Where to Find Cheap Vinyl Records?
There are three main ways to find cheap vinyl records. The first is to browse local stores or flea markets for second-hand ones. The second is to look for online stores that sell them, and the final way is to check social media groups for people selling old vinyl.
Listening to vinyl records has a different appeal than listening to everyday music through your smartphone or computer. The nostalgic and warm feeling of an LP or EP is hard-to-beat with its brilliant musical experience.
With its purely analog signal chain, lack of compression, great artwork, listening to vinyl records is a fantastic experience. Still, they are pretty expensive, take up a lot of space, need constant care, easily get damaged, and degrade slightly with every play. But, the rewards are outstanding when you put in some effort.
Thanks to the resurrection of the vinyl record format in recent years, collecting vinyl is easier than ever. However, finding cheap ones can be a struggle. That is why I have prepared this list for vinyl record collectors to get the best deals possible.
Where to find cheap vinyl records?
The best way to find cheap and rare vinyl records is the old-school way, in my opinion. By checking the local stores and flea markets, you get the chance to find the best deals and make bargains and contribute to your local community while spending some excellent nostalgic time in between great old vinyl.
If you feel lazy, another option is to check the online stores for cheap vinyl records. Many websites are selling second-hand old vinyl records in decent condition. Here are some of them that you can check to find the ones you are looking for:
More Than Words
More Than Words is a non-profit social enterprise created for young adults in difficult circumstances like foster care, homeless, out of school, or court-involved. Besides books and souvenir gifts, they offer an extensive collection of old vinyl recordings. The U.S.-based enterprise can also ship worldwide.
Discogs is a music platform and marketplace that gathers the old-school music lover together. You can sell and buy vinyl, CDs, cassettes, DVDs, box sets on the platform. There are users from all over the world, and there is a feedback rating system elevating the reliability of the sellers.
You can see the media and sleeve conditions of all products and decide to buy or not. There are also blog and forum areas for gathering information or meeting with similar-minded music lovers.
Dusty Groove is a U.S-based vinyl records store offering thousands of second-hand old vinyl for collectors. The 25-year-old store offers many vinyl and CDs in different genres and conditions and regularly add new ones to their offerings.
As the world’s biggest online store, Amazon has an extensive collection of cheap second-hand vinyl records. You can simply search for the desired albums to check their conditions and price to decide.
Another good way is to check the groups and marketplaces on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. There are many offers and ads on social media which can directly link you with the seller.
Vinyl Grading System
The most important thing to check when buying a second-hand vinyl record is its condition. There is a universal system to grade the conditions of vinyl records which significantly determines the price of the record along with the artist and album.
The grades go as best to worst as Mint (M), Near Mint (NM or M-), Very Good Plus (VG+), Very Good (VG), Good and Good Plus (G, G+), and Poor or Fair (P, F). You should aim for at least VG-graded vinyl records to have a decent listening experience.
Mint condition signifies that the vinyl record is in perfect condition. These are new vinyl records without even their seal broken. Of course, M-graded vinyl records are the most expensive ones.
Near Mint (NM or M-)
Near Mint condition means the vinyl is in nearly perfect condition. These records have probably never been played or played only for a few times. This is the highest grade for most second-hand record houses and sellers, as M is only for new and sealed vinyl records, and no record can be perfect after the seal is broken.
NM or M- records will play perfectly without any issues, and they do not have any signs of wear or more than minor defects. The same goes for the sleeves, too. The NM or M- graded sleeves should not have folds, holes, or other defects. There can be some signs of handling, but that is all.
As you can imagine, these are the most expensive records you will encounter in a second-hand store.
Very Good Plus (VG+)
A Very Good Plus record means that the record had a previous owner, but the owner took good care of the record. There are some minor defects on the VG+ records, but they are limited to cosmetic signs without affecting the playback.
The surface of the records may have one or two minor scratches, but it should not affect the listening experience. The sleeves may also have some wear signs like cut corners or slight discoloration.
