The best turntables 2024, chosen by experts for all budgets (2024)

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REASONS TO BUY

REASONS TO AVOID

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The best turntables 2024, chosen by experts for all budgets (1)

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  • Quick list
  • Best overall
  • Best budget
  • Best high-end
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  • Best fully automatic
  • Best for beginners
  • Best for tinkering
  • Best for pros
  • Most durable
  • Best one-box player
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The best turntables will transform your vinyl collection, making it sound smoother, fuller, cleaner…just better. Many of the top record players today are also packed with the latest audio tech, including USB ports for ripping your vinyl and saving your curated (almost certainly unique and irreplaceable) collection of LPs as digital files too.

Some of the best turntables in our list also come with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity baked in, so they’ll work with audio kit you already own, such as the best wireless speakers and the best headphones to upgrade your at-home listening experience.

We’ve selected only the best turntables and record players (the term 'record player' typically refers to a proposition with amplification and speakers included; a turntable tends to refer to the vinyl-spinning separate itself with tonearm, platter, and so on, but no speakers) for this guide, based on reviews from our experts, who collectively have decades of experience in the hi-fi world. We've chosen a range of decks to suit all budgets and music tastes, for veterans or beginners (see our how to set up a turntable to get you in the groove if that's you).

The quick list

Want to cut to the bit where we tell you which turntables are the absolute best? Have at this bevvy of beauties. Feel free to jump to a more detailed review of each product –or our nifty price comparison tool will help you find the best deals.

Best overall

1. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo

Best for most people

OK it's not exactly cheap, but the Debut Carbon Evo is the most refined, upgraded and enjoyable Pro-Ject model we've ever tested, which is why it's our shout for the best turntable most people could own.

Read more below

Best budget

2. Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT

Best budget buy

Low pricing and simple setup equals a home run for this AT deck. Or put your Bluetooth headphones into pairing mode, hold down the button on the bottom-left corner of the turntable’s plinth –now, you've got wireless vinyl.

Read more below

Best high-end

3. Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2

Best high-end performer

Cambridge's updated V2 Alva TT has a switchable integrated phono stage and a new tonearm. The price has risen a little, but the V2 retains the original’s bank-vault build quality, hi-res wireless streaming and air of profound solidity that made it one of thebest decksaround.

Read more below

Best mid-priced

4. Fluance RT81

Best mid-pricedThis classic and understated turntable from a trusted name in audio is a small step up from entry-level, but manages to blend easy setup, sound quality, room to grow and features with a palatable price tag.

Read more below

Best fully automatic

5. Denon DP-300F

Best fully automaticStarting your vinyl journey and don’t want a complicated setup? The Denon DP-300F is top shout. You’ll sacrifice a modicum of sound quality for convenience, but you can always upgrade the cartridge later to level up the audio.

Read more below

Best for beginners

6. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon

Best for beginners

For the price, you can't go wrong. This is the perfect starter turntable for audiophiles. It has a 2M Red cartridge, offers stellar damping and even lets you upgrade the parts over time.

Read more below

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Best for tinkerers

7. Rega Planar PL1

Best for turntable tinkerers

It's a Rega,and that comes with real pride in ownership, but it's also the best version yet of a truly classic entry-level record player… and one you can grow with, adjusting the tonearm, upgrading the cartridge and more.

Read more below

Best for going pro

8. Marantz TT-15S1

Best for pros

A gorgeous turntable that sounds incredible. The Clearaudio Virtuoso cartridge tracks beautifully, unearthing details you didn’t know were there. Getting serious with your vinyl collection? The TT-15S1 deserves an audition.

Read more below

Best for durability

9. Technics SL-1500C

Best bullet-proof build

Technics was reborn in 2015, (parent company Panasonic closed it in 2010) but this is the first deck released since the relaunch that really reminds listeners of what they loved about the brand. Truly, this direct-drive deck feels unbreakable.

Read more below

Best all-in-one

10. Lenco LS-410

Best one-box player

The Lenco LS-410 combines the retro joys of vinyl with modern wireless streaming technology, adds a built-in loudspeaker array and plenty of amplification, all in a box that looks and feels nicer than it really has any right to at such a low price.

