Noise pollution can be a significant problem in residential and commercial settings, making it difficult to relax or focus on your work.
Soundproof windows can solve this issue by blocking out unwanted noise from outside, allowing for a more peaceful living or working environment.
This article lists, reviews, and compares the best soundproof windows available on the market based on their Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating.
Best Soundproof Windows: Top 10 based on STC Rating
Following are the best soundproof windows available on the market. They are listed based on their STC rating, from high to low.
The Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating measures a window’s ability to reduce the amount of sound that passes through it.
|Soundproof Windows||STC Rating||Unique Feature|
|1.||Triple-Pane Windows||45||Three layers of glass|
|2.||Laminated Glass Windows||42||Interlayer of plastic|
|3.||Aluminum Frame Windows||40||Metal frame and multiple panes|
|4.||Acrylic Glass Windows||39||Lightweight and shatterproof|
|5.||Fiberglass Windows||36||Insulating properties and resistance to moisture|
|6.||Vinyl Frame Windows||35||Low maintenance and good insulation|
|7.||Double-Pane Windows||34||Two layers of glass|
|8.||Acoustic Caulk-treated Windows||34||Acoustic sealant around the window frame|
|9.||Plastic Windows||32||Affordable and effective|
|10.||Foam-filled windows||30||Polyurethane foam filling between panes|
1. Triple Pane Windows – Costly but Very Effective
With an STC rating of 45, triple-pane windows are the best choice for soundproofing homes and offices near noisy areas.
Their three glass layers effectively reduce sound transmission compared to single or double-pane alternatives.
The thickness of triple-pane windows enables them to block more sound.
These windows also provide other benefits. Their excellent insulation reduces heating costs.
Triple-pane windows are more durable and can withstand harsh weather. Their thickness also enhances security by making them harder to break.
However, triple-pane windows have some downsides. Incorrect installation can create reflections, reducing view clarity.
They are more expensive than other windows. Their thickness blocks more light, potentially darkening rooms.
And their extra weight makes them cumbersome to handle.
2. Laminated Glass Windows – Effective but not that Expensive
With an STC rating of 42, laminated glass windows balance soundproofing and cost.
They are a good option for noise reduction without breaking the bank.
Laminated glass windows use a plastic interlayer that helps dampen and isolate external noises effectively.
This type of glass is often combined with other technologies like Low-E coatings and triple panes to optimize performance.
The plastic layer makes laminated glass more robust and more challenging to break, improving safety. It also filters out UV rays to protect indoor furnishings from fading.
However, laminated glass has some limitations. It is more expensive than regular single-pane glass.
The plastic layer blocks more natural light and reduces view clarity. Laminated glass is also difficult to recycle, making it less eco-friendly.
3. Aluminum Frame Windows
Aluminum frame windows feature a rigid, durable metal frame. When combined with inserts, caulk, and backer rods, the aluminum frame provides an enhanced seal.
With an STC rating of 40, these windows reduce the intensity of loud noises, making them a decent option for basic soundproofing needs.
However, aluminum frames have limitations in extreme temperatures or very noisy areas. Other materials like vinyl or wood may be better suited for those situations.
The pros of aluminum frames are their strength, low maintenance, lightweight, and affordability compared to wood.
However, aluminum is a poor insulator, leading to heat transfer issues.
Condensation inside aluminum frames can also damage them over time and promote mold growth.
Aluminum also offers less design flexibility than other window frames.
4. Acrylic Glass Windows
Acrylic is a plastic often used as an alternative to traditional glass for windows.
Acrylic glass windows are made from lightweight, shatterproof acrylic that effectively blocks sound.
With an STC rating of 39, acrylic windows are an excellent budget-friendly option for basic soundproofing.
The pros of acrylic glass are that it is lightweight, making installation easier.
Acrylic is also highly impact-resistant compared to traditional glass. It withstands weather and UV exposure well, making it suitable for outdoor use.
Also, acrylic glass is less expensive than traditional glass.
However, acrylic has some downsides. It scratches easily and lacks the scratch resistance of real glass.
Prolonged UV exposure can cause acrylic to warp, yellow, and degrade over time.
