Blinds and shutters are some of the most effective window treatments for controlling noise, light, and privacy in your home. But when it comes to choosing between the two, things can get blurry due to their structural and functional similarities, not to mention the multitude of factors you have to consider.
Generally, shutters are better than noise reducing blinds considering the value for money, durability, ease of maintenance, aesthetics, energy efficiency, light control, child and pet safety, usage flexibility, and noise reduction. However, noise-reducing blinds are cheaper than shutters.
The rest of this article will review both window treatments in detail and compare them based on the most relevant factors to consider when choosing between the two. Read on for more.
Noise Reducing Blinds vs. Shutters: A Quick Overview
To help you understand the noise-reducing blinds vs. shutters comparison we’ll be doing later on, here’s a quick general overview of both types of window treatments:
Noise Reducing Blinds
Blinds, in general, are a type of window coverings made of numerous vertical or horizontal slats held together by cords. The slats can be made of different materials, but the most common options are wood, plastic, aluminum, vinyl, and bamboo.
Blinds come with a mechanism that allows you to lower or raise them easily to suit your needs. You can also tilt the slats open or closed to adjust the amount of light entering your home or control how much people outside can see into your home.
With such usage flexibility, blinds do a great job of blocking out unwanted light and keeping your home private. While on the subject of usage flexibility, it’s worth mentioning that blinds can also be used on both windows and sliding doors because they come in vertical and horizontal options.
Noise-reducing blinds have all the qualities of general-purpose blinds, except they come with a specialized design and features that help with soundproofing. The best blinds for this purpose are typically thick to absorb sound, and some even come with a honeycomb design that helps trap sound and air.
Pros of Noise Reducing Blinds
Noise-reducing blinds provide the following advantages:
- They’re less expensive compared to other window treatment options.
- They provide great light control and help reduce noise with easy and quick adjustability.
- Thanks to their versatile design, noise reducing blinds can be used on both windows and sliding doors.
- They are moisture-resistant, making them a great option for controlling sound and light in moist areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.
- They’re easy to clean with a simple wipe-down procedure that doesn’t involve vacuuming or taking the blinds down, which can’t be said for some window treatments.
Cons of Noise Reducing Blinds
As with any product with advantages, noise-reducing blinds have their fair share of downsides. These include:
- The design choices are limited, and the lines on noise reducing blinds don’t appeal to everyone.
- Blinds made of bamboo, metal, and wood can get noisy when opening or closing them.
- The slats are prone to dust accumulation, which can be problematic for people with dust allergies. Luckily, cleaning them is fairly easy.
- If you’re not using cordless options, the cords can be a safety hazard for pets and kids and need to be kept out of reach.
- The closing mechanism is susceptible to damage if not used in the right way.
Also read: Soundproof Curtains vs Blinds
Noise Reducing Shutters
Shutters are some of the best window treatment options if you’re looking for more than just functionality. Thanks to their attractive design, you can use shutters to not only insulate your home against sound and light but also complement its interior décor.
In terms of construction, shutters are often made of plastic, wood, faux wood, or aluminum. Regardless of the material used for construction, the general design of shutters remains the same across different options: they consist of louvers set within a frame of horizontal rails and vertical stiles.
In terms of color options, most shutters come in white. While this may seem like it limits your choices, this color enhances the effectiveness of shutters by helping them reflect heat to keep your home cool. That, however, doesn’t mean you can have a shutter in your favorite color.
You can choose one or a combination of colors, or opt for unpainted wood shutters that showcase the natural beauty of the wood.
Regarding functionality, shutters are a great window treatment for people looking for a one-stop solution to protect their homes from light, heat, and sound. But while they can help you dampen noise from outside your home, shutters won’t block 100% of the noise.
However, when it comes to protecting your home from sunlight and heat, few window treatment options are more effective than shutters.
Roller shutters, in particular, provide excellent temperature and light control to save you thousands in energy bills. They prevent UV light from penetrating windows and changing into infrared light, which can heat a home to unbearable levels. This is one of the main reasons many homeowners in Australia choose roller shutters.
Pros of Shutters
Using shutters as a window insulation treatment has the following advantages:
- Shutters are incredibly durable and stable, meaning they can resist warping or changing shape.
- Shutters provide an extra layer of protection against burglars who may try to sneak into your home via the windows.
- They’re easy to clean. All you need to do to get rid of accumulated dust is wipe them down with a dust rag.
