There are quite a few things you can do to make sure your vinyl records sound their best. You can upgrade your turntable, speakers and other various components in your hi-fi system — but that's an expensive proposition. Or, alternately, you can take better care of what you already have.
That means making sure that your turntable and system are working properly and accurately, as well as making sure your records are clean and free of dust and grime.
From vinyl cleaning kits to anti-static sleeves, record stabilizers to tracking force gauges, we've rounded up the best vinyl accessories to help you upgrade the system you have. As of this story's publication, all cost less than $50, too.
Hudson Hi-Fi Stylus Alignment Protractor Tool Hudson Hi-Fi Read More
Ortofon Carbon Fiber Stylus Brush Ortofon Read More
Vinyl Buddy Quick Clean Record Roller Vinyl Buddy Read More
Pro-Ject Brush It Read More
Mobile Fidelity Anti-Static Inner Record Sleeves (50-Pack) Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Read More
The Best Vinyl Accessories Under $50
Hudson Hi-Fi Stylus Alignment Protractor Tool
A cartridge alignment protractor is an affordable tool for making sure that your turntable's stylus is correctly aligned with a record's grooves. You should use one every time you charge cartridges, or if you're noticing that your turntable is sounding a bit off. You can go online and print a cartridge alignment protractor for free, but this one by Hudson Hi-Fi is a higher-quality and more permanent option.
Ortofon Carbon Fiber Stylus Brush
This is a carbon fiber bush for delicately cleaning your turntable's stylus. It removes the dirt, dust and static electricity that gets picked up when playing a record — all of which are bad for the sound quality of the record (and can actually damage and reduce the lifespan of your turntable's stylus).
Vinyl Buddy Quick Clean Record Roller
This little roller is a quick way of removing dust and other debris from a record's grooves so as to help ensure that it sounds its best. It's an easier and less time-consuming method than breaking out a liquid cleaning kit. After a quick roll (it shouldn't take more than a minute), just make sure to rinse the roller under some water to cleanse it.
Pro-Ject Brush It
This brush is specially designed for picking up the fine dust and debris that rest in your records' grooves. Its carbon fiber bristles also remove static electricity, which also attracts said dust and debris. A good carbon fiber brush is one of the probably the most popular tools for cleaning vinyl.
Mobile Fidelity Anti-Static Inner Record Sleeves
You should always use the inner sleeve and not just slip your record directly in its album cover. The inner sleeve does a far superior job of preserving your record. These special sleeves are made of an anti-static material to further prevent dust from building up.
Hudson Hi-Fi Acrylic Platter Mat
Your turntable most definitely already has a platter mat, whose job is to hold the record and absorb unwanted vibrations. That said, a platter mat is one of the most customizable and upgradable components for any turntable. They come in all sorts of different materials and styles. This acrylic one by Hudson Hi-Fi is one of our favorites — and it's available in several different colors.
For more platter mat options for your turntable, read our guide.
Hudson Hi-Fi SpaceBen Record Stabilizer
The job of a record stabilizer (also known as a turntable weight or clamp) is to weigh your record down as flat as possible so the stylus more accurately reads it. Generally, the heavier the better (but also the more expensive). The SpaceBen is one of Hudson Hi-Fi's more affordable options. It has a nice chrome finish and its leather bottom is there to prevent damaging the record.
For more record stabilizer options for your turntable, read our guide.
Onzow Zerodust Stylus Cleaner
The Onzow Zerodust is another tool for cleaning your turntable's stylus. Inside the small plastic box is really soft gelatinous plastic. You simply lower the stylus down onto the center, and the soft plastic will remove whatever dust or debris was on it. It's a simple and effective little accessory.
Modern Vinyl Record Holder
This record holder by Modern Vinyl does two jobs. First and most importantly, it stores your vinyl collection in an upright position, which is needed to prevent them from warping. And secondly, it shows them off so that your vinyl collection becomes a piece of art. This one record holder can store about 80 records.
GrooveWasher Vinyl Record Cleaning Kit
This is a simple kit for wet cleaning your records. You spray the liquid solution onto the record, wait a few minutes and then use the brush the soak up that solution (along with any dust or debris that was hiding in the record's grooves). It's a more time consuming, but more effective way of cleaning your records than just using a carbon fiber brush.
Pro-Ject Measure It E
The Measure It E is an easy-to-use tracking force gauge that should be part of your kit. You should periodically use a tracking force gauge to make sure that your turntable's stylus puts just the right amount of pressure on the record. Too much pressure could damage the stylus and the record. Too little pressure and it won't be able to get all the detail out of the record.