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Zen Windows Reviews

Read 52 Zen windows reviews from homeowners and contractors to explore popular series such as the Karma, Nirvana, Lotus, and Lotus Plus window models.

Have a question for our site editors, Dane or Tim? Email them and let them answer your specific project questions. Make sure to include your email address so they can get back to you directly (we never use or sell your email, we promise.)

Zen Windows Prices | Zen Karma | Zen Nirvana

Zen Lotus | Lotus Plus | General Reviews

Zen Nirvana By Joyce | FiberFrame Windows

Editor's Zen Window Review

Zen Windows sells a number of different relabeled windows, including Soft-Lite, an Ohio based vinyl window manufacturer who enjoys one of the better reputations in the industry for quality windows and patio doors. The company sells three window series; the Karma, Nirvana, and the Lotus, which are based on the Soft-Lite Barrington, Classic, and Pro Series, respectively.

The Zen Karma uses a narrower frame than the Classic and Pro; it's considered their entry level series. The Classic and Pro models, however, are good performing windows that might lack some of the newer features of the Imperial LS and Elements models, but still are tried and true high quality vinyl windows.

In addition, certain Zen branches also sell Alside windows, which are, in my opinion, not in the same league as the Soft-Lite offerings. The problem as I see it is that they still call the window their Karma, Nirvana, and Lotus models. However, you are buying a totally different window.

Bottom Line: If the Zen branch near you is selling the Soft-Lite brand and they have good reviews on their installation and services, I would say consumers should strongly consider this option.

Tim - Site Editor

Zen Karma Windows Reviews

The Zen Karma is the company's entry-level offering and is actually a relabeled Soft-Lite Barrington window. While Soft-Lite is often in the conversation as a top tier vinyl window manufacturer, the Barrington isn't my favorite window by any means. It's quite decent when compared to other company's entry level windows, but that isn't saying much. In general, I don't recommend that consumers go with the low end offering if they are looking to maximize long term value.

The Zen Karma series includes the following standard features: double weatherstripping, a lock/tilt latch, constant force balancing, and a nice exterior molding. Consumers can get the Karma model in brown, beige, or white or beige for the interior and exterior. While I would suggest most consumers "stretch" into the Nirvana or Louts models (similar and both quite good), the Karma window isn't a bad option for budget conscious consumers.

Dan - Site Editor

Zen Karma Windows vs. Wincore 7700

Hi! We are in Nashville TN. I wanted to put mostly Nirvana in. I chose that over a $1500 lower Wencoe 77O0 bid because he’s an independent guy with a few good reviews vs Zen ( only 1 owner though) w/ a lot of good reviews.

Also does Wencoe have less glass view area than Nirvana as it seems?

Is it ok to use Karma For the 2 in the garage that we’ll never open that look towards front street and also 1 each in two side bedrooms. The only reason I would not do Karma there is if the sashes / frames will sag eventually? PleAse let me know.

Also we have only 1-2 south facing windows, with little direct sun. Wencoe has SHG 0.19-0.21 and Nirvana 0.28. The home doesn’t get hot now with old rotted wood windows so I don’t think I need upgrade to the reflective 0.21 nirvana glass correct ?

And Is it True the 0.21 glass trade-off is the home won’t get as warm from the sun reflecting away in the winter?

Thank you.

Vicki - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Vicki, the Wincore 7700 window is a good one, but the Zen Nirvana is the better of the two in my opinion. Better to spend the $1500 more on the better window from the company that has the better reviews and reputation.

I haven't looked at these two windows side-by-side, I would think the Nirvana has more glass area, but I couldn't say by how much.

It's fine to use the Karma windows in the garage. The Karma should definitely not sag over time, that only happens with poorly made windows and usually in bigger openings where the frame is supporting more weight across the span. The Karma window is still generally a good window, but the Nirvana model is definitely a step up.

If heat isn't an issue, you won't need the upgrade to the lower SHGC glass. The new vinyl windows will let in less heat than your older wood windows.

The higher the SHGC number, the more heat is allowed to pass through the window. The basic trade off is that in winter your house will allow in a bit more heat through the glass (a good thing) and in summer your house will let in a bit more heat (a bad thing). Unless you live in one extreme or the other, the standard SHGC that you mentioned with the Nirvana is just fine.

Good luck with the project. Let me know how it goes!

Dane - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Karma Window And The Silverline 8600

My husband and I are replacing 10 windows and our contractor likes the Silverline 8600 window,

Not many reviews on the 8600 windows. We are on a budget and don't plan to be in the house for that many more years.

Any opinions or comments would be great.

Joni - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Joni, if you won't be in your place for much longer, then the quality of window becomes much less important. The Silverline 8600 would be okay, along with the following recommendations.
Ply Gem Pro Series
Soft-Lite Barrington
Zen Karma
Milgard Styline
Simonton VantagePointe Series
Silverline 9500
Simonton Daylight Max

Cheers and good luck!

Tim - Site Editor - from 2017

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Zen Nirvana Windows Reviews

The Zen Nirvana is a relabeled Soft-Lite Classic window. This is an upper end mid range vinyl window that has been around for quite some time, but is quite a good design. It comes with nice features, components, and options. It's a step down from the Soft-Lite Imperial LS and Elements, but still quite a good vinyl window.

The Zen has a U-Factor of .29, SHGC of .28, and an Air Leakage of .07. These are all very respectable numbers.

Tim - Site Editor

Zen Soft-Lite Classic Bid

I see that Zen soft lite classic bids that people are getting are around $560 or so. Is there any reason why I would receive a quote of $595 for the same window? Just wondering if this is something I should try to negotiate?? I just recently found your site and it's awesome!! Thank you !!

Tashia - Homeowner - from 2020

[Site Editor's Answer]

Tashia, there are many reasons why your per window cost may be bid higher than others. However, there is no reason why you can't try and get them to come down to that price.

Here is a link to a page that we created to try and help consumers negotiate a better price on their window bids.

Negotiating A Home Window Bid

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Zen Windows Nirvana Vinyl

Hi Dane, I have a couple of bids on replacing four casement windows (2 crank out, 2 stationary) in a single opening. I have 2 quotes so far to replace with picture window in the center with 2 sliders. One quote is considerably less than the other, so I'm wondering if one of the windows is significantly better than the other. The quotes are as follows:

Zen Windows (Ramsey Minnesota) – Nirvana Vinyl (beige) $2,880 (4 casement) - $200 less if replace with Picture window and 2 sliders.

Pinnacle Windows (Hoffman Weber out of New Brighton, MN) – Pinnacle Vinyl $3,905 (this is price for Picture window with 2 sliders)

We are planning to sell the house within the next year so don't want to spend a ton... window has wood rot or we would just replace the glass (seals are broken).

The decision seems to be a no-brainer, but wondered if the Nirvana window is a decent window or if it might be worth the extra cost to go with Pinnacle. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.


Debby - Homeowner - from 2020

[Site Editor's Answer]

Debby, I'm not nearly as familiar with the Pinnacle vinyl window as I am the Zen Nirvana, which is a Soft-Lite Classic series. The Classic series is a very solid window and one that I would certainly have in my own home.

Because I am familiar with it and the bid price is lower, my decision would be to go with the Zen bid. This is premised on the idea that the Zen branch you are considering has a good, solid reputation for quality installation.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2020

Zen Nirvana or Pella 250 series

Hi Dane and Tim,

First off I just want to say your site was a great help at narrowing down our replacement process. We're looking to replace 6 double hung windows and have received quotes from both Zen and Pella. We are in the Boston area, and we've never heard of Zen. Do you have an opinion on which may be a better option?

The quotes came in pretty close to each other. Pella actually came and saw our existing windows while Zen gave a quote through email and photos.

Thanks for your time,

Gretchen - Homeowner - from 2020

[Site Editor's Answer]

Gretchen, I do have a strong opinion on this -- the Zen Nirvana (a relabeled Soft-Lite Classic) is the much better window over the Pella 250 series. Pella has a big name, and the 250 and 350 series are huge improvement over their older vinyl windows, but they are still sub par vinyl windows in my opinion.