Read more below

Written by

The best turntables 2024, chosen by experts for all budgets (12)

Written by

Becky Scarrott

I've reviewed over 150 audio products since becoming a tech journalist, ranging from super-budget earbuds to high-end Hi-Res Audio music players. Before joining TechRadar, I spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing everything the world of audio had to offer; before that, I was a professional dancer. I'll always extol the virtues of listening (and dancing) to the best musical quality you can stretch to – and for more and more people, happily, that includes vinyl.

Recent updates

July 5, 2024
Added a section explaining the use of USB ports in turntables.

The best turntables of 2024

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

The best turntable overall

The best turntables 2024, chosen by experts for all budgets (13)

1. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo

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 avoid

-

Could sound more vigorous

BUY IT IF

✅ You want to hear everything from your records: The Pro-Ject is a wildly detailed listen – even the barely there transient details are picked up on and handed over.

✅ You don’t want to get too hands-on: The new automatic speed control means no more lifting off the platter and moving the drive belt.

DON'T BUY IT IF

You want the cleanest, crispest vinyl experience: The Pro-Ject’s not without competition – and the best rivals are a little less laid-back.

You want some 21st-century touches: Lately we’ve seen a few turntables with Bluetooth, or USB outputs. This ain’t one of them.

If you want to enjoy the rich sound of vinyl without compromising on even a speck of of glorious audio information, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo is one of the best turntables for this –and that makes it one of the best decks on the planet right now. Also, the carbon fiber tonearm is pre-mounted with a very capable Ortofon (or Sumika) cartridge. A new motor design, some damped and adjustable feet, and automatic speed change contribute no end to the Debut Evo's improved performance and improved ergonomics over the previous Pro-Ject model.

Simply put, it sounds fantastic. It doesn’t matter what sort of music you like to listen to, the Debut Carbon Evo laps it up. Our testing process revealed a detailed and compelling deck that's able to focus on the minutiae even as it describes the complete picture. And it does so with conviction. The Debut Carbon Evo has all the warmth and weight that vinyl is famous for, but it refuses to get bogged down – it simply motors along in the most natural way imaginable.

Its steel platter is now heavier, thanks to a thermoplastic ring on its inside edge – this reduces operation noise –and there’s now a suggestion of convenience in the shape of a speed-change switch at the bottom of the plinth; previously you’d have to take off the platter and move the drive belt to change speeds, but now 33.3rpm can become 45rpm (or vice-versa) at a press. You can change the drive belt itself in order to play at 78rpm. Both belts are included in the package. The one-piece tonearm is made of carbon fiber, and comes fitted with a very capable Ortofon 2M Red cartridge (except in America, where it features a Sumiko Ranier cartridge instead). With a choice of nine finishes, including five very attractive new ‘satin’ options, there’s sure to be a Debut Carbon Evo to fit in with your interior decor choices.

The Debut Carbon Evo is the most refined, upgraded and enjoyable Pro-ject model we've ever tested, which is why it's our pick for the best turntable you can buy – but it’s also the most expensive. Don't let the price put you off if you can afford it, though.

Read our full Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo review

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The best budget Bluetooth buy

The best turntables 2024, chosen by experts for all budgets (14)

2. Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT

The best turntable on a budget, but still with Bluetooth

Specifications

Dimensions: 360 x 98 x 373 mm

Motor: Belt drive

Platter: Aluminum

Phono preamp: Yes

USB: No

Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm

Stylus: Conical

Reasons to buy

+

Top value for money

+

Easy setup

Reasons to avoid

-

Audio could be more detailed

-

Materials feel a little cheap and flimsy

BUY IT IF

✅ You have a tight budget: This is a budget turntable that's perfect for beginners.

✅ You want a simple set-up: There are a few things you need to do before you can get up and spinning, but it's all relatively simple.

DON'T BUY IT IF

You want high-end styling and build: We like how this turntable looks for the money, but it doesn't feel rock-solid.

You want the ultimate audio experience: Sound is good here, but it's not perfect. For a more detailed, immersive experience, you'll need spend a little more.

The Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT is our top budget choice, and a near-perfect option for beginner vinyl enthusiast. Setting it up will be easy for those familiar with the vinyl experience, but fledglings should note that it does require some hands-on assembly. You can use it wirelessly via Bluetooth to your wireless headphones and speakers, and with a built-in switchable phono preamp, you can connect directly to powered speakers, your computer or hi-fi system, whether it has a dedicated phono input or not –or bypass A-T's and use your own dedicated phono stage.

