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Soft-Lite Windows Reviews And Prices

Soft Lite Window Reviews

Soft-Lite Windows is one of the premier vinyl window manufacturer on the market, along with Sunrise, Polaris and Okna. Soft-Lite Windows And Doors were acquire by Harvey Building Products, Inc. in 2016. This shouldn't affect the quality of the windows, but should make consumers feel even more secure about their purchase due to the overall strength of Harvey. Scroll down to read our Soft-Lite Windows reviews.

Overall Rating: Soft-Lite gets a 5.0 out of 5 stars based on 167 consumer reviews below.

Elements Series Rank: 2nd
(For All Vinyl Windows)

Soft-Lite Window Series

Soft-Lite manufacturers a number of different vinyl window series, including the Elements, Imperial LS, Pro, Classic, Bainbridge and Barrington. With the exception of the Barrington (their entry level window), the other models are very strong at their respective price point.

The Pro and Classic models are the company's older less flashy models that are nonetheless very good quality mid range vinyl windows. The Imperial LS and Elements Series are excellent vinyl windows, with some very nice standard features, components and upgrades. Both are considered top tier vinyl windows and if you can get them at a competitive price point, you can't do much better than these.

Bottom Line: All in all, Soft-Lite makes an impressive line of vinyl windows for the money. Absolutely worth a price quote if there is a dealer in your area.

Dane - Site Editor - Page Last Updated: April 16, 2024

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Barrington Series

Bainbridge Series

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Pro Series

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Durashield Series

Impact Series

Envision Series

Valleybrook Series

Kingsroyal Patio Doors

Elite Series

Soft-Lite Windows Prices

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Also please consider filling out the free form on our site for 3 quality window price quotes — it’s how we afford to provide free consumer information. We’re not incentivized by ANY company and will help you with ANY questions you might have, and help you navigate ANY bids you receive. That’s our guarantee to you!

Soft-Lite Barrington Series

The Soft-Lite Barrington is the company's entry level window and probably the only series from Soft-Lite that I don't recommend. Still, if it's the entry level Soft-Lite versus most other entry level windows, I'd still go with the Soft-Lite option. I would give the Soft-Lite Barrington Window a 4 out of 5 stars rating.

Tim - Site Editor

Barrington vs Restorations

Good Morning Dane. Hope all is well. I went with 3 local companies. Two gave me line item quotes. The lower end was for Soft-Lite Barrington windows and high end are supposed to be Sunrise Restorations V5500 (now MI) I have attached pics. What do you think?

10 windows that I'm replacing with Sunrise MI v4500 series for $9,585 or
Soft-Lite Barrington for $6288

Ebony - Homeowner - from 2024

[Site Editor's Answer]

Ebony, the Sunrise Restorations V5500 series is one of the better vinyl windows out there. Definitely a fair price given what I've been seeing as of late. The price on the Soft-Lite Barrington is very good. Here is what I would say...

If I were planning to live in the home for 15 years or less, then the Soft-Lite Barrington makes more sense to me. Over 15 years, then I think the V5500 might be the better investment. I would also do a company comparison on google and yelp reviews etc. to get a better picture of the overall installation quality that you can expect.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2024

Soft-Lite Barrington Windows Reviews

Hi, I’m so glad I found your website. I have an estimate from a window installer (that’s all they do), and after MUCH research, I think we are definite on the Soft-Lite brand. HOWEVER, they only quoted me on the Elements model. So I went back to them to try and negotiate and they said they don’t have much room for that.

So the estimate was $12,900 for 10 double hung 2 pane glass with grids and full screens. After going back and forth, I said I wouldn’t commit, and wanted a different option…it wasn’t until then that he offer the Barrington model and told me he would work up the numbers.

Do you know how much cheaper the Barrington should be…I mean like 1/3 less?? 1/4 less?? and in your opinion, is it worth the savings to go with the Barrington?? Thanks for your help!

Lisa - Homeowner - from 2024

[Site Editor's Answer]

Hi Lisa, it's an interesting question for sure. The answer will of course depend on the dealer - some get better pricing on certain models based on how much volume they do. But here is my answer. If a dealer is going to sell you the Barrington and bids out the project at $750 per window fully installed, I would expect the Elements to run $950 per window. So that price increase would be roughly 27% - right in between your two guesses!

I feel the Barrington is a decent step down from the Elements. I would go with the Barrington if my timeline in the home was 14 years or less. Anything over this and I think you need to consider other options - the Soft-Lite Pro, the Soft-Lite Imperial LS which is even better. I can also send you a list of brands if you'd like to see some other options that might be available in your area.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2024

Softlite Barrington vs. Vytex Fortis

The Sales person from where the original owners got their windows tells me they deal with Softlite windows now, in the Barrington line.

I've read they are Soft-Lites entry level vinyl windows so may be not to par with the Fortis or Okna's?

I'm leaning towards the Okna 600 myself...


Ming - Homeowner - from 2021

[Site Editor's Answer]

Ming, the Softlite Barrington series is not on par with the Okna 600 or the Vytex Fortis. The Okna brand would be the one I would go with myself, just so well made and they are so long lasting. You really can't do better than the Okna. Best of luck with your upcoming project.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2021

Soft-lite Barrington vs. Polaris ThermalWeld

I have received a bid for 14 double pane Polaris Thermal Weld for $7000. The quote for the Polaris UltraWeld was $9440. I also got a quote for $6200 on the Soft-lite Barrington. We live in Indianapolis and I know the Polaris rep and feel comfortable with them. The Soft-Lite option was a friend recommendation and I was just curious what you thought about the two? Thanks,

Sandy - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Sandy, the Polaris UltraWeld quote is very good, as well as the Polaris Thermal Weld for $7000. Soft-lite is an excellent brand of window and door, but not the Barrington model. The Polaris (either one of these models) is the much better value of the two options.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2019

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Soft-Lite Bainbridge Windows Reviews And Prices

The Soft-Lite Bainbridge window is basically an upgrade of the Barrington, the Bainbridge exterior looks a little nicer and it has some different features. The balance cover and exterior screen track are an improvement over the Barrington and it is reinforced in the sash rail. I would give the Soft-Lite Bainbridge Window a 4.2 out of 5 stars rating.

Tim - Site Editor

Soft Lite Bainbrigde vs Window World Series 4000

Hi there, we are looking to replace our windows and are comparing the soft lite bainbrigde vs window World Series 4000

I just dont know which is better, and really how much better and is it worth by an xtra 7000?

Thank u for your help,

Angelica - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Angelica, the Soft-Lite Bainbridge is the much better window over the WW4000 series. But...$7,000 better -- that isn't clear to me. How many windows are we talking about -- I would get two more bids to have a more complete picture...

Recommended Windows List
[Email for his recommendations]

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

Softlite Bainbridge vs Sunrise Windows

Replacing a ton of windows down here and have two options. Either Sunrise or Soft-lite Bainbridge.

It looks like the Sunrise is the better of the two but is also $5K more.

Sunrise u.24, shgc .21, vt.48, ai.03., cr.47

Soft-lite u.26, shgc .19, vt.45, ai .06, .cr 60

Tray - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Tray, you're correct that the Sunrise is the better of the two, although I am surprised how close the numbers are. The frame on the Sunrise is better than the Soft-Lite Bainbridge and long term it will hold up better. Installation is going to be important so make sure whoever does it has a good reputation.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Soft-Lite Bainbridge vs Okna 500 Window

We got quotes on the Okna 500 with the deluxe glass. The dealer said to expect u.25, sghc.27, vt.49, and cr .62. How does this window compare to the Soft-Lite Bainbridge>

Ted - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Ted, the Okna Insultec 500 is the better of these two windows. The Bainbridge is good for an entry level window, but the Okna 500 is great. Long term, the Okna is going to serve you much better than the Bainbridge.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Soft-Lite Bainbridge Window Prices

I've received bids for the following for 11 double hung windows in Kansas City Missouri, replacing original wood windows in a 1919 built house. All prices include installation and include lead abatement.

Soft-Lite Elements (company 2) - $9,640
Soft-Lite Bainbridge (company 2) - $7,245
Soft-Lite Imperial LS (company 1) - $6,910
Soft-Lite Bainbridge (company 1) - $5,335

It seems to me look company 1 has a pretty fair price for both bids based on the Bainbridge difference. Also, company 1 did not try to hard sell like company 2 did. I feel very comfortable with company 1 as well since they offer a lifetime warranty on the installation, use own installers, have a great reputation in KC.

I'm inclined to go with the bid for the Imperial LS and skip the hassle of taking more bids from companies that I think would try to get more money for less window.

Does that seem crazy? Thanks for your help!

Lee - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Lee, assuming that you feel comfortable with company 1's installation (and obviously you do), I completely agree that the best option in the Soft-Lite Imperial LS at the $6910. I also agree that your search is over. The Soft-Lite Imperial LS vinyl window is one of my favorite!

Tim - Site Editor - from 2016

Bainbridge vs Ideal 5000

I'm looking for info on the SoftLite Bainbridge and Ideal 5000 Series. Any input?

Richard - Contractor - from 2010

[Contractor Response]

I don't know a lot about the Ideal Windows, it isn't something I see much. The Bainbridge is pretty solid, they have good numbers and Soft-Lite stands behind everything they make.

Wayne - Contractor - from 2010

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Soft-Lite Windows Reviews :: Classic Series

The Classic series has been around for quite some time, along with the Pro, and comes standard with some nice features and options. It would top my list for a good quality upper mid range vinyl window. Many dealers and distributors carry the Classic and Pro series, as opposed to the Imperial LS and Element series, due to the lower price point.

Performance wise, the Soft-Lite Classic series is a quality unit with an air infiltration of 0.08 in the double hung. Compare this to the Soft-Lite Element with an AI of .02.
I would give the Soft-Lite Classic Window a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating.

Dane - Site Editor

Soft Lite Classic Plus vs Restorations

WOW…thanks for all that info…that was very helpful. After I sent you the email, I called the manufacturer and spoke to a great rep that gave me more info. She would not quote ANY prices or differences in prices, but she did suggest that I call another rep - about 1 1/2 hours away.

I called the other rep just to talk and ask some questions. Turns out their installer lives in NJ and was willing to make the trip to our house. Luckily I had all the measurements and I sent that over to them, and they sent me a quote…and you can’t imagine the price difference on the classic plus model windows. It was $4200 less than the elements, and over $2000 less than the Barrington quote. That make no sense.

I didn’t mention the other installer/window company, but the new company guessed and knew exactly who it was. Apparently they have a reputation of the hard pressure sell…and that is exactly what they tried to do with us. I knew there was a problem and just not comfortable. The 1st company wouldn’t give me anything in writing…it was all verbal.

I think I am go to go with the Soft-lite Classic Plus…let me know what you think of that one???

Thanks again for your help

Lisa - Homeowner - from 2024

[Site Editor's Answer]

I definitely like the Soft-Lite Classic series. I great medium option between the the Essentials and the Restorations...

Dane - Site Editor - from 2024

Soft-Lite Windows reviews

I have three quotes from reputable installers with excellent reviews. Two are local and one is national (Zen). I'm trying to determine which brand is the best of the three. Softlite seems to have a ton of complaints regarding their warranty handling. Also broken seals with mold. Sunrise, which generally has good reviews, was bought by MI which are low quality. I'm having a hard time finding reviews for the basic Sunrise. I'm having a hard time finding things on KHPP Ascent line (all I see is Genesis). I'm going to ask all the installers how they handle warranty claims as that is one of my biggest concerns.

I was hoping for thoughts/opinions on these to make a proper assessment.

I have requested all installers quote me middle of the road windows (no cheap stuff but my house doesn't need the most expensive either). Double hung, no grids, black exterior/white interior (yes, I know that costs more). 11 windows total. I'm not necessarily put off by cost, it is what it is. I just want to be sure I get windows what aren't bad and I will get help if there's a warranty issue.

Sunrise (local installer): $12,450
KHPP Ascent (local installer): $10,922 (KHPP Windows Reviews)
Softlite Classic (ZEN Windows): $9,484

Rachel - Homeowner - from 2023

[Site Editor's Answer]

Rachel, the SL Classic is a nice option and since it is the least expensive bid and the reviews are good, I think this is the option I would go with...KHPP does make a good window but I'm always a bit worried that they're not going to be around in 20 years when something might go wrong with the windows. I really don't get that sense with Zen -- I think they are a solid outfit and that price is really good as well...

Dane - Site Editor - from 2023

Softlite's Classic Plus Price Quote

Hello Tim. Appreciate your information at For Pittsburgh, PA 15219; kindly assess whether the following is a fair price and value for installation of Softlite's Classic Plus. Labor Costs For Installing Replacement Windows

TOTAL: 15 Softlite's Classic Plus Line windows at $13,120.00, which includes:

Grid Top Sash x 3 ($120)
Tempered glass x 3 ($270)
Exterior color option ($2050)
EPA lead installation fee ($750)
Dump Fee ($75)

Itemized list:
13 Double Hung, 0-99ui
$650.00 x 13.00 = $8,450.00
1 Awning Window, 50-59ui
$695.00 x 1.00 = $695.00
1 Casement Window, 0-59ui
$710.00 x 1.00 = $710.00

Thank you for your assessment.

WR - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

WR, that breakdown looks quite fair to me, given all of the "extras" you have. Normally those exterior colors can run even higher than what you are looking at. The Soft-Lite Classic Plus is quite a nice window and yes the price seems fair. Assuming the installation company has good to stellar reviews/ratings, I would say you would be well served.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2022

Soft Lite vs. Pella 250 Series

Confused which is the better quote for a patio door and a a rather large XOX sliding window. The job has lots of work that needs to be done but both installers come well regarded.

Soft Lite Classic Series Bid: $7,895
Pella 250 Series: $6,405


Peter - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Peter, of the two bids, I would go with the Soft-Lite if you are looking for long term value, i.e. you are planning to be in your home long term.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Soft-Lite Classic Pricing

Hey Tim, I just got a quote on 10 Softlite Classic casement windows white inside and out. The windows are 24x40. The quote was $720 per window which is higher than what I've seen on your site, but I know casements are typically more expensive. Would you say this is a good price considering the installation company has good reviews?

Todd - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Hi Todd, the $720 per window is a bit higher than I would like to see, but is certainly not out of the range of fair pricing. Casements do run a bit more than other window styles, but those aren't particularly large windows either. The only way to truly know whether you are getting a decent deal or not is to get a few more bids. But in general I'd say the bid is towards the top of the fair range.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2019

Soft-Lite Classic Features

I had the Soft-Lite rep come out this week. He seemed very knowledgeable and was wholly non-pushy, which I really appreciated. His company has repped Soft-Lite and in the past Sunrise. His models were the Elements and the Soft-Lite Classic, albeit a beefed-up version with a stainless spacer and the combined tilt latch/lock hardware. He said his Classic was essentially the same if not better quality than the Imperial LS for a lower price.

When I raised concerns regarding the stainless spacer versus a warm edge spacer, he explained that the real issue with the stainless spacers arose several years ago when companies were running their metallic low-e coating all the way to the edge of their IGU, where it could make contact with the metallic spacer, causing some problems. SoftLite does an "edge differentiation" where they coat their glazing with the silver low-e and then grind off the coating about 1/2 inch away from the edges of the windows. In other words, he is not worried about the stainless spacer. I haven't asked yet about whether they use a butyl or other material edger or any dessicant along with the spacer.

Does that sounds familiar/reasonable?

Neil - Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

Neil, all of his information sounds right. I like the idea of the beefed up Classic option -- I think you have a good option there!

Dane - Website Editor - from 2018

Soft-Lite Classic vs Alside Messo

Dane, is the Soft-lite classic or alside messo window better? I have quotes on each both, with the Mezzo $550 more. Champion gave me a bid, but its $2K more than the Mezzo.

Mike - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Hi Mike, the Soft-Lite Classic is better than both the Champion window and the Mezzo. How nice is that?

Tim - Site Editor - from 2017

Soft-Lite Classic Zen Windows

I just received a quote of $12,900 for 20 Soft-Lite windows, the model is Nirvana (Classic) with half grid. Is this price reasonable? I am located in 02184, MA. This price include 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

Soft-Lite Classic vs. Sunrise Verde

I have 2 estimates for 1 XO window and 2 sliding patio doors (non standard sizes). It’s between either the Softlite Classic window and Kingroyal sliders or the Sunrise Verde for window and doors. The price quote is identical.

