Along with poolside popsicles and family vacations, the summer months bring both additional heat and daylight hours that can intensify your home energy bill. (And by "intensify," we mean send your bill skyrocketing during these crazy hot months.)
Summertime is also when our sleep quality suffers. Over 160 million Americans struggle with sleep at least once per week, so the National Sleep Foundation recommends blocking out heat.
The best fix? Blackout curtains. They not only keep your room nice and dark, but they can actually help keep the heat out and the cool air in. Plus, if you buy them now, you can keep them up during the winter, too since their thermal design also makes them effective at retaining heat inside the home in chillier months. Even better, they'll help block noise pollution coming from outside. In other words, they're perfect.
How to choose the best blackout curtains.
Contrary to the name, not all blackout curtains are heavy and dark. They come in a variety of styles, fabrics, and designs, some of which will please even the most stubborn decorator. When choosing the type of blackout curtain that's right for your needs, consider these factors.
Width and length
Most blackout curtains are offered in standard widths of 42-inch and 52-inch panels and a variety of lengths. If you have difficulty finding the exact length to match your window, hang the rod higher, which will also help keep light and heat from sneaking into your home.
Grommet versus rod pockets
Most blackout curtains come in two mounting styles: either grommet or rod pockets. Grommets feature holes for the curtain rod to pass through, similar to a standard shower curtain. Rod pockets allow the fabric to hang directly over the curtain rod. Some blackout curtains even have a weighted bottom or a magnetic strip to further seal off any light or heat.
When selecting a blackout curtain, pay close attention to the fabric, color, and density of the material — all of which can affect the curtain's ability to cut off heat, light, and noise. Darker, thicker materials will block more heat and sunlight, whereas more opaque colors block less.
Our recommendation? Look for triple-weave blackout curtains that provide specific details about the percentage of light blocked. Be wary of brands that claim to block 100% of all light, as this claim is really dependent upon how much light is entering your home.
Top-Rated Blackout Curtains
These Nicetown curtains are not only among the top-rated blackout curtains on Amazon, but they're also affordably priced at $19 for a pair of panels. Made from a triple-weave insulated microfiber, the classic gray hue is said to provide 90% shading performance. Don't believe us? They have a 4.5 star rating with over 7,200 reviews, and they've been selected by the reviewers at Bob Vila and TODAY as the best blackout curtains of 2019.
In addition to being one of Hunker's top picks, The New York Times' consumer products review site Wirecutter rated these as the hands-down best blackout curtain on the market in 2019. (Hence the higher price.) However, you have tons of flexibility — these curtains come in 14 colors and are 50 inches wide, with a variety of lengths ranging from 84-120 inches.
While IKEA's Marjun blackout curtains do not block 100% of the exterior light, these room darkening drapes are perfect for homeowners who want style and performance at an affordable price. These curtains have a 4.5-star rating on IKEA's website, with many customers praising them for their easy installation. While they come in three colors — gray, blue, and lilac — a downside is that they're only offered in one size: 57 inches in width by 98 inches in length.
Selected by Yahoo as the best blackout curtain of 2018, these curtains have won the coveted Amazon Choice seal by maintaining a 4-star status with over 2,00 reviews. They're machine-washable, triple-weave polyester, and well-regarded by reviewers for insulating against heat, cold, and noise. "Once you put these bad boys on your windows, the room will turn into a black hole of darkness that will engulf both body and soul," posted one Amazon customer. Whoa.
Wirecutter product testers claim that these curtains are among the few that blocked 100% of exterior lighting during trial tests, making it the best option for people who need to sleep during daylight hours or suffer from light sensitivity (or just like it dark). These curtains are lined with a proprietary fabric that the manufacturer claims reduces energy costs in any room, feature rod-pocket mounting, and are available in six colors and a variety of sizes.
With nearly a five-star rating on Amazon, customers love the Deconovo blackout curtains for their durability, style, and energy efficiency. They're lined with a silver-coated fabric which reflects the heat outside of the home, while the sturdy triple-weave polyester blocks light from entering. They come in an amazing array of colors — 23 in all — and 13 different sizes.
Not every purchase needs to be top shelf, but every blackout curtain does need to block sunlight and heat with some degree of effectiveness. This is why Hunker's budget pick goes to Walmart's top seller: the Eclipse Samara Blackout Energy-Efficient Thermal Curtains. Less than $20, these blackout curtains have four-stars, with over 5,500 reviews, are 100% polyester, and mounted with a rod-pocket hanging system. Plus, they come in 20 colors and patterns and are available in four sizes.
If you've already outfitted your home with curtains you love, we recommend investing in these liners. They'll block the sun, reduce light, and shut out noise without sacrificing style. New York Magazine's product review site, The Strategist, included these in its best blackout curtains review of 2018 and they also have a sturdy four-star status with Target customers. Plus, they're machine washable and available in a single size and color: 27 inches wide by 80 inches long, and white.