Top 20 Best Soundproofing Materials Reviewed

Soundproofing your home

Soundproofing your house is a great way to keep things peaceful and quiet. Sound can travel easily without proper insulation, which can be a real hassle if you have thinner walls or hard floors.

Adding soundproofing material to various parts of your home, whether that be the walls, ceiling, doors, windows, or even appliances such as mini-fridges, will help you enjoy all the peace and quiet you need.

Soundproofing your home

But just what is the best soundproofing material? Don’t worry, because we’ve done all the legwork for you and compiled a list of some of the best options for soundproofing all parts of your house.

So without further ado, here are 20 of the best soundproofing materials out there.

Foam Panels

These are some of the most common forms of soundproofing material, and are a cheap option that is easy to install.

Foam panels work by trapping and absorbing sound waves, preventing them from bouncing around the room. By doing this, a foam panel reduces sound transmission both between rooms and in the room they are installed in.

A lot of foam panel soundproofing materials are also fire resistant or even completely non-flammable. This is ideal for any situation, but particularly if you’re soundproofing a basement or loft where fire hazards are all the more dangerous.

Fiberglass Insulation

While fiberglass is typically associated with wall insulation, it is also a great soundproofing material.

Fiberglass is made up of thick and light fibers made of recycled glass fragments. It can be in drywall and ceiling cavities, where it absorbs sound to keep sound from traveling between rooms.

Not only that, but it is fire resistant and traps warmth. Why not kill two birds with one stone?

Acoustic Foam

Like other foam panels, acoustic panels are mounted on walls and ceilings to absorb sound as it travels through the air. This prevents it from bouncing back into the room as well as keeping unwanted noise from reaching the rest of your house.

Acoustic panels are a cheaper option that is great for soundproofing rooms without any hassle. Simply install them on your walls and/or ceiling and you’re ready to go.

If you don’t like the look of standard acoustic panels with their ridges or spikes, then you’re in luck. ATS acoustic panels do away with the bumpy texture of normal acoustic panels, and replace it with a smooth finish that is almost as effective at sound absorption as textured acoustic panels.

Mineral Wool

Mineral wool insulation is fairly similar to fiberglass, although it tends to be thicker. Mineral wool is made up of dense fibers made by spinning molten rocks such as slag, ceramics, and silica.

Like fiberglass, it is used for soundproofing walls to block sound between rooms. It is also naturally fire resistant, and works great as a temperature-trapping wall insulation.

Mineral wool is great at reducing airborne noise and is one of the best ways to prevent sound waves from traveling where they aren’t supposed to. In fact, mineral wool insulation is one of the few soundproofing materials that are nearly completely soundproof.

Soundproof Paint

If you’re looking for a discreet noise reduction method, then soundproof paint is just what you need.

Soundproof paint is a heavy latex-based paint that is filled with tiny ceramic microspheres. These function as thousands of miniature sound absorbing pockets that help trap and reduce noise transmission.

Many soundproof paints come in two stages. The first of these is the base coat, which is a resilient but thin layer of paint that prepares a surface for the second layer. This second layer is the ‘mass-building’ layer, where the sound damping materials are found.

While soundproof paints are already a subtle option because it only adds a thin layer to the surface you paint it on, you can also choose from a range of colors to match the rest of your room. Who says sound proofing can’t also look good?

Cork Panels

Cork panels are a great alternative to other types of acoustic panels for a variety of reasons. While many soundproofing materials (including most acoustic panels) use thick, bulky materials to sound proof a room, cork panels are a much more discreet option.

Lightweight, unobtrusive, and with a pleasant look and texture, cork panels are one of the best sound insulation methods for someone who doesn’t want to deal with traditional acoustic panels.

Because cork is great at trapping sound vibrations without being as bulky or heavy as other soundproofing methods, it is a great choice if you’re looking for some soundproof panels on a budget.

Bass Trap

While bass traps might sound like a fishing tool at first, they are actually one of the best sound dampening materials for low frequency noise.

A bass trap typically comes in the form of small, square foam panels with thick ridges that absorb airborne sound waves to prevent unwanted noise bouncing around a room. Because of this, bass traps are a common sight in music recording studios.

