Whether you are soundproofing your office or your beloved relaxation room at home, you may choose among different methods. The two most common are acoustic panels and acoustic foam. But, do you understand the difference between them? Do you know which one is better? If not, read this article – we will discuss acoustic panels vs. foam here.
Acoustic Panels vs. Foam: What Are They?
While both of these measures may be used to soundproof a room, they are quite dissimilar. Therefore, we will begin by explaining what acoustic panels and acoustic foam in fact are.
Acoustic panels are large wall or ceiling panels made of soft materials which may absorb the sound. They are manufactured in numerous shapes and sizes and their purpose is to absorb noises – either those coming from the outside or those which have their source inside the room.
Acoustic foam has a similar purpose – to absorb sound. Its surface is usually shaped like pyramids on one side and flat on the other – you might have seen it in various photos from recording studios. So, which one is better?
Acoustic Panels vs. Soundproofing Foam: The Comparison
Having briefly introduced both possible soundproofing solutions, we may proceed to a deeper analysis of the similarities and differences between them. We will look into each aspect separately, to provide you with the most detailed comparison.
Acoustic panels are significantly more effective, compared to acoustic foam, in terms of soundproofing capabilities. It is sufficient to place only a few of them to achieve a complete makeover in the acoustics of the particular room. With foam, on the other hand, you might need to cover a much larger area to create similar conditions.
Unsurprisingly, acoustic panels are more expensive than soundproofing foam. This is the result of higher production costs and better noise-absorbing qualities of the former. In this case, the decision depends on your needs.
Acoustic panels come in set sizes – there is not much that may be done in terms of customization. Soundproofing foam, on the other hand, may be easily cut into different shapes to fit the most problematic spaces, such as corners or gaps in the walls. Therefore, it may be better for irregularly shaped rooms.
Since we are on the verge of a climatic crisis, this is a critical aspect to consider. Acoustic foam is made of plastic, so it requires a substantial amount of time to decompose. Panels are made of significantly more environmentally friendly materials which is a major plus.
Another advantage of acoustic panels is their aesthetics. They are available in various shapes, colors, and sizes, and often fit the overall room design perfectly. This cannot be said about soundproofing foam, thus in places where the aesthetics are crucial (e.g. conference rooms, offices), acoustic panels shall be a better choice.
How to place acoustic panels? You need to install each panel separately. This, however, might be strenuous if you wish to cover the room completely. Performing this task with acoustic foam is considerably easier. Yet, not every time will you need to fully envelop a particular area, and when you don’t, panels will be finer.
Acoustic Foam vs. Acoustic Panels: Which One Is Better?
There is no clear answer to this question. In general, acoustic panels shall be an ideal choice for a home theater, conference room, library, or office – any place that is bound to be visited by vast numbers of people, where the aesthetics matter and there is no need for full wall coverage to achieve sound quality or to cut off the unwanted noises.
Acoustic foam may be a more promising alternative when you wish for a simple, inexpensive, and quick method of soundproofing a room. Additionally, you may combine it with panels and use it to fill the most problematic (in terms of both sound and panel placement) areas.
If you wish to soundproof your workspace or a place in which you relax, you may opt for a different solution – home, office, or backyard pods. These air-filtering, noise-absorbing, and comfortable booths will allow you to fully focus on your work or enjoy your free time in complete silence, without you needing to install them – they’re a convenient alternative.
When making the crucial decision: acoustic panels vs. acoustic foam, you should consider your particular needs. Consider the size of the space, the desired acoustics, and the strength of the soundproofing effect. Bear in mind that there might be cases when a combination of these two products will be the most optimal – especially if you need to soundproof surfaces on which placing panels is impossible.
Did you like this article? You might also want to read: Choosing the Right Acoustic Panels: A Buyer's Guide.