Best record players for beginners 2024: Get up to speed with our pick of top quality turntables (2024)

By Chris Corfield

Contributions from

Matt McCracken

last updated

If you've just started collecting vinyl and are looking to pick up your first turntable, check out some of our favourite record players that offer great bang for your buck

Jump To:

  • Quick list
  • Best overall
  • Best budget
  • Best Bluetooth
  • Best speakers
  • Best sound
  • Best sampling
  • Also tested
  • Buying advice
  • How we test

Quick Menu

Best record players for beginners 2024: Get up to speed with our pick of top quality turntables (1)

1. The quick list
2. Best overall
3. Best budget
4. Best Bluetooth
5. Best with speakers
6. Best sound quality
7. Best for sampling
8. Also tested
9. Buying advice
10. How we test

Getting started with your first record player can be a tough one. Not only do you have to consider the benefits of belt drive, speakers, vinyl RPMs, and connectivity, but there's a million different turntables all vying for your attention online. As music obsessives, here at Louder, we've spun our fair share of records over the years, so we've put all that knowledge in one place to give you the best record players for beginners.

We've reviewed countless record players and we're going to be totally honest with you, the majority of record players below the £100 mark you see on Amazon and others aren't going to be great. Shoddy build quality, poor sound from built-in speakers, and low-quality components that will eat your precious record collection are all you're likely to find at that price point. Trust us that in the long run, it's much better to spend a little more to get something of truly great quality.

All of the the record players in this guide have been put through their paces, meticulously testing their sound across a variety of different genres, ensuring all the features work properly, and that they have a good variety of connectivity to ensure you can get the most out of yours. If you're still unsure about what you should be looking for, then go check out our buying advice section which has loads of common questions answered. If you already know your stuff, keep scrolling for our top picks.

The quick list

Best overall

1. Audio-Technica LP60XBT

The Audio-Technica LP60XBT is my top choice due to the fact it manages to strike the right balance between price and performance. It can also connect to wireless Bluetooth speakers, connect to your laptop and it has a built-in phono stage for a great all 'round package.

Read more below

Best budget

2. ION Audio Premier LP

Here's a neat all-in-one package from ION Audio in the shape of their Premier LP turntable. It has built-in speakers which do the job, but there's also Bluetooth connectivity built in so you can wirelessly tether the record player to external speakers. You can also connect wired devices to it too.

Read more below

Best Bluetooth

3. Sony PS-LX310BT

Sony is one of the most famous names when it comes to audio tech and their PS-LX310BT is an ideal choice for those getting into the vinyl game for the first time. The minimalistic design might not be for everyone, but it's a solid turntable with Bluetooth connectivity and more.

Read more below

Best speakers

4. Lenco LS-410WA

While we would always recommend getting separate speakers for the best sound quality, record players and records can be bulky to store and it's not always an option. If you need to save space, the built-in speakers on the Lenco LS-410 do an admirable job, and it has Bluetooth functionality too.

Read more below

Best sound

5. Pro-Ject E1 turntable

A bit pricier than some other turntables in this list, but the consensus within the Louder team is that the Pro-Ject E1 it's worth the extra cash - if your budget will stretch that far. It's a great choice for beginners as it's easy to set up, delivers impressive audio - and it looks amazing.

Read more below

Best sampling

6. Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB

The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB is a super-hefty bit of kit and it's the standout option in this list if your a DJ looking to put a fresh spin on your vinyl collection. It has a direct drive set-up so it can start/stop instantly and the price is excellent for what you get for your money.

Read more below

Best overall

Best record players for beginners 2024: Get up to speed with our pick of top quality turntables (8)

1. Audio-Technica LP60XBT

The best record player for beginners

Specifications

Movement: Belt driven

Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB, RCA

Reasons to buy

+

Hits the sweet spot of price and performance

+

Great connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-

Small size might not appeal

The Audio-Technica LP60XBT is a small (for a record deck, anyway) turntable that packs in a lot of useful tech. I particularly liked the way it connects to wireless speakers via Bluetooth. It can also connect to a laptop via USB or drive a set of speakers directly without a separate amp thanks to its built-in phono stage.

There's plenty of control available too, with buttons to start and stop the turntable, switching the speed between 45 and 33 rpm, and a dedicated button for raising or lowering the tone arm.

Audio-Technica has a great reputation in the industry and the LP60XBT has consistently featured on lists like this for good reason. Put simply, for the money you will struggle to find a better all-round package.

Read our full Audio-Technica LP60XBT review

Best budget

Best record players for beginners 2024: Get up to speed with our pick of top quality turntables (9)

2. ION Audio Premier LP

The best record player for beginners for versatility

Specifications

Movement: Belt driven

Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB, RCA

Reasons to buy

+

Different connectivity options are useful

+

Good value package

Reasons to avoid

-

Built-in speakers lack low-end

If you’re looking for a record player on a tight budget, then the ION Audio Premier LP might be just the ticket. It’s not the most attractive-looking deck I've included on the list, but in terms of different ways you can listen to your music, it’s a solid package.

