with a stylus guard
If you want the best player for your vinyl collection, the Audio Technica AT-LP120 USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable is it (though you could save and get the AT-LP60, if you don’t mind sacrificing some features). If you’re a DJ looking for entry-level professional turntables, this is the one for you, too.
If you want a complete stereo system or any of the other traits that come with most of the players on this list, this is not the turntable for you. Despite costing more than any other player on this page, it really only does one thing: it plays records.
Runner-Up Best Value: House Of Marley Stir It Up Turntable
- Low self-noise
- Extremely attractive design
- Mindfully sourced materials
- Easy access to jacks and switches
- Great sounding turntable
- Power supply is an annoying wall wart
- Does not have a closing dustcover lid attached (fabric cover only)
The House of Marley Stir it Up record player definitely stands out due to its sleek, modern design. What’s more, all of the materials used in construction are eco friendly.
But it doesn’t end with the appearance. Performance wise, this turntable delivers the goods as well. The Audio Technica moving magnet cartridge is better than you can expect on a unit in this price range. It combines with the belt drive and recycled aluminum platter to provide a surprisingly great sound.
You can probably tell from looking at it that the Stir it Up does not have a lot of the features many other modern models have. It does not play CDs, cassettes, or the radio and it does not have built-in speakers. If you want any of that, this is the wrong model for you.
The designers focused on sound quality here. It only plays records, but it plays them exceptionally well. You will need to hook it up to an external sound system, so it doesn’t play right out of the box.
But let’s be honest, the built-in speakers are never anywhere near as good as external ones, so most won’t miss them on this unit. And since it has a built-in preamp, you have a lot of flexibility as to the type of component you hook it up to.
- 13.8 by 16.5 by 4.3 inches — fairly compact
- 9.04 pounds — not the lightest or the heaviest
- Solid bamboo plinth — looks great and supposedly sounds better
- Belt-driven turntable — less noise distortion from the motor for better audio quality
- USB port — record to a PC
- Can handle records at speeds of 33 1/3 and 45 — will work with any standard album
- Built-in pre-amp with off switch — connect via line or phono
- Audio Technica MM cartridge — far better than the standard cartridges on most competing models
In terms of sound quality, the Stir it Up sits at the top of this list, along with the AT-120 reviewed below. That’s because both of these units focus solely on vinyl and do not play any other format. Neither of them have speakers either.
If you’re looking for a record player that only plays records and does so extremely well (far better than its price range), both this model from House of Marley and the AT-120 are great options.
That one has a few features that are great for DJs, so if you’re a DJ, go with it. If you simply want to listen to records at home, this one may be the better choice. You can’t go wrong with either one, however, so it will probably just come down to which one looks better to you.
Best Budget Turntable: Audio-Technica AT-LP60 Belt Drive Turntable
The Audio-Technica AT-LP60 has won several industry awards. It is by far the highest quality player you will find at this low a cost.
It is a fully-automatic belt-drive turntable, but apart from that, it does not boast most of the features found in other players on this list. This lack of additional features is what makes the high sound quality possible at such a low price.
The AT-LP60 only plays vinyl. The unit has no built-in speakers, but the newest version does come with a USB port. This allows you to record your vinyl collection to a computer or other external storage device.
One nice feature this layer does have is a built-in switchable phono pre-amplifier. Furthermore, it ships with RCA output cables so you can connect to audio systems and powered loudspeakers right out of the box. Most companies force you to buy these cables separately.
AT-LP60 only plays records at 33 1/3 and 45 RPM. It does, however, have some high-quality parts that you won’t find in any other player in the same price range: a die-cast aluminum platter and an integral dual magnet phono cartridge with replaceable diamond stylus. These help this turntable produce a quality of sound far beyond any other similarly priced players and even most more expensive ones.
There is also an updated version, the AT-LP60X, that made our list of the best budget turntables.
- 14.2 by 14.7 by 3.8 inches — still fairly small
- Weighs 5.73 pounds — a bit heavier than similar players, but extremely sturdy
- Fully automatic belt-drive — plays at consistent speed
- USB port — connect to computer to digitize your vinyl records.
- Switchable internal stereo phono preamp — plug directly into components with no dedicated phono input
- Plays at speeds of 33-1/3 or 45 rpm — most standard speeds
- Platter made of cast aluminum and a professional cartridge — high-quality lasts longer and works better
The Audio Technica AT-LP60 Automatic Belt Drive turntable only plays vinyl and does not have internal speakers. All of the budget and the engineering efforts went toward sound quality. The result is the best-sounding turntable in this price range, by far. And it is a very low price range. Shockingly low, given the quality
Anyone looking for a complete stereo system or Bluetooth connectivity or any other special characteristics found in most modern turntables should look elsewhere. This turntable was built to play records and nothing else. And it plays records better than most turntables costing three times as much.
