Blackout vs. Blockout Curtains: What’s the Difference?

There’s nothing better than ending your busy day with a good night’s sleep. One of the simplest ways to achieve this is to make sure that your room is free from any blindly disturbing light. To pull this off, you have to use the right kind of curtains for your bedroom, either blackout or blockout.

But what is the difference between blackout and blockout curtains? They both prevent light from entering a room, but not at the same level. Aside from that, they also have different levels in terms of noise reduction and room insulation.

Still confused? Let’s break them down one by one.

Blackout Curtains

What Are Curtains?

If for some reason, you still don’t know what curtains are, they are lengthy pieces of fabric that cover your windows. These are moveable and can be drawn back and forth to put away if you don’t need them.

Shopping for curtains takes an ideal amount of effort as you have to consider the room where the curtains are going to be used in. The color theme, temperature, and the preferences of the people who will stay in that room matter (especially if it’s a bedroom).

However, those questions only answer to what the curtains would look like. Not exactly with how they would perform. Unbeknownst to a number of people, there are different types of curtains in terms of functionality, also.

Although, there is a good number of those types, we’re going to focus merely on blackout and blockout curtains.

What Are Blackout Curtains?

Blackout curtains are straightforward when it comes to their use. Their main purpose is to completely prevent any light from passing through the fabric. This effect creates a what they call a 100% blackout.

These also reduce some outdoor noise and prevent summer heat or winter cold from entering, but not in a significant amount. Keeping the room without light is their top priority.

Who Are They For?

Since using blackout curtains result in total darkness, not everyone is going to love it. Despite the peace and serenity felt in a pitch-black room, some still prefer a tiny light source peeking through (for example, a night light).

Therefore, it’s understandable that they might not be the perfect choice for all. The best types of people who can make the most of these are the following:

  • Night Shift Workers – They are those who work when everyone is dozing off but are asleep when the day breaks. The blinding light from the sun might disturb their much-needed rest.
  • Babies and Toddlers – We know how difficult it is to lull our little bundles of joy to sleep. That’s why we also know how defeating it feels when their peaceful slumber is interrupted due to the sun.
  • Those Who Have Light Sensitivity – Yes, there are certain people who are sensitive to light. Too much light can trigger simple headaches and migraines. Patients who went through brain surgery might be advised to avoid bright light as much as possible.

Not only is sleeping in a zero light room a luxury, but it can also be a necessity for others. Just take a look at these 100% Blackout Curtains by Flamingo P (view on Amazon) and you’ll see what I mean.

How Do They Work?

Blackout curtains are made from two pieces of fabric. The front which will be “main curtain” boasts the different designs and colors of your choice made from the usual curtain fabric materials. The extra backing layer, which is made from a thick and tightly woven black fabric, is responsible for blocking out 99.9% up to 100% of lighting. Expect that your curtains will be thicker and heavier because of that added layer.

They can also prevent noise pollution to some degree, making it suitable for day workers who want to lessen their distractions. Room insulation is another perk but also only up to a certain degree.

Ultimately, the main purpose of blackout curtains is for turning your room into a pitch-black relaxing scene. Not only is this going to be suitable for bedrooms, but it can create the perfect ambience for theatre rooms. Your living room can instantly be transformed into a mini theater room by using these curtains. Here’s another set by NICETOWN (view on Amazon) that you have to check out.

What Are Blockout Curtains?

Generally, blockout curtains (also called room darkening curtains) work the same as the blackout do. The only difference is that it does not provide a hundred percent total darkness. It will block out some light, but not entirely.

These types of curtains focus more on the keeping the room temperature more comfortable rather than the light they’re preventing from entering.

Who Are They For?

You might be thinking, who would want room darkening curtains when the blackout ones are available? That’s not entirely the case.

It might be hard to believe, but not everyone likes sleeping in the dark. There is a fine line between resting in on full darkness versus the warmth of letting the sun shine through. Blockout curtains fall between that line, it lets those two situations meet halfway providing you the best of both worlds.

Here are some types of people who would love to use room darkening curtains for their bedroom or any room in the house:

  • Babies and Toddlers – Yes, I know I’ve mentioned this before. But there are cases wherein some newborns have trouble sleeping in complete darkness. It could be because of the chilly ambiance.
  • Children – How this group is separated from the babies is easy. Most children dislike sleeping the dark. Oftentimes, this would cause you to purchase an additional light source such as a lamp or a night light. Using room darkening curtains not only help you solve this problem, but it can also make naptimes exciting for your little one with their vibrant colors and fun designs, adding a pop of color to their bedroom.
  • People Who Want to Save On Their Electric Bill – And that could be almost everyone. Thermal blockout curtains have proven their efficiency in lowering the electric bill in a home. These provide better room insulation, reducing your centralized cooling and heating system use.

Although I don’t categorize this for everyone. Some senior citizens and night shift workers don’t mind a little sunlight into their rooms as well. Still, it’s a case-to-case basis.

How Do They Work?

Blockout curtains also have two layers of fabric like blackout curtains do. These are lighter since it doesn’t need a thicker and heavier material to completely filter out all the light.

The front outer layer is usually the typical fabric like cotton duck canvas or polyester. This is followed by the inner back layer that serves as the light, noise, and temperature filter.

People who prefer blockout curtains are more concerned with keeping the room in the right temperature as it does a better job at it. In a way, they can be considered as thermal curtains. They work by insulating the temperature that is in your room, so you can come home to a cool area when it’s hot out or vice versa. Check out this really good product that NICETOWN has (view on Amazon) which offers great insulation, noise reduction, and adequate light filtering.

Blockout (Room Darkening) Curtains vs Blackout Curtains

Now that that’s all taken care of, let’s break and have a quick comparison of the two:

  • Fabric Material – Blackout curtains typically use the common fabrics for their outer layer with a rayon backing. It’s important to make sure that the light filtering layer is tightly woven or a triple weave to ensure 100% full blackout. Blockout curtains follow the same for the outer fabric, whilst the inner can be something light such as acrylic.
  • Size – There’s nothing to note about size. Both curtains come in the same size as your regular ones do. There are a lot of options to choose from for your windows and some manufacturers even accept customized dimensions.
  • Price – This is where the comparison gets serious. Room darkening curtains are cheaper, and won’t run you down for a hundred dollars, most of the time, they’re less than $50. Blackout curtains can get expensive. Really high-quality ones can cost more than a hundred dollars each.
  • Cleaning – Both curtain types are machine washable under cool water using mild detergent. Do not bleach them. If you have to iron, make sure to do so under the lowest heat setting.
  • Overall Features – In a nutshell, they both provide light filtering, noise reduction, and insulation features. Blackout provides the most light filtering with so-so for the noise and temperature while the blockout performs better for the two but doesn’t provide the perfect light filter. Privacy is also the best feature these two have. Thanks to the additional layers, no one can see from the inside of your home.

There is no perfect set of curtains. Preference is key to determining which type of curtains works best for you. Whether you love the dark or you just semi-hate it, it’s good to know that there are products catered to suit your needs.

Kris Peter

I am a lifelong advocate of sleep, continually learning, and striving to be better than I was yesterday.

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