Home Turntables Best Fully Automatic Turntable Reviews

Best Fully Automatic Turntable Reviews

Looking for a quality turntable but don’t want to hassle with manual operations? Check out my best fully automatic turntables reviews! These turntables take all of the guesswork out of playing records and make it easy for anyone to enjoy their favorite albums. Not sure which one is right for you? Keep reading to learn more about what makes these models so popular.

Our pick
Pro-Ject Automat A1
Pro-Ject Automat A1
Best fully automatic turntable
The A1 has a fully automatic start/stop with the automatics being completely disengaged and decoupled during the entire runtime of the record.
Read the full review.

What is a fully automatic turntable?

A fully automatic turntable will play LPs without requiring any user input beyond loading the record onto the turntable.

The fully automatic system links the platter to the tonearm, making it straightforward to operate. All you need is just to press play – the arm will automatically raise and precisely drop the stylus at the start of the record. Equally, it’ll lift on its own at the end of each side and move back to where it started.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? But like everything on earth, fully automatic turntables have their own pros and cons. So, let’s take a look at them so that you can decide whether this system meets your needs.

You can also check: best semi-automatic turntables.

Advantages

There are two main reasons to choose a fully automatic turntable over a manual one. The main benefit is convenience – with a fully automatic system, you don’t have to manually move the tonearm or lift it at the end of the record. This means you can sit back and relax while your music plays without worrying about handling the turntable.

Another advantage of such a system is that it tends to be more gentle on the records. This is because the tonearm is automatically lifted and lowered, so there’s less chance of it scratching or damaging the surface of your LPs.

These factors make fully automatic turntables the right pick for newbies or those who don’t want to waste their time on fine-tuning.

Disadvantages

The only potential drawback of turntables with auto stop is their sound quality. These systems have an abundance of extra attachments under the deck needed to make mechanisms move automatically. Some audiophiles claim that all those moving parts contribute to the unwanted noise and resonance, reducing the overall sound quality. However, many manufacturers use premium mechanical means that don’t impact your listening experience.

For my review, I handpicked the user-friendly, functional models that still don’t sacrifice the overall quality.

Fully Automatic Turntables Comparison Table

Name Drive type Operation type Speeds Phono Pre-Amp Bluetooth Review
Pro-Ject Automat A1 best overall direct manual 33 1/3, 45 RPM yes no Review
Audio-Technica AT-LP60X budget choice belt manual 33 1/3, 45 RPM yes no Review
Dual CS 429 premium pick belt manual 33 1/3, 45, 78 RPM yes no Review
Denon DP-300F also a great choice belt manual 33 1/3, 45 RPM yes no Review

How I tested automatic record players

Before writing this article, I compared and tested some of the top-rated fully automatic players available in today’s market.

I paired the selected TTs with top-notch equipment – Yamaha R-N303 stereo receiver and Audioengine A2+ speakers – to accurately assess the sound quality each player can deliver.

While testing, I enjoyed the following audio:

  • Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On [1971]
  • Jeff Buckley – Grace [1994]
  • Fleetwood Mac – Rumours [1977]
  • Daft Punk – Random Access Memories [2013]
  • Radiohead – In Rainbows [2007]

I also considered many factors that impact everything from sound quality to usability and durability: rotation speed, stylus, platter & plinth materials, tonearm shape, and more.

Based on my findings, I’ve compiled a list of the top automatic turntables, which you’ll find below.

Best fully automatic turntable reviews

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Pro-Ject Automat A1 – best overall

Pro-Ject Automat A1

Pro-Ject Audio was established in 1991, and since then, it has become one of the greatest audiophile turntable brands in the world. And, what’s interesting, in the age of globalization, all Pro-Ject’s products are handmade in Europe; they even carefully select raw materials from local suppliers.

Their A1 is a top-notch system with materials and machinery you typically see only on more expensive, higher-end players. That’s where this model shines! You hardly find another entry-level turntable with components of this level of quality!

Starting off, the A1 features heavy wood housing with zero hollow spaces – such a construction effectively reduces resonance and improves sound quality. Next, the ULM aluminum tonearm and Ortofon OM10 cartridge create precise tracking and accurate playback, while the stable and rigid headshell ensures skip-free listening. In addition, the precision balanced platter prevents vibrations and provides smooth rotation for distortion-free playback.

Pro-Ject Automat A1 photo

The A1 includes a built-in preamp that allows you to connect the turntable to any audio system effortlessly. In addition, you can switch it off if you ever want to improve the sound by hooking up a standalone phone stage.

This model guarantees a smooth connection to the amplifier thanks to a semi-balanced, low-capacitance cable with superior shielding; plus, it eliminates any noise interference.

Flawless construction results in the perfect sound. I love its decent soundstage, plenty of air in the highs, clean mids, and fast deep bass.

The A1 competes head to head with another great model on my list – Denon DP-300F. They’re both high-quality entry-level turntables, sitting in the same price region, but the former offers far better engineering, making it a winner.