Best With Speakers: 1byone High Fidelity Record Player
- Incredible value for money
- Plays 33 and 45 RPM speeds
- Plays music from other devices using Bluetooth or aux-in
- Built in amp and RCA out allow connection to external speakers
- Diamond-tipped Audio-Technica stylus delivers rich sound and excellent clarity
- 2-year warranty
- Does not play 78 RPM
- Speakers can't match good external ones
The 1byone High Fidelity Turntable is our favorite record player with speakers. Of course, many will say that does not mean much.
Many look down on turntables with built-in speakers. They say those speakers are never any good and you are much better off sending the audio to a good pair of external speakers.
And they are right.
However, sometimes having internal speakers comes in handy. And thanks to the built-in preamp and RCA outputs, you can still hook ths unit up to external speakers, too. So you get the best of both world.
As for the internal speakers, they are better than other models, but obviously still leave something to be desired. What can you expect with small little speakers like this?
The sound quality and build quality are also higher than competing models. Of course, most turntables with speakers are cheaper than this one, but the quality is also far lower.
The 1byone delivers far more value for your money, despite costing more. The ION (see below) is one of the few competing models that also delivers decent sound quality, though it lags far behind this model. Of course, it also costs half as much.
- Beautiful wooden appearance — a beautiful addition to any home
- Plays at speeds of 33 1/3 and 45 RPM — most common speeds
- Built-in full-range stereo speakers — great sound from such a small unit
- Diamond-tipped Audio Technica stylus — precision tracking for clear, high quality audio
- RCA line-out — connect to external speakers for the best possible listening experience
- Bluetooth and aux in — play music from other devices
- Built-in preamp — no need to buy an external preamp
- Built-in dust cover — protect your player and records
- 13 pounds — solid weight reduces vibrations
The 1byone High Fidelity Record Player is by far the best option, if you want a model that comes with internal speakers, but also gives you the option to easily connect to external ones.
It does not have a ton of frills, apart from an aux in and Bluetooth capability, both of which allow you to play music from various devices. Most of the cost went toward higher quality components, like the Audio Technica cartridge with the diamond-tipped stylus.
I also really like the design. It looks sleek, streamlined, expensive, and slightly retro. It is constructed from wood and metal, setting it apart from most of its plastic competitors.
You can’t find a better option with built-in speakers. If it is outside your budget, the ION model featured below is a good budget alternative, but you are going to sacrifice quality.
Most Unique Design: U-Turn Orbit Plus
- Great sound and performance
- Unique and stunning design
- Excellent stylus (Ortofon OM5E)
- As minimalistic as possible
- 5 color choices
- No speed switch (you have to move the belt manually)
The U-Turn Orbit Plus is an instagram favorite. And for good reason. It looks stunning! It is definitely designed to impress.
But looks aren’t the only thing this turntable has going for it. It delivers some incredible sound quality, too.
However, it also has one feature I don’t like: no speed switch. That and the unique design are what kept it off the top of this list. It’s just the type of player that won’t appeal to everyone.
Many absolutely love it. But many other would never consider it, both due to the minimalist design and the lack of a speed switch. No switch means you have to manually move the belt if you want to change speeds.
Not only is that a hassle to do every time, but it also tend to result in getting oils and dirt from your fingers on the belt. I get minimalism, but I don’t think a speed switch would violate that principle to o much. The benefits definitely outweigh the need to be as minimalist as possible, in my opinion.
But others disagree. As mentioned, many love this turntable. And why not? With high quality components and extreme attention to detail, the designers did everything they could to maximize sound quality.
- Belt drive motor
- Plays 33 1/3 and 45 RPM
- Acrylic platter for better speed consistency and clearer playback
- Ortofon OM5E cartridge with elliptical diamond stylus
- Precision OA2 gimbal tonearm for accurate tracking and low distortion
- Sleek, modern, minimalist design
- Anti-skate tonearm with adjustable counterweight
The Orbit Plus takes minimalism to a new level. The only thing you will find on this record player is the power switch. There is nothing else, apart from the components needed to play a record.
That results in a unique and stunning design and incredible sound quality. Since the extreme minimalism does not appeal to everyone, we ranked this player behind the Debut Carbon and the AT-LP120, even though it comes close to matching them in terms of sound and build quality.
