The Best Vintage Record Players & Turntables In 2018

vintage-record-players--turntables-in-2018

Today, accessing music via digital streaming is more accessible than ever before. Approximately 1 in 10 physical albums sold are on vinyl, however. Whether due to nostalgia about decades have gone by, hipster appeal, an audiophile’s specific opinion on how music should sound, or collector’s cred, the demand for vinyl – and the vintage record players and turntables that can play them – is nowhere near extinction.

Top-Rated Retro Record Players & Turntables

1byone Vintage Style Record Player

1byone Belt Driven Bluetooth Turntable with Built-in Stereo Speaker Vintage Style Record Player

This vintage looking record player comes with a natural wood platter, excellent ratings, and an innovative twist. Despite it is one of the classic record players, it comes with modern functionality: stereo speakers, the ability to convert audio from vinyl records into mp3 files, and Bluetooth Plug & Play capacity (which allows it to function like a wireless speaker).

Why We Like It

You get the best of both worlds from one of the more reliable brands: old fashioned aesthetics and modern convenience. It comes with selectable 33 / 45 / 78 RPM speeds settings.

Pros:
  • Portability. It weighs 7.1 pounds and measures at 17 x 14 x 6.2 inches.
  • Audio fidelity. The stereo active 2-way crossover system allows you to enjoy all genres of music with crystal-clear production.
Cons:
  • Warranty. It only comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee (for any reason), and a 3-month warranty for quality-related issues.
  • Affordability. At under $130 from Amazon (mid-range in this review), you have to pay a bit more for this good turntable.

FAQ

Can it be connected to a speaker wirelessly?
No, you will need a cable for that. Wireless connectivity is only available for phones, laptops, PCs and tablets.

Do I need my own USB device when “ripping” vinyl records?
No, it comes with a USM thumb drive.

Musitrend LP Old-Fashioned Turntable

Musitrend LP 3-Speed Turntable with Built-in Stereo Speakers Vintage Style Record Player

This is another example of how vintage style can be paired with modern technology. The Musitrend turntable comes with a solid wood finishing and similar functionalities like its 1bygone counterpart: built-in stereo speakers, an output jack to connect with other amplifiers, and vinyl-to-mp3 “ripping” capacity. It comes with a 45-RPM adapter.

Why We Like It

You get access to selectable 33/45/78RPM speeds and great audio quality from one of the more reputable brands. The removable hinged dust cover and power indicator also make for practical design features.

Pros:
  • Portability. It weighs 6.6 pounds and measures at 13 x 5.5 x 11.8 inches.
  • Affordability. At under $70 from Amazon, this is one of the cheaper top-rated retro record players in this review.
  • Warranty. It only comes with a one-year warranty and 24-hour customer service.
  • Convenience. It comes with a replacement stylus that can be used when necessary.
Cons:
  • No wireless functionality. It does not come with Bluetooth Plug & Play capacity.

FAQ

Does this turntable have to be assembled?
No assembly is required.

Does this player have an auto-return function?
No, it does not.  It will automatically stop when it reaches the end your record.

1byone Nostalgic Retro Turntable with Bluetooth

1byone Nostalgic Wooden Turntable Bluetooth Vinyl Record Player

This old-fashioned antique turntable with Bluetooth comes in a wooden box design that oozes with nostalgia and old-school charm. You can nevertheless expect high-quality sound (thanks to no less than four high-performance speakers), vinyl-to-mp3 “ripping” capacity, and wireless Bluetooth capacity.

Why We Like It

It comes with selectable 33 / 45 / 78 RPM speeds settings, a handy protective dust cover, a replacement stylus needle, and an easy-to-access front control panel.

Pros:
  • Versatility. You can play vinyl records, CDs, and cassettes – no bygone medium for music recording is left out! You can also use it to tune in to your favorite radio shows.
  • Convenience. You can use it as a speaker for any Bluetooth-enabled device, and use it to “rip” your favorite CD, cassette, or vinyl record into mp3 files.
Cons:
  • Affordability. At under $170 from Amazon, this is one of the more expensive turntables on this list.
  • Portability. Weighing at 18.5 pounds and measuring at 16.9 x 14.5 x 11.5 inches, this is certainly not the most portable record player on this list.

