What is the best brand for turntables?

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Written By Dominic Howard

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Turntables, also known as record players, are devices used to play vinyl records. They have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years as vinyl records have made a comeback. With many brands and models of turntables on the market, it can be difficult to determine which are the best.

In this in-depth guide, we will look at the top turntable brands available and what makes them stand out.

Best Brand of Turntable

When evaluating turntables, there are several key factors to take into account:

  • Build quality – A good turntable should be well-constructed and durable, using high-quality materials like metal rather than plastic. Sturdy build quality prevents vibration that could cause sound distortion.
  • Cartridge – The cartridge and stylus are responsible for actually reading the grooves on the record. High-quality cartridges and styli will preserve your vinyl and accurately reproduce the sound.
  • Adjustable counterweight – Having an adjustable counterweight ensures that the optimal tracking force is applied to the stylus to prevent skipping and reduce wear on records.
  • Drive system – Belt drive systems isolate the platter from motor vibrations for better audio fidelity compared to direct drive models. However direct drives offer more consistent spinning speeds.
  • Platter – Heavy platters that are well-balanced provide stability and reduce wobble or vibration during playback. High-density platters like acrylic or metal platters are ideal.
  • Upgradability – Many mid-range to high-end turntable models allow you to upgrade components like the cartridge and stylus over time to improve sound quality.

Top Turntable Brands

With the key factors in mind, let’s look at some of the leading turntable manufacturers producing high-quality record players:


Pro-Ject is an Austrian company that produces a wide range of high-end turntables known for their simple, clean designs and excellent audio quality. Their most popular models include:

  • Debut – An affordable entry-level turntable with excellent sound quality from its carbon tonearm and Ortofon cartridge. ($400
  • Debut Carbon – A step up from the base Debut, adding an acrylic platter and improved carbon tonearm. ($500)
  • 1Xpression – A high-end belt-drive turntable with superior carbon fiber tonearm, electronic speed control, and precision birch plywood plinth. ($1,600)
  • The Classic – Flagship turntable with massive metal sandbox platter, 12″ carbon tonearm, and beautiful real wood veneer plinth. ($3,000)


Rega is a British audio equipment manufacturer known for excellent analog turntables. Key models include:

  • Planar 1 – No-frills entry-level turntable with a streamlined design and carbon cartridge. Manual speed change. ($475)
  • Planar 2 – Mid-range model with electronic speed control and Rega’s RB220 tonearm. ($695)
  • Planar 3 – High-performance turntable with glass platter, precision bearings, and RB330 tonearm. ($945)
  • Planar 8 – Top-of-the-line belt-drive turntable with beautifully engineered plinth and RB880 tonearm. ($1,995)


Audio-Technica is a Japanese brand well respected for high-quality cartridges and affordable turntables great for beginners. Two favorites are:

  • LP60 – Fully automatic belt-drive model with built-in phono preamp. ($129)
  • LP120 – Direct drive turntable with professional features like pitch adjust and high torque motor. ($249)


Fluance is a Canadian company offering excellent turntables at reasonable prices. Two to consider are:

  • RT80 – Affordable entry-level model with balanced S-Type tonearm and Ortofon cartridge. Manual belt-drive. ($200)
  • RT85 – High-quality turntable with auto-stop, adjustable counterweight, and speed sensor for precise platter speeds. ($500)


U-Turn is an American company focused on producing easy-to-use plug-and-play record players. They are known for simplicity and sound quality at each price point. Two options are:

  • Orbit Basic – Affordable manual turntable with high-quality audio and integrated preamp. ($179
  • Orbit Special – Steps up with acrylic platter, upgraded Grado cartridge, and beefier motor.($599)


In addition to their popular PlayStation consoles, Sony produces quality turntables. Two models with excellent reputations are:

  • PS-HX500 – Belt-drive turntable that can digitize records at high resolution to store music on your computer. ($299)
  • PS-LX310BT – Direct drive model with Bluetooth connectivity to wirelessly transmit vinyl to speakers and headphones. ($199)


Thorens is one of the oldest and most prestigious turntable manufacturers, based in Switzerland. Two of their well-respected models are:

  • TD 203 – High-end manual belt drive turntable with adjustable springs and TP92 tonearm. ($1,799)
  • TD 1601 – Fully automatic turntable with belt drive, walnut plinth, and advanced speed control system. ($999)


New Jersey-based VPI Industries produces high-end American-made turntables. Their models are built to last generations. Two excellent options are:

  • Nomad – Easy to use, portable model designed for listening on the go. Manual speed change. ($995
  • Prime – High-quality turntable with 10-inch 3D printed tonearm and microprocessor speed control. ($1,600)

What To Look for in a Good Turntable?

