Affiliate Disclaimer: All products and services featured are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Replacing your windows can be a big, costly project. Whether you want standard windows or more high-end options, it’s important to balance price with long-lasting, quality products to maximize your investment. We’ve used our industry expertise to compile this guide to the best window brands with competitive pricing. We’ve included details about each company’s windows catalog, recommended their most economical lines, and provided tips for finding qualified installers.
Compare Top Companies for Affordable Window Replacement
Here are our top picks for reputable windows companies that balance quality and cost. You can find more details about each company in the recommendation section below.
- Best Eco-Friendly Windows: Pella
- Best Specialty Windows: Milgard Windows
- Best Warranty: Castle Windows
- Best Vinyl Windows: Simonton
- Best for Sunrooms: Champion Windows
- Best for Coastal Homes: Marvin Windows
- Best Selection: Renewal by Andersen
Compare the most affordable lines from each of our top companies in the table below.
|Best For||Price||Star Rating||Link|
|Renewal by Andersen||Best Selection||$300–$2,800||Visit Site|
|Champion||Best for Sunrooms||$400–$1,000||Visit Site|
|Pella||Best Eco-Friendly Windows||$100–$1,750||Visit Site|
|Milgard||Best Speciality Windows||$175–$1,500||Visit Site|
|Castle||Best Warranty||$200–$900||Visit Site|
|Simonton||Best Vinyl Windows||$200–$1,200||Visit Site|
|Marvin Windows||Best for Coastal Homes||$400–$1,700||Visit Site|
*Price is per window
Factors to Consider When Choosing Cost-Effective Window Materials
When selecting cost-effective window materials, there are several crucial factors to consider. First and foremost, the climate and location of your property play a pivotal role in determining the ideal material. For instance, in areas prone to extreme weather conditions, opting for energy-efficient options like double-glazed windows may yield long-term savings on heating and cooling costs.
Additionally, your home’s architectural style and aesthetics should harmonize with the chosen window material. Maintenance requirements, durability, and life span should also factor into your decision. Lastly, assessing the initial investment versus long-term savings is essential to strike the right balance between cost-effectiveness and quality, ensuring your windows provide aesthetic appeal and functional efficiency.
Choosing a Window Material
The window’s material has a major impact on price. Each type of material varies in durability, required maintenance, and customization options. Aluminum and vinyl frames are the most cost-effective, while wood windows are the most customizable.
Below is a breakdown of each window material and its average cost, benefits, and drawbacks.
- Aluminum windows ($80 to $500): Aluminum windows have thin frames and large glass surfaces. Though aluminum is lightweight, it’s strengthened with alloys. Unfortunately, aluminum has lower energy performance than other materials. This is because metals have high thermal conductance, making the temperature in your home fluctuate more.
- Vinyl windows ($150 to $600): Vinyl windows are popular because they’re affordable, energy efficient, and durable. They’re made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which has excellent thermal performance. Overall, vinyl windows are a cost-effective, insulating, and versatile choice.
- Wooden windows ($250 to $800): Wooden windows are an excellent option for historic and classic homes. Manufacturers offer various wood species, including common choices such as pine, Douglas fir, alder, and mahogany. You can paint and stain wooden windows to match your desired look. Wooden windows are often expensive—especially if they’re custom. They’re also susceptible to rotting and warping, but they have excellent energy efficiency.
- Composite windows ($400 to $1,300): Composite windows are made from wood particles and resins. The combination creates a material comparable to wood. However, composite windows resist decay and water damage better than wooden windows. Additionally, certain manufacturers can texture, stain, and paint composite windows to simulate wood.
- Fiberglass windows ($700 to $1,400): Fiberglass is a composite material that embeds glass fibers into a polymer matrix. Basically, it’s a mixture of glass fibers and plastic. This combination creates a reliable, quality window that’s especially good for hot climates, since fiberglass can handle high heat without distortion from the sun’s rays. The only downside to fiberglass windows is their premium price point.
Overall, the most affordable options for windows are usually vinyl or aluminum, as they are considered cost-friendly materials. You should also consider more simplistic windows if you are looking to make your project more cost-effective.
What Features Make Windows Energy Efficient?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, most homes lose about 30% of heat through their windows. Energy-efficient windows are more expensive but pay off by generating long-term energy savings. Energy-efficient features such as low-e coatings, argon gas, and double- or triple-pane glass help save money over time.
- Argon gas: Argon gas adds more weather protection within the window panes. For example, it prevents frost from building up on the corners of the window during winter, helping you to avoid frequent maintenance and repairs.
- ENERGY STAR certification: ENERGY STAR-certified windows meet energy efficiency standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “[Energy Star] carries the reputation of being the best on the market and will put a few dollars back in your pocket with your heating and cooling bills,” says Collin Sullivan, director of production for Renewal by Andersen’s Carolinas division.
- Low-e coatings: Low-e insulating glass uses a protective coating to prevent external temperatures from affecting your home. This means your home will remain at a comfortable temperature and your heating and air conditioning systems will work more effectively, saving you money on your energy bills.
