The Best Vinyl Record Shelf on a Budget
Are you looking for something like the pictured IKEA vinyl record shelf for vinyl record storage? Something that’s sturdy, but not a space hog?
Vinyl is going to take up space, no way around that. Getting the records up off the floor as close to eye level will help your back I know that.
One hundred records turned into a thousand, then two thousand, and before I knew it, I was running an eBay business out of my small home office with barely enough room to move around.
Once I found a well-made shelf I could afford, it made all the difference. Besides the space saving benefit of the shelves, I also liked the fact I didn’t have to worry anymore about collapse from the make-shift shelf I built.
I use the older Ikea Expedit stacked one on top of the other, 300 LP’s per unit. They do a nice job for me, and they are dirt cheap compared to some of the higher end options out there.
Photo: My own Ikea Shelf, you can get one yourself here:
Why mess with a good thing?
Ikea is specifically pitching these Kallax as vinyl record storage shelves, and championing them as a replacement for the defunct Expedit.
Ikea says they are more durable, scratch resistant, and have rounded corners to be more kid friendly. I have to say, I do like the color choices available
Also the colors light pink, and light green are available. You can check out many more of the Kallax color options right here.
The Kallax Bookcase Room Divider
This Ikea room divider is the perfect option for larger collections of 1000 records plus. There are a few things you need to know about this particular unit though:
- Never forget to use the enclosed “anti-topple device” to fix this shelf to the wall studs. I have seen many a disaster online, when people for some strange reason decided to not use the wall studs for the 16 slot unit. If by chance the device wasn’t enclosed in your shipment, demand one!
- Don’t forget, that for this large shelf, you will need at least one other person to help you assemble. The smaller 4 slot cubes were a piece of cake to assemble for me.
- You may have to buy separate wall fasteners, as different walls have different needs. Don’t forget if you live in an apartment you will have to put holes in the walls to fasten these, plaster walls might be a disaster.
More than vinyl can be stored
Of course you can shelve anything on these 16 slot shelves besides records you know? Books, kids toys, cloths, shoes, and even can-goods.
Here’s one item I can promise you that you will need, a wall stud finder. This will be invaluable locating the wall studs as well as those pesky power lines you don’t want to drill a hole through.
Also please understand that the older Expedit is different in size, and may well be different in support strength.
I have 4 separate Expedit 4 cubes stacked side by side, and on top of each other to mimic the huge 16 slot room divider. I have had ZERO issues in 6 years, these are not fixed to the wall and are very sturdy, I would not stack more than 2 high though.
Remember: the NEWER Kallax is a little thinner and might not support the stacking as I have done, please be cautious and make sure you do not confuse the 2 different models that look very similar.
Heavy duty locking corner protected case for your high-end vinyl
Another option you might like at a decent price is the Foremost Modular Cube, these are actually pretty darned cheap, with current prices running only $40.00 per double cube unit. With free shipping as well on Amazon.
You could stack the Foremost cubes if you wanted I suppose, but please be mindful that you don’t get carried away.
You really have to think about how much 150 records weigh when begin stacking one on top of the other. I would certainly never stack more than 2 of these.
That’s the thing though, if you have a large collection those Expedit’s can be stacked to make 8 slots that can hold about 75 records per slot. I can personally vouch for the Ikea 4 Cube’s strength. The foremost I am going by second-hand info that they work fine for vinyl, but just be careful stacking.
IKEA Expedit assembly tutorial
Vinyl’s reemergence is not just a passing fad
Judging by my own modest eBay business and other people I talk to in the hobby, the collecting of vinyl records still seems to be going strong in 2015. More and more bands are issuing vinyl only releases, practically every band sets aside some part of their new releases for the LP or even some cases 45’s.
Truthfully I am somewhat surprised that the hobby has not lost some of its steam by now. I am in my early 40’s, I have a natural curiosity to return to my past, you know, the first music format you remember?
But, the big surprise has been the under 30 crowd getting into it, even teenagers I’ve seen rummaging through the thrift store bins. More and more records being sold in second-hand book stores, even some used video game shops have expanded to include used vinyl. I don’t blame them a bit, you have to go where the customers take you.
Recently, I had an interesting back and forth with a younger fellow, he was only 28 years of age and was eating up all the bargain vinyl he could get his hands on. It was his way of discovering new music cheaply. He remarked: “I can’t believe how much music is out there that I could never find on CD”.
He had mentioned how much space the records were taking up, that he had them in milk crates on the floor. I was blown away that he was still doing that, I told him about the shelves I use. I don’t know if he took my advice or not, but for the money I can’t recommend anything better than the Ikea shelves.
The Altra as an alternative to the Expedit shelves?
The Altra looks a lot like the Expedit shelf, and from what I read on the different review pages, it does the job for vinyl.
There does seem to be some issues with shipping the product from some third-party sellers that you might want to consider.
If you are a veteran Amazon or eBay shopper, you already know that each experience is its own separate situation.
Most of the time customers have no issues as all, but from time to time problems can pop up when Amazon isn’t the shipper.
