Earlier this year, a shocking statistic ripped through the world of vinyl. While vinyl sales continue to grow (though at a slowing rate), nearly half of vinyl buyers don’t own a record player. There are many buyers who likely just want a collector’s item or something they can display on their shelf and never intend to buy a turntable. But there are many vinyl buyers who are interested in a turntable but don’t know where to start. For listeners who want a way to listen to the albums they own, a Bluetooth record player is an easy way to turn these plastic frisbees into spinnable sound.
Since most people own a Bluetooth speaker or Bluetooth headphones, Bluetooth turntables are a great way to skip the complicated setup of a stereo system or wired active speakers. And since they’re targeted at casual listeners, Bluetooth record players clock in at a substantially more accessible price point. That’s not to say they’re cheap. Some of our picks from brands like Sony and Audio-Technica approach the $250 mark. Though many vinyl record enthusiasts would consider that an entry-level price point, it’s still a steep investment for the casual listener.
That said, Bluetooth turntables can be a convenient upgrade over all-in-one suitcase-style record players, and they’re a great way to make the most of that stack of records you love but might not have a way to listen to yet.
The Best Bluetooth Record Players: At a Glance
- Drive Type: Belt drive
- Playable Record Speeds: 33 1/3, 45
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1
Audio-Technica’s turntable is similar to Sony’s in a number of ways. They both share a sleek, modern design, and they both utilize an automatic tonearm that allows you to start and stopthe record with just the push of a button.
Audio-Technica’s turntable doesn’t have the most premium-feeling build, but it comes with all of the features you need to start spinning your favorite records. The Bluetooth button has an LED indicator, making it easy to tell if you’ve connected to your speakers. In our testing, it managed to connect quickly to the Sony stereo receiver we used, and it automatically paired in subsequent listens.
This turntable is also great if you have a stack of singles. There’s an adapter for 45s, a convenient button to change the speed, and a switch to automatically move the tonearm to the correct placement. The sound quality is solid, but not the most detailed. The built-in switchable preamp makes it easy to connect to speakers via a wired or wireless connection.
A knock against it is the felt slipmat, which doesn’t sit totally flat and can collect dust. Audio Technica and Sony are neck and neck in many ways, but Audio Technica beats out Sony for the removable RCA cables and more economical price.
- Trusted brand
- Convenient automatic tonearm
- Solid sound performance
- No USB for ripping
- Somewhat plain design
- Drive Type: Belt drive
- Playable Record Speeds: 33 1/3, 45
- Power Consumption: 1.8 W
Sony’s PS-LX310BT record player might be a mouthful to say, but there are plenty of reasons to write home about why it earned our top position.
The turntable is pretty much idiot-proof. Assembling and playing a record takes only a matter of minutes, and you don’t have to work about adjusting a needle or ensuring you’ve placed it on the correct groove, as the automatic lever does all of that, thanks to dedicated ‘Start’ and ‘Stop’ buttons. Sure, that takes some of the fun out of playing records, but it’ll be a godsend for those looking for something they need not fuss about. The player itself looks sleek, too, as is the MO for most Sony products.
The overall build quality can feel a little cheap due to its overwhelmingly plastic construction. There’s no way to adjust the tracking force, though that won’t be an issue for most casual listeners. The switchable preamp allows and included RCA cables make it easy to use with a stereo receiver, or you can easily pair it wirelessly using the Bluetooth button. Another drawback is that the RCA cables aren’t removable, which is counterintuitive for a Bluetooth turntable.
Bluetooth is a decidedly modern way to approach this old-school way of listening to music, and Sony matched the technology with a thoroughly modern design and unparalleled convenience. Auto start, stop and return make listening to records as easy as can be.
- Sleek design
- Convenient automatic tonearm
- Can rip records via USB
- RCA cables aren’t removable
- Drive Type: Belt drive
- Playable Record Speeds: 33 1/3 RPM, 45 RPM
- Speed Variation: 33rpm, 45rpm
Electrohome’s turntable was a genuine surprise. At this price point, you don’t typically see features like an adjustable counterweight, an easily replaceable Audio-Technica cartridge or an included ground wire for reducing excess hum when using it wired. There are even some bonus features like the ability to rip records using a USB cable. It sounds good, looks good and is a joy to use.
When we tested the Bluetooth connection, we found that it was able to pair quickly and reliably. It’s not automatic, so you’ll have to lift the tonearm into place yourself, but the auto-stop feature stops the record spinning once the needle reaches the end. It has substantial feet to help with isolation and a built-in switchable preamp.
The Electrohome Montrose is also stylish; the squared-off edges and teak-colored MDF plinth are the perfect combination of retro and modern. And though we didn’t test them, we like the fact that you can buy a matching set of powered Bluetooth speakers in a bundle.
