17 Best Cheap Soundproofing Materials (in 2023)
If you’ve ever been bothered by annoying unwanted noise in your daily life (which I’m sure you have!), you know how much of a pain it can be.
Noise can really get on your nerves and affect your overall well-being when you encounter it regularly. That’s why it’s safe to say that noise is one of the most annoying aspects of modern living.
Now, what’s the solution? Well, it’s all about soundproofing. And for soundproofing, you need something called “soundproofing materials.”
So in this comprehensive guide, we’ll introduce you to 17 effective, best and cheap soundproofing materials that are ideal for soundproofing.
So, without wasting any more time, let’s get straight to the point!
What are Soundproofing Materials?
Soundproofing materials are specialized products designed to decrease the amount of noise that travels between rooms or within a room.
They comes in a wide variety of ranges. Each soundproofing material is designed for specific areas and each type of them works differently to reduce sound transmission.
How Soundproofing Materials works?
Soundproofing materials work by reducing the amount of sound that passes through a surface or space. These materials are designed to absorb, reflect or block sound waves, which help creates a quieter environment.
Absorption materials, such as fiberglass or acoustic foam, works by decreasing the amount of sound that reflects off surfaces. They are mostly used in recording studios or movie theaters to reduce reverberation and improve sound quality.
Reflection materials, such as concrete or steel, work by bouncing sound waves back towards their source. These materials are often used in industrial settings or in structures where sound isolation is important, like hospitals or concert halls.
Blocking materials, such as mass-loaded vinyl or drywall, work by physically preventing sound waves from passing through a surface. They are often used in walls or ceilings to create a sound barrier between rooms or between indoor and outdoor spaces.
17 Best Cheap Soundproofing Materials
Finally, here are that 17 Best noiseproofing materials.
1: Acoustic Foam Panels
Acoustic foam panel is a highly popular soundproofing material. Acoustic foam panels are made up of polyurethane and work by absorbing sound waves that come into contact with their surfaces.
However, keep in mind that acoustic foam panels are not a sound-blocking material, they are just good at absorbing sound and reducing reverberation.
And that’s why they are mostly used in recording studios and home theaters to enhance audio quality and reduce sound reflections.
Acoustic foam panels typically have a noise reduction coefficient (NRC) rating of 0.4 to 0.6, which means they can absorb 40% to 60% of the sound energy that reaches them which is neither the best nor the worst.
By the way, I let you know that there are “acoustic panels” not “acoustic foam panels” that are effective at both sound reduction and sound absorption, but they cost a lot more than foam panels.
3: Soundproof Curtains
Soundproof curtains is an effective and affordable soundproofing material that is ideal for soundproofing doors, windows and walls as well. They are designed to block sound and prevent it from entering your living space.
According to architectureanddesign.com.au, soundproof curtains have an NRC rating of of up to 0.75, which means they can tackle up to 70 to 75% of the sound.
Not only do they block out noise, but they also help protect your space from outside temperatures. And I let you know that, soundproof curtains are one of the most used soundproofing products. For two reasons:
- First, they does not require any extra space for installation, you can install in place of regular curtains.
- Second, they are cheap, no doubt about it as it only costs 40 to 60% more than normal curtains, but these numbers can go up and down as I have compared the price of some regular curtains versus soundproofing curtains.
3: Soundproof Blanket
The soundproof blanket is a versatile and one of the most used soundproofing materials, typically used in studios and other similar areas where superior sound quality matters.
My audio editor has been in many studios, and he told me that: most of the studios I’ve visited are using soundproof blankets over their doors and windows. They are also not expensive, their price ranges anywhere between $50 to up to $150.
And, according to soundproofcentral.com, soundproof curtains can reduce the sound level by up to 80%, which is quiet impressive!
When choosing a blanket, look for one that is STC rated like the Quiet Quilt™ blankets, these blankets are a way more effective than standard blankets, however, they are also super expensive.
4: Soundproof Drywall
This list of best soundproofing materials is literally incomplete without mentioning drywall. Whether you’re soundproofing your walls, ceilings or even door, for effective noise reduction, you will need drywall. It is one of the best soundproofing material for walls as well as ceilings. You can also use drywall to soundproof a closet.
Soundproof drywall is typically made by sandwiching a layer of viscoelastic material, such as gypsum or cellulose, between two layers of heavy paper or gypsum board. This viscoelastic layer provides sound-damping properties, making it more effective at blocking sound.
If you want to soundproof a wall or ceiling, go for 5/8 inch drywall. It’s more effective at stopping sound from getting through. Thicker drywall works better than thinner drywall.
You can buy drywall from your nearby hardware store or from HomeDepot. A drywall sheet cost about $15 to $60 per panel.
If you want to soundproof your basement ceiling even with a low-budget, read our post: How to Soundproof a basement ceiling?
