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Just like the title suggests, are some vinyl players more forgiving to crackles and skips than others? Does the weight of the "needle head" play a part in this perhaps?

I am asking this, because used records I buy quite often skips, or even worse, gets stuck in a locked groove. This happens even though they appear to be in near mint condition. Perhaps some of this can be avoided by buying a better record player?

I have read this question and answer, but my question here is about actual damage on the records.

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TL:DR - Yes

... but that doesn't even start to cover why.

Your issue could stem from at least four possible sources.

  1. You head weight is too light.

    This one really is too technical to cover in Music Fans & need some proper research on an audiophiles site, but simply, your stylus [needle] is designed to run at a given weight, specified by the manufacturer. There are devices available to check the weight, but again, I think beyond the remit of this site.
    There is a side issue of the anti-skate, which is the resistance to sideways force, but if that was badly out, records would tend to always skip in the same direction, not randomly.

    The Vinyl Factory has a beginner's guide at How to balance your tonearm: A step-by-step guide...

  2. You are getting sound transmitted back from the speakers to the turntable.

    If the speakers are too near the turntable, or both are on the same surface, e.g. a wooden floor, then sonic feedback from one to the other can occur. If your system is jumping at heavy bass sounds, kick drum beats etc, this could be a likely suspect.
    The solution is to physically isolate one from the other - using anything from specialist rubber feet to paving stones... mass provides isolation as well if not better than damping.

  3. Your stylus is dull or chipped.

    Very difficult to discern without a microscope, but if in any doubt, replace it.

  4. The vinyl is actually damaged.

    If a record always skips at the same point, then there's the possibility that part of the groove was either badly pressed, or has been repeatedly played on a bad system, repeating the jump each time & wearing a new little path for the needle to follow.
    As a very broad indication of the quality of 2nd hand vinyl, it should look very dark & almost oily. Any hint of greyness or dullness on the surface & you shouldn't buy it.

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