The best blackout shades for 2024

The best blackout shades for 2024

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Blocking out unwanted light pollution can be a total household game-changer, and the MVP player in that game is blackout shades. Of course, blackout shades come in various colors, fabrics, and price points, so we’ve scoured the internet to help make the decision a little more manageable. From cutting-edge materials and designs to stylish and sophisticated construction, eco-friendly and energy-efficient options, or simple, budget-friendly finds, our list does a deep dive into what makes the best blackout shades stand out. 

How we chose the best blackout shades

In order to provide you with the best options, we considered several factors. For one, we wanted to provide a variety of needs and preferences in our roundup. Since everyone’s different, we looked at budget picks, eco-friendly options, ratings, etc., to give you a more comprehensive selection from which to choose. We heavily evaluated customer feedback. Did the product fall apart right away? Was installation a nightmare? Did the shades arrive damaged? Were measurements off? We scoured the review sections for insider input. We also chose shades from reputable, reliable brands known for durable, high-quality materials so your shades will last.

The best blackout shades: Reviews & Recommendations

Blackout shades let you get the perfect, pitch-black setting in any room with a window—they can be used to redesign your bedroom for better sleep, hung in an overly bright home office, TV room, or home theater, or even to help stay cool during a power outage. Here are five of our favorites.

Best overall: Select Blinds ESSENTIAL Cordless Blackout Cellular Shades

Why it made the cut: These customizable cellular shades offer great performance for the price point.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly, good value
  • Customizable 
  • Free 3-year warranty
  • Installation is quick and easy
  • Highly rated and reviewed

Cons

  • Colors on site can be misleading
  • Some customers prefer the older version of the product, not the upgrade

Looking for reliable blackout shades that check all the boxes and won’t break the bank? These blackout cellular shades from Select Blinds deliver on all the essentials to ensure a restful night’s sleep free of light pollution. They’re highly favored with hundreds of positive reviews, for a purchase you can feel confident about.

You’ll start by selecting your color (they offer free samples to ensure the right color match and tone), and then select your mount type for indoor or outdoor use. You’ll then enter your measurements. 

Pro tip: reference product specifications that are listed at the bottom of the page before measuring in case there are any necessary changes. For example, this product has a 1/4″ headrail deduction and 3/8″ fabric deduction taken at the factory for indoor mounts, but no deductions to headrail or fabric on outside mount. They also recommend ordering additional width for outside mount shades to prevent light gaps. 

Installation is a breeze, but do note that some found the colors on the site to be misleading. We suggest taking them up on their free swatches to ensure you get the color you desire. For less than $100, these blackout curtains are a total steal.

Best value: allen + roth 34-in x 64-in White Blackout Cordless Cellular Shade

Why it made the cut: Affordable, highly rated, and easy to install, these blackout shades offer total room darkening at a great price point.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Straightforward sizing/ordering/installation
  • Attractive, sleek, clean appearance
  • Cord-free

Cons

  • Not as many color options

If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that Lowe’s is going to deliver on home decor items that give the people what they want at a price they are happy to pay. These blackout shades are clean, sleek, and look great in any interior style. Plus, the fabric makes use of recycled polyester, reducing up to 12 plastic bottles from oceans and landfills per shade.

They are cord-free to avoid any tangles or unattractive loose ends, making them safer for pets and children. It comes with hidden top mounting brackets, color-matched headrail, and other hardware for easy installation that almost anyone can do. Note that they don’t have as many color options as some other brands, but the colors they offer are neutral and can work in a variety of homes looking for privacy and light control. They come in standard sizes, and are available at your local Lowe’s, or you can call 877-804-5504 to be mailed free color swatches before you venture out. 

Best eco-friendly: The Shade Store Waterfall Woven Wood Shades

Why it made the cut: Luxurious, eco-friendly, and fully customizable, these sustainably made shades are made from natural materials, bamboo, and grasses that elevate any space.

Pros

  • Eco-friendly
  • Made in USA from sustainable materials
  • Fully customizable 
  • Luxurious look and feel
  • Free swatches and free measure

Cons

  • Some feel you can get the same quality for a lower price elsewhere

These stunning and sustainably made wooden shades are made from natural materials, bamboo, and grasses that are handcrafted in the USA! 

Choose free swatches to find the right shade for your space—you can select from “Artisan Weaves,” “Naturals,” or, if you’re suffering from decision fatigue, “Most Popular.” You can also add a 1-inch decorative border for an added fee.

Now, these are not cheap shades. The price tag is definitely on the luxury, high-end side, but we feel the quality, material, and customer service make this product worth the investment. For instance, if you’re concerned about getting the measurements right, you can sign up for a free professional measurement. You also have the option to schedule a free design consultation to help you find the best shades for your space. 