Mag - Homeowner - from 2015

[Contractor Response]

Mag, those are both very good options. I’m not even are I can really say one is better than the other. At this point, I would shift from whatever differences there are between your windows and doors and concentrate on the different companies who will be doing the work for you. Check the online reviews to see who has the better reputation etc.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2015

Soft-Lite Classic Windows

I got a quote for Soft-Lite Classic windows. The Great Lakes windows are the Seabrook (?) model, which the dealer calls the 6000. The Vista windows are not the Panorama, but are the the lowest level either. The Soft-Lite quote is between the other two, but I've been reading better reviews for Soft-Lite. Vista is about $15,000, Soft-Lite $18,000 and Great Lakes $22,000 for 36 windows. Thoughts? Thanks!

Sunny - Homeowner - from 2015

[Site Editor's Response]

Sunny, I think the answer is very clear in this case. I would go with the Soft-Lite bid, certainly over the more expensive Great Lakes bid. I think it's a no-brainer to go with the Soft-Lite over the Vista Panorama at that price, let alone their mid range vinyl window.

The only question left is whether you feel that the installation from the Soft-Lite dealer is going to be of good quality. If so, I think you've definitely got your winner. Soft-Lite has one of the best reputations in the industry and I think you will be happy for years to come.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2015

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Soft-Lite Pro Windows Reviews And Prices

The Soft-Lite Pro is quite a nice mid-priced vinyl window. The Pro model comes with double strength glass, double weatherstripping, a Super Spacer and a foam filled frame. The frame is strong and the screen has a better locking mechanism, plus the rails are reinforced and the balance cover is much better than on their lower end models. The Pro uses an aluminum reinforcement in its meeting rail (not as strong as the Imperial LS or Elements, but still nice).

Performance wise, consumers can expect a 0.07 AI, U-factor of 0.28 and DP50, making it more energy efficient than a lot of competitors. Industry guru like the Imperial LS better than the Pro, but the Pro does have a thinner frame, and therefore a larger glass area, which most homeowners like. All in all, a very solid vinyl window that should be well priced.
I would give the Soft-Lite Pro Window a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating.

Dane - Site Editor

Softlite Pro Series Cost

Hi Dane, I really appreciate the reply! Prior to reaching out to you, I had a couple of bids come in. 8 windows. Sliders. Two 56W"x56H and six 46"W*56H.Replacing them with dual sliders. White interior/Black Exterior.Full Tear Needed. I live in MN.

Great Lakes EcoSmart. Triple Pane. $19.6K.

Alside Mezzo. Double pane (Climatech Plus Elite). Free option upgrade to triple pane (the TG2 Elite) if I want it. $16K

Soft-Lite Pro Series (Lotus Zen Windows) Double Pane. $16K

Imperial LS: $23K. Though that was a one-time offer. I had to buy on the spot to get an additional 10% off. Was this a total rip off?

Set up a meeting to talk over Provia Endure on Monday

Set up a meeting to look at SL Elements on Tuesday.

All installers seem to have good reviews. Warranty's are all very similar.

How do you think I am sitting so far? These full tears seem really expensive.

And, lets just say all else being equal, what would the Endures and Elements have to come in at to be a contender?

Been pretty exhausting researching all of these options!

Do you need specs? I can provide what I know so far but you may already be aware of what they are...

Thank you so much for your time helping out. Is there anything else I can provide to help you help me?

Tim - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Tim, no I don't really need the specs -- I go more off of how all the bids compare to each other more than anything else -- they're all bidding on the same project. I'm going to more or less assume that all of the install companies are equal, but definitely google "[company name] reviews" and see what comes up on the different sites for a kind of aggregate rating on each.

And you are correct that full tear outs are expensive. Part of the reason is that the company gives you the bid, but doesn't really know what they're going to find when they remove your old windows. You're kind of hedging their bets...

So the Zen Minneapolis branch has excellent reviews and the SL Pro is a good to very good window. I'd put it a small notch below the ProVia Endure and then below the SL Elements, which is one of the best vinyl windows on the market. So that bid would be my top pick by quite a bit as it's the lowest and combines a company with great reviews with a very good window. That's tough to beat.

However, if this is your forever home, it is not unreasonable to want a top tier window like the ProVia Endure or Elements. If those bids come in at like $18K to $19K, I would strongly consider the upgrade -- higher than $19K and I might pass. I think that's probably my make or break point...

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

Soft Lite Pro vs. Wincore 5400 Series

Hi Dane, I'm installing new windows in my home and I've narrowed the choice down to Wincore 5400 versus Soft Lite Pro. Which brand would you recommend?

Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond.


Glenn - Homeowner - from 2021

[Site Editor's Answer]

Hi Glenn, my pick would be the Soft-Lite Pro without any hesitation. This is the better of the two windows by a fair amount in my estimation. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Dane - Site Editor - from 2021

Soft-lite Pro Double Pane

I want to replace my Andersen Permashield “C55” Bow window. (it is 35 years old)

It is approx. 10 feet wide with 5 sashes – each sash is approx. 55 inches high and 20 inches wide.

These are the total replacement costs including installation for Soft-lite double and triple pane in 2 different models.

There should be no major issues with the house structure so there should not be any issues with the framing structure.

Can you tell me if these quotes are a good replacement price/value.

I am leaning towards the Imperial LS Ultimate with triple pane glass with all foam super spacers/SB70XL and a Low-e coating/double strength glass/Krypton/ and super seat for $8,385

Five Lite Bow (Dual Pane)
Imperial LS/Ultimate$7,112
Pro/Elite: $6,758

Double Casement (Dual Pane)
Imperial LS/Ultimate $1,536
Pro/Elite: $1,461

Thanks for your review!

Ron - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Ron, it's very tough to give you an assessment of a price quote for a bow window. The more complicated the window, like a bow or bay, the more pricing will vary amongst installers. I always advise consumers to get four or five bids on these to see how much they vary. Some companies don't do a lot of them (or don't like to) so they throw out high numbers to see if you will bite.

The double casement seems a bit high to me. Not totally high, but a bit, depending on the lineal foot of the unit.

I agree that the LS cost upgrade is worth the move from the Pro/Elite.

I'd get a few more bids and see what other options are out there. Assuming you like the Soft-Lite the best, you can always take a lower price bid back to them and see if they will match it.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2020

Soft-Lite Pro Series Quote

These are my finalists of six bids. Would like to see which you like most. "best and final" pricing I've received:

Okna 500 Series: $20,380
Soft-Lite Pro Series: $21,280
Okna 600 Series: $21,340
Soft-Lite Imperial LS Series: $22,540

Brian - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Brian, this would be my order, although each of these windows is quite good.

Okna 600, Soft-Lite Imperial, Okna 500, and Soft-Lite Pro.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2019

Soft Lite Pro vs. Zen Lotus

Hello, I am in the market to replace 28 windows. I currently have 1972 vintage Rimco insulated wood windows with 4 newer Anderson 400 windows mixed in. A lot of the Rimco glass panes have been replaced about 7 years ago but the windows feel drafty when cold and I am looking for better noise reduction properties. I have gotten a quote from Zan Windows for the Lotus Triple Pane windows and was quoted $575 per window.

I know that the Lotus is the Soft Lite pro, which is a decent window, but I am curious on what I am losing out on by a not going with a company that has the LS series. Also, I have 2 large windows in the garage and 5 that face out into a sunroom with more modern windows. Do I need triple pane units there or can I save some money with double pane? Will there be a noticeable difference in appearance if seen side by side? I also have been talking with Rosario Windows, but right now I am leaning towards Zen.

Any help would be appreciated.

Kevin - Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

Kevin, the Soft-Lite Pro is indeed a good window -- with a low-e glass you can expect a .07 air infiltration, .28 U-factor, .29 SHGC, and .53 VT rating. The Imperial LS is a step up for sure and with a low-e glass, you can expect a .02 air infiltration, 0.28 U-factor, 0.23 SHGC, and a 0.44 VT.

The AI figure is the one that is most significant and is an overall barometer of the quality of a window. The Pro is good (basically its an older model, but many consumers really like it), the Imperial LS is great. I would think though that a triple pane Soft-Lite Pro would have numbers in this range. $575 per window is a great price for that by the way.

It certainly can't hurt to get the bid on the Imperial LS if there is a dealer in your area. Otherwise, I would say go with the Lotus Triple Pane.

Regarding triple and double pane, it really depends on where you live. Colder climates can require a triple pane for the increased energy efficiency. I would just be wary about large span windows with the triple pane. You just want to make sure that the frame can handle the extra weight. My notion is you aren't going to have a problem with a Soft-Lite window, but still ask if this is the case on any.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

[Kevin's reply]

Thanks, Dane. I appreciate to the response. I live in Columbus, Ohio. I was also wondering how they would insulate and gaps around the window frame with spray foam if they are not taking to whole unit out, like in a full window installation.

Kevin - Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

You should be able to get a bid from Okna, Soft-Lite and Sunrise in Columbus.

It all depends on how they cut the existing window out. They might just use some low expanding foam if there is enough room. Often the replacement window fits in with virtually no room for insulation — just ask each company that comes out how they would handle this — after a few bids, you'll get a consensus for how they will handle it on your project.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Soft-lite Pro Pricing

Hi Tim my name is tom just got a bid on soft pro for 14 replacement windows for a flat $9900.00 Is this high?

Tim- Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

Typically, I would estimate the Soft-Lite Pro in the $400 to $650 price range, depending on project details, installation requirements, frame and sill work, exterior wrapping etc. There is obviously a huge price range based on the many factors that can drive the price up or down. Your $714 per window sounds high to me, it's what I would estimate for the very best Soft-Lite window in the Elements or the Imperial LS. The Pro is their mid range model and a good window, but not their best by any means.

Get a few more bids. See if there is a local dealer in your area from Okna, Sunrise, Polaris, Zen, or even Wincore. Shoot me the bids and I'll give you my two cents.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Soft-lite Pro vs. Zen Lotus

Is the Soft-lite Elements the same window as the Zen Lotus? I'm confused. All I can figure out is that the Soft-lite Classic is the Zen Nirvanna. Apparently we have Zen in Austin, Texas, not Soft-lite. Would you go with the Nirvana or get the equivalent to the Soft-lite Elements if I can find it? Thanks!! Jan in Texas

Jan - Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

Jan, Zen Windows sell three models, the Karma, Nirvana, and the Lotus. These are relabeled Soft-Lite Bainbridge, Classic, and Pro Series. So the Lotus is the Soft-Lite Pro.

The Bainbridge uses a more narrow frame than the other two models and isn't the vinyl window I would recommend for most homeowners looking to maximize their long term investment.

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.

While the Elements would definitely be my choice, if it isn’t available, then there is little you can do. I think the Soft-Lite Pro model is quite good and I would have it in my house.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Soft-Lite Pro vs Affinity Elite

We have a home in North Carolina and definitely need to replace the existing windows. I have an installer who I trust and have been looking at the Soft-Light Pro or the Affinity Elite.

Cynthia - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Cindy, I was under the impression that the Affinity Elite was no longer available. If your contractor could get his hands on the Soft-Lite Pro, I would consider this to be a great option. Most companies don’t sell outside of their dealer network. Alpen may sell you a window and they make great windows. Maybe Okna, but I donbt it. Andersen sells their windows in the Big Box stores so that could be an option.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2016

Soft-Lite Pro vs. Vista Energy Xtreme Windows

I have been given quotes for both vista-energy xtreme triple pane windows and softlite pro double pane windows - all double hung windows. They are about equal in cost (around $500 a window) and both are installed by reputable companies by in-house installers. I am trying to decide which one to choose. Any recommendation would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Hali - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Hi Hali, both of these windows are quite good. I like the Soft-Lite Pro a bit better over the Vista Energy Xtreme. That's a good price you got and I LOVE the fact that you are getting solid installation, this is an important part of the process.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Soft-Lite Windows vs Andersen

I'm buying a new home and can’t decide between Andersen and a Soft-Lite Pro window. I can get Soft-Lite Pro windows at cost, $600 for 19 windows for $6000. Several people I know though say Andersen is better and offers a better warranty.

Jordie - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Jordie, the Soft-Lite Pro would be the much better way to go, both for the energy efficiency aspect as well as the long term viability fo these windows. Andersen makes a great wood clad window, but they are more expensive, require more maintenance and don’t last as long. The warranty on the Soft-Lite Pro is going to be lifetime, while the warranty on the Andersen is going to be 20 years. Basically, in the battle of Soft-Lite Windows vs Andersen, the Soft-Lite Pro is the way to go.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Soft Lite Pro Double Hung Windows

Hey Tim, I just got a quote for soft lite pro double hung windows. The estimate that I got was pretty low. It was around $325 per window. Can you give me any idea on what an average price for a Soft Lite pro window cost. The installer has a small crew and I was thinking his overhead might not be as high, hence the very good price! Thanks,

Chris - Homeowner - from 2015

[Site Editor's Response]

Chris, I can't give you an average price, because typically the cost is based on how large or small the window opening. However, if you are talking about a normal sized window, say 28"W by 28"H or anything larger than this, I would say this is an excellent price. Assuming the installers do a good job, you are getting a very fair deal on a quality vinyl window.

Low per window costs can be the result of several factors; you said it perfectly, small time operator with low overhead, or he gets a good price on this quality, but older, window that isn't as popular because the design isn't as new as the Restorations, or he needs the business, etc.

There are lots of reasons, I would just be wary that the installation is going to be good. If the guy has good references and history, then go for it! Let me know how it turns out!

Tim - Site Editor - from 2015

Soft-Lite Pro vs. Simonton 5300 Series

Hi guys, I need some advice on two bids I have. The first is on Soft-Lite Pro Series vs. the Simonton 5300 or the 5500 series. I have 8 double hungs and am in St. Louis area.

Simonton 5300 Bid: $2800

Simonton 5500 Series $3700

Soft-lite Pro-LS: $4600

Len- Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Answer]

Len, I like either the Simonton 5500 or Soft-Lite Pro. I’m not sure if the Pro is worth $900 more. It’s close but I can’t say for sure. If it were me, I’d pay the extra and go with the Soft-Lite, but I tend to have a soft spot for their windows and doors. Very solid.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Soft-Lite Pro vs Bainbridge

SoftLite redesigned the Classic and Pro series a few years back, and they are really similar to the Bainbridge in terms of quality. Personally, I really like the Bainbridge. It's better than the ones you usually find in big box stores, but they are an affordable window and not too hard to install. It also has a thinner frame, which is nice for smaller openings when you want to maximize light.

Jeff - Installer - from 2010

[Contractor Response]

I like the Pro, it has double strength glass and a Super Spacer that isn't metal. It has a very traditional design, while the Bainbridge has rounded edges for a little bit different look. Both have foam filling, the Bainbridge also has a foam insert and the Classic and Pro use injections. But they are very close to the same window, pretty much the same features and everything.

Mike - Contractor - from 2010

Softlite Pro vs LS Model

The Softlite Imperial Pro and LS are very different but some people think they're the same thing. The Pro is a solid window, but it isn't as good as the LS. Their numbers are pretty close, but the LS is a better quality, with higher manufacturing standards and better performance over time. I just did a job that put LS on the main part of the house and Pros on the garage and basement, it's a good way to save some money. The Pro is a good option for garages. A while ago they switched to a different extruding manufacturer and ever since there have been a lot of problems. They don't calibrate their machines right sometimes & the window width gets off a touch. I'd go with the LS, they don't have any real problems.

Mike - Contractor - from 2011

Connect with Local Window Companies

Top Of Page ˆ

Soft-Lite Windows Reviews :: Imperial LS Series

The Imperial LS series is one of the two top-of-the-line windows from Soft-Lite and considered a great vinyl window. The company spent lots of money on research and development, and the result was the Imperial LS and Elements series. The Imperial LS 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 infiltration number, along with a VT of .34, U factor of .19, and SHGC of .18. A very impressive vinyl window and definitely on my top ten list. I would give the Soft-Lite Imperial LS Window a 4.9 out of 5 stars rating.

Dane - Site Editor

Imperial LS vs Nirvana

This is for 25 windows and a sliding door. I don't think they offered/mentioned the soft-lite as an option unless they have rebranded that as their Nirvana and the imperial elite are now their lotus line.

The imperial elite are $31.5k

The Nirvana (possibly soft-lite rebranded) are $25.5k

Bluebird Anilin Catalina are $27.7k

They also offered Sunrise Restorations for over $50k

JDI amerimax craftsman portrait are $24.5k

I'm leaning towards the imperial elite as long as their install looks good, but just wanted to confirm that decision with someone experienced.

