7 Best Acoustic Panels for Home Theater: Reviews, Buying Guide, FAQ

Setting up the home theater on your own is a fun-filled process until there emerges the issue of echoes and vibrations in your room that ruins the sound quality.

Through acoustic treatment of your home cinema, you can easily resolve this issue. One of the best pieces of equipment for the acoustic treatment of home theaters is the acoustic panel. These are stiff and firm panels that you can place on walls or ceilings to cover the reflective surfaces. These reduce the fuzzy and buzzing sounds coming from the sound system and give you an authentic cinematic experience at home.

However, there are various types of acoustic panels that can be used to block, absorb, or scatter sound waves. So, which ones are most appropriate for home theaters? Let’s find out by looking at these 7 best acoustic panels for home theaters!

Top Picks for The Best Acoustic Panels for Home Theaters

Here are our top picks for the best acoustic panels for home theaters!

ProductFeaturesLink
ATS Acoustic Panel
(Best-overall)
– 1.0 NRC rating
– Mounting hardware is available
– Wooden frame
– Fire resistant
– 2-inch thick
– Available in 4 colors
Amazon
Acoustimac DMD Stagger Acoustic Panel
(Runner-up)
– Set of eight panels of equal size
– Heat-resistant
– 0.95 NRC rating
– Wooden frame
– Covers 32 sq. ft surface
– Z clips for installation included
Amazon
UA-Acoustics Diffuse Acoustic Panels
(Best budget option)
– 2.1-inch thickness
– Diffuses 200 Hz to 5000 Hz
– High-density foam
– Laminated MDF
– Available in 10 aesthetic colors
– Suitable for acoustic treatment
– Balances reverberations and echoes
– Easy-to-install
Amazon

Best Acoustic Panels for Home Theater

1. ATS Acoustic Panels

ATS Acoustic Panels tops our list of best acoustic panels for home theater as these are simply designed yet so effective for sound absorption. The noise reduction coefficient of these panels is 1.0 which means they can absorb 100% of the sound waves striking them.

The ATS panels have a plywood frame that is 2-inches in thickness. The overlay of the frame is jute fabric that is stapled at the back corners. You have four color options for the overlay which are black, natural, ivory, and burgundy. 

These are large 24 x 48 ideal-sized panels that you can mount on the walls and ceiling of your home theater. One panel will cover more area therefore you will be requiring fewer panels in the room. Moreover, their great absorption capacity allows them to mitigate all frequency sounds along with controlling the sound vibrations and echoes.

However, these acoustic sound-absorbing panels are high-priced as compared to some of the other panels on this list. Nonetheless, these are ideal for soundproofing of home theaters. 

Pros

  • 1.0 NRC rating
  • Mounting hardware available
  • Wooden frame
  • Fire resistant
  • 2-inches thickness
  • Available in 4 colors

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Difficult to install

2. Acoustimac DMD Stagger Acoustic Panel

Acoustimac DMD Stagger Acoustic Panel is a bundle of six monochromatic panels. These are medium-sized sound-absorbing panels that can easily control the echoes and reverberations coming from the speakers and woofers in the home theater.

The DMD staggers are ideal acoustic wall panels for home theaters. These cover an 18 sq. ft area that means their two sets will be enough for your home cinema. Moreover, these work impressively for sound absorption too, as they have an NRC rating of 0.95. Therefore, even if you stagger them in an empty room, you will see a clear reduction in echo and reverbs.

These panels have a wooden frame filled with Rockwool absorption material and the covering of a denser fabric. The 2-inches thickness allows it to absorb mid and high-level frequency sounds. Also, these are class A fire retardant panels that come with mounting hardware.

One slightly off thing about these panels is the color options, as they are available in only monochromatic shades. So, you might have to adjust the theme of your home cinema.

Pros

  • Set of six panels of equal size
  • Class A heat-resistant 
  • 0.95 NRC rating
  • Wooden frame
  • Covers 18 sq. ft surface
  • Z clips for installation included

Cons

  • Only available in monochromatic colors

3. UA-Acoustics Diffuse Acoustic Panels

The UA-Acoustics panels are diffusing panels that are most appropriate for controlling the effect of low-frequency sounds. It is a pack of four MDF wood laminated panels that you can place on the walls or the ceiling.

These are sophistically designed panels that will make your home theaters look posh. Their thickness is 2.1 inches, and for the insulation material filling, these panels use high-density foams. These acoustic panels can help you scatter sound waves from 200 Hz to 5000 Hz in your home theater.

