The Best Record Player of 2023

Relive the good old days with one of these best record players.

Music played on high-quality turntables can take on a new, analog-style smoothness and warmth. Many of the best record players on the market right now are remarkable technological achievements, producing stunning sound and revealing nuances you may never have heard before.

In addition, they provide convenient extras, which are required if you wish to digitize your record collection. In addition, there is a wide variety of styles from which to pick. There’s a record player design out there for everyone, whether they choose a sleek, modern aesthetic or a throwback, vintage one. Many high-end record players include WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing them to work with your existing audio equipment and smart home devices.

We have examined and tested many of the top-tier record players available, and we are well-versed in the features, design considerations, and sound quality to look for in a record player. Therefore, we have made a list of the best record players to suit your needs. These include a variety of flexible and cutting-edge decks to accommodate any lifestyle, budget, or musical preference.

How We Picked

  • Sound quality

    A record player with poor sound quality can produce distorted or muffled sounds, which can be unpleasant to listen to. On the other hand, a record player with good sound quality can produce clear, detailed, and dynamic audio, which can enhance the listening experience.

  • Type of cartridge & its quality

    The type of cartridge and its quality determine the capabilities of the record player and the overall sound quality of the audio that is played back. Choosing the right cartridge can help improve the listening experience and get the most out of a record player.

  • Design

    Record players come in a wide variety of designs, from sleek and modern, to vintage and retro, to fit the user's taste, and the right design can add to the overall aesthetic of a room. A well-designed record player will also typically be easy to use and have features that make it convenient to operate.

  • Price

    Record players come in a wide range of prices, which can be a good indication of the quality and features that they offer. As such, it is important to consider the price when buying a record player in order to make sure that you are getting good value for your money.

Our Top Picks

Best Pick

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO

The Debut Carbon EVO prioritizes the essential features that contribute to a high-quality listening experience.

Pro-Ject has taken their most popular turntable design and improved every aspect of it.

Buy Now for $598.78

The new Debut Carbon EVO features the tried-and-true one-piece Carbon tonearm construction that measures eight-point-six inches. Incredible sound quality and believable sound staging are the results of the tonearm's extreme rigidity without the resulting weight. Playback speed is electronically controlled with extreme precision, resulting in the most precise and steady speeds, and it's easy to switch speeds with the push of a button.

Runner Up

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK Turntable

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK Turntable

You may use the AT-LP120XUSB with your computer or home stereo system.

Experience the high-fidelity audio of vinyl, thanks to Audio-Technica’s excellent build quality.

Buy Now for $345.51

A new D.C. servo direct-drive motor, dynamic anti-skate control, and a switchable phono preamplifier are just a few of the improvements made to the AT-LP120-USB turntable. The USB output on this fully manual turntable lets you hook it up to your computer for listening to 33-1/3, 45, or 78 R.P.M. records. Converting your vinyl records to digital audio files is as simple as downloading the free, cross-platform recording software Audacity.

Most Cost-Effective

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-BK Turntable

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-BK Turntable

The AT-LP60X is a completely automatic belt-drive turntable that is a great option.

This affordable, easy-to-use turntable is the perfect entry into the world of analog audio.

Buy Now for $149.00

This inexpensive and user-friendly turntable can be linked directly to your home audio system, powered speakers, computer, and other components, regardless of whether they have a specific phono input, so you can play both 33-1/3 and 45 R.P.M. records. The ATLP60X is an improved version of the classic AT-LP60, with a reworked tone arm base and headshell for better tracking and less resonance. The AC adapter places the AC/DC conversion outside the chassis, where its influence on the signal chain is minimal, further reducing noise.

Everything We Recommend

Best Pick

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO

The Debut Carbon EVO prioritizes the essential features that contribute to a high-quality listening experience.

$598.78

Buy Now

Runner Up

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK Turntable

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK Turntable

You may use the AT-LP120XUSB with your computer or home stereo system.

$345.51

Buy Now

Most Cost-Effective

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-BK Turntable

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-BK Turntable

The AT-LP60X is a completely automatic belt-drive turntable that is a great option.

$149.00

Buy Now

Who This Is For

In general, anyone who wants to listen to vinyl records would need to buy a record player. Vinyl records have made a comeback in recent years and have become popular among music enthusiasts who appreciate the unique sound and experience of listening to records. If you have a collection of vinyl records that you want to listen to or if you are interested in starting a collection, then a record player would be a necessary purchase.

