Keep Your Room Dark With Our Favorite Blackout Shades (2024)

If you’re struggling to wake up feeling refreshed in the mornings, it may be time to upgrade your sleeping environment—and investing in blackout shades is a simple solution that can dramatically improve your sleep quality.

To help you find the best option for your space and style, we tested 18 blackout shades and curtains in our own homes for two weeks, assessing their ease of installation, effectiveness, quality, and overall value. We also considered design—after all, the best window treatments are both functional and stylish.

We tested the blackout shades in homes and apartments across the country and continued to evaluate our picks over six months to determine their durability. Whether you’re looking for something to help keep the light out or to help keep a room from overheating, below you’ll find blackout shades and curtains that worked well for us.

Now Testing! We are currently testing Quince's European Linen Blackout Curtain. We will provide an update on our testing findings soon.

Our Top Picks

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What We Like

  • Easy to install

  • Can help with ambient noise

  • Great value for the price

  • Multiple color options

What We Don't Like

  • Pull cord could be better quality

Based on our at-home testing, ChrisDowa’s 100% Blackout Roller Shade is our clear winner. We appreciated that this blackout shade was simple to set up and effectively darkened the room. In addition to blocking light, we found it was one of the few shades that dulled ambient noise during our tests, which we attributed to its slightly thicker material.

The shade has a modern look and comes in six colors to give you design flexibility. We appreciated that the thin piece of wood at the bottom of the shade prevents it from flapping around and that the chain cord is very easy to use. Plus, the shade features a safety device that attaches the chain to the wall and keeps it in place.

While designed to protect the cord from becoming a potential choking hazard, we also found it to make the overall appearance more aesthetically pleasing. During our testing, we experienced no issues with the shade getting stuck while opening and closing it.

One thing to keep in mind: While we generally appreciated the quality of this shade, we thought the pull chain seemed a bit delicate. We wish that one element felt more durable, but we were very impressed with the product as a whole.

After six months of daily use, these shades still work like new. While the shades have gotten a bit dirty because of household pets, we found the material was easy to clean off. The shades have done a great job at keeping out sunlight, especially as the sun has started rising earlier during the summer months.

Type: Roller | Dimensions: 20 to 70 inches wide, 72 inches long | Material: Unspecified fabric, aluminum | Mounting Type: Inside or outside mount

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What We Like

  • Can be cut to fit the exact size of a window

  • Minimalist, cordless design

  • Vinyl is easy to clean

Levolor’s Blackout Cordless Roller Shade proved to us that you don’t need to break the bank to find a well-constructed blackout shade. In addition to its effectiveness in keeping the light out, we love that it can be cut down to any size at Lowes at no extra cost.

During testing, we mounted the shade on the inside of the window frame, and we found that it blocked approximately 90% of the light, with just a small fraction seeping in at the edges. While roller shades aren’t known for being particularly insulating, this one helped keep the room cool when it was shut. The shade didn’t seem to reduce outside noise—but that was the case for the vast majority of shades we tested.

For the price, we were very happy with the construction of the shade. The vinyl seemed easy to clean and didn’t collect any dust. The materials felt durable, and we had no concerns about the shade breaking during testing. Even after six months of daily use, these shades still work well with no changes in quality or appearance over time.

This option doesn’t feature a cord, making it an appealing choice for someone seeking a minimalist design. To close the shade, you just have to pull down and out; to open it up, you pull down and inward. We experienced no issues with the shade getting stuck.

You'll only have two colors to choose from with this pick, but the white and cream hues should fit a nice range of decor styles. One potential drawback is the mounting hardware isn’t included and must be purchased separately, but fortunately, it is inexpensive. Plus, the shades were easy to assemble without much trouble.

Type: Roller | Dimensions: 37 to 73 inches wide, 78 inches long | Material: Vinyl | Mounting Type: Inside or outside mount

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What We Like

  • Sleek Roman shade

  • Blocked noise and heat in testing

  • Available in several neutral colors

  • High-quality materials

What We Don't Like

  • Sharp plastic hook for pulling down

  • Not as the most effective at blocking light

If you’re willing to shell out a few extra dollars for a great-looking Roman shade, the Drew from Eclipse is the way to go. In testing, we had to install it on the window frame, which created an inch of space around the shade for light to sneak through and didn’t allow the shade to live up to its full potential.