Emily - Homeowner - from 2023

[Site Editor's Answer]

Emily, I think you are correct in saying that the Anlin Catalina U value (and window) are just a bit better than the Amerimax (you didn't mention which series they quoted you on, but the Craftsman Portrait is their most popular series and I will assumer it is this). In general, both of these windows are considered quite good. I did a google search for bluebird windows reviews and jdi windows reviews -- it looks like both of these companies have stellar reviews so that is fantastic! That's half the battle right there. The price difference is right where I'd expect it to be, so the windows are kind of a coin flip.

If you need a tie breaker, I often use "how long do I intend to live here?" If the answer is 10 plus, I go with the slightly better slightly more expensive window. Under 10 years and I go with the less expensive window.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2023

Imperial LS vs ProVia Endure

I also wanted to say thank you for your site all of your posts. It's been very helpful in my window replacement search, you are doing amazing things. My question was should I go with the provia or the soft lite windows? Does it really make a difference long term for the price difference?

Chris - Homeowner - from 2023

[Site Editor's Answer]

Chris, I would say the ProVia Endure is nearly as good as the Soft-Lite Imperial LS — not as good as the SL Elements — but better than the SL Classic — and maybe slightly better than the SL Pro series. This is where that series ranks as it relates to the Soft-Lite line up.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2023

Platinum LS Cost Bid vs. Sunrise

Hi Dane, thanks for the reply. I've got three quotes on some good windows from Softlite and Sunrise. Here are the windows I'm replacing:

2 x 23x58 Single Casement
1 x 23x58 Picture
1 x 28x61 Single Casement
3 x 80x48 Triple Casement
1 x 23x22 Awning
1 x 28x24 Awning
7 x 28x53 Single Casement
1 x 18x26 Single Casement
3 x 29x45 Single Casement
2 x 24x23 Awning

Here are the quotes:

Zen Windows Nirvana (Soft-Lite Classic Plus): $31,300

Window Nation (Soft-Lite Imperial LS (they also call it "Platinum LS)): $34,750

EarthSmart Remodeling (Sunrise): $33,675

What do you think? Is there anything in particular I should ask the installers?

Jamie - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Jamie, if it's just the windows we're talking about, I would say they get ranked like this: the Imperial LS, Sunrise, then the Soft-Lite Classic Nirvana. But all of these windows are good.

The installation companies seem to go in the exact opposite order. Zen seems to get excellent reviews, EarthSmart Remodeling seems like they get okay reviews, and the Window Nation seems to be good someplace like Homeadvisor and poor on yelp. I might advise to go with the Zen but upgrade to their Lotus or Pro option -- assuming this puts it in the Sunrise price point.

I always think it's risky going with a company that has poor reviews out there as I assume that's the kind of service I will receive.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

Soft-Lite Imperial LS From Window Nation

Windows Nation Quote - 

Window quoted : Softlite Imperial LS

26 windows before discounting: $85,514

buy 2, get 2 discount: $64,135

If I had signed today other discounts got me to $44,500

Seems extremely expensive - they are using trim coil over my sill's etc...

Appreciate the feedback... 

Mark - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Very expensive — my suggestion is to collect 4 bids total — then send the summations my way and we can whittle them down to the best one…

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

Soft-Lite Imperial Elite Reviews

Hello from SE Wisconsin, we are looking to replace 7 casement windows.

Three are single casements 30" W. x 50" H.

Four are double casements, one is 48" W. x 32" H., two are 58" W. x 50" H. and the largest is 62" W. x 57" H.

We are looking to upgrade colors: an interior woodgrain color and sure-coat exterior color. Selections would be from their palette offerings.

We received a quote on Softlite Imperial Elite full replacement windows which includes new interior and exterior trim for $20,000. Is this a fair price?

Really appreciate your website. Thanks much!

Mike - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Mike, this strikes me as very high. 30% of that upgrade cost is for the interior wood grain and sure coat, but I definitely think you need more bids to compare this to…

Recommended Windows List
[Email for his recommendations]

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

Soft-Lite Imperial Elite

Looking at getting these replacement windows in my house in Central Texas with the Solar Low-E glass double pane w/ stainless steel spacers. Wanted to know your thoughts on this window ? Let me know if you have a better suggestion for my area.


Ken - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Ken, the Soft-Lite Imperial Elite is an excellent window and one that I didn’t think was available in Texas. Do you mind telling me who the company is that reps the Soft-Lite brand?

If this were my project, I would strongly consider using this window if the price is right. Here are some additional suggestions…

Recommended Windows List
[Email for his recommendations]

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

[Ken's Reply]

Hi Dane, Rep is Universal Windows Direct in Waco Texas he said he was one of the only companies authorized in this area.

No Grids
1 large half moon
2 small half moon
2 single hung eyebrow (garage)
1 small picture non functional window (guest bath) obscured
2 small eyebrow picture windows
8 double hung
1 operational both part slider
1 tempered glass (over master tub per code)

Here is the Softlite Imperial Elite quoted for $12,028.00 what do you think ?? Hope to hear back from you today as Rep is coming to the house tonight with a softlite sample window so I can take a look at it.


Ken - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Ken, that looks like a very fair quote to me based on today's prices. Universal Windows Direct in Waco Texas gets excellent reviews so I think this is a real winner!

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

Soft-Lite Imperial Elite vs. Provia Endure

Well Dane we are comparing 2 brands of windows. Just moved into a new house and to our surprise we need to replace 19 windows. So we have estimates on 2 brands and need help deciding. First one is Softlite imperial elite. It is solar low-energy double pane w/stainless steel spacer.

The other choice is Provia endure Dla-uv alsoa doublepane window. I would appreciate a professional who knows the windows ins and outs and which is a better window. Quotes are a $3000.00 different. Thanks for your time and look forward to hearing from you!!

Marc - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Marc, that is a major bummer that you need to replace all of those windows, but if you do it right the first time, you won't have to deal with this again for decades to come. Lucky for you, you have two excellent options. My first choice would be the Soft-Lite Imperial Elite option -- it really is an elite window. The Provia Endure is excellent as well, but not quite as good as the Soft-Lite option.

I'm not sure which is $3K more, but the Imperial Elite is worth that extra cost in my opinion, especially if you plan to be in the home long term. If your timeline is 8 years or under, I would simply go with the less expensive option as the ROI woulnd't be worth the extra cost.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

Soft-Lite Imperial Elite Window In Omaha

Hi Dane! Welp, it happened again. Dang junk folder. 🙄 I don’t actually know how to make that stop happening. Ok so no results from filling out the form, but I did finally get a couple results from google searching! Here’s where we sit right now:

So we live in northeast Nebraska, pretty much on the moon apparently when it comes to window replacement, lol.

I did have to ‘fire’ North Country Home and Bath out of Lincoln. They were my first bid with the Sunrise windows and I think they would have gotten my business but they kept wanting to reschedule coming out to measure. That made me super nervous for what might happen AFTER they had my money, you know what I mean?

I did make contact with Wacker Home Improvement out of Norfolk (about 1.5 hours away). He said we were on the edge of where they would usually come, but he would probably do it, it was just that his secretary was out on medical leave and he wasn’t sure when he would be able to get up to assess everything. Nice guy though. They sell the Provia Endure.

I also visited with Discount Windows and Doors out of Omaha (3-ish hours away) and at first he said no they don’t come that far, but when he heard it was 30 windows, he said he would leave it up to his crew and if they wanted to do it, he would be fine with it. He was super nice, and basically said he doesn’t usually send them out that far because he likes them to have a good work/life balance, but it would be their choice. He called me back later and said they had said they would do it.

He said he would put me in the Soft-Lite Imperial Elite window- and we talked a while about the window and it’s features, time to order (12 weeks right now) and install process (would be Jan so we talked about weather conditions, etc.).

He was able to estimate a price of $33,500 over the phone, and was honest with me about the fact that he added $1000 to the price he would charge a customer in Omaha or surrounding due to the fact that he will have to send a man out to measure and then have to put his crew up in a hotel for probably 4 days or so. I did appreciate that honesty.

A piece of irony: he asked if I had contacted his sisters company in Lincoln- North Country Windows and Bath. Ha! I told him that ship had sailed. He just mentioned that they run their businesses differently. 😃 He also encouraged me to look up his website and all sources of reviews- and emphasized that customer service is his top priority.

So…… I’m supposed to call him back today- leaning that direction but of course hopeful for your input. I’ll watch this dang junk folder like a hawk. 😃😃😃

Thanks so much!!

Sheila - Homeowner - from 2021

[Site Editor's Answer]

Hi Sheila, I have had that exact same experience with certain emails going into the junk or spam folder. I checked quickly on Wacker and they seem to get okay reviews, although the number of reviews was low enough that they might be just fine. The fact that they sell the ProVia Endure, which is an excellent windows, makes me want to give them a free pass (or at least see what their offer comes in at…)

However, Discount Windows and Doors of Omaha has a fantastic reputation and reviews, plus they offer the Soft-Lite Imperial Elite, which is one of the best vinyl windows on the market. I know it’s a lot of money, but getting a top quality company (again, based on online reviews) that sells an excellent product is worth paying a premium for…if you plan to be in your home for quite a while.

I am actually filing this information away for the next consumer who lives in your area. Please let me know how the bids go!

Dane - Site Editor - from 2021

Soft-lite Imperial LS

Dear Dane, last year, we bought 12 Soft-lite Imperial LS window​s and have been very pleased. We now want to buy 9 more (the name has been changed to Imperial Elite).

The standard spacer on the Imperial LS last year was the Intercept, which we upgraded to the Super Spacer. The standard on the Imperial Elite is now the MagnaSeal, described as "a thin wall spacer designed with bent corners to create an impermeable metal barrier that resists condensation and increases durability." The dealer describes the MagnaSeal as "a stainless steel u-shaped spacer with a moisture reducing desiccant."

Soft-lite no longer offers an upgrade to the Super Spacer on the Imperial. In fact, the MagnaSeal now seems to be the spacer they use in all their product lines except the Elements.

My question: Do you know anything about the MagnaSeal spacer? Who makes it, how well it works, or how long it's been around?

Many thanks.

Mike - Homeowner - from 2021

[Site Editor's Answer]

Michael, yes I remember. I'm glad that the Soft-Lite Imperial window is working out well for you. Such a good window. I know the MagnaSeal is used by a number of window manufacturers. I know that it is a good spacer system and equal to what else is out there. (In my opinion, the technology/material composition isn't all that complex.) Beyond that, I don't know much more.

I tend not to get into the ultra fine details of window part construction. My focus is always on how to help consumers get the best prices, which is an entirely different kettle of fish. I think you are better than fine going with the Soft-Lite again.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2021

Softlite Imperial LS Windows

Hello Dane, I just signed a contract with a local construction company. They offer Softlite windows. Our contract is for Softlite Imperial LS windows. The salesman discussed the long lead time for the Softlite windows which is about 8 to 10 weeks. We still decided to go with them because we felt the window had superior value for the price. The salesman stated the company was in talks with ProVia to start offering their windows because they are comparable windows but he did not have a lot more information on the ProVia windows at the time.

Today I got a call from the project manager. He needed to schedule the final measurement. He is coming Monday the 21 to do the measurement. He also spoke to me about another option for windows and stated they are also offering the ProVia Endure for the same price. He told me usually the ProVia is a little more expensive but to help customers out they are offering them for the same price and the company is eating the cost. The lead time on the ProVia is only 5 to 6 weeks.

The time for the windows is not a big factor for us. My question is which window is better. Both are with the supper spacer low e foam filled sash and reinforced sash where they meet.

Please let me know your opinion. Thank you for your time.

Frank - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Frank, these are both excellent windows. However, in my opinion, the Soft-Lite Imperial LS is the better window. I'm going to include a link from another forum that addresses this very question and I think it's instructive to see the back and forth from a number of window insiders.

The lead time is tough delay is tough to swallow, but I do think the LS is the better way to go.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Softlite Imperial Elite

Hi, Dane, I have really enjoyed finding your site and learning about windows and doors. I have a small cabin (900sq.ft) that sits on a small lake near Omaha, Nebraska. My husband and I built the cabin in 1977 and installed aluminum sliders and a 12 ft patio door. It is time to replace. I have four bids for three 3x4 casements, one 3x3 casement and the 12 ft sliding door.

Sunrise Restoration is $10,500 full replacement

Provia Endure is $7,483 full replacement

Sunrise standard $6,600 full replacement (I understand it would be the better patio door as in the restoration, I'm told they only make one)

Softlite imperial elite ( insert, not full replacement) Kingsroyal patio door $7,450 plus $300 for brickmold

Like to get your opinion. Installation seems to have similar reviews. Will try to get some references. Thanks for your help.

Craig - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Craig, you have some excellent products to choose from in this foursome. They are all top contenders so I would turn to price to make my judgements.

Therefore, I would put them in this order Softlite imperial elite at $7750 at the top, followed by the Provia Endure at $7483, and then Sunrise standard at $6,600.

For me, the installation company would be a big factor, but it sounds like they all have solid records.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2020

Soft Lite Imperial Elite

Hello, I have been going thru the process for selecting new vinyl windows for my home. What a time consuming and educational process it has been. I have learned a lot from the Sales Reps and from the Owners of these companies, Plus from your website. I probably would not be close to the end of this project without your website. So a Hardy Thank You!

I would like to get your final input on the final bids.

There are 26 windows to replace in this 23 year old home which has vinyl windows made by MI out of Ohio. They are single hung windows. Seals are broken and stress cracks along with some leakage issues.

The cost of replacing these windows is higher than I thought it would ever be. The first quotes were from Champion at 38,000 and then WestShore Homes at 43,000. The Westshore was fiberglass windows as compared to the Champion vinyl windows. Both of those bids blew my socks off!

From those first two quotes I have had 7 other companies out to take a look and get quotes. In addition to the windows being replaced, I have Plantation Shutters to be removed and replaced. I do not want to have to replace these shutters because of the new windows. Plus I am replacing 3 sets of shutters on the outside of the home and installing new pediments over two front windows.

I am down to Soft Lite Imperial Elite bid of 25,126, $966 a window. The window has changed from the Imperial to the Elite from Soft Lite per the salesperson. I can move down to the Barrington and save 70 dollars a window. Taking the final quote to 22,710, $873 a window. The Imperial was the window I liked the most. The Installer has a good reputation, not stellar but good.

I also got a bid for Okna window 600 series as new construction with window fins. He has gotten his bid down to 23,000, or 884 a window. This window like the Imperial I like a lot, don't love the window design with the beveled exterior curves. This company has a Great reputation in Raleigh/Durham.

I would get two more Okna Quotes for the new construction Insul-Tec or 500 series. These have the Deluxe Energy Saving Package. The best of these is coming in at 19851 or 763 a window. I like some of the 600 window features better, but this bid is the best by far. I have met the owner and they also have a Great reputation. I feel good about pulling the trigger on this one.

I got a bid for the Simonton Reflections Classic for 20600, or 792 a window. Met the owner and he also has a very solid reputation. I do not like the window as much as the Okna or Soft-Lite.

I wanted to get some quotes from companies other than Okna, and was trying to find another Soft-Lite dealer where just maybe the prices would be better. Enter Zen windows with the best quote of all at 18,080, or 695 per window. The catch is this is not a Soft-Lite window, but a Alside Nirvanna window, made for ZEN. I like the features, but its Alside that has too many poor reviews out there. What is the Industry opinion of Alside? Plus while I like the no salesperson visit, I cannot get any sort of feel for the owner and the installers. A easy process, but too many unknowns to say yes to.

If someone wants to press the Easy Button, Zen is the way to go......but too many unknowns for me.

And last in my search and is most likely the second choice, It's Sunrise Standard Single hung window with their Omega 12 glass package. This is prized at 22,400 or 861 a window. Initially I was presented their Restoration window, double hung and that was coming out to about 27,000 which was way to high for my taste. I am fine with a single hung window, we don't open our windows that much, and the Plantation Shutters do not allow the window to be opened to be cleaned. Maybe the new ones will, but can't bet on that. This company also has a great reputation in Raleigh.

So in summary I like the Okna 500 quote at 19851 and the Sunrise quote at 22400. In third would be the Okna 600 quote at 23,000.

What do you think of these 3 bids and the quality of the window?

