In 2018, sales of vinyl records grew for the 13th straight year in the U.S. Vinyl is now more collectible than ever, and it continues to be a preferred method of listening for millions of audiophiles. It’s also the preferred method of physical delivery for artists, and not just rockers and rappers. A number of current pop artists have released vinyl versions of their latest records (see everyone from Ariana Grande to Mariah Carey), proving the format isn’t going away anytime soon.
Whether you’re new to vinyl or have built up a solid collection over time, you’ll want to invest in a reliable record player that can fill the room with clear, full, unfussy sound. We’ve picked out six turntables that deliver the goods when it comes to sound quality, price point and ease of use.
1. Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable
Open the gold-lined suitcase that holds this Victrola turntable and you’ll find a vintage-inspired record player with a three-speed belt-driven turntable that plays discs at 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM. Modern conveniences include Bluetooth connectivity, which lets you wirelessly pair the turntable with your device from up to 33 feet away and play music through the Victrola’s built-in speakers. A 3.5mm aux cord offers even more ways to connect. Need to pack the turntable up? Just close the box like you would a normal suitcase and lock it up. The accompanying carry handles let you easily grab and go, whether you’re headed to soundtrack a party, or just sliding the suitcase under your bed until your next listening night at home. Purchase: $59.99 on Amazon.com.
2. ION IT54 Max LP Turntable
There’s a lot to love with this ION turntable, which packs a ton of features into its $90 price point. The IT54 Max features USB connectivity, which lets you convert your records into digital files that can be stored on your laptop or device. You can also invert the process and play music from your device through the turntable’s built-in speakers, or use the included converter software to record music onto blank discs. The set includes a protective dust cover, adapter and a felt mat to prevent slipping (and skipping). We like the natural wood-grain finish, which blends in anywhere, from office to living room to den. Purchase: $86.98 on Amazon.com.
3. Audio-Technica AT-LP60 Turntable
Reviewers praise this Audio-Technica turntable for its ease of use, high-fidelity audio, and its simple but efficient design. The record player is fully automated, which means all you have to do is set your disc down. The turntable will place the stylus on the record for you and automatically return the tonearm when the record ends. The die-cast aluminum platter delivers a sleek, striking look, while the player’s belt-driven design works to minimize vibration from the motor. (Like the name suggests, belt-driven turntables are powered by an elastic belt, which connects the platter to the motor, rather than a motor directly underneath. That positioning, coupled with the ability of elastic to absorb shock, delivers cleaner, clearer sound). Audio-Technica is a well-respected name in audio technology (they also manufacture a wide range of headphones and mics) so this turntable well worth the$99. Purchase: $99.00 on Amazon.com.
4. Pioneer PL-990 Automatic Stereo Turntable
Another fully automatic model, this turntable from Pioneer is one of the slimmest packages on the list, coming in at under four inches thick. For new vinyl owners, the PL-990 features easy, one-touch operation: Simply hit “play” or “stop.” The low-mass (read: lightweight) tone arm won’t scratch or damage your discs, and the company says the lightness actually makes it more sensitive and therefore able to pick up fine details you might otherwise miss in your recordings. This set also comes with a number of features that help eliminate humming and crackling, including a rubber platter mat, vibration-absorbing feet and Pioneer’s “Stable Hanging” technology, which works to shore up the motor to avoid “spindle wobble.” Purchase: $119.99 on BestBuy.com.
5. Crosley C100A-SI Turntable
Spin like a pro with Crosley’s C100 Turntable. The unique S-shaped tone arm is fully adjustable, letting you control its weight to tune out any skipping and distortion, while helping to preserve the life of your valuable records (less impact = longer lifespan). The C100 also features adjustable pitch controls and a built-in preamp that lets you easily pair the player with your speakers. We like the super durable ABS material (a type of impact-resistant plastic) which holds up to repeated use and transport without worrying about dings and dents. We’re not the only ones who like this set – the C100 is one of the best-reviewed turntables and record players online. Purchase: $134.81 on Amazon.com.
6. House of Marley Stir It Up Turntable
A record player that is as thoughtful as it is powerful, the Stir It Up is made from an eco-friendly bamboo and delivers warm, robust sound in a slim, design-driven package. A USB jack lets you connect your devices, and easily convert your favorite vinyl records into a digital file. Features-wise, we like the auto-start and power down function that conserves energy when left on, and the included anti-slip silicone mat, made from upcycled silicone, that protects your records from scratching on the platter. The House of Marley’s commitment to “mindful materials” is also shown through the included dust cover, which is made from a mix of hemp, organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles, and slides easily over the record player when not in use. Purchase: $199.99 on Amazon.com.
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