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Four of the Best Ways to Store Vinyl Records: Boxes, Cases & DIY
Finding a good storage solution for your vinyl records
If you're into vinyl, you know it's a great way to both enjoy and preserve your music collection. Nothing compares to the honest fidelity and warmth that a good record can provide. And being analog, vinyl records aren't subject to the same digital degradation that CDs and cassette tapes are.
Despite the move towards digital storage, the vinyl industry is here, it's thriving, and that's a great thing.
For an aficionado, it's important to either build a long-term storage system yourself, or source a good set of vinyl record storage boxes. They help you organize and display your prized possessions, and they keep your record collection clean, safe and ready to play.
Vinyl is a bit different than other technologies. Each record takes up a decent amount of space, and they require a good storage solution. The average LP record is about 12 inches by 12 inches, and although they're flat, they still create an interesting storage dilemma. They are fragile and prone to shattering if abused. Luckily, a clever shelving system, or a top quality vinyl record storage box, provides the perfect place to keep them safe from harm.
This article will showcase some of the best vinyl record storage boxes, containers and cases worth your time to look at. We'll take a look at four specific models, giving the pros and cons for each one, and then chat about DIY ideas. We'll also first briefly touch on the proper way to store vinyl and what to avoid. Let's get started!
How to properly store vinyl records in a box or case
Vinyl is an entirely different creature than those ratty old CDs on your car dashboard. LPs are collectors items and meant to be treasured, appreciated, and enjoyed for years. They are also fragile and easily damaged by poor conditions, so it's a good idea to observe proper storage techniques.
If you're using storage boxes or cases, the best scenario for your vinyl records will provide easy access, while minimizing the risk of breakage, scratching and warping. Here are some tips:
- Don't ever cram them:
If you've got more vinyl records than your storage boxes will hold, chances are you'll be tempted to cram them in tightly. I encourage you to avoid this. Vinyl is easily warped, and putting a record under too much pressure will cause distortion to the surface and ultimately hinder the sound fidelity. Keep your collection happy by giving your LPs a bit of room to breathe.
- Give them some padding:
You probably still have the cardboard sleeve that came with your LP. That's good, but consider doubling this protection by adding a paper inner sleeve (if it doesn't have one already.) The tissue will provide extra cushioning to prevent scratches and dust. A proper vinyl record storage box will do wonders, but think about friction inside the sleeve too.
- Keep them cool, dark and dry:
Records appreciate a dry and dark environment. The main reason why I encourage collectors to get a good storage box or case for vinyl records is because they ensure your record collection will remain dry and out of the sun. Sunlight can damage the sound quality, excess heat will warp the vinyl in short order, and a mouldy cardboard case caused by water damage is a nightmare scenario.
It's wise idea to keep your heat at a reasonable and consistent level to avoid warping. I've seen a record turn wobbly after just a few minutes in the heat.
- Store your collection vertically:
You probably know this already, but keep your LP records stored vertically. If you stack them flat their combined weight will warp and damage the grooves. Most of the best vinyl record storage cases are intended for vertical storage, so if you buy a pre-built one it shouldn't be an issue.
Eurolite LP-70: A high-capacity vinyl storage box that's rugged and secure
The Eurolite LP-70 is a super rugged, durable and dependable record storage case that can hold up to 70 LPs safely and securely. It's got a professional grade construction with rounded chrome corners, a plastic polymer lining, recessed latches and locks, and a heavy-duty top handle. It's extremely durable and looks impressive in person.
The interior of the case is actually lined with foam rubber, which provides enough stability and cushioning to keep your records upright and safe. Thankfully, it's still loose enough to make browsing your collection easy enough. The polymer grip on the handle is comfortable in the hand.
In a nutshell, the Eurolite is a highly safe and secure LP vinyl record storage box and one you should consider.
Foremost: Among the best, inexpensive vinyl LP storage solutions for big collections
Stackable, modular record storage boxes for vinyl collectors
These modular cabinets by Foremost aren't specifically built for LPs, but they're about the perfect size and shape for this purpose. You can store approximately 75 records in each side, meaning with this double enclosure you can potentially store 150 LPs vertically. The hollowcore construction is pretty sturdy, and you can stack multiple boxes on one another for a very clean look.
These boxes are nice because they're perfectly matched to a modern decorating scheme. They're dark, low profile and simple, and if you have a couple of them they can serve as a low shelf too. It's got a bit more refined look than a crate or apple box, yet it's still a snap to browse through and pick out the perfect record for any occasion.
Obviously these boxes won't have the same durability or padding as a bonafide, purpose-built vinyl record storage case. It's ideal to buy something with padding if you're concerned about long term preservation. But for display, storage and enjoyment, these shelves are awesome and inexpensive.
LP Storage Crate: Simple & classic wooden storage for vinyl records
It's hard to resist a classic. It may be a stereotype to stash your tunes in a pine crate, but these basic wooden vinyl LP storage boxes look great and are perfect for keeping your records well organized and safe.
Despite their simplicity, the boxes are actually really nicely finished (check out the contoured handles), but they also hold a lot of records. Each crate is made from North American softwoods like pine or spruce, and they are pre-sanded.
The great thing about these is they're awesome even if you're not using them for your collection. Fill them with anything! And as a bonus: they arrive fully constructed and ready to use.
KAIU: A record collection storage solution with serious good looks
The KAIU record collection display offers an awesome and deceptively simple way to show off your LPs. On the practicality-style axis, this firmly falls in the latter camp, but it still meets the requirements: vertical storage. What's more, the slightly cantilevered walls make it almost impossible to over-cram.
With an attractive wooden frame and acrylic side panels affixed at a diagonal angle, the KAIU allows for easy flipping. It's ideal in the living room for that reason. Ridged notches in the base keep them from sliding over.
I've heard some concern over the not-quite-vertical nature of this vinyl record storage stand. I wouldn't worry about that. There will never be enough weight on the sides of the vinyl to cause damage or warping.
The only issue I see is the open sides. If your primary concern is avoiding damage of any kind, I'd opt for one of the more protective, padded options listed above. But if you're after good looks, ease of access and practicality, the KAIU is a wonderful storage case and display unit for your vinyl LPs.
What about for larger collections?
If you've got a serious collection (otherwise known as VAD: Vinyl Acquisition Disorder), you're probably on the hunt for a larger storage solution.
The cabinet style storage is a good choice for you because you can stack them up on top of one another (to a point.)
Another thing to consider is a custom, built-in shelving unit. Dedicate a whole wall to your record collection: set up the turntable, integrate the speakers, and install cabinets from floor to ceiling. When executed properly this can look amazing. The downside? Unless you're handy and can build it yourself, this won't come cheap.
A third option: go for one of the best vinyl record storage cases around, invest in a good number of them, pick up a couple of display stands, and rotate your collection in and out depending on your mood. That way you can keep most of your LPs safe, dry, and out of the way.
What else have you come up with? I love hearing about creative solutions.