The Best Editor-Tested Blackout Curtains That You Can Buy Right Now

updated Mar 12, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Leather sofa in living room with The Best List Blackout Curtains badge over.
Credit: Brian and Nicki Rohloff

Blackout curtains: Some love them, some hate them. However, if you can’t get enough sleep, have a hefty electricity bill because of drafty windows, or prefer your room on the darker side, blackout curtains could be your new BFF. They serve a variety of purposes, from blocking out unwanted light to insulating the temperature in your space. They also just might help you cut down on those sleepless nights and gain some energy back.

If you’re gone during the day and would prefer not to walk into a home that feels like it’s been slow roasting for eight hours, blackout curtains keep your home cooler during the warmer months by keeping out rays and holding in air-conditioned air. Another huge plus, which can’t necessarily be said for other highly functional home essentials, is that blackout curtains can act as decor statements, adding to a room’s design rather than taking away from it. We’re big fans, so we put a range of blackout curtains to the test to find the best of the best.


The Best Blackout Curtains

What to Consider When Shopping for Blackout Curtains

What’s your main goal? Are you mostly interested in blocking out light or insulating your space? Are you hoping to use the blackout curtains on their own or to layer them behind sheer or decorative curtains? Do you want them to absorb outside noise as well? Take stock of your priorities and read on to determine your best approach to shopping for blackout curtains.

Light Blocking

First things first: Blackout curtains should be able to do as their name suggests and keep natural light from shining through. Beneficial for nurseries, home theaters, and your dream home in the Arctic Circle, blocking out light can help you and your family stay on consistent sleep schedules, let you enjoy movies sans glare, and even customize and redirect the lighting in your home. Want to hang an investment painting but you’re afraid the noontime sun rays from the adjacent window may damage it over time? Blackout curtain. Have a fabulous accent wall you want to direct rays to during golden hour? Blackout curtain, drawn halfway.

Insulation

It could be time to face the fact that your windows aren’t impenetrable shields between you and the outside world. Whether preventing cool winter drafts from creeping in or precious heat and AC from slipping out, blackout curtains add a weighted, usually thick layer of insulation. If this is your goal, consider curtains that fall to the floor, fully closing in around the window for optimal fortification (of your home and bank account — considering the money you’ll save on electricity bills). Blackout curtains can also insulate your home from outside health hazards like seasonal allergens, urban pollution, and smoke.

Noise Reduction

That’s right — you can even use your curtains to block out or lessen outside noise. Not only does this add to their function in home theaters, but it can also mean the difference between a comfortable night’s sleep in your small city apartment and moving out of your urban abode entirely. Keep honking cars, music, and voices to a minimum without raising the volume of your sound machine, and keep your space as private as you like.

Material

The material you’ll mostly see when it comes to blackout curtains is polyester or some sort of blend. It can be crafted to meet the specific needs of the curtain’s design and tailored to be more sound- and/or light-proof. Polyester can also yield durable and shiny velvets, among other luxe materials, for a beautiful look that’s also easily washable — essential if you’re simultaneously blocking out pollen or pollution.

Tip: If you have pets, especially cats, who like to claw at curtains, polyester and polyester blends are ideal for hiding or preventing snags.

Certifications

  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certifiedProducts are free of harmful synthetics and dyes.
  • Fair Trade certifiedProducts are created in alignment with the economic standards in place for manufacturers to equitably distribute the benefits of ingredient, material, or product trade.

Price

Curtains aren’t cheap, especially those of high quality or longer lengths. Polyester tends to bring the price down a bit, but expect to pay between $35 to upwards of $200 per panel for long, high-quality blackout curtains that will last. That said, this isn’t the case for our best budget-friendly pick (more on that below)….

What We Look For in Blackout Curtains

We tested a wide range of blackout curtains and judged them on the following criteria:

  • Performance: Do they block light? Do they insulate heat and AC? Do they reduce outside noise or block pollutants?
  • Appearance: Do they lend to a room’s decor? Are they something worth displaying proudly?
  • Durability: Are they washable? Will they fade over time?

