Blackout vs. Soundproofing Curtains: The Differences That Matter

Are you looking to redecorate and soundproof your apartment from the noisy neighbors? Most people can get overwhelmed in the marketplace when shopping for curtains that can block out noise and sound.  The problem is that most product descriptions are filled with buzz words that aren’t delivered in the actual product.

Blackout curtains are extensively marketed as a multi-utility, and manufacturers claim “soundproofing” and noise cancellation as its USPs. This might seem very advantageous for someone who wants to block both light and sound in their room to create a peaceful ambiance in the room.

This can trick many beginners in the market. Many are not even aware of soundproofing curtains available for the specific purpose of blocking sounds and other noise.

In this article, we will be discussing the differences between blackout curtains and soundproofing curtains, their utilities, and their unique properties. We will also cover when to use blackout curtains and soundproofing curtains and help you decide the best solution for your room.

What is the difference between Blackout Curtains & Soundproofing Curtains?

Difference between Blackout Curtains & Soundproofing Curtains

Blackout curtains and soundproofing curtains are used for different purposes. We have to clearly understand the distinction between the two to make informed decisions.

Blackout curtains are special types of curtains designed to keep the light out of the room. Most blackout curtains have a blockage of above 90%, which can create the perfect ambiance for sleeping in your room. These curtains also trap heat and slow them down. This can inherently increase the temperature in the room in the winter season, bringing down power usage. They can also block harmful UV rays from reaching your room and damage sensitive objects.

On the other hand, soundproofing curtains are dedicated solutions to reducing noise that may reach your room through your windows. These are designed with heavier materials compared to regular curtains so that there is more mass and hence can absorb more sound. It also hangs closely to the edges of the windows to not let any sound in through the edges.

Below given are the properties of blackout curtains and soundproofing curtains.

Blackout Curtains

Soundproofing Curtains

Blocks above 90% natural light coming in

Have an STC rating of above 26

Heavier than regular curtains

Heavier than regular curtains and can be bulkier

Traps UV rays and increases room temperature

It clings closely to the windows and doesn’t let sound in through the sides.

May reduce noise by a small amount owing to the mass of the material

May block sunlight to an extent due to the bulkiness of the material

The thing to note is that blackout curtains may have sound reduction properties, and soundproofing curtains may block sunlight to an extent. But, this doesn’t mean that blackout curtains are soundproof, and soundproofing curtains block out all the light. These are just inherent properties due to the additional mass of the material used in the curtains, unlike what most “marketers” say.

Now that we know what a blackout and soundproofing curtain is and what it is used for let us analyze the pros and cons of using each of them from a buyer’s perspective.

Blackout Curtain

Pros

  • They block 90% of the light and help set the ambiance in the room
  • Blackout curtains help to trap heat inside the room
  • Blocks UV rays from harming sensitive objects inside the room
  • It offers some sound reduction
  • Cheaper than soundproofing curtains

Cons

  • Can block out natural lighting in your room entirely.
  • They do not offer satisfactory soundproofing properties.
  • Bulky and hard to clean

Soundproof Curtains

Pros

  • They block out most of the sound and other noise from outside.
  • They help to dampen the echo in the room.
  • They have a higher mass and can offer to block sunlight to an extent.
  • They cover the side of the windows to not let any sound in.
  • Have an STC rating of above 26.

Cons

  • Costlier than blackout curtains
  • Bulky and hard to clean
  • They do not offer satisfactory light-blocking properties.

Now, let’s go deeper and compare each aspect of both blackout curtains and soundproofing curtains from materials to properties and then arrive at a final verdict of when to use one or the other.

Don’t miss:

Do Blackout Curtains Block Sound
Does Soundproofing Work Both Ways
Ways to Reduce Blender Noise

Blackout Curtains vs. Soundproof Curtains: Head-to-Head Comparison

Blackout Curtains vs Soundproof Curtains

As we have seen above, both blackout curtains and soundproof curtains have their differences. These differences make them dedicated light blocking and soundproofing solutions for your home but not both. Let’s understand each property of these curtains to know better.

Materials

Blackout curtains and soundproofing curtains both rely on the materials for their properties. Both use bulkier and heavier materials compared to regular curtains.

Blackout Curtains:

Blackout curtains are made up of materials including:

  • Vinyl
  • Felt
  • Velvet
  • Suede
  • Cotton
  • Polyester

Soundproof Curtains:

Soundproofing curtains need a coating of soundproofing material to provide satisfactory noise reduction and contains materials like:

  • Polyester
  • Velvet
  • Satin
  • Vinyl

Room Darkening

Let’s admit it. We have all tried to sleep in the afternoon but the light coming in through the window makes it harder for us to sleep.

