Soundproofing with Egg Boxes: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Written by: Mohammad Sameer

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Egg carton soundproofing stands as one of the internet’s most alluring DIY hacks. Just grab stacks of discarded cardboard containers and paper, tack them to your walls, and enjoy budget sound absorption. Right?

Advocates around the web enthusiastically recommend this soundproofing method for damping noise in music spaces, apartments, basement studios or anywhere loud sound bounces unchecked. Some even claim egg crates rival expensive acoustic foam for absorbing audio, making professional treatment accessible for minimal investment in a home studio.

It all seems too good to be true. And according to objective science…it is.

Carefully controlled experiments reveal egg carton “acoustic panels” fail to meaningfully block soundwaves and reduce transmitted noise. So why does this stubborn myth persist?

This guide will scrutinize the alleged soundproofing superpowers of egg crates. I’ll overview exactly how sound waves are believed to absorb noise, put those assumptions to the test against hard evidence, outline what factors impact real-world performance, and detail superior options for genuine DIY and professional acoustic treatment.

Let’s crack this Soundproofing With Egg Boxes mystery wide open!

How Egg Cartons Supposedly Absorb Sound

How Egg Cartons Supposedly Absorb Sound
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First, we need to cover some basic acoustics concepts to understand egg carton soundproofing.

Sound in essence represents waves of air pressure radiating outward from any vibrating object. Noise occurs when these sound waves ripple outwards rapidly enough for our eardrums to detect.

Materials can interact with these waves in a few key ways:

Absorption – Sound energy gets converted to minuscule heat as waves permeate porous materials. Trapped inside insulation for example. Absorbers prevent echoes/reverb.

Reflection – Waves bounce off hard, dense surfaces like glass or tile to maintain intensity. Makes echoes/reverb worse.

Transmission – Sound passes through objects via vibration, especially solids connected to sound sources. Flanking noise through walls for instance.

Diffusion – Scattering concentrated sound waves in multiple directions instead of letting them focus. Helps reduce echoes and “flutter” effects by spreading the sound wave energy out.

This context helps explain what egg carton advocates claim the material does for soundproofing…

Egg cartons supposedly:

  1. Absorb mid-high frequency sound waves entering the convoluted cardboard cells
  2. Diffuse/scatter concentrated waves striking the textured exterior
  3. Trap sound wave energy inside the carton chamber so less reflects back
  4. Resemble acoustical foam to intuitively do the same job

This logic follows since professionally engineered acoustic foam and fiberglass leverage sound absorption mechanisms effectively.

Visually, stacked egg cartons indeed resemble textured foam padding used to treat recording studios and performance spaces. The creased cardboard and egg-shaped air pockets, along with acoustic foam, appear well-suited to diffuse and catch sound waves entering at various angles.

Egg cartons as improvised “acoustic panels” – but do they work?

In effect, advocates theorize egg cartons act as makeshift acoustic panels when liberally layered on ceilings and walls to dampen noise in a room.

What about actual noise blocking though?

Here’s where the theory falls short. Real soundproofing requires mass-loaded barriers with decoupled joints and Noise Control to halt transmission. Lightweight cardboard offers no meaningful density or isolation to deter flanking noise from infiltrating from surrounding areas.

So actual sound blocking looks doubtful. But let’s give egg cartons a fair test to evaluate their potential for at least mitigating in-room echoes and reverberation…

Objective Tests: How many sounds Do Egg Cartons Absorb?

Convincing hypotheses alone cannot justify acoustic treatments. Those prove right or wrong through empirical testing in controlled environments against industry benchmarks.

In formal laboratory experiments carried out in partnership with musicians, interior designers, physicists, and acoustic insulation researchers, directly measured the sound absorption capabilities of egg carton panels. They utilized precise volume, echo and reverberation meters aligned to industry standards.

The results?

Pretty underwhelming if hoping for a revolutionary budget solution.

In realistic room setups, panels layered with cardboard egg cartons demonstrated only 8-25% sound absorption on average depending on the quantity used.

Moreover, dampening occurred only at higher frequencies exceeding 1000 Hz. Lower frequencies persistently defied the cartons’ absorption attempts.

But we hear critical speech sounds like vowels between 300-900 Hz! Plus most instruments occupy low-mid ranges.

So by failing to address bass and mid tones, egg cartons leave the majority of audible sounds freely bouncing around. Any apparent damping stems from selectively absorbing the highest pitches.

How does this limited effect compare with commercial acoustic products?

Well, laboratory-grade fiberglass insulation achieves 60-90% sound absorption across the full audible spectrum. Just a single inch meets or exceeds an entire wall packed with egg cartons.

Engineered melamine foam tiles offer around 40-50% broadband absorption customizable to precise room acoustics.

In other words – cardboard crates pale in comparison to Egg Carton Soundproofing for actual sound-dampening capability. Their sound absorption scores are 6-8x lower by scientific measures, Noise Reduction.

Still, limited effects can prove worthwhile where cost trumps performance. Let’s explore the realistic upside…

When Egg Cartons Can Help Reduce Noise

Given the modest acoustic returns measured in controlled tests, where do egg cartons offer authentic value for DIY noise relief?