The Best Blackout Curtains

Forget draping big, dark curtains just for the sake of blocking light — SunZero’s Nordic Theater-Grade Blackout Curtains allow you to keep the integrity of your space’s indoor lighting and decor scheme. They effectively block light no matter which color you choose – even pearl white — and trust us, there are plenty of shades to pick from. The all-polyester curtains are available in 22 colors and seven lengths, making them a solid choice for windows of all sizes. Make no mistake, these are 100% blackout curtains with a black backing that absorbs light and will make your living room or bedroom the perfect setting for movie night or restful sleep.

“Light had been disrupting both my boyfriend’s and my sleep patterns for months. He’d wake up way earlier than he meant to, and I’d struggle to fall asleep with our regular, non-blackout curtains,” says senior commerce editor Alicia, who got SunZero’s 52” x 63” curtains for her short windows. “The blackout curtains evened us out, and we’re no longer waking up exhausted due to too much light, whether it’s man-made or natural.”

Sold individually or in pairs (if you want to save money), each curtain comes packaged in a sturdy box that’s nice enough to keep for storing small items. “I was surprised by how stylish and lightweight the curtains were,” says Alicia. “We have a flimsy curtain rod that was almost pulled down by the regular curtains, but Sun Zero’s don’t strain our tension rod.” The curtains have grommet holes, making them incredibly quick and easy to hang, and once they’re up, you immediately get the added bonus of up to 50% reduction of lost energy, up to 45% noise reduction, and of course, 100% light blockage.

Read our full review of the Sun Zero Nordic Theater-Grade Extreme 100% Blackout Curtains.

Specifications:

  • 100% polyester
  • Grommet header
  • Available in 22 colors and 7 sizes, ranging 52” x 54” – 52” x 120”
  • Features UPF 50+ UV protection
  • Machine washable on cold; tumble dry on low

Who It’s Best For: Those looking for affordable 100% blackout curtains, even with short windows.

Good to Know: Use a steamer to smooth out any wrinkles in the curtains from being folded, and they’ll look good as new.

Our budget-friendly pick, SUN+BLK 100% Recycled Total Blackout Curtains, is the real deal when it comes to achieving total blackout in any room without breaking the bank. In testing, AT contributor Kendall was so impressed by their ability to block natural light that she even draped a panel directly over a forcefully bright spotlight, the bulb of which shouldn’t be looked at with the naked eye, and there wasn’t even a sparkle detectable behind it.

These aren’t any heavier than your average curtain — in fact, they may even be lighter weight — nor do they have that unappealing plasticky look or feel typical of inexpensive curtains. On the contrary, they are among the most attractive blackout curtains we tried. They are backed with an extremely thin and flexible layer of foam, which absorbs any and all light rays from behind while allowing the recycled polyester outer material to remain lighter in color. Lastly, the rod pocket heading allows the curtains to work with your curtain rod’s design (especially if you have one made for blackout curtains) without giving way to any sneaky rays that can come through grommets or other heading styles.

Specifications:

  • 100% recycled polyester
  • Rod pocket header 
  • Available in 5 colors and 3 sizes, ranging 40”x 63″ – 40” x 95”
  • Machine wash cold; tumble dry low

Who It’s Best For: Those ready to invest in interior design-friendly blackout curtains; those who want a luxe-looking velvet; those who prefer rod pocket headings.

Good to Know: SUN+BLK has a range of similarly designed blackout curtains, but the 100% recycled ones are our pick for their more luxe-looking woven texture.

Drafty windows are the enemy of anyone who loves a warm, cozy space in the winter. And if you invest in central heating, they can also be the enemy of your bank account. Whether or not you simply get chilly when you sleep, West Elm’s Worn Velvet Blackout Curtains are a saving grace during cold weather. These brushed, low-pile velvet curtains have pleated rod pocket headings that give them a strikingly luxe appearance while allowing them to block heat from escaping.

After testing for a month in New York City’s winter, Kendall noticed that her space was significantly warmer without increasing the heat output. For those who enjoy the historical relic that is radiator heat and don’t get to choose the temperature, layering these blackout curtains over strategically opened or closed windows effectively lets you customize when and where you feel the warmest. Kendall also noticed that the thick hem at the panel’s end creates a seal between the window and the floor, making floors warmer and more comfortable. The price of each panel is well reflected in its weighty, plush, and glamorously robust look and feel. In testing, the curtains didn’t fade, shrink, wrinkle, or otherwise distort after multiple washes, which is necessary since the knit weave — gross as it may sound — collects quite a bit of the pollution from outside.

