Great record players have unrivalled sound quality and are well built. We reveal how popular record player brands fared when we put them to the test.

Record players and turntables

Crosley

Thanks to their popularity, Crosley record players are being sold by a growing number of retailers, from Currys to Urban Outfitters. It clearly has a passion for all things retro – Crosley provides many affordable replicas of classic players of yesteryear (think Technics, Dansette and more). Aiming to appeal to a range of budgets, tastes and ages, the latest Crosley turntables incorporate technology such as iPod docks, MP3 capabilities and even Bluetooth.

Rega

UK brand Rega has been manufacturing turntables in Essex since 1973. Its products are usually sold in specialist hi-fi stores such as Richer Sounds. Rega doesn’t spend any money on advertising, claiming that it spends the money on research and development instead. As such, Rega fans praise its turntables for their high-precision manufacturing and build quality. Rega players tend not to include any extra features, such as automatic start/stop or USB outputs for making digital copies of your records.

record player and turntable

GPO

GPO record players may have caught your eye if you’re looking to have fun with your old vinyls, transfer your record collection to a USB stick, or just want to see whether the modern vinyl scene is for you. Like Crosley, GPO has tapped into the trend for record player nostalgia, and its record players are a mix of retro designs and modern detail that appeal to both young and old.

  TEAC

TEAC is a Japanese audio brand that has been in business since the 1950s. Famous for its tape machines, it also has considerable experience in making turntables. Its products are aimed at a slightly more serious hi-fi market than the budget brands. However, unlike other hi-fi brands it’s not afraid to embrace the latest technology either. TEAC makes a few turntables that include digital USB outputs for transferring your vinyl onto a computer.

record player and turntable

Ion

Ion is a comparatively new brand, having only been created in 2003. Its vision is to bring the classic and the cutting edge together, and to this end it has launched a series of USB turntables, helping vinyl enthusiasts convert their records into digital formats. Along with the reasonable prices, this has made Ion a popular choice among those looking for a new record player.

Bush

Bush is a classic name in British audio, but these days it focuses exclusively on the budget end of the market. Bush has capitalised on the recent surge in interest in vinyl by selling record players very cheaply. Retro-styled models are particularly popular on the high street, appealing to the fashion-conscious vinyl fans who are keen to bring back the aesthetics of yesteryear.

Sony

This Japanese electronics giant is a true household name. Of course, turntables represent only a small share of the products Sony produces, but it does produce some models aimed at budget and high-end buyers. Its budget offering gives you automatic start/stop and a USB output for a reasonable price. For those who want to spend a little more, you can buy a turntable with a high-resolution digital output that Sony claims can transfer your vinyl into digital music files in higher-than-CD quality.

record player and turntable

Record player and Turntable Reviews

Rega Planar 3 with Elys 2 review

£685.00Typical price

Test scoreShow Context

74%

Key features

  • Manual
Record players and turntables
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verdict: Industry-leading sound built to last

The Rega Planar 3 is exceptional – it’s one of the very best turntables in its price range and a deserved Best Buy. However, on sound quality alone it’s not offering significantly more than you get with the cheaper Rega Planar 1 and Rega Planar 2, with which it shares the joint-highest sound quality ratings in our recent testing. If you’re looking for more features, it’s also worth considering the Elipson Omega 100 RIAA BT, which equals the Rega Planar 3 for sound quality but adds Bluetooth and the ability to digitise your vinyl, all for significantly below the cost of the Rega Planar 3.

Pros

  • Outstanding sound quality
  • Strong build quality

Cons

  • No significant sound quality improvement over Rega Planar 2

ProJect Primary E review

£179.00View retailers

Test scoreShow Context

72%

Key features

  • Manual
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verdict: Superb sound, but not beginner-friendly

The ProJect Primary E delivers spectacularly. Its sound quality matches the very best that have graced our test lab since the vinyl revival. It’s not particularly beginner-friendly, though, and the instruction manual could be clearer. But vinyl veterans will be pleased.

