Best Blackout Curtains – Top Picks and Buyer’s Guide

Our Review Process

 

Tuck’s mattress and sleep product recommendations are based on more than 300,000 verified customer experiences and our team’s exhaustive testing procedure. We never recommend a sleep product we haven’t personally experienced and tested in our lab. You can rest assured, when you’re ready to buy, the product you pick meets Tuck’s lofty standards.

This research is supported by you, our readers, through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission. Read more about how we’re supported here.
Quick Summary

Blackout curtains are a nighttime necessity for many because they protect sleepers from excessive light exposure, which can interfere with the circadian cycle and reduce sleep quality and duration. Unlike standard curtains, blackout curtains are constructed with thick foam and fabric layers that can prevent even traces of light from entering the bedroom. Additionally, blackout curtains can have a cooling effect, particularly in places with hotter climates, and can block outside noise.

Most of today’s blackout curtains generally fall into one of two categories. Two-pass curtains have two foam layers attached to the fabric: black foam on the interior and white foam on the exterior. Many owners use a liner with two-pass curtains. Three-pass curtains feature layers of white foam and a layer of black foam in the middle; this gives them a more uniform appearance, and a liner may not be necessary.

This guide will look at different options and considerations for blackout curtain buyers, as well as our choices for the best blackout curtains and blackout liners sold today. Our picks are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.

Best Blackout Curtains

Editor’s Pick NICETOWN Blackout Curtains

Best Value Blackout Curtains – Utopia Bedding Thermal Blackout Room Darkening Curtain

Best Thermal Insulation – H.VERSAILTEX Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtain

Best Color Selection – Deconovo Blackout Thermal Insulated Curtains

Best Size Selection – Rose Home Fashion Blackout Curtains

Best Blackout Liner – Thermalogic Ultimate Liner

How We Decided

 

54 blackout curtains and liners considered –– 95 hours of research –– 4 sleep experts consulted

Best Blackout Curtains – Tuck's Top 4 Picks

NICETOWN Blackout Curtains – Editor's Pick

Highlights
  • Made from 100 percent polyester
  • Provides 85 to 99 percent light blocking
  • Thermal insulation keeps out extreme hot and cold
  • Optimal sound proofing

The NICETOWN Blackout Curtain is our “Editor’s Pick,” because we believe its qualities will please a variety of shoppers and prove to be a great long-term investment. Their blackout curtain is made of 100 percent polyester. It’s a heavy and sturdy fabric, and yet also very soft. They’re thread-trimmed and wrinkle-free, with both sides having the same full color. These curtains are designed to have affluent appeal without the expensive price tag.

As blackout curtains, NICETOWN’s product provides 85 to 99 percent light-blocking capability. They’ll protect your floors and furniture from damage due to frequent sunlight exposure. They’re thermally insulated, making them ideal for blocking excessive heat during hot summer months and very cold air in the winter. The curtains are soundproof, which will provide you with an excellent environment for a nice, peaceful sleep.

Good For:

  • Anyone who wants to keep a room at a comfortable, stable temperature.
  • Those who want to protect furniture and floors from sun damage.
  • Creating a quiet, soundproof environment.

Utopia Bedding Thermal Blackout Room Darkening Curtain – Best Value Blackout Curtain

Highlights
  • Two-pass
  • 52W”; 63L” or 84L”
  • 5 color options
  • Hooks and tie-backs for hanging versatility

The Thermal Blackout Room Darkening Curtain from Utopia Bedding remains our pick for “Best Value Blackout Curtains.” The curtains are widely available for $18 or less, giving it a lower price-point than many competing blackout curtains. Each set comes with two curtain panels. Both panels include seven hooks and two tie-backs; this allows owners to hang them in different ways. The curtains block light almost completely, reduce outside noise by roughly 60%, and thermal insulation that can cut owners’ energy bills.

Five different colors are available with the Thermal Blackout Room Darkening Curtain. Utopia Bedding sells this product exclusively through Amazon.com and other third-party retailers, so customers should defer to the sleep trial and return policies of the vendor they choose.

Good for:

  • Sleepers who prefer to select their own curtain liner
  • Those who want their bedrooms to be almost completely dark
  • Energy savers

H.VERSAILTEX Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtain – Best Thermal Insulation

Highlights
  • Three-pass
  • 52W”; 63L” to 108L”
  • 31 color options
  • Superior light and noise blockage

Our former “Editor’s Pick,” the Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtain from H.VERSAILTEX is still a favorite at Tuck. This year, we choose to acknowledge it as the best blackout curtain for providing peerless thermal insulation. It’s a three-pass curtain with a built-in liner. The curtain is designed to block out 95% of sunlight and offers full protection from UV rays. Additionally, the curtains are highly effective at cooling bedrooms to a comfortable temperature and diminishing outside noise for sleepers.

