Vinyl records come in different sizes and can be quite heavy when you need to transport a bunch of records. So how much does a vinyl record actually weigh? Knowing this can help you figure out how to store your records, ship your records, and it also affects the sound and durability of a record.
Vinyl records can weigh from 40 grams to 150 grams. In general a 7-inch 45 rpm record will weigh around 40 grams, a 10-inch 78 rpm record will weigh up to 110 grams and a 12-inch 33 rpm record will weigh anywhere in between 80 and 180 grams. But remember that the weight can vary per record.
If you want to transport your record collection and turntable we also recommend our answer to question ‘how much does a turntable weigh?’. Or if you want to know more about what is needed to play a certain record size with a certain weight read our article on whether a turntable can play all record sizes.
In this article, we take a look at the common weights of vinyl records and what the effect is on the sound, durability, and overall quality of the record. Read on to find out more.
7-Inch Records: Weight, Specifics and History
As the name implies, these records are 7-inches in diameter and are designed to run at the average speed of 45 rpm. These records are smaller, lighter, and easier to store. Typically a 7-inch record will weigh around 40 grams. While this can make storing and shipping more convenient, you have to sacrifice a bit with the contents of the record as they can only store around 5-6 minutes per side. That’s why they aren’t used for full-length albums.
These records were released in 1949 by RCA Victor. They served as a more durable, and higher-fidelity alternative to the 78 rpm shellac discs being used at the time. Since they don’t hold as much data as their larger 12-inch relatives, 7-inch records typically contain a single. They served as a great way for artists to release their music without releasing an album that costs more money and effort to produce while still giving listeners a more affordable and convenient way to listen to their music. As these records are quiet light it can impact sound and potential resonance (we will talk more about that later). If you want to know more about the different materials that are used read our article on what records are made of.
12-Inch Records: Weight, Specifics and History
These records, as you can assume are named for their diameter, which is 12-inches. These larger records will typically weigh anywhere from 80-180 grams. However, there are other vinyl records of the same size that weigh even more. 180-gram records are slowly rising in popularity as they claim to have superior sound quality and durability.
12-inch vinyl records are often called LP’s, which stands for “long play”. This is because these larger records can store more songs than smaller records, which is why they will often contain an album or a larger collection of songs as compared to the 7-inch single. However, there are still a lot of 12-inch singles out there which simply contain a single, which allows for louder levels and greater dynamic range, typically used by DJs for disco and dance music.
One of the first iterations of the long play record was introduced by RCA Victor in 1931 and ever since then, they have remained a staple in the audiophile community and have even seen a recent spike in popularity despite the advent of digital technology.
What Difference Does Weight Make?
There is a long-standing debate as to whether heavier records produce better sound quality. By this they often refer to sound features such as noise or resonance reduction, deeper bass, or more detailed grooves. The answer is actually that in many cases these ‘heavier’ records, such as the rise of the 180 grams records, will deliver better overall performance, but it is important to stress that this is not because of the weight.
Vinyl manufacturers often choose to go with higher audiophile standards for specific records and in addition to this, they will go with heavier records such as the 180 grams 12-inch standard to add to the premium audiophile feel. The fact is it is not the weight itself, but rather the mastering, materials, and advanced manufacturing techniques that make the difference in the sound quality.
The real reason heavier records are desirable is more because of the durability that comes with it. Since records that weigh upwards of 150 grams such as the new 180-gram and 200-gram “fatties” coming out nowadays are much more resistant to breakage as compared to lighter records. Another advantage of having a heavier record is that it is much more resistant to warping. That means your records won’t need as much attention (however always make sure to maintain your record collection properly). All in all, heavier records tend to give more durability. That means a standard 150-gram LP will be tougher than a 40-gram 7-inch single while 180-gram and 200-gram records will typically be the most durable.