Did you know that according to scientists, the number one cause of hearing loss isn’t aging – it’s noise?
These days, more people are aware of the consequences of excessive noise and are taking steps to cut it out of their lives. Since you get exposed to a lot of harmful noise while driving, fitting your car with sound-deadening material is a good first step to achieve a quieter life. It also makes your drive feel more luxurious and lets you hear your sound system better.
There are a lot of sound-deadening materials out there, though, and a lot of strong opinions about which ones are the best. We put together this list of reviews to help you tell your FatMats from your Dynamats and figure out exactly which sound-deadening materials you need in your car.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||FatMat RT50 Rattletrap Sound Deadener||CHECK PRICE|
|Best Value||Noico SNL1 Car Sound Deadening Mat||CHECK PRICE|
|Premium Choice||Dynamat 10455 Self-Adhesive Sound Deadener||CHECK PRICE|
|Kilmat KLM5050 Car Sound Deadening Mat||CHECK PRICE|
|Thermo-Tec 14620 Heat and Sound Suppressor||CHECK PRICE|
The 10 Best Sound-Deadening Materials for Cars – Reviews 2020
1. FatMat RT50 Rattletrap Sound Deadener – Best Overall
FatMat RT50 came out on top of our list of sound-deadening materials because of how effectively it combines an affordable price with great results. It takes a little more work to apply than some others, but we can’t argue with its power to dampen sound.
In a little more detail: one roll is about enough to cover an entire sedan or the floor of a larger truck and goes for a fair price. Once you begin installing it, FatMat RT50 conforms to the shape of your car’s floor, doors, or ceiling, leaving no crevices for sound to get through. It’s thick but still flexible. While layering makes it even more effective, it’s not necessary by any means.
Other than the marginally more difficult installation, the only downside of FatMat RT50 is that the aluminum coating is sharper than it looks. Be careful or you might get cut.
2. Noico SNL1 Car Sound Deadening Mat – Best Value
If your budget is too tight for FatMat, we enthusiastically recommend Noico SNL1, the best sound-deadening material for cars for the money. Getting a square foot of sound-deadening insulation for this cheap honestly made us a bit suspicious, but when we tested Noico, we were relieved to find out that it cuts out sound just like the competition.
It’s a breeze to cut, and while it takes a bit of time to install – we’d advise blocking out two hours per door – even 25% coverage makes a noticeable difference. Its dense butyl construction cuts vibrations down to almost nothing, leading to a wonderfully quiet drive.
The only downsides to using Noico SNL1 are that it’s not as thick as FatMat and doesn’t cancel out vibrations quite as effectively. You might also notice a faint asphalt-like smell just after installing it.
3. Dynamat 10455 Self-Adhesive Sound Deadener – Premium Choice
If you’ve researched sound-canceling materials for your car, you’ve almost certainly heard of Dynamat, the brand all the others define themselves against. Despite Dynamat truly living up to the hype, we were reluctant to put them at the top for a few reasons, the first being that they don’t sell their sound dampening mats in sets of less than 9.
While this makes their product a bit expensive and inconvenient, Dynamat 10455 is still a superior choice for drivers who aren’t up for measuring and cutting their own material to shape. Each 18 x 32-inch mat will dampen vibrations and silence driving noise wherever you set it down. They’re disproportionately effective for how easy they are to install.
The drawback of Dynamat 10455 mats, other than the premium price and the fact that you have to buy in bulk, is that they’re best at deadening typical sound. Both available thicknesses will struggle to cut down on louder-than-average road noise, such as the rattle from chains or snow tires.
4. Kilmat KLM5050 Car Sound Deadening Mat
Kilmat is another strong option for stretching your money on sound-deadening material – they say you can cover your entire car for the cost of insulating the doors with Dynamat or FatMat, and in many cases (depending on the car) they’re right.
Kilmat’s butyl insulation is easy to cut with a pair of home scissors, and thin enough to adhere to uneven surfaces on the doors, floor, and trunk of your car. It also manages to have no sharp cutting edges or nasty smells, which more expensive brands still struggle with.
