The Best Curtain Rods for Your Window Treatments

Complete your window treatments the right way with sturdy, sophisticated curtain rods.

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The Best Curtain Rods Options

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Window treatments can make your home feel welcoming and add privacy. Before you select your drapes, you need to decide what kind of curtain rod you want to hang them on.

Curtain rods are functional, but they also act as a decorative accessory. When it comes to choosing the best curtain rods, design and quality are key considerations. These bars come in a variety of diameters, lengths, and styles. Decorative rods have end finials, often made of metal or acrylic, that add a finishing touch to your window treatments. The rods must be able to hold the weight of the curtain fabric and accommodate the number of curtain layers at each window.

Before you begin your search for the best curtain rod for you, measure the window you want to cover so the rod meets your needs. Installing curtain rods is fairly straightforward, and all you need is a level, cordless drill, step stool, pencil, and a measuring tape. Don’t want to fool with tools? Go with a tension rod instead.

The best curtain rod for you will depend on your curtain and window design and your situation. Consider the pros and cons of the top-rated rods below.

The following rods work with most types of window treatments, from sheer panels to decorative valances.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Ivilon Drapery Treatment Window Curtain Rod
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: KAMANINA 1 Inch Curtain Rod Single Drapery Rod
  3. UPGRADE PICK: Ivilon Drapery Window Curtain Rod
  4. BEST WOW FACTOR: KAMANINA 1 Inch Curtain Rods
  5. BEST ROOM DARKENING: AmazonBasics Room Darkening Curtain Rod
  6. BEST DOUBLE ROD: AmazonBasics 1” Double Extendable Curtain Rods
  7. BEST TENSION ROD: Ivilon Tension Curtain Rod
  8. BEST CONCEALED ROD: Rod Desyne Lockseam 2-Inch Clearance Curtain Rod Set
The Best Curtain Rod Options

Photo: amazon.com

Types of Curtain Rods

Curtain rods have one primary purpose: to keep your curtains up. They can also add an aesthetic touch to your room’s decor. There are three main types of curtain rod: single, double, and tension.

  • Single cafe rods feature one long pole with a finial at either end. These rods are attached via brackets to the top of a window, outside the frame, on or above the molding. The finials (ends) are decorative and come in a range of sizes and styles, from simple metal balls to ornate crystal or metal fixtures. Most single rods telescope between a minimum and maximum length. Dimensions should be listed on the package.
  • Double cafe rods are designed to hang two curtains, one on top of the other. Typically, a sheer curtain goes underneath an opaque top curtain. Some double rods are welded together, others are connected via wall-mounted brackets. They telescope between a minimum and maximum length. Double rods are usually more expensive than single rods, provide a more luxe look, and give greater privacy and light control. They’re a good choice for living rooms and bedrooms.
  • Tension rods are the easiest to install. The adjustable central pole is designed to fit inside the window casing via internal springs, instead of being mounted outside the frame in a bracket. Tension rods are typically made of metal or plastic, and they are most often used to hang shower curtains, but they can also be used in windows in bedrooms, kitchens, and living spaces.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Curtain Rods

Curtain rods should keep your window treatments off the floor. But they also need to work with the surrounding space, complementing your curtains, furnishings, and fixtures in general. Color, finish, length, and material are all important factors to consider when picking the best curtain rods.

Color and Finish

There are a few popular, widely available choices when it comes to curtain rod color and finish. Brushed nickel, which has a soft, silvery metallic finish, is often the go-to for curtain rods that look good in almost any setting. You can also find gold, bronze, oil-rubbed bronze, shiny silver, white, and black. Choose a finish that will work with the other fixtures in a room, like doorknobs, faucets, and appliances. Consider what finishes will work with your curtains and furnishings, too. You want a curtain rod that is sturdy enough to support the drapery and won’t call too much attention to itself.

Size and Material

In general, it’s a good idea to buy adjustable, telescoping rods, which come in a range of standard sizes: 28 inches to 48 inches, 48 inches to 84 inches, 66 inches to 120 inches, and 120 inches to 170 inches. Unless you have an oddly shaped window, one of these options should work.

Always purchase a rod that is longer than your window dimensions. A good rule of thumb for cafe rods is to add 6 inches of length to both sides of your window frame or casing. For tension rods, you’ll want a rod that gives a snug fit within the frame. Many curtain rods are made of metal, which is often the best choice where quality and appearance are concerned. Other options include hard plastic and wooden rods.

It’s also important the rod fits not only the weight of the curtain fabric but also the grommets, curtain rings, or top pocket opening of the drapes you’ve chosen.

Our Top Picks

The following rods are heavy-duty yet sleek, and they work with most types of window treatments, from sheer panels to decorative valances.

Best Overall

The Best Curtain Rods Option: Ivilon Drapery Treatment Window Curtain Rod
Photo: amazon.com

Ivilon’s curtain rod in satin nickel is a top pick for many reasons. With angular finials that complete but don’t overtake your curtains or decor, they look substantial and elegant. Ivilon’s telescoping rod comes in a range of sizes from 16 inches to 240 inches, so you can find one to fit most any window. The metal pole is 1⅛-inch diameter and comes with all mounting hardware, including brackets, screws, anchors, and instructions (clip rings are sold separately). Use these rods to hang most any type of drapery in any room, whether it’s the den, bedroom, or home office.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Curtain Rod Option: KAMANINA 1 Inch Curtain Rod Single Drapery Rod
Photo: amazon.com

