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The best turntables 2022: best record players for any budget

three of the best turntables on a green background
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Fall in love with your favourite music all over again with the best turntables. These record players are incredible feats of engineering deliver equally impressive sound as the top record players the clunky and fiddly plate spinners. And, whether you like clean and contemporary or the classic, retro stylings of vinyl players from a few decades ago, an excellent turntable will change the way you experience music.

What's more, many of the best record players will work with the best wireless speakers and the best headphones, enabling you to hook them up to your other smart home devices to produce high-quality audio. Others will come with modern features such as Bluetooth connectivity and USB ports – a must if you want to rip your vinyl collection and make them into digital files.

We've tested and reviewed some of the best vinyl spinners on the market right now so we know which ones sit at the top of the turntable pile. To help you choose the best one for you, we gathered the top versatile and modern decks that will suit any type of home, budget, or music taste.

If you love music and can't get enough of the warm tones of analogue vinyl, or you're new to the world of record collecting, this list of the best record players has something for you. If you're not already a vinyl veteran, our guide to how to set up a turntable is guaranteed to help get you in the groove.

The best turntables 2022

The best turntable project debut carbon evo turntable in black

(Image credit: Pro-Ject)
The best turntable for most people

Specifications

Dimensions: 415 x 118 x 320 mm
Motor: Direct drive
Platter: Steel
Phono preamp: No
USB: No
Speeds: 33, 45, and 78 rpm
Stylus: Ortofon 2M Red

Reasons to buy

+
Detailed, expansive, engaging sound
+
Impressive specification
+
Wide choice of very pleasant finishes

Reasons to avoid

-
Could sound more vigorous

If you want to enjoy the rich sound of vinyl but don't want to miss a scrap of information at the same time, then turn your ears in Pro-Ject’s direction. Pro-Ject introduced its first Debut record player at the end of the last century, and it’s been refined, upgraded, and become increasingly expensive ever since. This Debut Carbon Evo is the most refined, upgraded and enjoyable Pro-ject model we've ever tested – and it’s also the most expensive.

Please don't let the price put you off. This is undoubtedly one of the best turntables you can buy today, offering a detailed and revealing listen, with the ability to focus on the minutiae even as it describes the complete picture very convincingly. 

Read our full Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo review

The best turntable Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT turntable in black

(Image credit: Audio-Technica)
The best budget turntable with Bluetooth for easy listening

Specifications

Dimensions: 14.15" x 14.7" x 3.84"; (W x D x H)
Motor: Belt drive
Platter: Aluminum
Phono preamp: Yes
USB: No
Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm
Stylus: Conical

Reasons to buy

+
Great value for money
+
Easy setup

Reasons to avoid

-
Audio could be more detailed
-
Materials feel a bit cheap

With a budget-friendly price, easy assembly, and the convenience of wireless playback, we think that the AT-LP60XBT could make a fantastic first turntable for any fledgling vinyl enthusiast. Audio-Technica is known for producing high quality cartridges, and the one used on this vinyl player is no exception; the ATN3600L conical stylus fits perfectly into the grooves of the record and reveals details in songs you may have never noticed before – in short, it makes your music an absolute joy to listen to. 

In our testing, we found that there are some minor sacrifices involved in a turntable this affordable. The very light plinth feels rather insubstantial, and while the soundstage delivers that all-important vinyl warmth it could do with a little more crispness in the higher frequencies. But it's very low price more than makes up for that, and the inclusion of Bluetooth connectivity makes the AT-LP6XBT record player feel like very good value for money.

Read our full Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT review

the best turntable cambridge audio alva tt v2 record player

(Image credit: Cambridge Audio)
The best high-end performance turntable with Bluetooth

Specifications

Dimensions: 435 x 139 x 368mm (w x h x d)
Motor: Direct Drive
Platter: Polyoxymethylene
Phono preamp: Yes (switchable)
USB: No
Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm
Stylus: Custom Cambridge Audio moving coil cartridge

Reasons to buy

+
Great specs, with Bluetooth aptX HD
+
Balanced and insightful sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Not quite perfectly dynamic sound
-
Better wired than wireless

The Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 wants to bring high-end listening in a convenient package, but without compromise for those conveniences. So you get a built-in phono stage so that it can be connected directly to an amp or active speaker… but it's switchable, so you can use your own high-end solution if you have one. And it includes Bluetooth for sending sound directly to headphones or a wireless speaker… but it's aptX HD high-resolution Bluetooth, so you get more detail from it.

Inevitably, it sounds best through some great wired components than even top-tier Bluetooth headphones, but you still get the vinyl sound you love wirelessly, and more clearly and with more precision than from cheaper Bluetooth options.