As well as the onboard speakers, the ION Audio Premier LP also offers Bluetooth connectivity and a USB hook-up so you can connect it to your laptop. As well as this, the deck features a 3.5mm aux input, so it's possible to connect other devices to it and make use of those speakers.

It’s not going to blow anybody away with its sound quality, but for smaller budgets in particular this is a safe and solid choice.

Best Bluetooth

Best record players for beginners 2024: Get up to speed with our pick of top quality turntables (10)

3. Sony PS-LX310BT

The best beginner record player for precise control

Specifications

Movement: Belt driven

Connectivity: Bluetooth, RCA

Reasons to buy

+

Great connectivity

+

Very well made

Reasons to avoid

-

Not the most visually exciting

While entry-level record decks can sometimes look (and behave) like toys, the Sony LX310USB is very much a serious tool for the serious music fan. I'm actually a big fan of the stealthy black aesthetic, but I also love the way it seamlessly connects via Bluetooth to any soundbars or portable speakers in the vicinity.

Buttons on the front allow you to lift or lower the tonearm, activate Bluetooth, or choose the speed of the turntable, switching between 45 and 33rpm. It's ultra simple to set up too, which is another tick in the box of being great for those new to record players.

It has a built-in phono preamp, but you can connect your own if you wish via the line output at the back. It is, as you would expect from Sony, very well made, leaving me in no doubt this is a turntable which will provide many years of happy listening.

Read our full Sony PS-LX310BT review

Best with speakers

Best record players for beginners 2024: Get up to speed with our pick of top quality turntables (11)

The best record player with built-in speakers

Specifications

Movement: Belt driven

Connectivity: RCA, aux in, Bluetooth

Reasons to buy

+

Big sounding speakers

+

Bluetooth connectivity

+

Looks great

Reasons to avoid

-

Tonearm isn't the most stable

To be totally honest we'd always recommend getting separate speakers for your record player if you want the best sound. That said, we appreciate it isn't always a viable option if your budget or space is tight. Enter the Lenco LS-410WA.

It looks great, so it will fit in nicely with your home decor, standing out amongst the sea of black and grey you typically find in record players. It also has a Bluetooth receiver which means you can forego the records entirely and just play music from your phone if you want to.

Four onboard speakers deliver a nice and warm sound, and you can pause playback at will too with the play/pause button. Two of the speakers deliver 15W while two deliver 10W, so it's plenty loud enough to fill the living room with the sound of your favourite artists.

Best sound quality

Best record players for beginners 2024: Get up to speed with our pick of top quality turntables (12)

5. Pro-Ject E1

The best record player for beginners who value sound quality

Specifications

Movement: Belt driven

Connectivity: RCA output, Phono/Bluetooth options available

Reasons to buy

+

Stunning, lightweight design

+

Outstanding audio quality

+

Easy to setup

Reasons to avoid

-

The price might put some off

As the owner of a Pro-Ject turntable already, the Pro-Ject E1 is the easiest recommendation in the world for me to make. Pro-Ject is a hugely credible brand in the audiophile world and is featured in our guide to the best record players. And with the E1 the company is offering up its first truly entry-level deck.

The Ortofon cartridge is a quality addition to this entry-level record player that helps it deliver impeccable sound. It takes a few hours to get warm, but once it does the lows and mids are big without getting boomy. Of course, this does depend on your speakers and the room you're listening in, so you may need a few EQ tweaks to get it sounding its best.

Yes, it's pricey, but the focus here is on quality. It’s easy to set up, sounds incredible, and looks like a truly premium product. If you can afford it and you’re looking for a record deck you won’t outgrow in a year’s time, then the Pro-Ject E1 is a superb choice and comes highly recommended.

Best for sampling

Best record players for beginners 2024: Get up to speed with our pick of top quality turntables (13)

6. Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB

The best beginner's record player for DJs and samplers

Specifications

Movement: Direct drive

Connectivity: RCA, USB

Reasons to buy

+

Rigid build quality

+

Brilliant sound

+

Converts vinyl to digital

Reasons to avoid

-

Weighs a tonne

While the majority of record players on this list are here solely for music listeners, I really wanted to include an option for those looking for a record player that could potentially double up as part of a DJ or sampling setup.

The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB might have a long-winded name, but it's an ideal beginner’s record deck for music-making pursuits. This is largely due to the fact it operates using direct drive, which means it can start and stop in an instant rather than winding down as belt-driven decks do.

