We are reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission.

The Best Acoustic Foam Panels of 2022

If you are reading this, you probably know that acoustics are different than soundproofing. But it is worth repeating. Acoustic panels improve the sound quality inside a room, and keep some of the sound in. They do nothing to keep noise out of the room.

Square or rectangular rooms with hard walls, ceilings, and floors create all kinds of echoes, and other problems for recording and/or listening to music, movies, podcasts, etc. Acoustic foam panels are the most popular and efficient product to solve those problems. 

These are the best choices if you plan to purchase, but if you want to build them yourselves see our DIY Acoustic Panels 21 Plans for Making Sound Absorbing Panels, and here is how to Hang Acoustic Panels.

 

Best Wedge Foam Panel:
Best Broadband Sound Absorber:
Best Panel for Flutter Echoes:
Best Absorption for Multiple Frequencies:
Best Panel for Decibel Reduction:
Best Acoustic Starter Kit:


 

10 Best Acoustic Foam Panels 

Although all acoustic foam panels will absorb sound waves, some are better at it than others. The following 10 different panels should give you a good cross-section of the types, styles, and absorption abilities of acoustic foam panels. Hopefully you will find the right product to improve the acoustics of your studio, home theater, or office.

 

1) SoundKey Premium Acoustic Foam Panels

 

SoundKey Premium Acoustic Foam Panels are 12″ x 12″ square panels that are 2″ thick and have a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of 0.80. Meaning that they absorb 80% of the sound waves coming in contact with them. These high-density studio grade wedges are made from premium grade sound absorbing foam providing consistent firmness, a Class B fire rating with flame retardant properties, and some of the finest absorption available.

SoundKey wedgies improve the quality of sound in a studio, sound booth, or theater by eliminating bounce-back sounds–such as echo and feedback–by absorbing up to 80% of them. The classic charcoal grey color can also be used in an office, gaming room, and more to absorb sounds–making for a more comfortable space. 

These sound absorbing/sound dampening panels are sold in packages of 24 pieces and will cover up to 24 square feet of area. The manufacturer recommends 3M Command Strips for temporary mounting and 3M High Strength 90 Adhesive for permanent mounting.

3M Hi-Strength Spray Adhesive 90, 14.6 oz.

The Good

  • Premium acoustic foam wedges 12″ x 12″ x 2″ thick
  • NRC of 0.80 – absorbs 80% of sound
  • Flame retardant – Class B fire rating
  • Eliminate bounce-back sounds
  • Easy to install
  • 50% introductory discount

 

The Not so Good

  • Virtually none

2) TroyStudio Acoustic Studio Absorption Foam Panel

The TroyStudio Acoustic Studio Absorption Foam Panel is a Periodic Groove Structure design manufactured of thick, dense 3D polyurethane foam. They come in 6-packs of 12″ x 12″ panels, 2 inches thick. (Also available in packs of 18 at a reduced cost per panel.) Application methods include 3M Command Strips, 3M High Strength 90 Adhesive, or 3M Double Side Foam Tape Pads. The open cell design allows more sound energy into each cell, making more friction to absorb more sound.

Periodic Groove design makes these panels excellent broadband sound absorbers that are great at cancelling echo, reverb, and standing wave. They have a Noise Reduction Coefficient of 0.75 meaning they absorb 75% of the sound coming into contact with them. These panels provide good acoustical treatment for recording studios, vocal booths, offices, home theater, podcasts, and more. 

They are eco-friendly, non-toxic, work well on both walls and ceilings, and meet California Technical Bulletin 117-2013 Flammability Standards. They are easy to measure, cut, and install. Available in black or grey.

 

The Good

  • Thick dense polyurethane foam
  • Excellent broadband sound absorber
  • NRC of 0.75 – absorbs 75% of sound
  • Meets California Flammability Standards
  • Easy installation on walls or ceilings
  • Available in black or grey

 

The Not so Good

  • Advertised as odorless – some reviews disagree

 

3) Fstop Mushroom Acoustic Foam Panels

The Fstop Mushroom Acoustic Foam Panels has one of the highest NRC ratings of foam acoustic panels. They come in a pack of 12 and measure 12″ x 12″ x 2″ thick, and are available in 7 colors to fit with your d├ęcor–specially if you like primary colors. With a Noise Reduction Coefficient of 0.92 (absorbing 92% of the sound coming into contact with them), they are particularly effective at absorbing unwanted flutter echoes. They are made of 50 lb. per cubic yard environmentally friendly, non-toxic flame retardant polyurethane.

