I absolutely hate it when engine and road noises get in the way when I’m trying to listen to my favourite tunes in the car. The finer details and nuances that I enjoy in a piece of music gets drowned out by rattling and annoying ambiance. Even with high-quality speakers and a boosted midrange dialed through my equalizer, I’ve found that it’s still not quite enough to cut through it all.
This year, I decided to finally do something about it. Hence, I started looking for the best automotive sound deadening material on the market. I started collecting and testing around 15 different materials and managed to pick out a top five. You can read my review of each below.
Sound Deadening Material: What you need to know
Before getting to the reviews, I want to actually talk about sound-deadening materials in general, particularly the things you need to consider before getting one for your car.
These materials come in different types and weights, with different insulation capabilities, thickness…etc. and it can get a bit confusing if you’re not familiar with this technical stuff. Not to worry though, because I’m going to be explaining how all of these different factors affect the final product, starting with…
The Different Types Sound Deadening Material
Let’s look at the characteristics of four of the commonest types of automotive sound deadening material you can buy:
- Car mats – this is perhaps the most popular way of dampening sound inside a car. They’re particularly great for covering panels and are excellent insulators as well, helping to keep the interior temperature regular. Plus they’re cheap and rather easy to install.
- Woven fiber and foam products – these are most often placed beneath the carpet and floor mats. Fiber cloths aren’t just good at absorbing noise; they’re great at insulating as well. Foam is particularly great at dampening vibrations that emit from underneath the floor.
- Sound dampening sprays – dampening spray is a good alternative for places inside your car where matting can’t be used. This is the least used out of all the types of sound deadening methods.
The Base Material (For Car Mats)
Typically, sound deadening mats will have foil on the top surface and sticky material on the base. The base material determines how effective the mat is at deafening the sound and also how well it will counter extreme temperatures.
The two commonest materials you’ll find on car mats are butyl and asphalt. These days a lot of manufacturers seem to prefer butyl over asphalt and I can certainly see why. First of all butyl products are more heat tolerant than asphalt ones, which I gather is due to the stronger chemical bonds between its molecules. In addition, asphalt tends to give off a rubbery odor while butyl mats don’t carry a particular scent. One cause of this could be the relatively low melting point of asphalt.
Lastly, butyl is the lighter material of the two which makes for an easier installation process.
Noise Isolation Method
There are two ways in which a material could reduce the amount of noise inside your car: sound blocking and sound absorption. Despite what a lot of people think, these terms aren’t interchangeable. Sound blockers prevent sound from entering and/or leaving a space. What they do is create an airtight barrier around them so that sound waves cannot penetrate through it. On the other hand, sound-absorbing materials like foam ‘catch’ sound waves and reduce them as they travel into the soft surface.
How do you determine which is right for you: sound blocking or sound-absorbing? The key is to figure out whether most of the noise is coming from within the car (for example, engine rattling) or outside it. If it’s the former, then sound absorption is more appropriate. Otherwise, if its road noise or wind that’s giving you the most trouble, then best go with a sound blocker.
The thicker the material, the more effective it is going to be at deadening sound. This is simply because the intruding sound waves have a bigger barrier to cross and any few that get through will have lost most of their energy by the end of it. Hence, if you deal with quite a lot of noise on a regular basis, then I recommend only looking at thick material.
You can buy sound deadeners in a variety of sizes but the dimensions should depend on the area you wish to cover. You can either buy deadeners as large rolled mats and cut out the size you want or simply buy smaller pre-cut sheets.
The weight itself doesn’t necessarily affect the quality of dampening but lightweight ones are most certainly easier to install than heavier ones. If you’re the kind that tends to get frustrated when doing DIY work, then I’d highly recommend going with a lighter material.
Flexibility impacts ease of installation too. The more flexible the material is, the easier it is to bend over the irregular surface on the inside of your car.
Compatibility With Oily Surfaces
You can’t avoid oily surfaces when it comes to cars; it’s just something you have to live with. Oily surfaces are harder to coat because they don’t adhere to things that well. Fortunately, there are sound deadeners that are specifically made to stick to oily surfaces.
Best Automotive Sound Deadening Material Reviews
Now that you’re well-informed on what sound deadeners are and what factors to consider before you get one, let’s take a look at my top five picks for this year:
- The cost effective 80 mil automotive butyl and foil sound deadening!...
- Now the material is 1,5 times thicker that will get you 1,5 times more...
- Automotive self-adhesive insulation consists of butyl. Noico sound...
- Audio insulation Noico has a special indicator as to if it is...
- Sound deadening material specifications: Nominal thickness 80 mil;...
This popular car mat from Noico is 80 mils thick which is about 2 millimeters. While this may not sound all that impressive, this is actually quite thick in the context of automotive sound deadeners. To compare, the average car mat is only about 1.3 mm thick. Hence, the Noico 80 mil certainly gives you above-average performance.
Needless to say, things got really quiet inside the car once I managed to install the Noico mats. The previously troublesome engine and exhaust piped noises settled down and as a result, I could have my music playing at a moderate level and still hear everything.