FAQ

Can it be connected to external speakers?
Yes, you can use the RCA output for this purpose. You also need a wire to connect it to Bluetooth speakers.

How do I locate my favorite radio station?
Switch the function button to FM, and then rotate the tuning control to find it.

Sylvania SRCD838 Classic Turntable with CD, Casette, Radio

Sylvania SRCD838 5-In-1 Nostalgic Turntable with CD

This dark purple wooden old-fashioned turntable is an all-in-one combo. You can use it to play your favorite CD, cassette, or vinyl record – as well as to tune in to the radio and play your Spotify playlist via the aux-input.

Why We Like It

The boxy design, oversized classic dial, and elegant wood finish makes for a striking nostalgic statement – at a very affordable price.

Pros:
  • Affordability. At under $70 from Amazon, you get vintage technics and ‘70s vibes with the best price.
  • Warranty. It only comes with a product warranty for 90 days on labor and 90 days on parts.
Cons:
  • Portability. It weighs 12 pounds and measures at 15.8 x 15 x 10 inches, making it fairly difficult to move around.

FAQ

Is there a radio antenna?
No, there is not.

Does it work well outside the USA?
It was designed to run on 110V, so a volt adapter may be necessary if you live outside the United States.

Victrola Vintage Suitcase Turntable

Innovative Technology VSC-550BT-TQ Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Suitcase Turntable with Speakers

This classic record player comes with ‘80s turntable design within a portable briefcase, as well as built-in stereo speakers.

Why We Like It

If you need your turntable to be as mobile as you are, the suitcase design comes with a practical handle and a wealth of color options to signal your individuality.

Pros:
  • Colors Galore. You have practically all the color options you might be looking for in the briefcase: pink, black, turquoise, white, red, marsala, pink camo, purple glitter, Tie Dye, aqua turquoise, cognac, camo, cobalt blue, geo print, galaxy, lavender, UK flag, US flag, retro map, red and black, and black (certified refurbished).
  • Portability. It weighs 5 pounds and measures at 16.6 x 7.3 x 12.8 inches. The beautiful chrome accents, textured interior and durable briefcase will make for a head-turning accessory wherever you go.
  • Affordability. At under $40 from Amazon, this good retro turntable certainly does not burn a hole in your pocket.
  • Audio fidelity. The stereo active 2-way crossover system allows you to enjoy all genres of music with crystal-clear production.
  • Warranty. It only comes with a limited warranty: 90 days labor, and one year for parts.
Cons:
  • No battery. You can also turn it on when there is a power source nearby.

FAQ

Can it be connected to my iPhone?
Yes, it works with all Bluetooth-enabled devices.

Can it play 7, 10, and 12-inch records?
Yes, and at three different speeds (33 1/3, 45, and 78).

Victrola Antique

Victrola Nostalgic Aviator Wood 7-in-1 Bluetooth Turntable Entertainment Center

This is one of the best vintage turntables in terms of aesthetic appeal: it comes in luxurious antique real-wood casing that will fit right at home in the most prestigious settings.

Why We Like It

The boxy design, oversized classic dial, and elegant wood finish make for a striking nostalgic statement – at a very affordable price. It comes with a three-speed turntable and built-in stereo speakers.

Pros:
  • Options. Choose between antique white, mahogany, oak, black, and espresso to match your furniture.
  • Versatility. Despite its vintage appeal, it comes with a plethora of modern functions. You can use it to play CDs, cassettes, vinyl, radio, and music from your phone via Bluetooth.
Cons:
  • Portability. It weighs 25 pounds and measures at 20.4 x 12.1 x 12 inches.
  • Affordability. At under $140 from Amazon, this antique beauty is one of the more expensive options on this list.

FAQ

Can I connect it to external speakers?
Yes, you can.

What is the difference with the Victrola Nostalgic Aviator Wood 8-in-1?
The 8-in-1comes with the ability to “rip” vinyl, CD, and cassette directly to USB.

Marantz TT-15S1

Marantz TT-15S1 Reference Belt Drive Turntable with Cartridge

If you are a serious audiophile, the Marantz TT-15S1 Reference Turntable is what you have been looking for. With over five decades in the industry, Marantz is one of the top companies when it comes to audio technology.