Blackout Curtains:

Blackout curtains are one of the best solutions available in the market for room darkening and blocking out sunlight. They block above 90% of the sunlight, and some manufacturers even claim over 95%. These are amazing products that can give you the perfect ambiance in your room and help you sleep even at noon.

Soundproof Curtains:

Soundproofing curtains do not have dedicated room darkening properties and are inferior to blackout curtains in terms of light and room darkening. Due to the heavy material used in the curtain, there can be blockage of light to an extent, but it is not satisfactory.

Don’t miss:

How to Soundproof a Room from Outside Noise
Is Denim Insulation Good For Soundproofing
Can My Neighbors Hear Me Talking

Noise Reduction

Noise reduction is significant for a room/house, especially if you have noisy neighbors or ongoing construction outside. We can’t fall asleep with the TV on at a high volume in the next room. We need calm and quiet even when we are awake for better mental health.

Blackout Curtains:

Blackout curtains do not offer much soundproofing. They can reduce noise upto 7dB but cannot be considered a solution to your noise problems. The noise reduction is due to the mass of the material used.

Soundproof Curtains:

Soundproofing curtains are one of the best ways to cover up your windows and not let any sound come in simultaneously. Soundproofing curtains are extended along the edges of the window panel and cling closely to the window. This helps in blocking most sounds coming into your room.

Style and Decor

Blackout Curtains:

Blackout curtains are heavy and intense. This adds to the ambiance of the entire room rather than light curtains that come off as uninspiring. Blackout curtains are available in different designs and are easily available everywhere. You can choose from hundreds of different themes to match the ambiance of your room.

Soundproof Curtains:

Soundproofing curtains are also available in the market and online, and customers have a wide range of designs to choose from. They can also select the material and the design to determine the level of soundproofing they need for their home. Like Blackout curtains, these are heavy and add a nice touch to your room.

Privacy

Blackout Curtains:

Blackout curtains don’t offer much more than regular curtains in terms of privacy. They cover up the windows, but there is nothing special blackout curtains can offer in terms of privacy other than not letting light out from your TV screen.

Soundproof Curtains:

Soundproof curtains offer a high amount of privacy as they block out conversations that we do not want our neighbors to hear. They can block almost all everyday talk and many high-pitched sounds and offer a high level of privacy.

Dry Cleaned Or Home Washing

Blackout Curtains:

Blackout curtains are made up of heavy but delicate materials and need to be handled as such. It is recommended to get them dry cleaned to be on the safe side. However, you can also machine wash this but not on the normal cycle. Always remember to keep the machine in the delicate cycle while washing blackout curtains. 

Soundproofing Curtains:

Soundproofing curtains are not like ordinary curtains and have several paddings and other materials that need proper care. Like Blackout curtains, it is recommended to dry clean them or use machine wash on the delicate cycle not to damage the fabric.

Cost

Blackout Curtains:

Blackout Curtains are cheaper and are more easily available in the market. Since it’s cheaper, many manufacturers increase its marketability by adding “soundproof” to its properties. But, know that if you want to soundproof, you should go with dedicated solutions like soundproofing curtains.

Soundproof Curtains:

Soundproof curtains will cost more than blackout curtains in general. This is because they cover more area and requires careful design to cling close to the window. It is also padded with soundproofing materials like vinyl and thus is more expensive than blackout curtains.

Don’t miss:

How To Build a Soundproof Room within a Room
Airborne Noise vs Structure-Borne Noise
How to Soundproof Between Existing Floors

What Is Better, Blackout Curtain Or Soundproof Curtain? The Verdict

If you want to block the sunlight coming into your room, it is recommended that you buy a blackout curtain that is more easily available, cheaper, and serves the exact purpose. But, if you have noisy neighbors and want to block their sound and other noise coming into your room, you have to choose dedicated soundproofing curtains. Always remember that

  • Blackout curtains are cheaper and best used for blocking light rather than being soundproof. They can reduce sound to a small extent at best.
  • Soundproofing curtains are dedicated soundproofing solutions with an STC rating above 26 that can block out sound and noise. It shouldn’t be used to block light because it’s inefficient and may let some light through.

It is up to you to choose what solution you want for your room. It is a matter of priority whether you want to block out the sound or the light. But, if you do make up your mind and decide on one, you know what to choose from the analysis given above.