5: Acoustic Mineral-Wool Insulation
Mineral wool insulation is an excellent sound-absorbing material and is mostly used in construction and building projects to enhance acoustic. You can use it for soundproofing a wall and ceiling.
Its high density and mineral composition make it a good material to consider for soundproofing. It does an excellent job of absorbing sound, it also has an open fiber matrix that absorbs sound waves better than any other materials out there.
And we’ve tested its effectiveness and compared it to the cheapest soundproofing material – Acoustic Foam Panels.
The mineral wool insulation reduced the noise level by 17.6dB, while the foam panels reduced only 4dB, this is not bad but not good either, but the main thing here is that the foam compared to the mineral wool insulation panels are cheap.
On the other hand, mineral wool insulation costs between $1.40 and $2.10 per square foot as mentioned by Jenna Jonaitis on Angi.com.
6: Mass Loaded Vinyl
Mass loaded vinyl, also known as MLV is a new product on the market that is crushing right now. MLV are sound reflective and blocking barriers.
This material is often sold in sheet form and can be used for all kinds of applications, such as walls, ceilings, floors or even doors. In fact, I have used it to soundproof many doors.
MLV is an effective soundproofing material because of its high mass. When sound waves encounter MLV, the dense material reflects and absorbs the energy, reducing their transmission. This makes it highly effective at blocking both airborne and impact noise.
A Youtuber “James Yiacoustic Building Material” did a really great test with Mass Loaded Vinyl.
He first outlined two small rectangular boxes with wood and covered one of those boxes with mass loaded vinyl but left one side out.
Then, he played music through a small Bluetooth speaker and placed it on a box that was not covered, at that time the noise level was 77 dB.
He then placed the speaker on another box that was covered with MLV but not on one side, and measured the noise level, it was around 74 and 75 dB.
But as soon as they cover the box completely, the noise level comes down significantly to 64dB which is quite impressive.
The cost of mass loaded vinyl mainly depend on its thickness. On average, it ranges from $2 to $4 per square foot.
7: Anti-Vibration Floor Mats
Everyone talks about soundproofing walls, ceilings, doors, and windows, but very least homeowners think about soundproofing their floors.
You all know it that, washing machine, dryer and other appliances produces a lot of vibrations which disturbs us, and to kill these vibrations you will need these anti-vibrations pads.
It is very effective for soundproofing floors. You can use it to literally kill vibrations. Anti-vibration floor mats are specifically designed to be placed under appliances like washers and dryers.
They are typically made from rubber or elastomeric materials known for their vibration-absorbing properties. I have been using these floor mats since 2019 to eliminate vibration from my room. In addition to this, they also give a great look to the floor.
I tested the effectiveness of anti-vibration floor mats by placing a noise level tester about 1 foot above the cement floor and set up a camera to capture the results.
Then, I dropped a steel ball onto the floor without any product, and the noise level reached 75dB. After that, I laid the anti-vibration floor mat and dropped the same steel ball again. And the noise level comes down to 51.5dB, a massive difference of 23.5dB.
However, these mats are very expensive, it can cost you anywhere from $9 to up to $25 per sq. ft., which is super high. Here are two anti-vibration pads you can choose from:
Weather-stripping is an excellent thing for soundproofing doors and windows. Weather-strip is just a strip of rubber or plastic that is placed around an opening in order to create a seal. They are typically installed around the doors to create a tight seal and prevent noise from passing through.
As you open the doors or windows of your house, they make a little rattling sound when the door hits that rectangular outline. You can install weather-strip their to eliminate that sound.
I’ve been using it before I delved into soundproofing, but when I first applied it to my door, I didn’t expect anything from it except to seal the gap around my door.
But after that I noticed three things about it:
- Firstly, it is blocking the coming wind.
- Secondly it is also blocking the noise which was coming from the neighbor’s house when their kids play.
- And lastly, it is blocking the noise that hits that rectangular outline on the door.
9: Furniture & Households Items
It may be surprising to know that even household items can offer soundproofing benefits, but these items are not specifically counted as soundproofing material.
However, you need to do it strategically to get a noticeable result, and I am pretty sure there must be a question floating in your mind and that is- how do household items help in soundproofing?
So furniture like chairs, sofas and bookcases are mass rich (heavy) objects and we all know that mass is one of the primary factors on which soundproofing depends and for this reason they are good at absorption. It helps to absorb sound waves and helps block transmission around a space.
And that’s what I personally observed as when the construction of the house was completed and all the rooms as well as the ceiling were painted, I saw a lot of resonance.
But after we moved furniture and other items in that room, I found the room was less reverberation than before.
And if your rooms are very empty and have a lot of flat surfaces that it’s easy to bounce sound off of, there’s no point in doing anything about it, killing the sound naturally. Using furniture and household items throughout the home will make more difference than you might think.