Pros

  • Exceptional sound quality

Cons

  • Technical adjustments are limited

Lenco L-3808 review

£200.00Typical price

Test scoreShow Context

72%

Key features

  • Manual
  • USB output
  • Preamp
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verdict: A strong choice

The Lenco L-3808 is an excellent record player and worthy Best Buy. With its DJ-friendly features it would be a great choice for a budding track selector, but it’s also a great-value option for someone who just wants a solidly built turntable that will do their record collection justice.

Pros

  • Solid build quality
  • Great sound
  • Good recordings
  • Removable cartridge
  • Lots of advanced settings

Cons

  • Not much

ProJect Primary Phono USB review

£240.00Typical price

Test scoreShow Context

70%

Key features

  • Manual
  • USB output
  • Preamp
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verdict: Simple excellence

The ProJect Primary Phono USB lives up to its claims and more. Simple setup and excellent sound mean that it’s a worthy Best Buy, and will do your record collection justice.

Pros

  • Great sound quality
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Can be a little fiddly at times

ProJect Essential III review

£359.00View retailer

Test scoreShow Context

68%

Key features

  • Automatic
Record players and turntables
Record players and turntables

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verdict: Essential listening

The ProJect Essential III succeeds in bettering its predecessor, and is not far off being a Best Buy. It’s an excellent turntable: well-built and with great sound, but it’s just a little bit fiddly to use.

Pros

  • Good build quality
  • Well balanced and detailed sound

Cons

  • A bit fiddly to use
  • No USB output

ProJect Essential III review

£359.00View retailer

Test scoreShow Context

68%

Key features

  • Automatic

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verdict: Essential listening

The ProJect Essential III succeeds in bettering its predecessor, and is not far off being a Best Buy. It’s an excellent turntable: well-built and with great sound, but it’s just a little bit fiddly to use.

Pros

  • Good build quality
  • Well balanced and detailed sound

Cons

  • A bit fiddly to use
  • No USB output

Audio-Technica AT-LPW30TK review

£299.00View retailers

Test scoreShow Context

67%

Key features

  • Manual
  • Preamp

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verdict: Exceptional turntable

It certainly delivers. This is one of the best turntables in its price range, with great sound and the design is a welcome change from many high-end turntables. It’s exceptionally easy to use, while offering advanced settings if you need them. It only just misses out on being a Best Buy.

Pros

  • Good sound quality
  • Particularly easy to use
  • Well-built
  • Can change cartridge yourself

Cons

  • Download the full user manual if you’re new to turntables

Sony PS-HX500 review

£299.00View retailers

Test scoreShow Context

67%

Key features

  • Manual
  • USB output
  • Preamp

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verdict: A worthy contender

The Sony PS-HX500 is a simple and effective record player that will make your record collection sound good, and digitise it too. It looks the part and it’s easy enough to use, but sound quality just isn’t quite good enough for this to be a Best Buy.

Pros

  • Simple design
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Slightly disappointing sound

Roberts RT200 review

£299.00View retailer

Test scoreShow Context

67%

Key features

  • Semi-Automatic
  • USB output
  • Preamp

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verdict: A strong all-rounder

This turntable is a superb choice if you’re looking for a quality turntable that’s particularly easy to use and accessible for beginners, and equally if you’re an advanced user with its range of features and adjustments. Sound quality is excellent, with clear vocals, enjoyable bass and energetic drive. Digital recordings aren’t quite a match for the turntable’s own sound, but this is very commonly the case and they still sound good. It’s a lovely package overall and well worth the money.

Pros

  • Superb sound quality
  • Exceptionally easy to use for beginners
  • Great advanced features and adjustments
  • Can change the cartridge yourself

Cons

  • USB recordings are good but not quite up to the turntable’s own sound

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB review

£241.66View retailers

Test scoreShow Context

66%

Key features

  • Manual
  • USB output
  • Preamp

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verdict: Great sound and advanced functionality

This turntable has a great deal going for it. It has loads of features, including fun ones aimed at DJs – a tinkerer’s delight. It’s also notable for being one of a few high-end turntables that support the rarer 78rpm speed records (requires sold-separately stylus). While sound quality doesn’t quite match the very best models on the market, there’s a lot to like here that many will find appealing – especially considering the good price. It’s easy to use as well. Recommended.