And the sound impressed us in all cases during our testing. "The Alva TT V2 is a deft, smooth and insightful listen, a little short of dynamic headroom but very long indeed on detail retrieval, tonal balance and generously engaging sound," we said.

Read our full Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 review

The best turntable Fluance RT81 record player with a dark brown finish

The best mid-priced turntable without any extra additions

Specifications

Dimensions: 16.5” x 5.5” x 13.75”
Motor: Belt drive
Platter: Aluminum
Phono preamp: Yes
USB: No
Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm
Stylus: ATN95E

Reasons to buy

+
Great sound for the price
+
Decent sounding phono preamp

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor vibration damping
-
No auto returning tonearm

The Fluance RT81 is an excellent starter turntable. It’s simple to set up and use for newbies, but you can switch out the cartridge to squeeze out more performance later on. You don't need to worry about getting a separate phono preamp as there's one built in, but you can turn that off if you want to use a more powerful external preamp instead.

We really enjoyed this turntable's sound, but we did encounter a few issues. The Fluance RT81's advertised “auto-off” feature turns off the platter to prevent excessive needle wear, which is good, but you still have to return the arm to its resting place yourself. 

You’ll also have to manually queue records, which isn’t a deal breaker by any means but may put off anyone looking for a fully automatic record player. If that's you, the Denon DP-300F is a great choice for those looking for a fully automated record listening experience. 

Read our full Fluance RT81 review

The best turntable Denon DP-300F turntable in black and silver

The best full automatic turntable that doesn’t break the bank

Specifications

Dimensions: 17-3/32 x 4-51/64 x 15" (434 x 122 x 381 mm); (WxHxD)
Motor: Belt drive
Platter: Die-cast aluminum
Phono preamp: Yes
USB: No
Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm
Stylus: DSN-85

Reasons to buy

+
Fully automatic
+
Great sound for the price

Reasons to avoid

-
Plastic build
-
Buttons feel cheap

The Denon DP-300F is a gorgeous turntable that sounds just as good as it looks: as you can see from our review we were really rather taken with it. The included DSN-85 cartridge isn’t the most accurate but it nevertheless manages to make your music sound airy and reasonably detailed, and delivers good performance for the price.You’ll need  to spend a lot more cash to hear much more detail.

While the DP-300F lacks the USB outputs of some of the best turntables listed here, it’s still a great starting turntable for anyone who doesn’t want to manually queue their albums or who has a habit of falling asleep while listening to music. The Denon’s automatic start/stop feature means your needle won’t be worn down at the end of the record as the arm immediately returns when an album is done. 

Build quality is decent for an all-plastic record player, but we felt that its buttons felt a little cheap and lacked the tactility of more expensive rivals. That's hardly a deal-breaker, we know, but better buttons would have been a nice touch – pun fully intended.

Read our full Denon DP-300F review

The best turntable Pro-Ject Debut Carbon record player in yellow

The best turntables for beginners and vinyl enthusiasts

Specifications

Dimensions: 415 x 118 x 320mm (WxHxD)
Motor: Belt drive
Platter: Aluminum
Phono preamp: No
USB: No
Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm
Stylus: Ortofon 2M Red

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent value for a hi-fi turntable
+
Easy to setup

Reasons to avoid

-
Manual speed change
-
Requires a phono preamp

The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is still one of the best entry-level hi-fi turntables you can buy, even though it has been usurped by the more recent model at the top of this list. While vinyl newcomers may cringe at the relatively high price, it's actually an incredible bargain. For the money, you get a very well made deck that’s damped properly and delivers fantastic sound quality. It also has a carbon fiber tonearm that's lightweight and stiff, a component that's usually reserved for turntables costing much more.

The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is for the budding enthusiast that’s committed to the record collecting hobby. Because of that commitment, it doesn’t feature niceties like an auto-returning tonearm, buttons for changing speed or an included phono preamp. 

Newbies may be turned off by the manual changing of the belt position to change speeds and that lack of an included preamp. However, if you want to extract more detail and resolution from your records than the cheaper options on this list, or if you want to get started on the path of being a true vinyl collector, we think that the Debut Carbon is probably your best bet. If you like the Pro-Ject Debut III but want a subtler look, check out the Crosley C10, which features a chic wooden-look plinth combined with a Pro-Ject tonearm.