The good news is this: Amazon has the best customer service I have ever run across. Just make sure you report ANY problem to Amazon so they can resolve the issue.
Ways to reduce your media space.
When I was growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s, vinyl ruled. Eventually, vinyl was swapped out for the cassette and CD for convenience reasons. Vinyl just takes up a lot of shelving space, and that fact will never change.
Those Ikea Shelves immediately solved my issues.
At the beginning of the 21st Century those two formats were swapped out for the even more convenient digital download, it seemed as if the long player was doomed to the landfill.
Baby boomers wanted to relive their pasts, those from generation X their upbringings, and now the millennial wants to slow down and savor life a bit more.
Records are more aesthetically pleasing than CD’s or downloads. There’s nothing like the 12 inch album artwork, there’s something about that vintage cardboard too, the feel, and even the smell of it.
There is so much more to vinyl than just the warmer analog sound quality. Records are not convenient to use, it’s a labor of love, and they do take up massive amounts of space.
Any collection of note will need at least one good shelf, and probably multiple shelves if you develop a passion for the hobby.
Is the Expedit Still Around?
I suspect you’ll be able to get the Expedit on the secondary market for years to come though. They do have a nice looking finish and seem sturdy enough.
After 7 plus years, I have had no issues with the IKEA brand.
The 4 cubes can be slid across the floor fairly easily as well, especially if you use those moving men discs that can be placed under the corners.
I would not stack more than 2 high, a total of 8 slots. You could make a whole row of these though stacked 2 high, they really look nice.
This Video Sums Up What You Can Do to Save Media Space
Be careful with this much weight
There are some shelving options out there that are not specifically designed to carry the load of the vinyl record. Be very careful with shelves that are only glued together, and not wood and metal screws. I would not stack those glued shelves.
Hopefully the manufacturer specifically says, “tested or designed for vinyl records”, or at least a certain weight amount.
I have not added anything to this page like that, but you need to understand, if you start stacking these things one on top the other, collapse could happen.
I stack my shelves no more than 2 high, for a total of 8 slots. If you go that 3rd shelf, I would be very worried about that bottom shelf being able to support all that weight.
Imagine a cheaper brand, not designed for the vinyl record, you could be asking for trouble, so please be careful especially if small children are around.
Double Walled Storage Boxes Have Been Very Useful:
If you move, these boxes will allow you to safely move your collection. I Have moved several times, a pain in the rear end for sure. I love these boxes for extra out-of-the-way closet storage, you can store cloths in them as well I might add.
The boxes with the double wall are sturdy and hold up to stacking one on top of the other, I wouldn’t go above stacking 2 though.
Having these boxes to one by one carry from a truck to the destination is tedious, but completely necessary if you want to guarantee their safety.
It also helps when you have teenagers and their friends around to help you move.
Important Vinyl Record Storage Tips:
Don’t forget in a moving situation to label the record boxes some way by artist, genre, or in alphabetical order.
- Never store your records horizontally, never stack for extended periods of time one on top of the other, this can cause warping. You should also be careful about too much lean, “straight up and down” as much as possible is what your shooting for.
- After you clean your vinyl, place inside a plastic cover so dust can not reach the record. If you’re using a high-end record cleaning machine, you probably won’t have to do more than brush with a carbon fiber brush once in a while.
- Beware of possible water issues! Yes water is your enemy, and if your collection is of high value and you are emotionally attached, think about placing your records in spots away from water pipes that could burst.
Yeah, those pesky neighbors living above you could destroy your prized record collection, be careful!
Try to keep your vinyl from touching the wall if you have a shelf with out a back, if your gutters clog, water could leak down a wall, on to the vinyl against the wall. I don’t even want to think about a roof leak you don’t find for a few days.
Apartments can be a real problem depending on who lives above you. Think about living on the top floor if you can, you might still have to worry about weather-related roof leaks.
If the guy above leaves his bath tub running and there is an over flow, well, you are going to be at risk. One time I had some sports cards ruined this way when a pipe burst, I did learn the hard way to store anything unusually susceptible to water damage in plastic of some sort.
*Photos are my own*
*Note: While I am an Amazon.com and eBay.com affiliate and do receive commissions from both, I am never paid or given free stuff for a review. My reviews are written from my own personal experience as a long time eBay buyer and seller, and vinyl record collector and seller.*
All photos used with permission via Amazon.com or are my own.
Related posts at Spacial Anomaly
Table of Contents
- Why mess with a good thing?
- The Kallax Bookcase Room Divider
- More than vinyl can be stored
- Heavy duty locking corner protected case for your high-end vinyl
- IKEA Expedit assembly tutorial
- Vinyl’s reemergence is not just a passing fad
- The Altra as an alternative to the Expedit shelves?
- Ways to reduce your media space.
- Is the Expedit Still Around?
- Double Walled Storage Boxes Have Been Very Useful:
- Important Vinyl Record Storage Tips:
Jason Sositko, a freelance writer and entrepreneur is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I also use services such as Viglink and Skimlinks to earn income via links placed inside articles.