The Fluance RT85N is a great all-around turntable because it’s easy to set up and use and adds very little of its own sound characteristics, delivering an accurate representation of any record it plays.
It uses superior materials such as an acrylic platter, the heaviest plinth of the non-DJ turntables we tested, great sound-isolation feet, and the best supplied phono cartridge in our testing, the Nagaoka MP-110. (Read our Terminology section for more on the terms used here.)
The RT85N has a convenient cue lever to raise and lower the tonearm, as well as a simple counterweight dial and an auto-stop function. It’s a belt-drive turntable with easy speed switching between 33 rpm and 45 rpm, but it does not support 78 rpm records.
It does not include a built-in phono preamp, but that shouldn’t be a concern for many people, since most audio receivers have their own phono preamp built in. (Why do I need a phono preamp?)
If you listen to more modern recordings that go heavy on the bass and lower midrange sounds, you may prefer the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO turntable. It’s not as sonically neutral as our top pick, but it pairs tight bass with a wide soundstage and great sonic detail in the midrange and treble.
The EVO is easy to set up, the build quality is superb, and the included Sumiko Rainier Phono Cartridge sounds great. The speed is accurate, and switching between 33 rpm and 45 rpm requires just a simple flip of a switch. This one also supports playback of 78 rpm records, but it requires swapping the belt.
Pro-Ject offers a lot of upgrade options for this turntable, so you can build up the system over time. But like our top pick, the EVO doesn’t have a built-in phono preamp.
If you want a built-in phono preamp and/or Bluetooth output, we recommend the Audio-Technica AT-LPW50BT. It slightly underperforms in sound quality compared with the Fluance and Pro-ject models because of its underweighted plinth and platter and lower-quality (but still good) AT-VM95 phono cartridge. But no other turntable came close to having the AT-LPW50BT’s usability and functionality straight out of the box.
This belt-drive turntable supports 33 rpm and 45 rpm records (with a simple speed switch), but not 78 rpm records. The Bluetooth connectivity is intuitive and a line-level output is available, should you wish to use a different external phono preamp down the road.
The AT-LPW50BT’s materials aren’t quite as high quality as those of our top picks, and it’s available in only one finish (rosewood).
If you’re willing to sacrifice some convenient features—like easy speed switching, auto stop, and a cue lever—the U-Turn Orbit Basic offers good sound quality at a great price. The Orbit Basic turntable takes almost no time to set up, plus it’s highly customizable: You can order it with a built-in phono preamp, choose a different color, and upgrade the cartridge, as well as add a cue lever later on. It’s a simple design that works well.
All-in-one record players (which combine the record player, speakers, and amplification in one box) have a well-earned reputation for bad sound, but the Angels Horn H019 sounded much clearer and fuller than most. With its wood-finish top, metal platter, and sturdy, adjustable tonearm, it looks and feels like a good-quality turntable.
The H019 includes an Audio-Technica AT-3600L phono cartridge, and has both Bluetooth and an analog audio input to play music from phones or other audio sources. This system does require a small amount of setup, but the procedure is clearly explained in the manual.