Is there anything else I should be looking at or be concerned with?

Once again TY for any input and for your website.

Jim - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Jim, you have been very exhaustive in your research and analysis. This is one of those test cases for why you should get lots of bids—insane prices differences. I agree wholeheartedly with your top three bids. I forget which window Alside uses with Zen, but they can't compete with a quality window like the Soft-Lite Classic or Pro series.

Many industry insiders think that the Alside Mezzo or Berkshire Elite series uses a frame that is "flimsy" and doesn't hold up as well as other windows over time. It tends to be a well priced window, but not necessarily a good long term value window. I think it has it's place in the market, but I just don't think that place is in the homes of consumers who are looking to maximize their long term investment. I mention the Mezzo model for its popularity amongst the fleet of Alside products.

So...getting back to your bids, I would put them in the exact order you did...

Okna 500 DX quote at $763

Sunrise Imperial Elite quote at $792

Okna 600 quote at $884

These are quite good prices for new construction installation. Either of the first two are great windows and it sounds like the companies have very solid reputations. The Okna 500 DX is the better window over the Sunrise, but again, both are very good.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Soft-Light Imperial LS

Dane, where I live, Soft-Light dealers all carry the Imperial LS rather than the Elements. One dealer told me that the Imperial LS frame (which tends to be thick) was recently redesigned to look like (or maybe be identical to) the Elements frame. Have you heard or seen anything to verify that? Thanks.

Mike - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Mike, I hadn't heard that but I will reach out to my Soft-Lite contact. If the reps are saying that the Imperial LS design was changed to better matched the Elements, I'm assuming they aren't lying. Either of these windows is excellent though -- in my top ten vinyl windows for sure!

Dane - Website Editor - from 2020

Soft-Lite Imperial LS Notes

Dane, Thank you. Let me know what you find out. We had several Soft-Lite Imperial LS double-hung windows installed recently. We used the advice on your website to identify a quality brand and a good installer. Windows look great, and installers seemed to be very meticulous. We're now looking to get some more windows replaced. We are considering Soft-Lite again but also looking at Okna. These windows stained wood trim, so it may come down to which brand can best match the existing wood grain color.

I found the answer to my question. Soft-Lite has not made any major changes to the Imperial LS except changing its name to Imperial Elite—and they have added standard lifetime glass breakage coverage and standard flex-screen.

Dane, Based on advice from your website, we looked at double-hung windows from Okna, Sunrise, Soft-Lite, and ProVia. All had advantages. The decision came down to the strength of the vinyl (the openings are very large), the woodgrain color (small detail, but we're trying to match our trim as closely as possible), and the reputation of the local dealer/installer. Again, thanks for providing such a useful resource. Never imagined I’d learn so much about vinyl windows.

Mike - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Dane - Website Editor - from 2020

Softlite Imperial LS Price Quote

Hi Tim and Dane, I received the following window quote for Softlite Imperial LS. It is for 11 double hung windows with free triple pane upgrade. The quote was $7760 or $705 per window avg. is this a good price? If not what is a more reasonable price for this brand I should negotiate for? I am located in Wisconsin.

I appreciate your website and look forward to your feedback.

John - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Jon, the Softlite Imperial LS is one of the very best vinyl windows on the market. $705 per window is a fair price for the windows and installation. I'd be happy with that price if it were my project.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs. Champion 365 Comfort

Dane I was hoping to get your thoughts on my current replacement window project. Home was built in 2006 and I purchased it in 2014. Current window quality is very poor so looking for replacement windows. 22 double hung with 1 semi circle. I am looking at middle to high grade for the long haul. I live in East Tennessee, with very warm to hot summers/fall, rainy springs and mild to moderate winters.

Due to the small town I live, there are limited dealers for certain brands. I have no experience with replacement windows other than the reviews I found. I would like to get your take on the following window quotes. Your assistance is greatly appreciated plus I will feel more confident with the final decision.

Simonton 6500 - (Home Depot) - $21,284.50

Champion 365 Comfort - (Champion) - $25,854.00

Atrium 3900 - (Lowe's private label) $14,711.00 - with no semi circle window

Soft-Lite Imperial LS (Local Dealer) - $19,000.00

Sunrise Restoration (Hullco - Regional Dealer) - $22,890.00

Terry - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Terry, the local dealer offering the Soft-Lite Imperial LS for $19K is the best deal BY FAR. The next best one is the Sunrise Restorations for $23K. Both of these windows are excellent, much better than anything else on that list. Either of these would be my selections by a landslide!

Dane - Website Editor - from 2020

[Terry's Reply]

A quick follow-up question. Based on your reviews I felt it would be between Sunrise and Soft-Lite. I live on the lake so the view especially in the rear of the home is important. Does the amount of viewing glass of the Sunrise and the Imperial differ very much? I noticed the Sunrise has a slim design. Probably not $4K difference but thought I would ask. Lastly, you provide an invaluable service for those like me who have no experience relating to windows. Thanks so much!

Terry - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Terry, the Sunrise Restorations does have a slightly slimmer frame than the Imperial LS, but I don't know the difference off hand. It's one of the real strong points of this window and one that consumers really like-understandably.

You could call both companies and have them measure the glass area of a similar sized window.

Whether its work the 4 grand is a tough decision. I would call up the Sunrise dealer and tell him if he could match your Soft-Lite Imperial LS quote, then you are ready to sign a work order...interesting to see if he comes off that price some...I think he would depending on his job load, which given all the craziness in the country right now might work.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2020

Soft-Lite Windows Series Explanation

Dane, I’m shopping for vinyl windows and find your website extremely informative. Thanks!

In looking at Soft-lite windows, I’m confused about where their various product lines rank in terms of quality/price. How would you rank the following: Classic, Elements, Imperial LS, Pro?

Is there such a thing as a premium quality custom single-hung vinyl replacement window? All the single-hung windows I've found shopping online seem to be entry level. I really don"t need or want double-hung, but that seems to be the only option from the companies that make premiere windows.

Mike - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Mike, in order from low end to premium, this is the Soft-Lite line up. Barrington Series, Bainbridge Series, Classic Series, Pro Series, Imperial LS Series, Elements Series.

The first two are lower end, the second two are mid range, and the last two are their premium window lines.

As for single hung windows, there are some good single hung windows out there, but for the most part, you are correct that they tend to be entry level. I don't get it either because single hung windows do a good job providing both ventilation and energy efficiency. PGT makes a good single hung and Sunrise should offer a single hung in their standard or classic model.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2020

[Mike's Reply]

Dane, many thanks! I’ve really learned a lot from your website. Yes, single-hung and non-tilt make sense to us. They are more air tight and have fewer moving parts to break. Also, we hire someone once a year to wash our outside window, so the tilt feature doesn’t matter.

Mike - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Mike, I agree, find a well made single hung and go for it! Best of luck on your upcoming project...

Dane - Website Editor - from 2020

[Mike's Reply]

Hi Dane, we have 13 windows to replace in a 100-year-old house. We'd love to go with wood to preserve the original look but can’t afford it. The bids were outrageous, but thank god we found your Soft-Lite Windows reviews page. Lifeline!

We plan to be in the house maybe 10 more years.

The windows are large and all double hung:
—9 are 76 “ tall x 36” wide.
—1 is 76” tall x 57” wide
—3 are 62” tall by 25” wide

I have a quote for Soft-Light Imperial LS pocket replacements, with Duraguard Super Spacers and double-paned low-e glass. Four of the largest windows have vertical grids in the upper panes to match the existing windows.

The window company has an outstanding reputation—in-house certified installers, in business for decades, and top ratings on Angie’s List. Besides the Soft-Lite lifetime warranty, the company also has a lifetime installation warranty.

The quote for interior/exterior white vinyl is $9,950. If we want the exterior vinyl to be a different color (Soft-Lite applies a PCV Bond Color at the factory), the price goes up to $12,615.

Are these reasonable quotes given the quality and size of the windows?

(We also got a quote for Simonton Vantage Pointe 6500 windows but it was $17,000, which seems way out of line. We have another company coming to bid Simonton Reflection 5500 windows and expect that bid to be lower.)

Mike - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Mike the Soft-Lite quote on the Imperial LS for $9,950 is decent; those are large windows. The Imperial LS is an excellent vinyl window.

The Simonton VantagePointe is way out of line and goes to prove how widely window quotes and quality vary.

The Simonton Reflection 5500 is the better window over the VantagePointe, but is not as good as the Imperial LS. One is a good viny window and the other is a great vinyl window.

Good price on the Soft-Lite, but if it were me, I'd use the Simonton Reflection 5500 bid to see if you can lower that price down to find the dealer's floor price. I'd say that I have a bid that's $1500 lower on the Simonton Reflection 5500 (at the top of your budget) and ask if there is any way to get the Soft-Lite quote more in line with this one. Then give him a few days and see if he moves on the price. Always worth a shot!

Dane - Website Editor - from 2020

Soft-lite Imperial LS Project Quote

Hey there, we have this big project and two bids that I'm looking at -- the house has 57 double hungs, five eyebrow windows, two quarter round windows, six picture windows, three garage doors, two sliding doors, two french doors, and 2 side entry doors.

Okna 500 deluxe (Okna Elegante Doors): $70k
Soft-lite Imperial LS (Windows and Doors): $72

Robert - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Robert, those are both good bids for so many windows, doors, and garages. Also both excellent windows and doors. Honestly, its a toss up in my book. I'd select the company with the best reputation and customer service myself.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2019

Softlites Platinum LS STC Rating

Hi Dane, I am trying to find the STC ratings for Softlites Platinum LS. I can not find any real numbers. Can you help. I am trying to get a window that will cut out some of the outside noise. I have read that having the laminated glass on the outside is helpful, but can't find much info.


Eileen- Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Eileen, I sent you the wrong email response, I just got another one on soundproofing, so that was the confusion. Some of what I wrote applies to you.

Make sure glass pane thickness is dissimilar with the laminate and the outside pane. The different glass thicknesses will block out different sounds and usually lower sounds like loud trucks etc.

Glass will only do so much when it comes to soundproofing. The biggest thing is the gap distance between the two glass panes.

In terms of STC of the Soft-Lite Imperial LS, I don’t have that info. You could call up Soft-Lite and ask them. I think a well made vinyl window, with laminated glass, and dissimilar window pane thicknesses should block out lots of noise.

The only other option is to go with a full soundproofing window like the Milgard Quietline, but this will be more like $2K per window. I’m not sure it’s worth it.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2019

Soft-Lite Imperial LS or Provia Endure

We're replacing two sliding basement windows, medium sized I'd say. We are debating between the Soft-lite Imperial LS and the Provia Endure. The costs are roughly identical. same, as well as the warranty info on each. I'm leaning towards the Provia Endure only because it seems to have the thinner frame and a bit more glass. However, I like the Soft-lite Imperial LS because of their interior vinyl wood color, which I like more. Any opinions on this "dilemma?"

Matt - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Matt, you have a good problem because both of these vinyl windows are excellent. The Soft-lite Imperial LS is the better window over the Provia Endure, but not by much. As I said, both are excellent. The Imperial LS does have the slightly thicker frame, but also better energy efficiency numbers and the better interior wood laminate options. If it were me, I'd go with the Imperial LS. However, I would take a hard look at the installation company as well. This would be an important part of my equation.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2019

Soft Lite Imperial LS vs. Simonton 5500

Hey fellas, thanks for the reply. So, considering our frames are in good shape, we’ve gotten estimates on a few different replacement products and would like your opinion.

28 windows, price is with install

Gentek Signature Elite 3000 DH - $345 ea - $9600

Simonton 5500 Reflections - $470 ea - $13100

Harvey Classic - $480 ea - $13440

Soft Lite Imperial LS - $580 ea - $16240

Thanks in advance!

Wayne - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Wayne, I must say you have very good price points on all of the windows listed. The Soft Lite Imperial LS is one of the very best windows on the market. Personally, I would spend the $580 per window and go with the very best -- these can easily go for $700 per window.

The Simonton 5500 Reflections and Harvey Classic are also great deals at $480 each. I would opt for the Simonton 5500 Reflections over the Harvey Classic at this price point. The Gentek Signature Elite 3000 DH is a mid range window that is very well priced at $345.

You have some great options here! I would make my choice based on how long I'm going to be in the home. If you're looking to move in 5 years, I'd probably do the Gentek Signature Elite. If it was forever home, I'd go with the Soft Lite Imperial LS.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2019

Soft Lite Imperial LS vs. OKNA 500

I have 25 windows and a patio door that I'm replacing. My two top quotes include the Okna 500 from a HiMark dealer and a Soft-lite Imperial LS quote from one of their dealers.

OKNA 500 Series: $21000 windows, $3100 on patio door

Soft Lite Imperial LS: $18,900 windows, $2500 patio door (triple pane)

Any opinions between these two quotes.

Kylie - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Kylie, not the cheapest quotes are they? I definitely like the Soft-Lite quote over the Okna quote. I'd suggest finding a couple more quotes to use as comparisons. So far though, that Soft-Lite is the clear winner. I must say HiMark does have nice good quality controls for their installers.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2019

Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs. Hayfield 201 Durawood

We replacing 2 medium sized sliders for our basement. We got a for a Hayfield Durawood 201 double slider. I really like the wood colors they offer.

The other is the Soft-Lite Imperial LS, which is a nice window, but I don't love the wood colors they offer. Should I be worried about the wood lasting?

Matt - Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

Matt, the Hayfield Dura Wood is actually a wood laminate, meaning it's not real wood. Assuming you like the look, then that's great because the wood laminates deliver good performance and are much cheaper. Personally, I like the Soft-Lite Imperial LS over the Hayfield but I do understand the wood species issue. That one is kind of a personal issue.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2018

[Matt's Reply]

Thank You Tim! I'm going with the imperial LS. Now I have to decide if I want a pocket or full replacement. I have talked to a lot of people including big companies. None of them have seen what I have. I have poured concrete walls and they poured the concrete around the frame of the window. Going with Omaha door and window (very big company). They are sending there 3rd guy (there top guy) next week to look at it. Matt - Homeowner - from 2018


Matt - Homeowner - from 2018

Soft Lite Imperial LS vs. Revere Berkshire Elite

Replacing 32 windows, most double hung. Considering 3 bids:

Soft Lite Imperial LS at $22k

Slocomb 177 at $21 k

Revere Berkshire Elite @ $16k

U-F, SHGC, VT and CR numbers are similar.

Soft Lite and Slocumb are local install with supplemental warranty and service, Revere is through Internet with manufacturer installers which may not be bad but little more of risk with after sale service.

Do you think Berk Elite Window is acceptable? Is Imperial worth the extra cost?

Thank you for needed advise.

Mark - Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

Mark, the Soft Lite Imperial LS is one of the best windows out there. The Revere Berkshire Elite is a mid range vinyl window and the Imperial LS is a great vinyl window. The price point, or price difference, is such that I can't say one way or another. I actually think that's a pretty good price on the Imperial LS. If you could get the Imperial LS down to $21K, it would sway my mind. Otherwise, the Berkshire Elite is probably fine -- it would sort of depend on the severity of the winters and summers in your area.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2018

SoftLite Imperial LS Double vs. Triple Pane

Dear Tim, I had a nice visit today with Sherrie from Colorado Classics Exteriors. She is the wife of the owner, which I like. She has offered the SoftLite Imperial LS for double pane for $2779 for the four windows, and the triple pane with Solar Ultra for $3,484. Given your praise for the Imperial LS I am inclined to go with them. Stellar reputation, friendliest price of the three, and personal service.

Now it comes to double vs triple. I am not concerned with losing heat in the winter, but I am concerned with gaining heat in the summer. Reduced condensation may also be a factor, as I have a humidifier on the furnace and keep our humidity at 40% or higher. Three of the windows face east and are on the second floor.

Lewis - Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

Lewis, I tend to think that the SoftLite Imperial LS double pane is good for most homes and the triple pane is nice, but not necessary. The triple pane is going to be more energy efficient, but the SHGC numbers on the window is going to tell you how much heat comes through in the summer. Personally, I think you are good with the double unless you don't care about the added cost of the triple.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Connect with Local Window Companies

Soft-Lite Casements vs. Sunrise

I need to decide between Soft-Lite or Sunrise casements. They both seem like very good windows so I don’t know which to go with.