So why is it only at #4? Simply put, it’s not as good at dampening sound. We mentioned it’s very thin: thickness is always a balancing act, and Kilmat KLM5050 might be too thin to dampen noise in some cars. Layering it sometimes helps, and sometimes doesn’t.
5. Thermo-Tec 14620 Heat and Sound Suppressor
This 36 x 60-inch roll of insulation material is designed to protect surfaces against both vibration and heat. It’s not explicitly built for cars, but it works perfectly well to quiet rattling in both cars and doors, with the added bonus of keeping the interior cool in the summer.
Thermo-Tec is as simple to install as a bumper sticker: just peel off the back and stick it down wherever you need it. It cuts easily, and its adhesive is impressively tight at room temperature. It’s ideal for any space where you spend a long time near a loud engine, like an RV, long-haul truck, or motorboat. We found Thermo-Tec works as advertised to keep those spaces cooler and quieter. It also makes good cushioning for floorboards.
Beware: we only said the adhesive is strong at room temperature. It can handle ambient heat fine, but if you install this too close to an engine or any other source of extreme heat, the glue will start to run and drip. There’s also a tangible asphalt smell.
6. Uxcell 394mil Car Noise Sound Deadener
Uxcell’s 60 x 40-inch sheet of dampening material is cheap, all-purpose fiberglass insulation. Need to wrap a pipe? Keep the heat in an attic? Cut down on engine noise so you can hear your sound system? Uxcell has you covered.
Unfortunately, this leads to a distinct jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none scenario. Fiberglass is great for temperature control, but in our sound tests, Uxcell only cut out quieter noises. Its foam construction does wonders to hold in heat, but when it comes to dampening sound, it’s just not heavy enough. The foam also takes up enough space that it’s hard to layer.
All that said, if you want an economical solution for sound deadening, you could still do much worse. Uxcell deadening material is easy to cut with scissors, and the adhesive stays strong even when close to the engine.
7. Stinger RKX36B Roadkill Expert Sound Damping Material
Stinger’s bulk pack of Roadkill sound-deadening material aims to be a complete solution for a single car. We’re skeptical of one-size-fits-all claims as a rule – there are a lot of car makes in the world – but after trying it out, we had to admit that the Stinger Roadkill bulk pack is a lot of high-quality material for a very good price per square inch.
What do we mean by “high-quality”? First, that it’s not asphalt-based, meaning no tar smells in your car. Second, it reduces vibrations significantly at just 25 percent coverage, provided it’s applied correctly.
That last part is the catch. Roadkill has good value, but it’s only effective if you apply it to the inner shell of your car doors, which is much more work. It’s also only for deadening noise, not canceling it, which means noises in the middle of the frequency spectrum like wind and tire crunch will not be affected at all.
8. Second Skin Audio Damplifier Sound Deadening Mat
Second Skin Audio’s “Damplifier” sound deadeners are intended to cut down on structural noises so you can hear your sound system more clearly. The butyl construction of these mats avoids noxious asphalt smells, while also granting them a high enough heat capacity that they can serve as heat shields as well as noise dampeners.
Cutting down vibrations and improving sound system quality go a long way toward Second Skin’s goal of making any car feel like a luxury car. However, these sound dampeners still fall short of that mark in a few ways.
While there’s no asphalt smell, there is an unpleasant tang of zinc, though that goes away after the first few days. The mats are very thin, which makes them unable to impact noise very much, but they also have aluminum backing, which makes them hard to cut and dangerous to install.
9. HushMat 10200 Ultra Black Foil Door Kit
Just because the HushMat 10200 is at #9 on our list, doesn’t mean this sound dampening kit is a bad product. On the contrary, these mats don’t just keep your doors from rattling, but can actually increase the bass power of a low-frequency sound system. They’re also very flexible and easy to apply with a roller.
The reason HushMat is in ninth place is that we need to consider every possible use of a sound deadener. These mats work well with sound systems, but not everyone is an audiophile – and in our tests, they just didn’t make a dent in road and engine noise. If you’ve got a rattling problem, HushMat is for you, but for more complete soundproofing, look somewhere else.
