If you've just begun your vinyl journey and are looking for one of the best record players for beginners to spin them on, then you've come to the right place. In this guide I'll introduce you to some of the best turntables that are currently available, meaning you can be up and running safely knowing that your turntable of choice comes with the Louder seal of approval.
I've rounded up some of the best models on the market and you'll also find buying advice too to help give you everything you need to make an informed decision.
Best record players for beginners: Louder Choice
When you’re looking for one of the best record players for beginners, you'll want to find something that has enough in the way of connections so you can listen to it on a variety of different systems. You want something that is well-made, from a reputable brand. And you want all of this at a sensible price which will leave you some cash left over to buy some of the best classic rock albums to own on vinyl.
In the Audio-Technica LP60XBT, there's a turntable that, in my opinion, hits the sweet spot on each of these requirements. It’s compact, cost-effective and it’ll provide the perfect platform to embark on your vinyl listening journey.
Best record players for beginners: Product guide
The Audio-Technica LP60XBT is a small (for a record deck, anyway) turntable which 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.
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 Audio-Technica LP60XBT review
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 feature in our guide to the best record players. And with the E1 the company are offering up its first truly entry-level deck.
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.
If you’re looking for a bit of versatility from your record player, 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 spaces in particular this is a safe and solid choice.
While the majority of record players on this list are here solely for music listeners, I really wanted to include an option in 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 Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB review
House Of Marley has built itself a nice reputation for delivering decent quality audio gear at very reasonable prices over the last few years, so their Stir It Up turntable was an obvious choice for this list. I like the way it comes in a few different options in terms of connectivity and, like all House Of Marley products, the 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.
The House Of Marley Stir It Up does require some degree of setup and calibration, like any half-decent turntable - nothing scary but it's worth noting if you’re in the market for something simple.
Read our House Of Marley Stir It Up review
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.
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 Sony PS-LX310BT review
Lenco has a solid reputation in consumer audio, and 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.
I like the different colour options too, so I'm pretty confident you'll be able to find one that fits in with the colour scheme of your room. I also think that for the price, there's not a lot you can really criticise.
Read our Lenco L-85 review
To my mind, there was a boom in the demand for simple, inexpensive, retro-looking portable record players over the past couple of years, with lots of brands offering variations on a theme. With so many flooding the market, quality wasn’t always the highest but Crosley definitely stood out from the crowd. The Crosley Voyager is a neat package, with Bluetooth audio and an in-built RCA connection offering additional versatility.
Realistically, you’re not going to be picking out every nuance of your favourite albums using the Voyager's in-built speakers, but for casual bedroom listening, the Crosley Voyager is a decent option and a great way to kick-start your journey. And, the fact it can be neatly closed and packed away means you'll have more space for your vinyl storage.
Best record players for beginners: Buying advice
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 the best turntables for beginners
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.
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.
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