They are great for spot treating walls in recording studios, offices, and home entertainment rooms. Cutting panels to fit your situation will not have a negative effect on performance. The USA based customer service guarantees prompt refund or replacement to make sure you are satisfied with your purchase.

 

The Good

  • Very high NRC 0.92 rating – 92% of sound absorbed
  • 12 pack – 12″ x 12″ x 2″ thick
  • Heavy polyurethane foam very good at absorbing flutter echoes
  • Good for recording studios, offices, home theaters
  • Flame retardant
  • USA based customer service
  • Full replacement or refund policy

 

The Not so Good

  • Virtually none

 

4) Foamily Acoustic Foam Egg Crate Panel 

The Foamily Acoustic Foam Egg Crate Panel comes in large 24″ x 48″ x 2.5″ thick panels. Four to a pack. The extra thickness makes these panels more effective on a greater range of frequencies. The high Noise Reduction Coefficient makes for superb sound absorption in home studios, home offices, and home theaters. 

The size of these panels may make them difficult to apply. They will work with 3M Contact Strips, 3M High Strength 90 Adhesive, or 3M Double Sided Foam Pads. The panels can be cut to fit without causing them to lose any absorption ability. 

Available in 2 colors–charcoal and red–and made in the USA, these panels pass California Technical Bulletin 117-2013 Flammability Standards

Note: People have been using real egg cartons for acoustics and soundproofing for years. For more information on this please see our article Egg Carton Soundproofing – It Doesn’t Work. Better Alternatives Here.

 

The Good

  • High NRC
  • 4 to a pack – 24″ x 48″ x 2.5″ thick
  • Extra thickness adds to effectiveness on a greater range of frequencies
  • Excellent absorption in home studios, home offices, home theaters
  • Available in 2 colors – charcoal and red
  • Easy to cut and fit
  • Fire retardant
  • USA made.

 

The Not so Good

  • Virtually none

 

5) Colily Acoustic Foam Panels

 

Colily Acoustic Foam Panels have a distinctive design that makes for an interesting decorative look. The base of these 12″ x 12″ panels is 2″ thick, and the raised design is up to another 2″ thick, giving these panels a very high Noise Reduction Coefficient. They come in packages of 12 (or 24 panel bulk packs) and are available in 2 colors–black and grey.

They effectively reduce reverb, flutter echoes, and other undesirable acoustic reflections. Colily panels are easy to apply to walls, ceilings, and doors. They are easy to measure and cut, and will lose no acoustic qualities when cut. They can be installed with 3M Command Strips, 3M High Strength 90 Adhesive, 1 1/2″ strips of double sided tape, or double sided foam pads.

These are high density (50 lbs. per cubic yard) polyurethane foam panels–25% denser than most competitors, fire retardant, and formaldehyde-free making them non-toxic. Great for spot treating studio, home office, baby’s room, home entertainment theater, and any other room that needs better acoustics and less noise.

Note: Colily claims a 40 decibel reverberation and reflection sound reduction when comparing a bare walls room to one using their foam panels. I am not sure how accurate that is.

 

The Good

  • Very high NRC rating
  • 2″ thick base plus build ups
  • 12 packs – 12″ x 12″ panels
  • 2 colors – black and grey
  • Easy application
  • Very dense polyurethane
  • Fire retardant and non-toxic
  • No hassle refund or return policy

 

The Not so Good

  • Virtually none

 

6) Auralex Acoustics D36-DST Acoustic Absorption Room Kit

The Auralex Acoustics D36-DST Acoustic Absorption Room Kit contains 36 one foot x one foot x 2″ thick panels–enough for a small studio. You can see from the picture that half the panels have one configuration and the other half have a different configuration. For best results mix them together. The kit also includes enough EZ-Stick Pro Mounting Tabs to apply all of the panels to a finished wall or ceiling. It is available in 3 color combinations–charcoal/charcoal, charcoal/burgundy, charcoal/purple–18 of each color and configuration per kit. 