The sonic profile is generally very warm, which isn’t unusual for vinyl. If you prefer your music to have a little more attack in the treble frequencies, you may find yourself craving more crispness, but it’s all a matter of taste. Audio-Technica is known for producing high quality cartridges, and the one used on this turntable 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 our review, we wrote: “it makes your music an absolute joy to listen to.”

The design of the AT-LP60XBT is pleasing and functional with a matte black plinth and space-saving sleek build. It’s also very light at just 2.6kg, thanks to its extensive use of thin plastic. The downside is that while its neat dimensions and lightness could be an attractive feature for those who are short on space, the AT-LP60XBT does feel a little fragile. We’re not saying it’s badly designed, everything works well, but the materials used here aren’t as luxurious as what you’d find elsewhere.

If you’re looking for something super simple and not too pricey, this deck might be your best bet – and 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

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The best high-end performer

The best turntables 2024, chosen by experts for all budgets (15)

3. Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2

The best turntable for high-fidelity sound

Specifications

Dimensions: 435 x 139 x 368 mm

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 quality

Reasons to avoid

-

Not quite perfect dynamically

-

Sounds better wired than wireless

BUY IT IF

✅ You want your old format to have some modernity: Short of turning your records over for you, the Alva TT V2 makes things as simple as possible.

✅ You like a balanced and easy listen: ‘Easy’ in this instance is by no means a negative, and sounds great through various connection options.

DON'T BUY IT IF

You’re expecting wireless to match wired: It sounds better hard-wired, no two ways about it. But that's always going to be the case.

You enjoy the more visceral aspects of music: The Alva TT v2 isn’t the most forthright or dynamic turntable around for those who like lots of attack.

If you’re looking for a top-performing turntable, the Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 is tough to beat. You get a built-in phono stage so it can be connected directly to an amp or active speakers, but it's switchable, so you can use your own high-end solution if you have one. It also includes Bluetooth for sending sound directly to headphones or a wireless speaker – and it's aptX HD Bluetooth, so you get more detail. The device’s tonearm features anti-skate as well as counter-weight adjustment and has a detachable headshell for ease of cartridge-replacement. It’s pre-fitted with a cartridge, of course – a high-output Cambridge Audio moving coil option.

Inevitably, we found that it does sound its best through some great wired components than even the best top-tier Bluetooth headphones. However, we did still get that rich, vinyl sound wirelessly, and with greater clarity and precision than from cheaper Bluetooth turntables. As we said in our review: "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."

It might be the best in the list for high-performing audio and specs, but it isn’t the prettiest or most elegant model. This turntable's aesthetic could best be described as functional; it is designed to look like a turntable, albeit a nicely constructed one. A hefty chassis is topped by a tactile aluminium plinth –but the build quality is classy.

The Alva TT v2 isn’t the most forthright or dynamically agile deck around for those who like oodles of attack. But it is way more convenient than the norm, and it's also a turntable that’s able to hold its head high in pure performance terms, too. If you want a deck packed with clever and useful tech that delivers an easy listen most music lovers will find enjoyable, it’s a great value investment.

Read our full Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 review

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The best mid-priced deck

The best turntables 2024, chosen by experts for all budgets (16)

4. Fluance RT81

The best turntable for mid-priced bang for your buck

Specifications

Dimensions: 419 x 140 x 349 mm

Motor: Belt drive

Platter: Aluminum

Phono preamp: Yes

USB: No

Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm

Stylus: ATN95E

Reasons to buy

+

Great sound-per pound value

+

Decent-sounding phono stage

Reasons to avoid

-

Less than excellent vibration damping

-

No auto returning tonearm

BUY IT IF

✅ Easy setup and convenient features: Changing speeds is easy with a dedicated button –and it has an automatic start and stop.
✅ You want to get the best possible value: If you want a deck that just works, looks classy and can be upgraded later, put this on the list.

DON'T BUY IT IF

You want consistent speed: We found there to be some hunting and pecking to keep a smooth playing speed.

You want some 21st-century touches: The Fluance RT81 slightly lacks the detail of higher-end turntables.

The Fluance RT81 is an excellent beginner turntable. The reason? It's simple to set up and use for newbies, but as you'd expect, you can level up the cartridge to squeeze even more performance out of it 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 in the future.

