The best turntables and record players all do one task exceptionally well, and that’s play a beautifully pressed vinyl record.
Vinyl records have been making a comeback the past several years. For all of those who grew up playing records, you already know how vinyl creates warmth, richness, and depth in the music you’re listening to.
And for the younger generations who grew up mainly with digital, discovering vinyl is often like riding in a convertible car and feeling the wind blow through your hair for the first time.
The Difference Between a Turntable and a Record Player
While the terms may get confusing, the difference between a turntable and a record player is a turntable needs a separate receiver and speakers to play records. A record player does not, they’re often an all-in-one listening device with it’s own speakers—they’re typically portable too.
The Best Turntables and Record Players of 2021
We put together the best turntables and record players you can buy at every price point. What you’ll discover is a record player is typically more affordable, as they encompass all you need to listen to vinyl. Turntables are typically more expensive, as you need bring together a setup for it all, however, the benefit of going this route often leads to better equipment quality and sound quality.
Best Record Players Under $75
You’ll typically find portability to be one of the most important features with record players under $75. If you’re looking to enjoy your tunes at the park or at a friend’s house, then these will fit your needs the best.
Vinyl Record Player Bluetooth Turntable with Built-in Speakers
With built-in speakers, you can throw on your favorite record and immediately start listening. And if you want to buy some more powerful external speakers, you can connect them to this player via RCA cable. This record player also doubles as a regular speaker, as you can listen to music from your phone via Bluetooth.
Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player with Built-in Speakers
This Victrola is praised for its portability (it’s in a literally carrying case). Features like built-in speakers, 3 different rpm speeds, and the ability to connect external speakers via RCA cable make this optimal for taking with you wherever tunes are needed.
Best Turntables and Record Players $150-$300
You can find a good setup between $150-$300. External speakers and a more expensive turntable will ensure less skipping and better sound quality.
ANGELS HORN Bluetooth Turntable Player with Stereo Bookshelf Speakers
ANGELS HORN is an all-in-one hi-fi turntable system. The turntable has a built-in phono preamp, so you won’t need a receiver. Plus, it includes an RCA line output for connecting to the external speakers via wire. Perhaps our favorite feature is the 45 rpm record adapter, so you can play both your standard vinyl and your 7-inch records. Oh, and the vintage wood design makes it a great start for creating a cool listening station in your home.
Crosley T150B-BK Modern 2-Speed Bluetooth Turntable System
This Crosley system is a lofty 8.5 pounds and comes with a built-in Bluetooth receiver. The speakers connect wirelessly via Bluetooth as well, so you essentially have zero cords to deal with. And being that it’s made by Crosley, you know you’ll be getting your money’s worth.
Bluetooth 2-Speed Precision Turntable with External Speakers
We like this mid-tier turntable setup (one) because of the walnut design, and (two) you get a high-quality Audio-Technic stylus—meaning your records won’t be skipping any beats. Other features like a detachable dust cover to protect your record, a 45 rpm record adapter, and an adjustable counter weight to ensure smooth movement of the stylus is why we like this vintage-inspired setup.
Best High-End Turntables and Record Players $300+
Once you start looking at turntables over $300, you’re getting into the premium equipment. You might be venturing into audiophile territory, which is a good thing because these setups will harness every last bit of sound your records are packed with.
Turntable with Connection to Speaker Via Bluetooth
A high-end turntable with a wireless speaker connection promises top-notch sound quality while also preserving ease of placement in a room. While you sacrifice some sound quality when not using wired, you come away with not ever having to deal with cords.
Sony PS-LX310BT Bluetooth Turntable
Sharp and sleek, this turntable from Sony can be paired with any set of Bluetooth speakers, however, the turntable also comes with the possibility of a wired connection via RCA cables. One feature we love is the USB ripping. You can set up your vinyl record to be recorded onto a digital MP3 file that you can then download onto your phone for future listening. So if you have any rare records, or you’re want to listen to your records away from your home you can do so.
Edifier R1280DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
These Edifier speakers are solid when it comes to Bluetooth bookshelf speakers that will pack a punch. They’ve got a 4-inch bass driver and side panel controls to adjust the EQ to your liking.
Turntable with Wired Speaker Connection
A premium turntable plus wired connection equals the best sound you can get. While it may take a little bit of time to get all the components together, you can create an incredible listening experience in whatever room you choose to place your turntable.
Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB-BK Direct-Drive Turntable
Audio Technica is often regarded as the best in the turntable game. Go with this AT-LP120 edition. It comes with variable pitch control with a quartz speed lock, as well as a removable plug-type target light for easier cueing in low light. Perhaps the most important feature is the balanced S-shaped tonearm that comes with hydraulically damped lift control and lockable rest. This will ensure your stylus lays in the perfect position, drawing out the entire sound of the record.
Audioengine A5+ Plus Wired Speakers
With a player as nice as the Audio Technica, you’re going to want to opt for some premium, wired speakers. We say wired because you want to directly draw the best sound you possibly can in a high-end setup. These Audioengine A5’s fit the bill, and they’ll blow your mind with their 150W peak and bass-heavy subwoofer.
Amazon Basics 14-Gauge Audio Stereo Speaker Wire Cable – 50 Feet
With a wired connection, you’re going to need wire cables. Go with this affordable roll from Amazon Basics.
Sony STRDH190 2-ch Home Stereo Receiver
And last is the receiver—aka, the heartbeat to your high-end turntable setup. You’re going to need a receiver when your turntable doesn’t come with internal power. This receiver from Sony includes Bluetooth pairing, so you can pair your phone and listen to music and podcasts through those beautiful A5’s.
John is the Style & Gear Editor for BroBible. You can contact him on Twitter @johnthompsoniv or via email John@brobible.com
The BroBible team writes about gear that we think you want. Occasionally, we write about items that are a part of one of our affiliate partnerships and we will get a percentage of the revenue from sales.