Top 7 Best Vintage Turntables Reviewed (Buying Guide)

Updated January 2019

Introduction

You have to admit that there is something charming about a vintage turntable. It instantly becomes the focal point of any room, and it’s often a talking point when visitors drop by. An old design comes with warmth and character whereas some modern-day turntables tend to be cold and lifeless.

Many of these older, retro designs have that wooden appearance which helps them to blend into the background of your home. Others are unique in their design, and that’s the beauty of antique turntables. Designs are varied, and you never know what you might find.

As you would expect, actual vintage turntables can be pricey and hard to find. Not to mention that maintenance can often be a nightmare. You can imagine how hard it is to track down parts for a 1970’s record player!

However, there are plenty of options that are vintage in design yet still have the modern day features onboard, such as the ever-increasing popularity of Bluetooth connectivity in turntables. It’s a great way to get the best of both worlds. You are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a quality vintage turntable.

So, we’ve done some of the leg work for you and gathered up the top vintage turntables. Look through the reviews and see if any of them catch your eye.


Product Overview

ModelRatingAudioFeaturesBuildValue
JORLAIJORLAI Classic4.6B+AB+A
VictrolaVictrola 3-Speed Turntable4.4B+BB+A
Victrola Nostalgic AviatorVictrola Nostalgic Aviator4.4BAAB+
Fluance RT81Fluance RT814.3AC+AC+
Wockoder RetroWockoder Retro4.2B+BB+B
Pyle RetroPyle Retro4.1BAC+B
Wrcibo ClassicWrcibo Classic4.0B+CBB

Top 7 Vintage Turntable Reviews

#1. JORLAI Old-Style Vintage Turntable

Audio

B+

Features

A

Build

B+

Value

A


Speeds:
33⅓, 45, 78 RPM
Connectivity:
Bluetooth In, AUX In, USB
Outputs:
RCA Audio, Headphones
Drive Type:
Belt-Drive
Size:
13,8 x 9,8 x 4,7 in
Weight:
6,18 lbs

The JORLAI Vintage Record Player is another suitcase design similar to the Victrola. The wooden and faux leather materials look stylish, and although it doesn’t have that wooden appearance, it still has that vintage charm. The carrying handle makes it portable, and it’s light enough to take with you out of the house. Plus, the rechargeable battery is an excellent addition and gives ultimate freedom. Listen to your music wherever you want! The JORLAI comes with a one-touch lever that makes raising the tonearm and lowering the needle an easy process.

The belt-driven platter will play all 33 ⅓, 45, and 78 RPM records. The back panel holds the RCA outputs, AUX in, and USB connections. In addition to this, you’ve got the Bluetooth connectivity that lets you stream other music through the onboard speakers. The headphone jack can be found next to the power/volume control that sits next to the tonearm. Everything about this record player from JORLAI is stylish. It looks sleek in white although a turquoise option is also available. The fact that it comes with the rechargeable battery makes this a brilliant option for those who like to listen to their vinyl in and around the house. You can pack it away, pick it up, and take it with you wherever you go. Overall, when you look at the price and all of the onboard features, you can’t help but be impressed. We firmly believe that this option from JORLAI is one of, if not, the best vintage turntable under 500.


#2. Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Turntable

Audio

B+

Features

B

Build

B+

Value

A


Speeds:
33⅓, 45, 78 RPM
Connectivity:
Bluetooth In, AUX In
Outputs:
RCA Audio, Headphones
Drive Type:
Belt-Drive
Size:
16,6 x 7,3 x 12,8 in
Weight:
5,07 lbs

The portable suitcase turntable is a hugely popular design from Victrola. It’s based around a winning combination of retro design, quality playback, and portability. Add to that the numerous features, and it’s easy to see why this turntable is widely regarded as the best vintage turntable for the money. It’s available in a wide range of colors, so there is a style for everyone. The onboard speakers have been cleverly designed into the outside of the suitcase. The surprising thing about this unit is the weight at just over 5 lbs. It’s super light, and the handle makes it simple to carry around with you.

