Best Sound Deadening Insulation: Keep the Noise Out
Make your ride much quieter.
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BY Hank O'Hop / LAST UPDATED ON October 15, 2021
You're driving your project car along and everything's going well. That is until the tires begin chucking gravel into the wheel well and blasts ring through the cabin like mini explosions. Yep, you forgot to install the sound deadening. Sound deadening is important, and it's one simple mod that can make your car infinitely more livable for you and the passengers. Even if a car has sound deadening from the factory, adding a few extra layers in key places to your older ride can make an economy box feel a whole lot more like a luxury cruiser. Everyone has room for sound deadener in their life, so we want to talk about some of our favorite options and how you can hunt some down for yourself.
Dynamat leads the industry for a reason. The quality and performance of the 36 square feet of 50-mil deadener in this kit will make you a believer.
- High-quality materials used
- Easy to work with
- High tack promotes superior performance in all locations
- Relatively high price
- Thinner layers allow some more affordable options to provide better sound reduction
80 mils and 36 square feet of surprise exist in this kit. Despite the low price, Kilmat delivers, and the product takes the beating you'd never expect it to.
- Affordable price point
- Exceptional performance, despite what price suggests
- Strong bond when installed properly
- Can be difficult to install
- Hard to cut to shape
- Produces strong odor
Sometimes, you just need more. This kit is enough to cover 312 square feet with 50 mil sound deadener. The looks, performance, and quality are sure to impress.
- Kit can be used to cover vehicles from top to bottom
- Easy to work with
- Black finish provides tasteful look
- More than most need for their cars
- High price point
- Inconsistent logo placement
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Best Sound Deadening Insulation Reviews & Recommendations
How We Selected the Best Automotive Sound Deadening Insulation
Let's get down to it. Dynamat started the industry of sound-deadening insulation cars back in 1989. The product was a solution to problems car owners of all shapes and sizes dealt with, and it's only natural for an idea like this to catch on. It's also only natural for everyone and their brother to start up a company and try their hand at it.
Before we leave you with the impression that we're saying Dynamat is the only sound-deadening company to go with, we should say that a lot of the competition is worth considering. We even have some experience with them and are pleased with the performance. As we assembled our list, we made sure to include those we know to work well, that actually stick to panels you need them to, and those of different configurations so that you have options to sort through.
Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.
Buying Guide/What to Look For
It's easy to say we picked what we picked because we like it, but it's another thing to really dive into the thought process. That's why we want to walk you through a buying guide for sound deadener insulation. Not only that, but as you learn more about sound deadener, you might find what's on our list doesn't quite suit your needs. This guide is here to help you track down what will.
What to Consider When Buying Sound Deadener Insulation
Savants of this part of the industry might get a little peeved to see that we're lumping foam into the discussion of sound deadening, and we have to agree that they're right about the differences. However, we want to keep newcomers in mind. When it comes to controlling sound in your car, you'll have a few different materials to choose from. The brief explanations below will help to understand what is better and when.
True sound-deadening materials rely on butyl rubber. The goal this material works to achieve is cutting down vibrations and acoustics in panels. It's going to cut down on the sounds of rocks hitting the wheel wells, exhaust noise polluting the cabin, and so on. It's also a great choice for enhancing the performance of sound systems as it won't harm bass or other airborne frequencies.
The material is a tacky, pliable compound that easily adheres to bare panels. It's often coupled with an aluminum foil backing and typically comes in sheets. You will need to use a roller to apply it to uneven surfaces for the best results, but it generally won't pull away easily after installation.
As you shop, you will come across materials that rely on closed foam materials. While it works to achieve a similar goal of cutting down noise, it's not dealing with the same elements as butyl. Instead, it's designed to tackle airborne sound waves. Issues like the sound of passing cars and other noise from outside of the vehicle are what it's intended to deal with.
The issue with foam is that it can begin to interfere with sound quality within the cabin if it isn't used effectively. However, that doesn't mean one is universally superior to the other. If you're looking to get a truly luxurious feel from your car, you will need to use both with strategic placement.
