Best turntables 2018: the best decks for every budget

Vinyl is back and it's here to stay. So whether you're buying your first turntable, replacing an old deck or looking to upgrade your existing record player, we can help.

We've rounded-up the best turntables around, whatever your budget. There are a smattering of selections at the budget end of the market, plus a selection of premium turntables if you're looking to spend a little more money. You can even get a wireless Bluetooth turntable should you want to stream your vinyl selections.

The boom in interest in vinyl has seen cheap turntables flood the market, with many all-in-one vinyl systems on the market for less than £100. But you can do better. In fact, some of these decks can even damage your vinyl. As tempting as some of the super-cheap systems may be, it's worth paying a little more for better build quality and superior sound. Partner with some good speakers and a talented amp, and a budget vinyl system can be had for the right side of £500.

Whether you're looking for an entry-level, midrange or premium turntable, these are our picks of the best decks around.

Bluetooth

Best Bluetooth turntable

Pro-Ject Juke Box E

Pro-Ject forces a little of the 21st century into a turntable

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: 118 x 415 x 334cm (HxWxD) | Motor: Belt drive | Cartridge: Ortofon OM 5E | Phono preamp: Yes | USB: No | Bluetooth: Yes | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 | Finish: Red, white, black

Reasons to Buy
Good range of features
Capable, even-handed sound
Bluetooth
Reasons to Avoid
Some might want more power
Baffling remote

Today's best Pro Ject Juke Box E deals

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£369
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£369
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£369
2 Year Warranty
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£369
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The Pro-Ject Juke Box E is based on Pro-Ject’s well-regarded Primary turntable and is tricked out with an Ortofon OM 5E cartridge, amplification (25W per channel into 8 ohms) and Bluetooth receiver.

It’s an all-in-one system that demands very few compromises, given its price. It’s also an all-in-one system that we can’t easily argue against in favour of separates. The Juke Box E delivers convenience and backs it up with Award-winning sound quality. You can't really ask for more than that.

USB

Best USB turntable

Sony PS-HX500

Entertaining sound and hi-res ripping smarts in one fantastic package

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: 104 x 430 x 366mm (HxWxD) | Motor: Belt drive | Tracking force: 1.7kg | Cartridge: MM | Phono preamp: Yes | USB: Yes | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 (manual speed change) | Finish: Black

Reasons to Buy
Rips vinyl to hi-res WAV or DSD file
Lively and transparent sound
Knockdown price
Reasons to Avoid
Doesn’t look all that special

Today's best Sony PS-HX500 deals

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£239
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£249
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£249
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£299.98
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The headline news with this excellent Sony USB turntable is the drop in price. First launched - and given a five-star review - at £450, it's now widely available for £249. Bargain. Need we go on? OK, well on top of great sound, this Sony allows you to rip your vinyl in high-resolution audio quality. There's a phono amp inside and a USB output. The design and finish is workmanlike but if you want a jack-of-all-trades from a trusted brand such as Sony, look no further.

Under £100

Best turntable under £100

Lenco L-85

A brilliant budget USB turntable

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: 150 x 420 x 362mm (HxWxD) | Motor: Belt drive | Cartridge: MM | Phono preamp: Yes | USB: Yes | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 | Finish: Green, red, yellow, black, white, grey

Reasons to Buy
Easy set-up
USB recording
Built-in phono stage
Reasons to Avoid
Sound quality is so-so

Today's best Lenco L-85 deals

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£64.99
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£69.99
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The Lenco L-85 is very much a “My First Turntable” – a great starting point for you or your kids to get into vinyl at a knockdown price. Flashy colours and extra features are a bonus - there's a built-in phono stage so you can connect to any amplifier or powered speakers, while the USB output allows you to rip a digital copy of your records. Unless you're prepared to spend over £200, we can’t think of another turntable that combines its features and user-friendliness with such a likeable performance. If you’re thinking of getting into vinyl, this is a decent place to start.