The Noice 80 mil sports a butyl base which means that it’ll fare well in hot weather or if your car naturally tends to generate a lot of heat like most sports cars do. While butyl doesn’t carry a particular odor you’ll still get a whiff of a rubbery scent when it starts to get really hot inside the car. This is because the Noice 80 mil supposedly has some asphalt mixed in.
Before I actually got my hands on the Noico car mat, I had a strong suspicion that the added thickness would cause it to become a bit heavy. It actually turned out to be the case, to my pleasant surprise. The Noico 80 mil hardly weight anything more than the average 50 mil car mat at just 0.7 pounds per square feet and so I didn’t have any difficulty setting it up inside my car.
In addition, each order includes a stack of 9 pre-cut 29.5×19.5 which means that you most likely won’t need to do any cutting yourself.
The Noico mat has a very easy way of indicating whether you’ve installed it properly on the floor of your car. It comes with special embossing on the foil surface which has to be rolled out with a roller until it turns smooth. And that’s pretty much it! Once the foil looks plain, you’ll know it’s properly set up.
- Increased thickness leads to better sound dampening
- Easy to Install
- Gives off a faint rubbery smell when car interior heats up
- Does not come with a roller
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Very Effective Dampener
Similar to the Noico car mat, the KILMAT 80 mil features a thicker-than-average body which makes for improved performance over typical mats. As soon as I had the KILMAT installed, the cabin sounds grew extremely faint and I found that I didn’t need to crank up the stereo volume anymore in order to hear all the details in the low-end of my music.
By now you’re well aware of the benefits that a butyl base brings to the table. In addition to being good at audio dampening and having high heat-resistance, the KILMAT 80 mil is also odorless. This indicates that the car mat is a purer butyl product than the Noico 80 mil.
There are four main factors that make the KILMAT quite easy to install. First of all, it sports the exact same installation indicator as the Noico 80 mil, where you have to roll out the embossed foil. Secondly, the package comes included with a very powerful adhesive which meant that I didn’t have to order one separately. Thirdly, the KILMAT weighs practically nothing at about 0.5 pounds per square foot. Lastly, each order includes 34 9.8×15.7 pre-cut sheets which are much smaller than what I got with the Noico package. This made things a bit more convenient as I didn’t have to do any cutting at all.
- Very effective at sound deadening
- Does not heat up when temperatures get high
- Very easy to install
- Does not come with a roller
- Car Insulation - Thermal Sound Deadener 40 Sqft - Lightweight...
- Controls Heat, Reduces Unwanted Sound, & Minimizes Vibrations
- Thermal & Vapor Barrier - Blocks 97% Radiant Heat
- Crush Resistant - Polyethylene Closed Cell Reinforced Foam Core...
- Double Sided Aluminum - Extremely Light-weight & Flexible
This car mat from Car Insulation features a thickness of 1/4″ which is one of the highest I’ve encountered. As you might expect, the performance is quite excellent, muffling any and all rattles coming from within the car.
Unlike the Noico and the KILMAT, the Car Insulation mat features foam instead of butyl. While foam doesn’t appear to be any better at deafening sounds than butyl, it’s certainly more effective at removing reverberations. Hence, if you’re experiencing excessive rattling coming from your engine, then this might be the sound deadener for you.
The Car Insulation mat doesn’t feature pure foam but a variant that’s reinforced by a polyethylene exterior. What this does is make the mat crush resistant. So you could have someone stamping their feet hard on the floors or place a heavy object on it and not cause any damage to the mat.
Since it’s made out of foam, the Car Insulation mat weighs practically nothing at all, despite being a quarter of an inch thick. By the company’s own estimate, it would take 25 square feet to get this thing to weight one pound! This makes for a very no-hassle installation process, especially considering that foam is a very flexible material too.
The car Insulation mat makes sure that your car interior doesn’t get to warm by reflecting most of the heat coming from the engine and header. Conversely, during the winter, it’ll reflect any heat back towards you instead of absorbing it.
- Highly effective deadener
- Extremely lightweight
- Does not come with an adhesive which meant that I had to source my own
- Does not come with a roller
- Has to be cut into sections
- Country of origin : United States
- Model Number : 10455
- Package Weight : 23 pounds
- Package Dimensions : 21" L x 12" W x 3" H
The Dynamat 10455 is around 1.7 mm thick which means it’s the least thick mat on the list. However, that’s not to say that it’s a poor sound deadener. In fact, its performance was still comparable to that of the Noico 80 mil mat.
A butyl base means that the Dynamat 10455 is going to be durable, heat-resistant and lack any form of odor. In addition, the butyl base is actually coated with aluminium, making it even more capable of deflecting heat. As a result, the Dynamat 10455 is one of the best sound deadening car mats in terms of insulation.
Each order includes nine 18″ x 32″ sheets which meant that I didn’t really need to do much cutting during set up. Additionally, each sheet comes with a high tack permanent adhesive that’ll make absolutely sure that the mat won’t shift around after you’ve installed it. Trust me, I tried.
