Anyone with the slightest interest in vinyl music will have heard about Crosley turntables, and, for most people, they either love them or they hate them.
The Crosley brand is best known for manufacturing affordable, retro-style suitcase record players in a range of colors and styles. The best entry-level Crosley record player is the Crosley Cruiser Plus because of its affordability (under $100), color options, and its Bluetooth in/out capability. Check it out at Amazon.
For purist vinyl fans committed to investing in top of the range equipment to listen to their records, the novelty of Crosley suitcase turntables is a big turn-off. Too much fun and not enough substance.
But for those who are just discovering the world of vinyl, don’t want to spend a fortune on a turntable, and are looking for a fun, portable option, Crosley has quickly become the go-to brand.
Crosley first started out in the US in the 1920s after being founded by Powel Crosley to design and manufacture radios. Crosley wanted to make radios available to everyone, an attitude that was dusted off and repurposed when the Crosley brand turned its attention to record players in the 1990s.
This was at a time when CDs were ruling the music world, but Crosley saw a coming trend and has been making turntables ever since
How to Choose a Crosley Turntable
Despite being most famous for affordable suitcase record players, Crosley has some sleek designs in its portfolio. The C-series is aimed at more grown-up and serious music fans, including a drone-shaped futuristic model, and modern, minimal turntables.
There is also a higher end of the Crosley range that features the professional K-series, which is aimed at people looking to spend more money and make a long-term investment. In a nutshell, there is something for everyone.
However, with so many styles and models available by Crosley, it can be hard to know which one to choose. A helpful starting point can be the following questions:
- Are you new to vinyl music or a seasoned veteran?
- Do you want something fun and funky, or sleek and stylish?
- How much money do you want to spend?
Fortunately, there is a Crosley turntable out there to suit all budgets and styles. To get started, let’s take a look at the different options to find out which one is the best Crosley turntable for you.
The C6 is a more grown-up offering from Crosley, with a sleek, modern design and a fashionable, minimal style. It’s the type of record player that can sit neatly on a bookshelf or table and blend in with most types of décor. It’s subtle and unobtrusive while offering an authentic vinyl listening experience.
Aside from the design features, the Crosley C6 has a belt-driven turntable mechanism and a manual return tonearm with an adjustable counterweight.
It can play records at two speeds (33 and 45 rpm) and comes with a replaceable phono cartridge to allow for some musical customization. The C6 also has a built-in pre-amp and RCA outputs.
Reviewers have been kind to the C6, particularly for its elegant design and decent sound quality. Once again, this Crosley model is an affordable option (although more expensive than the Cruiser Deluxe and the C3 listed later) and is certainly up there in the ranks when it comes to the best Crosley turntable.
Here we have another model from the Crosley C-series. The C10 is at the higher end of the scale when it comes to price, but it’s still under $500, which is affordable compared to other brands on the market.
What does the C10 have that the C62 or C6 doesn’t? The answer is extra little details and higher-grade components. For example, the C10 sits on an audio-grade MDF plinth but comes with genuine birch veneer, instead of faux walnut, like the C62.
It has a belt-driven turntable mechanism that plays records at 33 and 45 rpm, but the 8.6” Project aluminum tonearm has sapphire bearings to accompany the adjustable counterweight.
The C10 also comes with an Ortofon OM5e cartridge (pre-mounted), a user-replaceable phono cartridge, plus a low vibration synchronous motor and shock absorbent feet for reduced vibration.
Basically, the C10 is more than an entry-level turntable and the attention to detail is reflected in the higher price.
This is a good option for those that have already been dabbling in vinyl music and are looking to upgrade their listening experience. Not only that, but the minimal, modern design looks great.
As the most well-known of the Crosley designs, we have to start with the Cruiser Deluxe model. Crosley itself describes the Cruiser Deluxe as “the one, the only, the original”, and we can’t disagree – especially due to its popularity around the world.
The most distinguishable features of the Cruiser Deluxe are the lightweight suitcase shell and the dynamic built-in stereo speakers, making it portable and easy to use. The Cruiser Deluxe has more going for it though than just a funky style.