The Victrola Bluetooth Suitcase definitely has that vintage feel, but like most turntables in this review, the features are all in line with modern technology. The built-in Bluetooth connectivity allows you to stream and playback any music from your Bluetooth-enabled devices. Plus, the AUX in jack opens up playback from any other devices that are not Bluetooth enabled.

The RCA connection is there to pump up the volume through external speakers. If you feel the need to be more private and keep the music to yourself, then a headphone jack is also available. It would have been useful to connect the Bluetooth with external speakers, but I suppose you can’t have everything! Especially when you look at the price. At well under $100, this is the choice for those on a shoestring budget. It looks vintage and sounds excellent. If you’re looking for the best vintage turntable for the money, then look no further.


#3. Victrola Nostalgic Aviator Classic Turntable

Audio

B

Features

A

Build

A

Value

B+


Speeds:
33⅓, 45, 78 RPM
Connectivity:
Bluetooth In, AUX In, USB
Outputs:
Headphones
Drive Type:
Belt-Drive
Size:
20,4 x 12,1 x 12 in
Weight:
25,2 lbs

Victrola is known for making excellent turntables, and the Nostalgic Aviator is no exception. The look is pure retro, and it comes with a wide range of features. The wooden casing has that unmistakably vintage look about it. The metal plating that houses the old-style controls and the authentic, old-fashioned speakers are full of character. Everything about the Nostalgic Aviator is retro.

Now, let’s jump into the features and find out what this unit is capable of. Starting at the top, you can play all three significant record speeds – 33 ⅓, 45, 78 RPM. The construction of the platter and the components used are adequate but not high-end. You shouldn’t expect high-end for the price you are paying though. The main point is that it does offer quality playback performance. You’ll want to connect to more prominent speakers if you’re looking to enjoy the music out loud.

The built-in CD player, AM/FM radio, and cassette player are all welcome features. You can record any of the vinyl, CD or cassette to the USB drive and the remote control lets you sit back and manage the player from the comfort of your chair. The Bluetooth connection allows you to stream music from your devices to the onboard speakers. You also have the choice to plug in via the AUX in jack for other non-Bluetooth devices. The Victrola Nostalgic Aviator has got you covered with a variety of features, and it has that classic, vintage appearance. You won’t be disappointed with this option; we think it’s one of the best vintage record player options.


#4. Fluance RT81

Audio

A

Features

C+

Build

A

Value

C+


Speeds:
33⅓, 45 RPM
Connectivity:
N/A
Outputs:
RCA Audio, Built-in Preamp (Phono/Line)
Drive Type:
Belt-Drive
Size:
13,75 x 16,5 x 5,5 in
Weight:
14,1 lbs

The Fluance RT81 is a turntable that has a strong vintage appeal. It’s going to attract those who are looking for more of a stylish design over the fun-style of the Victrola units. The walnut finish and minimalist design offer a professional quality that others lack. The audio clarity and playback is something that we should highlight. The construction and components all point towards a high-end audio experience. You’ll find that the RT81 is going to offer a lot more listening pleasure than the budget units in this review.

We also reviewed the Fluance RT81 in our DJ Turntable Guide. However, we’ll focus on the vintage aspect of the unit in this review. There is no denying the vintage looks but what about the onboard features? Well, it doesn’t get anywhere near the level of features of some of the other options in this review. The RT81 is more about sound performance than modern technology. There is no Bluetooth connectivity and no USB options, but not everyone needs these. We do, however, think that the sound quality benefits from the decision to leave these features out. You will notice the higher-grade components in the platter and tonearm, as well as the built-in preamp and gold-plated RCA connectors. Before you consider buying this option, ask yourself if you will miss the modern features? If not, and you’re more interested in the sound and looks then the RT81 is going to be a solid choice for you.