Read our full Pro-Ject Debut Carbon review 

The best turntable Rega Planar 1 turntable in white

7. Rega Planar 1

One of the best entry-level Hi-Fi turntables for tinkerers

Specifications

Dimensions: 17.5" (450mm) W by 4.5" (115mm) H by 15" (385mm) D
Motor: Belt drive
Platter: Phenolic resin
Phono preamp: No
USB: No
Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm
Stylus: Rega Carbon

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent sound quality
+
Easy to setup, even for newbies

Reasons to avoid

-
Manual speed change
-
No phono preamp included

There’s a lot of debate over whether the Rega Planar 1 or the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is the best entry-level hi-fi turntable. It’s a close match and there is not a clear winner: each one provides an excellent starting place for an audiophile on a budget. 

While the Rega may lack the fancy carbon tone arm of the Pro-Ject, the Planar 1 still sounds excellent and is well damped thanks to its phenolic resin platter. And for newbies the Rega Planar 1 is still easy to setup, though you’ll have to provide your own phono preamp. 

In our testing the Rega Planar 1 record player sounded so good that it’s hard to fault it too much. Vocals are revealing and you can hear the subtle textures of instruments such as the violin. The included Rega Carbon cartridge isn’t anything special but it's a decent match for the turntable. Given the choice between the Planar 1 and the Debut Carbon we'd say that you can’t go wrong with either.

The best turntable Marantz TT-15S1 turntable in white

The best turntable for going pro

Specifications

Dimensions: 440mm x 350mm x 110mm; (W x D x H)
Motor: Belt drive
Platter: High-Density Acrylic
Phono preamp: No
USB: No
Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm
Stylus: Clearaudio Virtuoso

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous design
+
Excellent attention to detail 

Reasons to avoid

-
Price is an investment

The Marantz TT-15S1 is quite expensive but delivers excellent performance for the price and it's actually a really good deal: the Clearaudio Virtuoso included with the turntable is $1000 when purchased separately. You also get a killer tonearm and a gorgeous turntable at a price that’s definitely an investment, but not an unreasonable one. 

So what does the Marantz TT-15S1 get you over the competition? Attention to detail. Just about every part of the record player has been pored over to be the best it can be for the price. The fit and finish are excellent and we found it very pleasant to handle the high-quality components. This is a record player that'll leave you admiring its visual as well as its audible qualities. 

We don't think this is a great option for vinyl newcomers as it requires more knowledge to set up properly than the entry-level turntables on this list (try the Audio-Technica model in number two instead). But if you’re ready to take your record collecting and listening to the next level, the Marantz TT-15S1 is the perfect companion.

Read our full Marantz TT-15S1 review

The best turntable Clearaudio Concept record player in black and silver

A stunningly beautiful mid-range hi-fi turntable

Specifications

Dimensions: 16.54” x 13.78” x 4.92”; (W x D x H)
Motor: Belt drive
Platter: Polyoxymethylene
Phono preamp: No
USB: No
Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45, 78 rpm
Stylus: Clearaudio Concept MC

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent build quality 
+
Detailed, rich sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive (but  cartridge is still a bargain)

If the Clearaudio Concept and Marantz TT-15S1 seem similar, that’s because the Marantz was built by Clearaudio to Marantz’s specifications. That means everything about the excellent build quality of the Marantz carries over to the Clearaudio Concept, so this this is a turntable that is as gorgeous as it sounds. 

One small but notable difference between the Marantz and the Clearaudio turntables is the ability to play 78 rpm records. While most people will never come across 78s, it’s nice to know that the Clearaudio Concept is capable of playing them if you decide to explore older records. The Concept also has a handy speed dial on the plinth, so you don’t have to swap the belt position manually.

In our tests of the Clearaudio Concept we didn't encounter any notable flaws. Yes, it’s expensive but you’re still getting a bargain in this price range. The included Clearaudio Concept moving-coil cartridge costs $1,000 by itself. Yep! 

Read our full Clearaudio Concept review

The best turntable Technics SL 1500c record player in black

(Image credit: Technics)
Bomb-proof build and great clarity

Specifications

Dimensions: 453 x 169 x 372mm (W x D x H)
Motor: Direct drive
Platter: Aluminum diecast
Phono preamp: Yes
USB: No
Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45, and 78 rpm
Stylus: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Bomb-proof build quality
+
Simple to set up and use
+
Remarkable clarity

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive compared to rivals
-
Not that subtle

Say hello to the budget-friendly Technics SL. This SL-1500C will only set you back £899 / $999 / AU$2499. It may not be the most affordable turntable on the market, but it's the first reborn Technics to really remind us of why we, and so many DJs, fell in love with the brand in the first place. 

User-friendly and as painless as possible, the SL-1500C stands on four hefty rubberized feet with a lot of articulation. A switchable phono stage proves useful along with a switchable auto-stop feature – we've gone into great detail about these in our extensive review.

