If you’re trying to insulate your car from road, traffic and weather noise, you’re probably wondering what materials you can use to do it.
There are many soundproofing materials that work pretty well for reducing noise in vehicles. For DIY projects it boils down to sound deadening mats and sprays. Sound deadening mats are the most commonly used material because they’re easy to install and they work well. Sprays are sometimes used for harder-to-reach places. You might find them useful if you decide to soundproof the doors or around the wheels. But generally, even those areas can be covered with mats because they’re easy to cut to size and they’re pretty flexible.
Having said that, these are the best automotive sound deadening materials:
1. Noico Sound Deadening Mat – 80 mil
Noico has become a very popular option over the past 2-3 years. Before Noico it was usually Dynamat that claimed the top spot. Now the battle is raging between Noico and FatMat, both being more affordable while providing equal noise reduction capabilities.
Here are some reasons why Noico is a top option:
- IT’S THICK – 80 mil thickness is not something to scoff at, that’s for sure. It’s also quite heavy, with 0,7 lbs of butyl per square foot. As you’re probably aware, thickness and density play a huge role at keeping noise at bay. Especially the rattling noise coming from the road and the engine compartment.
- MORE AFFORDABLE THAN DYNAMAT – Noico along with FatMat is the most affordable high quality mat you can find. Around 25% smaller price, depending on where you buy it. Amazon sells huge amounts of these mats and has the best prices at the moment.
- COMES IN SHEETS – Instead of getting a big rolled up piece of material, Noico comes in medium sized 29,5 x 19,5 inch sheets which makes it easier to cut it to size and install on various parts of the vehicle.
- WORKS WELL AGAINST AIRBORNE AND IMPACT NOISE – This mat can be used on virtually any surface in the car. Due to its elasticity and thickness it can absorb rattling noises as well as those transmitted through air from traffic and road noise.
* How to install Noico (and any other self adhesive sound deadening mat)
- Use gloves for protection
- Degrease and cleanse the surface before installing the Noico mat on it to improve adhesion
- Use a sharp knife or construction scissors to cut the mat if necessary
- Remove the protective film from the mat
- Press the mat on the desired surface. It sticks best to metal surfaces.
- Use your hands or a roller to press and roll over the mat so that it sticks
- There are bubbles on the mat that should be flat when you’re done
- Repeat the same process for other troublesome areas
This Noico mat has tons of customer reviews and it’s been in the game for a long time. So you can check out what other users have to say before deciding if it’s the right option for your vehicle. To read the customer reviews and current price, click here (link to Amazon).
Noico in action:
2. FatMat Self-Adhesive Sound Deadener – 80 mil
- MORE EXPENSIVE THAN NOICO – FatMat is about 30% more expensive than Noico, if you consider the cost per square foot. But it’s still more affordable than Dynamat.
- INSTALL KIT – FatMat comes with installation instructions, excellent roller and a sharp knife. The roller is small and especially useful for adhering the material in harder to reach places according to some users.
Those are really the main differences. Everything else is the same, including the thickness and the heat-resistant aluminium foil. And it also comes in sheets just like Noico.
So is there any reason why you should choose FatMat instead of Noico if they’re basically the same product, except for the price and the small installation kit? Not really. I’m simply sharing the best options and this happens to be one of them.
Also as I mentioned in a previous article, I’ve had experience with FatMat and I know for a fact that it works well. My friend used it to insulate his pick-up truck’s cabin and engine compartment, and it drastically lowered the noise inside the cabin while we were driving. I spoke to him recently and asked him if the FatMat is still hanging tight (we drove almost a year ago). He said that he needed to use a spray adhesive on one sheet that he installed on the ceiling because it was starting to become loose. All the others, including the ones he used under the hood were still hanging tight and in prime condition.
Click here to check out FatMat on Amazon.
FatMat RattleTrap in action:
3. Kilmat Butyl Sound Deadener Mat – 80 mil
I would typically wonder if there’s some catch to it. But it seems perfectly legit. With over 80 customer reviews and almost every one of them giving this mat 4 or 5 stars I’m confident in placing it high on this list. It has the same thickness, aluminium top, self-adhesiveness, comes in sheets etc. as Noico. It’s almost the same product!
The main difference I’ve noticed is that it’s slightly lighter. While Noico weighs 0.7 lbs per sq ft, Kilmat weighs 0,5 lbs.
The second difference is the size of the sheets. Noico sheets are 29,5 x 19,5 inches, while Kilmat sheets are 9.8 x 15.7 inches. These are both minor points, but it could explain why it’s cheaper, since there will be more overlap if you use Kilmat sheets for insulating larger areas in the vehicle.