We really enjoyed this turntable's sound during testing, but we did encounter a few issues. The Fluance RT81's promised “auto-off” feature turns the platter off 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 player. If that's you, the Denon DP-300F (also in this guide) is a great choice for a fully automated vinyl experience.

Then again, if you want a more high-end performance from the get-go, take a look at the Pro-Ject Carbon Evo at the top of our guide. Then again, the Fluance remains a viable shout. 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

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The best fully automatic pick

The best turntables 2024, chosen by experts for all budgets (17)

5. Denon DP-300F

The best turntable with fully automatic operation

Specifications

Dimensions: 434 x 122 x 381 mm

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 nominal ticket price

Reasons to avoid

-

Plastic, inexpensive build

-

Buttons feel less than premium

BUY IT IF

✅ You want a hands-off turntable: Being fully automatic means that it can start and stop spinning plates at the push of a button.
✅ Your new to vinyl: If you want to learn about queueing and digitizing your records (and aren't worried about premature needle wear), this is a great shout

DON'T BUY IT IF

You want a premium looking design: The DP-300F is borderline generic and we found the button felt a little cheap during our testing.

You want to digitize your records: If it matters to you, it would be a bit of shame to not be able to download your favorite vinyl.

The Denon DP-300F is a gorgeous turntable that sounds just as good as it looks. As we wrote in our review: "If all you want is to listen to your records and not have to worry about cueing, premature needle wear or digitizing your records, the Denon DP-300F should be at the top of your list."

The DP-300F's features get you listening to your vinyl records as soon as possible, instead of having to fiddle with complicated counter-weights, tonearm setups and manual cueing.

Granted, the included DSN-85 cartridge isn't winning any awards for precision and exacting accuracy, but nevertheless it manages to make your music sound airy and reasonably detailed, delivering 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 cue 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.

Read our full Denon DP-300F review

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Best deck for beginner enthusiasts

The best turntables 2024, chosen by experts for all budgets (18)

6. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon

The best turntable for beginners who'll become enthusiasts

Specifications

Dimensions: 415 x 118 x 320 mm

Motor: Belt drive

Platter: Aluminum

Phono preamp: No

USB: No

Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 rpm

Stylus: Ortofon 2M Red

Reasons to buy

+

Supreme value for a hi-fi turntable

+

Simple setup

Reasons to avoid

-

Manual speed change

-

Requires a separate phono preamp

BUY IT IF

✅ You want good dampening against vibrations: Thanks to medium density fibreboard (MDF) and a rubber suspension system, you won't hear your music skip a beat from footsteps.

✅ You're after an easy setup: The Debut Carbon is simple and straightforward for beginners to set up, with easy to follow instructions.

DON'T BUY IT IF

You don't want to manually change the speed: You'll have to move the belt between the upper and lower pulley if you want to do this, which is a slight annoyance.

You want automated features: The Debut Carbon lacks conveniences with no auto starting and stopping, anti-skate dial or built-in 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 those looking to test the warm analog waters (rather than invest in vinyl for keeps) may be perturbed by the relatively high price here, we've tested it and we can tell you that it's actually an incredible bargain, for those who want it.

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 usually reserved for turntables costing a lot more.

As we said in our review: "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 one for the budding enthusiast committed to record collecting. It doesn’t feature niceties such as an auto-returning tonearm, buttons for changing speed or an included phono preamp and newbies may be further disappointed by the manual changing of the belt position to switch speeds, along with its lack of inbuilt preamp. For others, this will be hi-fi heaven.

Hot tip: if you like the Pro-Ject Debut range 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

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The best hi-fi turntable for tinkerers

The best turntables 2024, chosen by experts for all budgets (19)

7. Rega Planar PL1

The best hi-fi turntable for tinkerers

Specifications

Dimensions: 450 x 115 x 385mm

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 built-in phono preamp

BUY IT IF

✅ You admire efficient engineering: It’s not luxurious (because Regas aren't), but the Planar PL1 is properly specified and built.
✅ You like to get ‘hands on’: Change the speed from 33.3 to 45rpm; see what we mean.

DON'T BUY IT IF

You want some modernity: Some turntables have USB outputs and wireless connectivity. Not this one.

You don’t have a proper shelf to put it on: Those feet will suppress some vibration, but they’re not miracle-workers.It needs a sturdy rack to call home.

