Best Blackout Curtains of 2018

Blackout curtains shield you from light that might otherwise enter your room through your windows, allowing you to sleep as soundly as possible. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best blackout curtains so you can get a good night's sleep.

Blackout Curtains: The Solution for a Dreamy Night's Sleep

Streetlights. Moonlight. Passing car headlights. Do you toss and turn if even a sliver of light shines through your window at night? If so, you might be able to catch more Z's by hanging a set of blackout curtains in your bedroom.

Regular curtains and blinds can help tone down the light that interferes with your sleep, but they can't banish it entirely. Blackout curtains shield you from all light that might otherwise enter your room through your windows, allowing you to sleep as soundly as possible.

If you're shopping for blackout curtains, it pays to choose carefully. If you don't select the right size and material, you might still find yourself waking up at odd hours. It can be tough to wade through all the options, however, so we researched the blackout curtain market for you.

At BestReviews, we examined the top blackout curtains closely to find out which products are best for your bedroom. If you're ready to buy some blackout curtains, check out the matrix above for details about our favorites. For general information about blackout curtains, continue reading this shopping guide.

Blackout curtains aren't only available in dark colors. You can find them in light shades, including white.

How Blackout Curtains Work

Are blackout curtains magic? No, but the effects can feel magical. Blackout curtains are made of dense or layered fabric that's paired with a blackout liner. This combination of materials is designed to block 100 percent of outside light from entering your room through the window.

Some blackout curtains also feature insulated material that can help keep warm and cold air from escaping the room and reduce outside noise.

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Add a Valance for Extra Coverage

Pairing a valance or cornice box with blackout curtains can help prevent light from leaking in at the top.

Where to Put Blackout Curtains

If you or your partner are sensitive to light while sleeping or falling asleep, blackout curtains could help significantly. But blackout curtains aren't just for the bedroom. You could also use them in the following areas:

  • In the nursery, blackout curtains can help prevent a baby from waking up due to changes in the outside light.
  • Photographers who develop their own film can benefit from hanging blackout curtains in their darkroom.
  • In a home theater or media room, blackout curtains can help create the right atmosphere for on-screen entertainment.
Blackout curtains can reduce thermal energy loss in your home by 25 percent, thereby lowering your heating and cooling costs.

Fabric, Lining, and Insulation

Most blackout curtains consist of an outer fabric panel and an inner lining. Some also include an insulation component.

Outer Fabric Panel
The outer panel is often made of a tightly woven opaque material that helps block out light. Suede, felt, velvet, cotton, and polyester are common options. Blackout curtains come in a variety of colors and styles.

Inner Lining
The best blackout curtains block 100 percent of all exterior light. The quality of the inner lining, which is usually foam-based and extremely dense, plays an important role in the effectiveness of the curtains.

If you're attached to your current window treatments, you could purchase a blackout liner on its own and add it to your existing curtains.

Thermal Insulation
Some blackout curtains feature thermal insulation that prevents heat loss through your home's windows. The insulation may include two or three layers of heavy fabric with an insulated backing. There may be a polyester vapor barrier on the window side of the curtains for even more protection.

Blackout curtains with thermal insulation tend to have noise-blocking properties as well.

Choosing the Right Blackout Curtain Size

As with any curtains, you need to measure your window first to know which curtain size would work for you. However, you should measure from several inches above the window frame down to several inches below it to ensure that the curtains fully block the light.

It's also a good idea to add several inches on either side of the curtains for extra coverage.

A Note About Top Construction
Blackout curtains typically have three top construction options:

  • Pole Pocket Top: The curtain pole or rod runs through a fabric tube at the top of the curtain panels.
  • Metal Grommet Top: The curtain pole or rod fits through metal grommets, creating pleats in the blackout curtains.
  • Hidden Tab Top: Tabs wrap around the pole or rod but aren't visible. This style usually features a pole pocket as well.

When it comes to blackout curtains, a pole pocket or hidden tab top is the best option. That's because they don't allow any gaps in the fabric at the top of the curtain where light might spill into the room.

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Room-Darkening vs. Blackout: What's the Difference?

Room-darkening curtains and blackout curtains aren't the same. Room-darkening curtains block out some exterior light, whereas blackout curtains block out all exterior light.

Blackout Curtain Prices

Blackout curtains vary in price based on the fabric, size, weight, and number of panels. To outfit a room with blackout curtains, you could spend anywhere from $8 to $100.

  • For a small, single-panel blackout curtain, expect to pay between $8 and $20.
  • For a large, single-panel blackout curtain, expect to pay between $13 and $35.
  • For two small blackout curtain panels, expect to pay between $25 and $50.
  • For two large blackout curtain panels, expect to pay between $50 and $100.

Due to their heavier weight, blackout curtains require a sturdy drapery rod for hanging.

Tips for Installing Blackout Curtains

  • Check the packaging to determine which drapery rod size you will need.
  • Install the drapery rod above the top of the window to maximize light blockage.
  • Consider using a wraparound curtain rod with your blackout curtains for maximum effectiveness.
  • Pair a valance or cornice box with your blackout curtains to prevent light leakage at the top of the window.
In addition to blocking light, some blackout curtains can also block up to 40 percent of exterior noises.

FAQ

Q. What size blackout curtains should I buy?
A. Just as with regular curtains, you should measure your windows first to determine the right size. With blackout curtains, however, it's best to be overly generous with measurements. Add about six inches at the top of the window frame, three inches to the bottom of the frame, and three inches on either side to ensure that all light is blocked.

Q. Do blackout curtains only come in black or dark colors?
A. No. You can find blackout curtains in a wide variety of colors and patterns. In fact, you can even find white blackout curtains that will effectively keep your room dark.

Q. Can blackout curtains reduce my home energy costs?
A. If you choose blackout curtains with thermal insulation, you may be able to reduce both your heating and cooling costs. The curtains prevent warm air from escaping your home, and they block warm sun rays from counteracting your AC in the warmer months.

Effective blackout curtains can block 100 percent of exterior light.

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