Still, the shade managed to block out about 85 percent of the sunlight with this setup. Plus, we observed that it reduced outside noise and prevented some heat from entering the room.

You get what you pay for with this shade, and for us, that means quality in the little things. We found raising and lowering the shade was simple, smooth, and quiet. Depending on the retailer you order the shade from, you can snag it in a variety of neutral colors that complement your space, such as charcoal, linen, ivory, and white.

We liked the polyester fabric, and we think this option looks and feels much more high-end than other blackout shades on the market.

It comes with straightforward instructions and only a few pieces to install, and we were able to get it done in half an hour. One design feature we think could be improved: The plastic loop for pulling down on the shade is a bit sharp. We found the shade operates just as well by pulling from the bottom without using the loop, but you could try sanding down the sharp edge of the plastic if you prefer.

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What We Like

  • Wide range of widths and lengths

  • Custom sizes also available

  • Easy assembly

  • Cordless design

What We Don't Like

  • Custom sizes can get pricey

Sometimes finding the proper size blackout shade for your particular space can be tedious, especially if you have an unusual window size. When we put Sbartar’s Window Shade to the test, we appreciated that it works very well as a blackout shade and also comes in a wide range of sizes to ensure a good fit on most windows.

In terms of size, it is available in dimensions ranging from 22 to 58 inches wide, as well as in 38- and 64-inch lengths. If your window size is outside that range, you’re in luck—you can even get custom shade sizes up to 78 inches wide. The instructions for this shade were fairly straightforward, and we set it up in just 12 minutes.

We found the shade to be highly effective at blocking out sunlight, and we found that its honeycomb structure kept heat out, too. We tested these shades in a kid’s bedroom over the span of two months and found that they helped keep the room much cooler during the day and blocked out nearly all light. As with most shades we tested, we didn’t find this option to do a particularly good job of blocking out noise.

This shade operates without a cord or wand—simply pull on the bottom to move it up or down. Do note that it can’t be cut to size like some options on this list, but that isn’t much of a trade-off when you can order a shade that perfectly matches your window’s dimensions. Ordering a custom size will add to the final price, though.

Type: Cellular | Dimensions: 22 to 58 inches wide, 38 to 64 inches long, custom sizes also available | Material: Unspecified fabric | Mounting Type: Inside or outside mount

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What We Like

  • Honeycomb construction is effective against heat

  • Clear plastic handle is easy to operate

  • Well-made materials

  • Range of sizes available

What We Don't Like

  • Manual is not easy to follow

  • Doesn’t come with hardware

If you’re looking for a blackout shade that also insulates windows, a cellular shade with an accordion-style design is a great choice. Ikea’s Trippevals Blackout Cellular Blinds impressed us by blocking out almost every bit of light.

Even when assembled inside the window frame, it only allowed about 2 percent of the sunlight in our test window, mostly around the perimeter of the shade. We found that it did an excellent job of keeping the heat out, even when the shade wasn't fully closed.

We also thought the shade’s polyester construction looked attractive and sleek, and it felt high-quality, too. The shade also comes with a clear snap-on plastic handle that’s easy to use one-handed.

If we had any complaints about this shade, they’d revolve around the assembly. We found the wordless instruction manual to be quite unhelpful. Another drawback? This one doesn’t come with any of the mounting screws or hardware necessary to hang it.

That being said, the shades have held up great over six months and have not shown any signs of wear despite daily use. All things considered, we think this makes for an appealing blackout shade for a bedroom or any other room that requires an effective yet stylish window treatment.

Type: Cellular | Dimensions: 23 to 48 inches wide, 76.75 inches long | Material: Polyester | Mounting Type: Inside or outside mount

What We Like

  • Excels at blocking out light

  • Multiple color and size options

  • More flexible than some other blackout curtains

What We Don't Like

  • Panels sold separately

  • Dry clean only

A set of blackout curtains can be a reliable, chic alternative to a shade—and they’re often simpler to install, too. We tried out a pair of these panels from Better Homes & Gardens, and they were our favorite of the blackout curtains we tested. (Better Homes & Gardens is owned by The Spruce's parent company, Dotdash Meredith.)