There’s a lot of debate over whether the Rega Planar PL1 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 forgeo the fancy carbon tonearm of the Pro-Ject, the PL1 still sounds excellent and is well damped thanks to its phenolic resin platter. And for fledgling vinyl collectors the Rega is still an easy setup, though you’ll have to supply your own phono preamp. Want to embark on a life of tonearm adjustment, cartridge upgrades and maybe even vinyl subscription services? This is the deck for you.

In our testing, this record player sounded so good it seemed churlish to fault it. Vocals are revealing and you perceive the subtle textures of instruments within orchestral soundstages. The included Rega Carbon cartridge isn’t anything particularly special, but it's a very decent match for the deck. Given the choice between the Planar PL1 and the Debut Carbon we'd say that you can’t go wrong with either – and if that sounds like a cop-out, you'll simply have to read each review to make your choice.

Read our full Rega Planar PL1 review

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The best for going pro

The best turntables 2024, chosen by experts for all budgets (20)

8. Marantz TT-15S1

The best turntable for going pro

Specifications

Dimensions: 440 x 350 x 110 mm

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

+

Meticulous attention to detail

Reasons to avoid

-

Price makes it an investment

BUY IT IF

✅ You want the most incredible range and clarity: To th keen ear, the Marantz TT-15S1 is nautical miles above entry-level hi-fi turntables.
✅ You want to get the best value at an enthusiast level: It's not cheap, but considering its stunning design and premium audio performance, it's a steal.

DON'T BUY IT IF

You want bass: Because the TT-15S1 presents such an exceptionally neutral presentation, bass lacks clout and impact, despite being deep and textured.

You tend to play unmastered records: If a record is poorly mixed, you're going to hear every single bit of what isn't happening.

The Marantz TT-15S1 is relatively expensive, but it delivers excellent performance for the price –and considering the Clearaudio Virtuoso cartridge is included (which is around $1,000 when purchased separately) it's actually a great deal. You also get a premium tonearm and a winsome turntable. Yes, the price is definitely an investment, but it is not an unreasonable one.

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 this turntable has been tweaked and optimised to be the best it possibly can be, for the price. The fit and finish are excellent and it's very pleasant to handle.

It is not a great option for vinyl newcomers; it requires more knowledge to set up properly than the entry-level turntables on this list (try the Audio-Technica model in at number two of this guide 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. In our review, we surmised: "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

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The best for durability

The best turntables 2024, chosen by experts for all budgets (21)

10. Technics SL-1500C

The best turntable for a mighty build and durability

Specifications

Dimensions: 453 x 169 x 372 mm

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

BUY IT IF

✅ You want "bomb-proof" build quality: With a hefty aluminum top-plate and platter, the SL-1500C could survive a medium-sized detention.

✅ You want an expansive soundstage: Recordings are given plenty of elbow-room with loads of depth and height, without lacking unity.

DON'T BUY IT IF

You want the best value turntable: The SL-1500C is marginally expensive compared to rivals.

You're looking for a subtle design: Technics has stuck with its DJ deck look and feel with the SL-1500C.

Say hello to this budget-friendly Technics SL. This SL-1500C will only set you back £899 / $999 / AU$2,499 (for reference, look to the Technics SL-1210g to see how much Technics decks usually go for). It may still 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 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 review

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The best affordable one-box record player

The best turntables 2024, chosen by experts for all budgets (22)

11. Lenco LS-410WA

The best affordable one-box record player

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

BUY IT IF

✅ You want an entire system for relatively little outlay: The LS-410 is impressively specified.

✅ You like a retro aesthetic: There’s a hint of the ‘mid-century modern’ to this Lenco.

DON'T BUY IT IF

You intend to listen seriously to vinyl: Sound is underwhelming and speed control is lacking.

You’re clumsy: The tonearm and its peripherals don’t feel especially robust.

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. Sonically, you can do better though. As we said in our review: "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."

OK, there are issues with its rotational consistency and the construction of its slightly rattly 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 either.

The thing is, it still has value because it just does so much in one package. If affordable vinyl sound quality is your priority, other options here may still be preferable, like the Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT –but as a one-box solution, it's still worthy of your time.

Read our full Lenco LS-410 review

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How to choose the best turntable

Finding the best record player for you can seem confusing, but there are some key details you need to consider when choosing your next turntable.

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 just yet.