Often VG+ records cost half the price of the Near Mint grade records. In short, they have defects but are not significant enough to disturb the eyes or ear.
Very Good (VG)
Very Good grade vinyl records have the same minor scratches or defects as the VG+ records but a bit more in the count. The surface noise will be more hearable when playing, especially in the intros and endings. The scratches will affect the sound more and will be more noticeable.
The overall listening experience is ok, and the defects do not overwhelm the music, but they are noticeable. The sleeves have more signs of wear with cut corners or small holes, discoloration, and folds.
VG records generally cost 25% of the Near Mint grade or half of the VG+ records. This is the minimum grade record you should buy if you want a decent listening experience.
Good and Good Plus (G, G+)
Good and Good Plus grade records have significant surface noises, scratches, and visible wear, heavily affecting the sound and listening experience. The sleeves have visible defects like tapes, ring wear, seam splits. The playback won’t have skips but will have ticks.
G and G+ vinyl records often cost 10% of an NM or half of a VG grade record. I do not recommend you purchase any G or G+ grade records if you want to have a pleasant listening experience. You might consider buying them for collection purposes, but they won’t perform well.
Poor or Fair (P, F)
Poor or Fair grade records are the worst condition possible in the spectrum. The records will have many scratches, warps, cracks, and the playback will skip or repeat regularly. The sleeves are heavily damaged and do not look pleasant. They barely keep the record inside.
These records cost significantly less than NM condition vinyl records. They often cost around 1 to 5% of an NM condition record.
Get A Turntable Or A Record Player
If you want to listen to your vinyl record collection, you will need either a turntable or a record player. Today, there are many offerings in the market with various features for different budgets.
Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT-RD is a great turntable with a fully automatic system and Bluetooth connectivity, making everything easy for vinyl record listeners without much experience.
- Great value for the price
- Feature-packed and has Bluetooth connectivity
- Great sound quality
- Fully automatic system
- Not the best build quality, plastic
- Does not support 78 RPM
The turntable can connect to speakers or other devices via Bluetooth or its RCA line out. The fully automatic system helps you play 33-1/3 and 45 RPM effortlessly without damaging your records.
The high-quality parts like the die-cast aluminum platter and high-quality Audio-Technica cartridge, and the diamond stylus provide great sound quality.
It also comes with a plastic dust cover shell to protect the inside parts from dust and humidity. The only drawbacks are the plastic construction which feels a bit cheap, and the lack of 78 RPM support.
|Power Source||DC Power Adapter|
Overall, Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT-RD is a good choice if you are not experienced with record players or turntables and looking for a good quality device to enjoy your vinyl.
If you don’t want to spend a lot on a record player, ION Audio Max LP is an ideal choice. The vintage-style record player has a great value for the price, thanks to its modern features increasing its versatility.
- Many handy features
- Stunning vintage look
- Easy to use
- Adjustable tone-arm
- Not the greatest sound quality
- 78 RPM stylus sold separately
It comes with a stereo RCA output, aux input, 1/8“ headphone output, high-speed USB port, and EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter software for recording your record as a digital file.
The design is also eye-catching, with a great vintage look provided by the wooden cabinet and the plastic dust cover. The built-in speakers are not the best, so I recommend using them with external speakers.
The belt-driven motor supports all 3 speeds, but the 78 RPM stylus is sold separately. The package includes the 45 RPM adapter and a Slipmat.
|Power Source||Electric Cord|
To summarize, ION Audio Max LP is one of the best record players in the price range with its versatility and affordable price tag. It’s a great entry-level record player.
Collecting vinyl records is always thought to be an expensive hobby, but it is not if you know how to find cheap vinyl records. Searching in local stores and flea markets as well as in some online stores and social media, you can find the record you are looking for at affordable prices.
When buying vinyl records, do not forget to check for the condition and buy the one minimum in the Very Good (VG) grade.