What are Acoustic Panels
Acoustic panels are a type of soundproofing foam that is typically open-celled. They are usually made of polyester, polyether. or extruded melamine.
Acoustic panels work by reducing the amplitude of sound waves by increasing air resistance. This is why they are great for soundproofing.
Some panels are made of fiberglass which is a good material for soundproofing.
The reason fiberglass is a good soundproofing material is because the friction between the fibers in fiberglass and the air result in the loss of a lot of sound energy.
Foam insulation is the most common type of isolation, and they are often used for soundproofing. Because acoustic panels are made from soundproofing materials that have chemical compositions, you may notice a pungent chemical odor the first time you use it.
However, you do not need to worry about the odor. It is not harmful, and it will go away shortly.
What to Look for when Buying Acoustic Panels
If you’ve decided you want to use acoustic panels to soundproof areas of your home, there are some things you should look for.
There are many kinds of acoustic soundproofing wall panels available, so it can be hard to know which ones to choose. You should not buy acoustic wall panels without having a strategy.
When shopping for acoustic panels, you should know exactly which features you need to look for. Otherwise, you could end up confused or settle for panels that aren’t good for your needs.
To help you choose the best acoustic panels for your needs, I’ve created this guide so that you’ll know everything you need to know about choosing the right acoustic panels for you.
Without further ado, here are the things you need to consider when choosing the right acoustic panels for soundproofing your home.
1. Patterns on the Surface
Most acoustic foam wall panels come with patterns on them. The most common patterns on the surface of foam wall panels are pyramids and wedges.
There are also some acoustic wall panels that are plain and do not have any patterns on them.
When buying acoustic panels for soundproofing your home, you need to decide whether you want plain or patterned panels.
If you decide you want patterned panels, then you should think about which pattern you want. If you’re unsure about which pattern to get, then I recommend thinking about the potential designs you can make with each pattern type.
When placing patterned panels on your walls, you have the option of creating cool designs on your walls just by applying the panels in different directions. The pattern type you choose will determine which design options you have.
You may be wondering whether the type of pattern on a wall panel will alter its performance. The answer is no. the performance of acoustic wall panels remain the same regardless of if they are patterned or not and regardless of the type of pattern on them.
One thing that is determined by the pattern on acoustic wall panels, however, is how often they will need to be cleaned. Panels with wedges, for example, tend to collect dust more frequently, so you will have to clean them more often than you’d have to clean panels with a different pattern or no pattern at all.
Acoustic foam panels come in various levels of thickness. How much sound you want to block out determines how thick your panels should be. Thicker panels block the most sound, so if the area you want to soundproof needs serious soundproofing, then you should buy the thickest panels you can.
The reason thicker panels block sound better than thinner ones is because thicker panels can absorb low-frequency sound that thinner panels cannot absorb.
However, before deciding to buy thick foam panels, you should take into consideration where your foam wall panels will be placed. If your panels will be used in a studio, then you should opt for thinner panels because the soundproofing ability of thicker panels could negatively affect your audio recordings in your studio.
3. Noise Reduction Rating (NRC)
When looking at the product descriptions of acoustic panels, you may notice the NRC rating on each of them. This rating determines how much sound the panels can deaden.
Panels with higher NRC ratings are usually better at deadening sound.
Choose panels with NRC ratings that match your needs for how much sound you want deadened.
4. Dimensions and Pack Size
Acoustic wall panels are sold in packs. How many panels are in each pack depends on the brand of panels you buy.
Acoustic wall panels usually come in packs of 6, 12, or 24. Each individual panel is either 2 feet, 4 feet, or their dimensions are 2 feet by 4 feet (2 X 4).
Before buying acoustic panels, it is important that you measure the area(s) where they will be placed. The measurements of where they will be placed will determine what the dimensions of the panels you get should be.
The measurements of where your panels will be placed will also determine how many panels you should buy.
Measuring the area where your panels will go before buying them will let you know whether you need to buy panels in a pack of 6, 12, or 24, and it will also let you know how many of the packs you should buy.
Where to Buy Soundproof Panels
There are many places where you can buy acoustic soundproof wall panels, however, most of these places reside on the internet.
