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How To Choose The Best Record Player [Complete Buyer’s Guide for 2021]

How do you choose the best record player for a great listening experience, and stay within a reasonable budget? Find out with our comprehensive expert buying guide!

Choosing the Best Record Player-Fat City Turntables

Finding The Best Record Player For The Money

Looking for a good quality vinyl record player at a great price? You’re in luck – with vinyl record sales approaching 18 million units in 2018, the options for finding a good record player that fits your budget is easier than ever.

But you will need a buyer’s guide to help you make an informed decision – right?

Lest have a quick look at some of our best record player options:

Best Record Players Comparison Chart

Product

Feature Image

Rating

Relative Price

* Editor’s Pick! *

#1 Best Overall Value!

Victrola Nostalgic Aviator Record Player &  Entertainment Center

Victrola 8-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player & Multimedia Center, Built-in...4.4 out of 5 stars

$$$

 

#2 Best Budget Player

Jensen JTA-230 3 Speed Stereo Record Plyaer with Built in Speakers2

Jensen JTA-230 3 Speed Stereo Turntable with Built in Speakers, Aux in,...4 out of 5 stars

$$

 

#3 Best Turntable Only

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-SV Direct-Drive Turntable3.

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB Direct-Drive Turntable (Analog & USB), Silver,...4.7 out of 5 stars

$$$$

 

#4 Best Portable Model

Crosley Cruiser Deluxe Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Record Player

Crosley Cruiser Deluxe Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable,...4 out of 5 stars

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#5 Best Budget All-In-One

Victrola Nostalgic Classic 6-in-1 Bluetooth Entertainment Center

Innovative Technology VTA-200B MH Victrola Nostalgic Classic Wood 6-in-1...4.3 out of 5 stars

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The Top 5 Vinyl Record Players In Review

To help you along, we’ve created a list of the five best record players with their features, pros, and cons to help you choose the one that suits your requirements:

We certainly hope you benefit from the information we provide in this article! Just so you know, we may receive compensation if you use the links on this page. If you do, thank you so much!

1. Best Overall Record Player: Victrola Nostalgic Aviator 8-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player

The Victrola brand has been producing record players and other music equipment since 1906. Hence, they have been in the market for long enough to know what works and what customers want.

What we really like about Victrola products is that they have retained an old world look which exudes a distinct charm.

Victrola 8-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player & Multimedia Center, Built-in...

Read What Victrola Aviator 8-in-1 Users are Saying

So, it’s more like new wine in an old bottle. While the mechanism and technology has evolved and become better with time, they have kept the old external design that is sure to make you nostalgic.

This is an 8-in-1 Bluetooth turntable which means you can enjoy music in eight different ways. It can play different sizes of vinyl records in three different speeds: 33 1/3, 45, 78 RPM. The Bluetooth feature enables users to stream music wirelessly at a range of 33 feet.

The music system also comes with a headphone jack and a 3.5mm aux-in to enable you to connect it to non-Bluetooth devices. You can operate the system using a fully functional remote control.

Victrola Aviator Features

  • Measures 12.1 x 20.4 x 12 inches
  • Weighs 2 lbs
  • Made from real wood
  • Three-speed Turntable
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • Built-in CD player, Cassette player and AM/FM radio

Aviator Pros and Cons

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Victrola Aviator 8-in-1 Review

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What We Like

      • It boasts a nostalgic vintage design
      • Made from high quality material which results in better sound quality
      • Built-in stereo speakers and remote control to give you hands-free operation
      • The user can listen to music in three different ways
      • Bluetooth capability allows you to sync the music system to your smartphone or laptop
      • There’s also a cable which enables you to connect the system to non-Bluetooth enabled devices
      • The package includes three bonus replacement needles, a 1GB USB drive and a cleaning cloth
      • Sound quality and balance is good
      • It makes a nice birthday or Christmas gift

What We Don’t Like

      • The radio is sometimes difficult to tune to specific stations
      • The remote control does not have a power button, so you need to switch it on and off manually
      • The tonearm is too light which means it might skip tracks

What are Victrola Aviator Customers Saying? >>

Victrola 8-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player & Multimedia Center, Built-in...

Product Summary

If you’re looking for a very solid and strong turntable that has a vintage look about it, then this product would definitely be the best record player to fit the bill.

Although it is slightly more expensive than competitors, we believe you get what you pay for, hence the price is good enough for high quality music.