If you love the way it looks and you don’t mind not having a speed switch, this is the player for you. If you don’t like either of those factors, then you’ll be better off with those other two models, or even the House of Marley unit.
Budget Alternative With Speakers: ION Audio Max LP
- Amazing value for money
- Bluetooth capability
- Plays 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM records in 7, 10, and 12-inch sizes
- Dual surround stereo speakers with strong bass
- RCA outputs so you can connect to external speakers
- Can record vinyl to MP3
- While the speakers are great for the size, they can't match good external ones
- Stylus and other components are great for the cost, but can't match more expensive models
The ION Audio Max LP is the lowest priced turntable on this list and one of the lowest decent-sounding ones period. For the price it is a great little player.
Its biggest weakness is also its biggest selling point: the internal speakers. But those are never good (and the ones here are better than most of the competition) and luckily, you can connect to external speakers via the RCA ports.
The other big selling point that differentiates the ION Audio Max is the included EZ Converter software.
It allows you to transfer your old cassette tapes and albums to the digital format and includes a lot of useful bonuses, like the ability to automatically detect different tracks and separate them into their own files.
- 15.2 by 16.4 by 4 inches — about average
- Weighs 7.7 pounds — about average
- EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter software — makes it easy to convert your albums and cassette collection to digital
- Fully-automatic belt-driven turntable — less noise distortion from the motor, so better audio quality
- 3.5mm auxiliary input slot — allows smartphone or tablet connectivity
- Can play speeds of 331/3, 45 and 78 RPM — will play any album
- Built-in stereo speakers — no need for additional equipment
- Headphone and RCA jacks — connect to external speakers or headphones
- USB port — save your digital files after converting your vinyl collection
If you’re looking for a ultra low cost turntable that delivers better quality than many more expensive ones, the ION Audio Max is it. It is also a great player for anyone looking to transfer their vinyl collection into digital files. The included software works very well and is easy to use.
The Audio Max is equipped with built-in speakers that produce a decent sound for a unit at this price level, but they aren’t as good as the 1byone player featured above.
If you want to get the most out of your player, you’ll want to connect to external speakers using the RCA jacks. You also have a headphone jack for private listening.
The main reasons to get this unit are the low price and the included conversion software. Because it doesn’t play cassettes, CDs or radio, the designers were able to focus only on vinyl and get much better performance than other similarly priced players.
It’s a great player for the money. Just don’t expect it to match any of the other models on this list. Not even close.
Best Vintage Complete System: DL Vintage Wooden Record Player 8-In-1 Stereo System
- High-quality, durable materials
- Good sound quality for the size and price
- Converts vinyl into MP3
- Plays all record sizes at any speed
- Plays CDs, cassettes MP3 files and AM/FM radio
- Connects to external devices via aux-in or Bluetooth
- Connects to external speakers via headphone jack or RCA outputs
- Tape deck only has basic controls
- Bluetooth can only connect to devices, not Bluetooth speakers
- Volume is low when connecting external speakers, so you’ll want to amplify the sound
The D&L Nostalgic Wooden Turntable is another top-selling record player with an elegant classic design that looks great in virtually any home.
It’s a bit more expensive than some of the other vintage turntables with similar features, but only slightly. In return, it delivers a higher quality sound and is better made. It also has the same, or more, features than those competing models.
It plays 3 sizes and 3 speeds of vinyl, MP3 music files, CDs, cassettes and streaming radio. It can also record your record collection to MP3 directly to a USB storage drive, an SD card or a smart device.
A good quality stylus provides warm, natural tones without damaging your records. The high-performance speakers deliver a clear sound, though the volume is not loud enough to fill a large room full of people (it never is on any model).
- 17.9 by 13.1 by 9.2 inches: about average when compared to similar players
- Weighs 18.5 pounds: about average
- Auto-stop on/off switch: can set it to auto stop turntable when done playing a record
- Built-in stereo speakers: warm, rich, clear sound
- Plays vinyl, CDs, cassettes, MP3s and AM/FM radio: any format you might have
- Plays 7, 10 and 12-inch vinyl discs at speeds of 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM: plays any record
- Plays audio files from smartphones, tablets, etc: connect via aux-in to enjoy your whole music collection
- Converts vinyl records into MP3: connect a USB drive or SD card and ensure your whole collection is safe forever
- Bluetooth capability: stream music wirelessly from a smartphone or other device
- RCA outputs: connect to external loudspeakers or an existing sound system
Despite a slightly higher price than many competing vintage systems, the D&L vintage vinyl record player sells in huge numbers. Buyers love the old-fashioned look and solid construction. They love all the functions even more.
