VPI 16.5 v 17.0

Is it worth the extra cash for the 17?
That really depends on what you are doing. The 16.5 does a great job. The 17 has the benefit of a fan so you can clean more records back to back if you are going to be going through large numbers in a short period of time. It is also bi-directional, and of course it does dispense the fluid for you with a pump.

However for really dirty, nasty records it is best to scrub by hand using the brush that comes with the 16.5 (you can order an extra if you get a 17) so sometimes the automated fluid dispensing and brushing isn't really preferable.

The 17 is kind of slick because it does everything for you and you don't need to roll up your sleeves. But honestly the 16.5 gets records just as clean, and as I said for super dirty records you have to roll up your sleeves anyway.

We tend to push the 16.5 over the 17 for this reason but both machines are excellent, and for radio stations and used record stores the 17 is crucial because that fan keeps the motor from burning out when cleaning all day long.

It was to me. It's so convenient that I often wash records while I'm thinking of doing something else. It's quick, easy and pretty close to automatic. If money is important to you, save some bucks and buy the 16.5. If you want a slicker, cooler and easier way of cleaning most of your records, 17 it is.

Do I regret the money for the 17? Nope.

Bill E.
Agree Bill, I bought the 17F and have never regretted, even for a moment.

I own and use two types of fluids, applying one by hand and one from the VPI dispenser. Makes simple work of those LP's where two step cleaning is necessary.
And I'm in the same camp with Bill and Albert. I bought the original 17 (before the fan), and I've never regretted the additional cost over the 16.5. I find the ability to reverse direction a great benefit, and I use reverse revolutions as a regular part of my cleaning regimen. I'd make the same descision today without a second thought.
I just ordered a 16.5. Sorry to tweak this thread with a related question, but: regarding cleaning fluids for either the 16.5 or the 17, I've heard some say that they use the Disc Doctor cleaning fluids and brushes, and then remove fluids with their VPI's. I've also heard it said that VPI does not recommend cleaning up Disc Doctor's fluid with their vacuum wand. Does anyone know whether it's OK to use the VPI to clean up DD fluid?
I don't see why cleaning with Disc Doctor fluid is a problem, except that with DD fluid, you have to rinse with distilled water. I use DD brush and fluid, then put it on the 16.5, squirt distilled water on it and use the other DD brush which is pre-wetted with distilled water, and vacuum it all off with the 16.5 wand. The Disc Doctor also sells replacement pads for the 16.5 wand, which is cheaper than buying a new wand.
Peter, If you contact VPI directly, I'm sure they'd be very happy to answer your question and you'd get the most accurate response. I've read posts from people who use the VPI to vacuum the DD fluid, but I don't use it myself.
We recommend the Disc Doctor fluid - we find it does the best job and it is perfectly safe to use with the VPI machines.
I use a 2X Disk Doctor procedure by hand and use a Nitty Gritty for, ahem, sucking it off. The best - by far - procedure I've ever used.