The reason for this is because acoustic foam panels usually aren’t stocked in stores.
I recommend buying your acoustic foam panels from Amazon. The reason I recommend doing this is because Amazon has an incredibly large selection of acoustic foam panels. You can find basically every type of foam panel in existence there.
You can also get them faster and cheaper if you buy them there as well.
Now that I’ve covered everything you need to consider before buying acoustic foam panels as well as where you can buy them, I’m now going to tell you about some of the best foam acoustic panels available today.
The Best Acoustic Panels and Soundproof Foams Available Today 2019
Not all acoustic foam panels are created equal. Some panels are great while some others are not. I do not want you to waste your money on the latter type of panels, so be sure to pay close attention to this list.
These wedge foam panels are ideal for reducing sound in studios, home offices, control rooms, and home theaters.
They come in a pack of 12, and each panel covers one square foot. Each tile is also 1 inch thick.
These panels are made in the United States of America, and they come in a variety of colors.
These relatively inexpensive panels will help reduce the amount of sound entering your room, studio, or home office.
Installing these panels is easy, though they are not self-adhesive so you will have to buy an adhesive to attach them to your walls. To make things simpler for you, however, these panels can be attached to walls using any adhesive.
You can also use a staple gun to attach them. I, however, do not recommend this and instead suggest that you use command strips to attach them to your wall.
These wall panels have a unique design, and they are made from high-quality materials. For this reason, these panels are quite durable.
One downside to these panels is that they are thin. They reduce the echo in a room quite well, but they are not very good for reducing sound from outside of a room.
Another drawback of these panels is that they can’t be used to cover larger areas. If you need to soundproof a large space, then I recommend not buying these acoustic panels.
However, if you just need to soundproof a studio or a smaller room, then these could be the perfect panels for you.
- Reduce echo
- Unique design
- Wedge panels so they can collect dust easily
- Can’t be used in large rooms
- Don’t reduce outside noise well
These foam panels also have a wedge design. When you install them on your wall, you can create a really cool design using them by alternating the vertical and horizontal panels.
Since these panels come in different colors, you can also create a cool aesthetic on your wall by installing different colored panels.
Compared to other acoustic foam panels on the market, these wedge panels are quite affordable. So, if you’re shopping on a budget, then I recommend buying these panels.
A great feature that these acoustic foam panels have is that they do not distort the sound in your room. Instead, these panels work by trapping sound and reducing echoes.
These acoustic wedge panels are very versatile, and they can be used on walls, ceilings, and windows. They can also be used on doors.
You can place these panels anywhere you need to block out sound. However, they are ideal for studios, homes offices, theaters, and other small rooms.
Though these panels are quite thin, they work surprisingly well and are effective at blocking out sound.
One downside of these panels, however, is that they aren’t very durable. Even after just a couple of months of use, the foam on these acoustic wedge panels can begin to start crumbling. These acoustic foam panels are also quite flimsy.
On top of that, since these panels are so thin, you could potentially rip them while trying to install them onto your walls. For this reason you should pay close attention to what you’re doing if you decide to use these foam panels.
Since these foam panels have a wedge design, cleaning them will be a routine part of your life if you choose to use these panels to soundproof an area of your home or office.
To clean these wedge panels, however, is simple. All you need to do is vacuum them, and the job can be done in a couple of minutes depending on how many panels you have installed in your home.
- Effective at blocking out sound
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Versatile applications
- Thin and flimsy
- Hard to install because you can potentially rip them
- Require routine cleaning
These acoustic foam patterns have a unique egg carton design, and they are also very thick.
These acoustic foam panels are approximately 2.5 inches thick which makes them great at absorbing sound, and their dimensions are 4 feet by 2 feet; so, if you use these panels to soundproof your home, then you won’t need to use as many of them.
Since these foam panels are shipped rolled up and compressed, they will need at least two days to expand fully before you start using them.
One positive thing about these acoustic foam panels is that they are very versatile. These acoustic foam panels are not only good for soundproofing your home, but also they can be used to line a gun case.
