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Watching movies during the day — especially on a projector — means dealing with light pollution, which can lead to glare, or wash out your image completely. Even if you’re watching TV or using your computer, the light seeping in from the outside can make it difficult to get a clear picture on screen.
Whether you’re building out your home theater or just want to improve conditions for working from home, you’ll want to swap your generic blinds and drapes for a set of blackout curtains.
A lot of us don’t have a dedicated, window-free home theater space, but you can get one step closer with a set of blackout curtains. These curtains function like regular window coverings, though they are thicker and heavier than normal, which allow them to block more sunlight from getting into your room.
The best blackout curtains help create a darker, more immersive viewing area, can help insulate the room, and go a long way towards helping you sleep better too.
What You Need to Know Before Buying Blackout Curtains
There are many factors to think about when choosing the right blackout curtains for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
What They Do: Having a dark room is great for watching movies, but there are a couple of other benefits to hanging blackout curtains. First, letting less sunlight into your room will make it cooler when the weather is hot; the thick material will also insulate the area by your windows, letting less heat escape during the cool seasons. By temperature controlling your room, you may have to adjust your HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system less often, which can save you money.
Second, sunlight can damage more than just the image of your movie screen. Over time, exposure to sunlight can make colors on your carpets, posters, or wallpaper start to fade.
And the best blackout curtains could be a not-so-secret hack to helping you fall asleep faster too, especially if you are sensitive to light. These curtains are often used in hotel rooms, to seal out any outside light, creating a truly dark and comfortable environment for you to fall asleep in.
Light and UV protection: You’re getting these curtains to block out the sunlight, so all of our picks are rated to block 99% to 100% of light and UV (ultraviolet rays). Some light may leak in through the tops and middle seam if they’re the incorrect size.
Style: Curtains can get hung on a rod in a couple of ways: via grommets (circular holes at the top, which the rod gets pushed through), or fabric loops. There’s no significant performance difference between the two, but some light may leak through in the area between the grommets and your curtain rod depending on its girth.
Length: Every window is different; we made sure to pick curtains that come in multiple lengths, so they’ll fit the window you’re planning on using it for, with the option of getting more for different rooms in your house.
Patterns: Curtains — regardless of their purpose — should match the decor of the room they’re in, so we looked for ones that come in multiple colors and patterns.
Maintenance: None of these curtains will need to be taken down with any regularity, but we made sure each one was machine-washable, just in case someone accidentally spills something on them or they get too dusty.
1. NICETOWN Pitch Black Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtains
Great performance and a variety of patterns and lengths make NICETOWN’s Pitch Blackout Curtains the right choice for most people.
The company says these curtains block between 85% and 99% of both light and UV rays, but recommends you go for a darker color for the best results. They’re available in six lengths: 29 inches wide and 45 inches long at the shortest and 42 inches wide and 90 inches long at the longest. You can get these blackout curtains in one of 20 colors.
NICETOWN says these curtains are made out of a triple-weave blackout fabric that’s thick, but soft to the touch. Each layer helps the curtain block additional light, and improves heat insulation. This set of curtains gets hung on a rod via six silver grommets (three per curtain); a tiny bit of fabric above the grommets blocks light from leaking from the space between the grommets and top of your window.
Pros: These curtains are available in a variety of styles and lengths, and have three layers of fabric to prevent light and UV rays from leaking in.
Cons: Some options only block 85% of light.
2. Miuco Pair Thermal Insulated Grommet Curtains
If you’re interested in more than just light reduction, Miuco’s Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtains are definitely worth considering.
The company touts these curtains as being able to block up to 99% of light and 100% of UV rays — again, this company says dark-colored curtains will work better.
In addition to blocking light, Miuco says its curtains can block up to 60% of outside noise, which should dampen the sound of cars passing by your street, or birds chirping. This is a major benefit if you live on a crowded street, or are a light sleeper. It’s also a significant improvement to your home theater setup, because you won’t have crank your speakers louder to compete with what’s going on outside.
These curtains are available in three lengths: 52 inches wide by 63 inches wide is the shortest, and 52 inches wide by 95 inches wide is the longest. 18 colors are available to choose from.
These curtains have eight grommets per side, and Miuco says the hemming on the sides and bottom of each is larger than usual, which makes them look better. The company also includes a pair of tie-backs, so you can pull each curtain to one side.
Pros: These curtains are extremely efficient at blocking light and UV rays, and reduce incoming noise.
Cons: They’re only available in three sizes.
3. Deconovo Room Darkening Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtain
If you have a single, small window in your home theater area, Deconovo’s room-darkening curtain should be your go to. It only comes with one panel (the rest of the curtains in this guide come in pairs) in three sizes: 42 inches wide and 63 inches long is the shortest, and 42 inches wide by 95 inches long is the longest. The curtain attaches to your rod via six grommets, and is available in 19 colors.
This curtain has three layers, which Deconovo says helps keep light and UV rays from getting in. The company doesn’t say exactly how much light it blocks, though it says darker colors do a better job. Deconovo does say that the polyester material it uses doesn’t attract dust, which is a nice if someone you live with has allergies.
The option to get a single curtain instead of being stuck with two helps Deconovo’s option stand out; there’s no use getting more fabric than you need.
Pros: If you’re only blocking a small window, you’ll only need this one curtain.
Cons: Deconovo doesn’t give official light or UV blocking numbers.
4. Utopia Bedding Blackout Curtains
Utopia Bedding’s Two-Panel Blackout Curtains are only available in two lengths (52 inches wide by 63 inches long and 52 inches by 84 inches long), and eight colors, but they’ve earned a spot in this guide because they don’t use grommets.
Each panel has seven loops instead, which you can thread over your curtain rod. As I said earlier, there’s a chance a little bit of light can get through the space between a curtain’s grommets and your curtain rod if it’s too thin; that isn’t a problem here.
Utopia Bedding says its curtains can block up to 99% of light and UV rays, and filter out 60% of outside noise because they’re made out of a thick, heavy polyester fabric.
If you’re not too picky about your curtain colors, have the right-sized windows, and want to reduce any possibility of light leaking into your room, Utopia Bedding’s curtains are your best option.
Pros: Using loops instead of grommets prevents even more light from getting inside.
Cons: Some may prefer the look of grommets better.