Today, We are going to talk about Soundproofing foam which is also called Acoustic foam or Acoustic panels, so don’t get confused between the names as all are the same.
If you want to soundproof your home and that too in the cheapest way possible then Soundproof foam is the thing you need to research about and buy the right ones for your Soundproofing project. When it comes to researching, we all know how hectic it becomes searching out the perfect product that suits your needs depending upon various factors. But at the same time, we know you have landed on this page searching about the same.
But here, we have written an A-Z guide on How to buy the perfect Acoustic foam to soundproof your home so that you don’t have to knock up doors to help you buying the most suitable Acoustic panels along with the Best Acoustic foams right now in the market and an ultimate guide on How to install it on your walls or ceilings.
I began soundproofing my home last springs when a building took the first step to it’s construction in the neighbor. I knew it would take several months or an Year to get finished but that very duration was going to be a pain in our years because of those heavy machines and tools crackling all the time in the days and nights too. Then I began researching about Soundproofing my entire home including my baby room, Home office, bedroom and every other place which needs to be quieten.
I was searching throughout You-tube and web and collected the information to Soundproof my entire home through different sources. I was struggling in the beginning to learn the concepts and buy the products smartly. It was a big problem especially for the people who wouldn’t get into this so called rocket science and I had to do something to make people learn Soundproofing the easy way. I became an expert in soundproofing the home throughout this project and then decided to Make a blog to help millions of other people throughout the world to Soundproof their homes the easy way with our expert knowledge and their little work.
In this article, We have made an A-Z guide on How to soundproof a room with Acoustic Foam? We have included the following topics under this Buying guide which will answer all your queries about soundproof foam.
- What is Soundproof Foam? What it’s made up of?
- What things to consider when buying an Acoustic foam?
- Best Soundproof Foam Panels of 2019
- How to install Soundproof Panels the pro way?
- Best Alternatives to Acoustic Panels that work the same
What is Soundproof Foam?
So What actually Soundproof foam or Acoustic Panels are? They are simple panels that are made up of special kind of soundproofing foam that absorbs sound in a layman language. But the actual material they are made up of can be polyether, polyester or extruded melamine. They are chemical compounds designed specially with the ability of absorbing sound energy.
These panels are made up of Fiberglass which is referred to as the best material to make soundproofing products like panels, curtains or blankets. Fiberglass has a special ability by which it’s fibers when come in contact with the sound energy show some resistance by which the friction between both of them increases and the sound energy gets converted into heat energy and finally gets deadened.
These foams sometime come in different materials inside which becomes a major factor on determining the capacity to absorb the sound.
Acoustic Foam is generally used in studios, soundproofing Rooms and Home offices to completely deaden the outside noise along with the inner reverberations.
Things to consider when buying Acoustic Foam
We all go to the market to buy a definite thing but if we jump out there without doing the homework then we usually end up getting confused among the options and buy the wrong product more often.
So Before jumping straight to the 5 best Acoustic panels in 2019 for soundproofing, We’ll discuss the features and the main factors which affect the Soundproofing capability of the foam. Along with these factors we’ll also discuss the things that differentiate different kinds of Acoustic foam panels and what to chose depending upon your space and your needs.
Here are the key Things to look for when buying the Perfect Soundproofing foam according to your needs.
Appearance (Designs and Patterns) of the Acoustic Panels
Let’s talk about the most visible Feature of the Acoustic foams which is the patterns and designs they come in. There are various kinds of Patterns that are given in these panels but the most common are the pyramid structure or the wedges which can be find nearly on every panel as they give the panels more aesthetic and appealing look which is typical to identify them.
The drawback of these designs and patterns is that they don’t look good or they don’t your walls when applied in your bedroom or your living room as they ruin up the whole look and feel of the space and make it look like a studio or a garage where band practice goes on. But if you are the person who is satisfied by their work and not the look then you can go for it as they are the cheapest source of soundproofing any space in your house.
If you aren’t satisfied with their looks and want something more appealing then you can go for the flat ones which are covered with plain canvas and when joined together to cover a wall, it’ll look like a simple painted wall and nothing ugly.
We have also added one of the Best plain Acoustic panels in the Review list for the people who’ll like them to place in their living rooms or bedrooms.
Thickness is the Key to the Soundproofing Ability
The thickness concept is easy but more of a scientific one. Before proceeding into the actual scientific recommendations of the ideal thickness of a good Soundproof foam panel, we must tell you that the thicker the panel, the better it absorbs the sound. Yes, look for the thickest of the panels out there as they are the ones who’ll absorb most of the harsh noises coming form outside.