Best rated: Bali Blackout Cellular Shades

Why it made the cut: These shades have over 2,000 positive reviews with dozens of colors and designs to choose from, all at a reasonable price point.

Pros

  • Over 2,000 positive reviews
  • Lots of design/color options
  • Fairly priced
  • Surefit™ Guarantee
  • Only 12-15 min install time

Cons

  • Some found the shades heavy
  • Some site colors were misleading

These premium blackout cellular shades have over 2,000 positive reviews, and with good reason. They’re made from subtly textured and soft fabric, available in single- and double-cell thicknesses with a color-coordinated aluminum headrail and bottom rail. They only take about 12-15 minutes to install!

Though customization can feel a bit overwhelming, the brand offers helpful recommendations to help you narrow down your selection. For example, if you’re looking for better insulation, you may opt for double-cell shades. 

They offer upgrades like “Z-Wave” motorization with a single channel remote, Light Blockers to help further minimize the light, and a “SureFit” guarantee. 

SureFit states that if you have a measurement error, they’ll remake it for free! Note that some found the shades on the heavier side, which may not be ideal for some. And be sure to get a swatch before you purchase as some colors were a bit misleading, according to a few customers.

Best budget: MiLin Top Down Bottom Up Cellular Shades

Why it made the cut: Starting at just $20, you can get a quality top down/bottom up blackout shade that’s fully customizable and comes in a whopping 43 color options.

Pros

  • Super budget-friendly
  • 43 color options 
  • Features push-pull automatic locking system
  • Easy to install
  • Customers love the Top-Down/Bottom-Up feature

Cons

  • Not as blackout as some other options

For a budget find that’s going to deliver on value and quality, these smart blinds from MiLin are your best bet. Starting at $20 and going up depending on size/dimensions, these shades offer a Top Down/Bottom Up feature, which, unlike traditional shades, can be adjusted from the top down, the bottom up, or both. The benefits are more flexible light control and a customizable view.

Reviewers love the magnets that connect the top of the blinds to the top frame, which helps keep every bit of light out. While we think they may not be as blackout as some other options, they definitely work to keep the room dark.

We love how many color options you get—a whopping forty-three! Plus, reviews love that customer service will send an email to double-check dimensions and ensure the proper fit. That’s pretty great service for such an affordable product!

You’ll want to consider the following factors when shopping for blackout shades:

Light blocking

This may seem obvious, but first and foremost, you want to ensure the shades block out light! Sometimes you’ll need to purchase a liner to go with the shades to create the blackout effect, so just be sure to read the product description carefully. 

Style

Blackout shades aren’t just functional. They are also a home decor item that must fit into the overall aesthetic and design style to make your space look cohesive. We suggest neutral earth tones if you’re having trouble deciding, since neutrals can work with any decor style.

Materials

The type of material you select depends on your budget, aesthetic preferences, and weather. If it’s particularly cold in your region, you might consider looking for thicker materials that have better insulation. Opt for dust-resistant and stain-resistant materials to get a longer lifespan. You can also go for eco-friendly materials like bamboo, grass, and other natural fibers for a sustainable approach.

Cost

Everyone’s budgets are different, but you can find great quality blackout shades at every price point. Brand, materials, and fancier hardware will contribute to higher price tags.

Fit

Be sure to measure your window properly to ensure the right fit. Some places, like The Home Depot, will let you take your blackout shades to have them cut to your exact measurements. Lots of brands will also allow you to enter in custom sizing. 

Ease of Installation

Read reviews and instructions on how to install. You don’t want to purchase anything that is overly fussy and requires a ton of work. It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to install your blackout shades.

FAQs

Q: Do blackout shades keep light out?

Yes, blackout shades are specifically designed to keep light out. Of course, measuring your window properly is important, as light can creep in on the sides or at the bottom if it’s not fitted properly. 

Q: Are blackout shades expensive?

You can find blackout shades at a variety of price points, from ultra-budget ($20) to several hundred dollars. Factors such as size/dimensions, quality, type of material used, brand, and other variables influence the cost of the shades.

Q: What are the disadvantages of blackout shades?

While blackout shades can offer privacy, insulation, and darkness for sleep, there may be some drawbacks. For example, they limit natural light when fully drawn and mess with your body’s ability to wake up naturally. They can also make a space feel dark and depressing, like a cave. Blackout shades can also limit air circulation, so potentially make a room feel hotter in the warmer months.

Final thoughts on the best blackout shades

For blackout shades that block unwanted light and look sleek, clean, and attractive, you can’t go wrong with any of the options on our list. While some may be budget-minded, others may want to take an eco-friendly approach to your shades. If you’re absolutely overwhelmed by the options, go for our overall pick: Select Blinds ESSENTIAL Cordless Blackout Cellular Shades. They’re affordable, highly rated, and will keep your room feeling dark and cozy.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

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