A comparison of the best turntables of 2023


Mis à jour le 23 March 2023.

In the age of digital music, vinyl is still appealing, particularly because of the listening experience it provides. More intimate and immersive, listening to music on a hi-fi turntable allows us to put our ultra-connected world on hold for the duration of an album to rediscover and savor all the details and texture of analog sound. If you have decided to take the leap into the realm of wax records, here is a selection of models to help you choose your turntable.

Major names in vinyl and hi-fi, such as Elipson, Pro-Ject, Rega and Audio-Technica, offer a selection of turntables for all budgets and needs.

The models are countless, the price range is vast and there is a plethora of different features to consider, so much so that it is often difficult to know which turntable is the best. How do you choose the right hi-fi turntable? Should you opt for a Bluetooth turntable? What is the point of USB turntables and preamplified models? What are the fundamental characteristics that a good deck must have? The goal of this comparative guide is to provide you with as much information as possible to help you choose a turntable that suits your needs and your system.

The Sony PX-LS310BT turntable is a best-seller in the automatic turntable category. It has a built-in phono preamp and a Bluetooth transmitter for easy pairing with a portable speaker or any hi-fi system.

Choosing a turntable that matches your hi-fi equipment and meets your needs

When choosing a turntable, your decision should be made based on your existing hi-fi equipment and what the turntable is going to be used for. If you want to pair it with an amplifier or a hi-fi system, make sure that your equipment has a phono input. If it doesn’t, it is essential to purchase an external phono preamp or a turntable with a built-in preamp.

If you have connected speakers rather than an amplification system, a Bluetooth turntable is a good solution to easily listen to your records with Bluetooth speakers, Bluetooth headphones or even True Wireless earphones.

Compatible with Bluetooth and equipped with an integrated phono preamp, the Elipson Chroma 200 RIAA BT is a convenient and ideal solution to enjoy your vinyl records.

Lastly, if you wish to digitize your records to listen to them using a handheld device such as a smartphone, a tablet or a DAP, a USB turntable is recommended.

The Teac TN-3 turntable features an integrated analog-to-digital converter that allows you to easily digitize your vinyl collection via USB.

For which types of records?

All turntables can play 33 RPM and 45 RPM records. These are the two most common formats. Turntables that can also play 78 RPM discs are quite uncommon (Rega RP78 / RB78, Elipson Chroma 200Elipson Chroma 400Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBTUSB). It is therefore essential to check which formats are compatible with the turntable if you have 78 RPM records in your collection.

The Rega PR78 is a model specifically made to play 78 RPM records.

Be aware! 78 RPM records are made from shellac, a material that is much more fragile than vinyl, and their grooves are wider than those on a normal record. Therefore, it is crucial to use a cartridge specifically designed for 78 RPM records, so you may play them without damaging them.

Automatic, semi-automatic or manual turntable?

Three types of turntables exist: automatic, semi-automatic and manual. While the operating mode has little influence on the sound reproduction of entry-level turntables, audiophile models are often manual. As the aim of a turntable is to keep vibrations, which cause resonance and signal distortion, to a minimum, some audiophile installations prefer models with as few mechanisms as possible. However, the operating mode can have a significant impact on the user experience. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between each mode.

The MoFi StudioDeck+ is a manual audiophile turntable designed to keep distortion-causing vibrations and friction to a minimum.

With an automatic turntable, everything is incredibly simple. All you have to do is place a record on the platter and push the play button. The platter then starts to spin and the tonearm is automatically placed at the beginning of the record. Once playback is finished, it goes back to its initial position and the platter stops turning. A stop button even allows you to pause playback. There are automatic turntables ranging from the entry-level Rekkord Audio F100 AT91 or TEAC TN-175 to the more high-end Rekkord Audio F400 2M Red and the mid-range Rekkord Audio F300, all of which have a pre-mounted phono cartridge. Japanese manufacturer Sony also offers an automatic model, the Sony PS-LX310BT turntable with pre-installed MM cartridge.

Practical and efficient, the Pro-Ject A1 turntable is an automatic belt-driven model equipped with an Ortofon OM 10 cartridge and a speed selector allowing you to choose between 33 and 45 rpm.