But thinner panels doesn’t mean that they are useless, thinner panels usually don’t absorb lower frequencies and hence are used in recording studio for perfect recording conditions they provide you. But thinner panels can’t be used inside a Home office or a room where the outside noise has to be blocked. This is because they are able to Reduce and absorb any kind of noise that comes in it’s way.
So the question comes ‘What should be the Ideal Thickness for Blocking out the exterior noise inside the room?’
The answer is that these panels come in the thickness from 2′-4′ inches that is pretty standard for all of them. Thicker is usually better so chose the ones with thickness of 2-3 inches. The people who need these Acoustic Panels can go for the panels with the thickness 2′ inches and it will work fine for them.
Noise Reduction Rating (NRC) is your biggest Assist
Now comes a term that is made up of certain scientific measures of noise absorbing capability of the product. They have named it NRC or Noise reduction rating which is written on every product’s description. The higher the rating, the higher is it’s Capability to Soundproof.
They have made it so easy to chose the product without even testing them in person by placing their NRC ratings on their boxes and descriptions to make it easy for us to select the right product and not regret after buying a wrong one that does not actually work.
Again a question bounces in the head ”What should be the Ideal NRC Rating for the Soundproof Foam panels?”
This answer has to be explained well before telling you the ideal NRC Ratings as the scenario is totally different between the people looking to use them in studios and their personal rooms.
For the people who are looking to use the Acoustic foam inside their room or home office then they can rely on one fundamental of the NRC rating which is “The Higher the NRC rating between 0-1 is, the higher the effectiveness of the Acoustic panel will be”.
But for the people who are Soundproofing their studios for inner reverberations and echos then the case is totally different for you guys as these NRC ratings are useless for you because these are tested and given on the basis of the following frequencies:-
- 2000 Hz
- 1000 Hz
- 500 Hz
- 250 Hz
But the frequencies below 250Hz aren’t even tested and most of the musical instruments operate below 250Hz so it is useless to see the NRC rating on the product. Instead, you can check for the Sound Absorption Coefficient (SRC) Ratings which are tested at lower frequencies but the problem is that they aren’t mentioned on each product and aren’t common in the descriptions.
But don’t worry, for you guys we have tested and reviewed the best Acoustic Foam panel you’ll ever need for your studio with it’s S.R.C rating and you can buy it immediately without researching more and getting confused further.
Where will you buy these Acoustic Soundproof panels?
The answer is simple. Without checking every store nearby to find a variety of acoustic panels which are very rare to find in stores, We’ll put a simple link to Amazon.com so that you can check out the same product without any hastle and buy straight from there at cheaper rates than the actual market.
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Best Acoustic Panels and Soundproof Foam in 2019
We have explained you every factor and feature which has to be considered before actually going out and exposing yourself to 100 different options of these Acoustic panels. Now it’s the time to Review some top grossers in the market according to the above features to pick out the Best. Also, we’ll let you know the ones that differ according to your needs or space which is to be soundproofed.
We’ll divide the whole review list in 2 parts
- Acoustic Foam for Recording Studios
- Acoustic Panels to Quieten or Soundproof a room
Best Acoustic Foam Panels for your Studio
As we have told above, the scenario of the studios is totally different than of your personal rooms so we have kept the list differentiated from the beginning. We have used those patterned Foam panels for a studio to give it more of an aesthetic and typical studio look. While we have used descent and plain Acoustic panels for Home to give it more of a decorative look while taking out the soundproofing advantage from them.
The NRC Rating won’t matter here for Recording studio foam so we’ll only review them according to the factors of Thickness, Dimensions and Appearance.
Foamily Acoustic Foam Egg Crate Panel
As you can see it in the picture, This egg crate panel on this Acoustic Foam is quite of a unique one which isn’t seen everywhere and that is a plus point on it’s appearance as it gives it unique and more aesthetic look. This foam comes in 3 colors i.e Charcol, Burgundy and Red. This brand ‘Foamly’ is one of the most reputable brand in providing the best Acoustic foams for your recording studios so the ‘Trust’ column is also checked.
Now comes the thickness. We want to tell you that this product is quite thick and has the sufficient thickness of 2.5′ inches which is said by the brand to be one of their thickest Foams. 2.5′ inches is more than sufficient to handle all your frequencies and will manage to provide you the recording experience you needed while giving you a great soundproof capability in cancelling out the exterior noises.
