Grommet, Rod Pocket, or Back Tab Curtains? What Should I Use?

Grommet, Rod Pocket, or Back Tab Curtains

When choosing smart curtains for your home, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is what type of heading to get. The most common choices are grommet curtains, rod pocket curtains, and back tab curtains. Each has its pros and cons to consider in terms of ease of hanging, appearance, insulation, and cost. This article will explain the key differences and help you decide which style is best for your needs.

What are Grommet Curtains?

Grommet, Rod Pocket, or Back Tab CurtainsGrommet curtains have small metal rings around the tops of the curtain panels. You slide the curtain pole through these rings to hang them. Grommets make it quick and easy to hang curtains. They also create a sleek, modern look as the rings are neatly stacked along the rod when opened.

Eyelet curtains have some insulation value as they can seal more tightly to the pole to block light and drafts. But overall they offer less insolation than other heading styles.


  • Very easy to hang
  • modern, stylish look
  • Some insulation ability


  • Can be noisy on metal poles when opening/closing
  • Less insolation than other styles
  • Grommets can pull out of fabric over time

What are Rod Pocket Curtains?

Grommet, Rod Pocket, or Back Tab CurtainsRod pocket curtains, sometimes called sleeve curtains, have a tunnel sewn into the top of the fabric through which the curtain rod fits. This creates a bundled look but is very simple to put up.

Rod pockets allow some light leakage and air flow since the fabric just hangs loosely around the pole. So they provide less insulation. But versions with thicker lining or blackout lining can block more light.


  • Easy to install
  • Casual gathered look
  • Wide variety of colors/patterns


  • Allow more light and airflow
  • Curtains stack unevenly along the pole
  • Can easily twist or slip out of pocket

What are Back Tab Curtains?

Grommet, Rod Pocket, or Back Tab CurtainsBack tab curtains have fabric tabs sewn onto the back top edge of the panels. Button-like loops on the front top edge connect to the tabs to secure them to the curtain rod.

These allow a smooth, ripple-free look similar to grommet curtains. And the connective tabs help insulate against light and air. But they can be trickier to hang evenly.


  • Attractive smooth appearance
  • Good insulation/light-blocking
  • Variety of colors and fabrics


  • Harder to hang evenly
  • Tabs can pull loose over time
  • Limited selection in stores

Key Considerations to Choose Between Grommet, Rod Pocket, and Back Tab Curtains

Grommet, Rod Pocket, or Back Tab Curtains

When deciding between heading types, think about these factors:


If you want a modern, sleek look, grommets are your best option. For a more casual, gathered look, pick rod pockets. And for a smooth draped look, back tabs work well. Consider the overall decor style you want.

Ease of Hanging

For quick, easy hanging, you can’t beat grommets. Just slide them right onto the pole. Back tabs take more precision to hang evenly and smoothly.


Grommet curtains last longer in general. The rings themselves should hold up for many years. With rod pockets and back tabs, you do risk the top hem tearing over time from the weight and sliding.

Insulation Ability

For blackout darkness, rod pocket curtains with a thick blackout lining work very well when fully closed. Between grommets and back tabs, the tabs create a better light seal. But grommets can still insulate reasonably well.


Metal rings on grommet curtains make them usually the most expensive. Most of the time, back tabs and rod slots are cheaper.


In a bedroom, the light blocking of a rod pocket or back tab can be beneficial. In other rooms, you may want more light flow, so grommets present a good option. Consider the room usage and lighting needs.


Before you buy new window curtains, you should choose the style you want. Styles range from sleek modern grommets to casual gathered rod pockets. Also, think about things that make it easier to hang and how much protection you need. Back tab curtains can be draped nicely and can block out light.

Rod pocket curtains are also a great choice because they are simple and look great. Carefully measure the windows and choose a style that will work and look good for you. The right curtains can make a big difference in how a room looks and feels.

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