Treating small echoed spaces

Layering abundant egg cartons may noticeably reduce reverberation in smaller rooms with an echo problem. For example taming the lively acoustics of a bathroom, foyer, laundry room or concrete garage on a strict budget.

Aesthetic flair

Decorating spaces like college dorms or children’s rooms with stylized cartons adds visual interest in a relatively affordable, non-permanent way. Painter’s tape allows for securing them temporally.

Isolating louder equipment

Surrounding smaller noise-making objects with cartons can muffle their operation somewhat. For instance, lining the walls of a clothes dryer nook or HVAC closet absorbs machine noise escaping that area.

Enhancing speech recording

YouTubers and podcasters enhancing vocal booths claim egg cartons add helpful damping at select mid-high pitches that improves recording quality noticeably. Reducing reverb and room tone.

Learning opportunity

Experimenting first-hand with egg carton sound absorption offers valuable education on the nuances of acoustic physics vs subjective perceptions. May inform future upgrades using proven materials.

True, a handful of niche applications exist where egg cartons can legitimately boost acoustic experiences. But notice nowhere on that list included blocking exterior noise transmission – the crux of genuine soundproofing.

Soundproofing vs Acoustics: Clarifying Key Differences

Egg carton soundproofing often gets conflated with related acoustic concepts like sound-absorbing panels. But these serve distinct functions:

Acoustics – Managing interior sound fields within a given room using diffusion and absorption. Noise mitigation inside the space. It aims to balance reverberation.

Soundproofing – Blocking exterior noise infiltrating through physical structures from other spaces or outside. Stopping that flanking transmission.

Professionals tune room acoustics using wall/ceiling panels and bass traps. Soundproofing leverages dense mass barriers in walls, floors, and windows.

One scrutiny facing egg carton “hacks” is the blurred line between these domains. DIY enthusiasts frequently praise egg cartons for soundproofing because they resemble acoustic panels. But the materials differ enormously.

Yet subjective real-world “testing” overlooks that nuance. We experience some echo reduction from carton walls and award them “soundproofing” status absent controlled comparisons with purpose-built products or objective before/after measurements.

This phenomenon highlights just one psychological blindspot explaining why costly myths persist…

The Quirks of Human Perception Propagating Acoustic Falsehoods

From a strictly evidence-based lens, the resoundingly mediocre acoustic returns of egg carton walls thoroughly debunk their legends of soundproofing prowess. Raw physics measuring meagre sound absorption counters those tall tales.

Yet legions of enthusiasts continue piling cartons atop one another while praising their auditory enhancements as revelatory.

What factors allow so many reasonable people to arrive at false conclusions despite contrary science?

Human psychology. Our instincts routinely mislead – especially around acoustics perceptions which prove highly fallible.

The Visceral Response – We judge books by covers, assessing capability based on appearances. Egg cartons look similarly textured and porous to acoustic foam so our reflex assumes comparable sound diffusing talents.

The Bandwagon Effect – Social proof sways our appraisals. Witnessing enough people endorse hack implants that viewpoint subconsciously until we adopt it ourselves without questioning its validity.

The Satisficing Tendency – Often we opt for convenient solutions over optimal ones that demand more effort. Egg cartons check the box of DIY acoustic panels through little effort rather than researching proper materials.

Selective Listening – Expectations tune our sensory focus to notice only confirming evidence. Wanting egg cartons to work as advertised, we zero in on slightly diminished echoes as “proof” while overlooking untouched lower noise.

No Reference Benchmark – Our ears adapt to current environments. Without precise before/after noise level measurements, perceived “improvements” lack quantifiable grounding in reality.

The Vagus Nerve – This key nerve tunes our bodies to environments subconsciously, adjusting physiological states based on stimuli changes. So small acoustic shifts from egg cartons may vaguely “feel peaceful” absent real dampening occurring.

Now what does legitimately transform rooms from echo chambers into serene acoustic havens? Let’s uncover architect-approved sound solutions…

Step-by-Step: Soundproofing With Egg Boxes

Step-by-Step: Soundproofing With Egg Boxes

If still interested in exploratory aesthetic carton applications targeting limited high-frequency echo reduction (rather than genuine soundproofing), here are tips for Acoustic Treatment.

Gather Supplies

  • 20+ clean cardboard egg cartons
  • Craft knife, box cutter or scissors
  • Heavy-duty trash bags
  • Hot glue gun, industrial velcro/tape, stapler


  1. Thoroughly clean/dry cartons so no food residue remains
  2. Carefully flatten cartons and cut sheets to desired shapes if necessary
  3. Apply the first layer evenly across the target wall/ceiling sections
  4. Overlap additional layers in alternating orientations
  5. Consider painted designs for added visual flair
  6. Note actual acoustic effects will remain moderate per science
  7. Simple to remove later vs permanent installations

Now let’s dig into permanent architectural soundproofing solutions offering night-and-day noise-blocking capabilities beyond makeshift egg crates…

Top Soundproofing Treatments Beyond Egg Cartons

None of the following materials shares egg cartons’ physical limitations for actually blocking, absorbing or diffusing noise in real residential and commercial spaces.