A manual record player requires the user to manually place the needle on the record to start playing the music. A semi-automatic record player will automatically lift the needle and return it to the resting position at the end of the record, but the user still needs to manually place the needle on the record to start playing the music. On the other hand, an automatic record player will automatically place the needle on the record and return it to the resting position at the end of the record without any input from the user.

The best type of record player to use will depend on personal preference and the specific needs of the user. Some people may prefer the hands-on experience of using a manual record player, while others may prefer the convenience of an automatic record player. A semi-automatic record player can be a good compromise between the two, offering some of the convenience of an automatic player while still allowing the user to control the placement of the needle on the record. Ultimately, the best type of record player to use will depend on your individual preferences and needs.

Belt drive vs. Direct drive

In a record player, the “drive system” refers to the mechanism that rotates the platter on which the record is placed. A belt-drive record player uses a rubber belt to transfer the rotation of the motor to the platter, while a direct-drive record player uses a motor that is directly connected to the platter.

Belt-drive record players are generally considered to produce a smoother, more consistent rotation of the platter, which can result in better sound quality. However, they are also more susceptible to speed fluctuations and can be affected by external factors such as vibrations. Direct-drive record players, on the other hand, are more durable and less susceptible to external factors, but they can produce more noise and vibration.

Overall, the best type of drive system to use will depend on personal preference and the specific needs of the user. Some people may prefer the improved sound quality of a belt-drive record player, while others may prefer the durability and reliability of a direct-drive player.

Is It Worth Splurging On?

A record player can be a worthwhile investment for anyone who loves music and wants to experience it in a new and unique way. While there are certainly cheaper options for playing vinyl records, a high-quality record player can provide a level of sound quality and listening experience that is unmatched by digital music formats. Additionally, owning a record player can be a fun and rewarding hobby and can even increase the value of your vinyl record collection. So, if you have the means and are interested in experiencing vinyl in all its glory, then splurging on a high-quality record player may be worth it for you.

 

Why You Should Trust Us

It might be difficult to settle on a record player, what with the need to strike a balance between quality and affordability. We chose these record players after much research and a lot of listening for ourselves. Critical aspects such as design or style, cost, music quality, and other features were given our full attention. We also consulted both positive and negative customer evaluations to back up our statements, and we stuck to well-known, reputable brands.

How We Picked

Audio quality

The audio quality of a record player can vary greatly depending on the quality of the player itself and the condition of the vinyl record being played. In general, a high-quality record player will be able to produce a rich, warm, and detailed sound that is unique to vinyl records. The audio quality of a record player can also be affected by factors such as the quality of the stylus (the needle), the condition of the turntable, and the quality of the amplifier and speakers being used. Overall, the audio quality of a record player can provide a listening experience that is unparalleled by other music formats and can be an enjoyable and rewarding way to listen to music.

Type of cartridge

A cartridge is a device that is attached to the tonearm of a record player and contains the stylus (needle) that reads the grooves on a vinyl record. The type of cartridge used in a record player can have a significant impact on the sound quality and performance of the player. There are several different types of cartridges available, including moving magnet (M.M.) and moving coil (M.C.) cartridges. M.M. cartridges are the most common and are known for their high output levels and good overall sound quality. M.C. cartridges, on the other hand, are known for their superior sound quality, but typically have lower output levels and are more sensitive to setup and alignment. Additionally, there are also hybrid cartridges that combine elements of both M.M. and M.C. designs.

Size, shape, and weight

Size, shape, and weight are important factors to consider when buying a record player for several reasons. First, the size of a record player can affect its portability and where it can be placed in your home. If you want a record player that can be easily moved from room to room or taken to a friend’s house, then a smaller and more lightweight player may be a better option. On the other hand, if you have a dedicated listening space and don’t plan on moving the player, a larger and heavier player may be a better choice, as it can provide a more stable and solid platform for the turntable.

The shape of a record player can also be an important factor, as it can affect both its appearance and its performance. For example, some record players have a rectangular or square shape, which can be a good choice if you want a player that can fit into a small space or blend in with your other home decor. Other record players have a more traditional “turntable” shape, which can be a good choice if you want a player that looks more like a classic record player.

The weight of a record player can also be an important factor, as it can affect its stability and performance. A heavier record player is generally more stable and less susceptible to vibrations, which can result in better sound quality. However, a heavy record player may be more difficult to move and may require a sturdier support structure to hold it in place.

