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, of course, 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.
Updated June 2021: We’ve added a new category for “prettiest turntables,” in which we’ve included the Pro-Ject T1 Houseplant Edition as well as other themed Pro-Ject models.
Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.