With eight different ways to listen to your favorite music, we are sure this product is going to please the audiophile in you.

2. Best Budget Player: Jensen JTA-230 3 Speed Stereo Record Player

The compact form and sleek appearance of this Jensen JTA-230 3 Speed Stereo Record Player catches our attention. It is a welcome change from the classic versions of turntables that are expected to be bulky.

This Jensen record player is different. It has a classic feel but it does not bulk up to make you feel nostalgic. In fact it’s so compact and stylish that it takes less space on the table and you can carry it with you wherever you go.

Jensen JTA-230 3 Speed Stereo Turntable with Built in Speakers, Aux in,...

What are Customers Saying About the Jensen JTA-230 >>

The record player boasts an attractive wooden appearance and it comes with a transparent protective cover to keep vinyl records dust-free. The front panel has simple playback controls that are easy for even a novice to understand.

The turntable enables you to convert vinyl recordings into an MP3 format to be played later on your PC or smart devices. So, all those unused, favorite numbers can now be brought back to life.

Jensen JTA-230 Features

  • Measures 13.4 x 13.8 x 6.4 inches
  • Weighs 5.5 pounds
  • Protective dust cover
  • 3 selectable RPM speeds
  • Vinyl to MP3 recording
  • USB port with cable

Jensen Record Player Pros and Cons

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Jensen JTA-230 Stereo Record Player Review

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What We Like

      • The turntable boasts a sleek and compact form
      • Beautiful attractive modern design
      • Easy to set up and use with simple controls
      • Comes with a protective cover to keep dust away from getting into the platter
      • Easily connected to a home sound system for amplified music
      • Users can convert their favorite music from vinyl records into MP3 format
      • Comes with a 90 day warranty
      • Sound quality and balance is good

What We Don’t Like

      • Some user report intermittent speaker operation
      • It has a limited frequency range

What Do Jensen JTA-230 Owners Think? >>

Jensen JTA-230 3 Speed Stereo Turntable with Built in Speakers, Aux in,...

Product Summary

The Jensen JTA-230 Record Player has everything you look for in the good record player. However it lacks in terms of some qualities, particularly speaker performance and consistent output.

Being a long-recognized brand, we were impressed by the full features of a modernized compact unit which included bundled audio software.

Overall, we feel this product is not the perfect choice for audiophiles; however, if you want a decent turntable at a reasonable price, this is a good deal.

3. Best Turntable Only: Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-SV Direct-Drive Turntable

The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-SV Direct-Drive Turntable is a professional turntable that boasts a sophisticated and modern design.

It has shed off the old world look and embraced a modern avatar which looks appealing in its own unique way. We really like the super sleek and compact form which makes the system highly portable.

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB Direct-Drive Turntable (Analog & USB), Silver,...

Click Here for Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-SV Turntable User Reviews

Whether you want to play indoors or take it with you wherever you go, the turntable is lightweight and a lot of fun.

This Audio-Technica record player comes with a transparent dust cover to protect the vinyl records and platter when not in use. It features a high torque, direct-drive motor which helps to connect the device to your PC with ease.

There are three selectable speed options, 33-1/3, 45, and 78 rpm rotational speeds.

The product features an S-shaped tone arm that aids in adjusting the height and lock. The anti-skid base ensures that it has a strong grip wherever you place the music system.

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB Features

  • Measures 6 x 13.88 x 17.75 inches
  • Weighs 23.5 lbs
  • Three speeds 33/45/78
  • Fully manual operation
  • Powered by a DC motor
  • Fully integrated digital connectivity

Audio-Technica USB Turntable Pros and Cons

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Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-SV Turntable Review

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What We Like

      • Boasts an attractive and contemporary design rom a recognized brand
      • Features a host of fine controls for budding audiophiles
      • Platter is made from die-cast aluminum
      • Heavy duty construction
      • Comes with USB cable, RCA output cable, AC adapter, 45 RPM adapter, counterweight, felt mat
      • System can be connected to Mac or Windows using a USB connector
      • It enables users to convert vinyl records into digital audio files
      • Comes with a user manual with detailed instructions

What We Don’t Like

      • Requires supportive components for listening
      • More expensive that competitor products
      • Not necessarily a portable type of unit

What are Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-SV Users Saying? >>

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB Direct-Drive Turntable (Analog & USB), Silver,...

