How to Select the Best Sleeves for Your Old (and New) Records

a pile of vinyl records and sleeves

Find the Best Vinyl Record Protector Sleeves

Choosing the best protection for your records is crucial if you want to keep them safe from dust, scratches, and scuffs. You need more than just the album cover your record came in to keep it playing crystal clear sounds! Learn more about inner and outer vinyl record protector sleeves before you make a decision about what’s best for your collection.

Inner Vinyl Record Protector

paper sleeve and vinyl record

There are several kinds of inner vinyl record protector sleeves including paper, poly, and archival quality options. Each one offers a balance between protection quality, cost, and ease of use.

About Paper Sleeves

As one of the most affordable options, there are many paper record sleeves available on the market. To ensure proper preservation for your records, look for paper sleeves that are acid and alkaline free. You also want heavyweight paper that will last longer than the average flimsy paper stock. At Big Fudge, our paper sleeves have rounded corners making them really easy to slip inside the album cover with no friction or tearing.

About Poly Sleeves & Materials

Because they’re ultra durable and hold their shape once you’ve slid a record in, polypropylene vinyl record protector sleeves are a great choice for comprehensive conservation. With a poly sleeve there is no cutout necessary because you can see the record label through the translucent material. A sleeve without a cutout minimizes access for dust and dirt to sneak their way onto your record. If you do opt for polypropylene sleeves, ensure they are archival-grade and crystal clear. Check that the material is not poyethylene, which is cloudier and more translucent than transparent. Likewise, mylar, while clear, is brittle, and not ideal for your collection of records.

Archival Quality Matters

For the true audiophile, archival-quality inner sleeves are crucial for the best protection for long term storage. Most of the archival quality sleeves are made of an ultra thin smooth layer that is sandwiched between a couple of high-density, anti-static poly sheets. The smoothness of the sleeve makes it easy to slide in and out of the album cover with no catching or snagging.

Outer Vinyl Record Protector

jimi hendrix record album in an outer record sleeve

Outer vinyl record protector sleeves are made to encompass the entirety of the record and the album cover. These protect the beautiful artwork on the cover from scuffs and scratches that may accumulate during use.

Three mil Protection

The three mil (.0076 cm) thick plastic poly outer sleeves offer the best outer protection for your album covers. They’re clear so you can always see the cover art, hold their shape, and come in 12 inch and 7 inch sizes to fit any of your records. While these vinyl record protector sleeves start out clear, they will get dirty as they age and need to be replaced eventually.

Whether you’re an experienced record collector or just getting started, Big Fudge has all the tools and advice you need to maintain a premium collection! Browse our store today!