When it comes to blocking windows or doors, you might have wondered which is best, soundproof curtains or blankets? Well, I’ve done some research, so here’s a quick answer:
For blocking out sound, blankets have the edge over soundproof curtains. This is because blankets are usually made of denser fabrics, and you have a greater range of options. Soundproof curtains aren’t a massive improvement over normal curtains, so generally aren’t worth it.
In this article, I’ll go over the key differences between soundproof curtains and blankets, including some useful buying factors. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll have enough information to make the right decision.
Differences Between Soundproof Curtains and Blankets
This might seem like an obvious point to make, but it’s worth starting with the key differences between soundproof curtains and blankets.
Soundproof curtains start with the same design as normal curtains. They have outer facing fabric in different colors and designs, usually with a blackout backing.
But sandwiched in the middle is a layer of dense fabric. This varies by brand, but is usually something like wool or felt.
More expensive versions might even have something like mass loaded vinyl in the middle, but this isn’t the standard design.
Importantly, you can hang them like normal curtains, and they come in a range of widths and drops for different sized windows.
On the other hand, when we’re talking about soundproof blankets, we don’t necessarily mean a specific product.
Generally, you’ll find moving blankets (Amazon link) offered as noise reducing blankets. This is because they’re dense and lined with heavyweight materials.
Although their original purpose is for moving furniture, their properties make them fairly good for reducing noise pollution too.
Moving blankets come in different weight ranges, which is dependent on the lining material. Of course, for soundproofing, you’ll want the heaviest weight you can find.
You might also be able to find grommeted industrial blankets (Amazon link). These have the obvious advantage of being edged with grommets, meaning you can hang them up.
Both soundproof curtains and soundproof blankets rely on the key principles of mass and absorption.
Being made of fabric means they’re able to absorb a portion of energy as sound waves pass through them. Fabric is obviously quite flexible, meaning they also muffle sounds because they don’t react in the same way as rigid materials.
Also, both add mass to a structure. Sure, it’s nowhere near the same level as something like mass loaded vinyl, but something is better than nothing.
So on the surface, both soundproof curtains and blankets share many similarities. But their key differences lie in their construction and ease of use.
When to Use Soundproof Curtains or Blankets
But when would you use either of these products in favor of something that might be more effective at blocking out sound?
As you can probably guess, their use lies in their flexibility, both the material and the number of applications they have.
For example, you might use either soundproof curtains or blankets to:
- Cover windows
- Cover a hollow interior door
- Partition rooms
- As an alternative to construction solutions
- For acoustic management
- To muffle machinery
Both products would be useful for covering doors or windows because they can be moved aside or taken down with ease. This is of course something you lack with more permanent soundproofing solutions.
Similarly, they can be useful if you’re trying to reduce echo in a space. Rather than blocking sound from transferring through a structure, you could use soundproof curtains to block off a wall.
By putting a soundproof curtain or blanket between a noise source and a blank wall, you’ll do a fairly good job at reducing echo. This is because the sound waves won’t reflect off a soft fabric as easily as they would off a rigid wall.
Of course, you shouldn’t rely on either of these products to soundproof a space on their own.
Neither are designed as sound blocking products, so won’t be as effective as things like mass loaded vinyl or mineral wool insulation.
However, for situations where you can’t make physical adjustments to a space, they offer an inexpensive temporary solution. In fact, by choosing the right product, you could expect up to an 80% reduction in noise.
How to Choose the Right Soundproof Curtains or Blanket
To make the best decision in quite a saturated market, there are a few factors worth considering.
Here’s my rundown of the most important things to consider when choosing the right soundproof curtains or blanket.
As I’ve mentioned, soundproof curtains still look like curtains. This means you have a choice of color and texture of the room-facing fabric. It’ll usually be made of cotton or polyester, or a blend of both.
Blankets aren’t designed with the same application in mind, meaning you won’t have as much choice of color or design.
Depending on your needs, this might not be important.
But the soundproofing material is where it matters. Lower-end models will be lined with something like felt or wool. While dense in fabric terms, this isn’t amazing for soundproofing.
Higher-end versions may contain mass loaded vinyl, cotton wadding, cellulose, or even maybe mineral wool.
Dedicated soundproofing materials, like mass loaded vinyl, will of course be more effective.
The sky is the limit if you look hard enough. Lower-end versions of both soundproof curtains and blankets are pretty inexpensive, and might not set you back much more than normal versions.
But if you want something that will do a good job, be prepared to pay more.
That said, this isn’t really the kind of market where brand names come into play. This is important because, generally speaking, you end up paying for quality rather than a name.
Spend some time researching available products to get a better idea of the price range. Doing this will help you figure out how much money to spend.
However, don’t blow too much money on something like a soundproof curtain. If you’ve got a decent budget, look at more effective soundproofing options, or consider making your own DIY curtains.
Ease of use
Of course, a major factor when deciding on something like this is ease of use. You’ll need to be able to put the product up without too much effort, and take it down again too if needed.
Bear in mind that, to be effective, soundproof curtains and blankets need to be quite heavy.
It shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you’re running them along a curtain pole but it might become difficult to hang them up every time you need to.
Soundproof curtains have the obvious advantage here because they come with grommets to hang them on a curtain pole.
You’ll be able to find soundproof blankets with grommets, but this might reduce your selection considerably.
Alternatively, you could buy some grommets and fit them yourself.
If you’re using them anywhere but a window, you might have to install a curtain rail or some hooks too.
Finally, it’s worth considering what you actually want to achieve with these products.
There are some situations where soundproof curtains or blankets are the best options, such as for windows or covering loud machinery.
But for other applications, such as covering a door, there might be better materials available.
For example, you could make a door plug. This is essentially a wooden frame lined with mass loaded vinyl and insulation that can be fixed in place and removed at will.
Or, for walls, you could make temporary panels from drywall, mass loaded vinyl, and acoustic foam.
Both of these options would add much more mass and can be just as temporary. Their only downsides are that they require construction and can be difficult to move around.
Which is Better, Soundproof Curtains or Blankets?
In my opinion, soundproof blankets win over soundproof curtains. While you don’t have the same range of colors and finishes, they have some clear advantages.
- Being made from denser materials
- Being made from better quality materials
- Can be hung up or laid over an object
- Better cost to value ratio
Soundproof curtains often have a relatively high price tag for the level of sound reduction they offer.
A moving blanket, however, is a more cost-effective option that can deliver some fairly impressive results.
The only real advantage that soundproof curtains have over blankets is that they’re much easier to hang up. But you can get around this with little effort by fitting some grommets in a blanket.
Some Final Thoughts
I hope this article has helped you decide whether soundproof curtains or blankets are better.
Bear in mind, though, that neither will completely block sound. Both products are limited by being made of fabric, which isn’t really known for its insulation properties.
That said, either soundproof blankets or curtains will offer an inexpensive and temporary solution for reducing noise and echo.
My final bit of advice is to see how far your budget extends and to buy the best option you can. You should hopefully get some fairly decent results.