Top 10 | Best Record Players of 2021

The best record players of 2021 are here, and they are going to knock your socks off!

Every year we do a roundup of all our favorite turntables, and we break them down to let you know which ones are the best.

If you want the absolute best, the cream of the crop, the upper echelon, then fear not. Darkside Vinyl is here to deliver. Let’s jump in.

Our Choice for the Best Record Player of 2021

Rega RP6

Our Rating: 5
5/5

The Good

  • Awesome Tonearm
  • Available Cartridge Upgrade
  • Elite Sound

The Bad

  • Expensive
  • Limited Availability
  • No Bonus Features

Rega RP6 Turntable with Exact 2 Cartridge, RB303 Tonearm, TTPSU Power Supply, Dust Cover (Gloss Black)


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The Bottom Line

It’s no secret that our staff at Darkside Vinyl love everything Rega produces. They simply put out a superior product.

This record player is simple, sleek, and sexy. With its finely tuned components, perfectly balanced RB303 tonearm, and included Exact 2 cartridge, the Rega RP6 is an audiophile’s dream. That’s why it’s our choice for the best record player of 2021

Want to skip our list? Here are all the record players that made our list of the best record players of 2021.

Overall Best Record Player of 2021 | Rega RP6

Best Record Player for Under 100 Dollars in 2021 | Audio-Technica ATLP60

Best Record Player for Under 200 Dollars in 2021 | Fluance RT80

Best Record Player for Under 500 Dollars in 2021 | U-Turn Audio – Orbit Special Turntable

Best Record Player for Under 1000 Dollars in 2021 | Rega Planar 1 Plus

Best Record Player for DJ’s in 2021 | Denon DJ VL12 PRIME

Pro-Ject The Classic SB Superpack

Rega RP8

Music Hall MMF-7.1 Turntable with Ortofon Mojo Cartridge

Pro-Ject 1Xpression Carbon

Best Record Players of 2021 | Some Quick Background

What Makes a Record Player the Best Record Player of 2021?

The best record player of 2021 has a few mandated requirements

Elite Sound Quality

Duh! The best record player has to have elite sound quality. Every entry on this list has good enough sound quality to satisfy even the pickiest audiophile. Get your non prescription glasses and antique tobacco pipes ready, because it’s about to get real hipster in here.

Versatility

The best record player of 2021 has to be able to easily fit into any HIFI setup. Most players are plug and play now, but you want to be sure it will mesh with your receiver, speakers, etc.

Simplicity

Dials look cool, and record players covered in levers and dials are tempting. But, most of the time, that stuff just overcomplicates everything and ruins the experience. For the price of these turntables, we want the closest thing to plug and go as possible.

Easy Calibration

Even the best turntables need a bit of calibration to get the best sound quality possible. Access to different components allows for easier tweaks, and lets you kick back and listen sooner.

Why Do I Need the Best Record Player of 2021?

Do you absolutely need to have the best record player of 2021? Of course not. You need food and water. Get those first.

When your basic needs are met, the best turntables are going to offer sound quality that is magnitudes better than the cheaper alternatives. If you want to see the best turntable under 100 dollars, then go for it. But here, sound is king, and these turntables offer the best there is.

What You Need to Look For

When you’re looking for the best record player of 2021, there’s a few things you should be looking for.

Build Quality

You want something with precision built components, a good cartridge and stylus, and a well-balanced tonearm. Also, a platter that doesn’t wobble and solid feet under the table make a world of difference. Basically, you want things that are supposed to move to move smoothly, and things that aren’t supposed to move to be rock-solid.

Price

Price isn’t going to be a huge ranking factor in our list, because we didn’t want to take price into account for this list. This is the best record player of 2021, not the best record player for “X” amount of dollars.

However, you live in the real world, and you probably don’t want your spouse to leave. So set a budget and act accordingly.

Also, don’t feel bad about spending money on something you love. Life is short.

Brand

In the vinyl world, brand is everything. How do you know by looking at a product description if something is well built? Well, brand has a lot to do with it.

Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t believe in brand loyalty at all. This is about brand trust. We know that Rega, Marantz, and Pro-Ject build amazing turntables, and that’s worth a lot.

Top 10 Best Record Players of 2021 | Here’s Our List

You’ve persevered through all the background and schlocky wit, and now you’ve reached the promised land. Here’s our list of the best record players of 2021.

Overall Best Record Player of 2021

Rega RP6

Our Rating: 5
5/5

The Good

  • Top Brand
  • High-Quality Components
  • Included Cartridge and Dust Cover

The Bad

  • Sensitive to Setup
  • Limited Features

Rega RP6 Turntable with Exact 2 Cartridge, RB303 Tonearm, TTPSU Power Supply, Dust Cover (Gloss Black)


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The Bottom Line

As I said above, the Rega RP6 is our choice for the best record player of 2021 due to it’s amazing sound and build quality.

Yes, this record player doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, and you need to fine tune the system for the best results. But it is built so well none of that matters.

This record player comes with a great cartridge and the amazing RB303 tonearm. Consistent playback and superior build quality help guarantee you’ll notice a huge improvement over your current system.

Everything we’ve mentioned is why the Rega RP6 is our choice for the best record player of 2021.

Best Record Player for Under 100 Dollars in 2021

Audio-Technica AT-LP60

Our Rating: 4.2
4.2/5

The Good

  • Compact Design
  • Simple Operation
  • Value for Budget

The Bad

  • Cheap Components
  • Mediocre Sound Quality
  • Weak Bluetooth Connections

Audio-Technica AT-LP60 Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable, Red


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The Bottom Line

So you’re on a budget. Like, a tight budget. Does that mean listening to vinyl isn’t for you? No! But you’re going to get something lackluster.

If we were to rate the Audio-Technica ATLP60 on the same standard as the rest of the turntables on this list, it would be around a two. It’s rated higher because it is what it is.

This record player won’t make you feel like you’re in the studio. It’s going to sound okay and it will work. It provides a lot of value for under 100 dollars. That’s hard to find these days.

Best Record Player for Under 200 Dollars in 2021

Fluance RT80

Our Rating: 4.4
4.4/5

The Good

  • Sexy Design
  • Solid Construction
  • Analog Experience

The Bad

  • Sensitive Playback
  • Sound is Ok
  • Difficult to Adjust

Fluance RT80 Classic High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable Record Player with Audio Technica AT91 Cartridge, Belt Drive, Built-in Preamp, Adjustable Counterweight, Solid Wood Plinth - Piano Black


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The Bottom Line

The Fluance RT80 is a gorgeous turntable for beginner vinyl enthusiasts. It sounds fine, looks great, and offers the analog experience that brings many to vinyl in the first place.

It’s not a turntable you’ll want to build your HIFI system around, but it is a great option for the price point.

Best Record Player for Under 500 Dollars in 2021

U-Turn Audio – Orbit Special Turntable

Our Rating: 5
5/5

The Good

  • Optional Built in Preamp
  • Elite Sound Quality
  • Multiple Sleek Finishes

The Bad

  • 3 Foot Power Cord
  • Flimsy Lid
  • Awkward Tonearm

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Special Turntable (Walnut)


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The Bottom Line

At the 500 dollar mark, you should start to see some top tier quality. And that’s exactly what you’ll get with the U-Turn Audio – Orbit Special Turntable.

This turntable looks great and sounds even better. It is sleek and stylish, the platter is consistent, and the belt drive makes sure your records sound perfect every time. It’s a fantastic printer, and the best printer for under 500 dollars in 2021.