10. Pyle PNVBD3621 Audio Sound Deadening Material
Pyle’s sound-deadening material does what it’s supposed to. If you install it in the right parts of your car, you will enjoy better quality out of your sound system. In fact, while it’s in place, you might notice a pretty significant reduction in unwanted noise. By that strict definition, it’s a good product.
But that’s not the only metric we looked at, and outside of the core mission, Pyle premium insulation is a sloppy product. Its aluminum edges are razor-sharp, worse even than the other products we’ve called out for that. Its adhesive is weak and dissolves entirely in a matter of months. Lastly, the rolls ship in wildly uneven sizes, enough that we can’t trust them enough to recommend you purchase any.
Here are the things to look for when deciding what sound-deadening materials you want for your car. The best way to learn about these factors is to read reviews from people who have already bought the product.
- Installation requirements. Some sound-deadening mats are easy to use. You either just throw them down loose, or peel off a backing layer and stick them in place. Others, however, aren’t so simple. You might need a roller, and to get the best performance, you might need to remove your car’s seats or door panels, which requires additional tools. Make sure you aren’t signing up for a day-long job if you aren’t prepared for it.
- Removal requirements. Related to the previous point: some materials are easy to install but hard to remove. Check to see if the mat you’re interested in is known to bond permanently to surfaces.
- Temperature rating. Some sound dampeners are also designed to function as heat shields, but some aren’t. Those in the latter category might melt or fuse if heated too much by direct sunlight or placed too close to a running engine block. Even if they don’t, the adhesive might start to run, or the material might start to smell. If you live in an area that gets hot summers, or if you’re planning to deaden your engine noise directly, check the temperature rating on any sound-deadening material you buy.
- Thicker mats have more material to absorb shockwaves, which makes them better at dampening sound. But they’re also harder to cut, and harder to layer, if that’s your plan. Get a material with a good balance of sound-deadening and user-friendliness.
- Rolled vs. pre-cut. Some sound-deadening material comes in pre-cut mats. This cuts one step out of the installation process but runs the risk that the mats won’t fit your vehicle just right. Other mats are sold as full rolls of material from which you can cut off whatever you require. This can be more work — especially if the material is thick — but there’s no better way to be sure it will fit your space.
- Dirt resistance. No matter where you put the mat in your car, it’s going to take a lot of abuse: road dust, dirt, grime, and oil will find their way onto it sooner or later. Be sure you buy a mat that’s good at resisting mess.
In our reviews of sound-deadening material for cars, FatMat RT50 came out on top. It’s a thick, effective, relatively affordable dampener that’s easy to adhere to the entire surface of your car’s floor or doors. It cuts down on the widest range of sounds of any material we tested. Despite a few counts against it, like the sharp edges of the aluminum backing, we’re confident it’s a winner.
For drivers on a budget, Noico SNL1 is also a fantastic sound-dampening option. The difference is not quite as night-and-day as it is with FatMat, but it does the job of quieting down your interior and clarifying your sound system.
We hope we’ve helped you make sense of the many options you’ve got for making your car’s interior a quieter and happier place. In such a noisy world, a bit of peace is worth any price. Thanks for reading, and enjoy your newly luxurious drive!
Featured image credit: FatMat Self-Adhesive Rattletrap Sound Deadener Bulk Pack with Install Kit – 50 Sq Ft x 80 mil Thick, Amazon
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Sound-Deadening Materials for Cars – Reviews 2020
- 1. FatMat RT50 Rattletrap Sound Deadener – Best Overall
- 2. Noico SNL1 Car Sound Deadening Mat – Best Value
- 3. Dynamat 10455 Self-Adhesive Sound Deadener – Premium Choice
- 4. Kilmat KLM5050 Car Sound Deadening Mat
- 5. Thermo-Tec 14620 Heat and Sound Suppressor
- 6. Uxcell 394mil Car Noise Sound Deadener
- 7. Stinger RKX36B Roadkill Expert Sound Damping Material
- 8. Second Skin Audio Damplifier Sound Deadening Mat
- 9. HushMat 10200 Ultra Black Foil Door Kit
- 10. Pyle PNVBD3621 Audio Sound Deadening Material
- Buyer’s Guide