The Best Blackout Curtains of 2021

Block out light, regulate temperatures, and reduce noise pollution with the best blackout curtains.

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Eclipse Blackout Curtains

Photo: Savannah Sher

Blackout curtains do more than just block out natural light. Top-quality blackout curtains also filter out some noise pollution (another disruption to your body’s natural rhythms) and help with energy savings.

Since there are lots of blackout curtains options on the market, we tested some of the best options to streamline your shopping experience. During these tests, the PONY DANCE Blackout Curtains stood out above the rest as the best overall. The material felt luxurious and they were able to eliminate all of the natural light from the bedroom—even in the middle of the day.

Keep reading to learn what to look for when selecting curtain panels for a bedroom, and check out all of the best blackout curtains that we tested. Each top product earned an award tailored to its specific stand-out features.

  1. BEST OVERALL: PONY DANCE Blackout Curtains
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Sun Zero Oslo Theater Grade Blackout Curtain
  3. BEST FOR LARGE WINDOWS: NICETOWN Blackout Window Curtain
  4. BEST THERMAL: MIUCO Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtains
  5. BEST STYLE: Best Home Fashion Tulle Sheer Lace Blackout Curtain
  6. BEST FOR NURSERIES: NICETOWN 100% Blackout Window Curtain Panels
  7. BEST LIGHTWEIGHT: ECLIPSE Blackout Curtain for Bedrooms
Eclipse Blackout Curtains How We Reviewed

Photo: Savannah Sher

What to Consider Before Buying Blackout Curtains

Blackout curtains come in a range of fabrics, styles, and colors to suit any bedroom, home office, and living room. Since shoppers may have different priorities when it comes to selecting the best, the following features can help you compare the options to find a set that’s right for you.

Size

Most blackout curtains come in standard widths (42 or 52 inches per panel) and a range of lengths. However, blackout curtains are available in extra-small and extra-large widths and lengths to suit different window shapes and sizes, and to work with a chosen rod.

The following strategies can help maximize light-blocking effectiveness on most sizes of windows.

  • Raise the curtain rod above the window so no light can seep in from above.
  • Extend the rod 2 to 3 inches past either side of the window frame.
  • Use wraparound rods that connect the ends of rods to the wall, blocking even more light from entering.
  • After the rod is installed, measure from the top of the rod to the bottom of the window frame or the floor to determine the ideal curtain length.

Style

While there are plenty of style options when it comes to fabric and color, the way the curtains hang is a key part of a curtain’s style choice. The two most common styles for blackout curtains are grommets and a rod pocket.

  • Grommets are wide metallic holes for curtain rods to pass through. With this style, it’s extra important to position the rod high enough on the wall so that the grommet holes do not hang over the window and let in light. These metal accents are favored in slightly more modern rooms.
  • Rod pockets allow the curtain rod to slip inside the curtain’s fabric, preventing light around the rod from entering the room. This look tends to suit classic spaces.

Some blackout curtains also feature a weighted bottom hem or a magnetic strip to further seal off any light seepage. Install this type of curtain according to brand instructions, making sure the magnetic strip is not visible when curtains are drawn back.

Opacity

Curtain opacity is dependent on how much light is entering the home, whether it is natural or artificial, and whether it shines directly into the room. Manufacturers often specify the percentage of light blocked by a curtain. A higher number isn’t necessarily always better. In bedrooms, for instance, it’s usually best for blackout curtains to block between 85 and 98 percent of light—not 100 percent—because a small amount of ambient light helps people safely navigate a room in the dark.

With blackout curtains, pay attention to the material, color, and the denseness of the weave which all affect the curtain’s ability to keep light out. If the goal is to get as close to 100 percent light reduction as possible, aim for black or darker fabric. While lighter fabrics can still block out a significant portion of light, black absorbs heat, light, and sound better.

The Blackout Curtains We Tested

To help shoppers choose between the many styles of blackout curtains available, we tested some of the most popular options on the market. After completing our tests, we found the PONY DANCE Blackout Curtains to be the best overall. These curtains stood out because of their ability to completely darken a room in the middle of the day. We also recommend the Eclipse Blackout Curtain for bedrooms, which is an excellent budget pick. Here are all of our top picks for blackout curtains, according to our tester.