Best Record Player for Under 1000 Dollars in 2021

Rega Planar 1 Plus

Our Rating: 4.8
4.8/5

The Good

  • Entry Level HIFI
  • Ready Out of the Box
  • Built-In Dust Cover

The Bad

  • Weak Preamp
  • Prone to Interference
  • Motor Hum

REGA - Planar 1 Plus (Black)


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The Bottom Line

The Rega Planar 1 Plus is a fantastic budget-friendly way to get into high end vinyl listening. This record player has amazing sound, and sturdy construction from a trusted brand. There’s a few quirks, and it’s not exactly plug and go. However, it is a great option and the best record player for under 1000 dollars in 2021.

Best Record Player for DJ’s in 2021

Denon DJ VL12 PRIME

Our Rating: 4.4
4.4/5

The Good

  • Built for Professional and Personal Use
  • Fun Design
  • Ultimate Playback Control

The Bad

  • Slight Platter Wobble
  • LED Can Cause Interference
  • No Lid

Denon DJ VL12 PRIME | Professional Turntable with True Quartz Lock & RGB LED Light Ring


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The Bottom Line

The Denon DJ VL12 PRIME is a gangster turntable. It looks super dope, and it sounds great.

This turntable has rgb lighting, a quartz-locked direct drive, and tactile controls. It is designed to turn the party up and keep it going. In our opinion, it’s by far the best turntable for djs in 2021 that you’ll find online.

Top 10 Best Record Players of 2021 | Other Great Options

Pro-Ject The Classic

Our Rating: 4.8
4.8/5

The Good

  • Simple Design
  • Crazy Good Quality
  • Top Tier Brand

The Bad

  • Sensitive
  • Expensive
  • Hard to Find

Pro-ject The Classic Sub-chassis turntable with 9? carbon/alu sandwich tonearm- Rosenut


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The Bottom Line

Pro-Ject makes some insane turntables. This is one of their simpler designs, and it pays off. Just look at this thing. It’s way sexier than a record player has any right to be.

This record player has top-quality sound and great fine tuning options. Best of all, it’s from one of the most trusted brands in the HI FI industry. If it’s within your budget we’d strongly suggest you give this one a shot.

Rega RP8

Our Rating: 5
5/5

The Good

  • Unbeatable Sound Quality
  • Highly Customizable
  • Extremely Stylish

The Bad

  • Very Expensive
  • Few Options Included

Rega RP8 Turntable with Apheta 2 Cartridge, RB808 Tonearm and TT PSU Power Supply Upgrade


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The Bottom Line

The Rega RP8 is an audiophile’s dream record player. Unfortunately, due to the price, it will remain a dream for most of us. 

However, if you can shell out the cash, you won’t regret getting the RP8. It’s an amazing record player, and truly one of the best on the market.

Music Hall MMF-7.1 Turntable with Ortofon Mojo Cartridge

Our Rating: 4.5
4.5/5

The Good

  • Unique Design
  • Stable Belt Drive
  • No Background Noise

The Bad

  • Low Output
  • Difficult to Assemble

Music Hall MMF-7.1 Turntable with Ortofon Mojo Cartridge


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The Bottom Line

Music Hall is a brand we are less familiar with, but if this record player is any indication, they are going to do great things.

This is a simple record player that is built to sound great. That’s it. No frills and bells and whistles on this one. It’s just one of the best record players of 2021.

Pro-Ject 1Xpression Carbon

Our Rating: 4.5
4.5/5

The Good

  • Sturdy Construction
  • Great Sound
  • Budget Friendly

The Bad

  • Hard To Find
  • No Wow Factor

Pro-Ject - 1Xpression Carbon Classic - Turntable - With Ortofon 2M Silver Cartridge - Olive Wood


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The Bottom Line

The Pro-Ject 1Xpression Carbon is a bit lackluster compared to the other entries on this list. It’s a straightforward HI FI record player. It sounds great, and looks fine. Ultimately, this record player is a great way for people to get into a great brand at a lower price.

Top 10 Best Record Players of 2021 | Final Word

Well, that was our list. No matter which record player is right for you, we believe you’ll be really happy with any of these record players. 

Hopefully you aren’t reading this section, because you’re busy checking out one of the record players. If you are down here, then we recommend you check out one of those record players. They are the best.

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