These acoustic panels are designed to absorb mid and high frequency reflections and alleviate flutter echoes and slap back–with a Noise Reduction Coefficient of 0.75–meaning 75% of the sound hitting the panels is absorbed. Auralex promotes this kit as a ‘starter kit’ for sound treating your studio and recommends bass traps and further treatments as required. The panels are also helpful in offices, a home theater, or noisy listening environments. 

Note: Auralex offers a free personalized acoustic room analysis. Please see the video link below for more information.

 

The Good

  • NRC rating is 0.75 – 75% of sound absorbed
  • Packs of 36 panels – 12″ x 12″
  • 3 color combinations – charcoal/charcoal, charcoal/burgundy, charcoal/purple
  • Easy application
  • Meets flammability standard UL 94 HF-1
  • 90 day warranty

 

The Not so Good

  • Some question about the efficacy of the mounting tabs

https://www.amazon.com/vdp/eacb72e2ffb6439a9d53da950878b3f2?ref=dp_vse_ibvc0

 

7) JBER Acoustic Sound Foam Panels

The JBER Acoustic Sound Foam Panels are available in 3 color combinations–charcoal/charcoal, charcoal/blue, charcoal/red. With a Noise Reduction Coefficient of 0.65 (absorbing 65% of sound that reaches it), they help reduce flutter echoes and reverberations. They are also an effective deadener of standing waves–specially when used with corner bass traps. These panels work best in small to medium sized rooms, recording studios, home theaters, churches, and offices. This professional grade acoustic panel is an excellent choice for voice and video recording.

Each package contains 24 panels. Each panel is 12″ x 12″ x 2″ thick with 36 pyramid shapes facing the room. Installation is easy with double sided foam tape or 3M High Strength 90 Adhesive

 

The Good

  • NRC of 0.65 – absorbs 65% of sound waves
  • Reduces flutter echoes and reverberations
  • Very effective at reducing standing waves when used with corner bass traps
  • Best for small to medium sized rooms
  • 24 panels per package – 12″ x 12″ x 2″ thick
  • 3 color combinations – charcoal/charcoal, charcoal/blue, charcoal/red
  • Easy installation

 

The Not so Good

  • Virtually none

8) Auralex SonoFlat Acoustic Absorption Foam

The Auralex SonoFlat Acoustic Absorption Foam has a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of 0.95–meaning that it absorbs 95% of the sound waves that contact it. These smooth, flat beveled edge panels can be purchased in two sizes–12″x 12″ x 2″ thick or 24″ x 24″ x 2″ thick. The high density open cell acoustic foam absorbs mid to high frequency reflections and alleviates flutter echo and slap back. 

Both sizes of panel are available in 3 colors–charcoal, burgundy, purple and meets flammability standard UL 94 HF-1. Studio foam will not crumble of disintegrate over time. They provide  excellent acoustics in both recording studios and home theaters.

Note: On their website Auralex recommends Tubetak Pro adhesive in a caulking tube. But the reviews do not fill me with confidence. (And generally, I have more faith in something that fits in a caulking gun.) I think ‘Stay Away’ is a good option.

 

The Good

  • NRC rating of 0.95 – absorbs 95% of sound waves
  • Absorbs mid to high frequency reflections
  • Alleviates flutter echo and slap back
  • 3 colors – charcoal, burgundy, purple
  • Flame retardant
  • 90 day warranty

 

The Not so Good

  • Virtually none

9) Webetop Sound Absorbing Acoustic Foam Panels 

 

Webetop Sound Absorbing Acoustic Foam Panels are 12″ x 12″ x 2.5″ thick. The 3D pyramid design is thicker than many other panels, and particularly good at absorbing mid and high range frequencies. Ideal for sound treating walls and ceilings in podcast studios, home theaters, recording studios, and vocal booths. They claim to lower the sound level by approximately 20 decibels.

This sound absorbing foam is formaldehyde free, eco friendly, and fire retardant. Available in 4 colors–grey, black, red, and yellow. It comes with 64 pieces of double sided adhesive tape for easy installation on most surfaces. 