These panels are well designed and can reduce echoes and reverberations, and deadens the low-frequency sounds at a very reasonable price. Therefore, UA-Acoustics Diffuser panels are the most budget-friendly option for the acoustic treatment of your home cinema. However, you cannot use it for controlling high or mid-frequency sound waves.

Pros

  • 2.1 inch thickness
  • Diffuses 200 Hz to 5000 Hz
  • High density foam
  • Laminated MDF
  • Available in 10 aesthetic colors
  • Suitable for acoustic treatment
  • Balances reverberations and echoes
  • Easy-to-install

Cons

  • 0.68 NRC rating
  • Are not fire retardant

4. ATS Acoustic Panel – Medium-sized

Likewise, large-sized panels, ATS medium-sized panels are highly effective for deadening the sounds. These panels have the perfect NRC rating of 1.0, which means using these panels you will be able to mitigate the echoes and reverberations from your home theater.

These panels have a solid wooden frame that is 2 inches in thickness. Their textured jute fabric covering comes in four distinct colors, including black, ivory, burgundy, and natural. Moreover, the plain colors and texture of the fabric allow you to paint or hang other art pieces on them.

These panels are good for all frequencies of sounds, from low to high. Therefore, they can be ideal for an average-sized home theater. However, these panels are quite expensive and do not provide clear instructions for installation.

Pros

  • Wooden frame
  • 2-inches thickness
  • 1.0 NRC ratings
  • Four color options
  • Compatible for all frequency sounds
  • Reduce echoes and reverberations

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Difficult to install

5. UA-Acoustics Diffuse Corner Bass Traps

UA-Acoustics Diffuse Corner Bass Traps are the ideal solution for low-frequency sounds in home theaters. These kinds of acoustic panels can be placed in the corners of the room that are the reflective points that create most of the echoes. 

These diffuse bass traps are composed of laminated medium-density fiberboard that is more condensed than plywood. The inside filling is of foam, and its thickness is 4 inches. This acoustic panel helps in controlling lower frequency sounds and mitigating the echoes and reverberations.

It is a set of four bass traps that are available in ten colors, from cherry to glossy white. So, you can pick any to match the interior of your home theater. Moreover, it has the capability of diffusing 63Hz to 2000Hz sounds.

However, these home theater bass traps are not appropriate for reducing high and mid-level frequency sounds as its NRC rating is only 0.44. Therefore, you can pair it up with some higher-rated acoustic panels to balance out the sounds. Moreover, its fire rating is Euroclass E as it is foam-made. Therefore, it does not show much resistance to fire.

Pros

  • Set of 4 bass traps
  • Laminated MDF and foam material
  • Controls the low frequency sounds
  • 4-inches thickness
  • Diffuses 63 Hz to 2000 Hz
  • 10 color options

Cons

  • Not suitable for reducing mid or higher frequency sounds
  • Not fire resistant

6. Acoustimac Sound Absorbing Acoustic Panel

Acoustimac Sound Absorbing Acoustic Panel is another great option for the home theater. It is a large-sized panel that covers more reflective surfaces, meaning you will be required to use fewer panels in the room. Moreover, it is a 2-inch thick panel with an impressive NRC rating of 0.95.

These sound-absorbing panels are great for mid and high-level frequencies and work fairly well for low-frequency sounds too. Moreover, it is made of a cabinet plywood frame that has mineral wool filling which makes it much denser and effective for sound absorption. 

Acousmatic acoustic panel’s upper layer is available in six elegant colors. Therefore, you can deck your home theater by the alternative placement of contrastive colored panels. These are class A fire retardant panels that will protect the theater in case of any emergency.

Installation of these panels is also very simple as the mounting hardware is available with the package. However, these panels are expensive, but in terms of value, they are worthwhile.

Pros

  • 0.95 NRC rating
  • Compatible for large spaces
  • Mounting hardware available
  • Wooden frame
  • Class A fire rated
  • 2-inch thick
  • 6 color options

Cons

  • Expensive

7. BXI Sound Diffuser

BXI Sound diffuser is a very creatively designed acoustic panel that can scatter sound waves. It is an all-wooden panel covered with small square boxes which allow for 2D diffusion of sound. Though the diffuser has a decent finish, you can paint it according to your home theater interior.

With a thickness of 2.8 inches, the BXI diffuser can scatter the sounds from 410 Hz up to 4000 Hz. Moreover, the 2D quadratic residue design helps in removing echoes and balancing out the unevenness of tones from the sound system.