Acrylic is not an eco-friendly material because it is not recyclable, and manufacturing it consumes significant energy.
5. Fiberglass Windows
Fiberglass windows have frames made from insulating, moisture-resistant fiberglass.
As a relatively new material, fiberglass is gaining popularity for windows. With an STC rating of 36, fiberglass provides decent sound insulation.
The pros of fiberglass windows are durability, energy efficiency, low maintenance, and eco-friendliness from recycled materials.
Fiberglass comes in various styles to match different architecture, but color options are limited, often requiring post-installation painting or staining.
They are also more expensive than aluminum or vinyl alternatives.
Fiberglass can become brittle in frigid climates, making it unsuitable for freezing temperatures.
Their availability is low compared to more common window frames.
6. Vinyl Frame Windows
Vinyl frame windows feature inexpensive, lightweight, and durable PVC plastic frames.
With an STC rating of 35, vinyl provides good sound insulation, making it a great low-cost soundproofing option.
Vinyl frames suit most buildings but perform better in certain climates and architectural styles.
The pros of vinyl are durability, energy efficiency, low maintenance without painting/staining, and affordability versus wood or aluminum. Vinyl also comes in various styles.
However, vinyl has some cons. Temperature changes can cause expansion/contraction issues that compromise the seal over time.
Vinyl gets brittle in frigid climates. And PVC is not an eco-friendly or easily recyclable material.
7. Double-Pane Windows
Double-pane windows have two glass layers that effectively reduce sound transmission.
With an STC rating of 34, they offer affordable sound insulation versus more expensive multi-layer options.
The pros of double-pane windows are better noise reduction and durability compared to single-pane.
However, double-pane windows have some limitations. They are more expensive than single-pane alternatives.
The complex structure also restricts design options versus single-pane.
But for those seeking basic soundproofing on a budget, double-pane windows provide a decent option.
8. Acoustic Caulk-treated Windows – Best for Soundproofing Existing Windows
Soundproofing sealants or acoustic caulk fill gaps and cracks around windows, blocking noise.
Windows treated with acoustic sealant can have an average STC rating of 34 (ranging from 26-40 based on bond).
This makes sealants a budget-friendly soundproofing option, though not a substitute for proper soundproof windows.
The pros of soundproofing sealants are versatility, cost-effectiveness, and easy application.
Any existing window can be treated, regardless of frame material. Homeowners or professionals can apply it without expertise, and it is inexpensive.
However, acoustic sealants have limitations. They may not eliminate noise at very high decibels. Sealants also require reapplication over time as they degrade.
Some types also become brittle or lose adhesion in extreme temperatures.
While helpful, soundproofing sealants are not equivalent to purpose-built soundproof windows.
9. Plastic Windows
By plastic windows, I mean PVC (polyvinyl chloride) windows – a common alternative to traditional wood or aluminum.
With an STC rating of 32, PVC provides decent sound insulation at a cost-effective price.
PVC windows work well residentially, offering good noise reduction benefits.
The pros of PVC are durability, energy efficiency, low maintenance without painting/staining, and various styles.
However, PVC windows have some downsides. Temperature changes can cause expansion/contraction that damages the seal over time, making them unsuitable for places with significant temperature swings.
Also, PVC is not an eco-friendly material because production is resource-intensive, and it’s challenging to recycle.
But for those seeking budget-friendly soundproofing, plastic PVC windows provide a solid option with moderate noise reduction capabilities.
Their affordability and low maintenance make them a practical choice for many residential settings.
10. Foam-filled Windows
Foam-filled windows have polyurethane foam between the panes that absorbs and blocks sound effectively.
The foam can also be retrofitted into existing windows with adequate space.
With an average STC rating of 30, foam fill provides an affordable soundproofing option.
The pros of foam-filled windows are versatility and cost-effectiveness. Soundproofing foam can be added to any window frame material.
Upgrading existing windows with foam is an inexpensive way to improve noise reduction.
However, it may not eliminate deafening noises completely. Professional installation is required since windows must be disassembled to inject foam.
The foam also adds bulk that can alter the window’s appearance.
While helpful for basic needs, foam-filled windows do not provide the full soundproofing capabilities of purpose-built multi-pane windows.