We were very impressed with the performance of these blackout curtains over six months of long-term testing. The room we used for testing had a street lamp directly outside of the window, and the curtains completely concealed it. In our experience, blackout curtains tend to be thick and rigid. We appreciated that the rayon-polyester blend of these curtains held its shape yet still felt soft and flexible.

We would prefer if the material were machine washable, but these require dry cleaning. On the plus side, they’re pleasant to look at and come in black, blue, gray, off-white, and tan hues to match different styles and color palettes.

We also appreciated that these curtains were very easy to set up. The grommets can accommodate curtain rods measuring up to a half-inch in diameter. While shades tend to come in more widths than lengths, curtains are the opposite.

These curtains are no exception; they’re available in lengths ranging from 63 inches to 108 inches to suit different window sizes. The curtain panels are sold separately, not in a two-pack, so you may need to stock up on multiple panels for your particular window.

Type: Curtain | Dimensions: 50 inches wide, 63 to 108 inches long | Material: Polyester, rayon | Mounting Type: Not applicable

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What We Like

  • Spacious dimensions

  • Suction cup installation

  • Machine washable

  • Easy to transport with pouch

What We Don't Like

  • Adjusting the shade can be difficult

A good night of sleep isn’t just important when you are in your home, and traveling can present a handful of frustrations when you or your little ones try to get some shut-eye. Fortunately, Amazon Basics’s Portable Window Blackout Curtain Shade, which we found offers plenty of bang for your buck, can help you bring a good night of sleep with you on the go.

Because you usually can’t drill holes in places you’re staying temporarily, this option comes with suction cups that won’t damage any walls or windows. In testing, we found it to be highly effective, blocking approximately 90 percent of light when the sun was out. Additionally, the material feels very durable, though it is a bit stiff.

While it comes in one standard size, there is Velcro on the sides, so you can adjust the length and width of the panel to cover windows of different sizes. We wish it were easier to open and close it: To fully open the curtain, you need to remove the suction cups and take the whole panel down, which is less convenient than simply pulling it open or shut.

We think it’s a bit cumbersome for permanent use, but since it is designed to be a temporary solution, we don’t think that’s cause for concern. Six months later, the quality of the shades has remained consistent.

This portable shade is also machine washable, which is a plus, but it does have to be line-dried and will require ample space to do so. It also comes with a pouch which makes transporting it during travel easier.

Type: Curtain | Dimensions: 78 x 50 inches | Material: Polyester | Mounting Type: Suction cups

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What We Like

  • Stylish, textured look

  • Blocks noise, heat, and sound

  • Sleek cordless design

What We Don’t Like

  • May be difficult to clean

If you prefer the style and look of Roman shades, our recommendation is this option from Sun Zero. We didn’t test this option for ourselves, but the high-end look, large color and size selection, and sleek design earn the Sun Zero Shades a spot on this list.

We think this is one of the more stylish options on the market, as the textured polyester fabric adds dimension to any room. We also like that it’s available in 10 different sizes and six colors, including unique hues like blue and sage green.

While we appreciate the look of these shades, the fabric may be difficult to clean which is worth noting for households with children and pets. Overall, though, the cordless design and sophisticated look make the shades a great addition to bedrooms, home offices, and living rooms alike. What’s more, all the mounting hardware is included for seamless installation.

Type: Roman | Dimensions: 27 to 39 inches wide, 64 inches long | Material: Polyester | Mounting Type: Inside or outside mount

What We Like

  • Lots of size and color options

  • Renter-friendly, no-drill design

  • Insulating honeycomb design

What We Don’t Like

  • Hardware is not the sturdiest

Because of the unique design of cellular shades, they’re not only great at blocking out light, but are also highly effective at insulation and noise reduction—we especially like this one from LazBlinds. The honeycomb configuration creates a barrier that not only traps air but also dampens any outside noise better than many fabric shades.