Best Overall

The Best Blackout Curtain Option: PONY DANCE Blackout Curtains
Photo: amazon.com

For sleek and effective blackout curtains, look no further than this set from PONY DANCE. These polyester panels feel luxurious and come in 10 classic colors and three standard sizes: 52-inch by 45-inch, 52-inch by 54-inch, and 52-inch by 72-inch. Though the color spectrum ranges from black to pure white, the manufacturer recommends darker shades for the best light-blocking power. On those, expect 85 to 95 percent light blockage and a significant decrease in ambient noise, too. The navy blue curtains we tested provided excellent light blockage.

The rod pocket installation is versatile, so the curtain can be hung directly on the rod or with the use of curtain clips. It does, however, make these curtains a bit trickier to install than grommet-style versions.

Pros

  • Excellent for room darkening
  • Quality fabric
  • Quiets ambient noise

Cons

  • Rod pocket slows the installation


Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Blackout Curtain Option: Sun Zero Oslo Theater Grade Blackout Curtain
Photo: amazon.com

While Sun Zero’s Oslo blackout curtains are easy on the wallet, they feel very well made with a material that is reminiscent of velvet. They are available in a variety of both light and dark colors which all offer excellent light-blocking, as well as an energy-efficient design that purports to reduce energy loss by up to 50 percent and reduce noise by up to 35 percent.

The rod pocket style aids in light-blocking since no light comes through any grommets. One downside we noticed during testing is that installation is a bit tricky. It wasn’t immediately evident which end was the top and which was the bottom since both had pockets that could accommodate a curtain rod. The curtains were also a bit difficult to slide open and close, but that could have been an issue with the size of my curtain rod that was at the upper limit of the maker’s recommended size of 1.5 inches or less.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Excellent blackout
  • Plush velvety feel

Cons

  • Difficult to open and close
  • A bit confusing to install


Best for Large Windows

The Best Blackout Curtains Option: NICETOWN Grommet Top Blackout Curtain
Photo: amazon.com

Sliding patio doors and large picture windows can achieve privacy thanks to the extra-large panels offered by NICETOWN. This blackout curtain panel comes in six sizes, from 52-inch by 63-inch all the way to 100-inch by 108-inch. It was clear that these were quality curtains as the fabric is triple-weave polyester, blocking up to 95 percent of outside light sources.

Our tests found that these curtains performed extremely well, even in the middle of the day. The material doesn’t wrinkle and looks great right out of the packaging. The silver grommets allow easy installation, while the 14 bold color options offer plenty of choice to match—or add contrast to—a living space.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Looks good right out of package
  • Excellent blackout
  • Wrinkle-free

Cons

  • Grommets let in a bit of light


Best Thermal

The Best Blackout Curtain Option: MIUCO Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtains
Photo: amazon.com

MIUCO’s Room Darkening Curtains are thermally insulated to regulate the temperature of a home in both hot and cold weather. The triple-woven fabric blocks 100 percent of UV light as well as up to 98 percent of sunlight, with results varying depending on the color of the curtains. They also provide sound insulation, blocking approximately 60 percent of outside noise, according to the manufacturer.

Despite its varied capabilities, the material is thin and lightweight, and installation was a breeze due to the metal grommets. Choose from 18 colors, all of which come with a satin finish. We really liked that two matching tiebacks are included for a tidier look when the curtains are open.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Blocks sound
  • Lightweight material
  • Includes tie-backs

Cons

  • Do not fully block light


Best Style

The Best Blackout Curtain Option: Best Home Fashion Tulle Sheer Lace Blackout Curtain
Photo: amazon.com

While blackout curtains are efficient, many of them have a plain look that doesn’t suit everyone’s interior design preferences. This set from Best Home Fashion, however, is different. It includes a sheer lace drape that is designed to be installed with the blackout curtain. The curtains come in a wide variety of colors to suit a range of decor styles.