Soft-Lite, on the other hand, makes excellent vinyl windows. The Classic model, or Nirvana when sold by Zen, is tried and true, a very solid vinyl window. Not the best on the market, but a well priced, quality product. Just make sure that the Zen dealer you are working with has a good reputation and solid reviews.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Urbandale, IA Window Replacement

Hi Dane

First thank you and Tim for the information on your website. Very helpful.

Second or maybe it should be first I apologize for the length of this email but based on reading reviews and your comments it seems like you guys can provide more insight when you have the full details. As you will notice this isn’t a small job. My goal is to make a decision this week and I feel like I’ve narrowed my choices down to Pella and Zen but would appreciate any insight you have.

I’m in the process of replacing 44 windows in my home. All original Pella windows from when it was built in 1987. The majority of the windows are casement (which I Hate) some picture windows and two awning windows in the basement. The windows in the living room are currently wood sashes that I replaced the sashes on 3 of them approximately five years ago.

Knowing that the number of windows you have plays a large part in the overall cost of the project combined with the fact that the majority of the windows are covered with plantation shutters I have been looking at Vinyl and Fiberglass replacements. Given that some of the windows have had seal issues where there is water damage on the casing I feel like a full replacement vs pocket replacement would be the best option.

We have custom plantation shutters in all but one 2nd floor bedroom and family room in basement so we need to be able to still keep those. I’ve talked with several companies

1) Pella Windows -full replacement with the Pella 350 series the quote is $38,517.01 On the Impervia the quote is $45,408.21

Pella has quoted sliders where we currently have casement windows with the exception of the kitchen windows which they quoted double hung. For the bank of 4 living room windows they quoted a single picture window vs two picture windows. For the master bedroom they quoted one large slider with right and left venting. They also quoted one slider vs two awning in the basement.

Biggest pro - they will do a full replacement vs pocket replacement. They also indicated they bring a company in to take the plantation shutters down and reinstall them so that they aren’t damaged.

Pella quoted replacement windows five years ago when I replaced the sashes on some windows while I can’t find that bid the current sales man confirmed they quoted 350 Series then. I seem to recall the bid was between $25-28k. So this bid seems really high especially since it is supposed to include 40% off installation.

What I don’t like is that the warranty on labor is only two years and given that I currently have Pella windows that have had problems struggle with going with Pella again

2) Zen Windows who have quoted a Nirvana window double hung windows So far I only have a bid for pocket replacement but have gone back and asked if they will quote full replacement. Current pocket replacement bid is $27,415.00. I have also asked them to quote sliders vs double hung based on having three 2nd story bedrooms and the double hung would not meet fire code requirements

What I like about Zen lifetime warranty on parts and labor. Also like that they have Zen Promise on their pricing from the proposal and my discussion with the owner it sounds like they won’t go up on their price and if they find any rotted wood it is replaced without an additional charge. Given my concerns that some of the current windows leaks this is a bonus; but then with a full replacement that Pella has quoted I would think that would take care of those concerns.

Still not sure if they are Soft-lite or Alside. Based on videos links they sent the frames have foam vs air pockets.

3) Window World pocket replacement $24,400 - not really under consideration but wanted another bid since getting other people to return calls or send me a proposal seems to be too much to ask.

Con - I didn’t like that they don’t do any touch ups and won’t do a full replacement.

4) Windsor Windows used Gilcrest Jewett lumber company who distributes their windows. Salesman came to measure but didn’t get back to me even after I followed up twice ... combined with fact that he indicated I would be hard pressed to keep my plantation shutters without serious modification to them they are off the list

5) Hanson windows - what a joke they would only speak with me if my husband was here with me. Talk about the Stone Age! So they were off the list

6) couple of independent companies that don’t seem to understand getting back to people with a proposal which I find frustrating.

Should you decide to publish this to your website hopefully it is the cliff notes version especially since I’m in the process of bidding the job.

Kind regards.

Kristi - Homeowner - from 2020

[Site Editor's Answer]

Kristi, right now it sounds like its a two company race. Assuming the Zen branch has a good reputation (the one in Des Moines has a good reputation so far as I can tell), this would certainly be my choice over the Pella 350 option. Better window and seemingly better price, although their full replacement will probably be close to the Pella bid once that comes in. In terms of full replacement vs. pocket, what did the other companies say beased on what they saw? Were they also suggesting full replacement?

Dane - Site Editor - from 2020

Zen Nirvana vs. Kensington

Getting quotes from 3 contractors to replace 5 2’x2’ casement windows. Zen Nirvana, Kensington K4G through Mt. Pleasant Window and Remodeling and Renewal by Anderson. What’s you opinion on these three?

- Homeowner - from 2020

[Site Editor's Answer]

I would probably list the brands in the same order as you listed them.

Zen Nirvana: quite a good vinyl window

Kensington K4G: quite a good vinyl window

Renewal by Anderson: quite an expensive composite window

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Zen Nirvana Price Quote

Thank you so much for the information, Tim! I got an estimate for the Zen Nirvana as you suggested, and at about $4,100 for 7 double hung windows, it’s $1,500 less than the “sale” price for the Okna 500. In your professional opinion, is the Okna that much better in performance to justify an extra $1,500 over 7 windows?

April - Homeowner - from 2020

[Site Editor's Answer]

Hi April, the $4100 for the Zen Nirvana for 7 double hungs is a good deal. The Soft-Lite Classic is quite a good window and I would say a better deal than the Okna 500. As long as you like the company doing the installation, I'd say the Zen deal is the one I would opt for.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Zen Nirvana Windows Quote

Hi Dane and Tim, First of all, thank you for your site - it's been incredibly helpful! I wish I'd found it before I started this insane process.

Some background: I am single woman and own a 1985 condo with the original wood windows. I have panes starting to crack and exterior casings that are starting to splinter, so I am planning on replacing all of my windows as well as my sliding patio door.

I've been getting quotes for a few weeks now and can't help but feel that I'm getting the run around from just about everyone. The quotes for 8 windows and a patio door are running from $11k-$33k (though the 11k is just for pocket replacement+new patio door and the 33k is from Andersen)

I figure I need to have a full window replacement due to the splintering casings, but I don't know what's reasonable to pay! I thought I was going to be close by budgeting $10-$11k, but now I don't know.

Here's what I'm looking for:

- Two 40" x 68" double hung windows (reverse cottage or oreo, I think they're called?)
- Two 55 1/4" x 42 1/2" sliding windows
- Four 23" x 52" casement windows
- One 78" x 68 1/2" patio door

I've got a quote for about $15,000 for Great Lakes EcoSmart ($14,500 for the Comfort line) and one for Nirvana windows at about $13,000.

From the estimator on your site, it looks like the windows should be around $7500 - if I throw in about $2000 for the patio door, that's right where I had been estimating.

Are my estimates totally off or are the quotes high? Any help would be appreciated!

Thank you.

Kristin - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Kristin, you might be getting the runaround, but you’ve also got bids on some nice windows. The Eco-Smart is a very good window. The Zen Nirvana quote (they should be selling a Soft-Lite Pro, double check this, some sell an Alside and it’s not as good) is the best option you have so far in my opinion. It does sound like there might be some more work than normal with the installation and that’s where our simple calculator can’t really measure.

Most full frame replacement is in that $400 range, so add to that a $500 window and you are close to that $1000 per window. That still only puts you at $8000, plus say $2500 for the patio door....hmmm I do see your point here.

I’d keep getting bids until one of two things happen. The bids are all high, in which case that’s the going rate. You can always ask for the companies to break down the bids so you can begin to understand where the money is going.

The other option is you find a quote that fits your needs: i.e. a good product from someone with a good reputation.

More bids also means you can take a lower priced bid back to say the Zen dealer and say I can go with you if you can match or come close to this other bid.