There aren't many spray-on sound deadeners out there, but they are worth mentioning, as they can be a useful tool. The texture is close to a rubberized undercoating, and unlike butyl or foam technologies, they spray right out of a can, eliminating the need to cut pieces to size.
While these products will reduce noise, it's important not to use them in place of foam or butyl sound deadening. Instead, you should use this where the others can't reach. Exterior portions of the vehicle, tight spaces or gaps between other sound reduction materials are easily covered with the spray-on sound deadener.
Now that you know the different types of sound deadeners, let's dive into some of the key features. These are the areas to keep in mind as it's what determines the right choice for your car. Don't worry, though — it's not as complicated as it can seem.
It can seem redundant to dive back into materials after highlighting the different types. However, we didn't discuss much about what to use and where just why you might consider different materials.
For the most part, you want to apply a butyl sound deadener to the floor pans, package trays, roof panels, and other structural panels that produce excessive vibrations. If you're trying to cut down noise completely, a layer of foam sound eliminator can also be applied to the floorboard, but is often used behind door panels and other areas where outside noises can come in. It's also a good idea to read into what sound experts suggest for your exact make and model to get the best results.
The thicker the material, the better of a job it can do at cutting down unwanted noise. When it comes to true sound deadener, 50 mil is the standard, 80 mil is the middle of the road, and anything over 100 mil is supreme. Which is right for you depends on how bad your noise issue is and how quiet you really need things to be. Some drivers still want some road noise, so the choice is yours.
Foam materials are naturally much thicker, but the same school of thought applies. However, it's important to remember that the thicker the material becomes, the harder it can be to tuck into certain parts of the car.
Cars generate heat — that's just a fact. You're riding down the highway on an automobile that produces motion with explosions. That heat can easily turn your efforts into a sticky mess that does little to combat the noise issue.
The engine and exhaust aren't the only offenders. Sun beats on the roof, the transmission gets hot as it runs, and so on. The point is that you need to be considerate of any sources of heat and pick a material that's designed to live in the type of environment you need it to.
Tips and Tricks
Now that we have the basics out of the way, your selection comes down to research. We recommend reading what experts and other enthusiasts say about what works for your application and go from there. It's really pretty simple stuff, but we do have a few quick tips to help you get the most out of whatever product you decide to go with.
- Get a roller. The butt of your adjustable wrench is only going to get you so far. Do yourself a favor and pick up a couple of rollers for installing sound deadener to get the best installation results.
- Mind the weight. Sound deadener has some weight to it, and you can bog a ride down by going overboard. If you're performance-oriented, you will want to balance sound and weight control to find a happy medium.
- Think about your head. If you're throwing sound deadener on the roof, you need to be careful and make sure that sucker sticks. Otherwise, your headliner might not be too fond of your life choices.
Q: Is sound deadener worth it?
Sound deadener works. Whether or not it belongs in your car depends on your use of the vehicle. If you're using the vehicle for street use, then yes, sound deadener is worth it. Even if you're concerned about adding weight to the vehicle, you can use strategic placement to cut down on harsh vibrations.
Q: Can you sound deaden a hood?
Yes, you can sound deaden a hood. One technique involves using a base layer of sound deadener covered by a hood insulation material. There are also kits designed specifically for sound deadening your hood.
Q: Does sound deadening improve bass?
Sound deadening can improve the bass of your sound system. Using it can dramatically improve your sound system's performance on all levels, which is why many people want it in their cars in the first place.
Q: Should I sound deaden my trunk?
Yes. Your trunk might seem like its own entity, but it is a part of your vehicle's cabin nonetheless. Neglecting to apply sound deadener here can be detrimental to your efforts to improve comfort or sound system performance.
It's hard to ignore the performance and quality Dynamat 10455 18" x 32" x 0.067" Thick Self-Adhesive Sound Deadener with Xtreme Bulk Pack brings to the table. However, the Kilmat 80 mil 36 sqft Car Sound Deadening Mat is an excellent choice on a budget.