The world of DJ’ing is an extremely rewarding one. With the expansion of technology however, it’s starting to change quite a bit. Don’t get us wrong — the traditional DJ setup of a mixer with two tables and some records still holds true today. A DJ nowadays is defined a bit different that has been for the past 3-4 decades, especially with EDM taking off and music festivals redefining what that long-standing “DJ” term even means. If you came here from our best DJ controllers article, or want to check that out before you start getting into buying actual turntables, we can all see that most DJ setups are now digital-based via MIDI and other advancements that allow us to connect straight into a computer. If not, those who still actually “DJ” and at least want a hybrid setup, it’s time to grab one (or two, preferably) turntables to complete your setup. Even if you’re just starting to learn how to DJ, a turntable is crucial. So let’s get into the top 10 best DJ turntables today.
How to choose your DJ turntable
- Your budget – It’s always at the top of our priority lists. Some of the best turntables around the net span from under $100 to two to three times that. How much cash do you want to drop? We recommend trying to be patient if you can — spending a few extra bucks can help with not only turntable quality for a better experience but also longevity for a smarter investment.
- What are you hooking up to? Are you a DJ just starting out and need to create their foundation for a DJ setup? What do you feel like connecting to — A computer? Traditional mixer? DJ controller? Make sure the connectivity fits your current setup, or you plan ahead in terms of what you envision hooking up to. Common terms you’ll be seeing thrown around include RCA, USB, and 3.5 mm.
- Do you need one or two? We’ve gotten away with one if we’re scratching for a track or sampling with some vinyl; however, if you do want a traditional DJ setup, plan on performing some gigs or want to mix and mashup tracks, you’ll have to get two. Just keep that into consideration if you’re planning your budget or features needed.
- Contemporary or vintage? It’s still a bit odd feeling calling it “vintage”, but contemporary tables dominate the list (at least at the top) since you can’t ignore the year. However, many of our favorites provide both USB connectivity as well as RCA so you can switch between the two or even accommodate your hybrid DJ setup. We also include a few classic turntables that have stood the test of time and are famous within the DJ gear world (some aren’t even being made anymore, unfortunately). If you’re planning on going the USB route, you’ll need DJ software or DJ apps to play your sounds.
- Additional gear? You may still need a DJ mixer, some DJ headphones, PA system, platters, cases, DJ turntable cartridges, records, record holders, or more. Keep this in mind for budget purposes. Or take a look at our giant guide, the best DJ gear and equipment, for a roundup of all of the needed pieces to a setup.
The top 10 best turntables in the market
The Audio-Technica LP-120-USB is one of our favorite choices as the best DJ turntable in the market for many reasons. It always seems like Audio-Technica is making appearances in our guides, but we just can’t say no to their overall quality and build. In terms of this list, the LP120 is starting it off because it is budget friendly (relatively), works great, will last you a long time if you take care of it, and lastly rather contemporary, being that it supports USB (so you can either switch between an old-school (did I really just call it that?) or a new-age setup on your computer).
A few other standout features it gives us includes comes with Audacity if you don’t have software yet, a switchable pre-amp built-in with line-level RCA outs, speed indicator, forward and reverse play, and a nicely built aluminum platter so you can scratch for days. The question with budget is if you’ll buy one or two. I have gotten away with one since I had a mixer and one table for scratching and sampling, so it’s up to your preferences. If we had to choose one, we’d say this is our pick for the best DJ turntable in the market right now. It made it into our best beginners turntable guide as well.
If you know DJ gear, you’ll recognize the Numark name. The Numark TTX-USB is another one of the best DJ turntables because it’s contemporary — although that isn’t the main point of the guide, it’s still a priority for us since you can’t ignore what year it is. This one’s a bit more expensive than the A-T table previously listed, but it gives us some cool additions: a high-torque direct-drive motor, vinyl converter software, a nice tonearm system, pitch fader, some illumination for aesthetics, a slick platter for scratching, and more.
If you have some more cash, we’d grab this one as opposed to the A-T. The TTX-USB Turntable is more higher-end, but you will never be disappointed with the quality you’ll be getting, let alone have the confidence you’re investing in a brand that knows their stuff.
Stanton STR8150 MKII
Just keep in mind this is not USB compatible, but if you’re using a traditional setup, the Stanton STR8150 MK2 turntable is a beast.If you don’t know Stanton gear, we recommend getting to know them quickly, especially if you plan on DJ’ing more in the future after you grab your turntable. These guys have been around since day 1. This particular table is pretty new, and offers us some nice features at that. We have a super strong torque motor (4.5 Kgf-cm — that’s pretty strong. The stronger a torque motor, the easier it is to scratch), a solid steel build, speed adjustment, reverse playing, adjustable feet, pitch control, key correction and more. We love the overall black aesthetics and their cartridge specifically is super nice. It’s a bit more expensive than the previously listed models but if you have the cash, you’re getting one of the best DJ turntables in terms of build, longevity and overall features.