With its innovative construction, high-end components, and reasonable price, Pro-Ject Automat A1 is the overall best automatic turntable the market has to offer. This machine won’t disappoint you!

Key specs

  • Drive type: belt.
  • Operation type: manual.
  • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45.
  • Phono Pre-Amp: yes.
  • Speakers: no.
  • Bluetooth: no.
  • USB: no.
  • AUX: no.

Pros

  • Reliable brand.
  • Durable build – will last you a lifetime.
  • Great sound.
  • Super easy to operate.

Cons

  • Not exactly a downside, but the player has no digital features.

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X – budget choice

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X

I purposefully chose to include two items from the Audio-Technica brand on my list. Every turntable made by this manufacturer uses high-performance phono cartridges, which are their area of expertise. So you can trust this name!

Their AT-LP60X is a beginner-friendly turntable with basic yet robust features. Due to the totally automated functioning, newbies will undoubtedly appreciate the ultimate ease of use.

The TT plays 33 and 45 RPM records and boasts a powerful 300W DC servo-controlled motor that can really crank up your music’s volume. A heavy die-cast aluminum platter offers outstanding resistance to vibration and noise, while an improved tonearm base and headshell ensure perfect tracking. Furthermore, the system includes a high-quality integral dual magnet cartridge with a replaceable needle, so you can keep your turntable sounding great for years to come. Such components help deliver excellent sound – clear and natural with warm tones and gentle treble.

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X photo

The supplied AC adaptor transfers all of the AC/DC conversion outside of the housing, resulting in less noise in the signal chain. This turntable also comes equipped with an integrated switchable phono stage, allowing you to hook it up directly to your existing Hi-Fi system.

Although AT-LP60X’s more expensive sibling AT-LP3BK from my list has a host of advanced features, the former still uses the same high-quality Audio-Technica components and technology. Plus, it comes at an affordable price, making it the right pick for those who are only opening the world of vinyl.

If you are looking for the best budget fully automatic turntable that offers overall quality, classic features, and decent sound, do consider Audio-Technica AT-LP60X! It’s hard to beat for the money!

Key specs

  • Drive type: belt.
  • Operation type: manual.
  • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45.
  • Phono Pre-Amp: yes.
  • Speakers: no.
  • Bluetooth: no.
  • USB: no.
  • AUX: no.

Pros

  • Well-trusted brand.
  • High-quality mechanisms.
  • In terms of sound, seriously comps with models costing 2 times the price.
  • Great performance right out of the box.

Cons

  • Not upgradeable cartridge.
  • Flimsy buttons.

Dual CS 429 – premium pick

Dual CS 429

In addition to having a history that dates back to 1900 and is a source of nostalgia for audiophiles who grew up in the 1970s, Dual also makes some of the most fascinating and well-equipped affordable turntables. And their fully automatic CS 429 has become further proof of the thesis. This model is actually a great value for both entry-level vinyl lovers and more critical listeners due to its skillful engineering and high performance.

The CS429 is a plug-n-play model – it means that you can take it out of the box, connect it to the amp or receiver and immediately start enjoying your LPs.

The player has an adjustable tonearm with a replaceable headshell, which will allow for easy cartridge upgrades in the future. But what I love the most about the CS429 – and many audiophiles will agree with me – is its premium-quality Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. This cartridge helps deliver smooth, warm, dynamic, and transparent sound – the things you’ll definitely miss with a cheaper cartridge.

Dual CS 429 photo

The table is solidly built. It features a precision die-cast aluminum platter that rotates smoothly on a strong platter bearing with a thick metal shaft in a brass bushing. Moreover, the strong MDF body and an integrated elastomer vibration absorber keep the player stable and eliminate unwanted noise and audio coloration.

Yes, Dual CS429 is the highest-price turntable on my list, but if you’re ready to invest in an automatic record player that will step up your system to something nearing an audiophile scenario, you won’t regret this purchase! Besides, this model is an excellent base for future upgrades.

Key specs

  • Drive type: belt.
  • Operation type: manual.
  • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45, 78.
  • Phono Pre-Amp: yes.
  • Speakers: no.
  • Bluetooth: no.
  • USB: no.
  • AUX: no.

Pros

  • Durable, smart construction.
  • High-end cartridge.
  • Stunning sound.

Cons

  • A bit expensive for entry-level TT, but you buy the ultimate quality.

Denon DP-300F – also a great choice

Denon DP-300F

Denon started operating in 1910. The business had a solid reputation and began producing its own turntables and tonearms in the 1930s. The DP-300F is one of their most popular products with a perfect price/quality ratio.

This belt-driven, fully automated player with a reliable DC servo motor rotates at 33 1/3 and 45 RPM speeds. The deck is packed with a pre-installed tonearm, MM cartridge, and an upgradable headshell. Moreover, it includes an integrated, easy-to-connect to any type of amp phono equalizer that produces an immersive sound stage.

