Friday, October 19, 2012

The IKEA Expedit Revisited

A blog article I wrote some time ago, which you can read here, continues to get a lot of recognition on the Internet--most recently on Michael Fremer's Analog Planet site. Many people object to my comprehensive damning of the IKEA Expedit system and note that in the above pic it was obviously used the wrong way. I have fielded and mostly rejected comments that support the use of the Expedit for storing records, and these supporters mostly use the old canard that "I've been using it and it works fine for me." That argument, of course, is fallacious because it ignores the fact that for some, not all, the Expedit has resulted in disaster.

In the comments section of the Analog Planet column, someone named "Deckeda" states, after referring to my original article:

"Note that the commentary blissfully ignores the issue of the orientation being wrong, it just damns the whole EXPEDIT product unecessarily. Nevertheless, be wary of only spending $100 to store several hundred dollars (or more) worth of LPs, not to mention your health."

I'm going to go on the record ONE LAST TIME and state the following:

1) IKEA instructions illustrate that the dangerous way is the right way, as these shelves are clearly NOT designed to hold the weight of an extensive record collection. If you have just a few LPs and you spread them out judiciously, then such disasters will probably not occur. Load these up to the rafters and the Expedit will eventually crumble and fold.

2) I used the Expedit the so-called "right way," and after a few years the dowels and the screws started to work loose. I quickly unloaded the LPs and therefore saved my collection. These shelves are made out of laminated MDF, not solid wood, and all joints will loosen over time--especially with a heavy load. My current LP rack is made from 2" hardwood with dovetailed joints. It will outlive me, and probably my great-grandchildren. With the Expedit shelves, along with everything else I ever purchased from IKEA ( a lot, unfortunately), you'll get a few years at most.

3) Those who insist that the IKEA Expedit shelves are a cheap and effective way to store LPs are, once again, defending a purchasing decision they have made--much like the 1200 Army defends the Technics SL-1200 and says, "It sounds great to me" without actually listening and comparing it to other turntables. Not every Expedit will fail. But some will. Again, I have to ask you if it's worth risking your entire LP collection in order to save a few bucks.

Don't quibble with the above photograph. The Expedit will fail either way. I've heard from too many people who have told me that their IKEA furniture ruined their record collection. Even IKEA is on the record as saying the Expedit is not designed for LP storage, and they offer a more robust shelving system as an alternative. If someone tells you the Expedit is okay for records and recommends that you buy one anyway, ask them how much of a commission check IKEA is sending them.

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