All in all, if you want to save a few bucks and still get premium sound insulation, Kilmat is a solid option. Check out the customer reviews and current price on Amazon.
Kilmat in action:
4. Dynamat Xtreme – 44 mil
Dynamat has been the king of automotive sound deadening mats for a very long time. It was the first of its kind on the market which gained him a reputation as the go-to product if you’re soundproofing a car.
I have nothing to say against that. Dynamat is an excellent product with a long-standing reputation that will continue long into the future. My only reason for placing it down at fourth place is the high price. Noico and FatMat both have a great reputation and they’re much cheaper.
All of these products are made from the same material (butyl + heat resistant aluminium alloy skin). Plus, Noico, FatMat and even Kilmat are thicker than Dynamat by almost 50%!
I’ve personally never used Dynamat, so I might be missing something. On the official site they state that Dynamat is “formulated with Vector™ Chemistry”, which is supposed to impress the reader. I’m not sure if it’s a marketing gimmick or not. Either way, there’s no ifs and buts about Dynamat. Something about it works, and it has the highest positive ratings out of all of these mats, despite of being the most expensive one.
If you just want to install a sound deadener that has a great reputation and won’t let you down for years to come, then Dynamat remains a great choice. But for those with a smaller budget, I recommend choosing one of the first 3 options since they also get the job done.
Dynamat in action:
5. Vibro Closed-Cell Foam Insulator (FOR EXTRA INSULATION)
Once you’ve covered the selected area with one of the butyl mats mentioned above, you can add some additional material on top. That’s what closed-cell foam is excellent for. It provides extra thermal and sound insulation.
It’s a denser type of foam than you’d get with regular acoustic panels, which is why it’s effective at dampening vibrational noise as well.
This USA-made closed-cell foam mat is 1/4 inches thick. Plus it’s 100% waterproof AND fire retardant. Installation is made simple due to the self-adhesive back side. Simply cut the foam to the required size with a knife and then stick it on top of a butyl mat for improved noise reduction.
These types of mats are pretty rare, as only a few companies make them. Vibro is the best out of the bunch so that’s the only one I’ll recommend. It’s ideal for placing on the floor board, headliner, speaker boxes, door panels or anywhere else that you want improved insulation beyond the standard butyl-based mat.
6. Trim-Lok PVC Plastic Trim with Rubber Bulb Seal
If your door is not sealed properly it can let in a lot of noise and hot/cold air from the outside. This can happen if your car is older and the weather stripping is worn out. This is a great way to seal tight those gaps.
We’re dealing with a push-on trim, so the installation is simple. Just push it in place and you’re done. Here’s a video tutorial on how to do it.
You’ll very likely need to cut it to size. To do so use a straight edge trim clipper or a similar clipper if you have one at home.
Taking care of door gaps is the first thing I recommend to people when they’re soundproofing rooms in their home, and vehicles are no different. If air can come inside freely, so can the noise. So I suggest you check the weatherstripping on your doors and get one or more of these bad boys if you need to make a few changes.
To see the current price and more information on this seal click here.
What about sprays like Boom Mat?
Paraphrasing my friend who used spray foam in his pick-up truck:
“I’ve seen some success using the Boom Mat spray soundproofing door panels. But it wasn’t what I expected. The foam had a strong industrial smell to it that lasted for about 10 days. I was fine with that at first, because the insulation was pretty good. Unfortunately the noise returned later. I removed the door panel and saw that the coating wore off. It lasted 3 months before the noise returned. I did not feel like using it again and going through another smelly episode so I used the remaining FatMat. It works even better for insulation and I should have used it immediately instead of using a spray. I’ve recommended it in the past but I don’t any more after witnessing the lack of long-term quality.”
Any of these mats will work for reducing noise in a vehicle. They can be used in the car cabin, engine compartment, trunk, wheel wells..etc. The more of the area you cover the better results you’ll get.
Which mat should you use in your car? Either one of the above will make a fine choice. The differences between them are small and I’ve mentioned them. These mats have been used by thousands of people in the US and worldwide with great success, and there’s no reason why you couldn’t benefit from improved sound insulation just like them.
If you want to take your sound and thermal insulation to another level, cover the butyl mat of your choice with a closed-cell foam mat like the one made by Vibro. Finally, if you notice that the door weatherstripping is becoming worn out and loose, replace it with a new thicker seal. In that case, the Trim-Lok seal is the best choice if it can fit on your doors.
Hope this helps!