Dimensions & Price
It’s Dimensions are it’s biggest advantage as it comes in huge size of 4 feet by 2 feet (8 square feet) which is very rare and great as you don’t have to screw many pieces together to achieve a big one on the wall. 1 pack which includes 1 Piece comes at a price range of 35 bucks which is worth the thickness you are getting.
We’ll also explain you to Install these Foam Panels the right way according to the Sound Science so that you can achieve greater results in lesser amount of Acoustic Panels Below in the Installation section after you decide which one to buy.
Foamily 12 Pack- Acoustic Panels Studio Foam Wedges
This one here is again by the popular Brand ‘Foamly’. We have put this brand twice as we trust it the most when there are hundreds of brands out there boasting about their Soundproof panels but we can’t trust all. So we’ll play on the safer side and compare the 2 best Foam Panels of the same brand.
This one is another best seller on Amazon and it comes with a different wedges design which also look great when placed on the walls or ceiling. You have more color options than the previous one like Black, blue, red and purple but I personally liked the blue one as it looks quite descent to me. Again, this is my personal opinion. One of the major drawback to it’s design is that the wedges trap a lot more dust than other designs so you’ll need to schedule their cleanups regularly in order to keep the recording room in it’s best shape.
When it comes to it’s thickness, they are relatively very thin than that to the above option. And this is their major disadvantage in terms of trapping the sound because they forget the biggest rule i.e Thicker is better. Also they are easily damaged because of their 1′ inch thinner structure which can be damaged when being installed. But at the same time, they provide shocking results in dampening the echos and giving you a rich recording experience when tested. That is why they have won their place inside this comparison.
Now let’s come to it’s dimensions. 1 pack of these ‘Foamly Acoustic foam panels’ come with 12 pieces where each counts 1′ square foot making the whole packet to cover 12 square feet for $18 on the wall or the ceiling respectively. They are indeed more worth the money when compared to the option above as the Foam above will cover 8 square feet for $34. But let us remind you the worldwide Rule i.e ” Quality over quantity” before straight away buying them.
When we bought and tested both of them ( Yes, we did as we don’t recommend something without actually testing them ourselves unlike other websites), they both had some difference in the effectiveness of their capability. The difference wasn’t major but it was quite enough to cover the price gap between 18 and 34 bucks.
I would leave it to you guys to chose but with a single guidance i.e “If you are seriously restricted to the budget of 20 bucks then go for the second one by slightly compromising with the quality and Foam’s work. But if you can increase the budget a bit to go for the top notch quality that is the best in the studios then go for the first one as the foam panels will stay the same for even a decade and the money worth spending on the first option that’ll stick with you for a decade will be the clever option here if you are doing something serious in music”.
Best Acoustic Panels for Halls & Rooms
After discussing and reviewing the Best Soundproof foams for Recording studios, we are are here to review the Best Acoustic panels selected from the 100s of different foams in the market to choose from. As we always say that we tried and tested 5 of the best panels in the market and are here after selecting the Best 2 among them on the basis of their price and effectiveness scale and many other factors. You can buy any of the 2 depending upon your own personal choices as both are tested and work great to cancel out the Inner reverberations and echos.
If you are looking to soundproof your entire room then this thing is not for you as to soundproof the whole room from outside noises or soundproofing it so that your own noise doesn’t leak outside then you need to Read this Important article on How to soundproof a Bedroom in easy DIY Steps.
ATS Acoustic Panel 24x48x2
When we talk about the cloth covered hard Acoustic panels, the most trustable brand that strikes the head is ATS and because of it’s amazing response online, we were dragged to test out 2 of it’s best Acoustic Foam Panels. Yes, Both the Acoustic panels inside this list are under the same brand label but somewhat different in terms of the appearance and other factors we are going to discuss below.
First of all, these Acoustic panels form the brand ATS. These panels are usually made up of hard wood at the edges to protect them from any physical damage. These panels are filled with extremely heavy layers of Fiberglass and other soundproofing material that traps the sound waves bouncing on the walls throughout the room inside itself and absorbs them by converting their energy to heat energy and vanishing off all the echos and reverberations inside the room.
These Acoustic Panels come in very subtle color options to chose from Maroon and Ivory to White and Black. You can chose any color according to what goes as per your wall paint. They look quite bold and descent at the same time which’ll attract the attention of your guests as they aren’t ugly, industrial and vibrant like the Studio Soundproofing foams above. You can place them anywhere from your Home Office, Bedroom to your Hall and Guest Room without getting concerned about the look and feel they’ll provide you with.