There are a few flaws with the Montrose. The tonearm feels cheap, and the tonearm lock was flimsy and didn’t do a good job keeping the tonearm in place. The turntable is also slightly smaller than a full-sized turntable, such that the edges of a 12″ record extends past the platter. There’s also a cut-out in the back of the dust cover that the record sticks out of when the cover is down. This gap reduces the effectiveness of a dust cover. The Montrose also had a good deal of surface noise that was distracting when used in Bluetooth mode.
- Attractive retro design
- Audio-Technica cartridge
- Features USB for ripping
- Cheap feeling components
- Not the best dust cover
Who A Bluetooth Record Player Is For
There are technically two types of Bluetooth turntables to choose from. All-in-one record players have built-in speakers. These have Bluetooth receivers and typically don’t have transmitters, meaning you can’t connect your record player to an external wireless speaker, but you can use the record player to play music from your phone. The second category is turntables with transmitters and no built-in speakers. These allow you to transmit the signal from the turntable to an external Bluetooth speaker or headphones, but you’ll need to supply the speakers. Technically, a turntable is the technical term for a record player without speakers, while a record player typically refers to an all-in-one.
Between the two types, we’d recommend opting for the latter, rather than all-in-one record players with built-in speakers. That’s because all-in-one speakers have a reputation for poor sound quality. Even with good built-in speakers, the vibrations from the speakers will affect the spinning record and worsen the audio quality. No matter what kind of turntable you own, it’s recommended that you keep your speakers on a separate surface from your turntable. A portable Bluetooth speaker makes that easier.
The key advantage of a Bluetooth turntable is versatility and convenience. Setting up a wired active speaker or passive speaker can involve buying extra equipment, but if you already have a Bluetooth speaker you like, you can literally plug and play. Bluetooth turntables also allow you to switch between a wired and wireless connection if you decide to later upgrade to analog.
Who A Bluetooth Record Player Isn’t For
That said, there are some reasons why you might not want to buy a Bluetooth record player and instead opt for a basic wired option, like U-Turn Orbit or the Fluance RT80. For one thing, a Bluetooth record player turns an analog signal into a digital one, compressing the signal in order to transmit it via Bluetooth. Beyond the loss in audio fidelity, a Bluetooth record player also sacrifices some of the charm of a pure analog experience.
Another drawback of a Bluetooth turntable has to do with surface noise. When you put your ear up to a spinning record, you can hear very quiet music coming from the surface, even when no speakers are plugged in. This surface noise isn’t distracting with an analog connection, because there’s only an imperceptible delay between the needle hitting the groove and the sound coming out of the speaker.
A Bluetooth connection has a slight delay, meaning you can occasionally hear surface noise, which almost sounds like someone whispering in the background. One way to mitigate this would be to place the speaker further from the turntable and sit closer to the speaker and away from the turntable.
Other Turntables We Considered
Bluetooth turntables are still a pretty niche market, but we were able to test a number of options for consideration. Some were great but didn’t make the cut for one reason or another, while some we couldn’t recommend.
- House of Marley Stir It Up Turntable: There’s a lot to love about this turntable, including the unique build and commitment to sustainable materials, replaceable cartridge and adjustable tonearm. Unfortunately, the motor was distractingly loud, and the stylus skipped on records other turntables had no problems with.
- Pro-Ject VT-E BT R: We previously recommended this turntable. Pro-Ject is a trusted brand for turntables, and it uses quality components like an Ortofon cartridge. But it’s considerably more expensive than our other picks.
- Crosley Cruiser Plus: Crosley’s record players have poor-quality speakers, and while you can pair this with an external speaker, we think it’s better to invest a little more in an alternative.
- ByronStatics Vinyl Record Player: ByronStatics has the same build as Crosley, only without a Bluetooth transmitter.
- Fuse Vert Vertical Vinyl Record Player: We tested and previously recommended this option, but consistent quality control complaints online are cause for concern.
How We Choose The Best Bluetooth Record Players
To find the best Bluetooth turntables, we started with specs, checking under the hood (or the dust cover) to see what kind of components the turntable uses.
- Cartridge: A cartridge houses the stylus, which essentially reads the grooves of a record. Many quality affordable turntables use Audio-Technica cartridges.
- Dust cover: A dust cover is a plastic lid that protects your turntable from dust and damage. It’s best to leave it closed when not in use, and open it when playing records to prevent distortion. Not every turntable comes with one, but we think it’s a worthwhile feature.
- Adjustable Counterweight: Cheaper turntables don’t have adjustable counterweights, which are knobs found at the end of the tonearm that controls tracking force. We gave bonus points to turntables with adjustable tracking force.
- Isolation feet: A good turntable will have substantial feet that reduce vibrations and distortion.
For testing, we looked for turntables that isolate noise well, and we examined the build quality of the turntables, looking for options with a durable, substantial build. We also tested how easy it was to connect wirelessly through Bluetooth.
The most crucial factor is sound. We weren’t looking for audiophile turntables, but it was important to select options that can do justice to records in a variety of genres. To test, we relied on our own listening experience, and we listened to each turntable with records in varied genres. For several of our options, we tested using both a wired and wireless connection to see how they performed.