It has always been a dream of mine to become a lawyer. Ever since I saw Tom Cruise play the role of Lt. Daniel Kaffee and break down Jack Nicholson’s character of Col. Nathan R. Jessep in “A Few Good Men,” I was hooked!
So after going through law school, I feel like I’m ready to take the bar exam until I realized that I wasn’t. And it’s not like I didn’t want to prepare for the biggest exam of my life, it’s just that I couldn’t! Why? Because of all the noise that was bombarding me from all sides.
You see, after graduating from Pepperdine University, I moved to a small loft situated near the Oakland Convention Center, which is one of the test centers for the California Bar Exam. I moved in two months before the schedule of the exam to be able to get acclimated with the environment and remove myself from the distractions of home. But boy, was I mistaken in doing so as I learned after a few days that I really couldn’t study at all in the place I was living in.
Between the newborn baby that seemingly shrieked more than she cried all the time to the sports fan that cheered for the San Francisco Giants as if his life depended on it (I later learned that the guy was a gambler who placed bets on the Giants, so yes, his life DID depend on it!) to all the outside noise, I just wasn’t afforded the opportunity to study well.
For a few weeks, I tried to cope with this situation the best that I could, believing that perhaps I would just get used to it. However, having to deal with all the noise along with the pressure of preparing for this exam that would change my life was just too much. I simply had to think of a more sustainable and permanent solution.
But what options did I have with my money already tied up for rent and everyday sustenance? Every law student knows just how expensive law school is, especially when you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth. That’s when I came across a viable solution: a soundproof blanket.
My personal experience with these things has shown that soundproofing blankets can really alter the atmosphere in any household or residence. Everyone deserves to live without the stress of incessant noise, and it was just what I needed to give me some semblance of tranquility, that was enough to hear myself think. All it takes to make an improvement is a little creativity and a tactful approach to making soundproof blankets work as best as they possibly can.
In this article that I hope would be of great use to you or anyone in a similar bind, I will be taking a look at the reasons why you may need soundproof blankets, what to take a closer look for in shopping for them, and some of my recommendations for the best soundproof blankets.
Table of Contents
Don’t want to read through our whole guide? You can use our table of content to jump to the part most relevant to you!
- What is a Soundproof Blanket?
- Do Soundproofing Blankets Really Work?
- What are Soundproof Blankets Commonly Used For?
- What is a Moving Blanket?
- What You Should Look at When Buying Soundproof Blankets?
- What are the Best Soundproof Blankets in the Market?
- The Bottom Line
What is a Soundproof Blanket?
When a fellow aspiring lawyer raised this solution to me, I met it with a furrowed brow. He said that these blankets were apparently great at blocking sound and diminishing echo. To be frank, I did not have much faith in the results, but as desperate as I already was, I was open to the idea of trying. So, I wasted no time and purchased a soundproof blanket at the nearby Target, which I simply tacked over the main window. The difference was remarkable! For the first time in weeks, I could hear myself think!
To be clear, these blankets did not block out all the external noise, but they worked way better than I expected. I was relieved, knowing just how important peace and quiet is for both studying and the much-needed zzzsss afterward. In fact, I came away feeling reinvigorated after that first evening of having the soundproof blanket tacked on.
With all that said, I just wanted to share my experience because I truly feel that this could help others that are in the same situation that I was. I believe soundproof blankets offer everyone an easy and economical way to substantially lessen the levels of noise in their home or loft or apartment.
Do Soundproofing Blankets Really Work?
That is a definite and resounding yes! If you intend to just dampen sound, then a soundproof blanket is the answer. But as mentioned above, these do not block out 100% of the sound.
Much like any tool that is used for noise-canceling applications, soundproof blankets WILL NOT absorb 100% of the noise in the space that you install them in. Rather, these blankets work great at muffling, or “deadening” the sound to a level that you can either ignore or tolerate.
Not to say that the change will not be noticeable, because you surely will hear the difference when the sound will be bounced off these blankets and be reduced, in some cases, up to 80%. For better effect, try combining these blankets with some other noise-canceling device such as soundproof curtains to make your home or working space as acoustically clutter-free as possible.
It Blocks Sound
Sound is a vibration of particles that our ears can catalog. That vibration needs to travel across the right medium to reach our auditory senses. Some sounds are conveyed through solid surfaces, like the sound of steps moving up the stairs. However, most of the noise that we encounter on a daily basis is transmitted through the air.
What that means is that a soundproof blanket, which stops the passage of air also prevents the passage of sound waves. Of course, it is impossible to totally isolate a room with a sound blanket. Air will still pass through the blanket and little gaps of space around it, and some noise will still be heard.