The panels come with eight grommets and the curtains can be used with a wide range of rods. A total of 31 color options are available for the curtains, as well as four liner colors, to accommodate customers with different decor tastes. H.VERSAILTEX offers a 30-night trial and a 10-year warranty with the Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtain.

Good for:

  • Sleepers who prefer curtains with built-in liners
  • Those with exceptionally warm bedrooms and/or loud neighborhoods
  • Energy savers

Deconovo Blackout Thermal Insulated Curtains – Best Color Selection

Highlights
  • Two-pass
  • 42W” to 52L”; 45L” to 95L”
  • 18 color options
  • Light and durable design

This year, Deconovo’s Blackout Thermal Insulated Curtains is our top pick for best color selection. Many blackout curtains are available in one or two length measurements, which can be limiting for customers whose windows fall outside these dimensions. The Blackout Thermal Insulated Curtains from Deconovo are available in three lengths – 45?, 54?, 63?, 72? 84?, and 95? – as well as 45? and 54? widths. This range should accommodate most window sizes. Reviewers at Tuck have appreciated the size selection possibilities that Deconovo’s curtains provide customers, and it was previously a top pick for that reason. In addition, we especially appreciate the color range, which will allow you to pair your curtains with virtually any color scheme.

They are constructed with one black side and one silver side and do not include liners, giving them a silky-soft feel and a longer expected lifespan. These curtains are machine washable, as well.

Good for:

  • Sleepers who prefer to select their own curtain liner
  • Those who do not want complete light blockage
  • Energy savers

Rose Home Fashion Blackout Curtains – Best Size Selection

Highlights
  • Blackout up to 100 percent of light
  • Insulated to keep out excess heat and cold
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Eight-year warranty

Rose Home Fashion’s blackout curtains are wide panels made up of a rich faux linen material. These curtains offer a graceful, vintage look without the high cost. Enjoy even more savings as these curtains have white color liners sewn in, letting you avoid spending money on sheer panels. These thoughtfully designed curtains will block up to 100 percent of intrusive outdoor light. Additionally, they’re insulated to keep out excessively hot or cold temperatures, letting your room stay comfortable and mild all year.

Rose Home Fashion Blackout Curtains are very durable and long lasting. Their panels, which come with 8 Nickel grommets with 1.6″ diameter holes, are easy to install and enjoy immediately. Caring for them is simple; just machine wash using cold water. Use non-chlorine bleach only when cleaning, and tumble dry on a low heat setting.

Rose Home Fashion’s blackout curtains come with a 30-day money back guarantee and are backed by an eight-year warranty.

Good For:

  • Those who want to block out as much light as possible
  • Shoppers who want insulating curtains that can be used year-round.

Thermalogic Ultimate Liner – Best Blackout Liner

Highlights
  • Polyester-cotton blend
  • 45W”; 56L” to 88L”
  • 2 color options
  • Wide pairing versatility

The Ultimate Liner from Thermalogic remains our standout liner for several reasons. It effectively blocks outside light and noise and provides thermal insulation, much like blackout curtains. The liner can also be paired with a wide range of curtain styles, including grommets, pleats, and tailored designs. The liner is easy to install, thanks to built-in hanging hooks and a rod opening, and can be washed and dried in conventional machines.

The Thermalogic Ultimate Liner is available in red and white colors. It is available in three lengths: 56″, 77″, and 88″.

Good for:

  • Two-pass blackout curtain owners
  • Conventional curtain owners who want to block outside light and noise
  • Energy savers

Blackout Curtains Buyer's Guide

Blackout curtains are used to shield bedrooms from outside light, which can interfere with the circadian cycle and negatively affect sleep quality. They are an essential component for people who need to sleep during daylight hours, including shift workers and small children, as well as people with disorders like insomnia that affect sleep onset and/or maintenance. In addition to blocking light, blackout curtains improve temperature insulation by keeping bedrooms cool during the hot months and warm when it’s cold outside. They may dampen outside noise to create a quieter sleep environment, as well.

This guide will explore the functions of blackout curtains and their benefits for sleepers, as well as buying tips for first-time buyers and our picks for the best blackout curtains based on owner experiences.

What Are Blackout Curtains and Why Are They Helpful?

