Best Of The Best Record Players For 2023: Top 5 Systems Most Recommended For Vinyl Bliss

Music can transport us back to different times in our lives. A song can attach itself to a memory. In fact, a recent study from researchers at the University of Toronto found individual attachment styles often correspond with the lyrics of one’s favorite songs. In simpler terms, people tend to turn to music that describes how they’re feeling about their relationships – for better or worse. Of course, the way we listen to music has evolved over time. Many of us grew up using a record player. The experience of getting an album on vinyl, putting it on the turntable and giving it a spin, has transcended generations. But how to choose the best record players on the market? Keep reading to find out.

Listening to vinyl records stems from the age of feeling groovy. There is nostalgia behind the crackling of the record and the feel of the music. Listening to your favorite songs can brighten your day. In fact, a new study finds that “groovy” music can even enhance brain function. Scientists from the University of Tsukuba in Japan report that “music with a groove” can significantly increase measures of executive function and associated brain activity. There is a catch, though: You have to be familiar with the tune.

Music can tell a lot about a person. A recent study reports that your favorite songs may provide a sneak peek into how you behave in relationships. Researchers report that individual attachment styles often correspond with the lyrics of one’s favorite songs. In simpler terms, people tend to turn to music that describes how they’re feeling about their relationships – for better or worse.

Aside from feeling groovy and lowkey spying on someone’s romantic tendencies, listening to music may be an important part of your life. Modern technology makes it much easier to hear any song that might come to mind at the push of a button, or by asking a smart speaker to play it. However, that hasn’t stopped many of today’s artists from releasing their music on vinyl. So that got us wondering, what are some of the best record players for spinning those tunes? StudyFinds compiled a list of the five best record players, from ten expert websites, to find the best record players for your vinyl. As always, we’d like to see your own recommendations in the comments below!

shallow focus photography of black vinyl player
(Photo by Jace & Afsoon on Unsplash)

The List: Best Record Players, According to Vinyl Experts

1. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo

clear and black record player
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo

For $599, this record player gives you high-end quality, for a lower price than some of its more expensive counterparts. “The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo offers everything you want in a player for the money: excellent sound quality, ease of setup and use, and striking looks,” points out CNET.

What Hi-Fi? notes, “the addition of a rocker switch on the bottom of the deck, which allows you to adjust the rotation speed. No more removing the platter and manually readjusting the belt when you want to go from 33.33rpm to 45.” 

“Not only does the acrylic platter come in six high-gloss or satin finishes, it has an electric speed stabilizer, making playback clearer and more detailed. It also has an external belt drive to help eliminate motor noise,” adds Esquire.

2. Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB

silver, black, and clear record player
Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB

If you are looking to digitize your vinyl collection, this record player “has a USB output to make that process simple. This turntable is easy to set up, offers very good sound quality, and has an integrated phono preamp so you don’t need to worry about connecting an external one,” according to The New York Times.

Tom’s Guide points out, it’s not “the most forceful or assertive turntable you’ll ever hear, but it extracts plenty of detail, has an easy-going way with rhythms and puts some nice emphasis on the midrange (vocalists in particular).”

Plus, it’s under $400. “If you’re serious about getting the best from your vinyl, but don’t have a huge budget, this is a wallet-friendly record player that will last you years,” adds Louder Sound.

3. Technics SL-1500C

black record player
Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB

TechRadar notes, “the SL-1500C stands on four hefty rubberized feet with a lot of articulation. A switchable phono stage proves useful along with a switchable auto-stop feature.”

This turntable boasts a “high-tech core-less direct drive motor that drives not only the platter, but the auto-lift on the tone arm as well, all while limiting interference. By embedding the Auto Lifter function in the base portion of the tonearm, it eliminates impacts to the tonearm,” according to World Wide Stereo

“It’s a beautifully-crafted piece of kit, with a built-in phono stage that ensures fuss-free set-up,” adds What Hi-Fi? “It has a clean and precise presentation and plenty of agility, punch and depth. It handles dynamic shifts with great ease, too.”

Keep in mind this one is pricey, at around $1,300. It also doesn’t include a USB output. 

4. Rega Planar 3

red and black turntable
REGA Planar 3

Coming in at around $1,125, this record player is only slightly less expensive than the Technics SL-1500C. 

However, Louder Sound calls it “the best record player you can buy for sound quality vs value” adding, this “Rega turntable is an unbelievably clean and clear performer that doesn’t impart its own character on your records. Everything you throw at it will sound just as it should – packed with detail, punch, rhythm and impeccable tonality.”

“It starts with the RB303 tonearm which is arguably Rega’s best design effort ever when we consider cost as a factor. And they really know how to design tonearms. It can furthermore be fitted with the NEO power supply that provides precision motor control and electronic switch between 33 and 45 RPM,” according to Vinyl Restart.

Similarly, World Wide Stereo names it “the best stereo for the money” and writes, “The Planar 3 is hailed the world over as the highest-value, entry-level, audiophile record player since its original introduction back in 1977, and it’s as much a conversation piece as it is a true high-fidelity component.”

5. Fluance RT81 Elite High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable

dark brown turntable
Fluance RT81 Elite High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable

If you are searching for a turntable that’s both affordable and good quality, at $249 this one is hard to beat. “With beautiful wood trim, powered Bluetooth-ready speakers, a switchable auto stop, this is an elegant, all-in-one solution to a home audio system with a record player at its core,” notes Futurism.

“This middle-of-the-road record player is the best option if you want something with auto-stop. This piano-black player with a clear lid has an S-shaped tonearm, which helps the stylus sit better inside of a record’s groove and ultimately play better sound,” adds Esquire.


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