Tom - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Both Soft-Lite and Sunrise have good casements. I would give the edge to Soft-Lite but it totally depends on which window series you are being sold. Pound for pound, probably Soft-Lite, but Sunrise is a very quality operation.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2017

[Tom's Reply]

It ‘s the Soft Lite Imperial LS casements or the Sunrise Classic. Does this make a difference?

Tom - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Tom, this only makes the solution that much easier. The Soft-Lite Imperial LS by a mile.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2017

Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs. Elements

I am looking for a durable easy to operate double hung window 69h x 36w and trying to decide between soft lite ls imperial and elements and between double versus triple pane. I don't have a noise issue. I do rely on the windows for light. I want to keep cold out in winter and humidity out in summer. My place is in shade. What are your recommendations? Also what do you think of soft lite as compared to others for energy efficiency, durability and ease of operation? Thanks.

Forgot to ask what is meant by soft lite having a thicker frame? What impact does this have e.g. loss of light? Should I be concerned? Is ls imperial a thinner profile than the elements or vice versa?

Julia - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Julia, there is not a huge difference between the Soft-Lite Imperial LS and the Elements. Both of these windows are excellent, two of the best vinyl windows you could hope for. In terms of a thicker frame, it's not an overly thick window in my opinion. I think the Elements is the slightly nicer looking window.

Make sure you take a look at it before you buy. Compare it to the other window brands the dealer carries in order to know what you're getting in terms of overall thickness.

To give you some perspective, in Europe, their windows are way thicker than ours, which cuts down on the glass area, but makes for a much more energy efficient window.

I think the Soft-Lite Imperial LS and the Elements gets it just right. You really can't do better than these two.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2017

Soft-lite Imperial LS vs. Okna 500

I’m having some trouble comparing the Okna 500, Vytex Grandview and the Soft-lite Imperial LS. This is on 16 windows:

Okna 500 DS: $523 each

Soft-lite Imperial LS: $531 each

Vytex Grandview: $470 each

Sandy - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Sandy, the Soft-lite Imperial LS and Okna 500 DS are the two best and you definitely have great quotes on both. They are a much better value than the Vytex Grandview. The Soft-lite Imperial LS is the one I would go with first, then the Okna 500. I would look at the installers to make my decision between the two.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2017

Imperial LS And Platinum Series

Hi, I’m a new home owner. I bought an older cap code house, it’s about 85 years old. It currently has these 40 year old aluminum windows that don’t seem very energy efficient. I got three quotes but from different installers on replacing all the windows, but they seemed to very quite a bit. I think after doing some research online I’ve narrowed it down to using Window Nation to install their version of Soft Lite’s Imperial LS and Platinum LS series.

Window Nation’s quote was for five casement windows (18” x 48”) as Imperial LS, one double hung window (32” x 45”) as a Platinum LS (triple panel upgrade from the Imperial LS) and one picture window (91” x 48”) with sliders as a Platinum LS. I added having colonial grids to the windows. The total quote was $5,800. Does that price seem reasonable for the quality of window that I’m getting? I plan on living in this house a minimum of 7 years or longer. I want a windows that will last.

Any advice would be great. Thanks!

Ernie- Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Ernie, the Soft-Lite Imperial LS and Platinum LS are excellent vinyl windows, two of the best out there. $5800 seems a bit high on the surface, but I have no idea how much work is involved putting them in and taking out your existing windows, etc.

How does the bid compare with the others you've received? Can you call the Window Nation rep and use a lower bid to get to his lowest price? Tell him you REALLY want to go with his company, but the price is out of your budget and if there was anyway to get that price close to the (fill in existing bid from another company), then I'm ready to sign on the dotted line.

Then give it a few days and wait. See if he gets back to you with a better price. You can always call him up after three days and go with him.

You are getting a good window with the Soft-Lite Imperial LS that should last for a good 20 years assuming the installation is done properly.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2017

Imperial LS vs Custom Window Systems 8000

I am replacing my windows in St Petersburg, FL (central, coastal Florida). I am planning on going with non-impact windows, and after getting 11 quotes (don't believe anybody who tells you to get only 2 or 3: this does NOT apply to Florida. I am SO GLAD I got all those quotes) I narrowed it down to 2. One is proposing Custom Window Systems 8000 series for about 5.5k for 9 windows, and the other would install softlite Imperial LS for 6.7k. I know that the softlite are among the best vinyl windows.

How does the CWS compare, and is the softlite worth the extra 20% all other things being equal?

Or is softlite more of a cold climate window?

I am having a hard time finding any solid review on CWS non-impact windows. (I am only looking at non-impact).

Damien - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Damien, 11 quotes, wow, I am impressed you had the fortitude to sit through all of that. You have selected two great companies, just goes to prove what hard work and research get you. Undoubtedly, the Soft-Lite Imperial LS is a great vinyl window, but CWS makes a very good window as well. I don't think Soft-Lite is more of a cold climate window, I just think the factory is located in a cold climate. I do kind of like the idea of getting windows from a factory in the state in which you live, but I'm not sure there is anything really rational in the thought, I think it just gives me a piece of mind for some reason.

$125 more per window for the SL…that's a tough question, I think it's right there on the borderline whether that's worth it or not. It's a coin flip from my perspective, I would need to see more specifics in the quotes to tip it one way of the other.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Soft Lite Imperial LS vs Okna 400

I’ve narrowed my choices down to Soft Lite Inperial LS and the Okna 400 series. We are replacing piecemeal and our windows are very large. Okna 400 is coming in at $840 and a Soft Lite Imperial LS is $1050 a window (tempered glass on all). The Soft Lite seems nicer, but is also lots more.

Tracy - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Tracy, the Soft Lite Imperial is much better than the Okna 400 window. The 400 is the entry level from Okna but is stil good. The Imperial LS is lots better and may be worth the extra $200 per window. That’s quite a bit though and I’m not certain how much more I would pay for the Imperial LS. I think its your call…or use the quality of the company doing the install as the deciding factor.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Imperial LS vs Berkshire Elite

Can anyone compare or contrast the Soft-Lite Imperial LS, Pro, and Elements lines? I have a quote from an installer I like for 13 Imperial LS windows for $7000. I like the look of the Pro window, but he does not offer it. I am wondering if I should go with the LS. From another installer that I don't like as much, I have quotes for Berkshire Elite for 7450, and the Vista Panorama for 6735. Thank you.

Lynn - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Lynn, the Imperial LS from Soft-Lite is an excellent window, one of the very best on the market. The Pro is a very good window, but the LS is the better of the two. The Berkshire Elite and the Vista Panorama don't even compare. The price you were quoted is excellent as well.

I rarely get to write that it sounds like you got a great deal out of the gates (assuming professional and competent installation). Good luck!

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Softlite Imperial Spacer Issue

I bought 10 of the Soft-Lite Imperial LS windows. I noticed that the "superspacer" (the grey plastic looking spacer in between the glass) is uneven on most of the windows. On several windows, this plastic strip curves up on the ends. On two of my windows the end protrudes down slightly into the glass portion. I also notified the installer about this issue in case they actually fall off or protrude any further. I e-mailed the company but I have not received a response yet. On the positive side, the windows looks very stylish. My only concern is the durability of the superspacer and the "lack of quality control" image that they give off.

Paul - Homeowner - From 2014

Soft-Lite Imperial LS Window Review

I've looked at so many windows I'm sick of them. I have 16 windows to replace and I've managed to narrow it down to the Okna 500 Insul-Tec and Softlite Imperial LS. The quotes I got were $9680 for the Oknas and $9920 for Softlites. Any opinions on which is better?

Rob - Homeowner - from 2012

[Contractor Response]

They are both great options that will last a long time. With a fairly close match I would probably let the installer be the deciding factor. Either window should last a long time and not give you any problems.

Daniel - Contractor - from 2012

[2nd Response]

Both of them are great choices. The Softlite is always a good deal, they're a good company and have some good options, I really like their Edgetech Super Spacer. They are also simple to reglaze if you need it. The Oknas are also really good, reliable and nice. I'd pick the one whose installer you like best.

Matt - Contractor - from 2012

Soft-Lite Imperial LS vs ProVia Integra 300

I'm trying to decide between Provia Integra 300 and Softlite Imperial LS. The Softlite seems sturdier and seems to fit the frame better, but the bid is $650 more. That isn't a huge amount, but are they worth that much more? The Integra has a double compartment in the sill, but I don't know if that really cuts down on drafts or just makes it harder to clean.

Sam - Homeowner - from 2010

[Contractor Response]

You should take a look at the Softlite Elements. I like it a little more than the LS. The ProVia is good too and you should be happy with either one.

Harry - Contractor - from 2010

[Contractor Response]

I really like ProVias doors. I haven't used their windows but the company is reliable. As far as Softlites go, I think you can never go wrong with any of their windows. The price difference is hard to determine, $650 is nothing if you're ordering 30 windows and it's a whole lot if you're only getting 2. I don't know the specs on the Integra, but I think it's NFRC certified and qualifies for tax credits, if you get the low-e and super spacer package.

Will - Contractor - from 2010

Imperial LS vs Vanguard vs Energex

I think the Energex units are right up there with the Sunrise Vanguard, as well as the Okna and Soft-Lite brand (of course it really depends what series/model we are comparing). Each window offers some nice unique features that will fit different consumers needs. The Sunrise has a nice slim profile so if maximizing window glass is important, I'd go with this one. The Soft-Lite Imperial LS offers great value from a company that has been around a long time and is super well regarded in the industry. If you are willing to go with a newcomer and new product that looks good but lacks much in the way of real world data (and will save you money because of it), then the Energex is your go to choice.

Thomas - Contractor - from 2010

Imperial LS vs Gorell 5300

I need some advice on choosing a window. I'm looking at Softlite Imperial LS and the Gorell 5100 and 5300. Both with double glass, low-e coating, argon filled. Which is better? I'm waiting for final quotes on both of them, but I need to know the differences in quality.

Zed - Homeowner - from 2010

[Contractor Response]

I think both of these are good windows, you should be happy with either one. Look into the installers, and if one seems better I'd go with that one. If they seem equal then just go for whichever is cheaper. They are both good, and if the installation and price are comparable then just pick one.

Steven - Contractor - from 2010

Connect with Local Window Companies

Top Of Page ˆ

Soft-Lite Elements Windows Reviews And Prices

The Soft-Lite Elements window is a premium window and considered a small step up from the Imperial LS. The Elements come with an upgraded spacer, the non-metal Edgetech, which is an optional upgrade on the LS. The Elements double hung also has a tilt that works with the locking mechanism that allow you to tilt the sashes for easier cleaning. The bead and cove design, although not noticeable from the street, looks great from close up.

An accidental glass breakage warranty and Better View Screen, options on the LS, both come standard on the Elements. The windows boasts incredible performance numbers - AI of 0.01 - 0.02 and U-factor of 0.19 - it is definitely one of the top windows on the market.
I would give the Soft-Lite Elements Window a 5 out of 5 stars rating.

Tim - Site Editor

Soft-Lite Elements Pricing

Dane: we are replacing 11 total windows on front of house. 4 Casement windows (two 80-89 ui, two 90-99 iu), 6 Casement Picture Windows (two 0-59 ui, One 70-79 ui, two 90-99 ui, one 100-109 ui), 1 Half-Round Top Window (80-89 ui). At least 3 side by side windows need sills replaced as well as side trim from wood rot.

Zen Windows: $9,460. Soft-Lite Classic Plus Line. Wood Rot repair not included, and they do not include exterior wraps. Est $60 to $215 per window for wood rot. Lifetime transferable warranty for labor, materials, hardware, glass and screens.

Blue Springs Siding and Windows (only other Soft-Lite dealer). $11,585. Soft-Lite Elements Line. Includes "Full View" glass whatever that means. Includes replacing the sills and vertical trim boards on the 3 windows with visible wood rot and exterior wraps. Includes lifetime, non-prorated, transferable warranty from Soft-Lite and Lifetime workmanship warranty on all their services. They consider it 10 windows as bedroom is "double casement" counting as one window.

Energy Pro Windows and Siding. $9250. Joyce Trinity Pro Series. Includes wood rot on the 3 windows with visible rot. Lifetime transferrable warranty on windows, and 10 year free service and install warranty. My neighbor has these windows from Energy Pro on the front of his house and they look very nice.

Windura. $17429. Marvin Essential Fiberglass Windows. Wood rot not included. 2 year installation warranty. Marvin Limited Warranty on Windows. This bid included only 2 casements, the other 9 fixed windows. Would be more if change two of the fixed to casement like the above bids.

Johnson County Siding and Windows. They use Provia Windows as only vinyl option. I think they offer lifetime warranty. Getting bid tomorrow but think they will be higher, btw, your Soft-Lite Windows reviews have been so instructive. Thanks.

I think I will go with one of the top 3 unless Johnson County Siding and Windows comes in with great offer, but I think they will likely be higher. I think Provia makes a good window but not sure how compares with Soft-Lite.

FYI. All these windows are for front of house. We replaced 36 windows on sides and back in 2014 with all fixed picture windows being Andersen Fibrex, and all operating windows being Marvin Wood-Ultrex (wood inside and fiberglass outside). I always thought vinyl windows were cheap. It is funny that I am now looking mostly at vinyl for the front of the house as the other options are now so expensive. I have also learned that what gives vinyl such a bad reputation does not really apply to good vinyl windows available today. The only thing is you can't really paint them. Do you think it is worth it to go with fiberglass or fibrex over vinyl, especially since it is front of house?

Thank you so much for your input. It is awesome that you are willing to help people with this as it can be very confusing.

Mike - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Mike, I can't tell the difference myself between a vinyl and fiberglass window so I don't think visually it makes a difference -- that's for the material not the window design -- the profile and looks can vary widely. Now if you really like the look of the Marvin over the Soft-Lite Elements for instance then that is something you have to weigh in your decision. Vinyl vs Fiberglass Windows

If this were my project, I would go with the Soft-Lite Elements Line for $11,585. The Elements is one of the best vinyl windows on the market hands down. It think it's worth the upgrade cost over the Soft-Lite Classic Plus -- the only mitigating factor here is that Zen has such great reviews....

The Blue Springs Siding and Windows reviews are quite good, but not great from what I could see on google so I would just ask to get their best installation crew and see what they say. I use a line like "my wife is super super picky when it comes to these projects so it has to be down perfectly the first time or she will be calling weekly." Something that tells them you're the squeaky wheel...

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

Softlite vs Pella 250

I have been reading through the extensive input at your online forum. I may have additional questions for you but for now...may I please know your recommended list for windows ( and patio doors) ? Realizing that we have an oversized door.

We received two quotes ( one for Softlite Elements and one for Pella 250). The issues with the first, though less expensive than the second, were 1) the sample window they showed had very visible diagonal weld seams or beading in the four corners. 2) they sent photos of some installations which did not look good and 3) the SoftLite patio door seemed very complex. The issue with second was price for the quality of the 250.

We were in process of receiving another quote but 1.) they say they quote SoftLite Classic Plus only and 2) they do not have the SoftLite patio door in 70 x 94.5 which is what we have here. We can't resolve with a transom in an HOA. community.

The next quote we will pursue is from a dealer who deals in Provia. They also deal in Lincoln, Norwood, Ideal windows, and Pella.

I am thinking of asking for either SoftLite windows with a Provia patio door ( if can find that installer) or Provia doors and windows.

What do you think of the Soft Lite Classic Plus?

Also what about Marvic windows? They are right up the road.

Carmella - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Carmella, for me the Soft-Lite Elements is one of the best windows on the market — head and shoulders over the Pella 250. The Soft-Lite Classic is the drop down window from the Elements — still a good window though.

ProVia makes a very good window in the Endure and one of the best doors on the market.

Marvin makes an excellent fiberglass window in the Marvin Elevate series — but fiberglass is going to run 30% more than vinyl.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

Soft-Lite Elements vs. Sunrise Vanguard

I did find a company who offers the Soft-Lite Elements window. It looks like they're offering triple pane, which I would imagine will put the price even higher than the Vanguard, but we'll see.

We plan to be in the house for another 5-10 years, but we'd like to rent it out versus selling it when the time comes. So it's not my forever home, but I do plan to own it long term. Do you recommend the Vanguard because of it's longevity, energy efficiency, or because it's a nicer product? If you expect it to last longer, then I will certainly factor that into my decision.

Mitchell - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Mitchell, the Sunrise Vanguard is just a well made window, one of the best. The Soft-Lite Elements is probably even better, one of my top five best vinyl windows around....but if it's a rental in 7 years, you could certainly get away with the Vinylmax Edison, a good window -- just not as good as the other two...