Denon DP-300F photo

This model features an elegant, slim body and, to tell the truth, I didn’t expect a big sound from such a little babe. But I was wrong! Actually, I was blown away by the thunderous rumbling lows, a warm mid-range, and clear highs! Plus, it provides noiseless tonal clarity.

Surprisingly, while lacking the robust machinery of Pro-Ject Automat A1, the DP-300F sounds as good as our champion.

Denon DP-300F is famed by many vinyl enthusiasts, and for a good reason. It has a killing combination of beautiful design, incredible sound, and ease of use.

Key specs

  • Drive type: belt.
  • Operation type: manual.
  • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45.
  • Phono Pre-Amp: yes.
  • Speakers: no.
  • Bluetooth: no.
  • USB: no.
  • AUX: no.

Pros

  • Nice fit and finish.
  • All music genres sound fantastic.
  • Plug-n-play model.
  • The price meets the performance.

Cons

  • The tonearm doesn’t lift automatically at the end.
  • Sturdy yet plastic body.
  • There is no place to connect a ground wire for an external preamp.

Audio-Technica AT-LP3BK

Audio-Technica AT-LP3BK

Audio-Technica stands behind its products! And its commitment to quality can be seen in the construction of the AT-LP3BK.

This automatic belt-drive turntable is designed to give optimal high-fidelity audio reproduction from your vinyl records. First, it features a built-in phono preamp so you can connect it directly to your sound system, powered speakers, or home theater receiver that doesn’t have a dedicated turntable input. Next, the AT-LP3BK comes with an integral Dual Moving Magnet phono cartridge with a replaceable stylus – this combo will track your records with exceptional clarity and detail. Sonically, the TT delivers accurate, clean, and warm sound.

Audio-Technica AT-LP3BK

The AT-LP3BK has a two-speed (33 1/3 and 45 RPM) selectable pulley and an anti-skate control to help minimize tracking errors. For additional isolation from external vibrations, it comes with a detachable slip mat and an acrylic platter. Finally, this deck is easy to set up and use, thanks to its fully automatic operation.

Audio-Technica AT-LP3BK is the right pick for those who appreciate the overall quality but need room for improvements. This model successfully combines these features!

Key specs

  • Drive type: belt.
  • Operation type: manual.
  • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45.
  • Phono Pre-Amp: yes.
  • Speakers: no.
  • Bluetooth: no.
  • USB: no.
  • AUX: no.

Pros

  • Quality construction.
  • The existing cartridge can be changed for both MM and MC cartridges.
  • Well-balanced tonearm.
  • Great sound out of the box.

Cons

  • Cheaply-made buttons.

Automatic turntables buying guide

Here, in my Buying Guide, I’m highlighting key aspects you should consider when choosing a turntable with an auto return.

Materials and overall build quality

As with any other type of turntable, the build quality and materials used will affect the sound quality. In general, automatic turntables made of solid wood or metal tend to sound better than those made of plastic. You should also ensure that the deck comes equipped with a decent quality cartridge and stylus.

Rotation speeds

Most automatic turntables can play two vinyl record speeds – 33⅓ and 45 RPM. The former is more common, as it’s the standard speed for LP records, while the latter is used for singles (also known as 7-inch records).

Some turntables can also play 78 RPM records, but this isn’t very common. If you want to be able to play all three vinyl record speeds, then you’ll need to find a turntable that specifically supports 78 RPM.

Built-in phono preamp

Some turntables require an external phono preamp, which then needs to be connected to an amplifier or speaker. However, many models include a built-in phono preamp, significantly simplifying things.

If your turntable has a built-in phono preamp, all you need is to connect it directly to your amplifier or speaker, and you’re good to go.

Extra features

When comparing different automatic turntables, check extra features that might be useful for you. For example, some models come with Bluetooth connectivity, Wi-Fi, USB ports, AUX input capabilities, automatic record size detection, etc. – these extras make your TT versatile and compatible with other gadgets. However, machines loaded with modern technology typically feature a higher price, so decide what extras you really need before investing a big dollar.

FAQ

What is the difference between a manual and automatic turntable?

Manual turntables require the user to lift and place the record on the platter and use a hand-crank to start the rotation. Automatic turntables have a motor that starts automatically when a record is placed on the platter.

What is better: an automatic or manual turntable?

There is no definitive answer to this question as both have their own advantages and disadvantages. An automatic turntable is easier to use as it automatically starts playing when you put a record on it. However, it can also be more prone to breaking down than a manual turntable. In addition, some people may prefer the sound quality of the automatic player, while others may prefer the manual control of the manual player. Ultimately, it is up to the users to decide which option suits them best.

Can you use an automatic turntable manually?

Yes. You can use it manually by rotating it by hand.

Can you move the arm on an automatic turntable?

Yes, the arm on an automatic turntable can be moved.

Can you skip songs on an automatic turntable?

Yes, you can do it by pressing the appropriate button on the turntable.
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