by Adam MolinaAugust 31, 2016

Blame it on hipsters or the confusing state of music streaming services, but vinyl records are making a comeback. Besides the sound benefits that come along with vinyl, there’s just something special about owning your favorite albums. Whether you enjoy placing the needle on the record or take pride in owning a collection, vinyl refuses to die. But what’s a record without a record player? The resurgence in vinyl has also lead to a rise in turntable sales. Everyone wants in on the action and there are loads of new options out there. That said, new isn’t always better. So what are some of the best turntables you can get right now? We’ve got the answer.

Best Sound

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon

The reason you’re probably thinking of getting a new turntable because you’ve heard how much better the sound is. Or maybe you just miss it. So let’s start with with one of the best sounding turntables you can get: the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon. It doesn’t have a lot going on for it design-wise, as it’s more on the minimal side. But what it lacks in flashiness it’s make up for in quality. This turntable has a sturdy 8.6” carbon tonearm made to rest firmly on the record without damaging or scratching it. It’s sturdy enough that it won’t jump off the vinyl but not so firm that it’ll damage the record. The Debut Carbon is known for sound quality and getting the most out of your records is what it does best. It has a precision belt drive and uses a Ortofon 2M Red cartridge for accurate sound reproduction. One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need a decent preamp to get it working. Don’t expect to start listening to music until you have it all hooked up correctly. That said, once you get it all set up it’s hard not to enjoy. The Carbon doesn’t have any stand-out tricks like some other turntables, but for sound it’s hard to beat. It has a 4.4 out of 5 star rating on Amazon and comes in multiple colors to match your setup.
Weight
12.35 pounds
Size
4.65 x 12.6 x 16.34 inches/
Pros
Good soundOrtofon 2M Red cartridge
Cons
No preamp

Music Hall MMF-2.2

Though it’s only $100 less than the Pro-Ject, the Music Hall MMF-2.2 is definitely a bang for your buck value. Turntables can go for thousands and for a sub-$500 turntable, this one has received some great reviews. It looks fairly similar to the Carbon Debut and that’s because it is. Many of the parts used for this turntable were made by Pro-Ject. The Music Hall MMF-2.2 has a glossy finish and vibration dampening feet to help with the rumble of the motor (which is already separately isolated). It’s still somewhat noticeable but you can easily upgrade the cartridge whenever you’re ready to invest further in your setup. The MMF-2.2 has left many people happy with their purchase decision, especially if this is your first turntable. It has a two-speed pulley to play at 33/45rpm and you can easily adjust the vertical tracking angle for smoother playback. This turntable has everything you need to start enjoy your growing vinyl collection right in the box. It’s also easy to upgrade whenever you’re ready to take your listening to the next level. With just over 50 reviews on Amazon, the MMF-2.2 has a 3.9 out of 5 star rating on Amazon and plenty of mentions in forums all over the internet.
Weight
Item Weight 19 pounds
Size
11 x 20 x 16.2 inches
Pros
SoundEasy to upgrade
Cons
Doesn't play 78 rpm
Best All-Around

Audio-Technica AT-LP120 USB

If you’re new to turntables, you might not know that Audio-Technica makes some of the best cartridges out there. The cartridge is the piece on the turntable that physically interacts with the record, so it’s directly related with sound quality. But turntable components aren’t the only thing they’re good at, they also make really good turntables. Enter the Audio-Technica AT-LP120 USB turntable. The AT-LP120 is special because (as you may have noticed by the name) it can be plugged into a computer via USB. Why? You can easily convert your vinyls to a lossless FLAC format and save it digitally. If you or someone you know has a classic vinyl that’s hard (or impossible) to find on any music services you can just save the files yourself. Besides, digital is way easier to listen to on-the-go. You can have the best of both worlds with the AT-LP120. An enjoyable collection to be proud of at home and on-the-go. This turntable has an S-shaped tonearm and can be easily adjusted thanks to counterweights and a locking mechanism. You can play your music at speeds of 33/45/or 78 rpm without ruining the pitch or messing with the music in any way. Though you can adjust pitch if you feel the need to. It has a start/stop button and the ability to start/stop it remotely should you decide to hook it up to more equipment and explore your inner DJ. The AT-LP120 USB turntable by Audio-Technica has around 2,000 reviews on Amazon and a score of 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you’re looking for a turntable that does a little of everything, this is a good place to start.
Weight
23.59 pounds
Size
17 x 21 x 9 inches
Pros
Convert vinyls to FLACEasily adjustable tonearmPlays 3 speeds
Cons
Not automatic

Audio-Technica AT-LP60

So far every turntable here has been decently priced in audiophile terms. But in regular people talk the Audio-Technica AT-LP60 actually is decently priced. It’s hard to make a decent turntable for under $100, but Audio-Technica did it. The LP60 makes it easy to listen to listen to your records right out of the box. It comes with a built-in preamp that powers your speakers and is fully automatic as well. All you have to do is place your vinyl down and press the start button and the tonerm will automatically move into position and start playing. It doesnt get much easier than that if youre new to vinyls. The platter is made of an anti-resonance aluminum as well to help avoid any annoying sounds going sling with your records. This turntable has two speeds so you can play your records seamlessly whether they play at 33 ⅓ or 45 rpms. Of course there are always better sounding turntables out there, but if you dont want to break the bank this is the way to go. For only about $100 it has an impressive 4.3 out of 5 star rating on Amazon.
Weight
8.5 pounds
Size
6 x 18 x 16 inches
Pros
PriceFully automatic
Cons
Does not play 78 rpm
Best Design