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

Soft-Lite Element Vinyl Window

Tom, thanks for your help. I have gotten on the sunrise site and they say they do not have a distributor in my area. Zip 75025. After reading your reviews, I was interested in them.

Candidly statewide is out because the representative was not someone I can see myself doing business with. So I will probably pass on them

And Kennington, which is top on your list.

I may have misspoke about Ecoview. They may use the NT windows made in Texas. I will review and ask them for more information.

My confusion is over the fiberglass frames and vinyl. These sales people tell me all the bad of the vinyl if they are selling fiberglass or a mixture which can contain 60% vinyl in the mixture.

I will share some of. My quotes with you shortly. I may work on getting a bid on the Zen windows.

I will pass on the WW windows even though that bid was shockingly low. 9,800

For 21 windows.

Scott - Homeowner - from 2021

[Site Editor's Answer]

Scott, here is my article on vinyl vs fiberglass. My take is that a high end vinyl window is the way to go over fiberglass (for the money). I think this opinion bears out when you compare say an Okna 800 or Soft-Lite Element to a Marvin Infinity. The vinyl windows outperform the Marvin by quite a lot.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2021

Soft-Lite Elements Compared to Window World

Hi Dane, are you familiar with Window World and the quality of their windows (window manufacturer is MI Windows in Lebanon, PA)? Pricing is similar to the Soft-Lite Elements. Love to hear your thoughts.


Chris - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Chris, WW (MI windows) makes and sells a low end vinyl window. Their premium windows are more like mid range vinyl windows. The Soft-Lite Elements is more or less the best of the best. I would strongly urge going with the Soft-Lite option over the WW option.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Soft-Lite Element Series Total

Hi guys, I tried to contact you via your site but was unable to get a response so I am hoping this email gets to you and you can provide some guidance on our window situation. We just bought a house in Haddonfield, New Jersey. It is over a 100 years old and most of the windows need to be replaced as they do not open and are not energy efficient. We bought our house for $900,000 and I’d say it is in the middle of value in the neighborhood.

We plan on staying for at least 7 years and would like the windows to be an asset when we ultimately do resell. Based on looking though your site we got quotes on 3 different windows to replace 22 Windows one of which is different than the others as well as 2 French doors.

Wincore 7700 Series Total: $19,122
Soft-Lite Element Series Total: $19,603
Okna 800 Series Total: $21,549

I am interested to get your thoughts.

Thanks in advance.

Chris - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Chris, the Soft-Lite Elements series is a fantastic vinyl window and is by far the best of the bunch. The Okna 800 bid is also very good, but you might as well save the $2,000. I would suggest you consider one more bid from an Ideal window dealer—this company is located in NJ and offers a very good window in the Majestic or Ultra-Tite series. Maybe not quite as good as the Soft-Lite Elements or Okna 800, but quite close.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Softlite Elements vs. MI 1600 Series Door

Hi, we have to replace 2 sliding patio doors. We have had 3 companies give us quotes but 2 of them sell an MI 1600 series door. The other is Softlite Elements.

We don’t see much about MI anywhere. Both quotes for Mi are higher than Softlite. We are considering Pella also. Which do you feel is better?

Thank you.

Molly - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Molly, the Softlite Elements is the MUCH better door over an MI 1600 series door. Frankly, I'm shocked that the Softlite Elements is less than the MI product. Total no brainer for me here -- the Soft-Lite all the way. The Soft-Lite is also much better than the Pella products.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2020

Soft-Lite Elements vs. Marvin Integrity

Hello, we're replacing our living room vinyl windows. Most are fixed windows, along with some specialty shaped windows as well. We have two bids thus far, either the Marvin Integrity (all-Ultrex) and Soft-Lite Elements. We plan to be in our home for a long time and want a window that is going to hold up over time.

The prices are very similar to one another. Which one would you suggest?

Thomas - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Hi Thomas, so between the Soft-Lite Elements and Marvin Integrity, my preference would be for the Soft-Lite option. The Elements is a great window. The Soft-Lite Marvin Integrity is a very good window, but it can't compete with the Elements, not many windows out there can.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2019

Soft-Lite Elements vs. Window Source 9000

We have narrowed our choices down to the Soft-Lite Elements and the Window Source 9000 model. We are replacing 1 double hung, 4 casements, 1 double hung, and 8 picture windows, as well as a 9' sliding patio door. Which is the better window and door in your opinion? Thank you so much for your time and effort on the site.

Lawrence - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Lawrence, while I've heard of Window Source, I haven't heard a lot. Soft-Lite, on the other hand, I hear about every week. They are a very good outfit and the Elements is one of the best models on the market.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2019

Soft-Lite Elements vs. Marvin Integrity all-Ultrex

Hello Tim & Dane, we are in the process of replacing vinyl windows in our living room. These are fixed windows. It’s an A-frame structure with 10 panels, 4 of which are 70”x70” squares. Those are the largest panels. The remainder are trapezoids, rectangles and triangles.

For this project, I have the option of going with Marvin Integrity all-Ultrex windows (20-year warranty, according to dealer) or Soft-Lite Elements windows (lifetime warranty, according to dealer). We are mainly interested in the long-term performance of the windows as opposed to the aesthetics and we plan to remain in this house for a long time.

Regardless of the price, in each of your opinion, which window should we go with and why?

Thank you very much.

Thomas - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Thomas, the Soft-Lite Elements windows is the better window in terms of fit, tolerance, and craftsmanship. This can be seen in the energy efficiency numbers, including the u-value, air infiltration, design pressure, etc. The Soft-Lite Elements is one of the best vinyl windows on the market. The Marvin Integrity all-Ultrex window is quite good, but it can't hold a candle to the Elements in my opinion.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2019

Soft-Lite Elements Bid

Hello Dane, I spent a good deal of time on your site, doing my own research, and checking local labor prices and it seems we must be the highest priced area in the country for replacement windows. We’ve been looking at a variety of vinyl casement windows. We want full-frame rather than inserts, although 4 of the windows will be inserts.

We’re looking at 13 windows, total for our 1970 rambler: 4 larger sliders on a 3-season porch (inserts), 2 skinny transom windows, one 1/3-1/3-1/3 kitchen window, a small bay window in the dining room, two larger ¼ - ½ - ¼ windows for master bedroom and living room, and 3 bedroom windows. All the bids came in around $2,000+ per window including labor. Here are some of the bids.

Zen Lotus - $34,2xx

Soft-Lite Imperial LS - $28,6xx

Soft-Lite Elements - $32,7xx

Richlin 500 series - $29,7xx

Sunrise Standard - $27,4xx

Ply-Gem Premium - $26,2xx

Was there some gigantic price rise at the start of 2019 that wasn’t advertised, or is the price fix in? Most places seem to talk about much less than $1,000 per window, including installation. Any comments or suggestions? Thank you. I love your site.

Rich - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Rich, did any of the bids give you window by window breakdowns of price. If so, take a look at the price of the bedroom windows, those sound like pretty typical replacement windows. That will tell you the normal per window cost.

Full frame replacement can be pricey, depending on how much work needs to be done to the frames and sills.

It sounds like your windows are more complicated by most. For instance, a Bay window can cost $2k to $3k without breaking a sweat.

You’re also getting bids on very good windows for the most part.

Normally if one or two bids are super expensive they are outliers. When you have five bids, then it’s probably the project itself.

For what it’s worth, the Softlite Elements LS is the best value bid of the bunch.

You may want to get a sort of mid range Simonton bid to see how this sort of “Everyman” window bid stacks up to what you have so far.

Dan - Site Editor - from 2019

[Rich's Reply]

Thanks for the quick reply. I did check the prices quoted for the bedroom windows - from $2,000 - $2,300 depending on the bid. I've read so many comments and replies on your site and another similar one about a variety of companies and series of windows. Even the ones with full frame casements, nothing even approached these bids. As far as I can tell from what these sales people are telling me, there is nothing exceptional about the installation. Everything can be done with two carpenters in two days. As for the bay window - try $5,000 - $7,000.

Yes, I get what you're saying about "Normally if one or two bids are super expensive they are outliers. When you have five bids, then it’s probably the project itself." That's my main comment about price fixing. How can almost all of the letters from around the country be $800 - $1000 per installed window (including full frame casements), and the Minneapolis-St. Paul are be twice as expensive? The materials certainly don't cost any more. Our labor costs can't possibly be that more, especially when rarely are the workers "employees". They are subs. Installers aren't making $100+ per hour.

We want good windows at a reasonable price. For some reason, this market is two times more expensive than the rest of the country. I don't understand.

Thank you.

Rich - Homeowner - from 2019

[Site Editor's Answer]

Have you tried looking on yelp or Angie’s list for window installers and calling them up and asking what they charge to install a normal sized retrofit window. I’d be curious if they said more than $150 for a normal replacement window. That’s sort of the going rate, even a bit high.

I only ask because you can go down to Home Depot and buy an Andersen 100 window for like $350. Not the best window out there, but not a bad window by any means.

That gets you to $500 installed for a decent enough composite framed window.

Dan - Site Editor - from 2019

Soft-Lite Elements

Dane, I need some direction. I should replace my Anderson wood windows, barely double pane windows original to my Cincinnati, OH, 1982 home as I notice some dampness in the more SW facing windows near the glass. They also create a lot of heat in the summer, and I’m sure AI in the winter. I’m looking to replace them with vinyl windows as my home is mid-range not high end.

I have 18 windows. 6@ 32”x67” and 7@32”x50,” and the remaining are smaller sized.

I received a quote for Prolite Elements windows for $11,886. I don’t know if that’s a good quote? I’m not sure I want to spend that much. I don’t know if I’ll be in the home for more than 5-10 yrs.

Which mid-range window would be the best value to investigate? I think I have several options here such as Polaris, Zen, and others.

Thank you.

Melissa - Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

Melissa, so the Soft-Lite Elements is an excellent vinyl window, one of the very best on the market. $660 per window for the Elements is a very fair price. However, if you are only going to be in the house for 5 to 10 years, you probably don't need to get a premium vinyl window. For instance, you could go back to the Soft-Lite dealer and see what he would charge for the Classic or Pro models. These are both good vinyl windows, great for your purposes, but should be more in the $500 to $550 per window price range.

You could also get a bid from an Okna dealer on their 600 series, which is a very solid vinyl window that should be in that same range. You should also consider Sunrise windows as well, their Standard series is quite a nice unit. You are correct that Zen (they sell Soft-Lite relabeled windows) and Polaris also make a good product.

The bottom line is this: a good solid mid range vinyl window from one of these brands should be perfect for your window replacement project. Get a couple of bids and see how they stack up to one another. I'm happy to take a look and give you my opinion on what your have.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2018

Soft-Lite Elements Options

Dane, was curious on your thoughts on the difference between .46 and .40 VT between windows relating to a noticeable difference in light entering the house?? My wife is concerned about the loss of to much natural light and we are looking at Elements double pane at .46 and a triple pane (free upgrade and less expensive] at .40. Any thoughts would be appreciated!! BTW thanks to your forum we discovered Soflite windows!! Had never heard of them before reading about them on your forum! Really glad I did!!!


Stan - Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

Stan, I think you would be hard pressed to see the difference between a VT of .46 and .40. I would confirm this with the Soft-Lite rep, but that's my personal take on it. If he has sample glass for each that would be a great way to do a side by side comparison and see if the difference is noticeable to your eye.

That's pretty great that you are getting a free upgrade and the Elements triple pane is pretty much impossible to beat on performance!

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Soft-Lite Elements vs. Sunrise Restorations

So it looks like Sunrise Restorations uses cardinal glass with xl edge spacer (stainless steel) and block and tackle balance rather than soft lite structural foam super spacer and constant force? Also when shown a sample of sunrise restoration and i tried to open top window for cleaning there was a creeking sound? Told it won't do that on window I would buy by salesperson but not sure if he is correct or not.

Questions on these 2 windows:
Which spacer is better?
Which balance is better?
Is creeking normal on block and tackle when tilting window?

I am looking for 5 double hungs 69x36 pure vinyl or fiberglass

Most important is large glass area, spacer that will not fail, window that will not bow, smooth balance system that makes windows easy to operate with no creeks, energy efficient, companies that will be around and back their product lifetime. The reason i hesitated with soft lite imperial ls was the beefy thick frame and loss of viewing area. What are the best options for what I'm looking for on double hung windows and patio door?

Thanks! :)

Julia - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Julia both the xl edge and super spacer are very reliable and efficient. If I had to pick, I'd say the super spacer probably gets the nod as the non metallic option. The xl edge is a true stainless steel spacer. Same deal with the balance system. Some companies use the block and tackle, some the constant force.

Neither the spacer nor the balancing system is the issue, it's how well the companies put the windows together with the components and options they use. In each of your cases above, both companies are top notch (assuming we are comparing the premium Sunrise Restorations and premium Soft-Lite Elements). Soft-Lite makes a number of different models and their two entry level windows aren't my favorite, particularly the Barrington.

If you are having an issue with the thick frame, go with the Sunrise Restorations. It's one of the best vinyl windows on the market and made incredibly well. Sunrise will definitely be around for a long long time, they seem to be thriving as a company. If you go with them for windows, I would stick with them for your patio doors as well. They make a great sliding patio door.

Honestly, between Sunrise and Soft-Lite, you can't do any better.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2017

Soft-Lite Elements vs. Polaris Ultra Weld

Tim, I am looking at replacing 19 windows in my house. I have narrowed 7 quotes down to 2. Not caring about the cost, in your opinion what is the better window, Polaris Ultra Weld with Energy Smart Supreme-2 Low E coating, argon gas filled, Intercept Spacer (double pane) vs. Soft-Lite Elements, Ultra S Triple pane coating (Soft-Lite is offering free triple pane upgrade). I really don't need triple pane windows where I am located. I know that I am comparing double vs. triple pane, so if you could figure double pane vs. double pane, if that makes sense. Thank you for your assistance.

Greg - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Greg, both of these windows are good. The Soft-Lite Elements is better, even without the triple pane option. With the free upgrade to the triple pane, the Soft-Lite Elements is probably the best vinyl window on the market. (Or one of three best on the market.)

Tim - Site Editor - from 2017

Soft-Lite Element Prices

I got pricing from the highly rated Sunrise dealer and it came in at $16,934 ($736/opening) versus the $15,933 for the Soft Lite Elements. We liked the dealer and really like the thinner profile of the Sunrise and the ability to get Earthtone vinyl exterior without having to go the route of paint (and extra expense) with the Soft-Lite. However, there are a few things that concern me about the Sunrise:

1) I have read about different models (Verde, Vanguard, etc), but this dealer when asked told me it is the "Sunrise model" and that there is no sub-model or additional name to it "just their top of the line window." What should I believe?
2) Sunrise uses a stainless spacer versus the Soft Lite super spacer
3) Their myriad of Sunrise glass package options is very confusing
4) Condensation ratings seem to be lower relatively for Sunrise

What is your take on the information presented? Is the pricing reasonable for what I am getting? What do you recommend? Thanks.

Matt - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Matt, the way I understand it, the Restorations comes standard with a few nice upgrades on the standard Sunrise frame, including a reinforced fibercore meeting rail and vertical sash, Max Edge spacer, foam filled chambers, and high transparency screen. Assuming that the bid you got includes these upgrades then I think you are good to go.
Both the windows use a nice spacer.
Ask the dealer what his opinion is on the best glass package for your windows and direction they face. They should be able to provide some good insight as to an appropriate glass package. If you are still confused, go with the single upgraded low-e with argon fills, this should be fine.

I still think if you like the Sunrise, you should go with it. However, if the upgrades I mentioned above cost more, then go with the top of the line Soft-Lite window.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Soft-Lite Elements vs Vista Panorama Windows

Thanks for a terrific website! I have learned a lot by reviewing the information you have posted. Selecting replacement window manufacturers and dealers is much more complicated than I ever imagined and I appreciate the straight forward honest advice that your site offers.

We are looking for replacement windows and would appreciate your input. We are looking at a configuration that would include 11 casements, 3 2-Lite sliders, 1 3-Lite slider, 1 awning, and 2 picture windows (18 total). We live in northeast Wisconsin. The quotes we have zeroed in are for Soft-Lite elements, which I understand to be a top-rated model, and Vista Panorama, which I understand to be mid-grade. The quotes are both for a triple pane configuration and feature lifetime warranties. The best price for the Vista Panorama is $13,240 and the best price for the Soft-Lite Elements is $15,933. Both installers have good BBB ratings. The Vista dealer contracts installation labor while the Soft-Lite dealer employs the installers.

