Buying Guide for Soundproof Foam Panels
Why buy soundproof foam panels?
Suppose you want to control the quality of sound or general volume coming from a music studio room. In that case, soundproof foam panels are a relatively affordable and effective option. First, let’s clarify the difference between soundproofing and sound-absorbing materials. Suppose you truly want to soundproof or block sound. In that case, you need to look for heavy and solid material like a metal framework covered with plasterboard. It’s tricky to find the right acoustic balance when you soundproof a room. Foam panels make a perfect sound-absorbing material to reduce reverberation, echoes, and waves through absorption. The sound-absorbing foam makes a less stressful installation process and likely better result than soundproofing; the two terms are often used interchangeably.
What should you look for in soundproof foam panels?
- Surface Design: It’s unlikely you’ll ever run across smooth soundproof panels because sound travels in waves and, on a flat surface, will likely reflect off the panels. Sound is best absorbed by foam panels with raised, textured shapes. Common examples include wedge, pyramid, egg-crate, and spade-shaped surfaces. Spade-shaped surfaces, for example, offer better sound quality than smooth but less quality than wedge or pyramid textures.
- Look: You bet looks matter! Aesthetically, soundproof panels impact a room’s ambiance like wallpaper or paint, except that panels impose a 3D dimension. Consider the difference between a spiky wedge surface and a smoother and rounded mushroom shape. What look are you going for? Panels come in various colors and color designs as well.
- Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC): NRC is the standard rating for how well a material, in this case, foam panels, absorb sound. An NRC of 0.75 means 75% of the sound energy that contacts that material is absorbed and not reflected. Likewise, this same material is 25% reflective, which means 25% less reverberation, echoes, and sound waves. Not everyone needs NRC 0.9 foam soundproofing panels, though professional musicians or podcasters may. It’s something to keep in mind as you shop.
What should you expect to spend on soundproof foam panels?
How much you spend depends on several factors. Perhaps the most significant is how much physical space you want to cover with panels. If you know you want to completely cover the walls and ceiling of your studio, you’ll have to measure and run some calculations to see how much that would run you. Many square-shaped panels are a square foot in size. Pay attention as you browse products to get the correct dimensions of each panel and the number of panels that come with one purchase.
Our Picks for the Best Soundproof Foam Panels
XIN & LOG 48 Pack Acoustic Foam Panel
A pack of quality wedge-shaped polyurethane panels that come in checkered colors.
Pros: The wavy triangle pattern design of the XIN & LONG foam panel effectively absorbs flutter echoes and standing waves, improving the clarity of your sound. Each of the 48 panels is one square foot in size, a standard size that may make installation easier in most small to medium size rooms. Its overall NRC is 0.4, or 40%, a similar effect to that of carpet. Made of polyurethane, the panels are environmentally friendly and nontoxic. The material lasts a long time and can be recycled. XIN & LONG’s foam panels work in home recording studios, theaters, and gaming rooms. Choose from solid black, checkered red and black, blue and black, and purple and black to enhance the mood of your studio.
Cons: There are no installation instructions on the product page or included with the purchase. Some users report issues with strip and spray adhesives.
Bottom Line: These gigantic pack of soundproof foam panels makes a great beginner buy. The colorful options offer a quick new look and inspiration.
Fstop Labs Acoustic Foam Panels
A 12-pack of 3D acoustic foam panels that come in fun colors.
Pros: They look awesome with their 3D bevel-edged mushroom shape and loud colors, though they’re available in black and grey, too. But the design also effectively reduces reverb, echoes, and waves. Each panel measures 12 x 12 inches and is 2 inches thick to create moderate sound control. Made of fire-retardant and nontoxic polyurethane, these panels make a safe material to bring into your home. It’s important to note that you don’t necessarily need to cover a room on all sides to reduce noise. These panels work great for spot-treating rooms as well. It only takes about 24-48 hours for the vacuum-sealed panels to assume their normal size.
Cons: These panels should be soaked in water for a while and then dried to expand before you put them up on the wall, so they take more work than some will want to put in. They also aren’t as effective as some others at dampening sound. The white ones can yellow quickly, too.
Bottom Line: Why buy the Fstop soundproof foam panels? Because they’re nice and thick and come in nine different colors to soundproof kids’ rooms, living rooms, and music studios.
DEKIRU Acoustic Soundproof Panels, 12 Pack
These hexagonal and colorful panels can be arranged into alluring designs and absorb sound.
Pros: These soundproof panels differ from most panels in shape and surface. Each panel comprises a single 13- x 14- x 0.4-inch hexagon with beveled edges and a smooth surface. The original shape offers you the freedom to arrange them in fun designs across walls and ceilings to add a visual allure. They also come in a variety of colors. Their shape is thought to add better absorption of unwanted echo and standing waves. They’re made of nontoxic, flame retardant 100% polyester fiber, a porous material that absorbs sound. Rather than a wedge or egg-crate surface, they have a smooth texture and feel a bit like felt to the touch. Installation requires only nails, glue, or adhesive tape, preferably nano double-sided or double-sided duct tape.
Cons: Numerous users say that the panels look better than they function to absorb sound.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking to pad a room to improve sound quality and reduce noise, the DEKIRU offers a creative solution. The fun shape and low-profile look make a fantastic redecorating solution.
Fstop Labs Acoustic Wedge Panels, 12 Pack
A pack of 2-inch thick 3D wedge-shaped foam panels for a reasonable price.
Pros: This product by Fstop differs from the first product we reviewed in surface shape. These panels have a 3D wedge shape rather than the bevel-edged mushroom shape. Wedge panels make an edgier look and absorb sound waves well. The acoustic density is 50 pounds per cubic yard to better dampen sound and absorb unwanted flutter echoes and reverb. Choose from black, gray, blue, and purple to personalize your studio.
Cons: The most common issue users struggle with is how slowly and inconsistently the panels decompress.
Bottom Line: Fans of the Fstop Labs wedge foam panels appreciate their cool look over their performance but are generally pleased with the sound-absorption performance too. This product makes an excellent option to change sound and visual quality with one purchase.
BUBOS Hexagon Acoustic Panels
Eco-friendly, attractive, and sound-absorbing hexagonal foam panels.
Pros: Eco-friendly, high-density, odorless 100% polyester fiber makes up these acoustic hexagonal-shaped panels. They make a friendly and cool addition to your studio, home theater, or office space. The panels have a beveled-edge design, which looks great and may positively affect sound absorption, reducing flutter echoes and reverb. The acoustic density is 9.6 pounds per cubic yard. If you’re sturdy with the hand, you can easily cut the panels with a sharp knife to create new shapes. The installment requires only spray adhesive or 3M double-sided tape.
Cons: You may be disappointed with these panels if you want to soundproof a room. Users report that they perform okay for sound-absorbing.
Bottom Line: Try these polyester fiber panels out in music rooms, baby rooms, theater rooms, and more. Users love the marble-style look, but there are other great options, too, including colorful 3D art and several solid colors.
If you want to create a supremely cool-looking and effectively soundproof music studio, home theater, or kids’ room, check out these soundproof foam panels.