In addition to 3 sizes and 3 speeds of vinyl, the Signature plays CDs, cassettes, MP3 and AM/FM radio. It can also record your vinyl collection directly to external storage via USB or to an SD card. The built-in speakers deliver warm rich tones, albeit a little quieter than you might want. Luckily, it has RCA outputs, so you can hook up external loudspeakers.
Best Turntable Record Players — Factors To Consider
We understand how busy you are given today’s hectic lifestyles. You don’t have time to first learn about all the available features and then to research all the top brands and units.
So we’ve done both for you. Any of the above record players delivers on every front. Of course, the budget models sacrifice soem qualty, but all outperform their price levels by a lot.
However, if none of those models appeal to you, you’re going to want to research alternatives. When doing so, there are a few key things you need to look at, to determine if you are getting a good value.
Quality Of Components
Cheap players use cheap components and expensive players use expensive parts. Just as you’d expect. But the best turntables give you components you would expect to see only on more expensive models. And that is the case with the models featured above.
Look at the tonearm, the cartridge and the platter. What material is the platter made from? Is it solid and designed to reduce vibrations?
Who makes the tonearm and/or cartridge? Is it a name brand, or a no-name component made in China?
Of course, when it comes to many components, you can always upgrade later. In fact, with most commercial models, it is a good idea to replace the cartridge immediately.
Product Size And Design
Lightweight units are easier to transport. If you are looking for a portable record player, a lighter weight is good. Otherwise, you want something heavier.
The more solid a turntable is, the less it vibrates. This means less interference in the sound output. As for the dimensions, you want something large enough to have a full-sized platter.
Many smaller units have platters that are far smaller than a vinyl disc. This means the outer edges of the record hand off the platter. The result is more wobbling, more vibration, and down the road, it could even lead to slight warping in your records.
Today’s models come with a dizzying array of features, but most of us have no need for the majority of functions. To get the best value for your money, decide which key traits you absolutely need and which you’d like, but could live without.
Then make a list of the players with the must-have attributes and choose your player from that list. Weigh the value of additional traits you’d like against any increases in price (or decrease in quality).
Some of the more useful things most people look for in the best record player are: built-in speakers, the ability to connect to external devices (wireless or wired) and an AM/FM radio streaming function.
Of course, the fewer additional components a turntable has, the better it will sound (usually). It makes sense: if all of the cost and effort goes to improving sound quality, instead of features like CD players or speakers, or etc.
Best Record Player: Final Thoughts
The best record players period cost thousands of dollars. We always get questions as to why we don’t have any of those on our list here.
The reason is that we took value into consideration. We wanted to present turntables that regular people can afford. If you are an audiophile with thousands of dollars to spend, this is not the right list for you.
This list, and most of this site, are for those with an interest in listening to vinyl records, but also a limited budget. Basically, most of us.
There is nothing wrong with buying and owning an inexpensive/all in one/starter turntable. Everyone is and should be welcome to the vinyl community. There is nothing wrong with hosting a website that purports to review and advise buyers on turntables and related equipment. But this website is akin to one for driving aficionados that reviews the Hyundai and the Toyota line of cars, only!
I think that I’ve ‘cracked the code’ of this website. There seems to be a bias in favor of cheap, Chinese made products, e.g. Ion. A careful consumer needs to ensure that the manufacturers who, on the surface seem to be American (or non-Chinese made) are actually not made in China…e.g. Ion Audio and Audio Technica. The workmanship is inferior and the support is abysmal. I’m happy to help steer people to quality audio equipment without seeking any remuneration.
Personally, i think it should be mentioned if the turntable cartridge and stylus can be upgraded. Almost bought the fully automatic Audio Technica but only the stylus was replaceable with manufacturer OEM — a deal breaker. Second, I think there should be more semi- and fully automatic choices in mid range turntables.
I am old enough to recall my grandparents’ console stereo with high fidelity record player with all the bells and whistles. It’s simply not true for the price of some of these top-rated turntables that they can’t even include auto return! It is the reason I still use and prefer vintage turntables and have no plans to “upgrade” until my 1990s Japanese built turntable breaks.
Manufacturers need to offer what the market demands — among those of us old enough to remember what everyone else is missing — yet I am aware of only a Denon in the $499 price range that offers the automatic features that were routinely available through the mid 1990s. What’s up with that?
In conclusion, I would suggest that turntables without auto-return or upgradeable cartridges be listed as a “con” in future reviews.