Under £200

Best turntable under £200

Pro-Ject Primary E

This budget turntable makes a great first record player

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: 112 x 420 x 330mm (HxWxD) | Motor: Belt drive | Platter: 300 mm with felt mat | Tracking force: 1.7kg | Cartridge: Ortofon MM | Phono preamp: No | USB: No | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 (manual speed change) | Finish: Red, white, black

Reasons to Buy
Entertaining sound
Easy set-up
Affordable price
Reasons to Avoid
Manual speed change

Prepared to spend a little more for better sound? This Primary E is the way to go. It eschews the extra features of the Lenco (above) - there's no USB connection, no built-in phono stage, and changing the speed is a manual job - but you do get noticeably better audio performance. If sound is your number one concern, and you don't want to spend more than £200, this is the way to go.

Under £300

Best turntable under £300

Rega Planar 1

If you want to take a step up from a budget model, invest in the Planar 1

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: 117 x 447 x 360mm (HxWxD) | Motor: Belt drive | Cartridge: Rega Carbon MM | Phono preamp: No | USB: No | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 | Finish: White, black

Reasons to Buy
Latest version of classic turntable
Excellent sound
Simple set-up
Reasons to Avoid
Manual speed change

Today's best Rega Planar 1 deals

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£249
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£249
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£249
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In an era of change, not even Rega’s best-selling turntable is immune to the desire for a fresh approach. And with the new Rega Planar 1, change is unquestionably positive. Pretty much everything you see has undergone some form of modification and the end result is a level of sound quality that is a clear step-up from budget decks. This is low on frills, in line with most hi-fi turntables, but instead you get an accurate performance that delivers detailed, dynamic sound. 

Under £400

Best turntable under £400

Rega Planar 2

A step-up in sonic performance from the Planar 1

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: 117 x 447 x 360mm (HxWxD) | Motor: Belt drive | Cartridge: Rega Carbon MM | Phono preamp: No | USB: No | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 | Tracking force: 2g | Finish: White, black, red

Reasons to Buy
Detailed sound
Solid and authoritative
Sleek, understated design
Reasons to Avoid
Manual speed change

Today's best Rega Planar 2 deals

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£399
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£399
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£399
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£399

Don't expect to get more features for your money here, you're simply paying for a few upgraded components to deliver better sound quality. And it works. The no-nonsense set-up requires minimal effort, save for ensuring the speed is set correctly (speed change is manual) and fixing the weight to balance the tonearm. Once the tonearm is in a floating position, simply set the Carbon MM cartridge’s tracking force to the recommended 2g. Once done, the Planar 2 delivers punchy basslines, room-filling scale, and impressive attention to detail and rhythmic subtlety.

Under £700

Rega Planar 3/Elys 2

Step up again with the Planar 3

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: 117 x 447 x 360mm (HxWxD) | Motor: Belt drive | Cartridge: Elys2 MM | Phono preamp: No | USB: No | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 | Tracking force: 2g | Finish: White, black, red

Reasons to Buy
Fun, detailed sound
Well made
Easy to use
Reasons to Avoid
Like all turntables needs care in positioning

Today's best Rega Planar 3/Elys 2 deals

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£649
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You're probably sensing a theme... Rega knows how to make turntables and we're only too happy to recommend the Planar 3 if you want a step-up in performance. No turntable has dominated its category like the Planar 3, taking on all-comers since its launch the 1970s. Thanks to a thorough revision, and some key component upgrades - notably the tonearm and cartridge - this version keeps the legacy in tact. We think this new version is the best RP3 yet, adding extra servings of clarity, precision and insight to an already musical sound. Want the best value turntable on the market? This is it.