- The lack of Cords makes them child friendly.
Cons of Shutters
- Quality shutters are expensive to purchase and have installed
- Shutters require occasional cleaning to keep them looking great. They also need regular maintenance, which often involves tightening the slats to keep them in position.
- Shutters are most effective when shut, which can obstruct a great view from your home. So if you’re looking for a window treatment that allows you to easily open your window and enjoy the view outside, shutters aren’t the best choice.
Check out Do Plantation Shutters Block Noise?
Noise Reducing Blinds vs. Shutters: Which are Better?
To help you decide which type of window treatment you should use in your home, let’s compare noise reducing blinds to shutters based on the following merits:
Value for Money
One of the main reasons many people choose blinds over shutters is because they’re cheaper. But while a lower number on the price tag may be enough to make you choose noise reducing blinds over shutters, things aren’t as they seem when you start thinking long term.
First, you need to consider the replacement costs of each type of window treatment. With the right maintenance, blinds typically last up to 7 years. On the other hand, shutters can last more than 25 years with proper care.
With time, the money you’ll spend replacing blinds frequently will add up. So when you really think about it, blinds may be more expensive than shutters in the long run.
Next, you also need to think about the energy savings associated with each window treatment option. Shutters (especially roller types) excel at blocking sunlight, which prevents infrared light from heating your home.
Better yet, the thermal insulation they provide isn’t just useful during hot summers; it also helps your home retain heat during winter.
This means shutters can save you money on energy bills all year round, something that can’t be said of blinds. And with heat loss and gain through windows responsible for up to 30% of the energy used for cooling and heating in homes, you can expect a substantial amount in savings.
Lastly, you need to consider how each type of window treatment will affect your home’s resale value. Shutters, with their classy look, are a permanent addition to your home that will enhance its walk-through appeal in case you ever decide to sell. Blinds look great, but shutters are more stylish.
Also, the price difference between the two window treatments makes shutters a more substantial home improvement investment, which factors in when reselling.
To sum it all up, shutters provide better value for money in the long-run despite being pricier than blinds.
Ease of Maintenance
The ease of maintenance is another important consideration when choosing between noise reducing blinds and shutters. Typically, blinds come thin and strung through using a pull cord to facilitate adjustability. This kind of construction leaves some space between the blinds, which can make cleaning a hassle.
Shutters, on the other hand, come with more space between them, which makes dusting and cleaning easier than it is with blinds. Plus, the cordless design means you won’t have to struggle with pulling or worry about cords snapping, tangling, or fraying with time.
As mentioned earlier, window shutters are incredibly long-lasting. However, the life cycle of each shutter type depends on the material used for construction. Wood shutters have the shortest life cycle of about ten years, while their Polywood counterparts boast the longest service life with more than 30 years.
Granted blinds only last about seven years; even the least durable shutter option has better durability than noise reducing blinds.
When it comes to aesthetics, you can’t go wrong with either window treatment. You can use wood shutters and blinds to give your home a touch of coziness and natural-looking charm. And, it doesn’t matter the style of your home because both window treatments are equally at home in rustic-style, traditional, and modern homes.
Better yet, both shutters and blinds come in a variety of colors, meaning you’ll always find something that complements the color scheme of your décor.
Generally, blinds give you better control of the amount of light entering your home than shutters. Due to their super-adjustable design, you can tilt the slats at various angles to let in the exact amount of light you want in your home.
Also, you can always raise or lower the entire window treatment, which gives you the utmost control over not just light, but also privacy.
But when it comes to blocking out all the light, shutters may be the better option. That’s because the construction of standard blinds features what’s known as “route holes” on each slat. Typically, route holes let the lift cord run through the slats, which helps keep the shades aligned.
The problem is, the route holes let some light in even when the blinds are closed, which can be an issue if you’re looking for complete darkness.
Shutters, on the other hand, can provide maximum light blockage, making them ideal if you’re looking for absolute darkness in a room to help your kids sleep—or for some other reason.
Whether interior or exterior, shutters can enhance your home’s energy efficiency because they’re great thermal insulators. Thanks to their construction and design, they can make your home more energy-efficient all year round by minimizing heat gain during the hot months of summer and reducing heat loss during winter.
Wood shutters, in particular, are great thermal insulators. Because wood doesn’t conduct heat, shutters with this kind of construction don’t allow transmission of heat from the air outside into your home when it’s hot.
