A lot of record players have lids called dust covers attached to them. But not all.
If yours doesn’t, or you’re looking to buy a record player, you’re probably wondering: “is dust really that bad for record players?”
Record player dust covers help prevent expensive problems caused by dust build up. They are cheap, easy to use and, as long as you don’t close the cover while playing a record, their main drawback is the space they take up.
It’s also essential you know how to clean a dust cover properly to avoid making a common, and costly, mistake.
Here, we explore every pro and con of record player dust covers, so you can decide if you should buy a record player with one or not.
Can Dust Damage Your Record Player?
The first thing you NEED TO KNOW, is that there are 2 dangers of dust build up;
- The risk of damage to electrical parts
- Record skipping and scratching caused by dust interfering with the needle.
Damage To Electrical Parts
Dust can clog small parts of your record player. Over time, dust can interfere with your record player’s electrical parts, especially if you have an older record player with frayed wires.
When this happens, you could experience technical issues such as LED lights not working properly.
You may also smell burning when playing your records because the heat generated from the electricals burn the dust within.
A burning smell should be taken very seriously. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out our blog on what to do when you can smell burning from your record player. You’ll learn how to diagnose the exact cause and how to fix it which could prevent a costly, or hazardous situation.
Record jumping or ‘skipping’ is usually caused by dust attached to the needle. Dust gets between the needle and the vinyl grooves meaning the audio signal isn’t properly transferred.
It could also cause your needle arm to move up and down as the dust interferes with smooth movement around your vinyl.
The result of both, is a record that skips sections or sounds glitchy.
This is easily fixed by inspecting and cleaning the needle of dust by hand.
Occasionally, excessive dust build up can cause skipping if it’s on your vinyl, cartridge, speakers or inside your cables.
Excessive dust build can interfere with the smooth transfer of power, and audio signal, from your vinyl to the speaker.
It is very important to properly clean your record player, and it’s dust cover, to limit this as it can damage your record player, vinyl and speakers, over time.
Make sure to check out our blog on record player skipping if you experience this and don’t believe dust to be the cause!
Pros and Cons Of Record Player Dust Covers
Dust covers should not affect the sound quality of your records, unless the lid is closed whilst playing.
Some people believe a closed dust cover makes vinyl’s sound muffled. We haven’t experienced this ourselves but is worth testing in-store first.
Closing the dust cover when playing your vinyl can cause unwanted vibrations which could move the needle arm and potentially scratch your records. This is most likely to happen with older record players, or dust covers that are attached with loose screws.
Cleaning A Record Player and Dust Cover
With a dust cover, you will need to clean it properly but you won’t have to clean your record player as much.
This is important because most dust covers actually attract dust to them. Plastic and acrylic dust covers have a negative charge that attracts the positive charge of dust particles.
Cleaning dust covers is easier than cleaning record players but it has one big risk. Make sure to read our 5 step in 5 minute guide on how you should, and shouldn’t, clean your dust cover.
Storing A Record Player
One major drawback of dust covers is the space they take up.
Record players with dust covers need a lot more space available on top. This can make it difficult if you have limited storage space.
You will also need a location that is wider, as the lid will take up extra room on the back.
I forgot about this when I bought my first record player and had to buy a bigger shelf!
How A Record Player Looks
While it is down to personal taste, most people prefer the look of record players without dust covers.
Dust covers can look cheap and clunky, especially if they don’t match the colour and materials of the record player.
It is also harder to see your record player with a cover on top, especially if it gets dusty.
How Much A Record Player Costs
There isn’t a great deal of price difference between record players with dust covers, and record players without dust covers.
Some of the cheapest record players don’t have them due to the extra manufacturing cost.
Some of the most expensive record players don’t have them because their customers know how to clean them properly.
Check out our full list of reasons that impact the price of a record player here. It could save you a lot of money and help you get the best value for money!
It’s easy to buy a dust cover for a record player that doesn’t have one. Crosley and Sony both sell dust covers which fit most record players.
Are Record Player Dust Covers Bad For The Environment?
Most dust covers are made from plastic or acrylic which are not environmentally friendly.
If the environment is important to you, you could buy a cover made from sustainable glass instead. They tend to be more expensive but will have the same benefits and can look cleaner and shinier too.
For most people, buying a record player with a dust cover is the best choice.
It is easier to clean and maintain and will help extend the life of your record player. You will need to make sure you clean your dust cover lid properly to avoid making this one big mistake that not many know about though.
You should make sure you have enough space, because you should always play records with the cover up.
If you already know how to properly clean your record player, you shouldn’t have issues. In fact you will probably enjoy how it looks even more!