Pros

  • Good sound quality
  • Easy to use with lots of features and advanced settings

Cons

  • USB function is unimpressive
  • Buttons feel a touch cheap
  • Playing 78rpm records requires separate stylus (sold separately)

Yamaha MusicCast Vinyl 500 (TT-N503) review

£559.00View retailers

Test scoreShow Context

66%

Key features

  • Manual
  • Preamp

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verdict: Excellent sound, versatile connectivity and great build

This is a highly versatile multi-function record player that can also act as an audio hub for your home. Sound quality impresses and it’s easy to use. It takes a while to set up, but it’s worth the effort. It has both wi-fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and it easily connects to wireless speakers such as the Yamaha MusicCast 50 and Yamaha MusicCast 20 (WX-021), which really sets it apart from most turntables – especially in this price range. It only narrowly misses being a Best Buy.

Pros

  • Superb sound quality
  • Wi-fi as well as Bluetooth
  • Easy to use
  • Can easily connect to wireless speakers

Cons

  • Very large user manual with bleed through on pages
  • Takes time to set up

Teac TN-400BT review

£377.93View retailer

Test scoreShow Context

66%

Key features

  • Manual
  • USB output
  • Preamp

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verdict: A breeze to use

The Teac TN-400BT successfully blends a wonderfully warm vinyl sound with modern Bluetooth convenience. Sound is good, very nearly matching the refinement of our Best Buy turntables. It’s a breeze to use and it feels very well built. If Bluetooth attracts you, then this could be the ideal turntable for you.

Pros

  • Clear and balanced sound
  • Solid build quality

Cons

  • Sound lacks sparkle
  • Slightly tricky set-up

Audio-Technica AT-LP5X (Digital) review

£339.00Typical price

Test scoreShow Context

66%

Key features

  • Manual
  • USB output
  • Preamp

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verdict: Easy to use and great sound

Once set up, this is a very easy model to use compared with most manual turntables, which would be the main reason for buying it. It’s also worth considering for those wanting to play 78rpm records. For sound quality, it’s not a match for more old-school top models from ProJect and Rega, but it’s a strong, easier-to-use alternative, with lovely depth of sound.

Pros

  • Good sound quality
  • Easy to use
  • User-replaceable cartridge
  • Can tweak lots of settings
  • Supports 78rpm

Cons

  • Need to download user manual for setup
  • Slightly uneven stereo effect
  • Need to buy separate stylus for 78rpm records
  • Digitised recordings don’t sound as good

Rega Planar 1 Plus review

£329.00Typical price

Test scoreShow Context

66%

Key features

  • Manual
  • Preamp

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verdict: Great for beginners looking to get serious

This turntable is a superb choice for those looking for their first manual-operation turntable and is easier to use for beginners than the Rega Planar 1. Sound is top-notch, despite not quite matching the exceptional Rega Planar 1. There are cheaper options available, though, such as the Best Buy Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB, ProJect Primary or Lenco L-3808, so the Rega Planar 1 Plus is best suited to those looking to steadily upgrade up the Rega range, with this model being the ideal starting ground for the Rega Planar 2 or Rega Planar 3 in the future. It very nearly gets a Best Buy.

Pros

  • Very easy to use
  • Superb sound

Cons

  • Doesn’t quite match the sound of the Rega Planar 1

Denon DP-400 review

£749.00View retailer

Test scoreShow Context

65%

Key features

  • Manual
  • Preamp

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verdict: Sounds good and easy to use.

The Denon DP-400 is a decent turntable with good sound quality. It’s more expensive than similar-performing models, but you are getting a better build quality for your money. Although it doesn’t quite make the grade as a Best Buy, it’s still worth considering.