 

The Good

  • Lowers noise by approximately 20 decibels
  • 3D pyramid design 2.5″ thick – thicker than many competitors panels
  • 12″ x 12″ panels
  • Absorbs mid to high range frequencies
  • Formaldehyde free, eco friendly, fire retardant
  • Available in 4 colors – grey, black, red, yellow
  • Bonus 64 pieces of double sided adhesive tape

 

The Not so Good

  • NRC not available
  • Virtually nothing else

 

10) Fstop Labs Acoustic Foam Panels 

The Fstop Labs Acoustic Foam Panels are wedge panels design to resemble shutters. Each of the pieces in this 12 pack is 12″ x 12″ x 2″ thick and boasts a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of 0.92 – meaning that they absorb 92% of sound waves making contact with them. The dense–at 50 lbs. per cubic yard–environmentally friendly polyurethane panels are perfect to reduce and absorb unwanted echoes, standing waves, reverb, and flutter echoes. Very effective for eliminating standing waves and flutter echoes when used with corner bass traps.

These panels are great for spot treating the walls and ceilings of home recording studios, control rooms, home offices, and home theaters. Easy to install using double sided tape, 3M Command Strips, or 3M High Strength 90 Adhesive. The panels are flame retardant. Fstop’s US based service center offers a no hassle replacement or refund guarantee.

 

The Good

  • NRC rating of 0.92 – 92% of sound absorbed
  • Wedge panels and shutter design
  • 12 pack @ 12″ x 12″ x 2″ thick
  • Black polyurethane panels
  • Reduce and absorb standing waves, reverb, and flutter echoes
  • Easy to install flame retardant panels.
  • USA based service center
  • No hassle replacement or refund guarantee

 

The Not so Good

  • Virtually none

 

Acoustic Foam Panels – Reminders

Here are a few things that should be attended to before buying and installing acoustic foam panels. Foam panels are not necessarily everyone’s preferred acoustic treatment. If you happen to fall into this category, or if you just would like some other options, please see these articles for more ideas.

Carpet the Floor

If the floor in your studio, office, or home theater is a hard surface–such as laminate, hardwood, tile, linoleum, or even concrete–make sure you put down some kind of carpet first. Thicker is better to absorb more sound waves. Acoustic panels will certainly do their job on walls and ceiling, but having a floor that reflects sound is not helpful. And gluing foam panels to the floor is not a great option.

Install Bass Traps First

Although bass traps are also made of foam, they are usually considered as a separate item because bass frequencies are such a pain to deal with. They are thicker and heavier than normal acoustic panels and manufactured to fit in the corners of the room where bass sounds tend to gather.

If you are turning a room into a studio, install bass traps first to absorb as much of those frequencies as possible before applying your acoustic foam panels to the walls and ceiling. This will give you a better idea of how your panels are working.

Acoustic Foam Panels vs Acoustic Sound Diffusers

Quite likely you will use both absorbing panels and diffusers in your studio. Unlike bass traps, diffusers are usually added after the acoustic foam panels. While soft acoustic foam panels absorb a high percentage of the sound waves that come in contact with them, hard diffusers scatter sound around the room. Any hard surface that is not flat will diffuse sound.

Absorption and diffusion operate differently at different frequencies. And the remaining uncovered flat wall and ceiling area will also act differently. 

For more information diffusers and how to build them please see our article 16 Ideas and Free Plans for DIY Sound Diffuser Panel.

Read the Directions

While researching acoustic foam panels, by far the most complaints about various products was the packaging and the thickness of the products. Almost all of them are vacuum packed and arrive pancake flat because the air has been removed. They require 24 – 48 hours to re-absorb air and fill out. Or they should be soaked in water first, then dried out. Or put in the dryer.

It appears that many buyers do NOT read directions. And then complain about it. Although some admit the mistake in the reviews they post. Please read the instructions and do not become one of the ‘Ready, Fire, Aim’ crowd.

 Acoustic Foam Panel Buying Guide

Although acoustic foam panels are not horribly expensive, there is still no need to waste money on something that does not do the job. Here are some of the things to take into consideration before ordering up a bunch of panels.

Problems that Acoustic Foam Panels Will Fix

Sound energy in a studio or home theater or even in an office setting can create unintended consequences. Most of these issues can be solved with the judicious application of foam acoustic panels. Here are some of the more common sound problems.

