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Shopping Guide for Best Blackout Curtains

Many of us have been in the unfortunate position of desperately needing sleep, but having the sunlight glare through the bedroom windows. It can be maddening, and not having the proper amount of sleep starts your day on a frustrating note.

Short of pulling your hair out or relying on sleeping pills to get you through the night, you may think there’s not much you can do — but there is!

Investing in blackout curtains could solve your problem, and it won’t involve too much time or money.

With the right set of blackout curtains, you can block out the light that is entering the room, no matter how bright that sun is.

Whether you’re trying to sleep at the time the roosters are crowing, or whether it’s when the sun is the brightest and most irritating at noon, you can keep your sleeping space comfortably dark.

In addition to all the other benefits, blackout curtains also help protect furniture and floors from fading from sunlight exposure.

But when it comes to actually buying them, you probably don’t want to spend significant time finding blackout curtains that perfectly match your decor, only to find out they don’t work as well as you had hoped.

Once they’re installed, you’re not likely to take them back to the store, either. Choosing the wrong blackout curtains could make your sleepless nights even worse.

This is where BestReviews can help you out! We’ve listed above our top five choices for the best blackout curtains.

There were no curtains donated; BestReviews buys the products we review, at the same stores where you shop. We keep our research and analysis free of bias. We just want to help you make the best decision when choosing and buying your blackout curtains.

DID YOU KNOW?

An additional use for blackout curtains is blocking out noise. The fabric helps insulate the window with its density, providing some noise dampening.

What Are Blackout Curtains?

Blackout curtains are made from an opaque fabric in order to block out all light outside the window. They are often found in hotel rooms, but are also found in homes, in rooms such as baby nurseries, media rooms, and bedrooms.

On an historical note, they were also used during World War II to prevent enemy bombers from seeing targets during nighttime missions.

They’re manufactured by coating fabric with multiple layers of black foam, creating the blackout effect. A white or lighter-colored layer is then applied on top of the black layers.

A two-pass blackout is created with a layer of black foam, then the lighter layer. A three-pass blackout is created with two lighter-color layers of foam and a layer of black in between.

Also consider blackout shades or blinds that work in the same way as blackout curtains. However, blackout blinds won’t help you control the temperature in the room, meaning they won’t lead to lower energy costs.

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An additional benefit of blackout curtains is that they can help you conserve energy costs by keeping your room cold while the hot sun is beating down, or even in the reverse: they keep your room warm while keeping the cold winter air out.

Close to a third of the energy loss related to heating and cooling in the home is through the windows.

You can imagine how much money you could be saving with a bit of extra insulating effect.

EXPERT TIP

It is also possible to create your own blackout curtains by adding blackout fabric to the curtains you already own, but this takes some sewing capability.


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Identifying Excellent Blackout Curtains

First, be sure what you’re looking for are truly blackout curtains. There are a few other options that will do a similar job, but to block out the most light possible, you want blackout curtains. Related products include the following.

Related products

Thermal Curtains

These curtains can block out sunlight, dampen sound, and reduce energy costs, but their primary function is to insulate the room, not block things out. While both thermal and blackout curtains can do similar functions, their primary uses are different.

DID YOU KNOW?

Blackout curtains help with energy efficiency by blocking the sunlight that might heat the air in the room, and by insulating the windows.

Related products

Light-Filtering Curtains

These are created with semi-opaque fabric, rather than opaque and, like the name suggests, filter out a portion of the sunlight, only letting in a small amount.

They can also insulate a room to some degree.

EXPERT TIP

To eliminate light leaking in from the sides and top of blackout curtains, create a multi-layer treatment by adding side panels and a valance or cornice box at the top.


Staff  | BestReviews
Related products

Room-Darkening Curtains

This type of curtain gives you darkness as well as privacy. They still allow in a sliver of light, meaning you’ll still be able to navigate the room.

Though they’re very similar to blackout curtains, the key difference is that room-darkening curtains don’t block 100% of the light.

Because of the smooth surface of most blackout curtains, they’re easy to vacuum to keep clean, meaning you won’t have to machine wash them as much.

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BestReviews
Related products

Blockout Curtains

This is really just another name for blackout curtains. They are virtually the same thing.

Related products

Blackout Liners

You can also just add a blackout liner behind your current curtains. It’s minimal work, and usually a minimal price.

DID YOU KNOW?

While blackout curtains block the light from coming in as well as sound, they also give you 100% privacy.

Once you are sure you’re looking for blackout curtains and 100% darkness you can begin to think about their appearances. If you’re looking for curtains that will match your decor, you want to go with the three-pass. With a two-pass, the black layer of foam would be seen through the fabric. You need that additional white or lighter-color foam layer to cover up the black to keep your fabric looking the way it should be.

The only negative factor when considering blackout curtains is aesthetics. Due to their sturdy construction, they aren’t always “pretty.” While they come in solid colors and patterns, they have a tendency to look rather industrial.

Many of the choices for solid colors tend to be neutral colors, and unless they are three-pass curtains, the patterned curtains are more light-filtering curtains than blackout.

EXPERT TIP

Blackout curtains can be quite heavy, so plan on hanging them with a sturdier curtain rod than you might otherwise use.


Staff  | BestReviews

Buying Blackout Curtains

While you’ve most likely encountered blackout curtains in hotels, you can purchase your own from many of the same stores where you buy regular curtains: Amazon, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Walmart, and Target.

Like regular curtains, blackout curtain prices vary a great deal between types, as well as size.

You can pay as much as $500 for a large, very elaborate set, and as little as $10 for just one panel. But for a good set of curtains, you can expect to pay between $20 and $50, and possibly up to $100.

Blackout curtains may be a little more costly than regular curtains, but at the same time you’re saving money on your energy bills.

FAQ

Q. Is it difficult to hang blackout curtains?

A. They are hung in basically the same manner as regular curtains. However, be sure that your blackout curtains extend a couple of inches beyond the window frame on all four sides to block as much light as possible. Using wraparound rods is also a good idea, as they will guarantee even more light is being kept out. Do keep in mind, though, that because the curtains are heavier, you’ll need a sturdier curtain rod.

Q. Can blackout curtains really block out 100% of incoming light?

A. While many claim to block out 100%, and users claim that they provide total darkness, this is something manufacturers can’t truly guarantee. Experts say 100% is a difficult thing to achieve, as light can leak in through the sides, top, and bottom, depending on how the curtains are hung. If you’re buying the curtains from a brick-and-mortar store, hold them up to the artificial light in the store to test out just how much light is being blocked.

Q. Are blackout curtains machine washable?

A. Usually, but like with any fabric, there’s no hard and fast rule that they are always machine washable. Most likely they are, but before you actually buy them, make sure you read the label and the packaging to to make sure you’ll be able to wash them.

Q. How long do blackout curtains usually last?

A. These curtains are generally thought to be more durable, as they are much heavier than regular curtains, and as long as they’re well made, that durability should lead to longevity.

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