You can also use these foam panels to protect your fragile possessions when you are moving. Just wrap them around your breakable valuables when you pack up to move.
Another way you can use these panels is by making a soundproof box around a microphone. If the microphone will be used for recording in a studio, then creating a soundproof box around it using these foam panels will have the same effect as soundproofing the entire recording studio without you actually having to do it.
So, not only will you save time but also money.
While these foam panels are great, they do have one drawback: They tend to not be cut well, so installing them can be difficult because these panels often do not align correctly.
- Effective at soundproofing larger and smaller areas
- Can be cut improperly and difficult to install
These acoustic panels come in a variety of colors, and regardless of which color you buy these panels in, they will work very well.
These panels are made from high-density open-celled acoustical foam, and they are high quality and very durable.
Unlike cheaply-made foam panels, these high-density foam panels generally do not crumble or compress over time. Instead, they are long lasting.
Acoustical foam typically does not have an aesthetically-pleasing look, but these acoustical foam panels are the exception. These acoustical foam panels are cut with meticulous precision to ensure that their edges line up so that these panels look appealing to the eye when installed on your wall.
If you want panels that can absorb low-frequency sound, then these may not be the panels for you. These panels are designed to absorb mid and high frequencies, and they are also great at removing flutter echo and slap back.
One incredible thing about these foam panels is that unlike most foam panels which increase the spread of fire, these foam panels instead are fire retardant.
What that means is that if a fire were to break out in a room where you have these panels installed, these panels will slow down the spread of the fire in that room. This is a potentially life-saving feature to have in foam panels.
As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” And since these foam panels are incredible and can potentially save your life, the cost of these panels is on the pricier side. If your budget is low, then these panels could be a strain on your wallet.
- High-quality and durable
- Effectively absorb mid and high frequency sounds
- Don’t absorb low-frequency sound
Alternatives to Acoustic Foam Panels
If after reading up on acoustic foam panels in my article, you’ve decided you’d like to use an alternative product to soundproof your home, you are in luck. There is a good alternative to acoustic foam panels: Mute-X (stylized as MuteX).
MuteX is very unique because it is made from polymer resin that is interlocked with carbonweave. The polymer resin and interlocked carbonweave work together to deaden sound.
A benefit of MuteX is that it is thin. MuteX is only approximately .25 inches (6.35 millimeters) thick, yet it still manages to be very effective at soundproofing spaces where it is installed.
If you want to use MuteX, then I suggest installing it as your house is being constructed. MuteX provides its best results when it is installed behind drywall.
An advantage that MuteX has over acoustic foam panels is that you likely will only need to purchase it once, whereas acoustic foam panels usually need to be replaced as most of them typically compress over time.
Though acoustic foam panels are generally great at decreasing echoes in a room, they often fail to deaden the sounds that dishwashers and air conditioners can make. MuteX on the other hand, is capable of reducing these vibrating sounds.
Soundproof Foam Spray
Another common alternative to acoustic foam panels is soundproof foam spray. This is not a good alternative to acoustic foam panels though.
The reason why soundproof foam spray is not a good alternative to acoustic foam panels is because it is a limiting product.
Soundproof foam spray can only be applied when your home is being constructed or whenever you are doing major renovations to your home.
Soundproof foam spray can be sprayed anywhere, but it looks horrible, and it is messy.
If you use soundproof foam spray during construction, then on the bright side, it will work incredibly well. This is especially so if it is sprayed between the floors of your home.
If you are not planning to use soundproof foam spray during the construction or renovation of your home, then I do not suggest buying this product. You will be wasting your money.
Final Notes on the Best Acoustic Foam Panels
If you’re interested in soundproofing your home with acoustic foam panels then check some out today.
I recommend buying the fire-retardant Auralex Acoustics Sonoflat Acoustic Absorption Foam panels, but if you can’t afford them then you can buy the versatile Foamily Egg Crate Panel Acoustic Studio Foam.
The Mybecca Acoustic Panels Studio Foam Wedges are also great at blocking out sound, and they are beautiful.
If you’re on a budget, then the Foamily Acoustic Panels Studio Foam Wedges may be the best option for you. They are inexpensive and good at reducing echo.