If you’re interested in recording music, a podcast, or want to prevent noise from traveling while you practice an instrument, bass traps are one of the best soundproofing materials out there.

Soundproofing Materials

Acoustic Caulk

Frequently, sound is able to travel unimpeded due to cracks in walls, doors, and windows. Natural gaps in the seams of door frames and even between floorboards can lead to unwanted sound transmission.

But how can you soundproof something as small and inconvenient as a gap in a wall? Acoustic caulk is the solution you need. This sealant will seal up any cracks, gaps, and holes that sound energy can escape through.

While newer or recently renovated rooms may already have any gaps sealed up by builders, older houses might not be up to scratch. By using acoustic caulk to seal off any cracks in your room, you can help create a sound barrier that noise will find much harder to travel through.

Soundproof Curtains

Soundproofing windows can be hard to achieve. With thinner materials, exposure to the outside, and a tendency for gaps, trying to find a good method of soundproofing materials is tricky.

That’s where soundproof curtains come in. Made out of a thick, sound absorbing material, acoustic curtains are the perfect solution to unwanted outside sounds. Say goodbye to noisy traffic and loud pedestrians, and hello to acoustic curtains!

Batt Insulation

Batt insulation refers to types of fiber insulation such as mineral wool or fiberglass that are precut into ready-to-use pieces. They are installed into walls and ceilings and are available in industry–standard sizes.

Unlike rolls of fiberglass and mineral wool insulation, batts are much more convenient and can be installed without the need to measure out each piece. On top of being an easier soundproofing method than rolls, batts are also typically cheaper to buy.

However, batts do have some disadvantages over rolls. Because they come pre-cut, it’s more difficult to prevent gaps between the pieces. This is even more of a hassle if your house has unusual dimensions that don’t conform with the industry standards.

That said, batt insulation is still a great cost-effective way of soundproofing your walls and ceilings, helping keep sound out as well as in.

Soundproof Underlay

This sound damping material comes in thin rolls that are perfect for placing beneath rugs and carpets. It is usually made out of foam or sponge, with aerated materials that help absorbs sound and reduce vibrations and sound made by footfalls.

Because it installs under carpet, a soundproof underlay is ideal for reducing the sound caused by footsteps on upper floors. If you live in a multi-story building and want to stop noise carrying between floors, laying a layer of soundproof underlay under your carpet is a great way to do this.

It works even better if you put the underlay beneath a thick rug or carpet, as the cushioning provided by this will combine with the noise reduction given by the underlay.

With the combined padding of these two materials, you don’t need to worry about heavy footfalls even in echoing basements where the acoustics make everything sound loud.

Mass Loaded Vinyl

Mass Loaded Vinyl, or MLV for short, is a type of heavy PVC material. While MLV is dense and heavy, it typically comes in thin mats that, when applied to floors or walls, are great at absorbing airborne sounds without reducing sound quality.

MLV is also discreet and stays out of the way, unlike some of the bulkier sound damping materials on this list. Typically less than 1/4″ thick, Mass Loaded Vinyl can be added to floors, the inside of drywall, or even over existing walls without being intrusive or unsightly.

Something you should be aware of is that MLV converts sound energy into heat. This means that rooms soundproofed with MLV can get pretty warm, especially if you’re spending long periods of time in there.

Blackout Curtains

Blackout curtains are another form of soundproof curtains, although their soundproofing properties might not be their main focus.

While specially-designed acoustic curtains are better at blocking sound by design, the thick and heavy nature of blackout curtains makes them just as good as proper soundproofing insulation. 

Blackout curtains are also cheaper than most specialized soundproof curtains, letting you enjoy your peace and quiet without having to break the bank.

If you still want to use some soundproof curtains but can’t afford them for all your windows, you can save money by prioritizing your soundproof curtains on louder windows at the front of your house or near roads.

By doing this, you can use the less-soundproofing blackout curtains on quieter windows (such as ones to the back or side of your house, away from outside noise.

Full-length blackout curtains are also more common than long acoustic curtains, so they are a better choice for patio doors and taller windows.

Spray Foam

Noise-reducing spray foam is as simple as it is effective. It works by filling the cavities and gaps in your walls or ceiling with an insulating foam that forms a soundproofing barrier. Not only does the foam help prevent sound from traveling around your home, but it also traps in heat and is 100% non-flammable.

