Whether you are a new or longtime vinyl listener, you undoubtedly know that records come in different sizes and RPM. The size of each different type of vinyl record corresponds to its storage and speed. Each size can be attributed to meet some specific but limited capacity of people’s needs and different tastes.
An understanding of vinyl record dimensions enables you to not only better play records for their best sound quality, but to use the medium for more than just simple playing. An example of how understanding how different records work to one’s advantage is how artists like DJs or producers spin vinyl records of different sizes and common speeds to create different mixes.
The most common reason people are interested in understanding different vinyl record sizes and how they work is because different disk sizes work on specific records players or turntables with good player configurations matching the disk rotation limits. The vinyl record is said to come in three primary sizes together with their speed sizes, and the three significant sizes they come in are 7 inches, 10 inches, and 12 inches.


7-inch vinyl
10-inch vinyl
12-inch vinyl

7-inch Vinyl

The 7-inch vinyl was first introduced in the late 1940s with the aim of it becoming the main alternative to the then-popular 78 RPM shellac discs. It became trendy in the 1950s and 1960s so much so that it was a significant contributor to the music industry of rock and roll during that time.

Now in the present time, 7-inch records have the capacity of offering you special editions of songs in cuts that have been extended to about 5 minutes of playing time. These songs are primarily from singles that are meant to be for compact discs (or CDs). The disadvantage of this vinyl type is its small size which means it has a small storage capacity. The best it can hold is three to five songs, but it is majorly used for single releases and “extended plays” commonly known as EPs.

10-inch vinyl

Unlike the 7- and 12-inch vinyl disks, the 10-inch variant is far less common these days. Most often, you only find this size record among serious vinyl collectors, older listeners, or fans of old classical music. 

Just like its size, the 10-inch records can hold a more extended record capacity than the 7-inch variant. With a longer record capacity rate (or long play), you can quickly get around 8 minutes on each side at 45RPM and also get a much longer 13 minutes playing at 33 RPM. If you are a collector, then the 10- vinyl record might be an excellent piece to seek and include in your collection if you can find them, especially 78 RPM records (although acquiring it can be quite difficult these days).

12-inch vinyl

This vinyl record size peaked in the music industry during the 1970s disco era but is still widely used today. This is known to be the largest size of all three vinyl records types, which simply means, as you might’ve guessed, it has a lot more storage. Due to its size, it is known to have the largest storage capacity of all three variants in this list. 

Its storage capacity is so large that it can store about 45 minutes per side of playtime for 33 RPM records and about 22 to 30 minutes for 45 RPM records. With a larger, more extended storage capacity, this variant is said to have the closest storage rate to modern, full length CDs among all three (although CDs and other new storage mediums are smaller in both size and weight).

What influences choosing the right vinyl record size can vary among different people, because what you intend to use it for might be different from what another person wants. Although in some cases, some people, such as collectors, might want to have all three variants for particular purposes, in the end, everything boils down to what suits your needs and personal preferences.

If you’re looking to grow your vinyl collection, check out the new records we have over on the Magnolia Store. Learn even more about the history of vinyl and how records are made from Magnolia Record Club

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