Windows are a vital feature of any home — but they’re also one of the most forgotten. After all, we spend most of the time looking right through them. The fact is, windows have an enormous impact on a home’s style and performance. Top-quality units enhance curb appeal and make the interior of your home more attractive, too. Good windows can also drastically improve your home’s energy efficiency and ventilation, and they’re much easier to clean and maintain than lower-quality options.
While the benefits of new windows are clear-cut, shopping for new windows is anything but. It’s a high-stakes decision too, with the average cost of replacing a single window coming in around $650, according to home services marketplace Angi. For a typical home, the total all-in cost is between $3,000 and $10,000.
Choosing a top window brand is a good place to start the window-buying process. The home renovation experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute have been evaluating window brands for decades, so we’ve compiled the list of market leaders based on key criteria, including availability, selection, price range and service. Though prices can vary significantly even within the same brand, depending on the size and features, we provided the following ballpark pricing guidelines for a standard double-hung window:
$ = $150 to $200
$$ = $200 to $400
$$$ = $400 to $600
$$$$$ = $600 and up
Here, in alphabetical order, are the best window brands to consider for your next project.
Founded in 1903, Andersen is one of the biggest names in window manufacturing. The company is headquartered in Bayport, Minnesota (the Midwest is a hotbed of window making) with more than 30 manufacturing, distribution and retail locations nationwide. The company is known for quality and innovation — it developed the first wood-clad windows in 1966 and the first composite windows in 1999.
- Availability: Andersen has an extremely wide distribution network, including local showrooms and at the Home Depot. Meanwhile, Renewal by Andersen is the brand’s full-service window replacement subsidiary, operating in more than 100 markets nationwide, making it one of the largest replacement window companies in the country.
- Selection: Choose from wood, composite, vinyl, aluminum and fiberglass in virtually every size and configuration — single and double hung, casement, awning, passthrough and more — and either replacements or new-construction.
- Price Range: $$ to $$$$$ Because Anderson has such a wide selection, its pricing also runs the spectrum, from inexpensive vinyl windows costing around $250 per unit to high-end custom wood windows that are closer to $1,000.
- Service: This is another area where Andersen shines. Through its vast distribution network, it offers extensive design services, including lots of helpful online visualization tools to help you see what different window options will look like in your home. It’s also easy to locate a certified contractor in your area to handle the installation through the Andersen website.
When it comes to sheer size, Jeld-Wen takes the prize, with more than a billion dollars in annual revenue. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based company was founded in 1960 and now boasts 117 manufacturing facilities across 19 countries. It’s more mass-market than other window brands on this list, with vast lines of inexpensive replacement windows, though it also makes custom units.
- Availability: The brand is one of the easiest to find, thanks to its expansive dealer network and partnerships with major retailers like the Home Depot and Lowe’s.
- Selection: You can find just about any style and configuration in both stock and custom sizes, as well as replacement or new-construction. Common material options include vinyl, wood and wood-clad.
- Price Range: $ to $$$ The brand appeals to homeowners on a budget who are still looking for quality and reliability, often backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
- Service: As a full-service company, Jeld-Wen provides design and installation support through its dealers and retail partners, making it a good choice for homeowners who are looking to do just window replacements, as opposed to a full gut renovation.
Marvin is another window brand with a rich pedigree, having opened its doors in 1912, originally as a family-run lumber company. Headquartered in Warroad, Minnesota, it started making windows in the 1950s and has since opened another 10 facilities nationwide. Marvin is a major innovator in the window space; for example, it has integrated connected smart technology into its windows and skylights. It’s also a leader in the big window and door movement, including bi-fold and sliding varieties.
- Availability: Marvin windows are only sold through specialty dealers, which is an indication of its higher-end, custom product line. Many homeowners who go with Marvin choose and order windows through their architect or contractor.
- Selection: Marvin has three window lines: Marvin Essential is its basic line, with simplified options; Marvin Signature has the broadest range of product types, sizes, configurations and design options; Marvin Elevate is the high-performance line, offering superior strength for more extreme climates.
- Price Range: $$ to $$$$ Marvin is pricier, high-end window brand, though it does have some less expensive options in its basic lines.
- Service: Marvin experts at local showrooms provide free design consultations to help homeowners find the right window match. There is no network of certified installers, since the typical Marvin customer is already working with a contractor.
Milgard Windows and Doors
Milgard started as a small glass company in Tacoma, Washington in 1958. In the ensuing decades, it has evolved into a custom window company specializing in aluminum, vinyl and fiberglass windows. Though it’s been bought up by large multi-nationals — by Masco Corporation in 2001 and MI Windows and Doors in 2019 — Milgard still takes a hands-on approach to window manufacturing, producing all its own components, from frames to insulated glass.
- Availability: Milgard is more of a regional player, with half a dozen locations in Washington, Oregon and California; it also services in handful of other Western states.
- Selection: The brand offers custom units across all window types in aluminum, fiberglass and vinyl window frame options.
