You’re looking for a way to soundproof your newborn baby’s room, or perhaps that noisy Tesla Model S that you wrongly thought would be super quiet.
Or perhaps your next door neighbors are ruining your sleep by running on the treadmill in the middle of the night above your head.
In these cases and many others, high quality soundproofing materials can help reduce the noise or block it completely.
In this article I’ve created a list of products for common soundproofing projects such as soundproofing walls, floors, vehicles etc.
You’ll also find a few recommended articles at the end of each section that show how to use those materials properly.
So without further ado, here are the 20 best soundproofing materials:
For wall and ceiling soundproofing
1. Moving blankets
Moving blankets are the cheapest soundproofing material that can actually get the job done. Thick moving blankets can be used to cover walls, doors, windows and different appliance to muffle the noise.
They’re not very effective against bass and lower frequencies but they work pretty well against general airborne noise. So if you’re dealing with regular medium or high frequencies they are a pretty good solution.
Plus, they look nice and using them in a band practice room or a bedroom would not look too shabby at all. You can hang them on hooks with anchors or tack/nail them to a surface.
It’s always better to use thicker and heavier blankets because they are better at absorbing noise. Also, if you plan on hanging them, buy those with grommets so that you don’t have to make the holes yourself.
On the right is the thickest and heaviest moving blanket available. You can check it out on Amazon by clicking here.
2. Acoustic Foam Panels
They can also reduce the airborne noise to an extent if you cover an entire wall with them, simply because they add thickness to the wall. But they’re not an ideal solution for soundproofing walls.
To install acoustic foam panels (link to Amazon) either use a spray adhesive on the back of the panel and then stick it on the surface.
Or do something better – use hanging strips like Command Strips, 1-2 behind each panel and then stick them on the surface. These hanging strips hold well and it will be easier to move the panel if you want to later without leaving marks on the surface.
3. Fiberglass Panels
Fiberglass panels are similar to acoustic foam panels in the way they look and how they’re installed.
You can install them also by using a spray adhesive or hanging strips. Although fiberglass panels are heavier, so you’ll need to use more hanging strips to hang them properly.
- Thermal, acoustic and anti-vibration insulation material
- High sound absorption performance, NRC value: 0.85
- UK Flame Retardant standard
- Size: 11.81 x 11.81 x 0.98 inch(L x W x H)
- Installation method: Nail gun/glue/hanging strips
- Color: Black, Blue, Red, Light Yellow
Fiberglass is one of the best sound insulators, and it works great against impact and airborne noise. So this is the ideal product for protecting against bass noise and regular traffic noise or noisy neighbors without breaking through the wall in order to place MLV or Rockwool inside.
The only downside to these beautiful fiberglass panels is that they’re the most expensive option available. So if you fancy them, I recommend using them for smaller walls, and especially doors, where you don’t have to use too many.
Another option is to make your own fiberglass panels. You can buy pure fiberglass boards, and then cover them with a dense fabric and hang on any surface.
It’s an equally effective strategy and it’s more affordable, but it requires a bit more effort. Also make sure to wear gloves, glasses and a mask due to small particles coming from the material until you’ve covered it properly.
4. Mass Loaded Vinyl
Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) is my favorite soundproofing material for walls. It’s a 1/8″ thick material, flexible and heavy at the same time.
It was researched and put to use by NASA way back in 1960s and has been one of the most reliable soundproofing products ever since.
Because it can block low and high frequencies equally well, it can be used to soundproof any surface and against any sounds. It can be used for walls, doors, fences, car cabins, engine compartments and basically anything else.
- STC Rating: 27
- Weight: 1 lb./sq. ft.
- Thickness: 1/8 inches
- Made in USA
It’s easy to cut to size with a sharp knife and installation is pretty straightforward. Once you’ve cut it to the desired size, simply use a spray adhesive or nail/screw MLV on the desired surface. It can lower the sound up to 10 dB levels, sometimes even more if you’re using green glue (soundproofing adhesive) along with it.
If you plan on installing it on the walls, it’s best to install MLV by screwing it directly on the joists as shown in this video. You can screw it directly on the wall, but it will absorb sound better if it’s inside the wall.
5. Rockwool Batts
These mineral wool batts are inserted between the joists for optimal sound insulation. They fill up these empty spaces and by doing so strengthen the structure of the wall against vibrational and airborne noise.
This is an excellent product that is most often used during construction to improve insulation. You can get it yourself and install it easily by simply stuffing it in between the joists.
These batts can emit small particles that can irritate the skin and lungs, so you should wear gloves, glasses and a mask when working with it. This is why they’re placed inside the walls and not directly on the surface.
But if you have some dense fabric that you can place the batt inside of, it can be installed directly on the wall as a cheaper alternative to fiberglass panels and more effective alternative to acoustic foam panels.
6. Resilient Channels
You know that awful screeching noise coming from the floor when you walk on it? It’s usually the case with hardwood floors, and you might be wondering why it’s happening.
Well, the problem is usually gaps between the ceiling joists, so the foot traffic causes impact noise on the floor. This problem can be alleviated by installing resilient channels across the joists to nullify the impact of those gaps.
They’re basically shock absorbers and because of that resilient channels are also placed inside regular walls on the studs as well. This way they can prevent the lower frequencies from resonating on the hollow parts of the wall.
7. Green Glue
Green glue is a powerful soundproofing adhesive. It can be used alone or together with solid soundproofing materials such as mass loaded vinyl or fiberglass panels. Or underneath wooden panels (plywood, MDF etc.).
It’s excellent at absorbing impact noise so it’s also commonly used between layers of drywall. Green glue is also used to soundproof smaller areas such as those around electrical boxes and gaps in walls and ceilings and in hollow doors as well.
Another useful application is between a floor underlayment and the floor surface. It can drastically reduce noise coming from foot traffic and other activities.
Further reading: Best acoustic panels reviews, Mass Loaded Vinyl review and FAQ, How to soundproof a room with blankets, How to soundproof a baby’s room, How to soundproof a podcasting room, Soundproof a boiler room in 5 steps
For soundproofing floors
1. Foot floaters
Foot floaters are similar to resilient channels. But they are more efficient when placed under the joists in order to support them. By doing so they reduce the vibrations from impacting the joists and transmitting sound further.
This is why they’re great for reducing foot traffic noise. They’re not essential, but if you hear a lot of squeaking when walking on the floor, this is one way to solve the issue.
2. Green glue tape for joists
To further reduce impact noise, place green glue tape over the joists. As I mentioned previously when discussing green glue, it’s an excellent adhesive substance that also provides effective insulation against impact noise. Foot traffic and low frequency noise will be severely limited by taping the joists with green glue tape.
3. Subflooring plywood/MDF panels
The subfloor is typically made of plywood panels or MDF panels, which are great for sound and thermal insulation.
Then a layer of green glue is placed on top of them.
And finally, the floor surface (hardwood for example) is placed on top of the green glue. Double floor, double sound insulation.
I’ve covered the whole process and how to do it in this article.
4. Rubber floor mats
The soft material reduces the echo in the room, protects the floor, makes it warmer to stand on and adds a layer of sound insulation. The thicker the floor mats the better noise reduction you’ll have.
There are many different rubber floor mats available. There are interlocking floor mats or interlocking tiles which are typically used in commercial gyms, and there are standard ones that you simply place next to each other.
I prefer interlocking tiles because they stick better to the floor and don’t move.
5. Cloud Comfort Rug Pads
Cloud comfort produces really thick rug pads that can further insulate the floor. And make you feel like you’re walking on clouds. If you can cover a substantial area of the floor with these thick rug pads it will make a huge difference to noise levels.
This material is dense and soft at the same time, thus protecting against sound reverberation. This improves the acoustics in the room and makes any noise inside dissipate quicker, adding to a more subjective feeling of quietness as a direct result.
With 1/2″ in thickness Cloud Comfort rug pads are the best alternative to rubber mats for noise reduction.
For soundproofing doors and windows
1. Weatherstripping Tape
Weatherstripping tape is a cheap and incredibly useful product for sealing gaps between the door and the its frame and gaps between window and its frame. These gaps should be sealed so that sound can’t pass through them any longer.
Most doors and windows have a small gap where they’re supposed to meet the frame. It can be only 2-3 millimeters but it’s still an open space and should be shut down.
So you can tape the frame in this area with a layer of weatherstripping to add some thickness to it until there’s a good seal when you close the door/window.
2. Door Sweep
Door sweep is used to seal the gap between the door and the floor. This could be a really small gap but it doesn’t matter. Sound needs just a fraction of space to pass through. And so do bugs, which is another good reason to use a door sweep!
There are different door sweeps that you can use, metal and plastic ones. Even automatic ones that open up and close when you’re opening and closing the door like this one. But I recommend using this simple and affordable silicone door sweep.
Installation is very simple because this door sweep is self-adhesive. So it’s enough to stick it on the lower part of the door without having to use any tools. You may need to cut it to size with a sharp knife if it doesn’t match the exact width of your door.
3. Noise-Blocking Curtains
They’re commonly hanged in front of windows, large sliding doors and even regular wooden doors. Noise-blocking curtains are also pretty affordable, with the price ranging between $20-$50 for larger curtains that can cover the entire door/window area.
These are the most popular thick curtains at the moment with over 4800 customer reviews. They are long enough to cover the entire window and the area around and under it. It’s always better to use bigger curtains for noise reduction because the material covers a larger area.
Having said that, moving blankets can be used for doors and windows as well. You can hang a moving blanket instead of a noise-blocking curtain on the window. But a curtain would probably look better.
For sound deadening vehicles
1. Dynamat Xtreme
Dynamat has been the most popular automotive sound deadener for decades. It’s really effective against vibrations and airborne noise. It’s heat resistant and can be used to soundproof an engine by installing it under the hood.
Dynamat is a combination of butyl and mass loaded vinyl, which makes it elastic, tough and thicker than other sound deadening mats.