However, what you and I and basically every other person in this world needs is not a perfect, 100% sound insulation. Rather, we long for just the ideal amount of peace to keep us on track with whatever it is we are doing. That is what makes soundproof blankets the answer to your noise woes in terms of practicality.
Apart than the area they cover, another crucial element of soundproof blankets is their density and thickness. The thicker and heavier the blanket is, the more sound will be impeded. The reason why this is important is that some of the noise will still try to pass through the solid surface of the blanket. However, thanks to their unique design, these blankets jam most of sound vibrations inside the fibers of their stuffing, functioning as a solid barrier in order to keep us unperturbed by the noise.
It Also Absorbs Sound
Another significant and often snubbed element of soundproofing is sound absorption. Now you may be asking, how exactly does that differ from blocking sound? To answer that, let’s take a look at their composition.
As mentioned, soundproof blankets are thick and heavy. However, their surface is still softer than the surfaces of walls, doors, or other building elements. So what happens with soundproof blankets is that they don’t just block the sound by reflecting it back from where it came.
A particular soft and porous structure lets soundproof blankets capture sound waves that reach them into the fibers of their stuffing. This stops the sound from bouncing off the surface, effectively killing off reverberation and echoes that might occur. In physical terms, the sonic energy of the sound wave is transformed into heat – and as a result, your home is now echo-free.
While soundproof blankets are not able to block all of the sound, they excel in absorbing it. Once installed, the reduction of echo is radical and immediately evident. The sound absorbing properties are just another key reason why you should consider getting soundproof blankets.
What are Soundproof Blankets Commonly Used For?
A soundproof blanket has a wide variety of uses and styles that really depends on your needs and goals. This can range from setting up your own soundproof studio for artistic undertakings, creating a sound barrier for a workshop that you expect to be noisy, or just blocking out street noise in a rowdy neighborhood.
The design and material that these acoustic blankets are composed up of will depend on the kind of impact you get. The dense, but cheap, moving style blankets will help eliminate higher decibel noise, while the quilted, acoustic style blankets will cater to lower, bass-level tones.
Most soundproof blankets are composed of fiberglass or polyester material, which lets it absorb and reverberate sound while also offering some kind of insulation to the room that you placed it in.
Here are a few examples of the places that soundproof blankets are commonly used in:
Well, this is exactly what you need, right? Much like you can make use of sound blankets to reduce sound for recording, so too can you utilize them to enhance your studying environment and make it even more conducive for focusing and studying your notes for that huge exam you have coming up. With less outside noise, you’ll be able to concentrate better and ace any schoolwork you have lined up.
A Home Studio
By installing soundproof blankets around the walls of any room, you can set up a space that is ideal for recording audio and video inside your abode. With the help of the soundproof blankets and the noise that they can help lessen, you will be able to get clean and crisp audio recordings with marginal background noise.
Make a Quiet Home
By installing soundproof blankets in areas all through your home, like walls and doorways, you can lessen the amount of noise that goes through your sanctuary. This gives everyone a little more privacy and, with the aid of soundproof curtains and proper insulation, can truly make your home a safe haven of peace and serenity.
If you have appliances like an air conditioner, dishwasher, or washing machine, you may notice that they can produce loud noise at times. By setting up proper insulation around these appliances, you can stifle the noise that comes from them (and reduce the risk of you getting startled to death). In addition, the extra insulation can help to keep temperatures inside your abode well maintained in an effort to somehow reduce energy cost.
Working inside a warehouse can be unsettling at times with all the different noises making it extremely difficult to communicate with others. By installing sound absorption sheets around the perimeter of a warehouse, you are going to help lessen noise on the inside, but you also prevent noise from escaping to the outside and bothering residents in nearby houses or villages.
Doorways and Windows
For most, windows and doorways are the main targets for any kind of soundproofing work and for very good reason.
Windows are the points that allow a lot of the noise from the outside to penetrate your home. Even if they have double panels, those are still too thin to prevent sound effectively. Installing soundproof blankets over windows will surely matter a great deal.
While windows are clearly a risk area that needs an answer, doors are less obvious than that. However, the greatest percentage of the outside noise still manages to make its way in through a door. That basically happens because most entries aren’t constructed with soundproofing in mind. Not only do their materials transport sound, but they are also surrounded by gaps. Even a tiny gap between the door and the wall can let a great deal of noise to enter.
While buying a soundproof door is indeed an option, it’s quite expensive which is out of the questions since you’re working on a tight budget here. Setting up soundproof blankets in the doorway virtually attains the same effect for a lot less the cost.
Furniture has a subtle, but substantial impact on noise levels. An efficient way to augment their effectiveness is to cover them with soundproof blankets. They may impact the room’s aesthetics or the usefulness of the furniture, but it’s definitely something worth considering if you want to have a serene room.
