Many of the new records released today come with paper inner sleeves. Paper inner sleeves can create small scratches / scuffing as you move the vinyl record in and out of the sleeve. They also create paper dust which can settle in the groove causing noise.
The best record inner sleeves are made using high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic which is soft and does not cause scratching. They are also anti static which means that they don't create a static charge but please note that they don't remove a static charge either. The best way to remove a static charge buildup is to use a carbon fibre record brush.
Record inner sleeves made using HDPE plastic come in a few varieties. The protection they offer against dust is pretty much the same. Where they differ is in thickness and shape.
A thin plastic record inner sleeve (20-40 Micron) will do a fine job and this is what we use as the go to sleeve in our shop. Over time though these can loose their shape a bit.
The thicker HDPE plastic record inner sleeves (60 microns and over) offer extra protection against anything cutting through and will retain their shape much better. The same goes for the poly lined paper record inner sleeves which have an additional layer of paper over a HDPE / poly inner sleeve.
The 3 best record inner sleeves
Below are our favourite inner sleeves.
These sleeves look & feel best and have cut corners for easy insertion. The plastic lining is nice and this so it's easy to read the label. As you guessed these are also the most expensive ones.
These sleeves have a luxurious frosted thickness and have a rounded bottom which make inserting it into the record jacket an easy task. You can also bump these around a bit without anything damaging the record. The perfect middle of the road inner sleeve!
There is no shame in being last in the little list of the best record inner sleeves. These are the sleeves we use everyday in our shop and are thicker than most other round bottom inner sleeves on the Australian market - which often don't actually state how thick (or thin) they really are. These do a great job and are also our most affordable option.