Pros

  • Good sound quality
  • Solid build

Cons

  • Sound could be even better

Roberts RT100 review

£219.97View retailers

Test scoreShow Context

65%

Key features

  • Semi-automatic
  • USB output
  • Preamp

Compare

verdict: Stylish and versatile

The RT100 looks and feels like a well-built piece of kit, and it doesn’t sound bad either. It’s not a million miles away from being a Best Buy, but the sound quality just lacks the sparkle and richness to set it above the rank and file.

Pros

  • Sounds decent
  • Easy to use
  • USB connection to computer
  • Aux output
  • Quite ‘hands on’ for those that like to adjust things
  • Sturdy construction

Cons

  • Initial set-up is fiddly
  • Can’t play 78rpm

Audio-Technica AT-LP3 review

£254.99View retailer

Test scoreShow Context

64%

Key features

  • Automatic
  • Preamp

Compare

verdict: A very competent player

The Audio Technica AT-LP3 is a pretty solid turntable. Sound quality is good, if not quite up there with the most expensive audiophile models. It’s really easy to use and set up, too. If sound quality was just a little higher this would be a Best Buy.

Pros

  • Good sound quality
  • Easy to use and set up

Cons

  • No USB output

ProJect Juke Box E review

£499.00View retailer

Test scoreShow Context

64%

Key features

  • Manual
  • Preamp

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verdict: Fantastic to use and great sound

The features on this turntable mean it would make a great choice for beginners and long-time listeners alike. Sound quality is very good, it looks great, and would be an excellent pairing for one of our Bluetooth Best Buy wireless speakers. It can also can be purchased with speakers as well – in which case you simply plug them into the back of the turntable. It couldn’t be easier.

Pros

  • Very easy to set up
  • Very good all-round sound
  • Screen
  • Can connect to wireless speakers

Cons

  • Occasional minor crackling sounds

ProJect Debut Carbon Evo review

£499.00View retailer

Test scoreShow Context

64%

Key features

  • Manual

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verdict: Sounds good, but not the best

The ProJect Debut Carbon Evo is a good all-round, manual-operation turntable with nice sound quality. However, there are better-still models around and so it falls considerably short of the standard of our exceptional Best Buy turntables, with stronger performers in ProJect’s turntable range as well. However, it’s still a desirable option, particularly for those looking to play 78rpm records as there aren’t many models that can play such records out-of-the-box, if you’re willing to pay the price.

Pros

  • Good sound quality
  • Solid build

Cons

  • Manual operation won’t suit everybody

ProJect Debut Carbon Evo review

£499.00View retailer

Test scoreShow Context

64%

Key features

  • Manual

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verdict: Sounds good, but not the best

The ProJect Debut Carbon Evo is a good all-round, manual-operation turntable with nice sound quality. However, there are better-still models around and so it falls considerably short of the standard of our exceptional Best Buy turntables, with stronger performers in ProJect’s turntable range as well. However, it’s still a desirable option, particularly for those looking to play 78rpm records as there aren’t many models that can play such records out-of-the-box, if you’re willing to pay the price.

Pros

  • Good sound quality
  • Solid build

Cons

  • Manual operation won’t suit everybody

Marley Stir It Up (EM-JT000-SB) review

£219.99View retailers

Test scoreShow Context

64%

Key features

  • Semi-automatic
  • Preamp

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verdict: Not bad

This turntable looks great, sounds lively, engaging and well balanced, and it’s easy to use, too. But digital recordings made through the USB port have an irritating background whine that will take the shine off your favourite tracks.

Pros

  • Decent sound quality
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Digital recordings are poor
  • Instruction manual may lack enough detail for novice users

Audio-Technica AT-LP5 review

£275.00Typical price

Test scoreShow Context

64%

Key features

  • Manual
  • USB output
  • Preamp

Compare

Which? verdict: Expensive for what it is

The Audio Technica AT-LP5 is a good record player. It’s solidly built and does its job in a straightforward, no-nonsense way. Sound quality isn’t quite as good as our Best Buy turntables, and it’s not cheap either, but you could certainly do worse than this model.

Pros

  • Good build quality

Cons

  • Sound could be better