The Thickness statement “Thicker is Better” also implies here to these Acoustic Wall panels as they nearly do the same job as the Foam panels do but with a whole different design in terms of appearance and feel. The thickness provided here is 2′ inches which can sound moderate or normal but they actually provide a great absorption of the sound when tested on different volumes and frequencies and better than that of 3′ inches thick panels of different brands. So the Thickness Statement doesn’t really Rules the game here.
NRC is back to it’s game again as it really matters here on deciding a product’s capability on Soundproofing or Absorbing the sound. Happily, This product here is given the NRC rating of ‘1’ which is the maximum and which says “It absorbs all the sound that hits it”.
Dimensions & Price
Here comes this Acoustic panel’s biggest advantage. This panel is the largest in it’s class offering the size of ’24x48x2′ which is bigger than the average television sets all around United States. It’s bigger size lets in more sound that ultimately leads to a more quiet room. A single panel costs around $57 bucks which is pretty good keeping it’s size and NRC rating in mind. If you have a small Home Office then 2 panels will do the perfect job. But If you wanna hang them on your Hall’s wall then you’ll need to use at least 4 of them to get the best results you’ll feel immediately.
ATS Acoustics Real International Coffee Bag Wrapped Sound Absorption Art Panel
As we said, the second ones will be nearly the same as the first one but with a different tinge in their appearance. We don’t wanna confuse our readers with 10s of different panels in the list just to increase the length of the article but to provide the information about the one that is the best among the 10 and to give other options related to that one product so that the reader can chose among the 2 same technologies and Sound absorbing capacity but with different looks.
This one from ATS Acoustics is nearly the same like the first one but has some differences which’ll let you chose the one between these 2 Acoustic Panels.
The First Difference is their Appearance. If you are still confused about How’ll the above Acoustic Panels will look on our walls then you gotta try these with different Retro Designs on Coffee. These Designs are unique especially among the Acoustic panels. You can hang them in your Hall without getting concerned about How awkward they’ll look. As they are the Soundproof Panels covered with the Ambience of art and you got covered with a 2 in 1 panel.
These Panels are made for Restaurants and Coffee Shops as the need of quietening down the inner reverberations is extremely important at these places and everyone’s selling ugly Panels which can’t be hung on those walls to Ruin the whole Cafe Decor.
Other Differences are the Size and the Price of this product. The only Con of this product is it’s size which is 24″ X 36″ X 2″. As you can see, the length of this Acoustic panel is 8 inches smaller than the previous one. These Panels are 3 bucks cheaper than the one Above which isn’t really a significant difference and just negligible.
Between these Two Acoustic Panels form ATS, we really don’t pick a single out of them as they both are already filtered among 10’s of other promising Acoustic panels out there. Both of them resemble each other while Quietening the Noise but the major difference is the Size which will definitely affect the sound absorbing capacity of the second one but at the same time will give a distinct and a retro look to the second ones because of the Poster like prints on the panel.
So I would recommend if you guys run a cafe or some food place then go for the second one along with the First one in combination as you’ll need to Place at least 6 of these Panels buying 3-3 of each Panels to Quieten an average sized American Cafe or Restaurant.
If you wanna place them in you home then go for the First one in combination of a single Acoustic Panel from the second one.
How to Soundproof a Room with Acoustic Foam
Soundproofing a Room is always a different approach according to your needs. This time, we are using Soundproof Foam Panels (only) to deaden the echos and reverberations inside a Studio and to achieve a Rich experience while recording or Listening.
Another Approach we will be doing is to Soundproof a Normal Room for External and Internal Noises using decorative Acoustic Panels Reviewed above.
Installing Acoustic Foam panels in a Studio
After deciding what Soundproof Foam to buy after reading the above reviews and Recommendations, The real task comes when you have to install them carefully keeping in mind the whole science of Sound. Don’t worry, We got you covered here as we’ll instruct each and every step to achieve a successfully Soundproofed Studio Room.
When you receive your order, make sure you pull those Foams out from the packets to let them expand freely for a whole day. These Foams get compressed to pack and deliver but they easily expand again when kept outside without any restrictions or compression.
After achieving the actual size of the panels, The First thing you have to do is to Buy these Coroplast Sheets which will be used in an important task ahead.
After getting all the stuff needed to install the Soundproof foam, let’s get on to the actual task. You have to find out the places you’ll put the Acoustic Panels on.
