Collecting vinyl has never been more appealing thanks to the resurrection of the format in recent years, but getting your hands on cheap vinyl records can sometimes be a struggle – that’s why we’ve collected some of the top bargains available right now to make things a little bit easier.
And while vinyl records were largely shunned following the launch of the CD, artists and record companies have embraced the format once again – either by reissuing old favourites with added bells and whistles, or bringing out their latest releases on eye-catching and limited-edition coloured vinyl, with a host of bonus tracks, demos, live cuts and more.
Sure, streaming is convenient but nothing beats buying a slice of vinyl for a brilliant musical experience. Drop the needle, take in the artwork in all its glory and settle back and take it all in. Magical!
But, as any vinyl fan knows, the prices have been increasing along with the format’s resurrection, but we’ve come up with a list of some of the very best vinyl record deals in rock, metal, prog, alternative and more currently on the market.
And that’s not all. Here, you’ll also find information about what to look for when purchasing vinyl, whether buying new is better than grabbing a dusty old second hand copy and investing in vinyl. And below, you’ll also discover our pick of the best classic albums to own on vinyl.
Classic album vinyl deals
Today’s top cheap vinyl record deals
Latest UK rock vinyl deals
Latest UK metal vinyl deals
Latest UK prog vinyl deals
Latest UK alternative vinyl deals
Latest US rock vinyl deals
Latest US metal vinyl deals
Latest US prog vinyl deals
Latest US alternative vinyl deals
Cheap vinyl records: More deals
The latest vinyl deals and more (UK)
The latest vinyl deals and more (US)
Cheap vinyl records: Buying advice
What to look for when buying cheap vinyl records online
The advantages of buying records online are many. It’s convenient. You can be laser-focused. No worries about the weather. Online exclusives. No one need ever know you collect both Slayer and Westlife records…
Disadvantages include additional postage costs, risk of damage from poor packaging or rogue couriers apparently training for national frisbee tournaments.
There are also intangible things you may miss from not visiting your local record shop – new music tips, the chance to dig through bargain bins or crates marked “New Arrivals” before anyone else. It’s tougher to smuggle records in the house without your partner noticing when buying online, especially when the postman asks you to sign for huge record-shaped parcels every day.
However, despite such challenges the convenience of buying online is indisputable, so here are some tips to make your online experience more successful.
Where should I buy vinyl records online?
Deciding the best places to buy records depends on whether you are buying new or second-hand vinyl. When buying new, the main players in the market are as follows:
Artist’s Own Store: What better way of supporting your favourite artists than buying (often exclusive) releases directly from their website, especially if they are an up and coming band?
Online Vinyl Specialists: Generally outlets run by large record companies. These vendors often have access to exclusive signed or limited editions.
Generalist Internet Retailers: Well-known names such as Amazon (opens in new tab) who are efficient and offer back up should things go wrong.
Independent Record Stores: You may prefer to support independent record shops who also sell vinyl online. There are many excellent independent stores, including Rough Trade, Brighton’s Resident Records, Manchester’s Piccadilly Records, Glasgow’s Monorail Music, Southend’s South Records and Totnes’ Drift Records. While not “independent” in the same way, let’s not forget the HMV chain either. Buying records from these outlets supports the high street.
If you prefer to buy second-hand, the biggest online marketplace for vinyl is Discogs, a specialist online marketplace for record dealers and individuals which lists every version of every record you can imagine.
Cheap vinyl records: Investing in vinyl
Is vinyl a good investment? It really depends. If you had bought a first pressing of Led Zeppelin’s debut album in 1969 with turquoise sleeve lettering and Superhype Music/Jewel Music Publishing credits labels, congratulations: that record is now worth over £1000.
More recently, Royal Blood released 800 copies of their 2014 debut album on white vinyl. These copies are now fetching £75 online, while the regular version averages just £16.
However, first pressings of Van Halen’s debut album generally fetch just £5. One of the greatest debut records of all time, and it’s a fiver! So it’s less about the music than relative scarcity. There weren’t many turquoise copies of Led Zeppelin’s debut LP printed, but Van Halen albums aren’t rare. Use this knowledge when considering whether to buy new or used. Sometimes an original copy is cheaper than a reissue.
Cheap vinyl records: New or second-hand?
One of the best things about used vinyl is that it can be cheaper. You can buy used records by many big 70s and 80s rock bands relatively cheaply because their records sold in large quantities. Part of the fun is knowing that old gatefold-sleeved Hawkwind album has probably been to more parties than you have.
Used vinyl can also have special qualities. For example, the original UK version of AC/DC’s Powerage had a different tracklist to the European release. To compare the different versions, Discogs and eBay are your best bet.
Also, those 70s albums will be pure slabs of analogue. No digital re-mastering, no 16-bit-processing – it didn’t exist back then, so this is straight from the master tape on to vinyl.
However, buying used vinyl can be a minefield. Not being able to see the condition of what you are buying is the biggest disadvantage to buying used vinyl online. Take time to familiarise yourself with how vendors grade albums, using abbreviations such as NM for Near Mint, VG+ (or Ex), VG and G. VG is generally worth half the value of something Mint.
Buying used vinyl shouldn’t mean your collection is full of snap, crackles and pops. Unless you like your LPs sounding like a bowl of Rice Krispies, avoid sub-standard vinyl. “Good” in record collecting parlance is defined as having been “played so much that the sound quality has noticeably deteriorated”. So that’s “bad”, then.
Where new vinyl can have the edge is when older records become scarce and expensive. Why spend hundreds on an early copy of Led Zeppelin II when Jimmy Page went to so much trouble in 2014 to remaster it so beautifully?
Cheap vinyl records: Shipping
Is vinyl safe to ship in the post?
This is a key question. Expect vendors to use specialist record mailers that protect fragile items from damage. Search social media or look at consumer review sites such as Trustpilot if you haven’t used a vendor previously. On Discogs or eBay look at sellers’ previous feedback. Do your diligence!
Cheap vinyl records: Vinyl quality
Vinyl record thickness explained
The sound of a record is affected far more by the mastering process (and dust) than the thickness of the vinyl it is pressed on. A badly mastered record won’t sound any better if pressed on “luxury” 180g vinyl than if it were on a regular, thinner pressing, so our advice is not to get too focused about record thickness.
Cheap vinyl records: The cost of vinyl
In 1987, Def Leppard’s Hysteria cost £6.99, which adjusted for inflation is £21 today. This compares well to the average price of vinyl now – around £20 at the time of writing.
Expect to pay more for double LPs, and sometimes £1 – £2 more for limited editions. Sometimes the extra might be worthwhile, just to have something collectible and fun (not to mention potentially more valuable).
Coloured vinyl nowadays sounds little different to regular black vinyl. From a sound quality perspective, you may wish to avoid picture discs, which are made differently and tend to have inferior sound, even if they do look very pretty.
For super-fans, the box set is a luxury product showcasing a particular artist or sometimes a particular album. Such items can sell for £75 plus – up to £250 and beyond! They certainly provide an immersive experience for the fans, but how much different music could you listen to for the same outlay?
If you’re interested in vinyl, then we have more content for you right here on Louder. We have guides to the new vinyl releases, the best vinyl record storage, the best record players around, the best budget turntables, the best portable record players and the best headphones for vinyl.
Want more? Then we also take a look at direct-drive vs belt-drive turntables to find out the difference and have a list of the best vinyl record cleaners so you can keep your collection in tip-top shape.