For acquiring better results, you can place these panels behind the speakers that will evenly diffuse the mid and high-frequency sounds. Besides, you can also hang them on parallel walls for uniform diffusion throughout the home theater. 

The placement of this acoustic panel is also pretty straightforward with the help of a sawtooth picture hanger. However, neither a sawtooth picture hanger nor screws are available with the package.

Though BXI works fine for reducing sound vibrations and echoes, these are not exactly soundproofing acoustic panels. However, you can use them in home theaters for better sound quality. 

Pros

  • 2.8-inches thickness
  • Wooden sound diffusing panel
  • Scatters from 410 Hz to 4000 Hz
  • 2D sound diffusion
  • Durable
  • Balances uneven tones
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Isn’t suitable for soundproofing
  • Mounting hardware is not included

Buying Guide Acoustic Panels for Home Theater

The acoustic treatment of home theaters using acoustic panels is not as complicated as it seems. You are only required to know a few things like NRC ratings, different types of panels, and the appropriate thickness, for selecting the right acoustic panels.

Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) Ratings

The NRC ratings indicate the insulation capacity of any soundproofing material. It is the value that varies between 0 and 1.0, with 1 showing 100% efficiency for sound absorption. If you are looking for an acoustic panel that reduces high and mid frequencies, its NRC rating should at least be 0.85. However, if the problem is to control the low frequencies then you can go for a panel with a lower NRC rating.

Types of Acoustic Panels

There are three main types of acoustic panels that you can use for the acoustic treatment of your home theater. These are:

  • Fabric covered acoustic panels
  • Bass traps
  • Sound diffusers

The fabric-covered large acoustic panels are used for reducing sound transfer. Moreover, it controls the reverberations and echoes and is more effective for mid and high-level frequencies. Whereas bass traps are low frequencies and mitigating reverbs and echo. On the other hand, sound diffusers are used for the even spread of sound waves throughout the room. Though they cannot absorb sounds, they are useful in decreasing the echoes.

All three of these acoustic panels are used for different purposes and in different placements. However, for better sound quality in your home theater, it is recommended to use them together.

Thickness of Acoustic Panels

The sound absorption quality also depends on the thickness of the panel. A thicker acoustic panel proves to be more effective for sound absorption. However, the recommended thickness for different types of panels varies. 

The fabric-covered acoustic panels are available in the market in 1″ to 3″ thickness. The recommended thickness for this type of panel is 2-inches above. On the other hand, the bass traps and diffusers are usually 2″ to 4″ thick. Ideally, you should use ones that are over 2.5″ thicker.

For more details, you can read our in-depth acoustic panel sizing guide.

FAQ

Where to place acoustic panels in home theaters?

You should look for the reflective points of sound and then try to cover them using acoustic panels. The most vulnerable areas for the reflection of sound waves are walls, ceiling, and the corners of the room. Moreover, you can place diffusers behind the speakers for even diffusion of sound waves. In smaller rooms, the vertical placement of acoustic panels is better. However, for larger ones, the horizontal installation will be apt.

How to soundproof a home theater?

Soundproofing of home theater would require you to block all the spaces through which sound can escape the room. For this you can use the materials like soundproof drywall, MLV, latex wall liners, acoustic caulks, and door sweep. However, if your purpose is to mitigate the energy of the sound waves, acoustic panels can be helpful. In addition to acoustic panels, you can use soundproof curtains, rugs, carpets, and blankets for better results. 

Do acoustic panels keep sound in?

No, the acoustic sound panels cannot entirely keep the sounds within. Nonetheless, they are sound absorbents that can reduce the transmission of sounds to a great extent. Therefore, you can place the panels on your home theater walls and ceilings to cover the reflective surfaces. Also, these can control the echoes and reverberations which enhances the sound quality. 

Final Thoughts

For the acoustic treatment of home cinema, acoustic panels are most useful. But due to the availability of various types of sound-absorbing panels in the market, the selection of the right one is problematic. Nonetheless, if you understand for which purpose what type of panel is appropriate, you can easily pick one.

Our carefully curated list of the 7 best acoustic panels for home theaters will assist you in making the appropriate selection. The ATS Acoustic Panels tops this list having the perfect NRC of 1.0 that can control all frequency sounds. The runner-up is the Acoustimac DMD Stagger Acoustic Panel, which is a complete set of six panels having the 0.95 NRC. However, if you are looking for a cost-effective option, the laminated wood UA-Acoustics Diffuse Acoustic Panels are ideal as they can lessen the effect of low-frequency sounds.