#5. Wockoder Retro Vinyl Player

Audio

B+

Features

B

Build

B+

Value

B


Speeds:
33⅓, 45, 78 RPM
Connectivity:
Bluetooth In, AUX In
Outputs:
RCA, Headphones
Drive Type:
Direct-Drive
Size:
14,2 x 13,7 x 5,7 in
Weight:
5,65 lbs

The Wockoder Retro turntables is another wooden design that instantly takes you back to the old days. The old-fashioned, stereo speaker sits in the front panel next to the on/off-knob and headphone jack. The unit itself looks sleek with the rounded edges and black mechanical components. Wockoder has introduced some additional features that go a long way to enhance the overall sound. The platter has a built-in spring that helps to reduce vibration. The Ruby stylus offers a lot more durability, and the tonearm controller gives you added support when starting and stopping records.

The Wockoder Retro turntable isn’t here just for its good looks though. The onboard Bluetooth connectivity means you can wirelessly stream music from any Bluetooth-enabled device to the speakers. The 3.5mm AUX in jack gives you access to any non-Bluetooth devices. RCA connectors are also available if you want to hook up any external speakers. So you’ve got plenty of options to use the Wockoder as a standalone speaker.

All three speeds are available for playback (33 ⅓, 45, 78 RPM) and it will play all of your 7”, 10”, and 12” vinyl. This retro offering from Wockoder is a good all-around option that combines the vintage looks and modern technology. You will find that you’re going to pay slightly above average for this record player from Wockoder. It does look great, but we are not 100% convinced that the end product justifies the price tag.


#6. Pyle Retro Record Player

Audio

B

Features

A

Build

C+

Value

B


Speeds:
33⅓, 45, 78 RPM
Connectivity:
Bluetooth In, AUX In, USB & SD
Outputs:
RCA Audio, Headphones
Drive Type:
Belt-Drive
Size:
14 x 8,8 x 15,2 in
Weight:
8 lbs

The Pyle Vintage Record Player is a unique design that has that rock n roll diner feel to it. The casing is crafted from wood and includes a useful collapsible lid. The chrome grill is at the forefront of the design and holds the stereo speakers. It’s a bold design and was surely built to be center stage of any room. The components only seem to be of standard quality, and so the focus is undoubtedly on the features. You can listen to all of your vinyl collection with the three-speed, selectable playback option (33 ⅓, 45, 78 RPM). The RCA audio jacks can be found on the back panel to connect up with external speakers.

Numerous features can be found on this player, and they all help to keep you and the unit connected. The Bluetooth connectivity allows you to stream in and play any of your favorite tracks through the onboard speakers. USB is included to record and store any of your vinyl as mp3 files. The addition of the SD card reader is something we don’t often see. It gives you another option to play your mp3 tracks through the Pyle vintage record player. Other features include an AM/FM radio, headphone jack and a blue LCD display with a remote controller. The vintage player from Pyle is a feature-heavy design that will keep a lot of people happy. With numerous connectivity options, a unique look, plus the crisp stereo sound, we think it will draw a lot of attention.


#7. Wrcibo Classic LP Player in Natural Wood

Audio

B+

Features

C+

Build

B

Value

B


Speeds:
33⅓, 45, 78 RPM
Connectivity:
AUX In
Outputs:
RCA Audio, Headphones
Drive Type:
Belt-Drive
Size:
16,4 x 16 x 6 in
Weight:
7,55 lbs

The vintage record player from Wcribo is a simple option that will attract those looking for that minimalist, retro design. Much like the Fluance RT81, the Wcribo player is geared more towards the sound rather than packing in the features. You can see that it’s very much the traditional style with the all-wood base and finish. It comes with a belt-driven platter and plays three speeds at 33 ⅓, 45, and 78 RPM. The tonearm is semi-automatic and uses a sapphire stylus for extra durability. The onboard speakers are well-designed, and they produce a clear sound for the price you are paying. They can also be used as standalone speakers for external music devices via the AUX In jack.