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

Also worth considering is this: 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 top-end fee 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 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 deck of choice doesn't have built-in amplification or a phono stage and you want to connect it to passive speakers, you'll need to buy these too – check out our amplifier reviews for more information.

Are old turntables better than new ones?

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 whether 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.

Are high-end turntables worth it?

If you're an audiophile that can notice the subtle differences and nuances of the devices you're playing music on, and if you have the budget, you'll benefit from a high-end turntable.

Premium turntables typically offer a more precise and natural sound, so your vinyl collection will come across better than ever – though you'll need to pair it with a phono stage, amp and speakers that are equally revealing, of course.

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 mid-range turntable. You also tend to need pretty hefty setups with large speakers to benefit fully from the qualities of high-end turntables, so if you're tight on space, you may also be better off saving your money.

How much should I spend on a turntable?

That really depends on you. A $99/£99 turntable will do a good job of playing vinyl, but the more you spend the more premium your experience is likely to be.

One of our current favourite mid-range turntable is the Rega Planar 1, which has a list price of £299 / $595 / AU$645. But while it's an undeniably great turntable, Rega has chosen to spend its money on the core components and high quality engineering rather than gee-whiz features or fancy materials. Its more expensive models follow that philosophy too, focusing on delivering the most pristine audio quality possible.

Sony's slightly cheaper PS-LX310BT comes in at £249 / $249 and adds Bluetooth to the mix –but what you gain in connectivity you lose (slightly) in visual appeal and in sound quality. It's not bad by any means, but if you're listening on high-end equipment you'll hear a difference.

As with most audio equipment, it comes down to what features matter most to you. If you already have high-end audio kit then it's worth spending that little bit more to get a really premium sound. But as our guide above demonstrates, you can get a really great turntable for a lot less than you might expect.

Is it worth buying an expensive turntable?

It all depends on your budget and your needs. Casual listeners might be happy with a mid-range or budget turntable. But those deeply invested in the vinyl experience or audiophiles who can appreciate subtle audio nuances might find that investing in a high-end turntable could significantly improve their listening experience.

If you have a small budget and can’t possibly consider an expensive turntable, there are more affordable options. Consider the Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT in our guide above, which is great value for money. Granted, in our testing, we did say the materials the Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT is made from feel a little cheap, and there could be more detail in the audio, but they’re not deal-breakers, and there does need to be a trade-off for that more affordable price tag.

Of course, expensive options, like our high-end pick, the Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2, are well worth the money. They have a premium build and a balanced and insightful sound quality.

With turntables, and most tech for that matter, you tend to get what you pay for. And when it comes to turntables, higher-priced options often offer superior audio quality. They boast better components like platters, cartridges, and tonearms, which effectively reduce vibrations and noise, thereby enhancing the clarity and detail of the sound.

But that doesn’t always have to be the case. You can find affordable and mid-range tech that can compete with much more expensive devices – you often just have to make a small sacrifice in one or two areas.

What's the difference between a record player and turntable?

Although the terms record player and turntable are often used interchangeably, they describe two distinct types of vinyl playback devices.

Turntables are the components within a larger audio system that spin the vinyl record – they're basically just a way of getting the recording off the wax. They require additional equipment – including a pre-amp, amplifier and speakers – to produce the sound you hear. People like turntables because they're usually highly customizable, allowing users to mix and match components like the stylus, cartridge, and tonearm to tailor the audio output to their preferences, which is further tailored to your tastes or budget by the other hi-fi components. This makes them a favorite among audiophiles who want high-quality sound and a way to upgrade parts over time.

Record players, on the other hand, are all-in-one units that include the turntable, amplifier and even speakers. This makes them more convenient and user-friendly, particularly for casual listeners or anyone living in a small home. While they offer ease of use and portability, record players generally do not match the audio quality of a good turntable setup. They also don't provide much customization, and it's not as easy to upgrade them.

Choosing between a turntable and a record player depends largely on your needs and preferences. If you prioritize sound quality and are keen to customize your audio setup, a turntable might be the better choice. If you prefer simplicity and want a compact option, a record player would better serve you. In this guide, we've chosen both turntables and record players to suit different needs.

What is the most reliable turntable?

For us, reliable means a turntable that's a fantastic all-rounder and good value for money. With that in mind, you can't go wrong with the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo that sits at the top of our list of the best turntables, with an expansive, detailed sound and impressive specs.