The process can be a pain, especially when the economy is good and these companies are staying nice and busy.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2019

Zen Nirvana Windows By Alside

Dane, per their 2/18/19 youtube video (Zen Windows by Alside Product Comparison), Zen products are now made by Alside and not Soft-Lite. However Zen Windows still uses the Karma, Nirvana and Lotus names. What are your thoughts on this and should I still consider Zen Windows. I suspect Zen window will just be a renamed Alside window.

I'm dangerously close to going with another contractor (Crown Builders) for the Alside Mezzo windows. Installed is about $4100 or $585 each. That contractor also carries Simonton. I will request a Simonton Reflections 5500 and Impressions 9800 quote. How should I expect these quotes to compare to the Alside Mezzo quote?

Project details:
3 double hung windows 35'x61'
2 double hung windows 35'x73'
1 double hung window 31'x73'
1 picture window 47'x43' tempered glass (over bath tub).

We plan to be in the house for another 10 years.

Stewart - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Stewart, I knew that some of the Zen branches had moved to Alside and Joyce. I checked the Zen headquarter website and they list four windows on their site: Soft-Lite, Alside, Joyce, and Fiberframe. My notion (which could be wrong) is that the window brands vary by location.

The Alside Mezzo is a solid mid range product and possibly close to the Zen Nirvana model. (But I don't know which Alside models are now assigned to the Zen product line up). $585 for that window strikes me as a bit high, but there could be all sorts of reasons for that.

If you plan to be in the house for only 10 more years, I think you can probably get away with the Mezzo with no problem. It's a good window.

I would consider the Simonton Reflections 5500 and Impressions 9800 to be better windows than the Mezzo myself. I would expect these models to run in that $585 range installed. That is the fair market price for these with normal installation. Again though, you may have some installation requirements that could be driving up that per window cost. Love to hear what you get quoted on the Simonton windows.

(As always, we appreciate you filling out the form on our site in order to collect three to four free window bids. It's pretty short and sweet and can be found at the top of each page where it says Find Local Five Star Rated Window Pros. Thanks much!)

Dane - Site Editor - from 2019

Zen Nirvana vs. Harvey Sliding Doors

I am replacing 2 patio sliders. Down to 2 quotes. Harvey at 2 for $4900 inc tax and install. They have one door model double glazed. Zen Nirvana at $5900 inc tax and install. From what i read Zen is certainly better - the Nirvana has the same energy efficiency ratings or better than Harveys triple glazed upgraded door. I talked zen down from $7200 already but partly based on down grading one door from Lotus triple glazed. Is Zen worth $500 extra per door? I think Harvey is good also. Both installers have good reputations. Love your view. Your site has been so helpful.

Jay - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Jay, I would say that the Zen door is worth the extra $500. You are correct, Harvey is good. With good installation, I'd say either one would be a good option. If it were me though, I would probably go with the Zen Nirvana over the Harvey door.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Nirvana vs. Polaris Thermalweld

Tim, I have 11 aluminum original windows to replace. There is no j-channel around them. The 2 quotes I really like are from zen and a local guy. Zen Nirvana price is 5350 with an additional 25 per window for j-channel. To upgrade to lotus is 100 per window. The local guy sells Polaris. His price has the channel included. Thermaweld is 5940 and to upgrade to the Ultraweld is 75 per window. Which do you believe is the better way to go.

Joe - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Joe, all four strike me as good price quotes on high quality windows. The best window of the bunch is the Polaris Ultraweld, one of the best vinyl windows on the market in my opinion. It looks like it comes out to $615 per window, which is a darn good price with the j channels and installation. This is what I would try to stretch into over the Soft-Lite Pro, which is not as good as the Ultraweld.

Honestly, any of these is good, but that's my take on it.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Nirvana vs. Seaway Windows

Would you rate Seaway equivalent to the Nirvana just so I have some knowledge for comparison when I see quotes?

Darren - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Darren, I don't know a lot about Seaway, but Soft-Lite who makes Zen windows has a better reputation than Seaway. Soft-Lite is a top tier more-or-less national manufacturer, while Seaway tends to sell in a smaller area. Seaway carries two lines of vinyl windows from the little I know. I would imagine that their premium Ovation is somewhere close to the mid range Soft-Lite Classic or Zen Nirvana. In order to confirm this, I'd look at the U-factor, air infiltration, design pressure rating and condensation resistance.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Nirvana vs. Harvey Classic

I am just starting my window search but am in the Boston MA area and have looked into Zen Windows since they are highly rated in this area. I got a quote for 21 windows, all average size, at $675 window for the Nirvana or $775 window for the triple pane Lotus. I am sure in my area the costs are a bit higher in general but would you say that the difference in 100 dollars per window is a good enough price to consider the Lotus over the Nirvana?

The only other estimates I have received are from Pella and Anderson both priced at over 1000 per window, though Pella would be a full install whereas Anderson and Zen are replacement installs. Will still look at another company that carries Seaway just for some pricing. Thank you for your advice and help.

Darren - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Darren, I'm not sure I would say that the Lotus is worth $100 more than the Nirvana. The Nirvana is the Soft-Lite Classic and the Lotus is the Soft-Lite Pro. Some dealers sell a Lotus Plus, which is the Soft-Lite Imperial LS and this is definitely worth the $100 extra.

$775 does sound high for the Soft-Lite Classic (Zen Lotus), although it does use a triple pane glass so that's probably a decent part of that extra money.

I'd be curious to see how the Seaway comes in at.

I would also get a quote on the Harvey Classic, which is pretty comparable to the Nirvana model. Harvey makes a good vinyl window in general.

Once you have those four quotes then I think you would be in a good position to either try and see who will lower the bids or to simply choose the best window/price combination.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Nirvana Classic vs. Sunrise Essentials

We're in Maryland and need 19 windows replaced. We have two quotes; one for the Zen Nirvana Classic and the other for the Sunrise Essentials. The bids are nearly the same price.

Dulce - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Dulce, the Zen Nirvana or Soft-Lite Classic is the better window over the Sunrise Essentials. The Classic is a very good mid range window and the Essentials is a good entry level window. So the Classic is the winner by far.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Nirvana vs. American Exteriors

Tim, I found your site searching for replacement vinyl windows. I used your from and so far haven’t heard from a company I wanted to deal with. American Exteriors gets bad reviews from everyone but Angie’s List yet there were the first to call me.

I have gotten a quote from the local Zen window dealer. 4 Nirvana’s with extra solar tinting for 3 to replace some old vinyls. It came in at $3139, way higher than your guess. When I questioned that in an email they said that was their price, no room to dicker. I will also get a SoftLite and at least one other non-franchise local outfit. What is your take?

Lew - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Lew, I don't control who the bids come from and the companies will vary by location. I agree that American Exteriors does not get glowing reviews so don't use them (unless you happen to be impressed by their windows/company), but do get a bid from them. The bids help you gather information and get pricing ideas -- plus they cost you nothing but time.

Zen tends to have a good reputation but that bid is too high on the surface of it. You need more bids to get to the fair market price for your 4 windows. Remember there are a good 20 factors that can drive the per window cost of your project up or down so the more bids you get, the more certain you'll know what the appropriate price range is. There are plenty of times when the per window cost is $850 per window (especially if work has to be done to the sills or walls).

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Nirvana or Pella 250

We are replacing exactly 21 windows, one of which is a half circle. We have 2 bids so far. Is this enough or should we get more? Here are the bids.

Zen Nirvana: $10421.00

Pella 250: $15,264.00


Dorothy - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Dorothy, the Zen Nirvana is better than the Pella 250 window in my opinion. The bid is also considerably lower so my answer is go with better quality and a lower cost!,

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Nirvana or The Polaris ThermalWeld

I’m in Cleveland, OH and want to replace 21 double hungs windows with something decent, but not super expensive. All 21 windows have low-E glass, grids, argon gas, and foam fills. 7 of them have tempered glass. This is what I have so far.

Zen Nirvana: $514 per window
Polaris ThermalWeld Plus: $512 per window
Polaris UltraWeld: $575 per window
Simonton Prism Platinum: $871 per window
Universal Window Direct Unishield Plus: $740 per window

The two front runners are the Polaris and Zen bids. What is your take?