It has a Bluetooth receiver so that it can be used to stream digital music, an adjustable pitch control, a belt-driven portable turntable that plays records at three speeds (33, 45, and 78 rpm), plus RCA and headphone jack outputs.
The Cruiser Deluxe also comes in a rainbow selection of colors, including some special edition designs, allowing buyers to match their turntable to the décor in their homes or personal style.
As expected from an entry-level record player, the Cruiser Deluxe is easy on the wallet and widely available, both online and at audio equipment stores. It’s especially popular with young people starting out on their vinyl music journey, but it’s also a good choice for anyone looking for a fun turntable.
In comparison to the retro-style Cruiser Deluxe, the C3 looks futuristic and modern – almost like a drone. Just like the Cruiser Deluxe though, it’s aimed at entry-level vinyl music fans and won’t break the bank.
With its unique shape and style, the C3 is certainly a conversation-starter, but the design is more than just for aesthetics. The shape of the plinth provides a stable foundation for the turntable and isolates the low vibration synchronous motor to reduce distortion.
Other features include a full-size steel platter, an external belt, and an aluminum tonearm with an adjustable counterweight and pre-mounted moving magnet cartridge.
For optimum sound, powered speakers can be plugged into the RCA output, and the turntable can play records at 33 or 45 rpm. The Crosley C3 also comes in three colors – black, white, and red.
If a modern, minimal design is your thing, then the Crosley C62 ticks all of the right boxes. Crosley itself describes the C62 as a “ready-to-go-sounds-darn-good-straight-out-of-the-box turntable system”, and we couldn’t think of a better way to explain it.
The Crosley C62 has a belt-driven turntable with low-vibration and two-speed capability (33 and 45 rpm), which sits on an audio-grade MDF plinth finished with faux walnut veneer for a sleek look. It comes with an aluminum tonearm and adjustable counterweight that is pre-mounted with a moving magnet cartridge.
In keeping with the modern age, the C62 has Bluetooth connectivity to allow users to play digital music through the system as well as vinyl records.
Unlike the C6, the C62 includes two matching MDF speakers, but you can connect the turntable to your own system with the built-in switchable pre-amp and RCA output. And finally, the super-minimal two-knob design is timeless, making the C62 a turntable that should withstand the test of time.
The Crosley C62 availability is spotty, currently, it is not available.
If you were looking for the C62 and find it unavailable you may want to look into this model
The Crosley C8 has a belt-driven turntable, isolating the motor to help with vibration and sound quality. It has two speeds, similar to most of the others on the list it runs at 33 ⅓ and 45 RPM.
The Plinth is an audio-grade MDF that has a beautiful walnut finish. Although not as modern as some of the C models on this list it has more of a comforting look to it, making it a “reliable” choice for your decor.
The adjustable tonearm has a counterweight, removable hard shell, and anti-skate control. This turntable has a pre-mounted moving magnet cartridge and stylus but it can be customized.
You can connect the C8 to your own sound system or speakers thanks to the built-in switchable pre-Amp and RCA output.
And the winner is ….
It’s hard to pick a favorite from the Crosley range because there is something for everyone, from complete vinyl beginners to seasoned record playing audiophiles.
The Cruiser Deluxe is great for having fun with records, especially for younger generations, and the C-series provides a range of stylish, affordable turntables for all ages.
Then there are other models by Crosley that haven’t been listed here, such as the Discovery, Voyager, Portfolio and Executive turntables (all similar to the Cruiser Deluxe), the T200 and T400, as well as many others.
The list above simply details an overview of the offerings from Crosley, but which one is the best? For a budget option that is also fun, we have to go with the Cruiser Deluxe.
However, for a more serious, grown-up turntable, the C10 has to be crowned winner as the best Crosley turntable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why does my Crosley sound weird?
A. If your Crosley record player sounds like it has static, is missing tones or is muffled you may have a broken or dirty needle. Try to clean or replace the needle.
Q. Why does my Crosley sound “scratchy”?
A. Dirt and static can cause your records to sound scratchy. An old or worn stylus can also cause your records to sound bad or scratchy.