Turntable Vs Record Player: What’s the Difference? Which One’s Best?

We often get asked, what’s the difference between a turntable and record player? Even if there’s a difference, which one you should opt for – a record player or turntable?


Loads of folks confuse them with each other and also use these two terms interchangeably. However, speaking technically, you’d find these terms are poles apart.


In fact, we’ve reviewed both turntables and record players separately, which also depicts that there’re some differences.

Turntable Vs Record Player

Knowing the differences and picking out the best one is an essential move because everyone wants to make sure they get the most out of their vinyl record player.

This at-least becomes necessary if you’re a pro audiophile.

With the assistance of our professional experts, we’ve broken down every tiny detail for you to get your head around the differences that exist between a turntable and a record player.

After you’ve understood the differences, you could use the buyer’s guide (we added above) to make a final choice before seeing record player and turntable difference.

Let’s shed lights on the differences and similarities:

What is a Turntable?

Which word first comes to mind when you think of hearing about the term “Turntable”? Nothing at all?

In a nutshell, a turntable is a record player that plays your vinyl records or a device that rotates your phonograph disk. This happens when the records are being played.

1. Accessories

Usually, a turntable doesn’t house the in-built speakers and an amplifier, in comparison with a record player. That’s why a turntable not relatively that expensive.

Therefore, if you’re deciding to acquire a turntable, it’s highly likely that you will in need of getting the extra equipment like an amplifier and a speaker or two to make it work.

Still, there are turntables that come with the in-built speakers like this one or this one from Victrola.

2. Size

Speaking of the size, you will notice that turntable are good at saving you a good amount of space – i.e. turntables usually don’t require a lot of space themselves, but you will also need to attach them with amplifiers and speakers which requires great efforts (unless you’re having the best turntable stands), still, some may be having the same size, but it still counts as a difference between the two.

For that reason, if you’re fussed about the size (with amp and speakers in mind), we’d recommend that you should go with a record player, not a turntable because, that way, you will be able to get the most out of compression.

Still, getting external speakers and amps will also require managing spaces for the wires you will connect them through. So, proper wire management is still a thing.

3. Sound Quality

It’s no wonder that a turntable uses external equipment like speakers and amplifier, it is apparent, you will get top quality in the sound (audio). The premium quality of audio makes a huge difference when looking for the best turntable within your means – i.e. within budget.

That’s because when a company decides to make equipment with the compression of the devices like speaker and amps in mind, it may not provide you with the top-class sound quality and that’s where you may have to compromise on.

But if the quality of sound produced by the vinyl player is not something you can miss out on, your decision should be about buying the best turntable stand despite that fact it will require you to connect them externally.

4. Portability

Since turntables need external devices to be plugged, taking it from one place, along with other devices, will be an issue and, not to mention the wires that will give you a heart attack.

If you think you can somehow manage that, a turntable will an ideal choice for you.

Now, we have discussed a lot about turntable, let’s shed some light on what exactly a record player is below so you could make an informed decision eventually.

If you make up your mind towards buying the best turntables under $500, you'd also need to invest in the best turntable stands in 2020 to get proper space management. 

What is a Record Player?

A record player is a lot like a turntable, except that fact it houses all devices that you would need to buy when getting a turntable.

Is that all? Not really! We know it might seem very confusing to you, but you don’t have to panic since we have made it super easy for you to make a difference easily.

A record player an all-in-one solution to your vinyl record playing needs – it houses an in-built speaker and amplifier that will make your day. Hence, it is a plug-and-play device that doesn’t require any special installation of the external devices.

However, the downside to getting a record player is that it may not be able to offer you the top-class sound quality and that’s because it’s housing everything in it, from an amp to the speakers. That being said, if you’re concerned about the superior sound quality, the turntable is a good choice (but it will require better space management).

On the flip side, the upside to having a record player is that it is super easy to take it from one place to another one i.e. it offers great portability. Furthermore, if you would like to make your record player more stylish, it’s time you invested in a record player stand.

Among other points, another significant drawback of getting a record player is the size. Put differently, since a record player features in-built speakers and amp, it’s definitely will be larger in size and will require more space to fit in the place.

Which one should you Buy – Turntable or Record Player?

First things first. There’s nothing like the best-in-the-world vinyl record player for your music needs.

Even if you could get everything out of vinyl, it still might be very expensive for you to break the bank (which still serves as a disadvantage). Affordability also matters.

So, every tiny detail matters, whether it is regarding the specs or the bucks you’re to pay for the vinyl player.

Many factors come into play like the rigidity of the player (i.e. how long it’s going to last – months, a year or two), specifications (the more feature, the better), portability, affordability, a lot of other remarkable aspects.

Additionally, if you’re serious about DJing or music production, obviously, the turntable is the best option for you for the fact it will let you listen to the A-one sound which you won’t get if you invest in a record player.

Invest in a turntable if you don’t want to compromise on sound quality. Also, if you look forward to becoming a pro DJ, turntable stays the best choice.

What’s more, if you’re short on dollars or don’t want to spend too much money on the vinyl, a record player will come reasonable comparison with a turntable will require you to purchase external devices (extra costs).

But if you’re concerned about portability, bringing a record player is the ultimate choice since it will feature the inbuilt speakers and amplifier.

On the whole, you should look for the ratings, reviews, and how satisfied the customer is with the product. This makes a huge difference. A product, that’s listed as “Amazon’s Choice” or labeled as “Best Seller” or “Top-Rated” could be a positive sign.

Wrapping up

If you’re serious about your music career or are a music lover, being acquainted with the difference between turntable and record player that lie between a turntable and record player is very important or you could end up getting something that is not exactly what you need. The rule of thumb, therefore, says that you need to keep all of the points that we have laid out above in mind so you don’t make a blunder. We’ve even listed the best turntables and record players so you don’t have to waste your time researching the best pick.

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The best time to get your hands on the best Turntable or Record Player is NOW because, one minute, they're here; the next, they are gone.