Sound-staging is impressive, with recordings given plenty of elbow room for individual instruments to make their presence felt at all times. There’s depth and height to the Technics’ stage as well as width, and the sound is consistently compelling.

Read our full Technics SL-1500C Turntable review

the best turntable lenco ls-410 record player

(Image credit: TechRadar)
An all-in-one turntable that doubles as a Bluetooth speaker

Specifications

Dimensions: 425 x 192 x 360mm (w x h x d)
Motor: Belt drive
Platter: Aluminum
Phono preamp: Yes (switchable)
USB: No
Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm
Stylus: Audio-Technica MMC cartridge

Reasons to buy

+
Enjoyable Bluetooth speaker sound
+
Great set of functionality

Reasons to avoid

-
Vinyl sound isn't that strong
-
Some components feel poor

The Lenco LS-410 is an all-in-one turntable: it has four built-in speakers, so you can listen to your vinyl without a single other thing needed. And it has Bluetooth built-in so that you can also use it as a wireless speaker, and actually the sound is pretty chunky and nice for that.

The quality for just playing vinyl is a little weaker – there are issues with its rotational consistency and the construction of its tonearm (and its controls), and it leads to sound that's too weedy to be deeply satisfying. Connecting to a separate amp (using the built-in phono stage, or to your own phono stage, usefully) doesn't really improve things enough.

It still has value because it just does so much in one package, but if affordable vinyl sound quality is your priority, other options here are preferable.

Read our full Lenco LS-410 review

How to choose the best turntable for you

Find the best record player for you can be confusing. But there are some key details you need to consider when choosing the top turntables for your listening needs and budget.

One of the most vital things to look for when you’re shopping for a new vinyl player, is how well damped it is. 

Damping is essentially the method by which manufacturers combat vibrations – whether internal or external. They do this through the use of different motor configurations, and through the use of various components. 

Belt-driven turntables are going to be a lot quieter and offer higher fidelity than their direct drive brethren, as direct drive turntables have a motor that is directly connected to the platter. However, there are some great direct drive turntables out there, so don’t write them off quite yet. 

If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t need to be fooling around with a complex turntable with an adjustable vertical tracking angle, anti-skate and azimuth. You may even want a turntable that connects to your speaker wirelessly over Bluetooth. 

Also worth considering is: do you want to rip your vinyl to your digital library? If so, look for a turntable with a USB output and reliable software to get the job done.

Budget and style are important considerations, too. Turntables can cost anything from $50 / £50 to well over $2,000 / £2,000, it's a good idea to have a price in mind before you start your search. Think about how your new record player will fit into your home, as well. Do you have the space for an external amplifier? If not, look for a  turntable with a built-in preamp. 

Do I need to buy speakers for my turntable?

Aside from your new turntable, there are some other bits of kit you might want to invest in. 

First off, you'll want to check out the best stereo speakers; after all, a turntable is only as good as your speakers you hook it up to. Or, you might want to look into the best over-ear headphones and wireless earbuds to go with your record player.

If you opt for a fancy wireless record player, you might want to invest in a Bluetooth speaker, a wireless speaker, or connect it to your existing smart speaker.

If your record player of choice doesn't have a built-in amplifier, you'll need to buy one – check out our amplifier reviews for more information.

Do high end turntables sound better?

If you're an audiophile that can notice the subtle differences and nuances of the devices you're playing music on, you need a high end turntable. 

High end turntables typically offer a cleaner and more precise sound so your vinyl collection will sound better than ever.

However, if you don't have as strong an ear for music or you simply don't need perfection, you'll be just as happy with a cheaper turntable. That's why we've included different record players with varying budgets so that the more typical music fan can still enjoy what's here.

How we test the best turntables

Having tested countless record players over the years, we know that the best way to find out whether they live up to their specs is simply to dust off our vinyl collection, set up the deck, calibrate the tonearm (if necessary) and get playing. 

When it comes to beginner and budget-friendly turntables, we're looking for simple setups, built-in phono stages and wireless connectivity options such as Bluetooth (for listening to the vinyl spinning on the platter through your wireless headphones) alongside solid tracking and, of course, a rock-solid, dependable build.

Naturally, when it comes to high-end audiophile record players, we spend considerable time looking into the quality of the build, the playback speeds offered, compatibility, how well-damped the deck is and extra features such as USB ports. 

Of course, whatever the price, audio quality is of paramount importance when it comes to selecting the best turntables. To earn a spot in this guide, a record player has to produce detail and clarity from your record stash while delivering that warm, rich analogue sound that good turntables are so well known for. 

Olivia Tambini
Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.

With contributions from