And when it gets cold, the same mechanism ensures that heat from the warm air in your home doesn’t find its way out. The fact that shutters generally close tight also helps.
To add to the natural insulation properties of wood, some shutters come with a vapor barrier. Others have a radiation barrier that reduces heat gain during summer by preventing the shutter from absorbing heat from the sun.
With such capabilities, shutters are better at improving the energy efficiency of your home compared to noise-reducing blinds. That, however, doesn’t mean that blinds don’t provide any form of thermal insulation. They do, only that they’re more effective at reducing heat gain than heat loss.
You can use the adjustability of the slats in blinds to maximize the ventilation in your home when it’s hot outside, which minimizes the need to turn on the AC. Some options even reflect sun rays, so they don’t penetrate your home and overheat it.
But when it comes to preventing heat loss when it’s cold outside, blinds aren’t your best bet. That’s because they tend to be blown around by wind when windows are open, which allows some of the heated air in your home to escape.
When it comes to usage flexibility, windows shutters slightly edge out noise reducing blinds.
Both window treatments can be tailored fit on any window shape and size. So if your windows are smaller than usual, or don’t conform to the traditional rectangular shape of windows (think homes with hexagon-shaped windows), you can have your shutters or blinds customized for a proper fit.
But when it comes to mounting, shutters are slightly more versatile than blinds. For reference purposes, let’s define the two ways to install window treatments: an inside mount and an outside mount.
In an inside mount, a window treatment is installed on the interior side by attaching it to the window frame. On the other hand, window treatments installed with an outside mount sit flush on the exterior side of a window, typically on the window trim.
While you can use an outside mount with blinds, experts recommend an inside mount unless obstructions (such as a window crank) or window depth don’t allow this type of mount. On the other hand, you can install shutters with either an outside or an inside mount without compromising their effectiveness or aesthetic appeal.
While this might not seem like a big deal, it comes in handy when you’re looking to maximize space in small rooms. In such cases, an inside mount prevents the shutters from extending into your already limited interior space. Plus, this kind of mounting requires slightly smaller shutters, which can save you a few bucks.
In larger rooms where space isn’t an issue, an outside mount allows you to use a shutter to add texture and character to your home.
So while both window treatments can fit any window shape and size, shutters have a slight advantage over blinds when it comes to mounting flexibility.
Generally, you can either absorb or block sound to reduce the amount of noise in your home. Blocking involves reflecting sound away using solid, dense, and thick materials.
On the other hand, sound absorption uses porous materials with lots of air spaces to absorb sound, which prevents echoing and reverberation. For the most soundproof home, you need to use a combination of sound blocking and sound absorption.
Having established how noise control works, let’s find out how blinds stack up to shutters.
Blinds, in general, aren’t the best way to block noise because they aren’t dense or solid enough.
They’re also loose-fitting, and the slats have route holes that sound can penetrate. But when it comes to absorbing sound, noise-reducing blinds are great thanks to the ample air spaces in their construction, meaning you can use them to dampen noise by reducing echo and reverberation.
On the other hand, shutters are thick and solid, with louvers that reflect sound. And since they’re designed to provide a tight fit on your windows, shutters don’t leave any gaps for sound to seep through.
This means they’re a better way to keep noise from external sources at bay, which comes in handy when you’re looking to block out noise from your neighbor’s lawn mower or nearby traffic.
If you have to choose between shutters and noise reducing blinds based solely on noise reduction capability, think of what you’re trying to achieve. If the echo is the problem, go with blinds; if your main concern is noise from outside, choose shutters.
Child and Pet Safety
If you have children, the cords on standard blinds can be a safety hazard. Shutters don’t have these cords, meaning they may be a safer option for parents.
Shutters are also more dog-friendly than blinds, but this has nothing to do with the lack of cords. Rather, it has to do with the fact that you can install shutters with a split tilt.
With a split tilt, you can close the bottom part of the shutter (and keep the top part open to let in light), so your dog doesn’t see through your window and start barking at nearby traffic or passers-by. You can also use this type of installation to keep other types of pets from getting distracted.
With blinds, this isn’t an option because you can’t install them with a tilt split.
Generally, shutters are better than noise-reducing blinds if you consider:
- Noise control
- Child and pet safety
- Energy efficiency
- Light control
- Usage flexibility
- Ease of maintenance
- Value for money
However, blinds are cheaper and may be ideal for people seeking a short-term solution for controlling the noise, light, and privacy in their homes.
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