Specifications:

  • 100% polyester
  • Available in 6 colors and 3 sizes, ranging 48” x 84” – 48” x 108”
  • Features dual hanging options: rod pocket or back tabs
  • Includes sewn-in blackout liner
  • Machine wash cold; tumble dry on low

Who It’s Best For: Those ready to invest in interior design-friendly blackout curtains; those who want a luxe-looking velvet; those who prefer rod pocket headings.

Good to Know: We recommend getting the length that allows your curtain to hit the ground rather than hover above it to optimize warmth and prevent heat from escaping or drafts from spilling in.

The bestselling Aurora Home Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtains offer an elegant pop of color in five shades from beige to blue. At $40 (or less, if they’re on sale), you can snag a two-piece set of these energy-saving curtains that come with coordinating tiebacks for an instant decor upgrade. They’re durable, machine washable, and easy to install. Plus, they’ll assist with preserving the temperature of your indoor space, which means you can rely less on cooling or heat and keep your energy bill from rising.

Since they come as a pair, these beautiful curtains can be used together or separate, depending on the size of your windows. That means you could end up saving even more money in the long run. “I like the curtains! My roommates and I still want some light entering our living room, so we only have two out of three windows covered,” says news and culture assistant editor Noella. “The neutral shade, Biscuit, will essentially match anything, so I’m excited for them to pair well with whatever else we add to our shared space.”

Specifications:

  • 100% polyester
  • Grommet header
  • Available in 5 colors and 6 sizes, ranging 52″ x 63″ – 52″ x 120″
  • Includes matching tiebacks
  • Machine washable

Who It’s Best For: Those who want inexpensive curtains that effectively help to insulate temperature in their home.

Good to Know: The decorative bronze grommets are compatible with both standard and decorative rods and brackets.

When it comes to blackout curtains, West Elm not only has ultra-stylish options but highly effective ones as well. The Crossweave Blackout Curtains, which can be purchased individually or as a pair, are just one tried-and-true example. Available in four neutral colors, the blackout curtains sport a subtle woven texture and have a sewn-in blackout lining. While the brand recommends the curtains for nurseries and bright bedrooms, they can also work in any room to tone down outside light and sound.

“The West Elm blackout curtains are hearty, plain, and functional. I was impressed by the thick material and neutral tones that complement any room. They completely darkened my room that has full sunlight and had a very straightforward setup,” says associate email editor Carolyn. “I would say that the thickness is the biggest plus. Since I live in Los Angeles, the temperature regulation was less needed, but did help with the draft on colder days, which I was surprised by.”

Specifications:

  • 100% polyester
  • Available in 4 colors and 3 sizes, ranging 48″ x 84″ – 48″ x 108″
  • Features dual hanging options: rod pocket or back tabs
  • Includes sewn-in blackout liner
  • Dry clean only
  • Fair Trade certified

Who It’s Best For: Those looking for blackout curtains that effectively insulate indoor temperatures; those looking for blackout curtains with a built-in liner; those who want multiple hanging options for their blackout curtains.

Good to Know: According to Carolyn, “They’re less easy to care for than other curtains since they require ironing for proper upkeep.”

If you’re a highly sensitive sleeper and wake to even slight sounds or visual motion, these deceptively heavy-duty curtains are for you. Beautiful enough to garner compliments (which I shamelessly loved), the linen-looking Peace & Quiet Noise Reducing Blackout Curtains from Pottery Barn are made in a Fair Trade Certified factory and give you three different headings to choose from: rod pocket, back tabs, and the option to clip rings on top.

A good blackout curtain can really make or break your city life experience. When Alicia’s normal curtains were no match for a bright floodlight that shined directly into her bedroom, the Peace & Quiet Noise-Reducing Blackout Curtains were a game-changer. “It blocks out that too-bright floodlight completely. I can’t even see my hand in front of my face,” she says. “I also use a white noise machine to help me sleep at night, but I do notice a slight difference. The curtains muffle the sound a bit — like my neighbor letting her dog out at 6 a.m.”