What is a Moving Blanket?
When doing research about the project and how soundproof blankets can work to a particular degree, I came across the term “moving blankets” quite a few times. It seemed confusing at first but later realized that we can all thank moving blankets for how people first came up with the idea of using blankets for soundproofing.
Moving blankets are commonly used by professional movers to wrap furniture to keep them from getting damaged during the moving procedure. That is why they are often made of heavy layers of dense materials, like woven cotton, polyester, fiberglass, and mineral wool.
But thanks to that type of structure, these blankets also keep air from passing through their fibers. Since air is a main conveyer of noise, that also lets them have strong acoustic properties.
Manufacturers of soundproofing items quickly took notice of this trend and began applying this technique because of its sheer cost-efficiency. Professional soundproofing gear is utilized in recording studios and offices, which means it often goes way beyond the price range of the average consumer. Blankets, on the other hand, are affordable and hassle-free to set up.
Once the designers caught up with the craze, we got the first actual soundproof blankets meant for studio use. Those were much more efficient at blocking sound than regular blankets or items of such nature. For instance, their outer layers are explicitly made to absorb sound, rather than reflect it. More importantly, they are filled with the same materials used for professional soundproofing equipment. They even come with grommets that make for ease and quickness of installation.
What You Should Look at When Buying Soundproof Blankets?
So you’ve finally taken the plunge and are now on the prowl for the best soundproof blanket out there. Before you pick one up and head straight to the cashier, it’s best you take a look at this list of criteria to bear in mind when buying soundproof blankets.
Weight, Density, and Thickness
The density, thickness, and weight of a soundproof blanket are all important factors that you should really take a look at as they determine how effective a blanket is. Here is a rule of thumb that you should always remember: “the more, the better!” A thicker and denser blanket will prevent more sound from coming in or out, as the sound will have a more difficult time traveling through the blanket and penetrating your room.
What makes these blankets heavy and dense is the kind and sheer volume of the material they hold – the best ones for you to take a chance on are those that have extra fibers in the blanket material. Also, you’re not only soundproofing your room with this kind of blanket but also get great insulation, as they can keep you warm in the winter, and refreshed and cool in the summer
The materials may differentiate from blanket to blanket but most times, the blankets are composed of polyester, cotton, or a mixture of both.
It goes without saying that the size of a soundproof blanket should be adequate enough for the space it should cover. Even the most minute space is enough to let a great deal of sound to pass through. That is why the perfect solution is to find a blanket that completely covers the target area. As you’ll come to see, most blankets come in a standard size of 80 x 72 inches; but you can find smaller ones too.
Grommets are there to make it simpler to hang up a blanket on a rod or a wall. Some blankets made for the goal of soundproofing come with grommets. However, most of them do not, and that applies to cheaper moving blankets.
In the event that the soundproof blanket you procure does not come with grommets, it is possible to set them up manually. It’s best to use tough iron grommets that can hold the weight of the blanket. However, keep an eye out for blankets with grommets to save yourself the effort of having to buy them yourself.
There are different designs of soundproof blankets to be wary of.
Firstly, some are extremely heavy and thick. These kinds often have the ability to isolate both sound and temperature. With that said, insulating an office or an identical area that needs a lot of peace and quiet calls for one of those large, dense blankets.
On the other hand, those who are looking to soundproof their home do not need the largest, most expensive models. Just a simple moving blanket can make a whole world of difference when it comes to diminishing noise levels.
And finally, another thing to bear in mind is the appearance. Most soundproof blankets have a simple, drab design that is meant to suit any kind of area. However, some people like theirs to be jazzier so check out if the one you want fits into the vibe that you want for your living space.
Though blankets are inexpensive than other soundproofing equipment, the cheapest models aren’t as useful or as effective. Generally, the more expensive a blanket is, the better it is at soundproofing your space.
Other Factors to Consider
Additionally, there are non-descript factors that you may want to take a look at before buying one:
It is best to NOT CUT any soundproof blanket you purchase with the goal of matching the size of the area you plan to hang it. These sound absorption sheets are thick and heavy, and as such, are very hard to cut without causing unnecessary damage to the blanket.
What you should do is measure the length and width of the space you plan to hang them before making your purchase and make your decision based on the size that you need. Doing it this way will elude any risk of causing any damage to your blankets and therefore, save you from the expense or hassle of getting another one.
2) Layering Blankets
Want to boost the amount of sound that is deadened by your regular moving blanket without having to pay for expensive acoustic blankets? If this is your situation, then your best option is to try layering up your blankets.