Carl - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

You are right about the Polaris and Zen bids, the Zen Nirvana at $514 per window is very good. is excellent. But the Polaris UltraWeld at $575 per window is maybe even better. I think the UltraWeld is worth the extra $60 per window. That is what I would go with.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Classic vs. Pella 400 & Marvin Ultimate

We need 18 double hung windows, 10 of which are oversized and the others are normal size. We have bids from Zen, RBA, Pella, Sierra Pacific, and Marvin. Next week we will get a quote on the Softlite Imperial LS.

Thanks - appreciate your help!

Neil - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Neil, of the bids you have, the Softlite Imperial LS is going to be the highest quality window. Marvin makes a very good fiberglass window, but it's going to be more expensive than the Imperial LS and not have the same ratings.

Zen Nirvana or Louts would be next in line – very solid vinyl window.

You have quotes from companies that make wood clad windows. I'd be wary about wood windows for a number of reasons.The Softlite Imperial LS will come in an interior laminate so thats a nice option to have.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Nirvana vs. Ply Gem 6000 Series

I have three quotes on 17 windows. Pella Therma Star: $6500

Vi Win Tech 6000 Series: $7100
Ply gem 6000 Series: $8400
Zen Nirvana Series: $9200

Which is the best do you reckon?

Vincent - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Vincent, Zen Nirvana is the best window, followed by the Ply Gem 6000 series, the ViWinTech 6000, and finally the Pella ThermaStar, which is an awful window. So I guess the prices themselves make sense.

I think the Zen Nirvana is the winner, but you might want to try to see if the dealer will come down off that price. Maybe use the other two bids as leverage.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2017

Zen Windows vs Wincore Windows

I have 5 quotes listed below for my Austin Texas location. What is my best option or should I look for more quotes. Project scope: 15 total windows, some large some eyebrows with legs..

4 = 70L x 47W
2 = 70L x 22.25W
3 = 70L x 35.5W = (total 70Lx106W grouped together/connected these 3 windows fit 1 large opening
3 = 52L x 47W picture+eyeb
1 = 28L x 58W picture+eyeb
2 = 82L x 34.25 picture+eyeb

1. Product Wincore 5400 $10,489.75
2. Zen Soft-lite Nirvana = $16,211
3. Zen - Kensington = $10,041
4. Simonton Vantage Point 6500 = $13,984
5. Simonton P Plat = $16,045

Thank you.

Jon - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Jon, I like the Soft-Lite Classic (Zen Nirvana), but it's also your highest bid so I don't want to pick it without giving you a little more of my take on all your other bids. Wincore makes a decent window, but I like their upgraded 7700 series more. I'd be curious what the company who gave you that bid would price out the 7700 at...if it's at $12000 or less it's definitely something to consider.

Forget the Zen Karma, I don't think that window is very good. Simonton's VantagePointe is just sort of okay in my opinion.

Installation quality has to come into effect so make sure that whoever you go with offers quality installation, good reviews and a labor warranty on their work.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Zen vs Simonton Windows

Our local distributor carries Simonton, Silverline, and Pella, along with some other companies I've never heard of. I can't seem to find any of the companies you mentioned as liking. I did find a Zen dealer maybe 50 miles away, but I don't know if they will come this far.

I may be stuck with the Simonton Platinum Prism or Reflections 5500.

Nita - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Well the 5500 series is very solid. Still, see if the Zen dealer will come give you a quote on their Nirvana, Lotus or Lotus Plus (if they sell this one).

It always helps to have as many bids as possible and helps to negotiate the best price.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Colorado Window Cost Quotes

Hi, I have received several quotes here in Colorado. Could you rank the bids for me? There are 17 windows and the bids include installation costs.
Alpen Huntington: $10k
Zen Nirvana: $11k
Zen Lotus: $12k
Amerimax Craftsman Portrait: $13k
Alpen 525: $16k
Pella 250: $16k
Pella Impervia: $21k

Renewal By Anderson: $38k

Josh - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Of the quotes you have I like the Zen quote the best (which is either the Soft-Lite Classic or Pro). Alpen makes quite a good window, but the Huntington is their lower end window and I wouldn't go with that one.

The other bid I like is the Alpen 525. The performance data on the Alpen fiberglass windows is pretty darn impressive and this is a very good window.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Zen vs Simonton Platinum Prism

I have three bids on 18 windows. Which window do you think is the best and which is the best deal? The Zen Nirvana and Simonton Platinum Prism are so close in price that maybe they are equal?

Zen Nirvana: $9800
Amerimax Craftsman Portrait: $8,800
Simonton Platinum Prism: $10,000

Margaret - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Margaret, the Platinum Prism is quiet good; probably equal to the Craftsman Portrait. However, the Zen Nirvana, or Soft-Lite Classic, is the best of these three windows.

So the Simonton Platinum Prism is probably out. Either one of the others would be my pick. I would probably pay the extra money and go with the Zen Nirvana. Good window and good price.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2016

Zen Windows Price Quote

I have a cost quote of $12,900 for 20 Zen windows, the model is Nirvana (Classic) with half grids. Is this price bid reasonable? I am located in Massachusetts. This price included the installation.

Wing - Homeowner - from 2015

[Site Editor's Response]

Wing, without knowing any additional details, I would say that is a fair price. $645 for the classic, with installation, does not seem excessive. I would get a couple more quotes - Okna and Sunrise should be available in your state -get a quote from each of these to make sure that the price quoted is the fair market price for your particular project.

It is interesting you mention Nirvana, which is one of the window models of Zen Windows, essentially a private reseller of Soft-Lite windows, although I don't know much more about the relationship than that. Essentially, the Zen Karma is the equivalent to the Soft-Lite Barrington, the Zen Nirvana is the equivalent to the Soft-Lite Classic, and the Zen Lotus is the equivalent to the Soft-Lite Pro. I would avoid the lower end Karma, but the Nirvana and particularly the Lotus are very well made windows. Peace. :)

Dane - Site Editor - from 2015

Select Type Of Window
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Window Brand Quality
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Zen Lotus Windows Reviews

The Zen Lotus is a relabeled Soft-Lite Pro window, which although not a new design by any means, is a very good vinyl window. The Soft-Lite Classic and Pro are quite similar to one another, achieve good performance numbers and are quite well made.

The Lotus comes standard with some nice features and components, including a super spacer, good vent locks, frame foam fills, locking screen latch, delta safety locks and a metal reinforced meeting rail. It can be ordered in a number of interior wood laminates, as well as some 15 exterior color options. I especially like the wood laminates, which look quite realistic and provide the look of wood, without the cost and maintenance requirements.

The Zen Lotus has a U-Factor of .21, SHGC of .26, and a Air Leakage of .06. These are solid numbers all around.

Tim - Site Editor

Zen Lotus Reviews And Glass

Hi Tim, thank you so much for the advice. I did more research on the 6 years contractor, Zen windows Boston LLC, and actually some of my coworkers used them before and highly recommended them. So I feel a little more comfortable now, even they only has 14 5-stars review (while the 40 years contractor has 180+ good review). Given we are in Massachusetts with winter for half of the year, I may choose the Zen lotus (3 pane).

Based on Zen's website, Zen lotus, despite similar to soft-lite pro, actually uses fiberglass reinforced frames and "super spacer", so sounds a little better than a regular Soft-lite Pro. A silly question, will 3 pane make my room darker (less light can come in)? That's my only concern.

Kind regards.

Jacky - Homeowner - from 2021

[Site Editor's Answer]

Jacky, the triple pane won't make your room any darker...unless you choose a glass package that does use a darker low-e glass. There are a number of options for glass that will be darker/greener than a clear glass. The Zen dealer should be able to direct you to their page that shows you how the glass packages will compare visually.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2021

Zen Lotus Windows

Hi guys, I stumbled across your site and it’s been helpful so far. I just bought a townhome in an HOA that needs new windows and sliding glass doors. The windows unfortunately have grids and dark exterior color, which I’m learning drives up the price. So far I’ve gotten 2 quotes; one from Window Nation and one from Zen Windows. Was hoping you could give me your opinion.