It’s also one of the most robust turntables on the list, with a pleasing amount of heft to it which gives me confidence that it’ll last for a long time if it’s well looked after.

Read our full Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB review

Also tested

The record players above are what we think you should be spending your money on as a beginner. That said we've tested loads of record players so here are a few more beginner friendly options if you didn't find what you were looking for.

Best record players for beginners 2024: Get up to speed with our pick of top quality turntables (14)

House of Marley Stir It Up | Belt-driven | Bluetooth | RCA | USB
With loads of connectivity and quality sound, the House Of Marley Stir It Up is made from sustainable materials including bamboo and reclaimed organic cotton which is great to see and helps give the turntable a clean, modern design aesthetic.
Louder Score: 4.5/5

Read our full House of Marley Stir It Up review

Best record players for beginners 2024: Get up to speed with our pick of top quality turntables (15)

Lenco L-85 | Belt-driven | RCA | USB
The Lenco L85 is a great example of what a beginner’s record player should look like. It packs in USB connectivity, for digitising your vinyl collection and the built-in phono preamp means you can hook it up directly to a set of speakers or headphones for easy operation.
Louder Score: 4/5

Read our full Lenco L-85 review

Buying advice

Best record players for beginners 2024: Get up to speed with our pick of top quality turntables (16)

What type of turntable do I need?

With the convenience of streaming and computer audio production, a vinyl turntable can seem like a relic from a bygone era of music. Indeed, the fundamental technology behind how they operate hasn’t changed in more than a century, however there are some ways in which record players have caught up with the modern listening experience. In practical terms, however, when you’re looking for a beginner's record player, your choice will come down to whether you value sound quality or simplicity more. From there, budget will likely have the biggest impact on the specific model you decide on.

Do I need to spend a lot of money on a turntable?

Essentially, the more you spend on a record player, the better you can realistically expect it to perform both in terms of audio quality and build quality. Expensive turntables aimed at audiophiles with cash to burn can be fairly high maintenance and require a lot of precise calibration and alignment, often involving rulers and spirit levels. However, the payoff is elite-tier sound quality. Basic, entry-level models, on the other hand, tend to be simple to operate without much in the way of tinkering required but they often lack the means to unlock all of your vinyl’s amazing sonic potential.

Do I need external speakers for a turntable?

Getting audio from the turntable and into somewhere you can hear it - either speakers or headphones - requires a bit of thought. Look out for turntables which have a phono preamp built into them as this will make things easier in the short-term. If they don’t, you’re going to need a separate phono amplifier. These don’t have to be expensive - Behringer offers a simple model for around $30/£30 - but it's an additional piece of equipment and cost you may not have bargained on. Nowadays, it’s also common to find turntables which offer Bluetooth connectivity, meaning they can stream directly to a set of speakers. This gives you a neat, simple and clean way to get the audio from the turntable and means you don’t have to worry about long wiring runs.

Can I upgrade my record player?

If you’re looking to the longer-term and want a record player that can grow with you, look for features such as anti-skating and counterweighting, which ensure the needle is in contact with the record at the correct pressure, as well as the ability to upgrade to better stylus’ in the future. It’s also helpful if your chosen deck can play records of different sizes - most can switch but it's definitely worth looking out for this option.

If you'd like more information about how to properly set up a record player, we have you covered here at Louder - and we also have some handy tips to make your vinyl records sound their best.

How we test

When we put our pick of the best record players for beginners through their paces we first look at the build quality, how stable the turntables are and how easy they are to set up.

Audio quality is a huge factor in deciding what record players to include in our list so we check to see if the products come with in-built speakers and if not, how easy it is to connect them to either external Bluetooth speakers or headphones - and the reliability of the connection. If that drops unexpectedly or if we have any issues, we'll let you know.

We also hook the record players up to a variety of speakers and turntables to ensure there are no issues - and we play a variety of musical genres to see how they perform.

Buying your first record player can be daunting with the sheer variety available, so if you need extras such as a phono pre-amp, we'll let you know. We'll also inform you whether the turntables are belt-driven or direct drive - and if you're looking for more info in this department, we have a guide explaining the differences between the two.

Related content

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

  • Best budget turntables: Our pick of the best cheap record players
  • Best vinyl records to test your turntable: The albums you need to own
  • Best bluetooth record players: Put a modern spin on your vinyl records
  • Best vinyl record cleaners: Keep your vinyl collection in prime condition
  • 9 cheap upgrades you can make to improve your vinyl setup
  • How to store vinyl: Tips on keeping your collection in great condition

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Best record players for beginners 2024: Get up to speed with our pick of top quality turntables (17)

Chris Corfield

Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 12 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands including Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Guitar World Total Guitar and Dawsons Music. Chris loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar gear and synths, to microphones and music production hardware.

With contributions from

  • Matt McCracken

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