But do you know, which furniture and household work great in soundproofing? Probably, not, right? so here is a list of households that can work for soundproofing:
- Cushions and Pillows
- Bookshelves, sofas and Dresser
- Carpets and Rugs
- Exercise Mats
- Cardboard Boxes
- Bean bags
10: Door Sweep
Door sweep is a door seal that helps sweep out drafts, dust and other airborne particles. Door sweeps are usually flexible material that is attached to the bottom of the door to seal the gap and prevent sound coming into the room.
I am using Door Sweep to seal the bottom edge of my bedroom door as there is a half inch gap between the bottom edge of the door and the floor surface but I don’t notice any difference.
And to be honest, I have never tested it with a noise level tester, so when I was writing about this I think to do so.
So I bought two door sweeps of different price points with just the purpose of testing, one is of $7 and another is of $27, checked the noise level without installing any of them, it was about 66 db.
Then I installed the costliest one of these two and checked the noise level; it was around 57dB with a difference of 9dB.
After that I checked the second door sweep and the result was quite different as before as the noise level was around 60 dB with a difference of only 6 dB so it lost by 3 db.
So the conclusion of this investigation is that expensive is better than cheap, but doesn’t it always fit any product, even with door sweep.
Now you know which one is better but if you have to seal a lot of doors and your budget is low then I would recommend you to go for the lowest priced door sweep.
11: Green Glue Noise-Proofing Compound
Green Glue noise-proofing compound is one of my favorite soundproofing materials especially due to its versatility. It can go where foam panels or other materials can’t.
You can use it while attaching two drywall sheets or two layers of plywood when soundproofing your walls or ceilings and for sealing tiny gaps and cracks in your door and window.
It make sure that those drywall sheets or plywood are properly glued and don’t let noise pass through. Plus, it’s super easy to use: to apply, just cut off the top seal, load in on a glue gun and apply it to where you want.
And the owner of Concept Electronics, Bill Blaylock said that:
“It offers the best value for money, if you set it up correctly, the result will be really great, we can get up to 58 dB of noise reduction between rooms.”
Well it’s hard to believe that it can reduce that much noise, but green glue works great. And according to Buy-Insulation-Product-Store, the green glue between two sheets of drywall can eliminate up to 90 percent of noise.
One tube of green glue will cost around fifteen to twenty dollars and you’ll need two for each sheet of drywall, so it can be expensive if you have lots of walls or an entire home. If this is the case then you can ignore it.
12: Green Glue Noise-Proofing Sealant
Green Glue Noiseproofing Sealant is a versatile soundproofing sealant that is slightly differs from the compound but works very similarly. It is used to seal gaps and cracks.
The sealant closes gaps very closely and prevents air from passing through the gap. It is also slightly effective at absorbing noise.
As mentioned earlier, it is used to fill gaps and cracks, so you can use it to seal the gap and cracks in your door, window and other areas to prevent noise seeping through.
This materials is easier to apply, just like compound and is much more affordable than Green Glue NoiseProofing compound. A six pack of green glue compound costs about $140, while the same pack of sealant only costs $95.
13: Putty Pads
Putty pad is a type of acoustic sealant that is used to cover electrical outlets and other essential areas. The main job of putty pads is to prevent the possibility of a fire, but the extra mass also helps with soundproofing as well.
I’ve personally tested it, and got a sexy noise reduction of 27 decibels. I was totally surprised by this. Well, if you haven’t set it up properly, it might not make a huge difference to some people.
But it is a tested and proven soundproofing material that works wonder to prevent fire and noise in bonus.
Recommended to read: https://www.familyhandyman.com/article/do-putty-pads-help-with-soundproofing/
And obviously putty pads are better for those that are in the construction phase where you can use these pads to cover the electrical outlet completely.
14: Soundproofing Wallpaper
Are you on a tight budget? But still want to soundproof your place then wallpaper can be a good option to try.
Wallpapers are made of paper and are a lot more cheaper than other types of soundproofing materials, such as mass loaded vinyl or acoustic foam panels.
But the question is, does it actually work?
So the simple answer is yes, it can work. My friend Peter has tested it and found a difference of just 6dB, which is noticeable but not impressive.
15: Sound-deadening Paint
There are numerous materials out there to soundproof your room, but some of them are costly while others are affordable, but there is a soundproofing material called sound-deadening paint which sounds expensive but it is actually not.
Sound-deadening paints are special types of paint that are designed to deaden noise in a room. However, I do let you know that they are not that much effective at it.
Sound-deadening paints help redecorate your home while also soundproofing your room at the same time. They are composed of mostly water just like regular paint, but they have latex in them which comes from tapping natural trees. It contains contains sound-absorbing materials and is considered environmentally friendly because it’s non-toxic and dries quickly.
