Vinyls have been back in business for a while now, but if you’re new to the world of records, then you may find buying your first record player to be a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of options to choose from, across a huge array of price ranges.
Should you spring for something expensive, or go with a more entry-level record player? What functions do you need or should you even look for? And if you’re shopping for a gift, which record player will your recipient actually appreciate?
Start your shopping experience by perusing some of the eight best record players below.
There’s a reason that everyone knows the name “Victrola.” The brand has produced high-quality music players for just about as long as listening to music without a live instrument actually in the room has been a thing.
At just $50, this portable record player is a pretty good starter for those new to collecting vinyl (and definitely the cheapest option on this list). The three-speed record player features a retro design and comes in more than 30 colors and designs.
Put it in your bedroom, your office, anywhere — because it’s easy to take this portable option on the go, thanks to the suitcase-like design and carrying handle. Want to listen to something you currently don’t have in your vinyl collection?
You can easily stream music via the Bluetooth speakers. There’s even a line input function so you can connect various forms of audio to the speaker system, as well as hook up a pair of headphones.
The Rega Planar 3 has been around in some form or fashion since the ‘70s, so you know you can trust its decades of use and fanfare.
While definitely not a portable option, the turntable is certainly attractive, thanks to its minimalistic, sleek design that would fit into any modern setting.
Of course, this is a luxury turntable (and it looks it), so expect a hefty (and possibly shocking) price tag: $800.
The Rega Planar 3 breaks vinyl down to its bare basics, with no fancy extra added features or functions. It does one thing, and it does that one thing very well.
If you want an option that’s not quite as expensive as the Rega Planar 3, but you do want to start getting into higher-end turntables, then consider this $250 option from Audio Technica. It’s great for beginners who do intend to get into those more luxurious record players at some point, but who just don’t have the budget at the moment.
While there are some fancier settings and features that you’ll want to read up on before you begin playing, reviewers say the turntable isn’t that difficult to learn. One of the more unique features it offers? The ability to convert your vinyl records to digital audio files when you use the free recording software that comes with the player.
At $200, this ION turntable offers futuristic functionality blended with a classic design. The sleek turntable sports a woodgrain finish that’ll look at home in just about any decor, and a clear dust cover for protection.
Special features include USB connectivity, which allows you to both convert records into digital files that you can store elsewhere, as well as play digital files through the turntable’s speakers. You’re also able to use the turntable’s special software to record music onto blank discs.
For just under $400, the Denon DP-300F fully automatic turntable is a good quality for the money, providing you with detailed audio that’s about as good as it gets for the price.
While it doesn’t come with some of the fancier tech features that some of the other record players on this list offer, many users enjoy the automatic functionality, which just requires you to press a single button to start playing any record. The tonearm then automatically lifts and rests right where it needs to, so you don’t have to worry about scratches caused by manual play.
When the record is done, the tonearm lifts back into place, a great feature if you sometimes forget to remove the tonearm, have a habit of leaving the room or just want to ensure that your needle never has a chance of being worn down.
If you really want something with a lot of functionality, something affordable and something totally vintage, then check out this option from Victrola. While it doesn’t offer the most amazing sound at the $140 price point, that’s not a problem for beginner record enthusiasts who just want to listen to their collection and don’t necessarily consider themselves audiophiles.
So, what exactly are the eight included features? You can choose to play audio from vinyls, MP3 files, CDs, cassettes, the radio, Bluetooth and aux cords, as well as hook up a pair of headphones.
For $500, you can enjoy a wide range of features and an upscale look from the Pro-Ject Juke Box E. While not as powerful as some other, more expensive turntables, this one still offers some desirable functions.
Users enjoy the high contrast display, remote control, Bluetooth capabilities and speaker outputs. The turntable is also on the smaller side, so it’s a good choice for those wanting to fit a new turntable into an already crowded office or den space.
This option from Sony is budget-friendly, at less than $200, and it comes with all the features you might need as a beginner. With two speeds, the turntable offers wireless connection for Bluetooth-enabled devices, a stable platter, USB ripping functions and more.
Picking a Record Player
Whatever your budget, whatever your familiarity with the world of vinyl, you can find a record player with the functions you want, for a price you can agree with.
All you have to do is a little research — and the eight record players above are a great place to start digging.
You might also be interested in: The 6 Best Bookshelf Speakers of 2020
The 8 Best Record Players:
- Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player with Built-in Speakers
- Rega Planar 3
- Audio-Technica ATLP120X USB Direct-Drive Professional USB Turntable
- ION Audio Max LP Turntable
- Denon DP-300F
- Victrola Nostalgic Aviator Wood 8-in-1 Bluetooth Turntable Entertainment Center
- Pro-Ject Juke Box E All-in-One Turntable
- Sony PS-LX310BT Belt Drive Turntable