Product Summary

The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-SV is a professional turntable that boasts a stylish and contemporary look. It comes loaded with features to give users an amazing experience.

However, it does not come with internal speakers so you may need to add them separately. Overall, we feel this is a well-made product, although it is slightly on the expensive side.

4. Best Portable Model: Crosley Cruiser Deluxe Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Record Player

The Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB is an awesome vintage themed portable record player that boasts a sophisticated and modern updates.

It has embraced a modern conveniences which make it appealing in its own unique way. We really like the super retro and compact form which makes the system highly portable.

Crosley Cruiser Deluxe Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable,...

Check the Latest Crosley Cruiser Deluxe Suitcase Reviews >>

Whether you want to play indoors or take it with you wherever you go, the record player is lightweight and a lot of fun.

This Crosley record player comes in a host of alternative colors to please virtually any palate. It features a high torque, direct-drive motor which helps to connect the device to your PC with ease.

There are three selectable speed options, 33-1/3, 45, and 78 rpm rotational speeds.

The product features an S-shaped tone arm that aids in adjusting the height and lock. The anti-skid base ensures that it has a strong grip wherever you place the music system.

Cruiser Deluxe Features

  • Measures 10.5 x 14 x 4.6 inches
  • Weighs 5.5 lbs
  • Built-in Bluetooth receiver
  • Adjustable pitch control
  • Belt driven
  • Dynamic full range stereo speakers
  • RCA and headphone Jack output

Crosley Cruiser Pros and Cons

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Crosley Cruiser Deluxe Vintage Suitcase Review

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What We Like

      • Cool vintage retro styling
      • Briefcase-style with handle
      • Portable, lightweight and easy to carry
      • Built-in stereo speakers
      • Adjustable pitch control to fine tune your playback
      • Built-in Bluetooth connectivity
      • Dynamic full-range sound

What We Don’t Like

      • Sound quality could be better
      • Geared more for novelty

What Do Crosley Cruiser Deluxe Customers Think? >>

Crosley Cruiser Deluxe Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable,...

Product Summary

The Crosley Cruiser Deluxe Vintage Bluetooth Suitcase is a professional player that boasts a retro and old-school look. It comes loaded with features to give users an amazing experience.

However, it does not produce the highest audio fidelity you’d get from a component system, you may consider using external speakers to boost the audio quality. Overall, we feel this is a decent product, although it is slightly on the less expensive side.

5. Best Budget All-In-One Vinyl Player: Victrola Nostalgic Classic Wood 6-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player

This 6-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player comes from the very well-established company: Victrola. This 110-year-old brand has an extensive line of nostalgic record players and audio equipment.

The turntable in review is one of their premier products and it offers a perfect blend of vintage style and advanced technology.

Innovative Technology VTA-200B MH Victrola Nostalgic Classic Wood 6-in-1...

Read the Latest Victrola Nostalgic Latest Reviews

The outer design of the player has a retro feel to it and we love the wooden finish which makes it all the more classic.

This attractive record player offers good value for money as the users get to enjoy music in six different ways. It can play vinyl records of different sizes as the product features three speed options – 33 1/3, 45, 78 revolutions per minute (RPM).

The unit comes with full range built-in speakers and the player is Bluetooth-enabled, allowing you to play your favorite music directly from a smartphone.

Thus, it gives you an amazing hands-free music listening experience. The product comes with a 3.5mm cable to connect the record player with non-Bluetooth devices.

Victrola Nostalgic Features

  • Measures 12.2 x 20.67 x 15.75 inches
  • Weighs 17.6 lbs
  • Three-speed turntable
  • Built-in Bluetooth
  • Built-in Cassette Player, CD Player and FM Radio
  • Built-in stereo speakers
  • 5mm cable included

Victrola Classic Pros and Cons

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Victrola Nostalgic Bluetooth Record Player Review

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What We Like

      • The turntable comes in a good package
      • The sound quality is good but not very loud
      • It has a classic wooden appearance and nostalgic feel about it
      • Users can enjoy music in six different ways which is great
      • The CD player, cassette player and FM radio work as expected
      • You can listen to your favorite songs by syncing it to your smartphone
      • You can now listen to all those old record collections
      • It would be great for a birthday or Christmas gift
      • The price point is really good
      • The record player is pretty easy to set up and use

What We Don’t Like

      • Customer support is not easily reachable
      • Cassette player only has a forward function, no reverse
      • Slightly bulky, hence not portable

Are Victrola Nostalgic Customers Happy? >>

Innovative Technology VTA-200B MH Victrola Nostalgic Classic Wood 6-in-1...

