These are the best budget turntables money can buy, whether you're dipping a toe with your first turntable, want to rip your vinyl using a USB deck or simply upgrading an ageing entry-level model.
Spinning vinyl doesn't have to be an expensive affair - our favourite budget decks start at under £100. At its most basic, a good turntable will spin vinyl smoothly to give you a steady sound that your amp can work with. More advanced options will let you rip that music to your digital archive in hi-res, while we've even managed to track down an all-in-one turntable system. All the options we've listed below come in at under £500.
Best budget turntable under £100
If you want a budget turntable that just plugs in and gets on with the job of spinning your records, you'll be hard pressed to find anything better than the Lenco L-85. The semi-automatic, belt-driven turntable features a built-in phono stage and even supports USB recording. Build is decent for the price and the colour options are plentiful. Sound quality is very good for the money.
Best budget turntable under £200
The Audio Technica AT-LP3 manages to offer the full automation of a suitcase turntable without compromising on sound quality. That means you get a built-in phono stage, an a removable cartridge so you can upgrade to another moving-magnet or moving-coil at a later date. The Audio Technica delivers a full-bodied and musical sound, with plenty of space and detail.
Best budget turntable under £300
The Pro-Ject Essential III looks fantastic with it's slimline build but also crams in great features like an enhanced platter and plinth and upgraded cartridge and cables. This belt-driven deck sounds easy-going and enjoyable, with exciting highs and an excellent sonic balance. The soundstage is open and scale is decent.
Best budget turntable under £500
The Rega Planar 1 is a 2018 What Hi-Fi? Award-winner thanks to its wonderfully exciting and engaging sound. Build quality is superb and features include a Rega Carbon cartridge, which is attached to a RB110 tonearm. It's a simple deck to get up and running, too. The result is a roomy, spacious sound that's full of detail. Voices sound superb and the Rega delivers a combination of clarity and accuracy that's tough to beat at this price.
Best budget USB turntable
The Sony PS-HX500 is a slick operator. It connects to your computer via USB and uses Sony's Mac and Windows-compatible High Res Audio Recorder software to rip your vinyl either as a WAV (up to 24-bit/192kHz) or DSD (5.6mHz) file. It's a simple process, all done at the press of a button.
Build quality is excellent - the Sony uses a one-piece tonearm with an integrated head shell - and its sound mirrors this. It extracts a superb level of detail and delivers it in an articulate. coherent and entertaining manner. Stereo imaging is up there with the best at the money.
Best budget turntable system
Pro-ject's Juke Box E crams lot of usability and features into a vinyl-playing package. You're looking at a turntable, amplifier, phono stage and Bluetooth connectivity all in one box - all you have to do is add a pair of budget speakers. It's a concept we've seen before, but Pro-Ject has refined it to great effect. The system sounds on the warmish side of neutral and it's no slouch when dealing with complex rhythms. Overall it's an enjoyable listen, but you will need to think about the speakers you use to partner it with. Think along the lines of the Mission LX-2 or Q Acoustics 3010i and you'll be onto a winner.