These shades are also renter-friendly, as they have a no-drill design and use a tension mechanism for installation. That being said, the hardware may not be as sturdy as something mounted into the wall with screws, but we think it’s a fair trade-off considering the product’s convenience.

We appreciate that these shades come in a wide variety of sizes to accommodate almost all windows, and you can also opt for a custom size if you don’t see one that matches your window’s dimensions. Plus, you can choose from 18 stylish colors to suit your space and style.

Type: Cellular | Dimensions: 17 to 48 inches wide, 36 to 64 inches long | Material: Polyester | Mounting Type: N/A

What We Like

  • Lightweight yet sturdy fabric

  • Easy to clean

  • Range of sizes available

What We Don’t Like

  • Certain sizes come with a plastic chain

For those who prefer the minimalist look of roller shades, this one from Joydeco is a value-packed pick. This blackout shade comes with everything you need for installation for either an inside or outside mount.

The fabric is lightweight but sturdy, and we appreciate that it’s waterproof and quite easy to clean—simply wipe down with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or dust.

While they only come in three neutral colors, we think the textured design looks versatile enough to match well with most decor styles. Available in 25 sizes, these shades should fit most standard windows. Just keep in mind that the smaller sizes come with a plastic chain rather than a metal one.

Type: Roller | Dimensions: 20 to 70 inches wide, 75 inches long | Material: Not listed | Mounting Type: Inside or outside

What We Like

  • Controlled via remote, app, or smart home device

  • Can set timing schedule

  • Easy-to-clean vinyl

  • Optional solar panel

What We Don’t Like

  • More involved setup

Convenient and practical, a motorized blackout shade like this one from Graywind can be a great addition to your home. This one comes with a rechargeable smart motor, and you can even opt to add a solar panel to power the shades.

You can control it via smartphone app, remote, or through your smart home device. What’s more, you can program it to open and close at specific times. Installing the unit is relatively straightforward, and Graywind also offers a video guide to help you during the process.

However, setting up the remote and integrating the shades with your smart home controls may be tricky.

The shades are made from vinyl, which can be wiped down when it needs to be cleaned. You can choose from 12 colors and customize the size to suit your needs. Although pricier than the other options on this list, we think the features and benefits make it well worth the cost.

Type: Motorized roller | Dimensions: Custom | Material: Vinyl | Mounting Type: Inside or outside

Final Verdict

Our pick for the best overall blackout shades is the ChrisDowa 100% Blackout Roller Shade for its ease of installation, multiple color options, and ability to block ambient noise. If you’re looking for something more budget-friendly, we love the Levolor White Blackout Cordless Roller Shade, which can be cut to your exact size.

How We Tested the Blackout Shades

We installed and tested seven blackout shades, as well as 11 blackout curtains, in our homes to see how they performed when faced with routine, real-life usage.

First, we unboxed the shades and set a timer to track how long they took to install—once installation was complete, we gave them each a setup score.

Then we used the shades regularly over the testing period, evaluating their effectiveness in blocking light, heat, and sound. We assessed the design and quality of each shade, highlighting any thoughtful features that improved its aesthetics and function.

Finally, we considered the price of each shade and compared that with our testing scores to determine its overall value. We reviewed all of our testing insights and conducted additional research to select the best blackout shades included on this list.

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When Buying Blackout Shades, Look for

Size Options That Fully Cover Your Windows

Choosing the proper size for your blackout shades is essential. We observed first-hand in testing that any open space surrounding a shade will allow cracks of light through.

If you’re looking for a blackout shade for a non-standard window size, you will want to consider an option like the customizable Levolor Blackout Cordless Roller Shade (best budget), which can be cut to your exact specifications at Lowe’s.

Alternatively, if you have more wiggle room in your budget, consider ordering one in many dimensions, like the Sbartar Window Shades, our best size options choice. This shade is pricier but has many size options available and can even be ordered in custom dimensions if needed.

Additionally, before you order a blackout shade, you need to determine whether you’ll install it on the inside or the outside of the window frame. This will help you to more accurately be able to get the proper size for your space requirements, as installing it outside the frame will typically require a slightly larger shade.