Product Summary

The Victrola Nostalgic classic wood 6-in-1 Bluetooth is thoughtfully made and it perfectly replicates that old world look. Despite the vintage design, it includes all the modern features and technology to give you an amazing musical experience.

The sound quality is good, but if you really want music that to bang your head to, then you will need to add external stereo speakers. Overall, we love the design and functionality of this product.

Buying A Record Player – What To Look For In A Good Quality Vinyl Record Player

First, Why Even Consider a Vinyl Record Player or Turntable?

A good record player is more than a little unique. The way it sounds, the ambience it invokes, the dinner plate sized vinyl records, the needle, and so forth. There’s something so special about this record playing experience.

After being dominated by cassettes, CDs, MP3s, Minidiscs, and Spotify for several years, vinyl records are back and for good. Vinyl record players, turntables or decks (they are all the same thing) are not a hipster craze anymore. They signify a cultural zeitgeist and are here to stay.

Records have been thought of as being from a time of old for some time now. When many people think of them, other things that spring to mind include black and white movies, drive-in theaters, and other facets of our culture that have been left in the past.

It’s part of how life works and time progresses, really. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Out with the old, in with the new.”

Plenty of perfectly functional, even incredible technology is all-too often left behind in the wake of newer, and not necessarily more innovative, technologies. Is the record player a prime example of this? Perhaps.

Whether simply for its vintage and old-timey feel, or for the superiority of the sound that records produce, very stylish and well made entry-level record players and turntables are making a well-deserved comeback!

The Return of Vinyl

Audiophiles and collectors alike are flocking to high quality record players and turntables for their vintage style, superior sound, classic look, and so much more.

Once a commonly found item in so many households, in the modern day, record players are something that you expect only to find in the home of a collector, a history buff, or someone truly passionate about their music choices.

Manufacturers have also acknowledged the rising demand for vinyl record players. As a result, several new models featuring vintage design and sophisticated technology have been released to the market.

The turntables come in different shapes, sizes and budgets. Inexpensive beginner record players can range from well below $100 to those that cost a few thousand dollars.

But fortunately today, user friendly and low cost record players are becoming a more and more common thing to find. While still not an everyday item in most households, turntables and record players are starting to become purchased in greater numbers.

The added benefits also being more artists release their music on vinyl as well. Hopefully great record players will once again resume their much-deserved place of popularity among the masses!

Does Vinyl Really Sound Better?

There’s just something magical about a record player – from its sound, to the nostalgia it introduces to a room, to the large and classic-looking vinyl records they play, the precision of the needle, and so much more.

Something about listening to a vinyl record makes for a special and intimate experience.

The music industry has been dominated by cassette tapes, CDs, then MP3s and Minidiscs, and now music services like Spotify hold the spotlight.

But nothing has made a return to the stage like vinyl – and it’s looking like it might be here to stay! Not just for that hipster kid down your block, record players are something for everyone to enjoy nowadays!

Remember what we said earlier about new technology being so quick to replace the old? Today, thanks to the return of the record player’s popularity, new technologies are being made to support this medium!

While retro record players are still around and some of the best rated record players are still being created in the vintage style, some manufacturers are using the technology and creating more modern versions of the traditional stereo record player.

If you want the latest and greatest when it comes to sophisticated technology, that doesn’t mean you need to count record players out of the game!

Subtleties Found in the Best Record Players and Turntables

There are many subtleties of good record players and turntables that make them loved by such wide varieties of people from all walks of life! So long as you like music, record players have something to offer for you.

Attractive to those who like antique or vintage styles, history, nostalgia, preservation, great sound, or the arts, turntables are a versatile and unique solution for everyone from audiophiles to history buffs!

These subtleties include everything from the delicate needle, their great sound, classic look, even the record albums themselves.

Albums are a huge part of the listening experience as they provide an amazing tactile and visual experience that combine to complete the whole musical journey.

There are some passionate music lovers who won’t settle for anything less than a high-end record player which may cost a fortune.

Thankfully, you don’t have to do that. For the rest, there are many record players in the market that produce decent sound and are reasonably priced. In this buying guide we will tell you about the five things you should consider when buying the best record player.