Design and style

Design and style are important factors to consider when buying a record player because they can affect both the appearance and the functionality of the player. The design of a record player can influence its overall aesthetic and how it fits into your home decor, so it’s important to choose a player that matches your personal style and preferences. Additionally, the design of a record player can also affect its performance and usability. For example, a record player with a well-designed tonearm and cartridge can provide better tracking and sound quality, while a player with a user-friendly interface can make it easier to use and control. So, whether you’re looking for a player that looks great in your living room or one that provides the best possible sound quality, considering the design and style of a record player can help you make the right choice.

Price

Price is an important factor to consider before buying a record player because it can affect the quality of the player and the overall experience you have using it. Higher-priced record players tend to be made with higher-quality materials and have more advanced features, which can provide a better listening experience. Additionally, a higher-priced player may be a better investment in the long run if it is more durable and lasts longer than a lower-priced player. With this consideration, we searched for the best high-value record players that met all budgets.

Rumble rating

The rumble rating of a record player is a measure of the amount of low-frequency noise that the player produces. This noise, also known as “rumble,” is created by the movement of the player’s internal parts and can be heard through the speakers or headphones while the player is in use. A higher rumble rating indicates that the player produces more noise, which can be distracting and interfere with the listening experience. Therefore, the rumble rating is an important factor to consider before buying a record player because it can affect the quality of the sound you hear. A player with a lower rumble rating will produce less noise and provide a better listening experience.

Wow and Flutter

Wow and flutter affect the quality of the sound produced by the player. Wow, and flutter refers to variations in the speed of the record player’s turntable, which can cause the pitch of the music to fluctuate. This can result in a “warbly” or “wobbly” sound, which can be distracting and reduce the enjoyment of listening to vinyl records. By looking for a record player with low levels of wow and flutter, you can ensure that you get the best possible sound quality from your vinyl records.

Durability

A durable record player is more likely to last for a long time and withstand regular use without needing repairs or replacement parts. Additionally, a durable player is less likely to be damaged by accidental bumps or drops, which can be especially important if you plan to use your record player on the go or in a crowded space. By choosing a durable record player, you can enjoy your vinyl records for many years to come.

Our Picks For You

Best Pick - Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO

Best Pick

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO

The Debut Carbon EVO prioritizes the essential features that contribute to a high-quality listening experience.

Pro-Ject has taken their most popular turntable design and improved every aspect of it.

Buy Now for $598.78

Who It’s For

The Debut Carbon is a record player designed for traditionalists who want to bring back good old vinyl music quality along with its class.

Why It’s Great

As a turntable, the Debut Carbon adheres to strict classical standards. It lacks extras like a preamp, USB port, and Bluetooth in the base model. This simplistic turntable is designed with sound and touch in mind rather than fancy extras.

Potential Flaws

The Debut Carbon Evo does not have a built-in phono preamp. If your audio receiver (or other audio components) doesn't include a built-in phono stage, you'll need to purchase a separate phono stage. Also, adjusting the tracking force of the cartridge is done by means of a hanging counterweight on the tonearm, which isn't as aesthetically pleasing as dials on other turntables.

For more aesthetic features, you may want to consider the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK.

Other Features

When it comes to sound quality, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo is unrivaled. It's simple to set up and has helpful extras like a toggle for changing speeds and a cue lever to adjust the tonearm's height. The tonearm may be modified to accept a new cartridge if you decide to upgrade in the future, and the provided cartridge offers an improvement over the alternatives. We also enjoy that you can get the Evo in a variety of colors, such as walnut, black, red, yellow, and green.

The Debut Carbon Evo outperformed its rivals in terms of audio quality thanks to its lower noise output and its ability to effectively muffle record pops and other imperfections where others faltered. (Despite our fondness for vinyl, fewer pops and crackles are always welcome.) The Evo improved the turntable's bass by providing more distinct and robust low-frequency tones. The soundstage was wider, and the midrange and treble were more transparent and detailed than ever despite the augmented bass.

The belt-drive Evo exhibited the second-lowest wow and flutter of any table we tested when we used the RPM app to measure its performance. No belt swapping is required; simply flip a switch to switch from 33 to 45 R.P.M. playback. Since this switch also controls the electricity for the table, you can't possibly forget what speed it's set to. After a quick belt swap, the Evo can even play 78 RPM records.

The Evo's carbon-fiber tonearm is far heavier and more rigid than the lighter metal tonearms found in the other turntables we examined, so it should be less resonant and create a better sound. If you've never used a turntable before, there’s no need to; the Debut Carbon Evo's setup process is straightforward. To avoid any confusion, a full-color picture guide illustrates each step to be taken in sequential order.

Runner Up - Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK Turntable

Runner Up

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK Turntable

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK Turntable

You may use the AT-LP120XUSB with your computer or home stereo system.