While using soundproof paints, you will need to paint additional layers of soundproofing paint to make it a bit more effective than usual. I would recommend applying at least three coats.
16: Resilient Channel
A resilient channel is a special type of framing that is used to help reduce sound transmission in walls and ceilings.
The channel is made of metal or plastic and is designed to decouple the drywall from the studs. This helps to isolate the two surfaces and prevent vibrations from traveling between them.
It cost a decent amount of money but it is not going to be easy for someone who is trying it for the first time, and if you are one of them.
You can then take help from watching videos on YouTube, although it just involves some basic measurements and lining things up properly.
17: Egg Cartons
If you’re looking for a low-cost way to soundproof your room, egg cartons is a option for you. I no need to explain what egg cartons are.
Egg cartons are made of paper or foam and is designed to protect the eggs from breakage but it also helps with soundproofing a bit. They help absorb noise and reduce reverberation to a certain extent.
However, egg cartons are not the visually appealing option, and are also not effective at reducing sound as they are not designed for soundproofing, but they are “the cheapest option” for soundproofing any space that you care less about.
To sum up, if you have a low budget and want to reduce reverberation and absorb in your room, egg cartons can be a viable option to consider. Of course, you can’t use egg cartons in your bedroom.
And I let you know that you have recently published a complete guide to soundproof a room using egg cartons, here is the link to that post: How to make a room soundproof using egg cartons?
What are the best soundproofing materials for walls?
In my opinion, the best soundproofing materials for walls are soundproof drywall, mass loaded vinyl (MLV) and acoustic panels.
Soundproof drywall is heavy and has sound-damping properties. It’s highly effective at blocking sound and can be directly attached to the interior wall to block out sound.
While mass loaded vinyl (MLV) is a dense and flexible material and by attaching it to your wall, you can significantly lessen sound coming in. And acoustic panels are a good choice for soundproofing walls in studios.
They work well for controlling sound in those spaces. For soundproofing walls in an apartment, you can use curtains or blankets.
What are the best soundproofing materials for windows?
The best soundproofing materials for windows are:
- Soundproofing Curtains: These are made with thick, sound-absorbing materials and can be hung over your windows to reduce outside noise.
- Window Inserts: Acoustic window inserts are custom-made to fit your windows. They create an additional barrier against noise without the need for a full window replacement.
- Sealant and Weatherstripping: Properly sealing gaps and applying weatherstripping around your windows can lower noise infiltration.
What are the best soundproofing materials for doors?
The best soundproofing materials for doors are:
- Drywall: For non-sliding doors, you can attach a drywall sheet on your door using screws, and it is one of the best materials for doors.
- Door Sweeps: Adding a door sweep to the bottom of the door helps seal gaps and prevents sound from seeping through.
- Soundproofing Blankets or Curtains: Hanging soundproof blankets or curtains over doors can help absorb and block noise.
- Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV): MLV can be applied to the back of the door to add mass and reduce sound transmission.
- Thick acoustic panels: You can also think about using thick acoustic panels on your door.
What are the best soundproofing materials for a music studio?
Acoustic panels are often used in recording studios and home theaters and it is the best soundproofing material for music studios due to its sound-absorbing capacities. Another effective and suitable material for a music studio is mineral wool insulation, it is a dense material that can be used for soundproofing walls and ceilings in a music studio. You can also use high-quality soundproof curtains in your studio.
What is the best soundproofing material for the ceiling?
Drywall and mineral wool insulation combinations are the best soundproofing material for the ceiling. For the basement ceiling, drywall is enough.
What are the best floor soundproofing materials?
The best floor soundproofing material is acoustic underlayment, this material is placed beneath the flooring, such as hardwood or laminate, to reduce impact noise like footsteps and minimize sound transmission between floors.
What are the best outdoor soundproofing materials?
The best outdoor soundproofing materials include acoustic fences made from dense materials such as wood, metal, or composite materials. These fences can effectively block and absorb outdoor noise. To further enhance their effectiveness, you can incorporate mass-loaded vinyl or soundproofing blankets into the fence structure.
My Final Thoughts
There are a variety of ways to soundproof your home, the best method depends on your budget and the level of noise you’re trying to block out.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution, foam panels and egg cartons can be great options. For a more permanent solution, you can install mass loaded vinyl or soundproof drywall.
If you’re dealing with particularly loud noise, you may need to combine multiple soundproofing methods to achieve the desired results.
Well that’s all, for this post, 17 Best Cheap Soundproofing Materials, we have put 100% effort and time to make this post as epic and actionable as possible for you, so that you can get the best and accurate information.
And all the soundproofing materials on this list are tested and proven, so it’s undoubtedly legendary, by the way I always try to include products that have been used by our team, my friends or anyone else I know.