It’s a self-adhesive mat, so the installation doesn’t require any additional adhesives. Simply adhere it to the desired surface and it will stick.
While it’s arguably the best option for soundproofing vehicles, it’s also the most expensive one, while Noico is a more affordable option, so let’s check it out as well.
2. Noico Self-Adhesive Butyl Mat
Unless you’re driving a really loud truck, Noico should be able to prevent most of the noise from entering the car cabin if you cover a large enough area.
Noico is also self-adhesive and comes in sheets. Due to the heat resistant aluminium foil it can be installed in the engine compartment as well.
Noico mats are also more affordable than Dynamat (almost 3 times cheaper) so it’s no wonder that many car owners choose them instead of Dynamat.
If you want to be hundred percent sure that you’ll get satisfying results, go with Dynamat. But if you’re dealing with regular levels of noise, Noico can save you money and still deliver impressive results.
Another solid alternative to both of these products is called FatMat Rattletrap. I’ve recommended it in the past because I’ve had good experience with it in the past (soundproofing a pick-up truck). But Noico is similar in thickness and material and it’s cheaper. Either way, this is another viable solution that’s been proven to work.
3. Vibro Closed-Cell Foam Mat
But it doesn’t work that well when used alone. It’s real power comes to the forefront when used in combination with butyl-based mats. So the way to install Vibro closed-cell foam mat is on top of Noico/Dynamat to ensure that no sound can pass through. It’s self-adhesive so no additional glue is needed.
This product adds a lot more thickness to the surface and blocks any noise that would otherwise fall through the cracks. Consider this a little extra to ensure perfect results from your soundproofing efforts.
4. Muffler silencer
I’ve found a universal muffler silencer that can be attached to the exhaust pipe from the outside so it’s very easy to install.
It does a great job of muffling the exhaust noise without reducing the power of the engine.
It’s designed for 4″ round tip mufflers so you’ll need to measure yours to see if it will fit well or not.
5. Automotive Weather Seal
There might be a seal or a gasket if you prefer, already present on your car doors. But it could be worn down or cracked.
Replacing it with a stronger rubber seal such as this self-adhesive and affordable option can be immensely helpful for keeping the noise outside of your car cabin.
Furthermore, this seal can also be used on the car hood and other areas that require additional sealing.
But the main purpose of this seal is to reduce the wind noise when you’re driving at higher speeds along with providing thermal insulation.
Further reading: How to reduce exhaust noise, 6 Steps for Reducing Road Noise in a Car, How to reduce noise from tires, How to soundproof a Jeep Wrangler, How to soundproof a car door, How to soundproof a cargo van, 4 Sound Deadening Tips for Tesla Model S, How to Quiet a Noisy Fuel Pump
What to look for when buying soundproofing material?
- THICKNESS, DENSITY, WEIGHT – This is not always the case, but it is in most cases – thickness rocks! Mass is what you need to block sound. The soundproofing material must add some mass to the area you’re trying to soundproof otherwise it won’t do much in this regard. Some materials like acoustic foam panels are large but they’re not all that heavy. Mass Loaded Vinyl doesn’t look as big, but it’s much heavier and this is why it’s better for soundproofing purposes. The takeaway point is this; if you have two similar products, the one that’s thicker and heavier will be better at blocking sound.
- PRICE & QUALITY – Sometimes there are more affordable products that have very similar or the same features. So looking around for the most affordable product from a similar lineup is always a good idea. In this article I’ve nit-picked the most affordable options that also provide great sound insulation.
- CUSTOMER REVIEWS – I always check out customer reviews before buying soundproofing products. Some manufacturers will omit information just to sell their product. But user reviews section on Amazon and other websites that regulate it carefully are usually pretty objective. But in this case, sometimes the reviews don’t reflect the real quality of the material because people who found a problem are more prone to commenting than those who are happy with the product. If you’re happy with something you usually think that it’s normal and don’t feel the need to praise the manufacturer. But when something goes wrong we’re all eager to share our disappointment. So the customer reviews can be too harsh in their assessment of the product at times. Nevertheless it’s good to see what others have to say about it before buying.
- MEASURE – If you plan on soundproofing any area of your home, vehicle or an appliance it’s always good to measure the area. That way you’ll know how much material you’ll need for the project. You don’t have to measure it to perfection, but there should be an average estimate as to how many panels, sheets or whatever else is needed to complete your project successfully. Having said that, it’s better to order a little more material than have it lacking when you start soundproofing. The leftover material can usually be used for other projects in the future anyways. Soundproofing materials are meant to last indefinitely, so you don’t have to worry about it going to waste.
Soundproofing can seem scary if you’ve never done it. But it’s pretty simple. It’s basically all about creating a barrier between the noise and the noise recipient.
You can use various materials to accomplish that task. Some are better than others. In this article I’ve shared the best materials for all the common soundproofing projects. And I’ve also shared links to more detailed articles on various related topics.
So I hope this list helps, and feel free to check out all the other soundproof advice on the website!