The 7 Best Foil Insulations
This wiki has been updated 15 times since it was first published in March of 2017. Good for retaining heat in the winter and keeping it at bay in the summer, foil insulation is commonly applied around attics and basements to help lower energy costs. Our selection features choices suitable for a variety of project sizes and budgets. For safety, always comply with local building codes, and be sure to hire a certified contractor when installing this material near electrical wires. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
September 15, 2020:
In today’s update, we rounded out the list a bit by adding Impresa Tape, which functions well as HVAC tape to help you seal hot and cold air ducts. It’s also well suited for temporary repair of metal surfaces, fixing copper pipes, and sealing joints and seams of materials made of aluminum, stainless steel, and plastic. It’s made up of high-strength aluminum foil coated in an epoxy resin with acrylic adhesive, which is set on a silicone paper liner. It’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, and is resistant to flames, moisture, and damage from the sun’s harmful rays. Extreme temperatures will not affect its sticking ability, and it reflects heat well. We also added in the US Energy Products Industrial Strength, which is made up of thick polyethylene air bubbles sandwiched between highly reflective aluminum polyester film. It’s made for the long haul and is designed not to disintegrate, compress, or collapse. While it holds up well to staples without becoming torn, it is easy to cut with scissors or an insulation knife, as needed.
We’re still partial to the AES Radiant Barrier, a commercial-grade option with a five-layer shield containing tough Mylar and interwoven nylon scrim. The resulting product is virtually impossible to tear, so it can last you for ears on end, once it’s installed. It cuts smoothly with a knife and reflects up to 97% of radiant heat, rather than absorbing it. Another high-quality choice from a well-known brand is the Reflectix BP48010, which measures four-by-ten feet and is well suited for tasks like lining tents, covering coolers, and wrapping a water heater or pipes. It’s easy to apply and only requires a knife, tape measure, and some safety goggles. Today, the RadiantGuard Reflex-Air and the InfraStop Double Bubble make their way off the list, the former due to availability issues, and the latter due to too much overlap with the highly similar Reach Barrier DD48025. As stated in our last update, be sure to install foil installation safely by complying with your local building codes and hiring a licensed, professional electrician for the job when there are electrical wires nearby.
August 13, 2019:
Like spray foam insulation, insulation made from foil can be helpful in reducing heat loss or gain, thereby lowering your energy bill. It can be used alone or to supplement fiberglass, polystyrene, or loose fill insulation. If installed properly, it can reflect up to 97% of radiant heat and shave off one-fourth of your heating and cooling costs, according to estimates.
Joining the list today is the highly-reflective Insulation Market Place Shield, which is made to reflect up to 97% of radiant energy. It’s conveniently is available in seven sizes, so you’re sure to find the right one for your project. This mold-resistant choice is impervious to humidity and moisture, and it’s built with sheets of aluminum that contain a durable layer of polyethylene foam. It’s easy to cut with a pair of scissors, and you can buy it with confidence, thanks to a generous 10-year warranty.
Another choice you can’t go wrong with is the commercial-grade AES Radiant Barrier, which also will stand the test of time, thanks to its virtually impossible-to-tear build. You get 1,000 square feet per roll, and it cuts easily with a utility knife or scissors. It’s designed to be impervious to the effects of humidity and climate changes, making it a low-maintenance fixture in your home. Like all the selections on our list, it’s compliant with the American Society for Testing and Materials Class 1 Class A requirements.
No matter which product you ultimately choose, for safety’s sake, be sure to comply with your local building codes when installing any foil insulation. If you intend to place it around electrical wires, hire a licensed, professional insulation installer for the job. Stapling into live wiring can be fatal. Always make sure work areas are properly ventilated and well-lit.
EcoFoil Radiant Barrier Available in a perforated option for attic application, this insulation allows moisture vapor to escape, which helps prevent mold and mildew. It’s also offered in a solid sheet, which is great for use in metal buildings, pole barns, basements, and more. Both versions are heavy duty, double-sided, tear-proof, and designed to reflect up to 96% of radiant heat in both hot and cold climates. ecofoil.com