But they offer a budget-friendly way to reduce noise moderately.
Factors to Consider When Selecting Soundproof Windows
When purchasing soundproof windows, there are a few essential factors to consider to find the best option for your specific needs and budget.
The effectiveness of sound insulation is measured using the Sound Transmission Class (STC) scale, with scores beginning at 25, which means that normal conversation can be heard through the wall as it only provides very little sound isolation.
A rating of 40 provides some degree of insulation, while a score of 50 blocks loud noise.
High-quality soundproofing is indicated by scores of 60 or above, significantly reducing the amount of sound that can be heard.
|60+||Almost no sound transmission, total sound isolation|
|55||Very minimal sound transmission|
|50||Tiniest sound transmission, exceptional insulation|
|45||Excellent sound insulation, minimal leakage|
|40||Good insulation, but some sound leaks|
|35||Satisfactory insulation with noticeable leakage|
|30||Inadequate sound insulation, some loud sound leaks|
|25||Poor sound insulation, normal sounds can be heard|
In short, the higher the STC rating, the better a window blocks noises.
Choose a window with a high STC rating to achieve optimal soundproofing.
It’s also worth noting that STC ratings are a laboratory measurement. In real-world situations, window performance can vary depending on various factors.
Some factors include installation setup, surrounding construction, window location on the building, etc.
The materials from which the window is made also play a role in its soundproofing capabilities.
Windows with laminated glass, aluminum, fiberglass, or vinyl can provide good sound insulation.
Additionally, a window with a low-E coating or argon gas fill can help effectively block most noise. But with each additional feature, the cost will increase.
The performance of a soundproofing window will depend on the specific noise problem you’re trying to solve.
The following are some examples of noise problems and strategies for solving them.
|Traffic noise from a busy street||A multi-pane window depending on the noise intensity|
|Sound from an industrial area||Triple-pane windows|
|Sound from neighbors having loud conversations||Aluminum framed or double-pane windows + drapes|
|Noise in a shared living area, such as an apartment building or dormitory room||Acoustic caulk-treated windows + curtains + carpets|
Proper installation of the windows is crucial for achieving optimal soundproofing.
Make sure to hire an experienced professional service to build and set up your windows to ensure that your windows are correctly installed.
Soundproof windows can vary in cost, with some options being more expensive than others.
Plan your budget before choosing a window, and compare the cost to the window’s STC rating and other features to determine which option offers the best value.
After Sales Service
Always check with the manufacturer for warranty and after-sales service conditions.
Some window manufacturers offer a warranty for the sound insulation aspect of the window. While others only intervene when there is a hardware issue with the window.
If you deal with them right, you can get regular maintenance services at a discounted price.
You can always find some consultants to get the job done your way. Yes, it does cost some extra bucks, but the chances are you’ll get a better deal.
Soundproof windows effectively reduce unwanted noise pollution, allowing for a more peaceful and comfortable living or working environment.
When selecting soundproof windows, consider the STC rating, material, installation, cost, and service conditions.
After careful research and analysis, I found triple-pane windows the best option for those looking for the highest level of soundproofing.
For those on a budget, consider other windows listed in the table based on their cost and STC rating.
It’s worth noting that the choice of window type is a trade-off between cost, energy efficiency, noise reduction, durability, security, and natural light.
The best window type for you would depend on your specific requirements and the location of your building.
Also, ensure that windows are correctly installed by professionals specialized in soundproofing to make the most out of them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do soundproof windows actually work?
Yes, Soundproof windows do work. Soundproof windows can significantly reduce the amount of noise entering a room. They are engineered with thicker glass, multiple panes of glass, and special seals and coatings that help block out external noise. However, they may only partially eliminate noise, especially loud noises.
How can I soundproof my windows?
You can soundproof your windows by replacing them with a soundproofing window. It is an effective technique, but it costs more than other techniques, like adding weatherstripping or door sweeps to the edges of the windows, sticking window film or plugs, etc.
What window has the highest STC rating?
Triple-paned windows with laminated glass and a Low-E coating have the highest STC rating. Some windows can be built up to an STC rating of 50 or higher, but such windows are usually custom-made and can be extremely expensive.