Under £1200

Best turntable under £1000

Clearaudio Concept

A repeat Award-winner, and for good reason: the sound is awesome

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: 140 x 420 x 350mm (HxWxD) | Motor: Belt drive | Cartridge: Concept MC/MM | Phono preamp: No | USB: No | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45, 78 | Tracking force: 2g | Finish: Black/silver, black, wood, dark wood

Reasons to Buy
Easy to set up
Great build
Excellent all-round sonic performance
Reasons to Avoid
Against: Nothing (unless you don’t care for the looks)

Today's best Clearaudio Concept deals

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£1195
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If you’re not familiar with the Clearaudio Concept turntable by now, the concept is essentially getting the most exceptional sound you can from your records at this price. A trophy cabinet full of What Hi-Fi? Awards is the proof. This deck delivers as clean, rhythmic, detailed and spacious a sound as you’ll find for the money, not to mention engaging and entertaining. Expensive but well worth the money.

Under £1500

Best turntable under £1500

Rega Planar 6/Ania

A wonderfully refined, articulate and precise-sounding turntable

SPECIFICATIONS

Dimensions: 120 x 448 x 365mm (HxWxD) | Motor: Belt drive | Cartridge: Ania MC | Phono preamp: No | USB: No | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 | Finish: Polaris grey

Reasons to Buy
Superb timing, agility and dynamism
Smart-looking finish
Good build
Reasons to Avoid
Demands careful system-matching

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Another Rega, another big step-up in performance. It’s a frankly astonishing refined and mature sound. Some of that is down to the upgraded cartridge and tonearm, and the benefit of the separate power supply, but either way this overall package more than justifies its high price. One thing to note - there’s little in the way of isolation bar the three aluminium-trimmed rubber feet, so it’s essential the deck is placed on a sturdy, level support and away from any other electronics to minimise any vibrations. 

Under £2500

Rega RP8/Apheta

The RP8 is the very definition of a brilliant all-rounder.

SPECIFICATIONS

Motor: Belt drive | Cartridge: Apheta 2 MC | Phono preamp: No | USB: No | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 | Finish: Black

Reasons to Buy
A massively detailed sound
Strong dynamics and precision
Fine build
Reasons to Avoid
Careful placement a must
Needs careful system matching

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Sound? Massively detailed. Agility? Class-leading. Dynamics? Strong. Precision? Exceptional. In 2013 the RP8 was voted “one of the best designs of all time” by two of the worlds most respected designers, Apple’s Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson, and we'd be more than happy to give it our vote when it comes to sound quality.

Under £5000

Best turntable under £5000

VPI Prime

It's not cheap, but the Prime is getting into serious turntable territory

SPECIFICATIONS

3D-printed arm | Manual speed change | Moving coil cartridge | Finish: Black

Reasons to Buy
Excellent resolution of detail
Expressive dynamics and surefooted rhythmic drive
Excellent build and finish
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing at this level

Today's best VPI Prime deals

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The Prime turntable and arm combination is one of the most likeable record players we’ve heard in recent years. If you have this sort of money to spend on a turntable, don’t buy anything until you’ve heard this. VPI Industries has a long history of producing great value, high quality turntables. The New Jersey-based specialist’s products have never been cheap, but even at £3750 the Prime represents something of a bargain as far as high-end record players are concerned. Yes, really. You’d have to look at products that cost close to double that before any notable upgrades are heard over this deck.

Money-no-object

Linn Klimax LP12

If you get a chance to experience this deck, its sound is out of this world

SPECIFICATIONS

Motor: Belt drive | Cartridge: Kandid MC | Phono preamp: Optional | USB: No | Speeds: 33 ⅓, 45 | Finish: Oak, cherry, black ash, rosenut, walnut

Reasons to Buy
An informative, dynamic and exciting presentation
Sensational dynamics and surefooted with rhythms
Excellent build and finish
Reasons to Avoid
Hefty price

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The Linn LP12 was introduced in 1973. This unassuming belt-driven turntable took a while to gain traction, but by the ’80s it had become the dominant premium record player on the market. Even today, it’s held in high esteem and still considered by many as one of the best turntables you can buy. That’s impressive staying power for a design that outwardly looks little different from the decades-old original. Of course, despite appearances it has changed over that time. Yet, in most respects it’s startlingly better than what has gone before and is still right up there with the very best at this price. The Linn LP12 remains a deck to be taken very seriously indeed.