Best turntables Thrifter 2020

There are plenty of record players out there built into tiny suitcases with integrated speakers, but if you want your records to sound just as they should, you'll want to look into buying a turntable instead. You'll need to connect the one you choose to a pair of speakers, and potentially an A/V receiver with a phono connection as well, though the enhanced sound easily makes the upgrade worth it if you're planning on owning a killer record collection that sounds as fantastic as it looks.

Best for beginners: Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-SV Direct-Drive Turntable

Staff Pick

Audio-Technica's best turntable overall is the AT-LP120XUSB-SV. This 3-speed fully manual model features an adjustable anti-skate control, variable pitch control with quartz speed lock, and hydraulically damped lift control. Even better, it can help you convert your vinyl records to digital audio files using a Windows or Apple computer.

$249 at Amazon

Spin with style: Fluance RT85 Reference High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable

Made of solid wood, Fluance's High Fidelity RT85 turntable is built to prevent vibrations and extra noise. Its high-density acrylic platter offers a fuller sound with overall improved clarity while the included Ortofan 2M Blue elliptical cartridge allows for detailed HQ audio no matter which record you decide to spin.

$499.99 at Amazon

Best on a budget: Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-BK Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable

The budget-priced Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-BK is about as little as you want to spend on a turntable if you're hoping to find one of quality. This model is Audio-Technica's most affordable and features two speeds, a die-cast aluminum platter, and a redesigned tonearm base and head shell which work together for improved tracking, as well as reduced resonance.

$99 at Amazon

Upgraded sound: U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus Turntable

U-Turn Audio's Orbit Plus turntable is equipped with an acrylic platter for improved speed consistency and more detailed playback, while its precision OA2 gimbal tonearm allows for accurate tracking and minimal distortion. It even features an Ortofon OM5E cartridge with an elliptical diamond stylus.

$309 at Amazon

A classic reborn: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Turntable

Pro-Ject's Debut Carbon DC turntable is a spin off the classic Debut turntable from the late 1990s, with several essential improvements to bring it into the modern era. Along with an increased platter size and weight, the belt drive design operates super quietly while remaining stable and steady. Plus, it's available in several different colors.

$399 at Amazon

Best without a budget: Marantz TT-15S1 Manual Belt-Drive Premium Turntable

If you have quite a bit more to spend on your turntable purchase, the Marantz TT-15S1 tops the list as one of the best for its intricate details which come together to create one of the greatest turntables in history: a solid plinth belt-drive, a heavy platter, its reference class anodized aluminum manual tonearm, and a precision AC asynchronous motor. It even includes a top-of-the-line phono cartridge from Clearaudio: the Virtuoso MM Cartridge.

$1,499 at Amazon

Drop the needle already

There are a bunch of components to consider when purchasing a turntable. That's because generally you'll need to purchase more than a turntable to complete your setup. That might mean you're spending more than you originally intended, so it's wise to figure out the speakers you're going to use and whether you need to buy a receiver so you can connect them to your turntable before you buy the one you've selected.

Audio-Technica's AT-LP120XUSB-SV Direct-Drive Turntable is a fantastic place to start. We've chosen this as our favorite model on the list as it rides a delicate balance between price and functionality with which others can't compete. Not only does it include three speeds, but it also allows you to convert your records to digital audio files by plugging into your computer. The U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus Turntable is another great pick that keeps the price low while offering enhanced audio which you'd expect from a more expensive player. The best part is that several of its components can be upgraded in the future when you're looking to enhance the sound.

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