5 Best Record Cleaners – Buying Guide and Reviews

If you want your vinyl records to last longer than the first few times you play them, you’re going to have to get used to the idea of cleaning them.

But here's the thing: most record cleaners aren't that effective. They never actually get all of the dirt. Most of the time you just end up just redistributing the dirt. Even if you’re diligent (which I'm sure you are) you may even damage your record by being too rough or using a cleaning fluid that is genuinely harmful to the vinyl material.

That’s where a record cleaner comes in. They take out all of the hard work and replace it with a painless process that does a better job of getting your records looking and sounding brand new.

At a Glance: Our Choice Of The 5 Best record cleaners On The Market

Note: The links above take you to more information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon. If you do purchase something we get a small commission, which has absolutely no effect on the eventual price that you pay.

Buyer's Tips: What to look for when buying the best record cleaners

  • Does it clean both sides at once? Although it might seem like a pointless exercise in saving you a few seconds, record cleaners that actively clean both sides of your vinyls actually do a better job overall as your newly cleaned vinyls won’t pick up more dirt from the machine itself when you flip them over
  • How much noise does it make? Some of them can be pretty loud, so if you know you’ll be using them around those who react badly to loud noises (sleeping babies, anxious animals and your mom who just doesn’t get it) it can be worth investing in a higher-end model
  • Is it fully automatic? Some record cleaning machines are little more than a motor with a vacuum, meaning you still have to do a bit of work yourself. If you enjoy the hands on part, but simply want a deeper clean this isn’t a problem, but the best record cleaners are fully automatic and provide better results because of this

Ok let's look at each product in more detail. To make things easier for you, we've added pros and cons for each one, as well as a video demonstration so you can see them in action. So without further ado, let’s take a look...

5 Best Record Cleaners

1. Clearaudio Double Matrix Professional Double Sided Record Cleaning Machine

Clearaudio Double Matrix Professional Double Sided Record Cleaning Machine

It can be a little noisy, and sellers are prone to price gouging at extreme levels. Despite that, it’s one of the top record cleaning machines thanks to the automatic fluid application and simultaneous cleaning of both sides of your record.

  • Double-sided cleaning
  • Automatically applies fluid and has adjustable rotation speed
  • High power vacuum dislodges hard to remove grime
  • Price can vary wildly depending on the seller
  • Has a loud volume when in use
  • Doesn’t have a dust cover to keep the machine from gathering particles

Let's take a look at this product...

2. Pro-Ject Vinyl Cleaner VC-S

Pro-Ject Vinyl Cleaner VC-S

Although not completely automatic, the Pro-Ject Vinyl Cleaner sets a standard of cleaning that other record cleaning machines should seek to emulate.

  • Very quick, able to clean a record completely within a couple of full rotations
  • Comes with fluid and other necessary supplies
  • Record clamp completely covers the label area to prevent it from getting wet
  • Single sided cleaning only so you’ll need to flip it
  • Not a completely automated cleaner, as you’ll still need to do part of the job yourself
  • Doesn’t fit all sizes of vinyl

Let's take a look at this product...

3. Okki Nokki Record Cleaning Machine

Okki Nokki Record Cleaning Machine Mk II (Black)

If you don’t mind a slightly more involved cleaning process, the Okki Nokki is a good cleaner that does what it needs to do without breaking the bank.

  • Simple to use without much instruction needed
  • Fairly low price
  • The vacuum tube automatically pops up after a set amount of time has passed
  • Doesn’t automatically apply cleaning fluid solution
  • Single side cleaning only and can require multiple cleans to do a thorough job
  • Requires manual brushing

Let's take a look at this product...

4. Audio Desk Professional Grade Vinyl Cleaning Machine (Editor's Choice)

Audio Desk Professional Grade Vinyl Cleaning Machine, Ultrasonic, Automatic, For Albums, LPs, Vinyl and 45s

Undoubtedly one of the best record cleaners you can get thanks to the use of three cleaning systems at once - immersing the record in cleaning fluid, bi-directional spinning brushes and ultrasonic technology - the only down side is the cost. If this was slightly cheaper it would be a 5 star piece of equipment, and should definitely be on your list if quality of sound from you vinyl records is your absolute top priority.

  • Completely automatic, you don’t need to do anything once you’ve pressed go
  • Uses cleaning fluid, rotating micro-fibre covered poles and high pressure waves to clean your vinyl as much as possible
  • Low sound output
  • One of the most expensive record cleaning machines
  • Lacks the dry-only cycle option of the Pro model

Let's take a look at this product...

5. Music Hall WCS-2 Vacuum Record Cleaning Machine

Music Hall WCS-2 Vacuum Record Cleaning Machine

A fairly basic record cleaner in terms of what it can do, and the price level of this record cleaner is way beyond what comparable cleaners are priced at.

  • One of the best looking record cleaners, giving it a little more appeal than others which look mostly functional
  • Offers a thorough clean that will bring your vinyls back up to the quality level you would expect
  • The drying cycle is effective and doesn’t require any additional manual drying
  • Doesn’t come with a dust cover
  • Single side cleaning only
  • Requires manual brushing

Let's take a look at this product...

So which are the best record cleaners available on the market?

Right out of the gate, it’s clear that the Audio Desk record cleaning machine is the best record cleaner out of the bunch - but the steep price tag puts it out of reach of even the most dedicated audiophiles.

However, if you’re set on getting a record cleaner that’s fully automatic and delivers a vastly deeper clean than you could possibly manage by hand, then Clearaudio Double Matrix is the next best thing, provided that you can find the right seller.

For the next step down, the Pro-Ject Vinyl Cleaner gives you a more ritualised cleaning experience whilst still packing the benefits of letting a machine do part of the work. This is the best option for the majority of people, and you’ll be glad you tried it once you hear the difference for yourself.

Of course, you could try cleaning your records by hand. It does work, but it’s like the difference between throwing a rock and using a catapult to fling a boulder.​

Image Credits:​

Featured image by David Hall / CC By 2.0

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