Gramovox Floating Record Vertical Turntable

This one doesnt really need any explanation. If youre looking for the best designed turntable, the one that turns heads as soon as someone walks in the room, then get the Gramovox Floating Record player. Not only does the turntable have an obviously unique method of playing records, it also just looks really good. It comes in two finishes: walnut or maple wood. It has an adjustable carbon fiber tonearm with a dual magnet cartridge from Audio-Technica, the AT95E. One of the best things about this record player is that it has so many features. You wont have to worry about getting a ton of extra equipment because it has a 2 x 15W amp already built in as well as two 2” full range drivers to play music. Of course you can still connect to more equipment via the RCA line outs if you want to, but you don't have to. Oh, and did we mention it pays records vertically? The Gramovox Floating Record player has one of the best designs we've seen, but at $500 it isn't cheap.
Weight
14 pounds
Size
17 x 10 x 16 inches
Pros
Unique DesignBuilt-in speakers
Cons
Price

Crosley CR704C-PA

If youre looking for a turntable because you love old-timey analog electronics, then you might enjoy the Crosley CR704C entertainment system. This record player does more than just play records, and looks like it came straight from the past. The Crosley CR704C can play records at 3 speeds (33 ⅓, 45, and 78 rpm), but thats not all of can do. Its an entertainment system because you can also play cassettes, CDs, music from newer digital devices thanks to a 3.5mm input, and even AM/FM radio. Ask this packed into a small wooden box complete with knobs and dials. This all-in-one design has some upsides, but it also has some downsides. The biggest of which being that you cant connect it to any external speakers. That said, it does have dual full-range 5” speakers so you probably wont have an issue with hearing your music. But if you want to up your audio game sometime in the future youll have to get another turntable. If you want a good looking turntable that does a little bit of everything, the CR704-PA wont disappoint.
Size
17 x 12.5 x 10 inches
Pros
PriceMultiple usesPlays at 3 speeds
Cons
Mediocre soundCan't connect to external speakers
Best Portable

Crosley Nomad

When you think of turntables, portable isn't the first thing that comes to mind. They are usually stationary and connected to all kinds of equipment. But not always. For a turntable you can bring to a friends house, check out the Crosley Nomad turntable. This record player has a fairly unorthodox design in that it’s basically a vintage briefcase. Inside you'll find the turntable, along with two built-in speakers on either side of it. Sure its a little weird at first, but it does a good job at turning a usually stationary piece of hardware into a portable music player. Where you carry your records is your problem, but at least you'll have the turntable. Like the CR704C-PA from earlier in this list, the Nomad can play records at 33 ⅓, 45, and 78 rpms. The two built-in speakers are also pretty similar except that they're slightly smaller at only 3”, but unlike the larger entertainment system the Nomad has RCA outputs so you can connect to external speakers. It also has an aux input and headphone jack so you have a few different listening options. Crosley knows that digital music is popular for a reason: it’s super portable. And although the Nomad turntable is a portable version of something not-so-portable, it has another cool feature to help you bring your music wherever you go. You can connect it via USB to a Mac or PC and easily convert your vinyls to a digital format.For less than $200 the Crosley Nomad does a lot and has a 3.9 put off 5 star rating to show for it.
Weight
10.5 pounds
Size
4 x 13 x 17 inches
Pros
Portable designBuilt-in speakersCan connect to external speakers
Cons
Not too loudOk sound

Jensen JTA-230

For an affordable and portable option, theres always the JTA-230 turntable by Jensen. It’s not as easy to carry as the Crosley, but it has many of the same features at less than half the price. Though it doesn’t come in a briefcase or have a handle, the JTA-230 has a clever design of itself. It looks like your standard piece of home audio equipment at first, but if you close the plastic lid you’ll notice that it has strategically placed holes that allow the record to poke out a bit while playing. It’s nothing crazy but the effect is still pretty cool. On both sides are small speakers for listening to music. They won’t blow you away, but it’ll get the job done if you’re not at home. The JTA-230 also has RCA outputs so you can easily hook up better sounding speakers if you want to. Besides that, it can also play at 33 ⅓, 45, or 78 rpm it can handle any record you throw at it. There’s also an aux input so you can connect any mp3 players, phones, or tablets. It also comes with a USB cable and software that lets you convert any of your vinyls into MP3s so if you have a rare vinyl collection you can enjoy them anywhere a little more easily. For less than $50, the JTA-230 is a solid little turntable with a high value and low price. It currently has a 4.0 out of 5 star rating on Amazon.
Weight
5.5 pounds
Siz
6.38 x 13.38 x 13.75 inches
Pros
Price3 speedsCan connect to external speakers
Cons
Mediocre sound

As always, sound is subjective. But that’s even more so the case when it comes to vinyl because the only people you’ll find with them are usually those that care deeply about the way their music sounds. Those that would pay a good amount of money to make sure that everything sounds as good as possible. That said, everyone has a different budget but we think this list is a great place to start. Make sure to drop a comment with your favorite turntable if we missed it!

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