Experience the high-fidelity audio of vinyl, thanks to Audio-Technica’s excellent build quality.

Buy Now for $345.51

Who It’s For

The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB is the finest option if you want to convert your vinyl collection into digital files for playback on other devices outside of your turntable.

Why It’s Great

In comparison to its predecessor, the LP120, this new model has little wow and flutter, requires minimal setup time, and features a phono preamp integrated directly into the unit. If you rip your vinyl albums to your computer, you can listen to them on the fly. There are many records out there that you can't listen to online, so having a digital copy is a huge help. An external phono preamp with a USB output would allow you to use any turntable as a digital source, but the AT-LP120XUSB already includes this feature for your convenience. Audio-Technica suggests using Audacity, which is free and open-source software that is compatible with most computers, however, it is not included in the package.

Potential Flaws

The AT-LP120XUSB is bulkier and more expensive than average turntables, and its plastic build and cluttered appearance may put some people off. To get the best of your vinyl records, we recommend our top pick. However, a cheaper alternative is the Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-BK.

Other Features

The Audio-Technica let in more ambient noise than the other turntables we tested, and this was most apparent in the silences between songs.

With its direct-drive mechanism, the AT-LP120XUSB has the lowest wow and flutter of any turntable we tested, and its variable speeds and fine-tunability make it a pleasure to operate. Quick and easy cartridge swapping is possible thanks to the detachable headshell. The AT-built-in LP120XUSB's phono preamp allows it to be used with any powered speaker or audio receiver that supports an analog input; when not in use, the preamp may be disabled.

Most Cost-Effective - Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-BK Turntable

Most Cost-Effective

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-BK Turntable

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-BK Turntable

The AT-LP60X is a completely automatic belt-drive turntable that is a great option.

This affordable, easy-to-use turntable is the perfect entry into the world of analog audio.

Buy Now for $149.00

Who It’s For

AudioTechnica is a well-loved name among audiophiles everywhere, from dorm room stereos to professional studios. This record player is ideal if you're just getting started with turntables.

Why It’s Great

The AT-LP60X is an excellent first turntable that outperforms its price point. In its price range, it faces essentially no direct competition. It's hands-free and simple to set up and operate. While taking the low cost into account, the quality of the sound is surprisingly high, even when using the Bluetooth feature.

Potential Flaws

Has a little cheap quality to the touch, and its compact size may not appeal to everyone. For those who plan on getting the full experience and have the funds to go all in, we recommend our top pick.

Other Features

The form factor of the AT-LP60X is tiny and square. They've done a great job of keeping everything neat and attractive. It's not over the top or obnoxious. The square design is unusual and not everyone will like it, but it does save space. Unlike manual turntables, the AT-LP60X can spin records without human intervention. Pushing a button activates it and positions the tonearm at the record's beginning. After the record has finished playing, the tonearm will return to its starting position.

To put it another way, it can be used and operated with minimal effort. In addition, the needle won't get stuck in the record's inner grooves if you become sidetracked. Automatically returns the tonearm and powers down after the record is done playing. As it has a preamp already installed, it can be connected to any stereo receiver or powered speaker system and produce a line-level signal. And those who don't have a phono input, too! It's able to play records at both 33 and 45 R.P.M., and when the stylus (needle) wears out, it can be easily and cheaply changed. A typical lifespan is estimated at 1000 hours.

Almost Made The Cut - Rega RP3 Turntable

Almost Made The Cut

Rega RP3 Turntable

Rega RP3 Turntable

The RB330 tonearm is the result of more than 35 years of experience designing tonearms.

The use of lightweight materials has become the foundation of the Rega RP3’s high-level performance.

Buy Now

Who It’s For

The Rega RP3 is best for those who are aiming for style and class for their record players with a focus on personal taste and aesthetics over sound quality, performance, and cost.

Why It’s Great

The RP3 is very well designed and constructed to deliver performance that well exceeds user expectations. If used properly, the product's high-quality construction, dependability, and user-friendliness will provide years of musical pleasure.

Potential Flaws

The arm's vertical tracking alignment (V.T.A.), or how high it is in relation to the record, cannot be adjusted. This orientation relative to the record has a significant impact on its sound quality and doesn't allow you much control over that area, which is why we recommend our top pick if you want an option that offers better quality at a lower cost.

Other Features

The particle board that forms the RP3's plinth is concealed by a textured exterior finish. Standing waves can be broken up by the channels cut into the underlying board. Like its forerunner, the P3-24, the RP3 makes use of a high-quality 24-volt motor. The engine is still installed on the plinth itself, with the pulley made of metal. The plate is made of frosted glass and has a 100% natural wool felt mat.

