How to choose a soundproof booth or phone box for office in 2021

A soundproof cabin can really improve life in open space, but it still has to be efficient and adapted to your needs.

by Estelle Josse
How to choose a soundproof booth or phone box for office in 2021

(updated on 31 May 2021)

Acoustic booths offer an opportunity for isolation and confidentiality that is sorely lacking in collaborative work spaces. To promote employee well-being (key to success!), it is essential to design your offices intelligently.

In this article, we would like to help you to choose your future PhoneBooth. How to know if it is efficient, especially when you don't know much about acoustics. How to choose a phone box adapted to your needs, your space and your values?

Here are our tips and recommendations for choosing your next cabin. 

Acoustics, the most important feature of phone boxes. 

1. Sound insulation, how to measure it?

Firstly, it is important to distinguish between sound insulation and noise insulation. Acoustic insulation aims to prevent the propagation of all noise, whereas sound insulation is more concerned with the insulation of voice sounds. It is therefore the sound insulation that we should focus on.

It can be difficult to understand the level of sound insulation when all manufacturers advertise different figures. Beware of dealers who promise an insulation level of more than 40 dB, when in fact it only insulates extremely high frequencies that are not perceptible to our ears. 

Assume that the level of privacy becomes interesting with a sound insulation above -30dB according to ISO 11957, ISO 23351-1 or NIC standards .

2. Absorption and acoustic comfort

Absorption is also important for acoustic comfort. Indeed, it is thanks to absorption that an echo effect is avoided. This phenomenon is caused by the reflection of sound on the walls of a closed space. A good absorption will allow your interlocutor at the end of the line to hear you clearly.

In theArche we measured the absorption time at 0.13 seconds, at this level the echo is imperceptible!

3. Materials and hermetic 

A good assembly of the Phone booths is essential. They must be totally airtight. The smallest gap that could let air through, would break all the work done on the insulation. The assembly and installation of the booths are crucial moments that should not be neglected. We advise you to choose a supplier who takes care of this task. 

Sound has a series of different frequencies and wavelengths. Each material, depending on its properties, absorbs a certain type of wave. The superposition of heterogeneous materials is therefore particularly effective in absorbing the whole of the sound. It is a matter of varying the type and density of the materials used. 

Finally, the density of the materials will have a significant impact on the insulation of your soundproof booth. The higher the density, the better the sound insulation. For example, a glass wall will be much more insulating than a PMMA (plexiglass) wall.

phonebox materials
Superposition of material layers in the walls of our cabin

II. User well-being and comfort to optimize the experience within the cabin.

1. Ventilation

Ventilation power is an important factor in the choice of an acoustic booth.

Indeed, one of the biggest concerns about phone boxes is air exchange. The increase in temperature and the musty smell seem to worry many people.

Don't worry, at Leet design we provide a level of air exchange that is seven times higher than in a conventional meeting room. So you can stay in the Arches for an hour. For reasons of hygiene and comfort, we advise you to air the room for a few minutes after a long period of use.

On the other hand, you need to know the difference between a ventilation and an air conditioning system. It will be the same temperature in the phone box as in your office. Make sure that you maintain a pleasant room temperature in your premises so that the temperature in your phone box is also pleasant.

Covid point:
Thanks to our high-performance ventilation system, the air in the phone box is continuously extracted and renewed. There is therefore no risk of the virus being spread in the phone box. However, it is released into the office, and can be a source of propagation. To remedy this and to purify the air extracted from the phone box we add a HEPA filter (acronym for high-efficiency particulate air ). It filters out all airborne particles and protects your employees!

2. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs are contained in certain solid and liquid materials and are released into the atmosphere. They can be dangerous to health, particularly carcinogenic. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the acoustic booth you choose is not made from materials that are hazardous to the health of your employees. 

3. Sitting or standing?

Most companies offer comfortable stools or benches. However, it can be interesting to choose a Phone box without a seat to encourage standing. It is known that most people spend entire days sitting on their office chairs. It has been proven that sitting for more than 3 hours a day is detrimental to the health of workers. So, the few minutes spent in the phone box for a call, allow employees to change their working position. 

4. The size of the cabins

This mini-workspace must be comfortable and pleasant, for that several elements must be checked. Don't neglect the size of the PhoneBox (nothing better than going to a showroom to test it). The goal is not to feel cramped but to be comfortable. In addition, a ventilation system, efficient lighting and sockets are available to ensure the well-being of workers. 

5. Brightness

Finally, good lighting is essential to protect your employees from feelings of confinement and isolation. Booths with two glass sides provide more light. Even if the phone box is installed against a wall, the light penetrates through these glass sides and allows employees to feel at ease. As you can see, comfort is essential, otherwise users will be reluctant to use it. 

phonebox used to work
Co-match premises in Paris: even against a wall, the glass walls allow light to pass through and reduce the feeling of confinement.

III. A responsible cabin, for the good of the company and the planet. 

1. The origin of the materials

If you wish to adopt a responsible behaviour, it will be compulsory for you to consider the origin of the materials. We can only advise you to favour cabins made from French or European materials for a minimal carbon footprint. In addition to the eco-responsible aspect, the origin of the materials influences the overall quality of the product. Quality has a cost, and it explains the price differences on the market.

2. The type of materials

In this sustainable logic, the types of materials chosen for the PhoneBooths are relevant. Plastic (even recycled) is an enemy, in terms of eco-responsibility but also performance. Use bio-based wood and recyclable materials. A little bonus: thanks to the process of photosynthesis, wood has the advantage of absorbing and storing CO2. There is no small gesture to improve your carbon footprint!

3. Durability and reconditioning

A long-lasting booth will make it easier for you to recoup the cost. It is also easy to resell if you want to equip your offices with the latest model of acoustic booth. 

We recondition all our products to give them a second life. We take care to optimize the life cycle of our arches, but also of each of the materials that compose them. 

At leet design we have formalized a CSR approach that you can discover in our article: how to create eco-responsible office furniture.

You are ready! 

Thanks to all this information, you now know how to choose the acoustic booth that corresponds to your needs and values! 

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