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Tips for picking the right inner & outer sleeves for vinyl records

 

How do you protect your vinyl collection?

If you use only the thin paper inner sleeves to keep your LPs safe, you’re not doing enough.

The main problem with a paper sleeve is that over time it starts holding dirt which can easily rub on to your LP. Another issue is that it can shed paper onto the LP, affecting its sound quality.

Moreover, it hardly makes any sense to thorough clean your collection using expensive vinyl cleaning solutions and then throw them into thin paper sleeves, which do next to nothing to protect them or, worse, might damage them.

So what’s the solution? Glad you asked.

There are several sturdy inner sleeves available in the market. You should use one of them if you love your vinyl collection and want it to have a long life.

Inner Sleeves for LPs

Inner sleeves act as a first line of defense for your vinyl records, keeping them safe from dust. They are available for vinyl records of all sizes. You can pick one that matches your needs and budget.

  • Generic Paper Inner Record Sleeves

If you want just the bare minimum, use plain white paper inner sleeves. Better quality paper sleeves use a much heavier paper and some even use an acid-free paper. They do a much better job of protecting vinyl than plain white sleeves.

However, bear in mind that paper sleeves, even those made from sturdier and acid-free paper, can do only so much to protect your vinyl records.

All paper shed with passage of time. Additionally, the very act of slipping a record into and out of a paper sleeve creates static as well as paper dust. For these reasons, you are recommended to use a better storage option.

  • Poly Inner Record Sleeves

Poly inner sleeves offer you the best value for your money. They are affordable and aptly protect vinyl records.

Poly inner record sleeves come in different thicknesses. The better ones have a thickness of 3 millimeter, making them very durable. Inserting records into them is also very easy as these covers hold their shape well.

Some poly sleeves come with rounded corners while some others have square corners. It is easier to insert sleeves with rounded corners into the outer jacket, compared to sleeves with square corners. This is because you sometimes need to bend one bottom corner of the square sleeve to slide it comfortably into the jacket.

  • Paper with poly lined inner record sleeves

You get double protection of paper and poly if you invest in these sleeves. The paper is located on the outside and serves the purpose of giving the sleeves shape and stiffness. This in turn makes sliding a recording into and out of the sleeve easier.

On the other hand, the inner surface is made of poly, which allows the record to be inserted with as little fraction as possible. The poly inner layer also keeps static to minimum.

Effective as this combo is in protecting your much-loved vinyl collection, it has one slight drawback. This sleeve is relatively thicker than other inner sleeves. Because of the added thickness, inserting them into tight records jackets might prove a little tricky.

Outer Sleeves for LPs

An inner sleeve keeps your vinyl record protected, but it is also important to keep the impressive artwork done on outer cardboard album jacket protected using a sturdy outer poly sleeve. Otherwise, soon that amazing artwork might have scuff marks or scratches.

The main thing to check in an outer poly sleeve is its thickness. You should not buy sleeves that are just 1 millimeter thick. They scarcely offer any protection.

Instead purchase poly outer sleeves with 3 millimeter thickness. They not only hold their shape well but also provide sufficient protection to record album jackets.

With all this said and done, it is very much possible that over time some of your records might get damaged and become unplayable.

In that case we recommend against throwing them into the dustbin. Instead sell them to us and we’ll turn them into beautiful gifts.