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Understanding Vinyl Record Gram Weight Thickness Differences & Benefits

Rick Sunday

Vinyl Record Gram Weight Differences: Does Gram Weight Matter?

Vinyl Gram Weights & Thickness Explained

With vinyl coming back into the mainstream, a common question that arises for collectors is “what is the difference in vinyl gram weights?”

Vinyl Records are considered audiophile as long as they weigh 50 grams or more — typically weighing between 80-200 grams.

This article will take you through the most common vinyl weights and their benefits.

Most Common Vinyl Record Thickness Weights

Typical vinyl record gram weights you’ll see throughout your collection include:

  • 80 gram vinyl
  • 100 gram vinyl
  • 120 gram vinyl
  • 140 gram vinyl
  • 160 gram vinyl
  • 180 gram vinyl
  • 200 gram vinyl

Lighter 7-Inch EPs

7-inch records, often known as 45’s because they require a playback of 45 RPM, were popular during the 1950s – 1970s before being largely discontinued in the 1990s following the release of the cassette tape format. These will typically weigh around 80 grams and are relatively easy to store.

120 Gram & 140 Gram Vinyl Lead the Way

The majority of 12-inch records pressed in the 20th century will weigh between 120 and 140 grams. These are the most common records in circulation today and likely make up the bulk of your collection.

Popularity Shifts to Heavier 180 Gram Vinyl

That said, there has been a movement toward even heavier (180 gram) records in recent years. 180-gram vinyl is significantly thicker and stronger, becoming known as ‘audiophile grade.’ This has become an increasingly popular choice among savvy collectors looking to enhance their listening experience.

Emergence of Thicker 200 Gram Vinyl Records

Heavy duty records have evolved beyond this 180-gram level, with some new releases coming in as heavy as 200 grams. These tend to be more durable than the smaller options but will likely come with a higher price point and take up more space.

Benefits of Heavier Vinyl Record Thickness

Vinyl Record Gram Weight: Does It Matter?

Does Vinyl Gram Weight Thickness Really Matter?

You’ll typically hear that weight matters because of the deeper and more refined grooves you may find on heavier records. This is essentially a myth, as all record needles require the same grooves to function properly, regardless of the grade.

That said, heavier records do offer a few distinct advantages over their lighter counterparts. We’ll analyze each of these now:

Thicker Records Are More Durable and Last Longer

Bigger records like the 180-gram ones typically last much longer than smaller ones. They are more durable and resistant to breakage, often giving their owners much more use. You won’t need to replace bigger records all that often and you’ll spend less on maintaining them.

Heavier Records Have Better Warp Resistance

As they are much bigger and stronger, larger vinyl records will also do a better job of resisting warping. This means that you’ll experience the highest quality sound for a longer period and get the most out of your record. Warped records provide the user with a significantly worse listening experience that is much more common on conventionally sized records.

Thick Vinyl Records Offer a Better Listening Experience

Heavier vinyl provides a much more stable platform for stylus and cantilever suspension. This helps prevent unwanted vibration that can damage the sound quality over time.

While there are a few more benefits to choosing heavier vinyl (180-200 grams), there’s nothing wrong with standard 120-140 gram vinyl. That isn’t to say you can’t enjoy a record as light as 80 grams ⁠— it’s all about personal preference.

Rick Sunday

Rick Sunday

Rick Sunday is a writer and a traveler who’s been writing professionally about music and culture for over a decade. His creative work has appeared in a variety of publications of note, exploring the strange while finding inspiration in the in-between. He loves driving. He loves talking to strangers. And he loves the Grateful Dead. In his spare time, he writes a newsletter called COOL MUSIC, a semi-regular outlet for experimental writing, photography, and playlists.

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