  • Reflection. Recording in a room without a carpet, and with only hard walls and ceiling will reflect the sounds you make back into the microphone–with a time lag.
  • Reverberation. Reverb is the natural decay of sound inside the room–both reflected and original. 
  • Flutter Echo. Flutter echo is common in small untreated rooms, as sound rapidly bounces from wall to wall. 
  • Standing Waves. Standing waves are caused by reflected sound waves colliding, creating barriers that can alter frequencies.

Problems that Acoustic Foam Panels Won’t Fix

Foam acoustic panels work very well on what they are designed for. Here are a few issues that they will have little, or no effect on.

  • Soundproofing. Acoustic panels will help keep sound inside a room. They will do nothing to keep unwanted sound out of the room or house.
  • Bass. Bass frequencies are the most difficult to deal with. They need thick heavy bass traps to absorb them.
  • Diffusion. Diffusers are hard products that do not absorb sound frequencies, but change the trajectories of sound waves.

For more information on the use of all of these products please see our articles:

 

Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC)

NRC ratings are a good guideline for comparing products. But it is best to realize that it is not a perfect measurement. NRC testing concentrates on mid-band frequencies from 250 Hertz to 2000 Hertz. This leaves out most of the heavy bass frequencies and noises above 2000 Hertz. For more details on NRC please see Wikipedia – Noise Reduction Coefficient. You will see in the Wikipedia article that NRC is being replaced with a different testing system. (One of its shortcomings is that some products are scoring over 1.05 meaning it is absorbing more noise than is available. It is difficult to follow the science when the result is impossible.)

As long as you are comparing foam panel NRC to foam panel NRC, you will have more information on which to base your decision. Many of the products will tell you what type of sound absorption they are particularly good at. In some circumstances, this is more valuable information.

Acoustic Foam Panel Features to Consider

Acoustic Foam Panel Thickness

Thinner foam panels usually only absorb higher frequency sound waves. Thicker panels are more likely to absorb a more complete range because lower frequencies have longer sound waves and thicker foam can absorb more of them.

Acoustic Foam Panel Texture (Design)

  • Wedges. Wedged foam has rows of pointed raised ridges giving it more surface area to absorb sound waves.
  • Pyramids. Pyramid design is exactly what it sounds like. Row after row of pyramid shaped foam, which also provides more available surface area.
  • Egg Crates. Egg crate design uses rounded nubs as its finish. They have a softer look than either wedge or pyramid designs.
  • Grids. Grid design is generally raised lines of foam running parallel on a flat base and manufactured with heavier polyurethane.

Acoustic Foam Panel Shape

Regardless of the face design of the acoustical panel you order, most of them will come 12″ wide x 12″ high. A few will come 48″ wide x 24″ high. Almost all of them are easy to cut with a sharp knife without losing any sound absorption qualities.

Note: You may see some octagonal acoustic panels. These are generally manufactured of polyester fiber–not foam.

Acoustic Foam Panel Looks and Smell

Many of these panels are available in multiple colors. If you prefer your studio/theater to have colors and design, you can become fairly creative by mixing and matching various colors and designs. 

Almost all of these acoustic panels are advertised as odor free. If your order shows up with a strong chemical odor (as some reviews mention) consider sending it back immediately. The odor could be formaldehyde off gassing.

All foam acoustic panels should be made of fire retardant material. And should have the fact printed somewhere on the panels, label, or box. Using non-fire retardant foam could turn your studio into a torch if something goes wrong.

Acoustic Foam Panel Colors

The colors of these panels do not affect performance.

Most foam panels are available in fairly subdued pastel type colors such as grey, charcoal, dark burgundy, dark purple, but many manufacturers are offering panels in very bright colors. For anyone looking to add a design statement to the studio, office, or home theater she/he can get colorful and creative by mixing and matching acoustic panel colors, textures, and designs.

Acoustic Foam Panel Installation

When ordering your foam panels, one of the things to consider is the method you plan to use to apply them to your walls. Many of the options available tend to damage the walls of your studio or home theater. If you are certain about the type of panels you have chosen, and the locations, and the permanence of your room, then any of the following options are open to you. Or you may want to start with temporary placements and leave yourself the option of moving the panels to achieve even better acoustics.

For more detailed panel application instructions, please see our article How to Hang Acoustic Panels.