Along with serving a decorative purpose, we liked that the sheer drapes allow for moderate privacy without blocking out all of the light from the room. We did find that installation was a bit trickier since there are two panels involved on each side, and a second curtain rod is required if the sheer panel will be used separately.

Pros

  • Good blackout
  • Lace sheer adds visual interest
  • Lace sheer provides privacy, lets light through

Cons

  • Two-layer design more difficult to install
  • Don’t look great right out of package


Best for Nurseries

The Best Blackout Curtain Option: NICETOWN 100% Blackout Window Curtain Panels
Photo: amazon.com

When choosing curtains for a nursery, there are a number of factors to consider. Babies can be easily awoken by light, sound, and temperature changes, and a high-quality set of blackout curtains can help create the ideal sleep environment for infants and toddlers who have difficulty sleeping. We liked that these curtains from Nicetown have a sewn-in black liner that performs well for room darkening and provides noise reduction as well as thermal insulation. There are a number of colors available including neutrals and bright hues that would look great in a child’s room.

Panels come in two widths—52 inches and 70 inches—as well as a range of lengths. We found that the material was quite heavy at nearly 5 pounds. Keep this in mind as some curtain rods may have a difficult time supporting them.

Pros

  • Thick material
  • Good blackout
  • Provides insulation

Cons

  • May require extra-sturdy curtain rod


Best Lightweight

The Best Blackout Curtain Option: ECLIPSE Blackout Curtain for Bedrooms
Photo: amazon.com

While many blackout curtains are made with a thick, heavy material, the Eclipse Blackout curtains are thin and lightweight. We found that the lighter weight makes for easy installation and doesn’t put much strain on curtain rod brackets. They are constructed with Thermaback Technology, which is a special foam coating that increases insulation to block both light and sound. The Thermaback Technology did help block out some light and noise.

At Eclipse’s blackout level, this set is designed to block 98 to 99 percent of light and 40 percent of noise from entering a room. This opacity level is ideal for bedrooms, where darkness is helpful to sleep but not so much that it’s tough to navigate around obstacles at night. Choose from eight colors and three lengths: 42-inch by 63-inch, 42-inch by 84-inch, and 42-inch by 95-inch.

Pros

  • Good blackout
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Thin material


Our Verdict

Thanks to its superior blackout capabilities and its ability to significantly diffuse sound, the PONY DANCE Blackout Curtains takes the top spot in this product category. In a single, durable layer, these curtains block anything from sunlight to street light. For a more budget-friendly blackout curtain, the Sun Zero Oslo Theater Grade Blackout Curtain is also an excellent room- darkening option.

How We Tested

These curtains were tested in an urban area, so light pollution is a real issue at night. Each set of curtains were installed on a bedroom window and then we took note of how much light was able to penetrate the material both during the day and at night.

  • We checked whether the curtain panels came together easily to avoid a remaining sliver of light where they meet.
  • We tested the privacy of each set of curtains by trying to look through the window from the outside of my home.
  • We assessed each set for ease of installation as well as quality and weight of material and ease of use.

FAQs About Blackout Curtains

Though you now know more about blackout curtains, you might still have some lingering questions about them. The following are answers to some of the most common questions about how to select and use blackout curtains in a home.

Do blackout curtains cool a room?

Blackout curtains with thermal capabilities provide a cooling effect on hot days and a warming effect in cold weather due to their tightly woven fabric.

Should you keep curtains closed in hot weather?

By keeping curtains closed in hot weather, you will block out sunlight, which in turn keeps your space cooler.

What is the difference between light filtering and blackout curtains?

Light filtering curtains offer moderate light control, while blackout curtains aim to block out 85 percent or more of light.

Is blackout lining washable?

Cleaning instructions vary from product to product, but generally speaking, blackout lining is machine washable.

How We Chose the Best Blackout Curtains

When choosing blackout curtains, there are practical factors to consider including budget, the window size, and light-filtration needs. Style, opacity, dimensions, and any additional desired features are important factors, too.

All the blackout curtains in our guide were tested, so we know that each set performs well and will reduce light pollution to promote a better night’s sleep. After reading this guide, you should feel better equipped with the necessary information to choose the best blackout curtains for your home.