9 Must-have Items Every Record Collector Needs

Key items to add to your collection to upgrade it.

Vinyl/record collecting has been a hobby of mine since my dad bought me my turntable in 2017. Once I got the fever to listen to music on analog recordings, I knew my bank account would never be the same. Record collecting can be a pricy hobby, especially if you want to own rare or limited pressing records. As with most things, do your research to find the most affordable records and items you need to make the listening experience worthwhile.

You've found yourself investing in collecting records. Congratulations and welcome to this great community of audiophiles! You may or may not have impulsively bought some records you saw at the local music store. All this without having a turntable. And then you ask yourself, "What do I need to buy besides a turntable to keep my records in good condition?"

These are the nine key items that every record collector should own. Not only do these items keep your records in tip-top shape but also make it easier to lessen any damage. I tried to keep the list simple so as not to overwhelm newbie collectors. Once you have these essentials, you can expand your sound system and eventually upgrade to newer equipment.

1. Vinyl Displayer Stand 

Image Source: Instagram

Now that I have a pretty good collection to brag about, the next thing on the list is to buy items to display the records while being played. This display stand holds records currently spinning on the record player. It can hold up to 10 records at a time, which is generous enough to rotate through your records. The company called Koppel Design has different stands to choose from. This one featured is the engraved version and they have "Stencil" & "Sunburst" block versions. 

I've had my eye on these particular record stands for a few months now. It helps to have one of these if you listen to your records frequently throughout the week. Instead of having to take the records out of their storage & put them right back, this gives you the option of keeping multiple albums displayed until you've listened to all of them.

If these stands are too expensive try looking on Amazon & Etsy. There are tons of options out there you just have to look for them.

2. Record Dividers

Image Source: Instagram

Record dividers are great to organize your collection by genre, decade, alphabetically, and so on. I've even seen vinyl collectors divide their records by color. If you don't want to go the traditional route, there's also the option of buying customizable dividers for your needs. 

The dividers produced by Koppel Design aren't made with plastic but durable wood. The wood helps reduce the wear and tear on the vinyl due to frequent handling. I've had my eye on the dividers by Koppel Design for a while now. Be mindful that the wood dividers cost more than the carbon and plastic dividers. The price also increases if they are handmade and unique to each customer. 

In the future, I'll be buying customizable dividers to arrange my collection. Currently, I have more female artists than male, so those will come in handy. While my collection has definitely grown, there's no point yet for me to buy dividers. 

3. Reliable turntables that last a long time and are affordable

Image Source: Instagram

In the vinyl community, there is much debate over whether buying the Crosby turntable is justifiable for such a hobby as record collecting. The Crosby turntable while affordable, can eventually ruin the sound and structure of the records, which in turn will be wasting your money in the long run.

I have the Audio Technica turntable which was purchased on Amazon for less than $100. There are more superior and expensive turntables out on the market but the Audio Technica is a great, long-lasting turntable that won't break the bank. 

There are different versions of the Audio Technica turntable. The one I purchased is the Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK. It's pretty standard, affordable, and has RCA output cables to connect with your audio systems. If you want to go the wireless route they also carry the wireless ones such as the Audio-Technica LP60XBT, which is the redesigned version of the AT-LP60X that seems to no longer be available.

You could also try looking at music stores for gently used or refurbished turntables. If the option to buy new is too much of a splurge.

4. Brush & Cleaner Kit

Image Source: Instagram

Sometimes you get lucky and the records you buy second-hand are in decent shape. However, that isn't always the case, especially when the sleeve of the record is falling apart. The record stores usually have a cleaning machine to quickly clean the record and make it good as new, but if not the next best thing is to order your own cleaner.

There are different options such as using a brush cleaner kit but if you want to invest your money, there's also the option of using those big machines to clean. They usually retail for over $100 so be prepared to spend a lot of money.

Image Source: Instagram

Because I knew none of my records needed that type of professional cleaning, I just bought a simple cleaner kit from Amazon that does the job. The kit came with a velvet brush, the fluid cleaner, and a cleaner for the stylus. Don't forget when looking to buy a cleaning kit that it includes one for the stylus. 