Command Strips or Double Sided Tape Applications

Both of these application methods provide the option of removing, and repositioning the panels without any damage to your walls. They do rely on clean walls to work properly. Make sure that you wash the walls with a 50/50 vinegar water solution before starting. All foam acoustic panel manufacturers recommend placing 5 contact points–one in each corner and one in the middle of each 12″ x 12″ panel. For bigger panels–like a 48″ x 24″ panel–you will need to have more contact points.

  • Command Strips. 3M Command Strips are made to adhere to both the foam panels and the wall. (3M even mentions hanging foam panels in their advertising.) They can be removed without damaging either surface. 
  • Double Side Tape. XFasten Double Sided Carpet Tape will stick to both the foam and the wall. It can be removed easily without leaving any residue. (I think the carpet tape is a better option than some others because it is made to stick to fabric.)

Glued-on Panel Applications

Although there are a few ‘peel and stick’ panels available, most of them have to have glue added. 3M High Strength 90 Adhesive is a good choice for this product. It bonds to many surfaces including polyethylene and painted surfaces. It is a permanent bond, so if you are attaching directly to the wall, it will not move once installed.

Many foam acoustic panel manufacturers recommend gluing the panels to cardboard sheets, then attaching them to the walls and ceiling with double sided tape or command strips. Although this method is a little more time consuming, you end up with more versatility compared to applying panels directly to the wall. You can also easily take them with you if moving.

 

Mechanical Panel Applications

One quick and easy installation method is 1 1/2″ drywall screws (Drywall screws are dark-colored and will stand out less against charcoal colored foam.) or almost any coarse thread screw with a reasonably large head. (You can add a washer if want to cover a little more area of the foam.) If you decide to move the panels, there will only be small holes in the drywall to patch and paint. Screws work well for direct panel to wall application and for foam panels that have been glued to cardboard. Two screws per panel should be sufficient, but you might want 4 screws–one in each corner–to ensure they are perfectly flat.

Prime Acoustic Broadway Surface Impaler Mounting Clips are another low impact method for mounting foam panels. They are held on the wall with 2 screws and the foam panels are impaled on the sharp clips. Although designed for fiberglass acoustic panels, they work very well for foam. When, and if, removed there will only be 2 small holes to patch in the drywall for each clip.

Note: Command Strips, double-sided tape, and even glue applied directly will not work very well on popcorn (heavy textured) ceilings. One way of getting around that is to glue an array of foam panels on a larger piece of cardboard, attach wire or string, and hang it from the ceiling trusses. Make sure you use a stud finder to locate the trusses. Your stud finder needs to be able to scan at least an inch deep.

FAQs About Acoustic Foam Panels

Some of the common questions that get asked about foam acoustic panels.

What kind of foam makes the best acoustic panels?

Almost all acoustic panels are made of open-cell foam. Open cells allow more sound to enter the foam and be absorbed.

What is the best thickness for foam panels?

2 inches seems to be the acceptable standard. 1″ foam is helpful for light acoustic treatment. 3″ and 4″ foam is expensive and usually a bit of overkill for most applications.

How is panel thickness measured?

It is measured from the bottom of the base to the highest point on the panel. So a wedge panel is measured from the back to the highest peak of the wedge.

What is the best shape for a foam acoustic panel?

Although foam acoustic panels will absorb some of all sound frequencies, different shaped panels work better on different frequencies.  For instance, the Fstop Mushroom panels are particularly good at eliminating flutter echoes. If you know the type of sounds you are making, get the type of panel that addresses your issue.

Do I need to cover the entire room?

No. You do not want to absorb too much sound. The acceptable coverage is around 30% of the wall area.

Will acoustic foam soundproof my room?

No. Even completely covering the inside of your studio will not keep all of the sound inside. The average Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) is about 0.80–meaning the panel will absorb 80% of the sound waves that come in contact with it. This still allows 20% of the sound to escape from the room. And it will keep almost no external noise out.


Terry Schutz

I have worked as a contractor, sales person, and business owner in the construction industry for over three decades--mostly in home renovations and also as a home builder. I have been married to the same wife for 46 years. We have 3 children and 4 granddaughters. I have also been writing semi-professionally for about 20 years--construction articles, personal stories, and politically incorrect social commentary.


Leave a Comment