What advice do you have for us? Is the Soft-Lite performance worth the premium or should we go with the less expensive Vista Panorama? Are there any other dealers or brands that we should explore in northeast Wisconsin to compare to? Any advice is appreciated.

Matt - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Matt, thanks for the nice words, glad you find the site helpful. So I think your take on both windows is spot on, the problem I have is that price breakdown makes it a toss up in my mind. $735 for the Vista Panorama or $885 - either way it's not cheap. The one thing that concerns me about the Vista is the contract labor, while the Soft-Lite uses their own labor, which means that the installers work with the same windows each time and know all the little tips and tricks that can trip up the installation teams. Also for ordering purposes, everything is in house and it lowers the chances of something going wrong and then the blame game starts. But I'm still a bit on the fence...

I think you need a couple more bids to complicate things :) and then hopefully give you a clear answer. Does Okna, Sunrise, HiMark, Polaris, Kensington have reps or companies in your area? It should be pretty easy to check and I'm hoping that 1 or 2 more bids will give you more options or perhaps help steet you one way or the other.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

[Matt's Response]

Thanks so much for the feedback. The good news is that I was right to be conflicted on the decision. Our current configuration is 23 casement and picture windows. We are combining some of the current 2-lite and 3-lite into sliders and an awning. If you consider we are replacing 23, the price per window looks better. Is that something to consider or should I just focus on how many new windows we are buying to look at pricing?

I have not found local installers for Sunrise, Okna, or HiMark. I haven't checked the others, but will do so. Thanks again, Matt

[Dane's Response]

Matt, the best way to price out windows is by the linear foot, but that's not very practical in terms of these sorts of emails. So yes, the "per window price" would be lower because you are still filling 23 "holes."

Having said this, I might have to change my vote decidedly to the Soft-Lite option. $692 per window for the best vinyl window is a pretty good price.

[Matt's Response]

Thanks again for your feedback. I am glad to know the Soft-Lite dealer is in the ballpark of acceptable pricing. I was able to find a highly-rated Sunrise dealer locally, so I am going to get pricing from them to see how it compares. With that, I feel like I will have a couple really good options to choose from. I will let you know what I find out.

Matt - Homeowner - from 2016

Soft-Lite Elements vs Alside Mezzo Windows

Dane, Here is what I' m looking at:

One company is Alside Mezzo, case price 10,997 or 422.96/window

Another is Soft Lite Elements (free 3rd pane) discounted price?? 16,714 or 642.86/window

Another company is AMI (I imagine Alside, even though they say it is not Alside window) in the middle at about $450/window

They are all highly rated on BBB and Angie's list. I like the Soft Lite window (and the company - seem more trustworthy), but are they worth $220 a window for 26 windows????? My wife is hesitant to spend the extra 5700 for the Elements. We should be in our home at least another 15 years. The Soft Lite company is happy to divide up the job over a year or two and are not pushy at all. I'm not much of a haggler, but I wonder if 550 a window for the Elements is a fair counter offer??? I won't hold you responsible, so don't hold back. Just tell me what you would do if you were middle class cop with normal family and bills.

Mike - Homeowner - from 2015

[Site Editor's Response]

Mike, if it were me I would go with Soft-Lite Element for $642 per window. This is actually a very good price. However, there is no reason not to try and get them to lower their price :) It never hurts to ask and the worst thing they can say is no. I'm not much of a haggler either, although my wife is amazing at it.

Here is my approach that keeps me in my comfort zone when negotiating - "We really like the Elements window and want to go with you guys, but it is a little out of our price range. Is there any way to get that price closer to $600, $575 (insert whatever price you want) per window. If we could get here, we're all ready to sign." Basically, you are saying that the business is there's, they just have to get you close to your budget. You would be amazed how often this approach works.

Perhaps they will come down in price simply for the business. They may also run through all of the options you've selected (glass, hardware, etc.) and suggest a way to lower the per window price to something that you guys can better afford.

I honestly think you will be better served with the Soft-Lite than the Mezzo in the long run, but I understand that paying the extra money is a tough pill to swallow at the outset!

Tim - Site Editor - from 2015

Soft-Lite Elements vs Gilkey Double Hungs

Hi Tim, thanks for all your work on this site, choosing replacement windows is very confusing and it was a wonderful surprise to find a site like this. We have 11 windows to replace and are trying to choose between the Soft Lite Elements window $679 U value .19 triple pane and the Gilkey Double 366 window U value .26 $804. Both with Argon gas.

The Gilkey window looks like it might be a more sturdy window, and the installers are company employees, however the SoftLite window has the better U value. (Gilkey has windows with higher U values, but this is supposedly their best seller)

Thanks in advance for your opinion.

Ann - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Answer]

Ann, Gilkey does make a very good window, although they are also much less well known than Soft-Lite (no judgement good or bad there, just a fact). The Soft-Lite Elements is more or less considered one of the top 3 vinyl windows available. If it were me, this is what I would go with -- Soft-Lite has a very strong reputation and the Elements is truly an excellent vinyl window with an air infiltration that just can't be beat. At $680 fully installed, it sounds like a fair price point as well -- considering it's the less expensive of the two bids you have, I'd say the choice is easy. This is obviously assuming that the installation team selling the Soft-Lite is well reviewed and you feel confident that they'll do a good job.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Soft Lite Elements vs Renewal By Anderson

I need replacement windows (65 of them!). I have builder grade vinyl windows that are 17 years old and I never liked them. My house is in an upscale neighborhood outside Washington DC. I am trying to decide between Renewal by Anderson and Soft Lite.

I am concerned the Soft Lite will not look as good on my home. Both brands have mixed reviews on the internet—both installers have A ratings on Angie's List and I know people who have used them and been happy. The Anderson windows are almost twice the price, but I would rather spend it, than be unhappy with the final appearance of the Soft Lite windows. I am not sure the function of the Anderson window is as good as the Soft Lite, after reading all of these reviews. Do you have an opinion? Thanks, Kara

Kara - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Kara, my own opinion is that with the Renewals, you are paying a lot of money for the name Andersen. Performance wise, the Soft-Lite is going to blow the RBAs away. In terms of aesthetics, I agree that the Renewals are quite nice. For a vinyl window, I personally think that Soft-Lite makes a nice looking window. Are you concerned with how they will look on the outside or the inside? On the outside, I would guess it will look roughly the same, unless you are going with a color other than white. On the inside, the Renewals do look very good, but for the money you are paying you could probably do a Marvin Ultimate wood clad window, which is one of my favorite wood windows. But. . . .wood windows aren't going to last the way that composites or vinyl windows do and they require periodic staining, etc.

One option you may want to look at is a vinyl window with a laminate interior. Most companies do a rather poor to just okay job with their faux wood finishes, but the ones that do it well are impressive (this is completely subjective, especially if you live in a nice home, so take this with a grain of salt. ) Have you gotten a quote on the Okna 800 series? I think this is one of the nicest looking vinyl window on the market and I know they are available in your area. The window offers several interior laminate finishes that are pretty awesome looking and I like the array of hardware options. The Okna 800, along with the Soft-Lite Elements and Sunrise Restorations are generally considered the three best vinyl windows available - and the most expensive.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2016

Softlite Elements vs Revere Berkshire Elite

We are in the market for new windows for our home. We had a triple pane Softlite Elements bay window installed in 2013 and are interested in triple pane for the rest of the house. We got a very reasonable quote from a very highly reviewed company for Revere Berkshire Elite triple pane windows. Internet reviews are not favorable but no one is giving specifics as to why the Berkshire Elite is not a good window. We have found that the triple pane feature is relative new due to a redesign. Any insight you have would be appreciated.

Shannon - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Answer]

Shannon the Revere Berkshire Elite is a decent window in my opinion. Revere perhaps doesn't have the best reputation in the industry, but I think the Berkshire Elite is a decent-enoug mid range vinyl window. I have no idea what the air infiltration rate or U-factor is on the window, but I would imagine with the triple pane option that you would be getting t least a lower U-factor.

I'd be interested in seeing how the Revere Berkshire Elite compared in price to say the Soft-Lite Elements or the Soft-Lite Classic. Number wise, the double pane in either one would be comparable or better than the Revere option. Certainly the Soft-Lite is a better window, but the price might not justify it.

At the end of the day though, a mid range vinyl window with professional and thorough installation at a good price point is a pretty good combination.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

[Shannon's Response]

Dane, we had another company come out and quote us Soft Lite Imperial LS windows. In total, we need 14 windows and a 6ft patio door. Both quotes are for triple pane, although the Berkshire Elite features double coatings of low E, making its U factor slightly lower than the Imperial LS (.22 vs .24).

Berkshire Elite quote: $9,044 and includes lifetime warranty on all windows, replacement parts and labor. Note this quote is from Window Universe and all reviews are extremely favorable.

Imperial LS quote: $10,151 and includes a more limited lifetime warranty on the windows, but only 1 year on the labor. This quote is from The Mintz Co. (aka Comfort Seal) and reviews are more limited, but still positive. We're having a tough time deciding between the two. Obviously the Imperial LS is a higher quality window, but the reviews with Window Universe in the Cleveland area are excellent and they offer a better and more comprehensive warranty. We plan on being in our home for awhile as we have two small children so this is more about comfort than re-sale value. What are your thoughts? Thanks again.

Shannon - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Answer]

Shannon, if it were me, I would spend the extra $1K and go with the Imperial LS without hesitation. While the U-factor might be a bit lower, I have NO DOUBT that the air infiltration on the Imperial LS is much lower. The Imperial LS is a great window and honestly you will be better served long term going with a great vinyl window like the Imperial LS.

Triple pane is nice and all, but it also means more movable parts to fail over the years…

Just my two cents :)

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

[Shannon's Response]

Thanks so much for your opinion. To clarify, either brand would be triple pane. Would you be worried about the difference in warranty?

It's so nice of you to take the time to help people with what is a confusing and stressful decision.

Thanks again! Shannon

[Site Editor's Response]

Shannon, Sunrise has the better reputation in terms of servicing the warranty. However, it does sound like the company that sells the Revere offers a good service warranty. At the end of the day, I would go with the better product, which means less warranty issues down the road.

It is amazing how confusing the window industry, isn't it? It's almost like its made intentionally confusing…although I don't quite see the reason for it…

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Connect with Local Window Companies

Soft-Lite Element vs Alside Mezzo Windows

Dane, Here is what I' m looking at:

One company is Alside Mezzo, case price 10,997 or 422.96/window

Another is Soft Lite Elements (free 3rd pane) discounted price?? 16,714 or 642.86/window

Another company is AMI (I imagine Alside, even though they say it is not Alside window) in the middle at about $450/window

They are all highly rated on BBB and Angie's list. I like the Soft Lite window (and the company - seem more trustworthy), but are they worth $220 a window for 26 windows????? My wife is hesitant to spend the extra 5700 for the Elements. We should be in our home at least another 15 years. The Soft Lite company is happy to divide up the job over a year or two and are not pushy at all. I'm not much of a haggler, but I wonder if 550 a window for the Elements is a fair counter offer??? I won't hold you responsible, so don't hold back. Just tell me what you would do if you were middle class cop with normal family and bills.

Mike - Homeowner - from 2015

[Site Editor's Response]

Mike, if it were me I would go with Soft-Lite Element for $642 per window. This is actually a very good price. However, there is no reason not to try and get them to lower their price :) It never hurts to ask and the worst thing they can say is no. I'm not much of a haggler either, although my wife is amazing at it.

Here is my approach that keeps me in my comfort zone when negotiating - "We really like the Elements window and want to go with you guys, but it is a little out of our price range. Is there any way to get that price closer to $600, $575 (insert whatever price you want) per window. If we could get here, we're all ready to sign. " Basically, you are saying that the business is there's, they just have to get you close to your budget. You would be amazed how often this approach works.

Perhaps they will come down in price simply for the business. They may also run through all of the options you've selected (glass, hardware, etc. ) and suggest a way to lower the per window price to something that you guys can better afford.

I honestly think you will be better served with the Soft-Lite than the Mezzo in the long run, but I understand that paying the extra money is a tough pill to swallow at the outset!

Tim - Site Editor - from 2015

Soft Lite Element Or Sunrise Ultra Plus

We can't decide between Sunrise Ultra Plus or Soft Lite Element Replacement Windows. We got quotes from both companies, Soft Lite being more expensive, but not enough for us to not consider them. Both companies have a solid reputation for installation, any thoughts?

Amanda - Homeowner - from 2015

[Contractor Response]

Amanda, both of these companies are very good and the windows you've selected are both excellent. If you feel like the installation is the same from both companies, I would probably go with the Sunrise Ultra Plus for the simple reason that it's less expensive. Unless there is something about the Element that you love such as the overall look of it, but honestly once the windows are in, you probably won't notice the difference.

Dane - Contractor - from 2015

Elements Window Estimate

Old Pella windows, received price for Softlite triple glass Elements.
2 23.5x63.5 casements. 1 5 lite bow. 1 120x66 casement. 1 172x80 sliding door. 2 31x18.75 awnings. 2 19x19 octagon stationary. 5 48.5x51.25 2pane casements. 1 23.5x51.25 casement. 2 33.5x19.25 awnings.

All windows and door will be new construction style. Quoted Soft-Lite window price of $27.000.00 with me doing the staining and poly on jambs and case moulding. Is this a reasonable quote?

Mike - Homeowner - from 2015

[Editor's Response]

Mike, from what I can see here, it looks pretty high in terms of a quote, but there are so many factors that I obviously don't know in terms of the job. Is there a reason that you getting triple paned windows - do you really need this, and can you get the quote for the double pane windows and see what this does to the price?

I would absolutely get a couple more comparable quotes so that you can really tell how they stack up against one another - I would try to get a quote on the Okna 800 and the Sunrise Restoration (there should be a dealer in you area for both of these manufacturers). These are going to be comparable window models in terms of quality and price and should give you a better baseline to compare price quotes.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2015

Soft-Lite vs Vytex

I have narrowed down my quotes to the following, it is for 13 windows.

Company A sells Sunrise Vanguard - $8200
Company B sells Soft-Lite Elements - $7450 or
they sell Simonton Generations Model for $6900
Company C sells Vytex Heritage for $8550

The Sunrise seems like the better warranty and does not seem to include the same exclusions that the Vytex seems to have. Any advice will really help me.

Jenny - Consumer - from 2014

[Installer Response]

I would have to say the Soft-Lite Elements, that is a fantastic deal and almost too good to be true. The Heritage is overpriced in your bids and the Vanguard is a solid window but I don't see why you would pass up the Elements. Just make sure that the installer is thorough and doesn't cut corners.

Brady - Installer - from 2014

Soft-Lite Elements vs Sunrise Vanguard

I can't decide on what windows to get or who I want to install them. I'm getting 13 windows, and I've narrowed it to three options. I can get Vanguard Sunrise for $8233, it seems to have the best warranty of the three. My next quote was SoftLite Elements for $7446 or Simonton Generations $6908, same installer. The last guy quoted $8590 for Vytex Heritage, I like them but their warranty seems to have a lot of exclusions. I know it's important to get a good installer, and I'm not sure which is better. They all describe different ways to seal the air gap, the Vanguard installer says that a good measure doesn't leave gaps and that putting anything around the frame distorts it. The Softlite guy uses some sort of foam/fiberglass insulation, and the Vytex installer sprays in a non-expanding foam.

Keith - Homeowner - from 2011

Soft-Lite Elements vs Marvin Infinity

My home was built in 98. The builder's windows are double hungs and I get awful drafts, condensation and frost in the winters. Last year we ended up with mold inside the glass. In Michigan we have hot summers but very cold winters. I need new window but I have a tight budget. We're going to do the upstairs now and the downstairs later. I plan to sell in a few years so I don't need a super great window, just something that looks nice and will last a few years. I'm looking at either the SoftLite Elements in vinyl or the Marvin Infinity in fiberglass. The quotes for the two are about the same. The SoftLites have some better numbers, but I'm told that after a few seasons of expanding and contracting they lose that. The Marvins have a metal spacer, and I'm a little worried that it will cause condensation, which is why I'm replacing the old ones.