Window Nation: $31,349 for 2 sliding glass doors, 19 DH windows, 2 DH tempered glass, 1 circle top, 1 picture tempered glass, one horizontal picture - all dark exterior and white interior, windows have grids. This is their Potomac series window

Zen Windows: same exact windows/doors as above except they call the horizontal picture window a “transom window”. This is for the Lotus double pane (Soft-Lite Pro) series windows. Total estimate is for $26,695.

Do both of these seem fair for the windows we’re getting and considering the restrictions (grids/exterior color) we have?

Thank you!

Josh - Homeowner - from 2020

[Site Editor's Answer]

Hi Josh, so the bids seem about what I would expect, given the different windows, sliding doors, and exterior color upgrades. The Potomac is a great window, but so is the Soft-Lite Pro. I would be hard pressed not to go with the Zen delaer over the Window Nations for the $5K savings. This is assuming that your Zen branch gets good online reviews and seems like a class act. You might be able to do better, but I'm not sure how much better.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Zen Lotus And Dharma Patio Doors

Dane. we are looking to replace 16 double hung windows and a pentagon stationary window and two 6 ft slider deck doors.

Doublehung’s as follows
2 -53”x 27”
3 -77”x 34”
4 -53”x 35”
2 -65” x36”
1Bathroom -33”x28”
1 Pentagon - stationary 72” x ~36”

We want to take out the old and completely replaced with the new so not a pocket replacement would be called a full install I think

So far we have 2 bids

Zen with Lotus Windows and dharma patio doors 27k

Window source with Ply Gem 9000 series 21k

What do you think of these two windows and the bids?

I live in the Cedar Rapids Iowa area.

Eugene - Homeowner - from 2020

[Site Editor's Answer]

Eugene, I definitely like the Zen product more than the Ply Gem -- this is assuming the Zen dealer you are working with is selling the Soft-Lite Pro series for their Lotus model. (If they are selling the Alside product, then the Ply Gem is the much better deal in my opinion.) My issue with the Zen quote is the price. Yes, the new construction or full install should add quite a bit to the price, but it still seems pricey.

With everything going on with this virus, I would expect prices to begin to drop as companies are no longer filling up their schedules the same way they have been. I would use a little patience and see if you can get a couple more bids to compare and to see if you can get that 27K to drop some. I'd see if Sunrise, Soft-Lite, Okna, or Polaris sells their windows through local dealers.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Zen Lotus Supreme Windows

Hello, we are considering some replacement windows from Zen Windows (in Denver, CO). They are the Lotus Supreme model. Is this the same as the Lotus Plus model indicated on your website? Thank you!

Shawn - Homeowner - from 2020

[Site Editor's Answer]

Shawn, I've never hear of the Supreme model. Zen now sells Alside, Joyce, and Fiberframe windows, in addition to Soft-Lite. It's possible that they now label one of these as the Supreme series.

I'd call them up and ask what window you are buying. There should be no hesitation on their part to tell you -- if there is I'd see this as a big red flag. Zen should be transparent and happy to tell you what product you are actually buying! Plus they should be proud of their product.

When you find out, will you let me know? I'd love to post this for other consumers who run into this.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

[Shawn's Reply]

Hi, Tim, I heard back from Zen Windows. They said the Lotus Supreme is Soft-Lite's Pro line. What are your thoughts on this window? Thanks!

Shawn - Homeowner - from 2020

[Site Editor's Answer]

Shawn, I must have misread your first email -- I saw Supreme, not Lotus Supreme. I still never heard it referred to this.

Anyway, the Soft-Lite Pro is quite a good window. In the upper echelons of the mid range vinyl window category. The design has been around for a while, but it is tried and true and a vinyl window I'd have in my home for sure.

Assuming you like the installation company, you should be in good hands with this window.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Zen Lotus vs. Okna 700 Series

Hi Dane and Tim. Your site has been very informative and helpful. We are currently trying to decide on a window replacement for our home. There are too many windows to afford all at once so we have decided to start with some twin casements. We think they need a full frame replacement due to how cold and drafty the room they are in gets compared to the rest of the house.

What we have are Anderson wood windows but we are looking at replacing with fiberglass or vinyl that has a wood look on the interior. We are comparing the okna 700 series, zen lotus and Marvin infinity. We plan to stay in our home for many years so we want to pick the best product but of course cost is a factor.

We live in Wisconsin so the temperature swings can vary greatly and we want to pick a window that is cost effective yet solid to handle this environment. We also haven’t gotten to see the zen window in person so I am unsure how it compares in wood appearance to the others. Any advice is appreciated, my mind is on info overload with researching them.


Jon - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Jon, you have three excellent options in the Okna 700, Zen Lotus and Marvin Infinity. The Zen Lotus is typically, but not always, the Soft-Lite Pro. All prices being equal, the Okna 700 would be my pick, followed by the Marvin Infinity and then the Soft-Lite Pro. But, again, all of these windows are very good. If it were me, I'd pivot to trying to decide which company is going to provide the best install and labor warranty. I realize this isn't always easy to suss out, but online reviews, track record, and stated labor warranty should put you well down the track to knowing which company is your best bet.

Let me know how it goes!

Tim - Site Editor - from 2019

Zen Lotus vs. Viwinco Cambridge

Hi Tim: Trying to decide which windows to go with. The Soft-Lite windows are being quoted by Zen Windows of St. Louis, the Viwinco Cambridge are quoted through a known private contractor with a solid reputation. Any thoughts or input is appreciated. Thanks so much.

Mike - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Mike, the Soft-Lite Pro is the better window than the Viwinco Cambridge window. By quite a bit, in my opinion. Assuming that Zen of St. Louis has a good reputation for quality installation, then this is the best solution as far as I’m concerned.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2019

Zen Lotus Bid

For some reason, the bids I'm getting are soooo expensive compared to the numbers I'm seeing on your website. We have 13 windows in all, with full frame replacement required on at least half of them. We have 13 windows totals, four large sliders, 2 transom windows, 3 bedroom windows, one large kitchen window (1/3-1/3-1/3), a bay window, and two (1/4-1/2-1/4) windows. We are in the St. Paul area. I'm just trying to figure out how prices jumped so much. We just want a good vinyl window at a reasonable price.

Zen Lotus - $34,224

Soft-Lite Imperial LS Window: $28,645

Soft-Lite Elements Window: $32,767

Richlin 500 Window - $29,734

Sunrise Standard Window: $27,489

Ply-Gem Premium Window: $26,282

Rich - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Rich, those prices do seem high. The 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 in the kitchen, however, is more like three windows (or one very large window) and the same goes for the 2 (1/4-1/2-1/4) windows. These are going to jack the per window cost way up. Plus you have a bay window, which isn't just any old window. The average cost of a bay window can be $4K to $5K.

Since all the bids are in the same relative price range, I'm assuming that this is the market cost for your project. Looking at the bids then, the best value is see is the Soft-Lite Imperial LS. The Zen bid is way too high, especially given that the Soft-Lite Imperial LS is the better window at nearly $6K less. The Richlin bid is fine, as well as the Ply Gem.

You could collect some more bids if you are concerned with the overall cost, you do have bids from some of the top window manufacturers. Maybe a Wincore, Simonton, lower end Okna perhaps.

Dan - Site Editor - from 2019

Zen Lotus vs. Sunrise Standard

We have a huge project to replace our windows and some of them have some bad wood rot. 63 windows that include some large picture windows, eyebrow, rectangular transoms and half dome windows.

We have 3 quotes:

$59,250 on the Okna 500 Insultec double pane.

$61,575 for Zen Lotus (Soft Lite Pro) double pane.

$46,900 on the Sunrise Standard window double pane.

I'd considered a wood window because vinyl can't be painted and I'm concerned that it would force us to redo the trim and some color work in our home. Any thoughts?

Thanks for all your help!

Dave - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Dave, I'd rank these three windows as all pretty comparable. Perhaps I'd put the Zen Lotus and Okna 500 a notch above the Sunrise, but I still think the Sunrise is the best deal of the three. If the bids were closer in price, it might change my opinion.

I wouldn't go with a wood window because it's going to balloon your costs significantly from what you're looking at here. Instead, I'd contact the Sunrise dealer and see how much it would cost to do an interior wood laminate. These look very similar to a wood window species and don't sacrifice on energy efficiency or warranty timelines.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Lotus Window Quote

Hi - I came across your website and was most intrigued and impressed with your unbiased reviews. I try to research before major purchases like this but it's daunting ....

I am wanting to replace the wood windows double hung, plus storm windows which have vinyl I think frames. The house was built in 1971 and I believe these are original windows. We bought the house 1987. anytime temperatures are in the 30's and for sure lower most all the windows are fogged. There are 19 windows to replace. I am wanting energy efficient, good quality, no painting upkeep, easy clean, good warranty and with professional quality installation. I have gotten a number of bids - and as said it's daunting. So many opinions... And have heard most windows are the same (?) but it's the installation that's the most important.

5 windows - 40x78

1 window (above sink) - 36 x 38

7 windows - 40x62

2 bathroom windows 32-38

1 basement window 36x42

3 basement windows 36x38

Windows now are painted bronze outside and white inside. I don't know what would be best - vinyl, alum clad wood - I want something that will hold up a long time and be good value. Double panes possibly with colonial grids or no grids.

Got bids from Home Depot - their 6500 windows but tan/white - for $22K but with their promotion would be $19K. Their 6100 windows tan/white for $18K or w/ promotion $15K.

Forst Builders bid Alside Mezzo windows but all white but with bronze trim on outside - $8400 but add $130 per window to paint (!) outside window. My concern is they said they use double strength glass for the large windows so need for safety glass -- but other companies say it's code to have safety glass since so large. Many neighbors have highly recommended them but cautious about the glass type -

Sterling Window systems quoted their Duragard Vinyl white inside/out $8K, white inside/cocoa outside $12K and white inside/bronze outside $15K - but the bronze is painted and not baked on ... Sterling windows was highly recommended by my wonderful handyman - but Sterling's bid was made in excel and not very detailed.

I did use American Home Design to replace a bay window (sashes and frame - not complete structure) in 2016 for $3880. At that time I was most impressed with their professionalize etc.. But leery about paying for all their tv ads! ...

I haven't gotten bids from Apex - at least not yet - mainly because of some bad reviews on customer service. And same for Zen windows... And have been cautioned about Anderson & Pella mainly because of high pressure sales.

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts and guidance.

Thank you!

Bee - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Bee, you have lots of bids so that's great. I don't love any yet though. A good quality vinyl window is the most energy efficient and cost effective option for most homeowners. The Simonton 6500 is a good window, but just way too expensive compared to the bids you have.

The Alside Mezzo is a decent price and a decent window, but long term I have questions about the overall strength of the frame. If you could get a glass upgrade and a composite reinforcement on the lift rail, I might consider this option.

I would skip on the Apex if I were you.

I don't know anything about Duragard, but I find this thread that has some good unbiased information, although now somewhat dated. http://www.replacement-windows.com/windowbb/viewtopic.php?t=4937

Zen does have some bad reviews, but they sell a good window (Nirvana and Lotus, which really the Soft-Lite Classic and Soft-Lite Pro) and if your local branch has a good reputation then I think you should consider getting a bid from them on the Nirvana or Lotus -- these windows are much better than anything you have so far.

You are correct that installation is half the battle, the other half the window itself.

I'd google "sunrise windows in [your town, state]" and see if local companies sell these. I'd also do it for Okna, Soft-Lite, Polaris, Vytex, HiMark, Kensington, and PGT. Send me your bids again and let's see if we can't refine this down!

Dane - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Lotus vs. Champion

We are going to replace a sliding glass door and 12 windows. We live in Denver and most of our windows face west facing and gets lots of sunlight. We live on a busy street and would like to get a window that reduces as much noise as possible.

Champion - $12K

Zen Lotus: $13K

Zen Lotus: $14K (includes an upgraded solar s glass package)

Renewal By Anderson $28K

Chris - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Chris, $28K is too much money for a patio door and a dozen windows. So I would throw this one out.

I really like the Zen Lotus bid with the glass upgrade. The Soft-Lite Pro is a good vinyl window and the thousand is worth the price difference for the added energy efficiency. The solar gas is going to get you a lower passive heat, which is going to serve your purposes well.

Go back to Zen and show them your Champion bid and ask them to match it. Who knows whether they'll come all the way down to the $12K, but its certainly worth a shot.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Lotus In Texas

My wife and I are building a custom home in Texas and need some help. The builder wants to use a MI vinyl window and from what I've read these aren't the best windows. In our current house, we have Andersen windows and haven't had any sorts of issues with them. Should we consider going with the MI brand or should we ask him to find us some other options?

Stan - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Stan, generally MI windows are not considered a very good vinyl window. They are mainly sold to builders who are looking to put in a lot of windows at a low per window cost. MI makes an Energy Core window that is quite good, but besides that I would pass on these options.

Texas has some nice options though. Don Young makes a very good aluminum window. Their vinyl windows are quite good as well.

There could be a Sunrise dealer near you. The Restorations series is extremely good and their classic or standard series is good.

There could be a Zen dealer as well. Their Zen Lotus and Zen Lotus Plus are both very good windows, on par with the Sunrise models I mentioned.

Finally, Simonton ought to be available in Texas -- the 9800 or Reflections 5500 series are the two I would go with.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Lotus or Soft Lite Imperial LS

I need to replace 28 windows. I have vintage Rimco wood windows and newer Anderson 400 series as well. Over the years, I've replaced lots of the glass in the Rimco windows, but they need to go. I recently got a quote from Zen on their Lotus Triple Pane series for $575 each window.

The company also offers an upgraded Lotus Pro, which is apparently an even better window. So which should I go with? The Lotus Pro is an extra $100 per window.

Kevin - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Kevin, the Zen Lotus is a good window and will deliver an air infiltration of .07, U-factor of .28, vt of .53 and SHGC of .29.

The Lotus Plus, or Imperial LS, is certainly a step up -- an air infiltration of .02, U-factor of .28, vt of .44 and SHGC of .23.

I guess the big question is if it's worth $100 per window to make the step up. I tend to think the Lotus window, or Soft-Lite Pro, is a good window for many environments and climates. If I were in a very cold climate, I might consider the upgrade. Otherwise, I would probably save the money and go with the Lotus over the Lotus Plus.

Of course, if you can get them to come down off that price, maybe the step does make sense.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Lotus vs Apex Windows

Guys, your website has helped educate me on the differences in windows. I am looking to replace 22 windows in an 1895 Queen Anne on the southside of Atlanta, GA.

I currently have three estimates and wanted your thoughts as well as potential other vendors to contact

Zen Windows Nirvana - $11,858

Zen Windows Lotus - $14,058 (+2200 on the Nirvana)

Apex Windows - $15,571 (told me that a price increase will occur on March 1 to try and pressure me to make a decision)

Marvin Infinity - $31,000 (about $5,000 is for sill work to replace some of the old wood (5 windows)

Thanks for your help!

Paul - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Response]

Paul, the best bids you have are on the Zen Nirvana or the Lotus. Nice pricing on both. I would probably spend the extra two grand for the Lotus window, which is a relabeled Soft-Lite Pro and quite a good vinyl window.

Apex is sort of known for their high pressure sales tactics, no need to look here.

Marvin Infinity is a good window, but simply not worth additional $15K.

I think this is sort of a no brainer, but I would see if I could get Zen to come down a bit in price (even though it looks good to me). Never hurts to try.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Lotus Window And Soft-lite Elements

Trying to figure out whether the Zen Lotus is the same series as the Soft-lite Elements. The whole thing is confusing to me. It's pretty clear that the Zen Nirvana is the Soft-lite Classic. I live in Austin and while we don't have a Soft-Lite around, we do have a Zen. Any information you can shed would be appreciated.

Jen - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Jen, most Zen dealers sell three windows -- Karma, Nirvana, and Lotus. The Karma is the Soft-Lite Bainbridge, the Nirvana is the Soft-Lite Classic, and the Lotus is the Soft-Lite Pro Series.

The Bainbridge isn't a window I would give a strong recommendation too, but it isn't bad for an entry level vinyl window.

The Classic and Pro are good vinyl windows. Some Zen dealers do sell what they often call the Lotus Plus, which is a relabeled Soft-Lite Imperial LS. The LS is a very good window, but still a small step down from the Elements. The Elements is the premium Soft-Lite window, but is not carried by any Zen dealer that I have ever heard of.

Hope this helps!

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Lotus Windows vs Alside 3100 Series

I'd like to get your take on the following bids, which includes tax, materials, labor, and haul away. It's for 14 windows.

Lotus Triple Pane: $8500

Alside 3100 Triple Panes: $7200

Jim - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Jim, of the two, I would definitely say the Zen Lotus for an extra $1300 is the way to go. They Lotus triple pane is a very good window. Alside makes an okay window, but not on the same level as Soft-Lite, which is what Zen dealers sell. See if the Zen dealer will come down off his price at all. I'd use the Alside bid as leverage

Tim - Site Editor - from 2017

Zen Lotus or Simonton Prism Platinum

Need to replace 11 double hungs, plus a double casement. I don't need the best windows out there, but also want a window that will hold up for the next 20 years. I have a quote on a Zen Lotus window and a Simonton Prism Platinum. Nearly the exact same price, with the Zen just slightly less than the Simonton.

The Simonton bid is from a highly reviewed contractor and Zen has their own installers.

Alice - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Alice, the Zen Lotus is better than the Simonton Prism Platinum. Both are good windows though. Assuming you like the Zen installer and have checked their online reviews etc. this is what I would go with.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

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Zen Lotus Plus Windows Reviews

The Zen Lotus Plus is a relabeled Soft-Lite Imperial LS that is offered by a select number of Zen Dealers (at least this is our understanding). The Imperial LS is an impressive vinyl window and comes standard with some high quality features, including triple weather stripping, an Intercept Spacer, and a kevlar reinforced meeting rail. One of the most impressive numbers on the Imperial LS is the .03 air leakage rating.

Tim - Site Editor

Zen Lotus Plus or The Sunrise Restorations

I have 4 quotes from local companies. I'm in Nashville Tennessee and would like your opinion on what to do.

Soft-Lite Elements / Soft-Lite Kingsroyal Door: $23K
Sunrise Restoration / ProVia Door: $23K
Soft-Lite Classic / Soft-Lite Kingsroyal Door: $21.5K
Zen Lotus Plus / Zen Dharma Door: $15.5K

Ruby - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Ruby, those are good bids. The Elements and Kingsroyal Door is the best but almost the priciest. The Restorations and ProVia Door are probably equal actually. However, the Zen Lotus is the Soft-Lite Imperial LS, which is very close in quality to the Elements windows. The Dharma is the Kingsroyal so its kind of a no brainer to go with the $15.5K bid, which is a $8K less! Go with that one for sure.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Imperial LS

I'm in touch with a Zen who sells the Imperial LS. A couple of the reviews on your website indicate the Pro model is not as good.

Mike - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Mike, the Imperial LS is a top tier vinyl window. The Pro is good, but it's an older design and doesn't include quite as many top tier components and features. Soft-Lite underwent some serious R&D to come up with the Elements and Imperials LS series, which are their flagship products. Both are good products, but the Imperial LS is a better window than the pro.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

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How Many Windows?
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Top Of Page ˆ

General Zen Windows Reviews

Zen Price Drop

Hi Dane, in your opinion -with full replacement of our 2- 6 ft sliding patio doors what brand/ model would you recommend? We were going to do full replacement because we’re not sure if there’s rotted wood beneath. We were going for the vinyl also.

Also Zen came back with 1600 decrease from original quote-some movement but not much?

We were thinking to save a little money we would buy and install the patio doors ourselves. That would get them down another 8 to 10,000. Will be interesting to see what they say when we tell him that fact. Thank you.

Scott - Homeowner - from 2020

[Site Editor's Answer]

Good quality door makers include Jeld Wen, ProVia, Soft-Lite, Andersen, Sunrise, Okna, and Pella.

Zen coming down $1600 is pretty good actually, I can't remember the total, but that's nothing to sneeze at...

Door units can be bulky, but they can be done DIY and that will certainly save you some money if you can buy direct from the dealer. Not always possible. As long as they are the same size as the unit you are taking out, custom sizing can get pretty tricky.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Does Zen Sell Alside Windows

Dane, sorry to email with so many questions but this is a big investment so I don’t want to make a mistake. I just watched a you tube video on zen windows which says they are made by alside so now I am really confused. Does Alside make windows for both zen and energy one and is the Venetian actually the same as the lotus ?

I learned that the Venetian is the 8000 series window which is the highest level window Alside makes.

Cari - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Cari, so I have never heard of Zen carrying Alside windows, but each "branch" might be different. They used to all sell Soft-Lite, but that has been changing lately. There shouldn't be any cloak and dagger as to what you are buying — call up the Zen rep and ask them point blank what window they are selling you. I much defer the Soft-Lite over the Alside, but the high end Alside is a solid window.

Zen doesn't make their own windows so they are selling a relabeled window. If there is any hemming and hawing, I personally would get angry — if the salesman can't answer this question with specific and articulately, then tell them you are moving on.

The Alside 8000 series is a solid window. Not a top tier vinyl window, but a solid mid range window.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2019

Zen And Prism Platinum

I have a quote on the Prism Platinum for dual double hung windows. THe opening measures 70 by 58. I wouldn't mind going with a slider though because the double hung has some much wasted space between the two double hungs.

The Zen dealer gave me a bid also but he wanted me to agree to the deal over the phone! Sight unseen!

Jan - Homeowner - from 2018

[Site Editor's Answer]

Jan, Simonton windows do tend to be a bit bulky, especially the DHs. I agree with you on the Zen replacement quote, I've never heard of someone asking you to agree to something over the phone without being able to see it.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Zen Window Replacements

I am attempting to assist me nephew and family who lost everything in Hurricane Harvey. They need to replace all windows and I have some questions and would like to get some bids for them.

Thank you.

Donnie - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Donnie, you are welcome to ask me any questions you have. In terms of vinyl windows I recommend in Texas, I would say a higher end Simonton Impressions 9800, Don Young windows (they make an excellent aluminum window and a good vinyl window), Milgard vinyl windows also has a line specific to the Texas climate. Finally, I believe there is a Zen windows in Houston that is certainly worth getting a bid from. Good luck with your project, I can't imagine how hard it must be to rebuild after Harvey!

Dane - Site Editor - from 2017

Zen or Window World

I have a bid for Window World Extreme Gold series. 14 windows, all triple pane, screens, and grids. Bid is $7000. What other window companies should I be looking at? I've heard Zen is a good option.

James - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

James, I can't comment on the Window World Extreme Gold, only because I've never hear of it. Usually I am not a big proponent of their stuff.

As far as Zen, they offer Soft-Lite windows. Their Karma window is a relabeled Soft-Lite Bainbridge and would be a great alternative to the WW EG.

Dan - Site Editor - from 2017

Zen Polaris UltraWeld Quote

Dane, I ended up with the following from Zen windows. They sold me the Polaris Ultraweld. The casement they offered was much better looking and the beveled design was quite nice. So far, I am VERY pleased with her everything turned out.

10 Casements: $550 each
1 Picture Window: $460 each

Kenneth - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Kenneth, the Polaris UltraWeld window is a very solid vinyl window. I'd never heard that Zen dealers were selling the Polaris window line, but it is a good one. It looks like a very fair bid. Congrats all around.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2017

[Ken's Reply]

Well my local ZEN franchise doesn't push Polaris and I didn't even know they had them until Bob, the guy from your site that you connected me to, let me know that he was going with Polaris through ZEN and was happy with their double hung windows. I had to wait 2+ weeks until John my local ZEN franchise guy could get the brand new casement demo window from Polaris to bring by my house.

The screen fit nicer than most other casement windows I examined and the outside of the window has an extra finishing piece around the glass that looks much nicer than most other windows that are simply flat on the outside. I am going with white and it was nice to see they used a white seal on the casement as opposed to say Heartland windows that ZEN also carries that has a black seal and basically looks like your window is outlined in black. John says he's asked Heartland to make them with white seals and they won't even though they use white seals on their double hungs.

I could not find air infiltration numbers for the Polaris windows, do you have any? But I figure that casement windows are usually pretty good in that regard. The numbers for heat, light, etc. were all very good with Polaris. I also liked the crank and hinge mechanism on the Polaris window as it seemed sturdier than some of the other windows I inspected and since I've had a casement window literally rip itself off the house on a windy day before, I wanted to be sure the hinge mechanism was stout.

Of course the greatest window in the world could be crap if it isn't installed right and I contacted a few people who had ZEN windows installed locally including Bob from your site and everyone spoke highly of the install crew and the job that was done, so I'm hoping for the best. I will, of course, update you after the windows are installed. Happy to send pictures if you'd like.

Ken - Homeowner - from 2017

Zen Windows vs. Don Young

I need to replace several wood clad windows in my home. I would like to get an estimate of the cost involved for Don Young Vinyl casement replacement windows?

What is the price range I should expect for a 56x60 Sunshield 2 Lite professionally installed. The window sizes range from 48x60 to 48x72.

It is impossible to find comps on the various web sites.

Any help you can provide is appreciated.

Richard - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Richard, the reason it's so hard to find comps is that each project is so different from one another. There are tons of upgrades and options available on the windows themselves that throwing out a price per window is virtually impossible.

Get the bid from Don Young and then get a few more bids to compare it to. This is the best way to see what the fair market price for your project is. Maybe get a bid on a Milgard Tuscany, or from Zen windows, Gilkey if in your area, even Simonton (you want to stick to their Impressions or higher end Reflections series windows). Others to look for include Okna, Soft-Lite, Amerimax or Polaris.

Get your bids, compare them, and then use the different bids to get the lowest price on the bid that seems like your best option.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2017

Zen Windows vs Sunrise

I'm in Atlanta and we have access to a number of brands you seem to like -- Champion, Soft-Lite (Zen), Sunrise and Simonton.

We're looking at mid-range options and was wondering about your take on these brands.

Kathy - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Kathy, I like all four window brands you have up there. My two favorites are Sunrise and Zen. The Sunrise Classic and the Zen Nirvana and Lotus are going to be nice mid range options that will serve you well. Make sure to get good installation and make sure to properly vet the installers prior to the job. Look at online reviews and make sure they have a long track records of excellent to good work.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2016

Zen Windows in Missouri

. But the sunrise with the full frame I was looking at I would have to take my trim off on the inside. If that's the case I didn't know if there was a better window to go with as far as new construction. I always thought Anderson was one of the better windows for new construction do you recommend any other window at a fair price for a good product

Chris - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Andersen Windows is an expensive window and they are best known for their wood clad windows (which are expensive, but very nice.) For most homeowners, I recommend staying with a quality vinyl window - they offer better value, performance and overall durability.

Did you see if Vista Windows or Zen Windows (these are essentially Soft-Lite windows) services your area? You are in Missouri, correct?

I think at this point you need to get a few bids from some more companies to get a consensus on whether you need to go with a replacement or new construction installation. You may get some variation in opinions, but by the third or fourth bid it should be clear what the best course of action is. You will also get a better sense of pricing with a few bids and get to see and feel the different windows out there.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2016

Zen Windows In Denver

How do I get/find an honest contractor? I live in Denver metro and am constantly quoted $1,500 to $2,000 PLUS for a casement windows that are 36" x 42"

Thomas - Homeowner - from 2015

[Site Editor's Response]

Thomas, what type of casement are you looking for? Wood clad, composite, fiberglass, vinyl?

This is a lot of money if we are talking about any window that isn't wood clad (wood interior, aluminum or fiberglass exterior). However, I could seen this price if you have gotten bids from Pella, Renewal By Andersen, Loewen etc.

There are a number of ways to find a quality contractor that services your zip code, but this is my preferred choice. Find a local company who carries a quality line of windows and get 3 or 4 bids.

Marvin Infinity is a high quality fiberglass window that should be much more affordable than the price you quoted. They offer an interior woodgrain laminate that does a great job of mimicking the look of wood, without the maintenance required.

Sunrise ought to have several dealers in your area who can give you a bid. I found these guys doing a quick search for "sunrise windows denver colorado"

Soft-Lite markets their Zen windows in Denver and has a local dealer - google soft-lite zen windows denver and they should come up - don't go with their lower end window, use their mid range or premium option, the Nirvana and Lotus, respectively.

Amerimax is sure to have local Denver reps since the company is headquartered in Colorado. Amerimax is considered a step below Sunrise, but is still considered a good overall vinyl window manufacturer.

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Zen Nirvana By Joyce Windows

Zen Nirvana Using Joyce Insulator Series

Hi, I've purchased eight Zen Nirvana series, specifically the Joyce Insulator series. It came out as the same cost as the Soft lite Classic window and included some nice features, including: LoE366 glass package, Reinforced meeting rail, and foam filled sash and frame. Numbers wise it got a .27 U factor, .21 SHGC, and a .50 VT.

The warranty between the two brands was the same and it seems that Joyce has been around for like 70 years. Anyway, I hope this works out well for me. Cheers.

Scott - Homeowner - from 2019

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Zen Nirvana By Joyce Windows

Zen Fiberframe Comfort line windows

Hi Tim, thank you for you website and the work you are doing.

I got a quote from Zen WIndows for about 31K for 13 fiberglass fiberframe windows. You're website does not even discuss Fiberframe in the section on Fiberglass windows.

I am trying to find quality reviews on this manufactures and they are not covered. I know Zen does their due diligence on windows they use so I concerned when I don't see reviews or the reviews I see are from 2005 -2007.

Any insight would be appreciated.

Thanking you in advance

Kind regards

Ed - Homeowner - from 2020

[Site Editor's Answer]

Ed, I know very little about the Fiberframe Comfort Line window. The little I've heard has been complaints posted online from customers who haven't had very good experiences. That is not as surprising as you might think, though because it is often these consumers who are more vocal about their experiences.

So I guess I would be reticent about going with the windows, but my opinion should not taken as gospel. Here is a thread I found where several contractors talk about the window.


If this were my project, I would stick with the Zen Nirvana or Lotus windows. Both great windows and less costly than fiberglass.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

[Ed's Reply]

Dear Tim, thank you so much for responding I really appreciate it I actually talked to the national sales manager at fiberframe about that because they're really old posts which I had already found 2007-2005 and he said that the windows have been completely redesigned since that point in time.

I've also been looking at renewal by Anderson which maybe has is a better track record product I have a price that's actually less than Zen Windows believe it or not for those If I do end up getting the fiber frame I will definitely post on your site with my experience.

Thank you so much again I appreciate the website that you have also.

I'm replacing eagle aluminum clad wood windows which came which I bought when I built my home in the '90s and failed as many of the Well no clad windows of those days did and I wanted a nice interior lease laminate wood if not all wood and the only way I can get all wood nowadays is I guess Pella or doing a custom Anderson job with their series 400 or the next one up but the problem there is getting local contractors I'm in Southeast Iowa

Anyway thank you again.

Ed - Homeowner - from 2020

[Site Editor's Answer]

Ed, Renewal by Andersen does have a good track record, but they are typically expensive as hell. So if their quote is less than Zen, you may want to seriously consider it. Fiberglass and the RBA composite are both good frame materials, but they are pricey. One wood clad window that I always mention is the Jeld Wen with the aurlast treatment. The window actually comes with a lifetime warranty on the wood. Seems to be a pretty good product.

Personally, I stay away from wood clad, but thought I would at least mention it. Good luck on the project!

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

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