1. Acoustic Panels & Foam

Purpose-engineered acoustic foam panels and soundproofing techniques provide exceptional sound dampening tailored specifically to human speech and music frequencies using densely textured composite materials up to one foot thick with engineered cavity depths that convert noise to heat through friction as sound waves attempt to permeate the porous surfaces. Cut foam sheets also allow customizable studio treatment.

Noise Reduction: ★★★★✩

2. Soundproof Insulation

Dense insulation offers excellent blocking of noise flanking through walls, floors and ceilings – egg cartons’ critical weakness. Materials like Rockwool safely dissipate and trap sound waves between thickly layered fibers up to R-30 super-insulation ratings while limiting reverberation.

Noise Reduction: ★★★★★

3. Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)

Providing a thin yet extremely dense and limp damping layer, MLV blocks up to 80% of incoming noise when installed using specialized techniques across walls, floors, windows and doors. These versatile industrial-grade noise barrier sheets add definitive soundproofing, unlike flimsy egg crates.

Noise Reduction: ★★★★☆

For extreme noise control from nearby roadwork, loud clubs or highly demanding sound studios, customized acoustic engineering proves necessary…

When Professional Soundproofing Becomes Essential

True, recycled egg cartons can nominally enhance small-scale listening spaces in limited cases where strict noise control proves nonessential. A little natural reverb reduction never hurts.

But admit it – we all dream of truly transforming our Room Acoustics into acoustically decoupled sanctuaries free from Noise Control intrusions. Places where we control the audio atmosphere completely on our terms.

Achieving that visceral sensation of sonic isolation requires scientifically isolating structures using architectural acoustic principles most people lack the advanced engineering background to self-execute.

That’s where credentialed experts enter the equation – specifically sound designers and acoustic engineers.

The field of acoustical engineering deals with quantifying precise sound level readings across frequency spectrums, determining acceptable thresholds for various room functions, mapping vibration pathways via material transmissions, and ultimately custom tailoring room assemblies to achieve target noise levels while optimizing interior acoustics.

Heady stuff light years beyond improvised egg carton application!

This degree of custom sound calibration caters to recording studios, performance venues, or home theatres – where quality listening represents paramount concerns justifying the significant expenditure.

True soundproofed isolation requires substantial 12”+ thick concrete barriers, isolated foundation materials, multi-layer sealed walls with offset studs, floating floors, sound-lock doors and more advanced techniques decreasing noise transmissions across barriers below audible thresholds.

Costs for genuine custom room soundproofing installation fall between $3,000 to $15,000 on average depending on insulation thicknesses, room dimensions and materials selected.

Certainly, no impulse buys like grabbing egg cartons from the supermarket. But intensely rewarding for home recording engineers, musicians, cinema fans and other discerning listeners with noise control necessities justifying such investments.

Don’t resign yourself to tolerating excessive noise without first consulting an acoustic specialist for quotes tailored to your unique scenario. Prioritize your peace dividend.

Conclusion: Egg Cartons as Cost-Effective Sound Damping

In closing, while no substitute for scientifically soundproofed structures or studio-grade acoustic panels under controlled test conditions, recycled cardboard egg crates can provide non-critical residential noise relief on extreme budgets when understanding their limitations. Tame unrealistic expectations and they may modestly enhance smaller rooms.

The essential truth remains…

Egg cartons dampen mid-high pitch echoes but cannot meaningfully block exterior noise infiltrating rooms. Their acoustic returns measured in laboratory testing rank far below commercial materials designed specifically for balancing sound absorption across human hearing frequency ranges.

Still, applied in sufficient quantities, clever cardboard cartons can pantomime sound panels well enough to tame reverb somewhat in certain reflexive spaces.

So go ahead – experiment with egg crate acoustics for casual listening contexts or where strict sound isolation proves unnecessary. Just resist exaggerated claims around genuine soundproofing. Seek solid barriers and custom room treatment when truly quiet spaces remain the priority.

And there’s certainly no harm in repurposing everyday waste materials into decorative sound-diffusing art installations if nothing else! Why not put those empty containers to renewed use before the next grocery run?

At the end of the day, expect only limited acoustic enhancements from egg cartons while making peace with external environments seeping through. Curing excess noise requires heavier medicine – both DIY and prescription grade.

Yet egg cartons may still help improve your mental space even where the acoustic evidence falls short. Optimism and creative vision matter too! So carry on cartoning if the artsy upcycling vibes sing to your soul.

Just be sure to bookmark this guide’s lessons clarifying realistic versus figment soundproofing capacities when preparing your next sonic DIY adventure!

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About Mohammad Sameer

My name is Mohammad Sameer, the founder of SoundproofGears. My hypersensitive hearing turned me into a lifelong seeker of silence. After years of research, I've become an expert on soundproofing techniques and materials. In November 2022 I launched this site to share my knowledge and help others find acoustic sanctuary. About More