Similarly to their forerunners, the RB303 arms require manual assembly after being die-cast. The modified arm tubes are stiffer and more evenly distributed in weight, resulting in a lighter headshell assembly and enhanced standing-wave breaking. The platter is aesthetically pleasing, made of Optiwhite glass with a polished edge.

Two phenolic bracings, one on top of the plinth and one below it, both finished in silver aluminum, brace the arm base to the new bearing housing. The sub-platter, or the piece that accommodates the drive belt beneath the platter, has been improved for the sake of precision.

Care and Maintenance

How to set up

Remember that the first time you set up a turntable, it may be tough to get everything quite perfect. There are, however, some that are more straightforward than others. On many of the best record players on the market, the tonearm can be adjusted into place and the needle can be lowered into the groove automatically; all you have to do is press a button.

In addition, both fully and partially automatic turntables will withdraw the needle from the record’s final groove. Those who have been collecting records for some time are aware, however, that the simplest record players are often the best-sounding, and that the first tuning and manual operation are vital components of turntable ownership.

Can record players connect to speakers?

If your speakers are powered, you can hook up your turntable to them directly. Powered speakers incorporate an amplifier into their design. However, active speakers cannot be powered by a turntable. To connect a record player to passive speakers, an amplifier or receiver is required. In order to hook up a turntable to a set of powered speakers, you’ll need a preamp in either the turntable or the speakers.

How to keep clean

To keep a record player clean, you should regularly clean the stylus, or needle, and wipe down the platter and other external surfaces with a soft, slightly damp cloth. Avoid using any abrasive cleaning products, as these can damage the record player. It’s also important to keep the record player and records themselves free from dust and debris, as this can affect the sound quality. Here are some specific steps you can follow to clean your record player:

  • Gently brush the stylus with a soft, dry brush to remove any dust or debris. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, as this can damage the stylus.
  • Wipe down the platter with a soft, slightly damp cloth. Avoid getting any moisture on the stylus or other parts of the record player.
  • Use a soft, dry cloth to wipe down the external surfaces of the record player, including the case and any buttons or controls.
  • Use a soft brush or compressed air to remove any dust or debris from the inside of the record player, including the belt and other moving parts.
  • If you notice any scratches or other damage on your records, you can try using a vinyl repair kit to fix them. However, it’s best to consult a professional if you’re not sure how to do this properly.

The key to keeping your record player clean is to be gentle and avoid using any harsh or abrasive cleaning products. Regular cleaning will help ensure that your record player stays in good working condition and continues to produce high-quality sound.

Where and how to display

A record player can be displayed in a number of different ways, depending on the style and aesthetic of the space in which it will be placed. Some common ways to display a record player are

  • On a shelf or in a cabinet: If you have a dedicated shelf or cabinet for your record player and vinyl collection, you can display your record player on that shelf or in that cabinet. This is a good option if you want to keep your record player and vinyl collection out of sight when not in use, or if you want to protect your record player from dust and other potential hazards.
  • On a credenza or console: If you have a credenza or console in your living room or other common areas, you can display your record player on top of it. This is a good option if you want to keep your record player out in the open, where it can be easily accessed and enjoyed.
  • On a turntable stand: A turntable stand is a piece of furniture specifically designed for displaying and storing record players. These stands are typically made of wood or metal and have a shelf or platform on which the record player can be placed. They may also have additional shelves or compartments for storing vinyl records and other audio equipment.
  • On a floating shelf: If you have a wall with some open space, you can install a floating shelf and use it to display your record player. This is a good option if you want to keep your record player out of the way, but still visible and easily accessible.

Finally, the best way to display your record player will depend on the style and layout of your space, as well as your personal preferences. Experiment with different options and see what works best for you and your home.

Where and how to store when not in use

When not in use, a record player can be stored in a number of different ways, depending on the available space and your personal preferences. If you have a dedicated cabinet or closet for your record player and vinyl collection, you can store your record player in that cabinet or closet when not in use. This is a good option if you want to keep your record player out of sight and protected from dust and other potential hazards.

Many turntable stands have additional shelves or compartments for storing vinyl records and other audio equipment, so this is a good option if you want to keep everything organized and in one place. This is a good option if you want to keep your record player out of the way, but still visible and easily accessible. Ultimately, the best way to store your record player will depend on the layout of your space, as well as your personal preferences. Experiment with different options and see what works best for you and your home.