5. Outer Sleeves for Records

Image Source: Top Record Players

I assumed that all record stores had their records protected with plastic sleeves. Wrong! When buying new releases or re-issued vinyl, most likely the records will be sleeved, it's the gently used records that you have to worry about. I was able to order 100 plastic sleeves for around $20. The funny thing about those plastic sleeves is that I've only used a few of them so far. Usually, I'll swap the plastic sleeves from the store with my newer ones if it feels too flimsy to use.

6. Speakers

Image Source: Instagram

Speakers are equally important for your setup system as the turntable is because without them the quality of sound can be limited. Along with speakers, you can also add an amplifier to get more surround sound if that's what you're after. Speakers can be quite expensive and there are different types to choose from, so don't rush when it comes to buying them. 

Image Source: Instagram

Personally, I didn't want to spend a ton of money on speakers just yet, so I decided to get the portable Marshall Stockwell Speakers. I've had the speakers for over 6 months now and I couldn't be happier. It doesn't look like they sell my version anymore on the official site but Amazon still carries them. There are other brands such as Elac, Wharfedale, and Fyne Audio that are reputable speakers to purchase. 

7. Inner Sleeves for Records

Image Source: Big Fudge Vinyl

Besides the outer sleeve and the record jacket, you also want to protect the record as it's laying inside the cardboard. These protective sleeves make sure the record doesn't get damaged as you pull it in and out. Most records will come with the inner sleeve, however, there could some that were given with the sleeve missing. So it's a good idea to have extra inner sleeves in cases like those.

When looking for quality inner sleeves, make sure to look for anti-static and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic. HDPE plastic doesn't cause scratching and being anti-static can help lessen the static charge. Paper & poly-lined sleeves are the best quality but can be either affordable or expensive depending on where you purchase them from. Another option is buying the thicker plastic sleeves also made from HDPE.

I normally buy from local/second-hand shops for my records and I only have two or three records that were missing their inner sleeves. Because most of my records came with inner sleeves there's no reason to buy any just yet.

8. Packing for moving or selling records

Image Source: Unsplash

Finding the right packaging to keep your records safe and secure can seem like a daunting task but it's easy. In my research, a lot of Reddit users found using Uhaul boxes was enough to secure their records. Another option is to buy LP mailer boxes made for records. They can hold up to 100 records in one box.

The main issue that can occur is if your collection is massive. Then getting the mailer boxes could become more expensive. Overall your best bet is to use the Uhaul boxes, it'll save you a lot more money.

9. Amplifiers

Image Source: Unsplash

I put this under optional as not everyone needs an amplifier. If your turntable, like mine, comes with a pre-amp already built into it, there's no need to get an amplifier. The easiest way to know this is if there's a USB output. You can add speakers to get more sound and you're good to go. My AT-LP60BK turntable has a switch to make it optional to hook up stereo receivers (Amps) if I ever wanted to add on. 

The amplifier works by amplifying the sound quality to make it louder and the bass clearer. When listening to rock & hip-hop music, you'll clearly hear the difference with the lack of something enhancing the sound. Combining speakers with an amplifier will give you the best quality sound. The exception to this is if you have powered speakers that also have built-in amps, then you can just hook that directly to your record player.

The prices range for amplifiers but you can get them as low as $50 & the price can rise to over $100. Make sure to do your research for the best quality stereo receiver within your budget.

Getting into vinyl collecting can be either an inexpensive or expensive hobby depending on how much you're willing to spend. Before even purchasing any records, it's a good idea to see how much everything will be before committing. I spent countless hours gathering as much information as possible to make sure I could afford this hobby. Hopefully, these items will set up your vinyl collecting foundation well as they did for me.

Fan of literary fiction novels, green tea, roller skating, and watching dog videos.

No Saves yet. Share it with your friends.

Write Your Diary

Get Free Access To Our Publishing Resources

Independent creators, thought-leaders, experts and individuals with unique perspectives use our free publishing tools to express themselves and create new ideas.

Start Writing