Blackout Curtains – A Definitive Buyer’s Guide

Firstly, let’s answer the question – why are you here? Are you planning to buy a blackout curtain? Do you want to know what are the best blackout curtains available in the market today? Do you have additional questions like is it worth the hype? Or, what does it do really? Or does it really help me sleep better? And most importantly, do you really need one?

I had the same questions as you. I had to look up a lot of different places to find most of the answers. This served as an inspiration to write a definitive guide. So that you, dear reader, don’t have to go through that pain or frustration.

This guide is the result of extensive hours of research from various sources. And you would agree this is one of the most comprehensive ones available out there at the moment. I’ve also included a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section to answer most of the common questions you’d have related to blackout curtains. If you do have more, please do let us know.

So whether you’re new to the whole blackout curtains bandwagon, or a seasoned veteran, I hope you will get a lot of value from the information shared here.

You can jump right into the section for the best blackout curtains, or continue to read to find out more.

What does a blackout curtain mean?

Curtains usually allow some light to filter into the room and consist mostly of one layer of fabric. Blackout curtains, on the other hand, are made of tightly woven, dense, or layered fabric. It’s designed to block most of the light that can potentially interrupt your REM cycle. Not only does it block light, but it can also provide thermal insulation and sound reduction.

Here’s how one of the brands proves how much light is blocked. Pretty impressive huh?

a flashpoint test of blackout curtains
Blackout Curtains Flashpoint Test
an image of how blackout curtains block light
Blackout Curtains blocking light – real use

Do blackout curtains really work?

Yes, they do. Depending on the brand you choose, the curtains can block light completely or up to a certain percentage. The main purpose of these curtains is to keep light from seeping through the windows. And in some cases, they also insulate your home by blocking harmful UV rays or direct sunlight.

It’s also Sustainable

Blackout curtains help save on energy costs by cutting the amount of sunlight and UV rays that enter the room. How does it help save money? By decreasing the exposure to sunlight, you save money spent on heating and air conditioning. By design, the blackout curtains reduce the amount of heat lost in cooler months and block heat in the summer. In other words, it keeps what’s inside and blocks the heat from outside. Moreover, exposure to sunlight for a long time can lead to damages to your furniture and floor. These curtains essentially protect them from sun damage and fading. I’m sure you’d especially want to take care of those expensive products. Finally, though blackout curtains or similar insulated curtains can’t do all the work of drastically reducing your energy expenditures or environmental footprints, it’s a good start to a more sustainable and energy-efficient home.

Useful Tip

You don’t necessarily need to buy a blackout curtain. With blackout liners, you can use your curtain and create your own room darkening curtains. You get liners in different shades and so can go well with your current curtain theme.

Also, another option is to buy blackout blinds and shades especially for use on smaller windows. You may use an inside mount for the most light-blocking capability.

a blackout curtain liner
A White Blackout Curtain liner

Do you need a blackout curtain?

Like the answer to most other questions, the answer is, it depends. If you live in a place where heat is the primary concern because of a lot of open windows, go with the blackout curtain. However, if your home is well insulated, then this type of curtain may not add much value. Choosing the right type of curtain that suits your home mainly depends on what problems you’re solving. Ask yourselves these questions –

  • Are you bothered by sunlight, especially early in the morning when you wake up to sunlight hitting your face?
  • Do you want to avoid noise from outside (some blackout curtains help to absorb twice as much sound as regular curtains)?
  • Are you worried about your furniture or floor getting damaged due to overexposure to the sunlight?
  • Do you sleep during the day (especially those on the frontline who works the night shift)?
  • Do you like to watch TV or movies with an enhanced movie theater-like viewing experience?

If the answer to most of the above questions is a yes, then you should consider getting a blackout curtain.

a funny meme about sleepless nights
Funny but true…

Why are blackout curtains bad?

Blackout curtains are not necessarily bad. But they do have some cons –

  • These curtains turn your room dark. You might end up using another light source more and thus increase your energy consumption. For instance, if you read a lot you will need to rely on a light source more.
  • Secondly, if you choose not to use another light source and go about your daily chores with this type of curtain, it will strain your eyes.
  • Curtains of these types are much heavier than the usual ones or even drapes. You will need sturdy rods.
  • It may be difficult to wash these curtains. Most of them come with special instructions.
  • Lastly, most of the blackout curtains come in dark shade. This may not suit your style. However, I must add you do get several color choices these days.

Let’s now look at some of the best blackout curtains available.

Based on Customer Review

We looked at the best sellers and what the customers are saying about them.

1. NICETOWN Thermal Insulated Grommet Blackout Curtains for Bedroom (2 Panels, W42 x L63 -inch, Grey)

This curtain has a rating of 4.7 out of 5 and 53,000 reviews. The triple weave technology and the excellent material make this curtain a strong candidate in the blackout curtains race.

The heavy microfiber blackout curtains are interwoven by advanced triple weave technology. Grey color can provide you with the perfect shading performance of about 90% Blackout. This was first introduced in Sep 2015 and weighs 2.2 pounds.

Dimension: 63 x 42 x 0.1 inches

Note: Each panel is 42″, but once threaded onto a rod, they’ll cover less than 42″ because the grommets make the curtains zigzag around the rod. When I put them on an IKEA HUGAD rod (1″ diameter), I lost 5″ of coverage on each panel. The total effective coverage was only 74″ (37″ each).

The item is also sold as 1 panel. They are not weighted at the bottom but the fabric is good.

