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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)

The best turntables can transform your favorite music, unlocking details and rich sound you may never have fully appreciated before. 

Many of the top record players you can buy today are incredible feats of engineering, delivering impressive sound and packing in smart features, like Bluetooth and USB ports — essential if you want to rip your vinyl collection and turn your tracks into digital files.

There’s a lot of choice in terms of design, too. Whether you prefer the look of clean and contemporary turntables or classic, retro record players, there’s a style to suit every taste.

Because many of the best record players have Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity built-in, they can work with audio tech or smart home devices you already own. Take a look at our best wireless speakers guide and best headphones guide for our top picks up upgrade your at-home listening experience.

We’ve tested and reviewed many of the best vinyl players on the market right now, so we know the features, design considerations and audio quality to look out for. That’s why we’ve selected the best record players in our guide below, including a range of versatile and modern decks to suit any type of home, budget or music taste. 

So if you love music and want to enjoy the warm tones of analogue vinyl or if you’re new to the world of record collecting, then this list of the best turntables has something for you. If you’re not already a vinyl veteran, read our how to set up a turntable guide, which is guaranteed to 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 without losing out on a single scrap of audio information, then check out the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo record player.

Pro-Ject's Debut range of record players has been around for some time now and has been refined, upgraded and bumped up in price ever since. Now, the Debut Carbon Evo is the most refined, upgraded and enjoyable Pro-ject model we've ever tested — and it’s also the most expensive.

But please don't let the price put you off if you can afford it and want the best turntable your money can buy. In terms of specs, it justifies its price, with a new motor design, automatic speed change, improved performance and ergonomics, a choice of nine finishes.

How about the all important sound? Fantastic. During our testing, we found that listening to this turntable was extremely enjoyable, we wrote: "It doesn’t matter the sort of music you like to listen to — the Debut Carbon Evo laps it up. In every circumstance it’s a detailed and revealing listen, able to focus on the minutiae even as it describes the complete picture completely convincingly." It's undoubtedly one of the best turntables on the planet.

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 Audio-Technica 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. 

For this reason, we think that hardcore audiophiles may prefer the sound and look of Hi-Fi turntables like the $1700 / £1500 (around AU$2750)  Cambridge Audio Alva TT in our list below. 

But if you’re looking for something super simple and not too pricey, this one might be your best bet. The inclusion of Bluetooth connectivity does make 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 to you in a convenient package, but without compromise for those conveniences. What that means is 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. 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, we found that it does sound its best through some great wired components than even the best top-tier Bluetooth headphones, but we did still get that rich, vinyl sound wirelessly, and more clearly and with more precision than from cheaper Bluetooth options.

This record player really impressed us in all cases during our testing. In our review, we wrote: "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."

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

We think that the Fluance RT81 is an excellent starter turntable. The reason? 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 either, 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 during testing, 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. 

Of course, if you want a more high-end performance from the start, take a look at the Pro-Ject Carbon Evo at the top of our guide. But, as we wrote in our review: "If you want a turntable that just works, looks good, and can be upgraded later, the Fluance RT81 is the turntable for you."

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. We wrote: "If all you want is to listen to your records and not have to worry about queueing, premature needle wear or digitizing your records, the Denon DP-300F should be at the top of your list. Its features get you listening to your vinyl records as soon as possible instead of having to fiddle with complicated components and manual queueing."

Granted, 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 the buttons did feel 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. Take a look at the Pro-Ject Carbon Evo  at the top of our list for a more refined design and sound. Or the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon below for another entry-level turntable with slightly better performance. 

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 here, we've tested it and can safely say 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. 

In our review, we wrote: "The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is well built, beautifully designed and just sounds awesome. It’s not the most resolving turntable but you wouldn’t expect it to be at this price range. When looking at the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon as a package, it’s hard to think of another turntable in this price range that can top it."

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 although we've tested both, we don't think there's 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. During our testing, we were pleasantly surprised to find that 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. We summed this up well in our review when we wrote: "Taken as a whole, the Marantz offers budding audiophiles the chance to chase higher fidelity without having to buy a turntable that costs as much as a car."

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. 

During our testing we found that 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. In our review, we wrote: "Clearaudio's combination of audio and aesthetic design has produced a winning combination here which we feel sure will both win converts and keep them devoted to the analogue cause." 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.

During our testing, we found that sound-staging is really impressive here, 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.

In our review, we wrote: "This isn’t the most out-and-out accomplished turntable you can buy in purely sonic terms, but it’s not far off - and it’s more robustly made, better specified and has greater cachet than any price-comparable alternative. "

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. In our review, we wrote: "This isn’t the most dynamic sound you ever heard, for sure, but neither is it the most inhibited. And when it’s put into proper context, the LS-410 is a perfectly likeable and periodically quite impressive Bluetooth speaker. '

During our testing, we discovered 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, like the Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT.

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 new turntables sound better than old?

The best-sounding turntable is one you enjoy listening to. Some people prefer the rich, authentic quality of an older turntable. However, many of the newest turntables bring you that same sound, but with a bunch of new features and a more reliable experience.

This is, also, partly down to price. If you have an older turntable but it's much more expensive and higher quality than a newer, cheaper model, you might prefer the older sound. You should also consider if it's in need of some TLC. Older turntables might need repairing to sound as good as they once did.

Finally, what do you want to listen to? If you're looking for high-end audio that sounds exactly as intended, you might want to try a newer turntable. If you want a more gravelly sound and don't mind sacrificing some quality, use the old turntable you already have.

Ultimately, new turntables are more advanced than older turntables, but it all comes down to your preferences. 

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.