- Price: $ to $$$ Milgard’s stock vinyl windows are very affordable, while custom units with aluminum or fiberglass frames are in the mid- to high-price range.
- Service: Milgard doesn’t sell directly to consumers, so you’ll need to work through a local certified dealer, which you can find through the Milgard website. You can also request a free design consultation and price quote through the site.
Pella is one of the most recognized national window brands, alongside the likes of Andersen and Jeld-Wen. The family-owned company launched in 1925 in the town of Pella, Iowa and it still preaches traditional American values, even as its annual revenues have tipped the billion-dollar mark. Pella was founded on a newfangled invention (a rollup window screen) and that spirit of ingenuity still defines the culture, with a steady flow of innovations over the years that add convenience and ease-of-use, including between-the-glass blinds and shades, retractable screens and removable wooden grills.
- Availability: With more than 200 showrooms nationwide and a partnership with Lowe’s, Pella windows are very accessible. The company also has one of the more robust e-commerce operations, making it easy to order windows online; that includes stock options that can be shipped quickly, as well as custom units with longer lead times.
- Selection: The brand carries all basic window types, from casement to double-hung, in a variety of materials, including wood, vinyl and fiberglass. Specialty features include triple-pane glazing for maximum efficiency and sound control, as well as integrated blinds and screens.
- Price Range: $$ to $$$ Pella falls squarely in the mid- to high-end price range. Using the Lowe’s site as a guide, most standard double-hung units are in the $200-$400 or $400-$600 price range. Vinyl units natural are less expensive than wood or fiberglass.
- Service: Pella has a reputation for exceptional customer service, with supports available at every step of the journey. That includes free in-home design consultations and a network of certified professionals to handle the installation. The limited lifetime warranty coverage offered on many window products provides ongoing service support after the units are installed.
Billing itself as the #1 manufacturer of windows, vinyl siding and metal accessories, Ply Gem is geared toward professional builders and developers, often on new-build projects. But it does cater to homeowners too; for example, with a full line of replacement windows.
- Availability: Ply Gem has a vast network of distributors nationwide, but the brand doesn’t sell direct to consumers, so you will need to work with a professional.
- Selection: The brand specializes in “builder basic” windows, including single and double-hung units in vinyl, aluminum, aluminum-clad and wood composite (solid wood is not offered).
- Price Range: $ to $$$ Budget window shoppers will find some of the least expensive prices from Ply Gem, especially by choosing stock units made from vinyl.
- Service: Since Ply Gem isn’t set up for homeowners, you’ll need to do more of the legwork on your own. The website can connect you with a local professional who can handle the purchase and installation of the new units.
Based in Medford, Wisconsin, Weather Shield is a family-owned and operated company that’s been making high-quality, all-wood and wood-clad windows since the 1950s.
EXPLORE WEATHER SHIELD WINDOWS
- Availability: Weather Shield has a nationwide network of dealers. Though it doesn’t handle installation, architectural drawings and design support is available through the website.
- Selection: Weather Shield windows come in stock sizes and extensive special-order and custom options. Styles include single and double-hung, awning, casement and slider. High-efficiency glass features include low-emissivity (low-E) and argon-filled glass for high efficiency.
- Price: $$ to $$$$ Weather Shield is a higher-end manufacturer, especially its special-order and custom units. It’s one of the few manufacturers that does not have a budget line of vinyl windows.
- Service: Weather Shield doesn’t sell directly to consumers; local dealers can be searched on the company website, which also contains extensive installation guides and architectural support.
Founded in 1995, North Carolina-based Window World is a relative newcomer to the window category, but it has grown fast through its first quarter century and now sells about a million units a year. Billing itself as America’s largest exterior remodeler, the company is a full-service provider of all exterior components, including doors, shutters, roofing and more.
- Availability: The brand has more than 200 locations nationwide. Rather than make its own windows, it partners with manufacturers from different parts of the country which specialize in making windows to meet local climate conditions, building codes and so on.
- Selection: You’ll find a variety of window configurations, including double-hung, casement and bay. Vinyl is the dominant material. Most of the company’s window business is custom replacements, but new construction is also available.
- Price: $ to $$$ With a focus on vinyl replacement windows, Window World carries some of the most cost-effective window options; prices increase with added features, such as customized grilles and impact-resistant glass.
- Service: Window World’s status as a full-service exterior remodeler means the company provides support throughout the entire window journey, from design consultation to installation to ongoing service support via the limited life warranty that’s transferrable to the next owner. The Window World site also has helpful digital design tools, like the Visualizer, which lets you upload a picture of your home and see how windows and other exterior elements will look on it. The company also offers extensive financing options through its partnership with Wells Fargo.
How we choose the best window brands
To put together this list of top window brands, we narrowed our focus to manufacturers with strong reputations for quality and reliability, based on decades of home renovation product testing and reviews by our experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute. We also considered how easy the windows are to find; though some brands on our list have a regional focus, most can be ordered and shipped to anywhere in the country. Selection and price were other criteria; brands with a wide range of styles, materials and price points serve the widest swath of consumers.