Let’s begin by discussing the key differences between curtains, drapes, shades, and blinds.

  • Curtains are single-layer fabric panels that are attached to a top rod using rings, grommets, or small openings known as ‘rod pockets’. The rod mechanism allows the curtains to be closed or opened easily. Curtains are usually made from crisp, lightweight fabrics like polyester or cotton.
  • Drapes are similar to curtains in terms of functionality and installation, but they feature an extra panel that acts as a liner. They are often made from heavier fabrics like velvet, wool, or canvas.
  • Shades are single fabric panels that can be lowered or raised using a cord or roller. The fabric bunches at the top rod when raised.
  • Blinds are not made from fabric, but harder materials like wood or plastic. They feature slats that can be opened or closed individually, but the blinds as a whole cannot be raised or lowered.

For the purposes of this guide, the catch-all term ‘blackout curtains’ refers to any curtains, drapes, shades, or blinds that are designed to block outside light, reduce noise, and improve insulation. ‘Blackout’ is a specific manufacturing process, during which foam layers are applied to raw fabric — usually polyester or microfiber — in order to increase the density and opacity of the material. The foam layers are known as ‘passes,’ and most blackout curtains sold today fall into one of the following two categories:

  • Two-pass: Features one layer of black foam applied directly to the fabric and a second white foam layer applied to the other side of the black foam. The black foam is often visible through the white foam layer, giving the curtains a shadowy, uneven look; many owners use a liner to give their curtains a more uniform appearance.
  • Three-pass: Features two layers of white foam with a third layer of black foam sandwiched between them. Three-pass curtains are more decorative and aesthetically-pleasing than two-pass curtains, and a liner may not be needed. These are sometimes sold as ‘three-in-one’ blackout curtains.

Blackout liners are sold separately and also widely available. They have two sides: a lighter fabric side and a darker, sleeker side. Additionally, some ‘three-pass’ liners have a middle layer of foam or fabric. Some liners are sold by the foot or yard and cut to order. Others are sold in large sections, and require owners to cut the material to length themselves. Most can be installed on existing curtains using drapery hooks or grommets, and they may be hemmed to the curtain as well. In addition to blackout liners, blackout window covers are installed over the window opening using clips or hook-and-loop fasteners.

Blackout curtains are useful for sleep because our natural sleep cycle depends on exposure to natural light. Our internal alarm clock — known as the circadian rhythm — is programmed to make us feel tired at night when the sun goes down, and to wake up in the morning after the sun reappears. People tend to have healthy circadian rhythms in ideal sleep settings, but many have jobs or commitments that require them to be awake when they should be asleep and vice versa. These individuals include:

  • Shift workers, defined as anyone who works outside the standard schedule of 9am to 5pm. These employees often sleep during the day in order to prepare for their shift ahead, and may choose to follow the same routine on their days off for a smoother transition when their work week begins again.
  • Newborns, infants, toddlers, and other children who nap during the daylight hours.  
  • People with sleep-onset insomnia, which causes difficulty falling asleep, and/or sleep-maintenance insomnia, which affects how long the individual remains asleep without waking up. Insomnia is closely linked to circadian disruptions.
  • People who live on streets that are particularly bright or busy at night.

The most effective blackout curtains can block up to 99% of outside light. Blackout curtains also provide the following uses when installed properly:

  • Light and UV ray protection: Exposure to sunlight can damage furniture and appliances over time. Blackout curtains can mitigate this damage and extend the lifespan of your home furnishings.
  • Noise reduction: Due to the foam layers, blackout curtains can significantly lower the amount of outside noise that enters your bedroom — up to 60%, in some cases.
  • Temperature insulation: The foam components of blackout curtains can also trap in heat during the winter and keep your bedroom cool in the summer. This ensures not only year-round comfort, but also savings on energy costs.
  • Glare prevention: Lastly, many people utilize blackout curtains for family rooms, rec rooms, and other areas where people tend to watch TV. The curtains are quite effective at keeping glare out of the room.

Most blackout curtains sold today are machine washable. However, depending on their material composition, some may require hand washing, spot cleaning, or professional cleaning.

