The best vintage record player in the UK 2023

Have you been collecting vinyl records for years or are you just discovering the world of LPs and 45s? No matter, you need to find the best vintage record player possible to enjoy your favorite tunes. Vinyl has come back into vogue among purists, but there are plenty of choices on the market. Which vintage record player should you choose? Find out by reading our guide.

Victrola Empire Expresso 1

Editor's Choice

Victrola Empire Expresso

The best vintage record player in 2021

The Victrola Empire Expresso is a vintage Bluetooth record player with impressive audio and technical qualities. This 6-in-1 stereo system is suitable for all types of use.

158 £ on Amazon

The Victrola Empire Expresso vintage record player has several features to suit all uses. It offers 3 speeds with a 78 RPM belt drive. There's also a CD player, cassette player, FM radio, Bluetooth and plenty of 3.5mm auxiliary inputs. With the Bluetooth transfer system, you can listen to music from your tablet or phone. You can connect the unit with other larger speakers through RCA Line Out audio. Around the dial of the Victrola Empire Expresso is an LED light that highlights the gorgeous golden hue.

Blaupunkt TT 100 C 2

Best entry-level

Blaupunkt TT 100 C

The best entry-level vintage record player

If you're looking for an original vintage record player experience on a tight budget, Blaupunkt's TT 100 C is the best choice you can find. This model will amaze you!

151 £ on Amazon

The Blaupunkt TT 100 C is a manually operated vintage record player. You have to put the tone arm by hand and then put it back by hand after the end of the record. Its neat design and old school operation are among its main assets. The device is easy to handle, although the mat and platter must be assembled by hand when first used. There is an adjustable counterweight on the tone arm with which you can adjust the tracking force of the needle.

Note that the Blaupunkt TT 100 C has a smooth spinning behavior and a built-in preamplifier that can be disabled. The transparent cover also serves as a protective cover.

House of Marley Stir It Up 3

Best high-end

House of Marley Stir It Up

The best high-end vintage record player

For music lovers and reggae fans, the House of Marley Stir It Up is worth considering. The Audiotechnica head, aluminum platter and antisakting should also appeal to mix enthusiasts.

173 £ on Amazon
Pro-Ject Primary E 4

Vintage belt-driven record player.

Pro-Ject Primary E

A great belt-driven vintage record player.

The Pro-Ject Primary E is a vintage belt-driven record player. It is unremarkable in terms of basic design and appearance, but is efficient and sounds amazing.

157 £ on Thomann

The Pro-Ject Primary E is an evolution of the original Primary, taking the basic design of the Debut and Essential series. The vintage record player shown here operates on 230V rather than the low voltage of the older models. The other area where the Primary E saves money is in the tone arm. On older versions, it came with a customizable, adjustable cartridge. The Primary E uses an arm that makes way for a simple, non-adjustable configuration. On the audio side, the sound is very stable in the high frequencies and the background noise is low enough to suit any external pre-amp. Vocals are rich, detailed and sufficiently separated from the music.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best vintage record player

Any specific needs?

The best vintage record player in 2021

The best entry-level vintage record player

The best high-end vintage record player

A great belt-driven vintage record player.

Your guide : Samuel

Rate this buying guide :
0/50 votes

By rating this buying guide, you are helping us to reward our best writers. Thank you!

Comparison table of the best vintage record player

Victrola Empire Expresso 5
Blaupunkt TT 100 C 6
House of Marley Stir It Up 7
Pro-Ject Primary E 8
Victrola Empire Expresso
Blaupunkt TT 100 C
House of Marley Stir It Up
Pro-Ject Primary E
The Victrola Empire Expresso is a vintage Bluetooth record player with impressive audio and technical qualities. This 6-in-1 stereo system is suitable for all types of use.
If you're looking for an original vintage record player experience on a tight budget, Blaupunkt's TT 100 C is the best choice you can find. This model will amaze you!
For music lovers and reggae fans, the House of Marley Stir It Up is worth considering. The Audiotechnica head, aluminum platter and antisakting should also appeal to mix enthusiasts.
The Pro-Ject Primary E is a vintage belt-driven record player. It is unremarkable in terms of basic design and appearance, but is efficient and sounds amazing.
Vintage belt-driven record player
Vintage belt-driven record player
Vintage belt-driven record player
Vintage belt-driven record player
33/45/78 rpm
33/45 rpm
33/45 rpm
33/45 rpm
Built-in pre-amp
RCA, 3.5 mm AUX output, Bluetooth
RCA, 3.5 mm AUX output
RCA, USB, AUX 3.5 mm output
9.8 kg
5.2 kg
5.7 kg
4 kg

Help us improve this table:
Report an error, request the addition of a feature to the table, or suggest another product. Thank you for your kindness!

Buying guide - vintage record player

Primary Item (H2)Sub Item 1 (H3)

Why can you trust us?

Why you can trust us
Our mission
How to support us
We do NOT accept any sponsored posts or advertising.

We spend thousands of hours each year studying the major specialized websites, analyzing products of hundreds of brands and reading user feedback to advise you on the best products.

Our mission is to simplify your purchasing decisions.

We are a product review company with a single mission: to simplify your buying decisions. Our research and testing helps millions of people every year find the best products for their personal needs and budget.

We are a small team of geeks and enthusiasts.

To support us you can: use our links to make your purchases (which often earns us a small commission), share our articles on social networks, or recommend our site on your blog. Thanks in advance for your support!

How to choose your vintage record player

Are you ready to buy a vintage record player? Before you do, take the time to learn about the criteria to consider:

#1 - The build quality

If you are looking for a quality vintage record player, make sure it is made with proven craftsmanship and quality materials. Steel was widely used on early record players. Despite its strength, steel offers little resistance to vibration. In the past, it was also chosen for its cheapness. However, the part of the record player that actually turns or platters is energy consuming.

Today, there are many solid aluminum turntables. These are usually high-end models, and therefore expensive. Aluminum is an excellent material, both the base of the turntable and the platter. In fact, this metal offers excellent vibration resistance, which helps improve the overall sound quality.

#2 - The type of player

There are 3 main types of players you'll see on vintage record players:

  • belt drive player,
  • direct drive player,
  • freewheel drive.

Only the first 2 are worth considering. Originally, the most common option was freewheel players. Effective at first, they degrade greatly over time, causing excessive background noise and motor speed problems and thus inconsistencies in the sound of your vinyl. Since you are buying a vintage record player, avoid freewheeling models.

#3 - The tone arm

The quality of the tone arm depends on the shape or format. Most of the time, especially with vintage models, the tone arm will be made from a light metal or synthetic materials. Either way, you need to consider the overall shape of the tone arm.

This shape comes in 2 main families: straight and curved. Straight tone arms are widely preferred by DJs because they are easier to scratch. But some experts argue that, for audiophiles looking to preserve their record collection, straight tone arms may damage records more quickly especially with frequent use.

#4 - The cartridge

There are 2 reasons why the cartridge, the unit connected to the end of the tone arm, is one of the most important parts on a vintage record player. First, the cartridge contains the electronic bits that transform the vibrations of the record and needle into an electrical signal, which in turn becomes an amplifiable sound. Second, this device houses the stylus (or needle), which is the part that connects directly with the grooves of a vinyl record and picks up the vibrations.

It is recommended that the stylus be replaced every 1,000 to 1,200 hours of playback. The advantage of cartridges with separate stylus housings is that they are easier to replace. However, those without tend to have a better signal and, therefore, better sound. Either way, you simply need to replace the cartridge completely, as old technology is not future-proof.

#5 - With or without a pre-amplifier?

If your priority is to convert the sound of your vinyl records into MP3 files that are compatible with modern playback devices, you're going to have to go with a vintage record player with a USB connection, capable of turning analog sound into digital sound. This model generally has a less warm sound than the classic vintage record players intended for analog sound playback, because priority is given to its digitization function.

How does a vintage record player work?


The vintage record player is an electromagnetic device capable of transforming sound vibrations into electrical signals. When a record spins, it creates sound vibrations that are converted into electrical signals. These signals are fed into electronic amplifiers. The electric amplifiers vibrate and transmit the resulting sound to speakers, which amplify it and increase the volume. Vintage record players still use the same needle and cartridge system that was used on a phonograph.

So how exactly does this work? The needle or stylus of a vintage record player is one of many parts that make up a transducer. A transducer is the device that changes mechanical energy into electrical energy and changes electrical energy into mechanical energy.

When making a vinyl record, a needle is used to create grooves in the vinyl that are essentially recorded information about the desired sound or music. A needle (or stylus) is also used to read the information in the grooves, replaying it so that we can hear the recorded information. On the right and left sides of the cartridge are channels of audio information that make up the stereo sound.

Fun fact, records used to be made of rubber! Now they're made of vinyl. Another thing: the little grooves on a record are about 500 yards long if you unroll them to make a long ribbon. The cartridge and stylus of a record player trace the groove of the record to reproduce the sound information it contains. The tip of a stylus (also called a needle) is made of industrial diamond, a hard, impure substance that is molded into a cone-shaped point and attached to a small strip of flexible metal.

The different types of vintage record player

Vintage record players can be classified into 3 types. This classification is based on the position and placement of the device that spins the vinyl. Thus, there are belt-driven vintage record players, direct-drive vintage record players and freewheel vintage record players (rather rare).

Vintage belt drive record player

In a vintage belt-driven record player, the motor is located quite a distance from the platter and connected by an elastic belt. The platter rests on a bearing at some distance from the motor. The belt absorbs shocks and prevents the platter from vibrations generated by the motor.

The isolation of the motor from the platter also reduces the transmission of noise to the tone arm. On the other hand, it has been found that vintage belt-driven turntables have lower torque. You'll also want to consider replacing the belt, as it wears out.

Vintage direct drive record player

The direct-drive vintage turntable is one of the most commonly used DJ decks. The motor sits directly under the platter, allowing for more control and a constant speed when tilted. It is sensitive and responsive enough for the DJ to easily work with.

This type of turntable has a higher torque and offers constant speeds. Higher torque makes the platter less sensitive to external forces, such as the stylus or your hand. The motor that is attached directly to the platter generates unwanted vibrations that can affect the sound quality. But this problem is solved on newer models by the use of dampers placed between the platter and the motor.

Vintage freewheel record player

This is a lesser-known and rare type of record player, but worth mentioning, because it works in the same way as a direct-drive model, but has a rubber wheel connected to a motor shaft that is closer to the platter and makes it spin.

It offers as much control as a direct drive model, but is much more difficult to maintain, because of the many moving parts used that are hard to find in case of failure. It also has the same torque as a direct drive vintage record player.

Vintage record player or vinyl turntable?

Vintage record player

A vintage record player includes the platter that spins the record and the tone arm + cartridge assembly that captures the music burned into the record. To play a vinyl record, a vintage record player needs a separate pre-amp, amplifier and speakers. It is not an all-in-one record player. The main components of a record player are the plinth, platter, tone arm, cartridge and speed selector. Depending on the model, there may be additional components, but these form the basic components.

On most vintage record players, you can change and upgrade the stylus and cartridge. This is handy if the stylus is worn out or if you want to upgrade the cartridge to a better quality cartridge that produces better sound. In addition, on the better models, you can adjust the cartridge alignment, tracking weight (pen pressure) and anti-skate.

Vinyl turntable

A turntable is an all-in-one device that does not need any external components to play records. This is because the turntable, pre-amp, amplifier and speakers are all in one unit and the unit is often portable. No additional box or cable is needed to play vinyl records. Generally, there are very few options for changing/upgrading components or fine-tuning cartridge alignment and stylus pressure on a turntable. Most of these settings are made at the factory.

On the other hand, a turntable is much more sophisticated than a vintage record player and usually includes a ton of extra features, such as the ability to play other file formats (CD, MP3, etc.). The main disadvantage of a vinyl turntable is its size, which is usually bigger and heavier than the turntable and not as portable. For this reason, vinyl turntables are often kept inside the house on a dedicated stand near the TV set.


Many people prefer vinyl decks simply because they are ready to play music right out of the box. The main problem is that all those included components are usually not of the highest quality. This is especially true for the preamp and speakers. If you value audio quality, it's best to opt for a vintage turntable and buy the best preamps, amps and external speakers as well.

5 reasons to buy a vintage record player

Provides better sound quality

When you listen to vinyl on a vintage record player, you'll notice the difference in sound, and vinyl is better than MP3 or CD format in more ways than one. Digital audio has been the popular format for several decades, and most say that when they first heard vinyl, they noticed a slight difference in sound quality. The sound from a vintage record player is omnidirectional and seems to surround the room better. Vinyl also offers a more detailed reproduction of sound.

Makes that famous crackling sound

When using a vintage record player, a needle (or stylus) touches the vinyl to produce sound and this creates a pleasant buzzing sound that plays with the music. There is also the occasional crackle, and for some music lovers, it is nostalgic, artistic, poetic and romantic.

Provides a tangible experience

Music enthusiasts like to connect with their music, but not just through sound. They want a tangible experience like the physical album case on their hands, the smell of the vinyl when they take it out, and the touch when they put the vinyl on the platter. MP3s can't provide this experience, which is why some people still prefer vinyl.

Allows you to listen to very old songs

A vintage record player may be the only way to listen to some vintage songs. Despite the huge popularity of various online audio streaming services, not all music has been converted to digital format yet. This means, for example, that some jazz hits from the 1930s may only be accessible with a record player.

Allows you to experience the ritual of listening to music intensely

In today's hectic climate, it's beneficial to take time and focus on one thing, for some it's even therapeutic. Instead of multitasking and listening to music while doing chores or shopping at the supermarket, you can play music on a record player and sit and listen until side A is finished.

The best brands of vintage record player

In our opinion, the best brands of vintage record player in 2022 are :

House of Marley

This company has been in the sound business for over a century. It introduced the public to the magic of modern sound with its innovative turntable. Today, the brand continues to innovate in the field of music and art with elegant vintage record players that meet today's standards of quality and compatibility.

Blaupunkt is a German company known for producing and selling the world's first car radio. Today, it has a full line of consumer electronics and automotive multimedia devices. Blaupunkt also offers high-quality vintage vinyl turntables and record players.

Founded in 2008, House of Marley is an audio brand that makes headphones, headphones, Bluetooth speakers, vinyl turntables, record players, and accessories of all kinds, all from sustainable materials. According to its website, the company is committed to providing best-in-class products that will deliver a lifetime of enjoyment and reliability.

Founded in 1991, Pro-Ject is an Austrian brand that is now the world leader in vintage turntables and record players. The brand creates amazing, innovative and premium products. Through the use of state-of-the-art technology and machinery, the brand is able to create visually pleasing and easy-to-use products.

Rega is a company that originated in the golden age of the record. It specializes in the manufacture and sale of vintage turntables and record players that are distinguished by their quality workmanship. Rega also offers a wide range of hi-fi products (amplifiers, phono pre-amps, cartridges, CD players, speakers...).

What is the price vintage record player

The diagram below will help you to get an idea of the typical prices for each price range (entry-level, mid-range and high-end).

However, more expensive does not necessarily mean better.

We therefore advise you to always consult our ranking before deciding, rather than blindly relying on price ranges.

80 £ to 120 £
120 £ to 180 £
more than 180 £
Price range diagram


Find the best location for your vintage record player

Vintage record players are sensitive instruments and your equipment was designed to work on a flat surface. The flatter the better! Proper placement will help you avoid feedback. If you position your vintage record player too close to your speakers or subwoofers, you will hear feedback.

Make sure the cartridge is aligned

Each tone arm has some variation as to where the cartridge is mounted to accommodate different types of cartridges. The vintage turntable usually comes with a setup gauge to help you place the stylus tip in the right spot. This will allow the cartridge to follow in the grooves at a perfectly straight angle.

Clean your vinyl regularly

The best vintage record player in the world won't do you any good if your albums are dusty. And the simplest thing every record collector should do on a regular basis is to clean them to remove the dust. For this, there are cleaning brushes and microfiber cloths specifically designed for vinyl.