The basic and the best placement to Install the Foam panels are the following:-
- On the Wall behind the Microphone or a listening Device
- The Either Side Walls to the Speakers
- On the Glass windows. (If any)
- 2 Large Foam panels on the Ceiling
- 4 Bass Traps in the corner
Let’s begin with the first step which says that you have to Put a Large panel on the Wall just behind the Microphone. For this, If you have chosen the Egg Crate Panel which is itself very large to be perfect to place then You just have to use a cloroplast sheet (24X36) which will be little smaller to put that (48X24 inches) Egg Crate Foamly Panel but it isn’t an issue.
What you have to do it to Stick the Foam panel to that cloroplast sheet using a spray adhesive you can get here on Amazon. We are using cloroplast sheets because gluing the panels directly to the walls will damage the walls to a serious extent and no one wants that and we need to make those clumsy foam panels into a solid one to make it more durable as it will be there on those walls for more than a decade if you are on some long term project.
After gluing the panel on a cloroplast sheet, you have to stick the whole combined panel to the wall using these command strips from Amazon which are strong enough to handle heavy wall paintings and these kind of stuff. These strips are covered with strong adhesive to easily mount the board on the wall. Now you are done placing the Panel before the microphone.
To Cover the Speaker Area
So We have explained everything about what we have to use as supporting products like Cloroplast, Adhesive spray and command strips to help you doing the task easily and accurately.
Now, We’ll cover some specific part of the either side walls near the speakers.
For this, if you have bought the second Foam we have reviewed then no problem, you just have to covcer the whole (24X36) Sized Cloroplast sheet with the those small panels with the help of the adhesive and then stick the whole sheet to the walls using the command strips. Remember, you can use as much as command strips if you think that the panels will fall off the wall. Do this on both the walls on both the sides.
On the Glass windows
If you have any glass windows inside the room then they are a curse for your studio and you need to cover them immediately. The glass multiplies the echos in a large number and also shakes when hit by the Bass that’ll ruin the whole experience. Do the same for you windows measuring the dimensions of the glass and cutting off the Cloroplast sheet accordingly using a paper knife and gluing the Foam on the Sheet neatly. You can also cut off some foam using a knife if the foam exceeds the sheet.
Cover the Ceiling
Now, you have to cover some part of the ceiling with 2 large Foam panels. I’ll recommend using the Egg Crate panel as you don’t have to stick a number of smaller wedges panels though you can use by your own choice. You have to do the same thing you did in earlier steps. But remember the location where they both have to be placed. First one will go directly on the area top of the speakers and second panel will go on the opposite side of the room far away from the first panel as seen in the picture.
Bass Traps for the corners
Very less people know about the bass traps and their use to make the bass experience Richer than ever. You have to buy these Bass Traps which come in a packet of 4 pieces each for 4 corners of the room. Bass Traps are the key product in this task as the corners reflect most of the noise and enhances the echos in a significant amount. So we need the bass traps to trap that Sound and give a Rich experience.
You have to cut out the Cloroplast sheet in 2 equal pieces for 1 Bass trap. Measure both the sides of a Bass trap and cut out the sheets likely to stick on to them as you have to place them in the top corners of the room using the command strips.
Check out this Video to get a more clear view on what you have to do
Installing Decorative Acoustic Panels for normal Soundproofing in a House
If you really wanna soundproof your Home in a serious way then we would recommend reading this Article on Soundproofing a Room. But If you look out just to reduce some inner echos or to reduce outside noise in a room then you can go for those Decorative Acoustic panels reviewed above with NRC Rating “1”.
You can use those Panels on the Doors of the room using the command strips you can buy here on Amazon. Doors are the major culprits when it comes to sneak in the outside noise. Placing 1 Acoustic Panel on the door will give you a significant change in the noise.
If the Noise comes from the room above then you can put 2 or 3 panels on the ceiling and just sit back and relax.
If the Noise comes from the next room then you can put 2 or 3 panels on the common wall to eliminate the noise problem. These were the ways you can you them to Soundproof your room from the outside noise.
If you want to quieten the inner reverberations and echos then place them on your walls just like some painting or a photograph inside your hall or your Restaurant to get the job done.
This was the whole Buying Guide on Soundproof Foam Panels we wrote for your guys so that no one can fool you throwing out hundreds of Acoustic Panels onto you and leave you alone to chose. Also we explained you the exact way on How to install them according to your purpose. Share this article with someone who wants this. Thanks for Reading. Also Check out other Guides on Soundproofing your entire house including the Loud appliances.