When you’re strapped for cash, it’s very tempting to throw caution to the wind and simply go for the cheapest car deadening material on the market. And hey, everyone goes through times when they need to arrange their search to price ascending. But, should you be doing that with your car deadening mats? You’ll find out in this article.
Before I really get into it, you’ll learn why you’d even want to soundproof your car at all. In the first section of the article, I’ll tell how good DIY sound deadening materials can improve the overall quality of your ride. After that, we can get into whether or not you should ever buy cheap deadening mats.
Finally, I’ll reveal the single best material to get if you’re looking to hit that price-to-quality sweet spot. That being said, let’s start by seeing why you would even want to soundproof your car.
Why You Need to Soundproof Your Car
Hearing car and traffic sounds while you drive is often really important. If the traffic suddenly shifts, you need to be able to hear the sounds of the surrounding cars honking. Also, if your car ever starts to break down, you’ll likely be able to tell by suspicious noises. In addition, some road surface markings are audible and produce high-pitched sounds to make sure drivers aren’t crossing into other lanes.
On the other hand, installing sound dampening materials in your car will reduce those noises and even improve its acoustics. Therefore, you’ll be able to hear your speakers better or have a peaceful conversation. Also, these materials often stop metal bits from moving against each other in your car doors, and trunk.
- Reduces traffic noise, as well as the noise your car produces.
- Improves the car’s acoustics and makes listening to music more enjoyable.
There are various features which determine the effectiveness of soundproofing materials. They include the material’s base material, effectiveness, and installation process, among other things. I went into more detail about each of those features in my comparative reviews of Dynamat, Fatmat, and Hushmat.
So, why don’t we see what kind of soundproofing one of the most expensive, and most effective, materials I reviewed in that article can provide? Dynamat often emerges as the best automotive sound deadening material.
As a butyl-based material, it is highly heat-resistant and odorless. However, the effectiveness of sound deadening mats is actually most often determined by their thickness.
Also, effective soundproofing needs to be either high in mass or density. And in fact, Dynamat is very dense – which actually kind of makes cutting and applying it somewhat difficult. Still, at about $5 per square foot, it is decidedly not what you’re looking for if you need cheap soundproofing.
Should You Just Get the Cheapest Material?
I completely understand the need to buy the cheapest stuff and be done with it. Still, I wouldn’t recommend using the “price: low to high” option on your favorite online retailer site. After all, buying cheap might actually cost you more money. Once you realize that you need to get more effective materials, you’ll have to go through the whole installation process again.
Firstly, the cheapest material may not be effective at removing or even reducing noise at all. Secondly, some materials, especially asphalt-based ones, can produce unpleasant odors. And they might not suit your needs as far as heat-resistance goes. So, you’ll want to make sure you’re buying quality materials from the get-go.
In my review of the top 10 automotive sound deadening materials, I looked at the following features to look out for when buying car soundproofing materials:
- Types of sound isolation
- Types of materials
- Size of the product
Any of these characteristics of soundproofing materials may determine its effectiveness, heat-resistance, and the ease with which you can install it. And if you are curious about these factors, you may read about them in the article linked above. But for now, we’re interested in one question.
Where Can You Skimp?
Ultimately, the cheapest material available might not perform as well as you want it to. In order to have the best possible soundproofing in your car, investing in thicker materials might be necessary. Fortunately, in the next section, I’ll recommend a material that’s even thicker than Dynamat.
Still, there’s one way you could save some money no matter which sound deadening material you end up purchasing. Since you don’t really need to cover the entirety of your car for the soundproofing to be effective, you can save up by getting a smaller amount of product. In fact, you’ll only need to cover about 25-50% of the surface to hear the difference. And although that might not ensure total silence, the amount of noise in your car will noticeably reduce.
The Cheapest Sound Deadening Materials for Cars
Before I reveal what, in my opinion, is the absolute best DIY sound deadening material you can buy on a budget, let’s see what we’re comparing it to.
The Absolute Cheapest: Fatmat
One of the cheapest sound deadening mats for cars I’ve come across in my research is actually one I’ve written about before – Fatmat. That product goes for only around $1.5 per square foot, as opposed to Dynamat’s $5. Believe it or not, the cost accumulates quickly, especially if you insist on covering the whole inside of your car.
Unlike Dynamat, in my review of Fatmat, I concluded that it was a bit too thin to be really effective. Additionally, it’s asphalt-based, which makes it a poor choice for hot weather conditions.
On top of that, these types of materials also tend to emit a specific odor. However, many people still like the results they get with it. I’ll admit, I may have judged the material a bit harshly. Aside from the 50 mil Fatmat I reviewed, there’s also an 80 mil version, which may be more effective.
The good thing about Fatmat is that it’s a fairly popular and established brand. So, you’ll at least know what you’re getting, which is not something you could say if you pick the absolute cheapest material made by sketchy companies. Certainly, Fatmat is the cheapest I would recommend going with. Otherwise, you’d just be risking having to go out and buy more effective sound deadening mats.
Some More Cheap Options: Hushmat, Uxcell, Kilmat, Siless…
In the same article, I also reviewed Hushmat. It is a bit more effective and heat-resistant than Fatmat, as it’s butyl-based. In addition, it only comes out to about $1.8 per square foot.
Uxcell is another fairly inexpensive material on the top 10 sound deadening mats list. It is only a bit more expensive than the ones I already mentioned, at around $2 per square foot. Another one of the cheaper mats from that article is Kilmat. Like Fatmat, it costs only about $1-$1.5 per square foot.
As always, you can read all of the other articles for more information on each individual sound deadener. Of course, there are some materials I haven’t yet reviewed. For example, Siless offers their 80 mil sound deadening material for around $1.6 per square foot (link to Amazon). It’s butyl-based, so it will also provide some heat-resistance, and it’s thick enough to be effective.
Finally, there’s one material I can confidently recommend above all others, especially when it comes to the price-to-quality ratio.
The Most Cost-Effective Option: Noico
Many people frequently place Noico right in the same category as Dynamat. Even I have written a comprehensive review and comparison of those two sound deadening materials. Since it’s not the oldest name in the business, Noico only costs about $1.7-$2 per square foot.
I find this material equally effective as Dynamat, even more so because it is slightly thicker. It is also very heat-resistant, since it’s butyl-based, like Dynamat. However, many people have noted that Dynamat is somewhat difficult to install – while Noico has a fairly easy application process.
Now, although Noico mats aren’t completely noise-canceling, they do significantly reduce sounds. Also, some people may notice a possible rubbery smell due to its asphalt undercoat. But can you really expect perfection out of such affordable materials?
Even with its minor faults, Noico is famous for its cost-effectiveness. Therefore, it’s the perfect material for anyone looking to soundproof their car without breaking the bank.
How Cheap is Too Cheap?
Typically, it’s best not to skimp on things that are supposed to last. Mats that are under $1.5 per square foot might end up being ineffectual. They may even adhere poorly, forcing you to apply new mats soon after the initial installation.
However, any of the materials I mentioned should be just fine. The key is in knowing what you can afford to skimp on. So, you’ll want to get good quality materials. If they’re effective, you won’t even need to completely cover the whole inside of your car.
You could even choose to only use Noico mats on the doors, roof, and under the hood. After all, those are the places where you’ll need them the most. As always, you can take care of the floor soundproofing by laying down thicker carpeting. And you can soundproof the trunk with carpeting, cheaper foam materials, or even just a thicker blanket.
Ultimately, the sound deadening material you choose for your car will be up to you. Hopefully, this article showed you what features you can expect at the lower price points. And naturally, you can always read some of my other articles, if you need more information.