Important Considerations for Blackout Curtain Shoppers

When shopping for new blackout curtains and comparing different brands and models, here are a few important factors to take into account:

  • What is your blackout curtain budget? Some blackout curtains cost more than $100, but cheaper models can be found for $30 or less. Be sure to factor in the costs of a new liner or window panel if you plan to buy two-pass blackout curtains.
  • Do you prefer two- or three-pass blackout fabric? Two-pass blackout fabric usually requires a liner, but it may be more suitable for people who do not want complete darkness. Three-pass blackout fabric is highly effective at blocking most outside light — too effective for some people, particularly those who like a small amount of light in their room.
  • What are the dimensions of your window? The best blackout curtains are available in multiple sizes to accommodate purchasers with different room dimensions. Measure your window’s width and length carefully before buying curtains. You may be able to refer to your existing curtains if product tags are still attached.
  • What are the dimensions of your existing curtains? A cheaper workaround to buying new blackout curtains is to modify existing curtains using a blackout liner. The liner should measure slightly smaller than the curtains; the general rule of thumb is one inch shorter/narrower on each of its four sides.
  • What materials are used to make the curtains? Material composition often determines the overall weight of the curtains, which can affect how easily they move across the rod. Lighter fabrics include tulle and lace, while heavier options include velvet and canvas.
  • How do the curtains attach to the rod? Curtains may use rings, grommets, rod pockets, or other fastening mechanisms. All are comparably effective, and this consideration usually comes down to personal preference.
  • How should the curtains be cleaned? Blackout curtains are usually machine washable, which can save you time and money in the long run compared to curtains that can only spot and/or dry cleaned.
  • What are your color preferences? Color is purely aesthetic, but an important consideration for many. Some blackout curtains are available in a wide assortment of colors and designs, while others have a more limited selection.
  • Do the blackout curtains come with a return policy or warranty? Blackout curtain manufacturers may offer a trial period, during which purchasers can return the curtains for a full refund if they are not satisfied, as well as warranties that cover defects for up to 10 years. However, many blackout curtains do not come with either a trial nor a warranty.
  • Do you have the implements to make your own blackout curtains? Homemade blackout curtains require extra time, but they can be an inexpensive option compared to buying new models.

How to Make Homemade Blackout Curtains

In addition to store-bought blackout curtains, many modify their existing curtains to block outside light using this simple DIY process:

  1. Purchase blackout lining. This material is available at most large fabric/craft stores, and is usually sold by the yard at inexpensive price-points (usually $7 to $10 per yard). Buy more than you’ll need to allow for cutting errors.
  2. Iron the lining. This will prevent bunching. Make sure to place the iron on the fabric side only.
  3. Cut the lining to slightly smaller dimensions than the curtains themselves (roughly one inch shorter and narrower on each side should do the trick).
  4. Attach the lining near the top of the curtain fabric. In most cases, you’ll need to detach the curtain from its grommets or hooks. Make sure not to block the holes; cut around them if needed.

If successful, the blackout lining should adhere to the curtains and block outside light. You can also follow the same process if you plan to make new curtains as well. Simply hem both sides and the bottom of the curtain panel, and then fold over the top by one inch or less (however much room is needed to use the rod). Slide the lining beneath the top fold and pin in place, and then you will be able to sew the lining inside the curtain.

Blackout window panels are an alternative to curtain linings that do not require any sewing or ironing. Blackout window panels attach to the edges of the interior window frame using clips, hook-and-loop closures, or other fasteners; adhesives can rip paint off the wall. Make sure the panel is flush with the window; otherwise outside light may enter the room.

In addition to buying blackout curtains, there are a few simple ways to cope with annoying light-related issues that impact your sleep. Below you’ll find a few helpful suggestions for common annoyances.

Sleep Masks: Sleep masks create artificial darkness, making it easier for sleepers to relax and fall asleep, even in well-lit surroundings. Additionally, it’s possible to buy sleep masks with additional comfort benefits such as weighted sleep masks, and sleep masks infused in with soothing scents.

Limit Blue Light Exposure: Studies show that certain lighting can affect our body’s natural circadian rhythm. Prolonged blue light exposure, especially near bedtime, can negatively impact your ability to drift off to sleep. It’s best to cut back on your exposure to sources of blue light, such as smartphones and laptops. Additionally, consider buying blue-light-blocking glasses.

Light Therapy: For anyone with seasonal affective disorder (or SAD), light therapy is a very useful recovery method. For those with SAD, as the amount of natural sunlight wanes during winter months, it can throw off an affected person’s circadian rhythms, severely disrupting sleep. The therapy uses high concentrations of abnormally bright artificial light. Daily exposure of about 30 minutes elevates one’s mood and overall well-being.

Additional Tuck Resources

For more information about methods of reducing light and noise in your bedroom and maintaining a comfortable temperature, please visit the following Tuck pages: