This guide to the 2019 best windows goes beyond top window brands.
First, we need to specify that we are talking about the best replacement windows and new windows for your home. Search “best windows” on some engines, and the top results are about computers using Microsoft Windows!
Here’s what you’ll find.
- The 6 best window brands overall and why they make the list
- Your window material options: Wood, clad wood, aluminum, vinyl and fiberglass or composite
- The best window series in each material in average and high-end grades
We don’t go deep on details for one simple reason: We’ve completed comprehensive brand and material guides for most of these. There are links below, or you can hover over or tap the Window Prices tab above and select By Brand or By Material and make your choice.
The Best Window Brands for 2019
We focus on national brands. There are quite a few good regional brands we don’t consider. This is our approach because it can be frustrating to readers to hear about a great regional brand like Alside vinyl windows only to find, after calls and online research, that they aren’t available where they live. Alside, as one example of a quality regional brand, is sold in the Midwest and some Eastern locations.
So here is the list of top window brands for 2019:
Here are brief reviews of each. All the brands make both replacement and new construction windows.
Pella makes a huge selection of windows and doors. The more affordable windows are sold in home improvement stores. You can also order semi-custom and custom Pella windows from local Pella dealers.
Pella windows are available in 3 vinyl window series, 3 wood window series including the Architect Series in both traditional and contemporary formats and Impervia fiberglass windows. The Architect Series is an aluminum-clad wood window with exceptional beauty.
As you would expect, Pella makes all common window styles in each of its series: Single-hung, double-hung, casement, awning, fixed/picture, bay/bow and even more styles.
We put Pella at the top of the list for selection, outstanding quality and more features than others, like shades and blinds between windowpanes where they don’t collect dust. The color
Pella window cost ranges from mid-range to very expensive.
Those are the pros and cons of Pella. For further research, see our comparison of Pella windows to Andersen Windows.
This iconic window brand makes everyone’s list and is at the top of most. Like Pella, you have “off the shelf” and semi-custom or custom window choices.
Andersen has done a good job developing lines that are more budget friendly like the 200 Series wood windows. Three other series – 400 Series, A-Series and E-Series give you midgrade to upscale options in wood.
Andersen wood window exteriors give you additional options –vinyl-clad (200 & 400) or aluminum-clad (E-Series) wood or fiberglass/Fibrex composite (A-Series).
Andersen offers many color, hardware, glass/glazing and accessory options, though not quite as many as Pella. See our Andersen vs. Pella Windows comparison for more details on how these brands stack up against one another.
Milgard windows make an appealing array of windows in wood, vinyl, fiberglass and aluminum.
The brand mixes materials like others. The Essence Series wood windows have a fiberglass exterior, for example.
Four lines of Milgard vinyl windows are offered, so the style options are excellent. Milgard Ultra is the fiberglass series of windows.
Marvin window quality is on par with Andersen and Pella, but the brand doesn’t make as many types of windows or offer as many options.
Marvin’s three brands are Marvin/Marvin Ultimate, Integrity and Infinity. Marvin Ultimate are the brand’s top-selling wood windows, but it makes several others including Tilt Pac replacement sashes that can reduce the cost of windows when the wood frame is in good condition and can remain in place.
The Integrity line sells well too. It has a wood interior and an Ultrex ® fiberglass exterior. The Infinity line is completely made from Ultrex.
This brand was long known as a low-cost vinyl window leader.
It still makes several lines of affordable windows like the vinyl Jeld-Wen Builders V-2500 Series and the wood W-2500 clad-wood windows.
But Jeld-Wen has developed midgrade and better windows too like the Premium Atlantic vinyl and the W-4500 clad-wood and Custom wood windows.
Jeld-Wen also makes an affordable aluminum window called the Builders Atlantic Aluminum Series.
A pretty good range of basic window options are available. The better the series, the more options you have to customize their look for your home.
Simonton windows are produced in a decent selection of vinyl windows. The brand does not offer wood windows and no longer produces aluminum windows.
The Simonton Impressions Series, while vinyl, is available in laminate options. The interiors have a layer that is textured like wood and bears the image of genuine wood. Several species are offered.
There are several collections of Simonton vinyl windows, each with a unique style.
Window Material Options: Pros and Cons
Here is a brief overview of materials and what you can expect from each.
No other material tops natural wood for beauty. Depending on the quality/cost of the line, your options start at affordable pine or primed/painted wood. From there, wood species include maple, ash, hickory, cherry, mahogany and a few exotic woods.
See our Brand Guides for more information on which brands and series offer which types of wood. You can also visit manufacturer websites for the information. Some, like Pella’s and Andersen’s give comprehensive information. Others, especially Simonton, is quite limited. Our wood window costs guide outlines the costs associated with major brands.
The downside of bare wood exteriors is that they need regular maintenance or rot or insects will quickly take their tool. Because of this, brands are offering fewer bare wood exterior options than they used to. Our Guide to the Pros and Cons of Wood Windows might also be useful.
Most wood windows are clad. Vinyl is a more affordable cladding; aluminum is premium cladding.
The disadvantage is that the exteriors don’t offer the beauty of wood. The obvious advantage is that vinyl and aluminum exteriors are pretty much maintenance-free and last for decades without need of replacement.
Most new construction and replacement windows are vinyl today.
Vinyl is strong, long-lasting, doesn’t warp and is often backed by a lifetime warranty against defects.
Manufacturers are offering more colors for the interior and exterior than they once did, so your options are expanding. Vinyl windows come in basic, better and best ranges to fit most budgets.
Aluminum is making a bit of a comeback. It is lightweight and strong. The metal doesn’t corrode, though it will develop a light-colored patina that doesn’t negatively affect appearance.
The problem with aluminum is heat transfer: It is a terrible choice for climates with cold winters. Your energy costs will rise as heat passes through aluminum frames. In fact, you might not find aluminum windows in your area if you live in the North.
As we noted in the Brand Reviews above, fiberglass and composite materials are used for complete frames and for frame exteriors.
Fiberglass can be smooth or textured like wood. In our opinion, it looks the most like wood of the non-wood choices. It is stronger than wood and resists cracking and warping. Many fiberglass or fiberglass composite windows are backed by a lifetime warranty, our fiberglass window pricing guide provides more details.
As the material becomes more popular, your options grow for brand, color and accessories.
The Top Window Brands by Material
This table shows our choices for window materials at differing price levels – where they apply.
|Material||Low Cost||Average Cost||High Cost|
|Vinyl||Jeld-Wen V-2500||Simonton 5500||Milgard Tuscany|
|Wood||Andersen 200||Marvin Ultimate||Pella Architect / 850|
|Fiberglass||N/A||Milgard Fiberglass||Pella Impervia|
|Aluminum||Jeld-Wen Builders Atlantic||Milgard Aluminum||N/A|
|Wood & Fiberglass||N/A||Marvin Integrity||Andersen A-Series|
Compare Window Costs
If you’re ready for free, no-obligation cost estimates, we can make it easy for you.
By using our simple form, you cut out the time it takes to locate window contractors in your area, make a bunch of calls and wait for them to get back to you.
The local window contractors in the free service are licensed and experienced. They respond to your request for written window estimates; you don’t have to track them down.
Many readers get the free quotes and then do research of their own using online reviews at Google, Angie’s List or the Better Business Bureau. Then you can decide which company offers the best combination of price and experience.