Cleaning your vinyl does not have to be difficult. All you need is the right product. Here are your three best options.
Allsop Orbitrac 3 $59.99
What makes the Allsop Orbitrac 3 so wonderful is its low cost, ease of use, and effectiveness. It is also pretty much foolproof in operation. Just lay down the folding rubber mat (the six black discs you see under the red record above,) spray the fluid, put the Orbitrac 3 in the spindle hole and rotate it around the record. Within seconds you have a clean record that is ready to play.
The Orbitrac 3 is not quite as effective as the Spin-Clean Record Washer or the vacuum cleaning machines listed below, but it is the minimum tool you should have for cleaning your records. Some audiophiles use an Orbitrac 3 with their Spin-Clean Record Washer or vacuum cleaning machines to make sure the record is clean, dry and grit-free.
Spin-Clean Record Washer $75
The Spin-Clean Record Washer is definitely the king when it comes to effectiveness for the dollar. It can get your records every bit as clean as the expensive record cleaners listed below at a fraction of the price. Some Spin-Clean proponents say it can even get them cleaner, and use a vacuum machine as the second step of a cleaning process.
- Clean with Spin-Clean
- Dry with vacuum record washer
The genius of the Spin-Clean lies in its simple design, which uses gravity to do its dirty work (pun unintended.) You fill it with cleaning fluid, insert a record and spin it on its edge. The bottom part of the record is submerged in the fluid, and as you spin it brushes scrub off the the dirt and grime. The dirt is suspended in the fluid and it settles at the bottom of the trough, leaving a clean record. Once it is clean you remove the record and dry it.
Herein lies the only drawback to the Spin-Clean: since it submerges the records they will come out quite wet and need a thorough drying, which can take time and effort on your part. You may choose to do a quick dry with a cloth and let the air dry the rest of the way before you play them. The squeaky-clean records produced by the Spin-Clean Record Washer are worth it, though.
Vacuum record cleaning machines $199 and up
A vacuum record machine is the ultimate record cleaning tool. After scrubbing the record with cleaning fluid, the machine uses suction to remove all the fluid from the grooves. You get the best possible clean from a wet scrub, and your record is ready to play within minutes of cleaning. Two of the best-known brands from the past are Nitty Gritty and VPI, and in recent times more manufacturers have jumped into the fray. For example, Pro-ject makes a nice cleaner, and it is priced competitively at $499. The Keith Monks Record Cleaning Machine is considered the ultimate, but they sell for thousands of dollars. You certainly don’t have to have a vacuum record machine (in the grand scheme of things, few people do)but if you love vinyl and play lots of records, it should be your goal to eventually own one.
Record Doctor V $199
The Record Doctor V is the most affordable machine available at $199. It is made by Nitty Gritty.
Pro-ject Vinyl Cleaner VCS $499
The Pro-ject Vinyl Cleaner VCS is a great machine from Pro-ject, one of the key corporations responsible for the vinyl revival.
Music Hall WCS-2 $649
I will be updating this page as I find new products, so be sure to stop back!