Once you’ve experienced what it’s like to listen to music on vinyl it’s hard to go back. You enjoy the look and feel of a record player, plus you have a personalized catalogue of hand picked albums.

Fat City Turtables

The Modern Perks of Good Record Players

Many people who choose to add a record player to their music collection do so because they enjoy the antique look and vintage feel of listening to music on vinyl. But that doesn’t mean that records aren’t for you if you like modern music!

As we mentioned earlier, many good and affordable record players today are being made to reflect modern trends – even incorporating new technologies.

Newer turntables have been made with:

  • Cassette tape players
  • CD players
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • USB capability
  • MP3 capability
  • Multiple auxiliary connections
  • and more!

Clearly turntables aren’t a barrier to listening to other modern formats of music. But what if you want to listen to modern tunes on vinyl? No problem! Plenty of new and modern artists have caught on to the return of the record player trend and are taking advantage of it!

This means that you can get plenty of your favorite artists’ music on vinyl! This includes popular bands and artists like Paramore, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Daft Punk, Lorde, Chvrches, Justin Timberlake, One Direction, Adele, Bruno Mars, and of course many many more!

The artists choosing to have their music released on vinyl aren’t restricted to only one genre, either. You’ll find that artists across all genres are releasing records. You can buy them at just about any other place that you’re able to buy music!

The organic nature of a great vinyl track running through any one of the top record players with modern features creates a truly wonderful listening experience.

With all these new developments in the record industry, you’ll find that record players and vinyl are just as modern a method of listening to music as they ever were!

5 Things to Look for When Buying the Best Vinyl Record Player for You

  1. Manual vs. Automatic: You will most find two main options when buying a record player – automatic and manual, and sometimes a third one – semi automatic. In a manual system you need to lift the tonearm and place it on the groove and this happens automatically with the push of a button in an automatic system.In a semi-automatic record player, you manually place the needle on the groove but it is lifted off automatically when the record comes to an end.
  2. You get what you pay for: There are retro-styled budget record players available for under $100. While these plastic-made turntables are enough to play your old record collection, the sound quality will not be great.If you want a richer and warmer tone, then you will need to shell out some more money.
  3. Rotational Speeds: The average record player can play one or two different rotational speeds which are measured in RPM (revolutions per minute). The 7-inch records known as singles are played at 45 RPM and the 12-inch records known as albums are played at 45 RPM.These are standard speeds supported by most turntables.There are a few record players that have a three-speed support of 78 RPM. These are used for 10-inch records that have wider grooves.
  4. Are the parts upgradable: Entry level starter record players are usually basic and ready to play right out of the box. However, high end turntables are upgradable, and you may add additional components to increase their effectiveness.
  5. Digitalizing your vinyl record collection: When buying the best record player for your musical needs, you need to find out whether you want a full analog player with an exclusive digital music collection or one with a built-in USB port that can be used for digitalizing your vinyl records.The USB port also allows you to convert and play MP3s in real-time.

Consider Your Own Needs

What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the next, we all have different priorities. Still, the process of choosing the best record player that fits your style is part of the fun – and we’re here to help ensure you make a great choice.

Maybe you want to find the best portable record player, or maybe you like to crank it up loud and need to find a turntable system with better speakers.

Or perhaps the convenience of connectivity is a priority for you, either through USB capability or Bluetooth technology. Whatever your particular needs, you’ll find a system here to help you enjoy the vinyl experience in no time.

Once you’ve decided that you’re ready to be the proud owner of a new record player, the next step is to start clicking around our site to help find the option that’s best for you!

Compare These Featured Players:

Final Verdict: Our Top Choice for the Best Vinyl Record Player

While all of the above vinyl record players are good in their own way, we recommend the Victrola Aviator Record Player for its exquisite detailing and awesome features designed to awe the music lover in you.

After years of being overshadowed by contemporary musical formats, good old vinyl is still standing strong. It just goes to show that the rich sound and texture of an album cut into the groves of a platter cannot be beaten.

EDITOR’S PICK

Victrola 8-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player & Multimedia Center, Built-in...

Check the Latest Victrola Aviator Price Here! >>

  • Overall Average Build Quality
  • Overall Average Sound Quality
  • Overall Average Value Factor
4.3

Summary

Overall Average Score:

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