If you're willing to spend a little more, then the Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 is our high-end option. This futuristic, fantastic-looking turntable brings you a balanced and insightful sound, as well as modern connectivity options. In contrast, the Fluance RT81 is a mid-range option with no-frills but a great sound for the price.

But if by reliable you mean sheer toughness, then the Technics SL-1500C needs to under consideration, because it's built like musical tank.

What makes a high-quality turntable?

This largely depends what you're looking for – although of course, we have our opinions. We judge a high-quality turntable on the build, the different playback speeds that are on offer, the compatibility and how well-damped the deck is. It's also worth looking for extra features, like USB ports.

Beginners may want to find an easy-to-use turntable rather than a high-quality, picky one requiring calibration of the tonearm and such. We recommend looking for simple setups, built-in phono stages and wireless connectivity, like Bluetooth. Style matters too, so pick out a look you like as well as a solid and dependable design.

Does vinyl sound better?

It depends what you're comparing it to. But yes, vinyl sounds better than lossy and compressed MP3 files. Vinyl also tends to sound better than CDs because records are an end-to-end analog format.

Essentially, an actual, physical sound wave is always better than a digitised version of it that has been compressed for storage, then unpacked.

Are there any dangers with cheap turntables?

Obviously, cheap turntables aren't likely to sound as good as more expensive models – but they also pose a risk of damaging your records. Most cheap turntables use a ceramic cartridge instead of a magnetic cartridge, which means the needle is flexible and so will cause more wear to the record's grooves. In addition, cheap turntables often don't have counterweights in the arms, which means the needle isn't balancing delicately on the grooves, it's pushing into them – and then that combines with the inflexible needle. If the motor is rocky in quality and the turntable isn't well damped against outside vibrations, the record may wobble and apply even more undue pressure. And that goes double for turntables with built-in speakers, which will be adding their own vibrations to the body.

Not all cheap turntables are a disaster waiting to happen to your (not cheap!) vinyl – some will have made good decisions about putting the money into the parts that matter, and skipping other unnecessary features. But some definitely are, so be sure to buy based on the reviews of people with experience, and consider strong saving a little longer to get a step-up model if you can, because the jump in safety and quality from 'super-cheap' to 'inexpensive' is large, but the price isn't that different.

Does my turntable need a USB port?

You might have noticed that several mid-range or budget turntables include USB ports, which is obviously a relatively recent addition to the tech inside these machines. So, should you prioritize having this option on your next spinner? Well, we have a whole guide that digs into the question of whether your next turntable should have a USB port, but we'll summarize the key points here.

The point of the USB port is to be able to digitize your record collection. You can connect it to a computer, and use software to record what the player plays – complete with analogue imperfections. In some cases, there may be albums or tracks on records that never made it onto the best music streaming services, so you might want to preserve these digitally, and a USB port enables you to do that.

But that is essentially the only reason. You wouldn't use for direct music playback in any way, and they're not used for software updates that improve turntable performance or anything like that.

If you are looking for an affordable turntable with a USB port, read our Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB review – that's an excellent option for the price.

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 open up 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 deck 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.

The latest updates to this turntables guide

July 5, 2024
Added a section explaining the use of USB ports in turntables.

June 7, 2024
Checked all products. Added information about the difference between turntables and record players.

See more updates

May 10, 2024
Added information about the potential risks of cheaper turntables damaging vinyl.

March 28, 2024
Removed Clearaudio Concept because it's been discontinued.

January 22, 2024
Updated copy and content to reflect new turntables.

November 10, 2023
Checked all recommendations, and updated some descriptions and FAQs to aid clarity. Added notes about Black Friday deals.

October 2, 2023
Checked products against current prices and reviews, and updated some buying advice.

September 14, 2023
Added buy it if, don't buy it if boxouts to each individual product write-up, and checked product rankings against latest reviews.

August 9, 2023
Updated the format of this guide to feature quick links at the top, refreshed prices within the copy to reflect the market.

July 19, 2023
Changed images to our own hands-on pictures. Reordered products to reflect the latest prices.

June 13, 2023
Checked all products against our latest reviews and ratings.

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The best turntables 2024, chosen by experts for all budgets (23)

Becky Scarrott

Audio Editor

Becky became Audio Editor at TechRadar in 2024, but joined the team in 2022 as Senior Staff Writer, focusing on all things hi-fi. Before this, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.

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