- Multipane glass: Double-pane or triple-pane windows use multiple layers of glass to reduce the amount of outdoor noise and UV rays entering your home. Not only does this reduce the amount of noise you hear from a busy street or neighborhood, but it also provides energy savings.
Is It More Affordable to Replace My Own Windows?
Do-it-yourself installation is not usually an affordable option, without having significant experience with window installation. Doing the installation yourself could cause damage that will cost money to fix, possibly resulting in your project being more expensive than a professional installation. Trying to install a window without a professional could result in improper seals, poor insulation, or other damage.
If you purchased your windows directly from the manufacturer, it should provide a list of dealers and installers within its network that you can hire. These professionals are trained to install the company’s windows, ensuring the replacement is completed properly. If you buy windows from a home improvement chain, the store may offer installation services. However, since these stores sell several window brands, the installers may not have specialty training for the specific brand you select. You can also look for a local installer certified for your chosen brand.
Common Window Warranties
Replacing your windows is a big investment, so you want to ensure they’re protected into the future. That’s why it’s important to choose windows with ironclad warranties. Here are a few examples of standard warranties offered for windows:
- Limited lifetime warranty: This is the most common warranty, covering issues with the window’s general operation and any external defects.
- Lifetime warranty: These warranties are a step above the limited warranty and include coverage for replacement parts.
- Double lifetime warranty: This is the same coverage as a lifetime warranty, but homeowners are covered for as long as they own the home.
- Transferable warranty: These warranties allow you to transfer the warranty to a new owner if you decide to sell your home. The new owners will be covered for the remainder of your previous warranty or could have their own designated time frame for coverage.
The manufacturer determines the “lifetime” of these warranties based on how long your windows should be in top-quality condition. That could be as little as three to five years for low-quality windows or 15 to 20 years for high-quality ones.
It’s important to take the time to review your coverage terms and conditions thoroughly. For example, a company may offer a limited lifetime warranty but only cover the window frames, excluding all other parts and issues.
Look for the following coverage details when reviewing window warranty details:
- A definition and explanation of “lifetime”
- Frame coverage
- Glass coverage
- Hardware coverage
- Labor and installation
How Can I Get Discounts on New Windows?
Replacement window costs can be high, depending on your project’s scale and requirements. However, you can take the following steps to make your window investment more cost-effective.
- Bulk orders: Replacing multiple windows at one time is more affordable because many manufacturers offer a lower cost per window when ordering in bulk. This may increase your project total, but you’ll get more bang for your buck.
- Incentives and rebates: Some window installation companies offer time-sensitive discounts and rebates for their products. Check for energy efficiency incentives offered by your state or local city government. Read the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) for your state’s most up-to-date listing of energy efficiency incentives.
- Off-season: Window companies are busiest during spring and fall. Use this to your advantage and shop for windows during the off-season. You may be able to find special deals during this time. Keep in mind that completing a replacement project during winter will expose your home to cold temperatures.
Window Replacement Financing Options
Many window manufacturers and installers offer financing options or partner with a financing company to make window replacement more affordable. Sullivan recommends looking for companies that offer financing plans and back their products with 20- to 30-year warranties.
Here are the most common financing options for window replacement. Be aware that all options are subject to credit approval.
- Financing from a window company: Many window companies offer financing plans. This is a great choice because you can get everything done through one channel instead of worrying about going to a third-party bank or financial firm. We suggest asking the window company you choose if it offers financing, but weigh your other options carefully to receive the lowest interest rate possible.
- Home equity loan: This loan gives you a set amount of money to use for your new windows and comes with a low interest rate.
- Home equity line of credit (HELOC): A HELOC lets you borrow an approved amount of money, then use your own funds to make monthly payments. Ensure that you have enough funds for monthly payments before choosing a HELOC. Otherwise, it could hurt your credit score.
- Personal loan: A personal loan may be a better option if you don’t have much equity built up in your home. However, personal loans often have higher interest rates than the other options listed here.
How To Determine the Reputation of a Window Company
It’s important to read customer reviews while researching replacement windows. This will help you understand each company’s reputation. Take time to read both good and bad reviews to understand the company’s pros and cons.
We recommend looking for the following:
- References to specific products and projects: Customers often praise or disparage particular products from the company. Use the search tool to look for specific window lines you’re interested in, and check those reviews. You can also gain insight into homeowner’s experiences with similar projects to the one you’re planning. There could be mentions of costs, the planning process, and any roadblocks they may have encountered.
- Installation time frame: The projected time line to complete your window replacement is crucial to any project. While reading these reviews, note any broken promises or failed follow-ups when delays occur. A company that consistently fails to follow through on its projects or avoids accountability for its mistakes should not be up for consideration.
- Warranty issues: Consider any customer complaints involving warranty replacement requests. Although you’ll receive full details about your windows’ warranty, details in the fine print can sometimes be overlooked. Homeowners’ reviews will offer insight into common warranty problems, failed replacements, or failures on the company’s part to disclose necessary information.