By making layers of two or even three blankets at a time on your wall, you make more of a padding for sound to pass through. The result of this action is more noise cancellation from your lower-quality soundproof blankets, which gives you more bang for your buck!
What are the Best Soundproof Blankets in the Market?
Now that I have given you through a comprehensive look into what soundproof blankets are, the time has come to take a dive into the best options I have come across in the time searching for one to use myself.
1) US Cargo Control Moving Blankets
US Cargo Control offers, among other things, two very affordable and effective moving blankets. Now, those were not made exclusively for soundproofing, so they do not come with grommets. Both models have a simple black-and-white design and sturdy construction.
The Supreme Mover Blanket is made from a premium blend of cotton and polyester. Because of that, a single blanket weighs an entire 7.5 lbs. It comes in the standard 72″ X 80″ size. This blanket is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a washable moving blanket which is heavy and dense enough to absorb a great deal of noise.
However, those looking for a lighter alternative should instead look into the Econo Mover Blankets. This product comes in the same size as the Supreme Mover but weighs much less – only 4.5 pounds. It is compact and made of sturdy, non-woven fabric stitched in a zigzag pattern. Although it is cheaper than the Supreme Mover, the Econo does not block as much sound. Moreover, it is not machine-washable.
2) Cheap Cheap Moving Boxes Blankets
Cheap Cheap Moving Boxes produces the following moving blankets: Deluxe Moving Blankets, Supreme Moving Blankets, and Textile Moving Blankets. They do not have grommets.
Despite the name, this brand charges slightly more than US Cargo Control. However, they are still on the cheap side. The first two blankets are polyester, while the Textile Moving Blanket is cotton.
Moreover, the Deluxe Blankets weigh 45 lbs per dozen blankets, as opposed to the Supreme Blankets, weighing 65 lbs per dozen. That means that the Supreme Blankets offer better soundproofing options, although they are significantly more expensive.
On the other hand, the Textile Blankets are smaller and lighter (23 lbs per dozen), but since they are made of compressed cotton, they can still help with blocking noise.
3) Sure-Max Soundproofing Blankets
Sure-Max produces Ultra Thick and Pro Economy Blankets. Both come in the same size (80″ x 72″), but the Ultra Thick is almost twice as heavy as the other model. Namely, the Ultra Thick weighs 65 lbs/dz, as opposed to the Pro Economy, with 35 lbs/dz. That means both of these products are in the medium range, weight-wise.
Neither of these blankets comes with grommets. Still, their padded virgin cotton batting with a polyester binding makes them great for soundproofing. The zig-zag stitching pattern holds the padding in place for maximum effectiveness. What’s more, they are incredibly cheap, which makes them a viable tool for any kind of quick soundproofing work.
This company makes Heavy Moving Blankets which they sell in 3-pack sets. These blankets are very affordable, although they are smaller than the other models we reviewed (72″ x 45″). The colors are neutral teal and black. Moreover, they are covered in dense non-woven polyester, which is a great material for soundproofing. However, they are not grommeted.
Inside, they are stuffed with heavy recycled cotton. This blanket is a great choice for soundproofing a living area, where a cheaper and lighter blanket is preferable to a heavy and expensive one. Besides, it is possible to improve their effectiveness by putting them up in layers since they come in packs of 3.
5) Big Boxer Grommeted Soundproof Blanket
Big Boxer produces the Grommeted Industrial Blanket with soundproofing in mind, which makes this blanket very effective in that area. As the name indicates, it is grommeted with reinforced metal hoops, and therefore very practical to set up. On top of that, the size – 78″ x 72″ – is large enough for most people’s needs.
The outside of this blanket is non-woven polyester, while the stuffing is a blend of polyester and cotton. Besides, it definitely falls in the heavy category, and the materials are appropriately dense for soundproofing. Moreover, it is washable in any standard laundry machine. Given the fact that this blanket is also relatively cheap, it is one of the favorite tools for any instant soundproofing work.
The Bottom Line
The amount or volume of sound you can lessen really depends on the precise kind of noise that is giving you so much trouble. However, sometimes a little help goes a long way even if that help comes in the form of a simple run-of-the-mill blanket, which can change your fate for the better if utilized the right way.
My experience has shown that soundproofing blankets can really change the atmosphere in any living space. Everyone deserves to live without the stress of relentless noise, even if that someone is just a normal young man who is trying to make a name for himself as a lawyer. All it takes to make an improvement is a little creativity and a discerning approach.
If you are thinking of getting any kind of soundproofing work, or you are just curious to find out what several soundproofing items can do to your abode, then I strongly recommend starting off with soundproof blankets. They won’t set you back financially especially if you are just experimenting. However, I am confident that you will definitely feel, hear and appreciate the outcome.