Durable Synthetic Material

Shades are constructed with a mix of different materials, with our list including fabric, vinyl, and aluminum, and more. If you live in a household with children or pets, you may want to consider shades that require minimal upkeep, made from materials like vinyl that can easily be wiped down.

For interior designer Simone Elderot, sustainability plays a large role in what she recommends for window treatments. “Natural fabrics such as linen, cotton, or bamboo are great choices for shades. They not only offer a soft and organic aesthetic, but also have a lower environmental impact compared to synthetic materials,” she says.

The blackout shades we tested were limited on that front—we recommend checking out our favorite sets of blackout curtains, some of which feature natural fabrics, if sustainability plays a role in your decision-making.

Style

Elderot tells us that there are a handful of shade styles available, including roller shades, cellular shades, Roman shades, pleated shades, and sheer shades, many of which are featured on our list and have their own benefits.

  • Roller shades “are made of a single piece of fabric that rolls up and down on a roller mechanism,” Elderot says. The best blackout roller shades (including the Levolor Blackout Cordless Roller Shade, our best budget pick) are typically quite effective at blocking light. Whether they have a corded or cordless design, they can be very easy to operate.
  • Roman shades “fold up into soft pleats when raised and create an elegant and tailored look when lowered,” according to Elderot. This can make them a nice choice for a variety of different rooms. We think the Sun Zero Thermal 100% Blackout Cordless Roman Shade, our best Roman shade on the list, would look great practically anywhere.
  • With a honeycomb construction, cellular shades are known for being insulating. Elderot says they “are designed with honeycomb-shaped cells that trap air, providing excellent insulation and light-blocking properties.” If you’re looking for an insulating, energy-efficient choice, a cellular shade is the way to go. In testing, our best insulating choice, Ikea’s Trippevals Blackout Cellular Blind, was a cellular shade.

Most shades will require anchors and screws that you can either drill into the wall or directly into the molding of your window frame, depending on your preference. However, there are other interesting options like the Amazon Basics Portable Window Blackout Curtain Shade with Suction Cups, our best portable pick, which uses suction cups to adhere directly to the window.

If you need a permanent option and already have curtain rods installed, you might consider hanging a set of blackout curtains instead of installing new blackout shades.

FAQ

  • What type of shades are best for blackout?

    In Elderot’s opinion, roller shades and cellular shades are the two best options for achieving a blackout effect. She says that roller shades, in particular, “can be customized with blackout materials to ensure maximum light blockage.” She notes that cellular shades can block light and insulate a window.

  • What is the difference between blinds and shades?

    Blinds and shades differ mainly in their builds. Shades “are made of a single piece of fabric that can be raised or lowered to control light and privacy,” Elderot says.

    “Blinds typically consist of slats or vanes that can be tilted or adjusted to control the amount of light and privacy,” Elderot explains. “They are usually made of materials like wood, aluminum, or vinyl.” Blinds can also come in a variety of different styles, including high-tech smart blinds.

  • Do blackout shades keep heat out?

    According to Elderot, certain blackout shades can do a good job of keeping heat out. However, not all blackout shades and curtains insulate to the same degree. The accordion-style construction of blackout cellular shades is particularly effective at insulating a window, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Also, those made with heavy, thick fabrics will typically be more effective than lightweight, thin fabrics. Roller and Roman shades typically do not offer much insulation.

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Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Bianca Pineda, a commerce writer specializing in bedding, bath, and home decor at The Spruce. To compile this list, she consulted real-world testing insights, assessed customer reviews, and conducted supplemental research about the topic. In her New York apartment, she uses her cellular shades daily, which help reduce noise and light in her home.

Our team also spoke with an interior designer to glean insight into what makes blackout shades a good choice, how they can fit into your space, and what to expect from them. She has also worked on numerous other related roundups, including best washable rugs, best wallpapers, and best oil diffusers.

Our Experts:

  • Simone Elderot, an interior designer, decorator, and founder of Stockhomed, a Scandinavian interior design firm
  • Jack Byram, freelance writer for The Spruce
  • 11 Blinds We Love for Every Type of Decor

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