- Excellent sound deadening abilities
- Easy Installation
- Does not include a roller
- Set of Five 18 inch wide x 40 inch long Sheets Self-Adhesive...
- 80 mil nominal thickness with Patented "Super-Stick" Adhesive
- Sound Deadening Acoustical Insulation for automotive, trucks, homes,...
- Hear more of the sound you want! Vibrational damper: reduces...
- Pliable, easy to cut, heat-resistant aluminum coating. Keep Sound In,...
This sound deadener from FatMat boasts a thickness of 2mm, which puts it in the same league as the Noico and KILMAT. As a result of the extra thickness, this car mat is quite excellent at muffling out chamber noises and as the name clearly implies, getting rid of those pesky engine rattles.
Similar to the Car Insulation mat, this FatMat features aluminium coating that’s able to deflect the heat arising from the engine and other components away from the interior. Likewise, this deflection ability helps to retain heat inside the car when you’re trying to stay warm during the winter.
FatMat comes with a proprietary ‘Super-Stick’ adhesion which I found to be quite effective. After an hour of letting it dry, I tried and failed to slide the mat with my feet.
Comes With A Roller
I feel that all car mats should come with rollers considering its a vital tool for the installation process. However, as you’ve likely noticed, that’s just not the case. Fortunately, the FatMat was a welcome exception to this norm and not only that, the included roller was quite easy to use as well.
The biggest drawback with the FatMat is that it doesn’t come in pre-cut sheets. Instead, you get a roll that can vary in length from 25 square feet all the way to 200 square feet. Because of this, I had to spend some time cutting out small sections.
- Excellent deadener; especially effective at drowning out rattles
- Heat-resistant and a great insulator
- Comes with a very powerful adhesive
- Comes with an easy-to-use roller
- Does not come as pre-cut sheets
The Best Overall…
Here’s the part of the review where I reveal my overall favourite sound deadener from the top five. Before I do that, I want to clarify that any of the above five could serve you well, seeing as they are similarly excellent in a lot of aspects. In my experience, I never felt that any of these were sub-par at cutting out noise or dampening out excessive vibrations.
As a result, it all came down to personal preference and considering this, the winner was the Dynamat 10455. First of all, it did its primary job rather well, which was to make the inside of my car the quietest possible so that I could enjoy my music at a moderate volume. The 10455 was also an excellent insulator, and is going to be quite handy since winter is here already. The heat loss through the floor is going to be significantly reduced.
I also liked the fact that the Dynamat didn’t emit any sort of odor. Considering that I’m very sensitive to smells, this saved me from literal headaches. Lastly, I liked that I didn’t have to spend any time cutting up a roll since it came as pre-cut sheets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Over the years, I’ve had a ton of people ask me questions about automotive sound-deadening materials so I thought it would be appropriate to answer the commonest ones here:
What Is The Best Material To Use For Soundproofing?
There are mainly four factors that determine whether a material is great for soundproofing or not:
- Mass – thicker materials make for stronger barriers against sound waves.
- Damping – damping is the ability to convert sound energy into heat, hence cancelling it out altogether.
- Decoupling – Simply put, decoupling is the process of making it harder for sound waves to travel from location to the other.
- Absorption – This essentially means trapping the sound waves inside the body of the material and reducing them as much as possible through dampening.
If a material meets all of these requirements, then it can be used to effectively soundproof your home, office or car. The best materials include mass-loaded vinyl, soundproof drywall, acoustic caulk, acoustic foam, weather-stripping tape and more.
Is It Worth Sound Deadening A Car?
It depends. If you’ve got a noisy car like I do, with a really loud engine and lots of rattling components, then it’s certainly worth it. This is especially true if you tend to listen to a lot of music and would like to hear all the details in a song.
Does Dynamat Improve Sound Quality?
Some manufacturers of sound deadening material might claim that their products help to improve the bass response in the sound. However, I believe this is an exaggerated claim. What sound deadeners essentially do is drown out ambiance so that the sound from your speakers can take the spotlight. Hence, essentially, if the bass response sounded weak before it’ll certainly sound much better afterward.
What Material Best Absorbs Sound?
There are three main types of sound absorbers:
- Porous absorbers – these allow sound waves to penetrate their surface, where they are dampened. Examples of very effective porous absorbers include open-cell foams, glass fiber and mineral wool.
- Panel absorbers – panel or membrane absorbers contain panels which vibrate when hit by sound waves. This causes the fibers inside the panels to flex, leading to a loss of friction which in turn facilitates the absorption of sound. Good examples of panel absorbers include pressed wood fibers and plastics.
- Resonance absorbers – these consist of a solid plate of porous material (such as perforated plasterboard) at the front with a tight air space behind it. Essentially, the sound waves enter through the pores and then get trapped in them because of the tight air layer blocking their path.
What Is A Good Sound Dampening Material?
There are many excellent sound dampening materials including:
- Studio foam
- Rock wool
- Acoustical fabrics
- Acousting coatings such as Mass-Loaded Vinyl
The products featured on this page were last updated on 2021-03-22 at 11:39 /. Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.