Buying and listening to vinyl records has become a hobby for our family. My dad has always been a big music lover. We listened to all sorts of records growing up. I also enjoy listening to music with my own kids. We recently got a new record player for our family room, as well as a smaller one for our teenagers. We’ve had a vintage console style record player before, but the problem is that needles and other parts eventually need to get replaced. Parts can be hard to find and expensive compared to those for newer models. For what we wanted to use ours for, it made more sense to buy a new model.
The record player we ended up going with is the Boytone 8-in-1. We are pleased with the sound quality of the speakers, and you are also able to connect other speakers if you choose. We mostly use it for the record player and the radio, but you are also able to play cassette tapes, MP3, CDs, USB, and SD cards. We have connected to it using our phone bluetooths, and had no problems with that.
The kids use a record player that we picked up at TJ Maxx/Homegoods around the holidays. Theirs is a portable style that looks like a small briefcase. They like it because they can put it in a closet or under their bed when it’s not being used.
When we are looking for records our criteria is do we like the music and is the record playable/not scratched?
Over the years we’ve picked up vinyl records in all sorts of places. They are really easy to find if you know where to look. Here is a list of our favorite places to find vinyl records:
There’s no telling what kinds of records you will find at Goodwill. They are not organized into any category, or not at any of the Goodwills we shop at, anyway. But they are usually some of the cheapest vinyl records for sale. We like looking here because you can usually look at them really well to inspect for scratches. At the Goodwills we shop at, vinyl records are found near the books and sometimes near the checkouts. When you shop for records at Goodwill you are looking for a needle in a cheap, unorganized haystack.
Some of our favorite Christmas records came from estate sales. Estate sales can be risky, though, because you aren’t always able to open them and look at them for scratches. We’ve come across them taped up – take it or leave it types of situations. There’s usually a sense of urgency at estate sales, too. People are all trying to buy the same “good” things.
Initially you might think this is the most expensive place to buy records, and sometimes it is. But there is one antique store near us that has around 100 vendors. More vendors means more competition for sales, which means lower prices. For us, the best selection and the lowest prices comes from a local antique store.
Vinyl Record Expo/Fair
A town near us has an annual vinyl sale. Multiple vendors/dealers come and sell their records. Although we did end up buying several albums, this was one of the more expensive places to buy them. I also noticed that the vendors all brought genres which they though would be most popular at the sale. We happened to be looking for classic county (Cash, Carter, Cline, Parton), and they did not have those artists with them. It was also a little uncomfortable when we were looking at the records for scratches. A lot of them were double wrapped in plastic sleeves, almost like they didn’t want to you to inspect them.
Oh, I love a good record shop. Everything is beautifully organized and easy to find. The employees are usually very helpful in finding what you’re looking for or answering questions. Record shops are not the cheapest place to buy vinyl records, but they are the best place to go if you are looking for something specific.
Etsy or Ebay
If you know of a specific title you’re looking for, chances are you can find it on Etsy or Ebay. Make sure you read the description carefully. I am a little more comfortable buying records on Ebay than Etsy because Ebay has specific ratings for the condition of the records. If you are buying a used record online, ask the seller if they have personally listened to it play at regular speed all the way through. Some of them will speed it up and listen to it, just to make sure it doesn’t noticeably skip or jump. But that doesn’t catch all of the skips or jumps. When buying a record online you want to make sure it is in excellent condition. Also, consider that most of these sellers will charge a shipping fee on top of the price of the record.
Obviously if you’re shopping at Target for records they are new records. Some of the titles are “vintage”, but they are never played, new records. You can buy them online or in-store at Target. There are always titles we like there. There are even new release albums. Since they’re new, you are paying new album prices, which is more than a CD.
There is not a huge selection to choose from, but Urban Outfitters does sell some vinyl records. We bought some on sale, otherwise we would’ve probably passed on them.