1. The more speeds the better. There are three sizes of records and they all require a different speed to play. To get the biggest value for your money get a record player with multiple speeds. I have a 33 (which is the largest and most easily found record), 45 (these are smaller and have a larger circle in the middle), and 78 (which I believe is the oldest) correct me if I'm wrong.
2. Lift straight up! When you place the needle on your record or take it off you want to make sure you lift straight up to prevent any harm to your needle.
3. For me, portable is best. I live in an apartment and if I ever want to move the record player from room to room, or even transport it, it's so much easier to have a small player. Now, I absolutely love the look and sound of a huge built in player but my portable one is so convenient.
4. If you see a vinyl you love, buy it! I have been collecting vinyls for about four years so when I finally got a player I automatically had a collection I wanted to play. The easiest and cheapest place I find records is any thrift store. There is usually an entire stack of them you can look through.
5. Check the quality of you vinyls. Before you play them check to see if they are extremely scratched up or if they are in pretty good condition. They don't have to be perfect, but the more they're scratched the more likely they will eventually cause you to have to buy a new needle.
Who would you most like to hear on your record player?