When shopping for a turntable, keep these key features in mind:

  • Cartridge and stylus – The cartridge and stylus produce the sound from the record grooves. Look for a high-quality magnetic cartridge from brands like Ortofon, Shure, or Audio-Technica.
  • Tonearm – The tonearm holds the cartridge. Look for adjustable counterweights and anti-skating to optimize sound quality.
  • Platter and bearings – Heavy platters reduce vibration. High-quality bearings keep platters spinning smoothly.
  • ـsolation – Turntables should be isolated from vibrations using suspension systems and feet to absorb shocks.
  • Digital convertibility – Some models can convert vinyl to digital audio files. This lets you archive records on your computer.
  • Automatic vs. manual operation – Fully automatic turntables cue records and auto-return tonearms for convenience. The manual operation provides higher sound quality.
  • Belt drive vs. direct drive – Belt drives isolate motors for better sound quality. Direct drives offer ultra-stable platter speeds.

As you can see, there are many excellent turntable brands and models to choose from. Do your research to find the best option matching your priorities like sound quality, features, aesthetics, and budget. With a quality turntable matched with a good phono preamp, amplifier, and speakers – the world of analog vinyl records can open up for you to enjoy.

Frequently Asked Question

1. What is the difference between direct drive and belt drive turntables?

Belt drive turntables use an elastic belt to connect the platter to the motor. This isolates vibrations for better sound quality. Direct drive turntables connect the platter directly to the motor. This offers faster startups and consistent speeds, but more motor noise.

2. Why are high-torque motors better in turntables?

Higher torque motors provide more power and stability for spinning records consistently. They are less likely to have speed variations if the stylus encounters brief resistance in the grooves.

3. What does anti-skating adjustment do on a tonearm?

Anti-skating applies a small outward force to counteract the inward pull of the tonearm. This allows the stylus to track the record grooves more accurately for optimal fidelity.

4. What is a phono preamp and why do you need one?

A phono preamp boosts and equalizes the weak analog signal from vinyl records to line level. This prepares the signal for amplification so you can hear it through speakers. Most turntables require a separate phono preamp.

5. How can I connect my turntable to speakers?

First, connect your turntable RCA cables to a phono preamp input. Then connect the preamp outputs to auxiliary inputs on an amplifier, receiver, or powered speakers. Follow the grounding instructions to reduce hum.

6. What is the best brand for turntables?

There isn’t a single “best” brand for turntables, as the choice depends on your specific needs and preferences. Several reputable brands produce high-quality turntables, including Technics, Rega, Pro-Ject, Audio-Technica, and Denon, among others.

7. What factors should I consider when choosing a turntable brand?

When choosing a turntable brand, consider factors like your budget, desired features (e.g., automatic vs. manual operation), build quality, brand reputation, and compatibility with your audio setup.

8. Are there budget-friendly turntable brands that offer good quality?

Yes, there are budget-friendly turntable brands that offer good quality, such as Audio-Technica and Pro-Ject. These brands provide options for both entry-level and mid-range turntables that deliver excellent performance without breaking the bank.

9. Which turntable brands are known for their high-end, audiophile-grade models?

Brands like Technics, Rega, Clearaudio, and VPI are known for their high-end, audiophile-grade turntables. These models are designed for discerning audiophiles who prioritize exceptional sound quality and precision engineering.

10. What are the key features to look for in a turntable brand?

Key features to consider include the type of drive system (belt-drive or direct-drive), tonearm quality, cartridge compatibility, anti-vibration measures, speed stability, and ease of setup and use.


There are many great turntable brands available today catering to all budgets and tastes. Carefully consider the build quality, cartridge, tonearm, isolation, and convenience features to choose the model that’s right for your vinyl setup. With proper setup and quality components, turntables provide a warm, rich analog listening experience that many listeners find unmatched in digital formats. Happy record spinning!

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