- Customer service and technicians: These are the primary contact points for problems with installation or additional assistance. Customers may also speak about good or bad experiences with an installer’s technicians or customer service. Poor customer service and inefficient technicians indicate more significant issues that should not be ignored.
How to Find a Local Window Installer
Once you’ve selected your replacement windows, you’ll need to hire a reputable window installer to complete the job. The quality of the installer will determine how well the job is completed and could prevent issues down the road.
Try one of these methods to find the best installer for your project:
- Windows manufacturer recommendations: After purchasing windows directly from the manufacturer, the company will typically recommend finding an installer certified for its products. Window companies usually have a network of contractors and installers that meet this requirement. Review these suggestions and read customer reviews for each one that you consider.
- Home retailer installations: If you decide to buy windows through a major retailer such as The Home Depot or Lowe’s, you can use its installation program. These installers are qualified to complete the installation but may not be certified to handle your specific products. Ask for details about their qualifications and review the terms for any additional warranties for their materials and labor.
- Friends, family, and neighbor recommendations: Reach out to anyone you know who has completed a recent windows replacement to inquire about their experience. Ask questions about the project timeline, interactions with the company, and any issues that may have occurred since the installation.
For any installer you choose, verify that the company and technicians have the proper certifications and licenses to complete the installation. Get a detailed quote for the project and an estimated timeline for its completion. Don’t work with any installer who won’t answer your questions directly, gives vague terms of service, or doesn’t respond promptly.
To find the best price on windows, we recommend comparing quotes from at least three companies and considering different style options and warranties. Use the tool below to find reputable window companies in your area.
Pella offers affordable and eco-friendly replacement windows, making it one of the most cost-effective brands. However, if you have a window that requires special customization, you may receive better options with Milgard Windows. We recommend Castle Windows for homeowners concerned with long-term peace of mind, as the company offers one of the best window warranties we’ve seen.
We suggest getting a quote from at least three window brands before making your decision. This approach lets you compare each window’s pricing and features. You can use our tool below to get matched with local installers.
Affordable Window Replacement FAQ
Is it cheaper to replace the glass or the whole window?
It’s cheaper to replace glass than an entire window by almost 50%. However, you won’t always be able to replace the glass instead of the entire window. If you notice warping, damage, or decay on the window frame, you may have to replace the entire window.
How can I install my new windows?
Unless you’re a professional installer or have significant experience with do-it-yourself (DIY) windows projects, we recommend hiring a professional windows company to install your new windows. Doing it yourself could result in improper seals, poor insulation, or other damage that will cost money to fix.If you purchased your windows directly from the manufacturer, it should provide a list of dealers and installers within its network that you can hire. These professionals are trained to install the company’s windows, ensuring the replacement is completed properly. If you buy windows from a home improvement chain, the store may offer installation services. However, since these stores sell several window brands, the installers may not have specialty training for the specific brand you select. You can also look for a local installer certified for your chosen brand.
What are the best windows for cold weather?
The best windows for cold weather have wood, vinyl, fiberglass, or composite frames. Wood windows with vinyl cladding are ideal because they hold heat well, and the vinyl protects the wood. Either way, look for energy-efficient windows if you live in a cold region. Replacing your windows with energy-efficient windows lowers your heating costs by at least 15%.
Which types of windows are the least expensive?
Simple, traditional windows are typically the least expensive. This includes single- or double-hung windows, which work well in most rooms. Sliding windows, which work well in tight spaces, are also relatively affordable, as are casement windows.More complicated designs, such as bay or bow windows, garden windows, and geometric designs, are more expensive. Storm windows and egress windows also have higher price tags because they have specific safety requirements and cost more to manufacture.
What are window energy labels?
Windows have two energy labels: one from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through Energy Star and one from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). The Energy-Star label denotes energy-efficient windows. The NFRC label lets you compare different energy-efficient windows based on various ratings, such as their heat gain coefficient and air leakage rating, in terms of point values.
Will selecting energy-efficient windows affect window replacement costs?
Yes. Energy-efficient windows will always increase your total replacement cost. This includes upgrades such as double- or triple-pane windows. Some window companies manufacture each of their windows to meet Energy Star standards without upgrades. Investing in efficient windows will pay off over time, though: Installing Energy Star-certified windows reduces your monthly energy bills by 12% on average. Look for windows with Energy Star certification and The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC).
How We Chose the Top Window Brands
We researched and analyzed dozens of window manufacturers. We then crafted a rating system based on each brand’s standard and energy-efficient product offerings.
We spoke directly to representatives at each company to learn how the installation process works and determine how each brand personalizes its windows for each home. We also closely analyzed each company’s warranty options to ensure their product and labor guarantees match or exceed industry standards.
Finally, we assessed the manufacturer’s years of experience and customer reputation. In addition, we analyzed the 100 most recent Google Reviews for each provider across various locations and branches.