What to look for when choosing the best window brands
Between style, configuration, material and features, there are literally millions of windows to choose from. Here’s how to find the perfect fit for your next project.
✔️ Replacement vs. new construction: Also known as “pocket replacements” or “retrofit windows,” replacement windows are designed to sit in an existing frame, while new construction windows include the frame, sill, jambs and nailing flange, which attaches the window to the surrounding structure. If your existing frames are in good shape, you’ll save significantly by choosing replacement windows. Obviously if the project is a new home or addition, you’ll need to go with new construction windows.
✔️ Stock vs. custom: This decision also has a big impact on price and complexity of the project. Most window openings are in standard dimensions, for example 2×3 feet or 2×4 feet. Stock windows are made to fit these openings are the least expensive. Custom windows are special ordered to fit different size openings; beside costing more, they have longer lead times, maybe twenty weeks instead of the 10-12 weeks needed for stock units.
✔️ Styles: Windows come in a wide array of styles and configurations. Here are the most common options.
- Double-hung: This is the most common type of window, especially on homes built after 1980. Both the lower inside sash and upper outside sash move up and down, for maximum ventilation. In most cases, the sashes tilt inward for easy cleaning. Single-hung windows look like double-hung, but only the bottom sash moves up and down; they tend to be less expensive.
- Casement: These windows are hinged on one side and open outward, usually by a hand crank. That makes them a good option over kitchen sink, where double-hung units would be hard to open and close. Since there’s no interiors sash, casements provide unobstructed views and excellent ventilation, but they tend to be more expensive and they can’t accommodate window air conditioners.
- Sliding: These windows open horizontally along a track. They’re a good option along patios and porches, or anywhere an outward swinging casement widow would get in the way. The clean lines and sleek design make sliders a popular choice with contemporary style homes. Grilles can be added to create a more traditional look.
- Awning: Hinged at the top, awning windows open outward, like casements. the sash presses and locks against the frame, so they close very tightly. They’re popular in places that need extra ventilation and light, including basements. Hopper window are like awnings, but they’re hinged at the bottom and open at the top.
✔️ Material: These are the pros and cons of three main window materials:
- Wood: With these windows, the entire structure is made of solid wood for maximum warmth and authenticity. Maintenance is high, however, because the units need to be painted or stained periodically. For this reason, our experts recommend wood-clad windows, whereby the outside wood is covered in aluminum or vinyl. This reduces the upkeep, as well as the chance of rotting and insect infestation. Wood and wood-clad windows tend to be the most expensive option.
- Vinyl: Vinyl-frame windows are the least expensive option and easiest to maintain since they never need to be painted or stained. But the design options are more limited, and most models only come in basic white.
- Composite: Typically made from fiberglass, composite windows are priced between vinyl and wood. The best versions have the look of real wood without the need to paint or stain. They tend to be very durable too, making them a good option in extreme climates.
✔️ Special Features: Once you settle on the window type and material, consider these additional features:
- Energy efficiency: The best windows reduce energy costs in a few ways. Double-glazed windows have a sealed cavity between two panes of glass that’s often filled with air or argon gas, which reduces the transfer of heat through the window. Low-emissivity (low-E) coatings improve the efficiency by reflecting heat while still letting in light. In warm regions, the coating is applied to the outside of the glass to keep out the heat from the sun; in cold regions, the low-E coating is on the inside of the window to keep the heat in. Buying windows that carry the Energy Star label will ensure maximum efficiency.
- Impact resistance: If you live in hurricane country or anywhere that experiences extreme weather, you should consider windows with impact-resistant glass. Also known as “hurricane windows,” the units are even required by building in many high-risk areas. The windows sandwich a strong polymer layer between two panes of glass, providing reinforcement and holding the glass together even if it shatters from fast-flying objects.
- Grilles: On single and double-hung windows, grilles divide the top and/or bottom glass into multiple sections (or “lites”) for a more traditional look; windows are often referred to how many individual lites are on each pane, for example “2 over 2” or “4 over 4.” True-divide lites use individual glass panes, driving up cost and decreasing energy efficiency Simulated divided lites mimic the look of individual panes without sacrificing efficiency.
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
Before becoming a home renovation expert, Dan DiClerico worked for a remodeling company that specialized in windows, roofs and other exterior projects. He has since written dozens of articles on windows, including buying guides, how-tos on the replacement process and tips for making your existing units more energy efficient. Dan is a regular at housing trade shows, where he keeps up with the latest innovations, from impact-resistant glass to integrated screen systems. As the director of the Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, Dan oversees testing of windows, along with other exterior products, like roofing, siding and doors.
Having written thousands of product reviews and how-to articles on all aspects of home ownership, from routine maintenance to major renovations, Dan (he/him) brings more than 20 years of industry experience to his role as the director of the Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. A one-time roofer and a serial remodeler, Dan can often be found keeping house at his restored Brooklyn brownstone, where he lives with his wife and kids.
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