Read our full review of the Peace & Quiet Noise Reducing Blackout Curtains.

Specifications:

  • 100% polyester
  • Available in 5 colors and 3 sizes, ranging 50” x 84” – 50” x 108”
  • Hooks included
  • Features 3 hanging options: pocket, back tab, or ring top
  • Machine wash cold on gentle cycle; tumble dry low
  • Fair Trade and OEKO-TEX certified

Who It’s Best For: Those who want blackout curtains that also reduce noise; those who prefer the linen or natural fabric look.

Good to Know: Pottery Barn has a comprehensive guide to dressing your windows on each product page, from finding the perfect length to listing everything needed for installation.

If one of your fears is dragging down the feel of a room with heavy blackout curtains, you’re not alone. You’re also in luck because Quince has a solution in the form of the Raw Silk Blackout Curtain. This brand continues to be an editor- and reader-favorite at Apartment Therapy for bed blankets, bath towels, pillows, and even luggage. Now, blackout curtains can be added to the bunch. The Raw Silk Blackout Curtain is our pick for bedrooms and nurseries for multiple reasons including but not limited to appearance, effectiveness, and room darkening options.

Available in four neutrals from ivory to navy, the Raw Silk Blackout Curtain features a raw silk top that gives it a soft and textured look that instantly elevates the room. “I wanted a light and airy look still, which is hard to achieve with blackout curtains, but the raw silk really gives that effect,” says associate social media director Rachel. “They definitely do block light very nicely and have a variety of options for hanging styles.” You also have the choice of two types of liners. If total blackout isn’t your goal, you can select the 100% cotton light-filtering option for substantial room darkening. To go darker, the blackout liners have both a 100% cotton liner working in tandem with a 100% polyester liner to shield the room from unwanted light at any time of the day.

Specifications:

  • 100% raw silk with dual 100% cotton and 100% polyester lining
  • Available in 4 colors and 3 sizes, ranging 48″ x 84″ – 48″ x 108
  • Features dual hanging options: rod pocket and back tab
  • Includes sewn-in blackout liner or light-filtering liner
  • Dry clean only

Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer blackout curtains with a lightweight appearance; those looking for curtains that are available in blackout and darkening styles.

Good to Know: These curtain panels are sold individually.

Upgrading regular decorative curtains into blackout versions of themselves is as simple as pairing them with a compatible liner. Fortunately, Pottery Barn makes it super easy to find one. The Universal Blackout Curtain Liner, sold individually, can be used with ring, grommet, tab top, and fabric loops on a single rod. If you’re using a double rod, the liner can only accommodate pole top curtains. The liners come with nine curtain hooks, and yes, they’re conveniently machine-washable.

“I am a long-time fan of Pottery Barn blackout curtains. My twins’ rooms have been outfitted with Pottery Barn Kids blackout curtains for over ten years,” says ad operations director Valerie. “The Pottery Barn Universal Blackout Curtain Liner provides the same outstanding quality and durability with the added flexibility to use with your existing curtains. They are easy to install and work with a variety of drapery styles.”

Specifications:

  • 100% polyester
  • Available in 3 sizes, ranging 50” x 84” – 50” x 108”
  • Hooks included
  • Machine wash cold on gentle cycle; tumble dry low
  • Fair Trade and OEKO-TEX certified

Who It’s Best For: Those who want a blackout effect without needing to purchase new curtains.

Good to Know: Before purchasing the liners, it’s recommended that you measure your current curtain panels, both length and width, to pinpoint the correct liner size.

*Honorable Mention: If you need narrower blackout liners to pair with curtains you already love, the Best Home Fashion Vapor Other Blackout Curtain Liners could be for you. These triple-weave fabric liners earned top marks in light blockage and thickness suitable for blackout needs. Senior commerce editor Ian says, “These are great. They match any aesthetic, were super easy to hang on a tension rod we already had, and they’re great for blocking light.” Plus, they come in a set of two, so all you have to do is choose the correct size for your window. While the liners can be used on their own, keep in mind that they’re more darkening than blackout without the use of a curtain over them, so it all depends on your needs. Read our full review here.