Cleaning the stylus is also important

A dirty stylus will affect the sound quality. The solution? Clean the stylus! A simple brush will suffice for daily use, but be sure to apply cleaning fluid from time to time to make sure your stylus stays clean.

The more you use your vintage record player, the more you will know your preferences

Over time, you'll start to notice the different sounds you can get from different cartridges, different speakers, and different pre-amps. You'll develop your equipment preferences, make changes to get new ways to listen to music, or just to improve your listening experience.


How to level a vintage record player?

Once you've identified the ideal location for your record player, the next step is to install it properly. It's all about getting the basics right. Everything needs to be level: this is important to ensure that the stylus tip rests properly on the vinyl grooves. Start with the base. If your stand is already level, there shouldn't be much to do here. But if for some reason you need to make adjustments, many vintage turntables have adjustable feet to help you get the leveling just right.

How to adjust the tracking force of a tone arm?

Arm and cartridge adjustments are usually done at the same time. If your cartridge is pre-equipped then it's relatively simple: you just need to adjust the support force. This is done by moving the counterweight at the back of the arm and adjusting the bias (side force) to compensate for the pull inward of the vinyl groove.

What is the purpose of the tone arm height adjustment?

Many high-end vintage record players allow the user to adjust the height of the tone arm. Typically, the arm is originally set to be parallel to a record when playing, although sometimes a cartridge may have a particular preference based on its design. In general, however, if the arm is too high, you'll get a clear, direct sound, and the opposite if the arm is too low.

What is the purpose of a phono pre-amp on a vintage record player?

Vinyl is not physically capable of accepting large amounts of bass, so the tonal range of the music has to be heavily skewed toward the higher frequencies for things to work. During playback, the phono preamp's job is to rebalance this. A good phono preamp will make your vintage record player shine. All but the most basic phono preamps can usually handle both moving magnet (MM) and moving coil (MC) cartridges.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information.
  1. How to buy a turntable,
  2. Buying guide: how to choose your turntable?,
  3. How to choose your turntable? Questions to ask yourself before buying a turntable,
  4. Turntable Buyer's Guide: what criteria should you use to choose a turntable?,
  5. The Best Vintage Turntables 2021 Buyer Guide,
  6. Buying A Vintage Turntable,
  7. Turntable Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right One for You,
  8. Best Vintage Turntable for Sale,
  9. Turntable Kitchen's Top Ten Reasons To Buy a Turntable,
  10. Reasons to Buy a Turntable in 2021 - Funky Moose Records,
  11. Vintage Turntable / Platine Vinyle Vintage | Boulanger,
  12. : vintage turntable,
  13. The Best Vintage Turntable - Comparison, Test, Review ...,
  14. Your search : vintage turntable - Darty,
  15. Vintage turntables and turntables | eBay,
  16. Vintage turntable: The 6 best models to choose ...,
  17. Best vintage turntable : Comparison 2021 - Culture 13,
  18. platinum turntable, news, infos and tests,
  19. Best vintage turntable -,
  20. Best vintage turntable 2021 : Avis et Comparatif,
  21. Fisher-Price vintage record player for 18 months old ...,
  22. Record player - Cdiscount,
  23. Record players and turntables | eBay,
  24. What is the best vintage record player - Les Dénicheurs,
  25. : vintage record player : High-Tech,
  27. Best vintage record players 2021 - buying guide and comparison,
  28. old record player for sale | eBay,
  29. MUSE MT-302 AG record player - Turntable BUT,
  30. Vinyl turntable - Purchase Separate Hifi Elements | Black ....,
  31. Record players | La Redoute,
  32. Vintage turntable, vintage record player : which one to choose ...,
  33. Vintage record player - Toys and stuffed animals - La ...,
See more


March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

See more
Our selection
Victrola Empire Expresso 9
Victrola Empire Expresso
Blaupunkt TT 100 C 10
Blaupunkt TT 100 C
House of Marley Stir It Up 11
House of Marley Stir It Up
Pro-Ject Primary E 12
Pro-Ject Primary E


Every month we help more than 1 000 000 people buy better and smarter.

Copyright © 2022 - Made with by

Your reviews and buying guides 0% advertising, 100% independent!