Best Places to Buy Vinyl Records Online

The best online sites for buying vinyl records

A woman holding a stack of vinyl records while standing inside a music store
Some online sites also have local retail stores for an in-person shopping experience. Ross Anania / Getty Images

There are two main reasons that people buy, collect, and/or listen to vinyl records. The first relates to the sound. Analog records deliver music that comes across as better, warmer, and more "real" than that of digital or CD audio formats. The second reason relates to the aesthetics. Vinyl has this inherent physical beauty and substance that surpasses that of digital downloads (zero material presence) or CDs, which more closely resemble everyday office supplies than not.

Plus, there is a sentimentality and tactile quality that comes about from playing vinyl record albums – the ritual of pulling a record out of its sleeve, carefully placing it on the turntable, and focusing full attention on the act of listening to music one side at a time. Even if you still mostly listen to music on your smartphone or computer, vinyl gives you the option of elevating the experience with your favorite albums. You also get to have an object that you can proudly display in your home.

Vinyl records have soul, so we'll focus on online retailers that also have soul – inventory, reputation, expertise, and (most importantly) the love of analog records. Here's where you should start:

SoundStageDirect

Great for: Rock

With a company motto of, "Vinyl. Our way of life since 2004" it's hard to go wrong with SoundStageDirect. While the inventory mostly consists of new and vintage rock, you can find albums of other genres, such as country, classical, funk, holiday, jazz, and even hip-hop.

If you have a question, knowledgeable reps are a chat away. SoundStageDirect ships worldwide and offers free shipping on domestic orders over $49.99.

You should know about the discount LP outlet. Some of these records are denoted with a "Bend" in parenthesis, which indicates some physical damage to the covers (e.g. bent corner or seam split) that's purely aesthetic.

These records are sealed and in great condition (unless otherwise noted) and are often marked down from their original price. And, of course, deals like these are in limited quantities, so check back frequently.

SoundStageDirect is more than just vinyl, They also offer vinyl record equipment – turntables from Clearaudio, Marantz, Music Hall, Pro-Ject, Rega, Thorens, VPI, and more. You can also buy amplifiers, cartridges, speakers, cables, headphones, and record cleaning supplies. They also have an equipment trade-in program and a 365-day upgrade plan. The latter lets users upgrade equipment purchased from SoundStageDirect; meet all the specific terms to receive full original purchase price towards an upgrade of your choice.

DustyGroove

Great for: Soul, Jazz, Funk, Rock

DustyGroove has a fantastic and deep selection of soul, jazz, funk, and rock records. But browse through the inventory a bit and you'll find how well the site branches out with hip-hop, vocalists, soundtracks, reggae, gospel, and more. Prices are very competitive at DustyGroove, and there is also a discount bin or savvy shoppers. If you ever happen to be in Chicago, you can walk in DustyGroove's brick and mortar store located on North Ashland Avenue.

Everything DustyGroove sells online is also available at the retail store for the same prices. Inventory is updated daily. Hundreds of new titles are added frequently, so browsing is always a rewarding experience. Orders are shipped within 24 hours of payment. Sign up for their weekly or monthly newsletter to stay abreast of new additions and music news. You can also sell your collection of LPs and 45s to DustyGroove, but only at the store.

EIL

Great for: Jazz, Classical, Everything

Eil is worth checking out, considering that they have a little something of everything. The site feels a little dated in terms of looks, but it features practically every genre of music you can possible think of and plenty of artists all over.

Shop for rare, import, and/or the latest vinyl records along with memorabilia, posters, books, art, CDs, autographed items, and more.

One can easily spend hours upon hours browsing through what Eli has to offer, be it new, rare, collectible, used, and (especially) hard to find music. Your best bet is to enter a particular artist or album and see what there is. There's also stock of vinyl singles (in 12", 10", and 7" formats), limited editions, promo albums, promotional items, imports, and music memorabilia from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s along with full discographies. The prices are good, and you can even sell your collection for cash or trade in.

Watson Records

Great for: Classical

Watson Records is an excellent and informed source for classical music on vinyl. The inventory may not be the biggest, but the condition of records are only the best. Plus, it's worth checking back if you're looking for rare and valuable albums. Watson Records also buys records and equipment that meets the discerning standards.

Shopping aside, the story behind Watson Records is fascinating and inspiring. Founded in 1985, Watson Records has grown to become the largest supplier of fine classical vinyl records in the UK today. The company continues to prosper both locally and abroad as a privately owned family firm. 

Jim began collecting 78rpm records in 1973 and, by the late ’70s, began trading records. By this time he had also started collecting LPs of various orchestral and chamber music.

 In 1985, Jim published his first sales catalog and sent it to collectors worldwide. The idea was a success and, in 1992, he decided to run Watson Records as a full-time business. Today, Watson Records trades exclusively online, and the company continues to seek and sell vinyl records to collectors throughout the world.  

Vinyl Me, Please

Good for: Discovering new music worthy of your ears

Vinyl Me, Please is a record of the month club that believes in the power of the album as an art form. For them, music isn’t just something to listen to; it’s a part of people's lives. Vinyl Me, Please believes that albums are meant to be connected with and enjoyed as a complete work of art. Vinyl, as a medium, creates an environment for this connection through deep, active listening. The music is the focus, rather than just background noise.

Each month Vinyl Me, Please features one album that is worthy of your time and attention – picking records is not a task they take lightly. The company works with the artist and label on a custom pressing, with exclusive features available only to subscribers of Vinyl Me, Please. Each record is packaged with a 12" x 12" album-inspired art print and custom cocktail pairing recipe, all mailed directly to your doorstep (shipping costs are covered by the subscription).

LPNOW

Good for: Rare and out of print

LPNOW is a proven source for rare and out of print vinyl LPs – original artists and original recordings – from the US and UK. Most of what you will find will be "cutouts" that are still factory sealed.

LPNOW also offers imports, which are new but not sealed. You can also find audiophile and current releases, too.

The site has a very basic layout, so the search function will be your best friend. It's the easiest way to find something specific, versus browsing through the hundreds of items available in stock. But don't be fooled if it seems that there isn't much to look at. LPNOW has access to tens of thousands of titles from distributors, record company overstock, and major warehouse buyouts.