RCA connectors are available around the back to hook up to any Hi-Fi systems. A headphone jack is there in case you want to listen to your vinyl in private. It’s a shame that there are no Bluetooth or USB recording options onboard. There is no way to stream music wirelessly or record your collection to digital format. It does come with a USB power adaptor, allowing you the choice to power up via the USB or the mains.  It’s clear that the features are limited on this Wcribo player, but it does offer a great design and quality playback, all for a brilliant price. It definitely has that nostalgic feel to it though. I’m sure it will make it into a lot of homes because of that very reason.


The Vintage Record Player Buying Guide

Vintage turntableBuying a vintage record player can mean one of two things nowadays. You either buy an old design that comes with modern technology, such as Bluetooth and USB. Else you actually go hunting for something that was built years ago. Perhaps you’ve got your eyes on one of those suitcase-style record players that are popular among vinyl collectors nowadays.

The modern vintage players give you connectivity with your daily devices like mobiles and tablets for example. Record players usually take center stage in a room, so it’s essential that it looks the part. This style of record player gives you the best of both worlds. Not to mention that the design will come with modern components and will make use of today’s solid construction materials.

On the other hand, if you intend to buy a vintage record player that was built back when record players first made their rise to fame. It’s best that you know what to look out for. You are likely to find some issues when you buy anything that is vintage or retro. So we’ve detailed some of the main areas that you need to be aware of when heading into the vintage market.

If you’re new to this sort of technology, then we suggest taking a quick look at our record player buying guide. It will get you up to speed with all of the basics. It’s always best to understand the technical talk before you go out and buy these things. You’ll save yourself a lot of hassle in the long run. Here’s what you need to know:

Cost

The cost of a vintage record player can be anywhere from under $100 to upwards of $500 and more. It all depends on who you are buying it from and how much they value their “junk” or “beloved record player.” Make sure to check the condition, the model, and the owners’ opinion before you hand over any money.

There are plenty of bargains to be found in yard sales and online pages like Craigslist. You just need to spend the time to find them out. You might find a deal; you might not. If you have a reasonable grasp of how much these old players go for. You’ll be in a much better position to haggle and strike a deal that’s right for you.

Quality

Old record players were built to last with the use of high-quality components. There was a lot more time spent on construction by highly-skilled engineers. Modern turntables do have the benefit of newer technology but today’s mass construction method is always going to throw some faults in now and again.

Don’t be alarmed if you hear more motor noise than usual on older players; this is to be expected. However, the main point here is not to be swayed by looks and make sure the sound is still up to scratch.

Maintenance

Repairing & MaintenanceOne of the main issues with anything vintage is the difficulty in finding replacement parts. If you’ve got a rare model, then you’re going to have a tough job of finding the right parts or something similar to fit. You might find something on the internet with sites like eBay and record player forums.

The forums are full of audiophiles who have plenty of knowledge and experience in retro vinyl players. Ask nicely, and they’ll usually be willing to help a fellow vinyl fan. Collecting classic turntables is a great hobby, but there is always that risk especially without included warranties.

Functionality

The beauty of vintage players is that many of them were fully automatic. You would push a button, and the player would do the rest. Be it safely moving and placing the needle on the record or changing speeds; there was less room for error.

The turntables of today are often manual which means more chances of damage to your needle and records. Bear this in mind if you’ve got a lot of valuable records in your collection.

Other Areas To Look Out For

  • Aesthetic

    • Vintage record players are likely to be bigger and chunkier, unlike the sleek and compact modern day turntables. Remember that they will take up more room in your house.
  • Speakers

    • The record player might look in good shape but what about the speakers? Make sure you test the speakers before handing any money over. You don’t want to get home and end up listening to a buzz or crackle when you put your first record on.
  • Components

    • It may sound obvious but do try and check all moving parts if you can. Wear and tear is always going to occur. Does the tonearm move freely? Does the platter spin consistently? Is there any vibration, shaking?
    • You can’t always test what you buy, but given the chance, you should definitely at least ask the questions and make sure the player is worth the asking price.

Vinyl Record Facts Infographic


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