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Records have become considerably more popular in recent years with many people beginning to get into the collection or enjoyment of this old media format. Vinyl records sound great but one of the biggest downsides of any physical media is that it requires you to store it somewhere and it can be quite bulky and heavy.
If you are looking to store your record collection on some shelves you will want to make sure that they are durable enough to withstand the weight of your collection. But what exactly is the weight of a record?
Modern 12-inch records will typically weigh 180 grams (6.35 ounces) without a sleeve and 265 grams (9.35 ounces) with a sleeve. Older 12″ vinyl records will weigh around 120 grams (4.23 ounces) without a sleeve and 205 grams (7.23 ounces) with a sleeve.
It is important to keep in mind that the weight varies a great deal because no two records are exactly alike. It also depends on the size of the records as a larger twelve-inch record will weigh more than a seven-inch record will.
Records are not always to the industry standard either, especially those from what is called the Golden Age of Vinyl (older records).
However, there are only so many ways to make a record, so there are some general guidelines and so the approximate weight of 6.35 ounces for a 12-inch vinyl record should be quite close most of the time if shipping a modern record while older records will weigh approximately 4.23 ounces.
It should also be noted that the above weights do not include the cardboard sleeves. A typically 12″ cardboard record sleeve will weigh 3 ounces so you have to add this to the weight of the record if it has the sleeve.
To make it a little bit easier I decided to make this helpful table so you can see not only how much a vinyl record will weigh in general but also how much different sizes of records weigh with their sleeves and without them.
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|Record Size||Record Weight In Grams||Record Weight In Ounces|
|12″ Modern Record||180 grams||6.35 ounces|
|12″ Older Record||120 grams||4.23 ounces|
|12″ Modern Record With Sleeve||265 grams||9.35 ounces|
|12″ Older Record With Sleeve||205 grams||7.23 ounces|
|10″ Record||100 grams||3.53 ounces|
|10″ Record With Sleeve||171 grams||5.03 ounces|
|7″ Record||40 grams||1.41 ounces|
|7″ Record With Sleeve||72 grams||2.54 ounces|
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Current Vinyl Record Industry Standard Weight
As mentioned above there are some general industry standards (180-gram records) that most modern records that are produced will follow. The most commonly known industry standard is one hundred eighty grams per 12-inch single.
Does that mean all new records have this standard weight? Unfortunately, the answer is no, it doesn’t.
For one thing, it will depend on the size. Even modern records come in three sizes and the one hundred eighty grams per record is for the twelve-inch size. The seven and five-inch records will not weigh as much, due to their smaller size.
So the vinyl weight will vary depending on which size of record you have.
Vintage Vinyl Record Weight
Vintage vinyl records, those made before most musicians switched to digital music, is another story. There really wasn’t an industry standard for these old records. There was a weight range, and it can be seen in many different charts available online.
The average weight for older vinyl records is one hundred twenty grams per record which translate to about 4.23 ounces. However, that doesn’t mean most records weighed that all of the time. By far the most common weight was lower.
There is a website from an audiophile who weighed every single one of his vinyl records. He found that most of the records were one hundred ten grams or 3.88 ounces The lightest record weighed one hundred grams and the heaviest weighed two hundred twenty grams.
This additional weight has to do with the record’s grooves, the thickness of the vinyl itself, and how the record was made. The older the records are the bigger the variation in the weight will be per record.
It should be noted that these weights are for 12-inch records. So if you have an older 10-inch record it will weight less (as shown in the table above).
Novelty Records Weight
When record players became something every family could afford there were a lot of gimmicks used to try and entice people to buy a certain brand player. Records were made out of many things, and not all of them were vinyl. Some were chocolate and at least one was a postage stamp.
There were also gimmick vinyl records. Some were in books for children. The record wasn’t as heavy as some of the others available during that time frame, due to the weight of the book.
However, many of them still exist. Finding an exact weight for them has proved to be quite hard so if you don’t have standard records then the weight listed above could be quite a bit different.
Salesmen also saw vinyl records as a good gimmick. They recorded ads on them to give away for free. Like those found in books, they were fairly lightweight.
Mass producing and giving away heavier vinyl would not be cost-effective so these novelty records can even be under 3 ounces per record in total weight.
Why Does Record Weight Matter?
There is a good reason for all of the fuss over how much a vinyl record weighs. Aside from industry standards, many audiophiles believe that the weight of the record has a significant say in superior sound quality.
If it’s too light or too heavy it changes the sound quality dramatically due to changing the vibration of the record. So if your record is heavier it might have better sound quality than a lighter record.
However, just because a record is 180 grams doesn’t mean that it is an audiophile-grade record. Many companies know that 180 grams is the gold standard so they produce lower-quality records with that weight.
Most modern vinyl records weigh in at precisely one hundred eighty grams. That is now the industry standard. Stars make sure that it states the record weight on the front label to entice fans to purchase them.
There is another aspect to weight. Shipping costs are based in part on how much something weighs. This is true whether or not it’s a stamp for a letter or a vinyl record.
Ordering a record online, which is a popular means of acquiring them, requires paying attention to that detail. This is true whether it’s a modern vinyl album or a vintage one.
When making purchases of vinyl records you will need to know how much it will cost you to ship them. You will also need to take into account the weight of the mailers, cardboard sleeves, stickers, bubble wrap, and anything else that is used to pack the record.
Many sellers will handle this aspect for you so you don’t have to worry about it but if you are buying directly from another collector knowing the exact weight of the record will be helpful for you both.
Another reason for wanting to know how much records weigh is also a part of figuring out how to move them properly. Whether it’s from one side of the room to another or it’s from your current address to a new one, how many can a single person lift is greatly affected by the total weight.
This question may not occur to those who are just now discovering the wonders of vinyl recordings. However, when the number of them exceeds two or three hundred records that you need to move it will be a question that you are likely to have.
Animal food bags such as for dog food will normally only weigh 30-40 pounds so 100 vinyl records will be around that weight. With the extra bulkiness that those records offer it could be quite difficult to handle more than 100 records at a time.
Why Are Record Companies And Audiophiles Harping About 180 Gram Records?
The answer depends on who you ask. According to one website, the weight of the record doesn’t have anything to do with the sound quality. However, these records may, in fact, sound better than ones with non-standard weight.
If it’s not because of the weight, then what is causing the difference?
Attention to detail
A lot of these records do have better sound, higher highs, and lower lows. It’s not necessarily because the record weighs one hundred eighty grams, it’s probably because when they made the master they made sure it would be perfect.
This is also where vinyl records differ from digitally recorded music; vinyl is analog and the soundwaves follow a curve. Digital is a lot of fast “snapshots” of the music. It misses small amounts of the sound as it takes the next snapshot. On a graph, the one-hundred-eighty-gram record will show curves and the digital recording will show steps.
As mentioned in the beginning, how much a vinyl record will weigh is dependent on many different things. These are the era they were produced, the size of the record, and the quality of the product.
Does it matter for sound purposes? Probably not, however, it is a lot harder to break a heavier record than a lighter one.