You’d be forgiven for thinking Kamanina’s curtain rod is more expensive than it is. It’s substantial, thanks to 1-inch-diameter wood and resin (or metal) rods that bear up to 22 pounds of fabric and can accommodate grommet curtains. They have vintage-looking netted texture finials that go with most decor styles. Kamanina’s telescoping rods come in three adjustable sizes ranging from 36 inches to 144 inches. The brackets are adjustable, too, so you can customize the space between a wall and a window treatment. This model comes in finishes including bronze, black, silver, champagne, and red faux wood grain.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Curtain Rods Option: Ivilon Drapery Window Curtain Rod
Photo: amazon.com

Ivilon’s solid metal, end cap-style rods upgrade your window treatments with sleek, clean contemporary style. The minimalist lines work with contemporary or vintage decor style. Like most store-bought rods, they come with finials and all the mounting hardware you need. The rod is 1 inch in diameter and sturdy enough to support heavy drapes. This rod is available in three telescoping lengths ranging from 16 inches to 240 inches and comes in a warm gold finish. Matching curtain clips are sold separately.

Best Wow Factor

The Best Curtain Rods Option: KAMININA 1-Inch Curtain Rods
Photo: amazon.com

Kamanina’s bronze rod is offset by acrylic crystal finials that have subtle sparkle. These rods come in two telescoping sizes, 36 inches to 72 inches and 72 inches to 144 inches. They’re 1 inch in diameter and sturdy enough to hold up to 22 pounds of drapes, so you can use them with deluxe fabrics like brocade and velvet. The adjustable brackets offer different spatial options to distance curtains from the wall, which is helpful if you have thick crown molding at the top of your windows. The finials are glamorous but not pretentious, and these rods work well in a master bedroom, guest bedroom, or living space.

Best Room Darkening

The Best Curtain Rods Option: AmazonBasics Room Darkening Curtain Rod
Photo: amazon.com

If someone in your home is a light sleeper, blackout curtains are a must in the bedroom. The heavy-duty fabric is made with fibers that block light, help regulate room temperature, and seal out the sun’s UV rays. To get the most benefit from these special drapes, you need a curtain rod curved to allow the curtain to hug the wall on each side of the window. The AmazonBasics Room Darkening Curtain Rod curtain rod curves at both ends to cover the entire window space. The ⅝-inch rod diameter can accommodate up to 20 pounds of fabric, and it’s available in three finishes: black, bronze, and nickel. These rods come in three extendable sizes, ranging from 28 inches to 120 inches. The single rod comes with all the mounting hardware you’ll need, including screws, anchors, and instructions.

Best Double Rod

The Best Curtain Rods Option: AmazonBasics 1-inch Double Extendable Curtain Rods
Photo: amazon.com

When choosing extra elegance and versatility in a bedroom or living room, layer sheer curtains with heavier drapes. To get this look you may need double curtain rods, and AmazonBasics has a set of particularly decent ones. The rods come in two sizes, adjusting to cover windows from 36 inches to 144 inches wide. The total weight capacity for both rods is 21 pounds, enough to accommodate sheers and heavier curtain panels. The decorative finials are simple and will coordinate with almost any style of decor. They come in three finishes: black, bronze, and nickel, and mounting hardware and instructions are included.

Best Tension Rod

The Best Curtain Rods Option: Ivilon Tension Curtain Rod
Photo: amazon.com

If you live in a rental property or want low-impact, easy-installation window treatments, consider a tension rod. Often used in bathrooms to hang shower curtains, a tension rod with the right heft and design can easily work in living spaces and offices, too. This Ivilon tension rod comes in six finishes: warm gold, satin nickel, brushed nickel, ivory, white, and black. Its rust-proof plating resists tarnish so this 1-inch-diameter rod can be used indoors and outdoors. It comes in four adjustable lengths that can cover a space between 16 inches and 90 inches. The rod keeps curtains stable thanks to a heavy-duty internal spring that makes the rod fit snugly inside the window frame. No tools are needed to install this rod; just pop it in place. The rod’s ends are fitted with nonslip, non-scratch rubber, so walls and window frames won’t get marked up.

Best Concealed Rod

The Best Curtain Rods Option: Rod Desyne Lockseam 2-Inch Window Curtain Rod Set
Photo: amazon.com

Valances and rod-pocket curtains that slip over the entire rod require a thinner-than-standard rod. Enter Rod Desyne’s Lockseam Curtain Rod Set. At a very affordable price, this set includes one heavy-duty ¾-inch lock seam curtain rod, brackets, and mounting hardware. The rod itself is steel painted white so it recedes from view once installed and hung with curtains. Mounted, this rod will extend 2 inches from the wall, and its length is adjustable. Choose from four adjustable sizes that fit windows from 28 inches to 120 inches. It’s good for door windows as well as sturdy window treatments for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and more.

FAQs About Curtain Rods

As long as you buy quality rods, they should last for years—even decades. Be sure to measure accurately before installing brackets.

Q: Where should curtain rod brackets be placed?

Above the window, either on or above the molding. Position each bracket 4 to 6 inches away from the window frame on either side to allow room to pull the curtain away from the window.

Q: Do you need a drill to put up curtain rods?

Yes, most rods are held up by a metal bracket mounted on the wall above the window frame. You may need to drill holes into the wall so you can screw the bracket firmly into place. The exception: a tension rod, which mounts inside the window casing via the power of a spring embedded in the rod. You won’t need any tools other than your hands to install a tension rod.

Q: How do you install curtain rods?

You’ll need a pencil, stepladder, Phillips-head screwdriver, measuring tape, level, and cordless drill, along with our step-by-step instructions.

Q: How long do curtain rods last?

They should last as long as you live in your current home. Some folks leave curtain rods up when they move away, but rods can also be taken down and reinstalled elsewhere.