Top 8 Tips to Game Quietly at Night


It can be hard to sleep, work or relax with a gamer around. That’s not an insult, it’s a fact. Gamers can be quite loud, especially when they’re playing adrenaline packed shooter games that require a lot of mouse clicking and the occasional keyboard slam/wall punch when things don’t go the way they planned.

If you’re a loud gamer but with a kind heart you can spare people the noise with these 10 tips. I’ve personally implemented some of them so that my family can sleep soundly while I’m gaming late at night. Since I belong to the PC gamers master race, some of these tips are directed primarily at PC gamers.

1. Use headphones

I hope I don’t need to explain the logic behind this, but I’ll do it anyway:

Headphones are absolutely necessary if you want to game with high volume on without bothering others.

2. Get a quieter mouse

I recently switched from a very cheap Tracer mouse to the JSCO Noiseless Optical Gaming Mouse (aff Amazon link). And yes, it lives up to its name. It’s significantly quieter than any mouse I’ve had so far.

I’m not a mouse expert, but the manufacturer claims that they’re using unique noiseless switches behind the buttons. Also, they claim that this mouse is in the top 5% when it comes to quiet performance. I don’t know if that’s true, but hey, kudos to them for being so confident about it.

Considering it’s surprisingly affordable I am happy to recommend it to you loud clickers.

3. Get a quieter keyboard

Unlike mice and gamepads, the tech gods have blessed us with a wide range of quiet gaming keyboards. I tested MANY keyboards by just clicking randomly on them in stores and evaluating their noise. It’s not the most scientific method, but I think it’s good enough. There aren’t any officially available dB level tests anyway.

I was pleasantly surprised that two of the keyboards that I rated most highly were also featured in multiple articles as being among the quietest. Those two keyboards are the Razer BlackWidow Elite Mechanical Gaming Keyboard and Fnatic miniSTREAK. I would highly recommend the Razer keyboard because it’s also large enough to game comfortably and it has a slick design. The Fnatic is virtually silent and looks nice, but it’s too small in my opinion. Still, to each his own!

4. Gamepad maintenance

If you prefer playing with a gamepad, unfortunately you’re out of luck. There are very few quiet(er) options available. The best advice I can give is to do regular maintenance:

  • Take the controller apart and clean it every couple of months.
  • Spray the sticks where they have the metal shroud with silicon spray oil
  • To make the best of the oil, work the sticks around in a circular pattern for about 90 seconds.

5. Soundproof your gaming room

You can prevent the gaming sounds from escaping the room with simple soundproofing strategies:

  1. Place a thick draft stopper on the door bottom to cover the under-door gap.
  2. Use an adhesive strip on the door frame to cover the gaps around the door.
  3. Place soundproof panels or thick moving blankets on the walls to dampen the noise and reduce sound reverberation.

For more detailed soundproofing tips check out this article: How to Soundproof a Gaming Room

6. Make your gaming console quieter

The majority of the time a console will be loud because of dust buildup in the fans. You should clean the fans by unscrewing and opening the console or by using a vacuum cleaner to suck out the dust through the vents.

Although it’s easier, the second method is also riskier because you could dismantle some parts. So if you decide to do it put the vacuum on the lowest suction power setting. To minimize dust buildup in the future you can cover your console with a dust cover.

Another good way to quiet a console is to place anti-vibration rubber pads underneath it. It will absorb some of the vibrations, instead of them being amplified by the hard surface.

It can also improve the performance and reduce fan noise because their will be more air passing through the bottom vents, reducing their need to spin like crazy to prevent overheating.

If you have a PS4 and you want to make it quieter here’s a detailed step-by-step guide.

7. Make your PC or laptop quieter

Much of the same methods for quieting gaming consoles can be applied to your PC or laptop as well. First of all, you should DEFINITELY check out your vents and cooling fans for dust and dirt. Clean them thoroughly and you will notice a big performance improvement and reduction in noise.

If you’re cleaning a laptop, make sure you know what you’re doing. For most people I’d recommend paying a professional to do it and to replace the cooling gel if needed. This is for the simple reason that laptop components are smaller and you’re more likely to damage something if you’re not careful.

As with a gaming console, using anti-vibration pads will prevent vibrations on the hard surface. In the case of a laptop it will also reduce the need of the cooling fans to spin like crazy while you’re playing more requirements-heavy games.

If you’ve noticed a sudden increase in noise, you might have some malware issues as well that need to be taken care of with a good anti-malware program.

Read more: 5 Easy Fixes for a Loud Laptop Fan

8. Really focus on soundproofing your door

If you’re worried about your gaming sounds escaping to other rooms you should really focus on soundproofing your door. The door is the thinnest barrier, so that’s where the noise is most likely to leak out from.

Apart from installing the adhesive strip and a door draft stopper as I explained earlier, you should also consider bolstering the door pane (the actual door). You can accomplish this easily and affordably by covering the door with soundproof panels, a thick moving blanket or the Audimute Sound Barrier Sheet (the product I used, very effective but pricey).

Of course, how effective your door is at blocking sound is determined by its thickness and heaviness. In other words, is it a hollow core door or a solid core door. So if it’s a hollow core door and you’re willing to replace it with a solid core, this would make a big difference for the same reason that panels, blankets or curtains would. However, a new door is likely to cost more and replacing it is more work than hanging one of these items on your existing door, which can be done in just a few minutes and removed just as fast.

Final Thoughts

The thing that helped me game quietly the most was soundproofing the bedroom door with weatherstripping tape, door sweep and the Audimute Sheet. I think the Audimute Sheet alone would have been enough, but I bought it later so I kept everything on.

The next most useful thing was getting the noiseless mouse because I like to play chess on my PC in the bedroom (yes, chess is hardcore gaming!) dangerously close to my sleeping beauty. If I needed to use the keyboard for gaming in this situation I’d definitely invest in the Razor Elite keyboard that I mentioned previously.

I hope some of these tips will help you game without causing any annoyance to your spouse, parents, roommates or bunk buddies.

 

Peter Bone

Soundproof expert and a staunch opponent of noise. This website is a free source of information on how to 'keep it down a notch'. I update the content regularly to keep up with advancements in the soundproofing industry.

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