The Best Turntables for Your Vinyl Collection

AudioTechnica turntable

VINYL’S BIGGEST SELLING point isn’t the sound. It’s the physical experience: shiny, delicate records; liner notes writ large; covers you want to frame and hang on your wall; and the way the stylus spins across the jagged surface, reproducing your favorite artists’ music as if by magic.

Maybe you’ve always been interested in building a setup for listening to LPs and 45s, but you don’t know where to start. Maybe you’re like WIRED reviews editor Julian Chokkattu, who owned a record but no turntable to play it on. Maybe you’re just looking for an upgrade. No problem: There are tons of great record players to choose from, and most of them will easily connect to whatever audio system you already own. I’ve tested quite a few options, and these are my current favorites—from utilitarian, budget-friendly classics to more luxe options for those seeking audiophile-grade sound.

Be sure to check out our other audio guides, including the Best Gear for Learning Music and the Best Podcasting Gear.

Vinyl Listening Accessories and Tips

Other Stuff You’ll Want

Apart from powered speakers or unpowered speakers and stereo receivers (in either case, all you need to look for is one with a red/white RCA connection), the main accessory you might need for your turntable is a phono preamp, if one doesn’t come built-in. Phono preamps take the quiet signal from the turntable and bring it up to line level—the level your stereo expects from CD players, tape decks, and digital devices. The phono signal is usually always passed to the amp through the red and white RCA inputs on the back. There are plenty of good, cheap options for phono preamps. I like the Art DJPreII, which costs a little less than $70. I wouldn’t spend less than $50 on one, but you don’t need to spend crazy money either. (There are plenty of options costing hundreds of dollars, and you can skip most of those.)

Other basics you’ll need are tied to maintenance and setup. You’ll want a record brush (often included with turntables), a way to clean your stylus, and a level to make sure your turntable is set up properly. Check out this video to see exactly what you need to do before you play your first record.

Lastly, if you need a place to store all those LPs and 45s you’ve been buying, try a Flipbin. The company makes handsome table-top bins for safely displaying and protecting your records.

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