On semi-automatic turntables, placing the tonearm on the record automatically starts playback. The arm then comes back to its original position when playback is finished. This is very useful if you like to listen to records during parties or in the background while doing something that doesn’t allow you to attend to the record right away, such as cooking. Among semi-automatic turntables are models with a classic design, such as the Denon DP-400 or the Roberts Stylus, as well as turntables with a typical DJ design, such as the Technics SL-1500C, which is based on the legendary Technics SL-1200.

The Roberts Stylus is a semi-automatic model with an elegant design, made to be seamlessly integrated into any hi-fi system.

Lastly, with a manual turntable, it is up to you to carry out each step: raising the tonearm, placing it at the beginning of the groove, lowering the tonearm at the beginning of playback, then raising the tonearm and putting it back to its initial position at the end of playback. Manual decks are the model most commonly used for audiophile listening, primarily because they allow total control over each step of the playback process. The best hi-fi turntables, such as the Elipson Chroma 400 Carbon, Rega Planar 3 and Gold Note Pianosa are entirely manual.

Designed to be part of an audiophile system, the Gold Note Pianosa is a high-end, fully manual turntable made in Italy.

Why choose a turntable with a built-in preamp?

As the output level of a phono cartridge is a lot lower than that of a CD player, a media player, or any other source, it is necessary to preamplify the turntable’s signal so that it can be handled by your hi-fi amp or mini system if they do not feature a phono input with a preamplification module for turntables. This is why many hi-fi, Bluetooth and USB turntables have their own integrated preamp. Consequently, you can connect them to any line input on your amp or your mini system (AUX, CD, Tuner, etc.). True plug-and-play solutions, there is a wide selection of turntables with built-in phono preamps, including the Elipson Chroma 400 RIAA, Pro-Ject Primary E Phono, Audio-Technica AT-LP3 and Rega Planar 1 Plus. Note, however, that a preamp integrated into a hi-fi amplifier or turntable will be less efficient than a separate phono preamp. The difference is mainly noticeable in the volume of sound and the openness of the soundstage.

A turntable with a built-in preamp such as this Rega Planar 1 Plus is ideal for listening to your records with a connected speaker.

Bluetooth turntables

Bluetooth turntables are an excellent alternative to traditional solutions which free you of an amplifier and cables so that you may listen to your records using a Bluetooth speaker, a connected hi-fi speaker, Bluetooth headphones or Bluetooth earbuds. A Bluetooth deck has the advantage of being very simple to set up. Among the best turntables equipped with a Bluetooth receiver are the iconic Elipson Chroma 200 RIAA BT, Elipson Chroma 400 RIAA BT and the comprehensive Pro-Ject Juke Box E, which, in addition to Bluetooth connectivity, has a line in and an amplified output.

The Elipson Chroma 400 RIAA BT turntable combines the elegant design and audiophile qualities of a traditional manual turntable with a Bluetooth transmitter to enjoy your vinyl records via a compatible wireless speaker.

USB turntables

Vinyl records are valuable objects that wear out over time and that can’t really be listened to on the go. Therefore, digitizing your records has dual benefits. First, it allows you to enjoy your records on any digital device (DAP, smartphone, tablet, car stereo, computer, etc.) and secondly, allows you to archive rare records. Major turntable manufacturers offer a range of USB models. These include the Elipson Chroma 400 RIAA BT, Denon DP-450 USB, TEAC TN-4D and Pioneer DJ PLX-500.

The Pioneer DJ PLX-500 turntable inherits the brand’s DJ deck design and combines it with a USB port to allow you to digitize your favorite records.

Observation: it is also possible to digitize your records from a classic turntable using a phono preamp that features a USB output like the Pro-Ject Record Box E or the Rega Fono Mini A2D.

Which are the best turntables for 2023?

Throughout this guide, we have listed the best current turntables according to their features. However, it remains difficult to choose the best model, as it varies depending on the needs of each user. A turntable for the living room will have to meet less stringent requirements than a turntable for professional use (e.g. DJ). There is therefore not one, but a selection of the best turntables in different categories. Here are the main models, sorted by price.

The best turntables under €300

The best turntables from €300 to €600

The best turntables from €600 to €1000

The best turntables from €1000 to €3000

The best turntables over €3000

Although most turntables come with a cartridge, if you choose a non-cartridge turntable or want to upgrade, we recommend you read the comparison of the best cartridges of 2023.

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