The Technics SL-1200 turntable is the literal standard for DJ’s (or was, sadly to say?) and has been for quite a few decades actually, and we couldn’t not list this in a best-of turntable guide, even if it’s super rare nowadays. They stopped manufacturing them in 2010 — but it has its own dang Wikipedia page (Technics SL-1200) so that means something, right? Looks like they’re getting a bit more unavailable as the years ago on, unfortunately. You can probably grab a used one off of eBay, or try the links below on a few of our favorite sites as well. This is basically a turntable that gives you the raw essential features all setups need.
You also get the confidence that thousands of other DJ’s since 20 years ago have been using it to scratch. All major and popular DJ’s have used them, and perhaps still do to this day. We only have it a bit lower in our list because it is discontinued, and don’t always like to hold on to the past. Just don’t forget that it’s a bit harder to incorporate this into an all-digital or hybrid DJ setup. They are however bringing back the SL-1200‘s albeit for huge prices.
If it fits your needs and you’re the type who likes to hit home runs, you won’t be making a mistake grabbing the Vestax PDX3000-MK2. This is a pretty monstrous turntable we have here and if money didn’t exist, we’d definitely say this is one of the best DJ turntables you can buy. What’s great is the fact that it is MIDI compatible, something we aren’t seeing much in terms of turntables just yet. The PDX-3000-Mk2 is a pretty beastly table coming in at 20 lbs, an “anti-skipping” tone-arm system, a direct drive DC motor, amazing torque (constant speed rate within .5 seconds after you push start), and a build made of very nice ABS plastic (for not only longevity but it helps get rid of feedback\impact, too).
These are amazing to scratch with because it also has rubber insulators to help with shock absorption. This is definitely one of the best DJ turntables for scratching. We recommend getting this one if you want one of the biggest, baddest tables out there. In terms of finances, it isn’t even close to being budget-friendly, especially if you’re going to buy two.
Audio Technica AT-LP60
Here’s another one of the best turntables by Audio-Technica model in the LP series. The Audio-Technica AT-LP60 is a bit lower in terms of quality than our previous top pick, and we put it in here because it still competes with the top 10 and gives us some cash saving benefits as well. You can either grab this version or the USB, but the one we’re listing here without USB has been out for quite some time and has a lot of positive reviews.
It has a built-in switchable phono preamp, great quality cartridge and platter for scratching, comes with the necessary cables, and typically is priced under a Benjamin. We put this in here because it’s one of the most rawest turntables out there — no extra spunk, just a raw table that gives you the essential features to scratch away. Grabbing two is still affordable as well, or for a few more bucks you can grab the USB version just in case.
The TEAC TN-300 is one of the best and very high quality when it comes to build and feature list. Not sure if you’ve heard of TEAC gear, but they’re pretty well-known for the higher price point, nicer equipment in the market. It’s USB compatible, RCA, made of aluminum die-cast, belt-drive, and has a “MM Phono equalizer” which is an amp that’s a lot higher quality than most out there. The sound quality is what you’re paying for here as it’s stated to be CD quality, but most out there provide quality you won’t really notice.
The high torque-motor is also a lot better quality than others, so although this isn’t a must, if you grab a TN-300, it’s just higher quality in most factors that others aren’t. Get it if you’re prestige. What’s also nice is it’s offered in about 5 different colors.
The Pyle PLTTB1 is a pick as the best DJ turntable for starters or those wanting to save some damage to the wallet. Pyle always makes an appearance in our guides because of the price to quality ratio — they’re the definition of budget-friendly to us, and this particular turntable is under a hundred bucks and still provides some quality. You get the essentials plus a few more extras: pitch control, some strobe light illumination, weighted tone arm, dust cover and it comes with both the cartridge\stylus so you can start using it as soon as you open the box.
For us, this is one of the best turntables for beginners. Grab it if you want something affordable that’ll do it’s job with no hassle in the process — just know it isn’t professional by any means, although it really depends on what you plan on doing with it.
The Jensen JTA-230 is a super cheap DJ turntable that had over 1,000 reviews on Amazon so we felt the need to check what it was about. You get the 3 speeds, pitch adjustment and tone control. It has a USB output and RCA line out (headphone jack too), so you surprisingly get the essential ins and outs even though it’s one of the cheapest we’ve seen out there worth looking at. They also have some built-in speakers which helps for saving money or convenience.
It’s pretty small in size as compared to others, but it’s recommended more for leisurely listening for beginners or kids. We don’t recommend grabbing this to complete your DJ setup or for scratching, so if that’s your use go back up to our other models. Otherwise, if you want a super cheap solution to merely play some records in a leisure setting, check this one out.
Vestax Handy Trax
To cap off our list of the best DJ turntables, we have a nifty little table here that’s great for portability and convenience. A good use of the Vestax Handy Trax would be going to a friends, flea market or record shop and using it to test the vinyl. It has an internal speaker or a headphones input to listen to what you have playing. We wouldn’t recommend grabbing this to convert your vinyl into audio files via USB since it’s not too good of quality as compared to the others with USB compatibility. It isn’t blistering loud but what do you expect out of a small, portable, more affordable turntable? It’s battery-powered of course (takes 6 D batteries).
Wouldn’t recommend scratching on here since it isn’t too stable to do so. It may very well suit your needs if you want an easy solution for traveling or digging around the crates, or perhaps just some leisurely listening.