Why We Like It

It comes with a pretty sleek minimalist design (all white, with a platter made from a dense glass cast PMMA acrylic composite). Its cutting edge features include an 80 dB signal to noise ratio, and an anti-skating system.

Pros:
  • Audio fidelity. As longtime fans of analog, Marantz delivers the best music listening experience (among the options in this review) that will wow the most demanding audiophile.
  • Warranty. Marantz will fix any defects in materials or workmanship within the first three years of purchase (five years for reference gear) at no charge.
Cons:
  • Affordability. At under $1,500 from Amazon, this is the most expensive turntable on this list.
  • Versatility. This was made with purists in mind, and excels at only one thing: playing vinyl records with unparalleled audio fidelity.
  • Portability. It weighs only 1 pound and measures at 16.5 x 14.2 x 5.4 inches.

FAQ

Is there a dust cover to protect this expensive turntable?
No, but you can (and should!) purchase one separately.

What speeds does it play?
33 1/3, and 45s, but not 78s.

Crosley CR6231D-GR Sterling Portable Turntable

Crosley CR6231D-GR Sterling Portable Turntable with Aux-In and Bluetooth

This portable turntable comes with a four-legged stand and an effortlessly chic vintage design.

Why We Like It

It comes with dynamic full range stereo speakers, wireless functionality, and plays 2 speeds (33 1/3 and 45 RPM). Its belt driven turntable mechanism will allow you to listen to your favorite 7″, 10″ & 12″ records and experience their full sonic richness.

Pros:
  • Color options. It comes in black, red, and green & cream.
Cons:
  • Portability. While it was designed to be portable (11 x 17 x 7 inches), it is fairly heavy (20 pounds).

FAQ

How tall does it stand when you set up the legs?
22.5 inches tall.

Can you connect it to alternate speakers?
Yes, via the RCA input.

Classic Record Players & Turntables Buying Guide

The world of vintage turntables can be daunting (even after reading these reviews), especially when you have to consider the numerous brands, more expensive options, and the surprisingly cheap options. You worry that the pricey options may not deliver the value you expect, while their cheaper counterparts may end up damaging your precious vinyl records.  This buying guide lists everything you need to consider before making the purchase:

  • Features. Some turntables come with surprisingly modern features, e.g. wireless connectivity and the ability to rip music.
  • Size. Most are compact enough to fit on any table or cabinet, but some are bulky enough to require standalone space.
  • Brand reputation. Most of the reputable brands that manufacture turntables are either American, German, or Japanese.
  • Style. Many turntables marry a retro-chic style with new and modern features, but some stand out more than others in the aesthetics department. Most modern turntables draw inspiration from the 1970s and 1980s; few go so far back as to draw inspiration from the phonograph.
  • Parts/Accessories. Turntables include the platter (where the record sits and spins), the spindle (which holds the record in place), the cartridge (it produces the audio signal that is then amplified), the stylus (i.e. the needle), and the tonearm (attached to the cartridge).
  • Needle. Also known as the stylus, this is the most delicate and fragile part of the turntable. More refined needles track better around the record grooves, preventing wear and tear while extracting the most sonic detail.
  • Belt. Most of the turntables on this list are belt-driven. There is a rubber band around the motor pulley, and the platter to stop the stylus from picking up vibrations from the motor.
  • Cassette/CD Players. If you are looking for something to play vinyl, CDs, and cassettes, you will find that many manufacturers have anticipated your needs.

Why Are Old Style Record Players Popular?

There are many reasons why vintage record players are making a comeback. The assumption that digital audio is necessarily inferior to LPs is not always true; this is usually the case when the files have been compressed and then played through cheap speakers and/or earphones. There is nevertheless the perception that the bass on vinyl is less accurate, creating a sense of “warmth” that reassures many audiophiles. This effect may be more positive when it comes to certain genres. In 2017, the vast majority of vinyl albums sold were rock albums (over 4.5 million), compared to pop (over 1 million), rap/hip-hop (over 0.5 million) and R&B (0.5 million).

Other reasons for the popularity of vinyl includes the tactile element and the promise of longevity – holding a large LP creates a real sense of connection to an artist’s work as compared to a fragile CD or intangible mp3 files. There is, also, the appeal of exclusivity and scarcity. Vinyl editions are often rare and limited, providing their owner with bragging rights and collector’s cred.