While it may start out light and airy, spray foam will expand to fill any gaps and harden as part of its soundproofing process. This provides high-quality acoustic insulation while also being easy and quick to install.

Because it fills space by expanding, spray foam doesn’t require you to damage or remove large parts of your wall in the same way that other soundproof insulation does.

This makes it a much more convenient method of soundproofing insulation if you’ve already got a finished wall.

Soundproofing Doors

Just like windows, doors are some of the easiest ways for sound to travel. Soundproofing a door can be difficult, but it’s definitely not impossible.

You can soundproof a door in a few ways. First of all, it’s easier to soundproof a thicker door with a solid wood or metal frame, as the dense materials will do half the work for you. Thinner or less dense doors (such as ones made out of vinyl or veneer) let much more sound through and will need more insulation to properly soundproof them.

A simple way to soundproof a door is to cover it with one of the materials on this list. Cork or acoustic panels, soundproof paint, and bass traps are all good options as they are relatively unobtrusive and won’t add much weight to the door.

You can also block the gaps between the door and its frame with a door-seal or sweep, though be careful not to obstruct the door so it can still open and close properly.

Acoustic Window Inserts

If you want a soundproofing solution for your windows that’s a bit more effective than acoustic curtains, you can use window inserts to add an extra layer of sound reduction. These are a simple acrylic glaze panel surrounded by a silicone frame that goes around the outside of your window, sealing any gaps and greatly reducing outside noise.

Not only are these inserts discreet and barely noticeable when in place, but they also install easily without any damage to your window. You can even combine them with acoustic curtains for even more soundproofing potential.

Soundproofing Blankets

If you only need to soundproof a single item (eg. a piece of machinery or to block noise under a door), then these blankets are the perfect choice.

Also known as moving blankets as their thickness makes them perfect for wrapping delicate items, there are all sorts of ways you can put these blankets to use.

On top of soundproofing single items, you can also use moving blankets to soundproof an entire room. By hanging them up, either directly against a wall or around windows and doors, you can easily and effectively reduce the amount of echo and noise in a room.

They do this by absorbing the vibrations of sound waves and distributing them across the entirety of the blanket. This helps dissipate the sound waves and helps reduce any unwanted sounds. 

Best of all, you can find them cheap, especially if you buy in bulk.

Resilient Channels

Resilient channels are strips of metal that massively reduce the amount of noise that can travel through walls. They are mostly used in drywall, and are attached to the studs within the wall.

They function by absorbing the vibrations generated by sound and dissipating them to either end of the rod. This allows them to effectively stop any noise from leaving or entering the room, making them an ideal installation when you’re building or refurbishing a wall.

The only downside is that it’s hard to install them on pre-existing walls without damaging the wall in the process. That said, if you’re able to put some resilient channels in you’ll be able to hear the difference straight away.

Soundproof Drywall

You can fully soundproof a wall by double-layering drywall with soundproof insulation sandwiched between the two pieces. You can do this with a pre-existing wall, or slightly modify a wall you’re constructing. 

By filling the gap between the two layers of drywall with acoustic panels or some insulation, you’ll make sure no vibrations are able to travel through.

This means that your room will be 100% soundproof and you won’t have to worry about any more sound issues.

Egg Cartons

If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford proper foam panels, then egg cartons can be a decent low-cost substitute.

While they won’t offer nearly as much noise reduction as other soundproofing materials, soundproof panels made of egg cartons are still a better soundproofing material than nothing at all.

An egg carton’s design is similar to the spiked surface of regular acoustic foam panels. Additionally, their pockets of air offer some sound dampening properties.

So while it’s definitely no substitute for proper soundproofing materials, egg cartons can still be just as good at sound reduction without you having to break the bank.

Final Thoughts

Finding the right soundproofing material can be tough. With so many options to choose from, the best soundproofing material for you mostly depends on your situation and your own personal preference.

But while picking out your sound insulation may be tricky, there’s definitely no shortage of great soundproofing materials to choose from.

So whether you need acoustic foam, mass loaded vinyl, or even soundproof paint, you’re guaranteed great noise reduction that is simple and effective.

David Cooper
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