Best overall

2. Deconovo Room Darkening Thermal Insulated Blackout Grommet Window Curtain for Living Room, Black,42×63-inch,1 Panel

Available in three different size options (42×63 inch, 42×84 inch, 42×95 inch), these amazing curtains are sold in one panel per package.

Deconovo blackout thermal insulated curtains can blackout your rooms. Keep the light out, heat in during summer and cold out during cold winter, which will make your home more comfortable to stay.

Size options

Available in three different size options (42×63 inch, 42×84 inch, 42×95 inch), these amazing curtains are sold in one panel per package. This was first introduced in Oct 2015 and weighs 1.16 pounds.

Best for Noise Reduction

3.NICETOWN 100% Blackout Window Curtain Panels, Heat and Full Light Blocking Drapes with Black Liner for Nursery, 84 inches Drop Thermal Insulated Draperies

The best blackout curtains on the market. Sew in black liner backing makes the drapes thick enough to completely keep out the 100% SUNLIGHT and UV RAY. The greatest benefit is to offer you a real dark environment, bringing you a good night’s sleep during the day.

NOISE REDUCING: Heavyweight Blackout Lined Curtain Panels can be a good sense of drape, making the window completely closed, to achieve noise reduction. The effect of absorbing sound is 2 times higher than the ordinary 1-layer of curtains so that at any time you are not disturbed by noise.

Weighing at 4.95 pounds this blackout curtain has scored a rating of 4.8/5 out of more than 25k+ reviews.

Best in Extra Long

4.Blackout Extra Long Curtain for 2 Story Living/Great Room. Darkening Custom Made Drape 10 – 24ft Long

Although these curtains do not come with linings, they block 85-100% sunlight. Black, brown, wine and navy blue are 99-100% blackout. Beige, shiny beige, cream and off white are 85% blackout. You can customize the length if it is not available.

These drapes have a grommet /eyelet top. The panel weighs 6-7 lbs for 100 inches wide curtain and 3-4 lbs for 50 inches wide.

These are a few of the best available in the market currently. I hope you are got some idea about what blackout curtains are and why you may need them. Below I’ve listed some of the other commonly asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between blackout and thermal curtains?

Typically blackout curtains are made of tightly-woven fabric to block out unwanted sunlight. In most cases, they have a thin liner sewn between the layers to keep maximum light out. These curtains are ideal for homes with unwanted sunlight, like bedrooms or living-rooms.
Thermal curtains are typically made of acrylic foam between the double or triple layers of fabric to provide thermal insulation. It is ideal for winter months or drafty windows. Thermal curtains can also reduce noise, block out unwanted sunlight, and reduce energy bills. While curtains have similar features, the main function of thermal curtains is to insulate the room.

Furthermore, many blackout curtains are advertised as thermal insulating and confuse people as to whether they truly block heat or cold. Often times, they are just labeled as “thermal” for advertising purposes.
Some blackout curtains specifically designed to darken rooms do in fact block out heat and cold and provide some level of insulation. However, they may not be as effective as thermal curtains.

Should you sleep with blackout curtains?

There was a detailed article in the BBC linking poor sleep patterns caused by too much light in the bedroom to obesity in women. Although not everyone agrees, the lack of too much light in the room aids with sleeping. So if you’re having trouble getting quality shut-eye, consider a blackout curtain.

Is room darkening the same as blackout?

Both are designed to keep light out. However, room darkening curtains does not fully block the light. They are made of fabric that isn’t as thick as a blackout curtain. Usually, room darkening curtains allow almost 5% of the light to pass through. So if you would need a completely dark room, go for a blackout curtain.

What should I look for in blackout curtains?

There are several things to consider

  1. Quality of Fabric – These curtains need to block out light and hence some heavy and solid fabric is required. Polyester fabric is often a typical choice. However, you do get different options these days.
  2. Color – Although you do get the curtains in different shades, black or darker shades tend to block out light more. Simple science.
  3. Heading Type – There are different types of heading available depending on how your curtain rod installation is. Grommet, Pinch Pleat, Rod Pocket, Tab Top are some of the options.
  4. Size options – Be sure to measure the window before buying. Especially if you thread it onto a rod, the grommet makes the curtains zigzag around the rod and you may lose around 5# of coverage.
  5. Price – Usually between $30 – $100. However, you can always find something that fits your budget and requirements.
  6. Maintenance – Read the instructions on the tag carefully as not all blackout curtains are made of the same fabric. Some may need extra care.

How heavy are blackout curtains?

It depends on the brand. However, typically they are heavier than normal curtains or drapes.

Can you see through blackout curtains at night?

In most cases no. Naturally, makes it a better option if you wish for some privacy when compared to other light filtering curtains.

Does IKEA sell blackout curtains?

Yes, they do. The Marjun curtains are a good choice. However, they may not provide 100% room darkness.

How do you wash blackout curtains?

Always read the tag. Since the fabric is usually woven into layers and heavy, always ensure to read the tag for instructions.

I hope you’ve gathered some useful information from this article. I’ll try to keep it updated as often as possible. If you found this useful, please let us know by leaving a comment or reach out to us via Twitter or Facebook. If you think someone you know will benefit from this, please share.

Finally, here are some additional options available on Amazon.

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About the Author

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Georgehttp://www.voxlifestyle.com
George, is an entrepreneur, wellness enthusiast, border-line geek and most importantly father to the cutest, handsomest and naughty little boy. George started writing in school but got busy with work and life. He founded VoxLifestyle to re-kindle his passion for writing and hopefully some day become good at it.

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