Danica - Homeowner - from 2011

[Contractor Response]

The Infinity is nice, but the Softlite Elements is much much better. The vinyl won't have issues from expansion and contracting, maybe if you had a window the size of a bus but not for a residential window. They are designed to last a long time. I've done an energy audit on a house with windows around 10 years old and they blew a 0 air infiltration.

Holland - Contractor - from 2011

Soft-Lite Elements vs. Seaway

I live in Virginia and desperately need to switch my old single pane aluminum windows - I can feel the cold just seeping in! I have a bid from a local company that sells Seaway Encore windows and I'm getting 5 casements and 16 hungs. I haven't found much on them and don't want to go with them until I get some more information. The bid price was $10,500, which is $500 per window and is including the installation. There isn't any work to the frames so I'm not sure if this is a good price or not. I also have an estimate from one other local company that sells the Soft-Lite Elements windows and this was $14,000, which is $666 per window.

Kelly - Homeowner - from 2010

[Contractor's Response]

I've installed Seaway windows in the past and they are a good window. $500 for the Encore with installation does not seem excessive to me, I would say that's probably right in the middle of what you could expect (without having seen the job of course). The Soft-Lite Elements is a great window, better than the Encore for sure. I would have the Seaway rep quote you a price on the Ovation series. But the Elements window is really good and $666 is also a very good price. I'd probably go with the Soft-Lite, unless that Ovation comes in at $550 and then you might consider that.

Holland - Contractor - from 2010

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Soft-Lite Windows Reviews :: Durashield Series

DuraShield Windows From Soft-Lite

Another company I am looking at is HPA with their DuraShield windows. Are they comparable to PGT & CWS.? Is HPA a reliable company with good customer service?

Michael - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Michael, I googled "home performance alliance reviews" and HPA seems to get just kind of okay reviews. I can't say that I've heard of DuraShield impact windows -- I wish I had more information for you.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

Thanks for the info.  I can tell you from my own research that >Softlight which makes Durashield seems to have a good reputation as an entry level impact window comparable to PST/CWS equivalents. 

[Michael's Reply]

The big problem however is HPA which was investigated and held responsible for numerous deceptive and business practices in Oct 2020. (Google Attorney General Moody vs HPA). Even though HPA agreed to pay civil penalties and change their business tactics they are still getting numerous BBB complaints up to the end of this year. I am meeting with an HPA rep tomorrow to see how he responds to their apparent poor customer service issues. Will keep you posted.

Michael - Homeowner - from 2022

Soft-Lite Durashield vs. CWS Aria Series

Hi Tim, I live in Sarasota FL and am looking to replace all 12 windows in my house. I've spent a lot of time doing research and calling the various companies to get quotes. One company claims that the CWS Aria series windows are not good and don't compare to Soft-Lite Durashield. Is this true? Is the CWS Aria series windows really of bad quality? This company also claims PGT windows have various issues. I am not sure if I should trust this claim. Any advice would be highly appreciated!

Jo - Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

Jo, the CWS Aria window is an okay vinyl window. It's the company's entry level vinyl window and not the model I would go with from CWS. I would prefer you go with the Windpact series from CWS.

In terms of how they compare to Soft-Lite, I would definitely give the nod to Soft-Lite over CWS. My understanding is that the Durashield is Soft-Lite's entry level impact window. Their Armor or Barcelona series are going to be preferable the Durashield.

PGT windows have a good reputation, perhaps a bit above CWS. But basically they are both considered good impact window manufacturers in Florida.

Each company makes a number of windows. If you don't need impact windows, go with a mid range or premium vinyl series. Impact will cost considerably more, but obviously they are much more durable.

CWS, PGT, and Soft-Lite all have good reputations. Just stay away from their entry level windows.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Connect with Local Window Companies

Top Of Page ˆ

Soft-Lite Windows Reviews :: Impact Series

The Soft-Lite Barcelona is an impact window that is considered a high quality hurricane window. When we get more specifics, we will be sure to post it.

Dane - Site Editor

Soft Light Impact Vinyl Windows Price

Hi Dane, I live in the South and I am replacing windows with impact vinyl Soft Light Windows

I got a price for $10,200 for 9 windows. I am not sure if they are Imperial or LS I will confirm.

Do you think this is too high? A few years ago the same company with exact same windows for 19 openings a a triple slider was $23,000

Please advise. Thank you.

Patricia - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Patricia, the price is about what I'd expect, but not necessarily a great price. A couple more bids may help you compare these bids and perhaps push down the bid price of the Soft-Lite dealer (if you take a lower bid and ask the Soft-Lite rep to match it.)

Soft-Lite sells two impact window brands that I'm aware of -- the Barcelona Impact Series and the Armor Impact Series. Both are excellent windows and not cheap.

It sounds like the price you were previously quoted out at was a similar rate so that's informative.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2020

Soft-Lite Barcelona Window Bids

Hello Dane and Time, I live in Miami, FL and was looking to replace our 30 year old windows to something that is energy efficient and impact. We just purchased this home a year and a half ago and plan on staying here for as long as possible.

We have 11 windows total. Sizes below:

34x60 (x2)
39x50 (x2)

We were given the demonstration for Soft-Lite windows the Barcelona model (link below) with grids

A final price of $13,000 (Original quoted price was 22k) I have no idea if this is a good price or if you can suggest another like model that would be cheaper.

Any help would be appreciated. If you have someone in Miami, FL I would also welcome another estimate.

Anthony - Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

Anthony, the Soft-Lite Barcelona impact window is an excellent window, but not the less expensive. There are some good alternatives that should be much less expensive and should serve you well. The PGT WinGuard 5500 impact window is a great place to start. I would also get a bid on the CWS 8100 Windpact Plus. Finally, I would check to see if any local Simonton dealers carry the StormBreaker Plus. This is a decent impact window that might be the most affordable of the bunch.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2018

Soft-Lite Barcelona Windows

We have a bid on the Soft-Lite Barcelona model here in Florida. Your site doesn't include information on the Soft Light Barcelona model with impact glass.

The full cost for installation for six 3' x 5' double hung Barcelona impact windows was $6,840. Is this a quality product and fair price?

Dan - Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

Dan, the Soft-Lite Barcelona model is quite good from the little I've heard. The price bid you received is certainly in the ballpark. Without more bids, I can't say its the best deal out there.

I would suggest you get a few more bids, including PGT and CWS. Also a Simonton Stormbreaker Plus would be a good bid to get.

Once you have a few bids to compare it to, then you'll know whether the bid is solid. If you do get the bids, send them my way and I'm happy to give you my opinion.

All The Best,

Dane - Website Editor - from 2018

Soft-Lite Armor Max vs. Sunrise Coastal Performance

Hi, Tim, we live in Florida and need to replace our normal windows with impact windows. I see you like Sunrise and Soft-Lite windows, but I was wondering whether either one made an impact hurricane window? We have two patio door sliders and 11 windows to replace.

Louise - Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

Louise, both Soft-Lite and Sunrise make impact windows that should be available through Florida dealers. Just like they make good vinyl windows, both of these companies make good impact windows as well.

Soft-Lite makes both the Barcelona and the Armor Max and the other called the Barcelona Series.

Sunrise makes the Coastal Performance.

If for some reason you can't find them, you could also consider the Simonton StormBreaker Plus.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2018

Soft-Lite Armor Impact vs Silverline Windows

What do you think about Soft-lite ARMOR IMPACT PLUS 5300 or Anderson 2900 series?

Bryan - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

The Soft-Lite Armor Impact Plus is a solid hurricane window, I am a fan. The Silverline 2900 is not a good window, definitely not a fan.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2016

Soft-Lite 5300 Impact Windows vs. Simonton Coastal

Would you recommend Simonton Coastal Impact Window for $800/ window or Soft-lite 5300 Armor Impact window for $711/ window? Both would be retrofit. Thank you for your input.

Jennifer - Homeowner - from 2015

[Site Editor's Response]

Jennifer, I would have to say the Soft-Lite 5300 impact window would be my choice. While you didn't mention any of the features, glass package, etc. , from a purely "reputation" standpoint, the Soft-Lite is a first tier vinyl window, while Simonton is a second tier company. The fact that the window is also less expensive makes the choice that much easier.

Let me know how it works out, but I would say the choice is pretty clear!

Tim - Site Editor - from 2015

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Soft-Lite Envision Series

Soft Lite 5300 Impact Windows Prices

I actually cancelled my PGT contract. Thanks to your website, we learned that we were being overcharged by A LOT! They quoted us for $8520 for impact windows.

We are now in talks with someone that gave us a quote for Soft Lite impact window, Soft Lite 5300, for $5,928.

Thanks for your advice, and thanks for your site for helping consumers like me make an informed decision!!!

Best wishes, Maria.

Maria - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Maria, great to hear that you got what sounds like a smoking deal on Soft-Lite impact windows, some of the best in the business!

Tim - Site Editor - from 2017

Soft-Lite Envision Windows

I recently got a quote from Window Nation for Soft-Lite Envision windows, but I can't find this window on the company website. The local company that gave me the bid said that they are an exclusive window made for them by Soft-Lite. Is this a good window or not? Thanks.

Elliott - Homeowner - from 2015

[Site Editor's Response]

Elliott, thanks for the question, I hadn't heard of this Soft-Lite model so I did some checking. It does look like this is a relabeled window that is marketed by Window Nation. This is a fairly common practice that companies use for marketing purposes, mainly because when they say "we carry an exclusive Soft-Lite window that is available to no one but us," it often sounds impressive.

Here is the deal on the Envision window - it's simply a rebadged or relabeled Bainbridge Model, which is listed on the Soft-Lite website. The Bainbridge is one of their entry level models (a step up from the Barrington). The window is not bad by any means: air infiltration of 0.06, DP40 structural rating, .29 U-factor, .28 SHGC and .37 VT.

However, it is not as good as a number of the other Soft-Lite windows, including the Pro, Imperial LS and Elements models. I would say that with good installation and a fair price point, the Envision should be just fine for most homes. I would certainly get a couple more bids to compare prices and features and to make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2015

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Soft-Lite Windows Reviews :: Eco Sky Series

The Soft-Lite Eco Sky series is sold through a number of vendors, including MadCity Windows. The Eco Sky is the Bainbridge model, along with several upgraded features.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2020

Eco Sky Windows By Soft-Lite

Hello Dane. I live in Hudson, WI and got a window quote from MadCity Windows. They carry Eco Sky windows by Soft-Lite. Are you familiar with the Eco Sky line? Can you tell me which line of Soft-Lite windows would compare to the Eco Sky line? Thanks for your help.

Arlyn - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Arlyn, this is the second time I've seen mention of Eco Sky by Soft-Lite. I don't actually know which series this is, but I'm guessing its the Bainbridge. Not a bad window, but certainly not the best. Checkout our Soft-Lite page to see some specs and comments.

However, I can't confirm this. I would go back to the dealer and ask them to tell you which window series this is. They should certainly be able to tell you.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Top Of Page ˆ

Soft-Lite Valleybrook Series

Soft-Lite Questions

Hi— thanks so much for the info on your website. It’s incredibly helpful. I think I generally know what I’m talking about, but then it’s difficult with the sales reps to compare apples to apples. I’m hoping you can help with some targeted questions. I should mention that we live in NC, so pretty hot summers but mild winters.

After calling corporate, I have discovered that we do not have access to Okna, so I have set my sights on Soft-Lite. I initially was interested in pursuing the Soft-Lite LS (now Imperial Elite) as you recommend; however, the sales people generally seem to be showing the Pro. One rep was concerned about the loss of light with the Imperial (hearing about 1/2” on each side) and prefers the Pro, though I don’t know if that’s just what he wants to sell.

A Zen rep said that in May 2020, the Soft-Lite brand essentially made the Classic Plus (their Nirvana) the same window as the Pro (their Lotus) with 2 exceptions: the Pro has fiberglass reinforcements and triple-pane glass. Can you confirm they are the same window except for those 2 points? I know fiberglass is better, but I’m not sure if triple pane is a little overkill for our climate, so now confused if important to distinguish between the Classic and the Pro or if they are essentially the same.

We just met with Carolina Home Remodeling, which is another Soft-Lite rep. He showed us their Valleybrook window, which I think is a Soft-Lite Pro Solar Low E Double Pane with Super Spacer. Can you confirm? He was unable to talk about the different Soft-Lite windows. The specs on the window which had a tag reading Soft-Lite Double Hung Pro said .27 U-factor, .21 SHGC, .48 Visible Transmission, less than .3 Air Leakage.

The rep said that the grills come inside the glass panes and cannot be put on the outside. Correct?

We also were shown the Insignia window from Apex, but my research shows it’s an Alside 8000 series window, which you do not highly recommend… though the Apex rep is now saying that they co-designed the window and my information may be old. I think the Soft-Lite Pro windows are better quality than Apex Insignia?

I don’t have a Zen quote yet.

Carolina Home Remodeling (20 windows, double hung, Pro window (I think)) is $28,684 - quote good for one year without the discounts. So they are coming in at about $1400/window, which seems quite high to me. Even their “today” quote was about $1000/window, which seems quite high based on your website. Am I shooting for a range of $450-700 installed?

Apex quote is $24,000.

Thanks so much for your thoughts. Would love to know if you still think we should push for an Imperial quote.

Leo - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Leo, I would say that the Imperial LS is the clearly better window over the Pro or Classic: newer design, better features, stronger frame. And yes, you will lose some glass area. That's the trade off. Is the Pro a good window, yes it is, I'd put it at the top of the mid range vinyl windows. I'd put the Imperial LS in the mid pack of the top tier vinyl windows.

Yes, my understanding of the Valleybrook is the Soft-Lite Pro with the Super Spacer.

Pro has a Beveled Frame (busier)

Classic has a Drip Cap Frame

Foam insulation comes standard on the Pro. Optional upgrade for the Classic.

Sash reinforcement is standard on the Pro.

I don't think either comes as triple pane as standard but a dealer may offer this.

I don't know the answer to the grid question to be honest.

The Apex quote sounds high to me and the window really isn't all that great.

I think the Classic/Pro is a solid window and the Imperial LS is a superior window.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2020

Soft-Lite Patio Doors

Kingsroyal Gliders

I am hoping to get your thoughts on an estimate I received to replace a sliding glass door on a 3rd floor Condominium located in a south suburb of Chicago.

Kingsroyal Glide - White - Standard - 96W X 80H. The proposal is vague. No model type or any other description. I did request additional information

The brochure indicates standard glass package (solar low e package). Model DP50?

Total cost to replace - $4304

If you could please let me know if this estimate is too high, fair, or a good deal at your earliest convenience, I would appreciate it.

Thank you in advance!

Dino - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Dino, the Kingsroyal patio slider is an excellent door. Whether the bid is too high or not, I can’t really say based on what you’ve given me. You’re going to have to get a couple more bids and compare them, this is really the only failsafe way to know that your bid is fair or not.

My other top picks for patio sliding doors includes the ProVia Endure, Okna Elegante, Sunrise Patio Doors, and the Kensington HPP series.

I would get two additional bids and see where you are…

Recommended Windows List
[Email for his recommendations]

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

Soft Lite Kingsroyal and Imperial LS Bid

Tim, apologies for the late response, but wanted to extend my thanks. You were very helpful and your recommendation of the Scientific Home Services was invaluable.

I had a meeting with them this week and the salesperson was very straight to the point, professional, and didn't upsell me on anything at all (not even on the lower SHGC glass, since he said we face east and get only the morning sun). Not to mention a lifetime warranty that's transferable. And to top it all off, his quote was within $50 of the the company that quoted me the Alside products, but he was quoting Soft Lite Kingsroyal and Imperial LS - much better.

My quotes this far:

Illinois Energy Windows and Siding- $11,800 (Worthington Windows). Guy was nice but too much a 'salesman'- way too obvious. Quote is ridiculous, even for the era. Kept talking about the warranty and asking about my life so that he could make sales points that tie in.

Great American Exteriors - $8,800 (Lindsay Windows branded as Havington)- pleasant, no complaints. Just too high a price.

Scientific Home Services - $5,758 (Soft Lite)- nice guy, not much chit chat, straightforward. I thought it was funny when he said the old windows are "old man Anderson's", not comparable to the company today.

ThermalCraft Inc. - $5,700 (Alside) - more chit-chat than I would like, but very friendly and pleasant. Small company family run. Upgraded to triple pane windows for free.

Air Tight Windows - Never sent me the quote after the (pleasant and professional) meeting (Pella Lifestyle)

Level 5 Exteriors - Emailed the measurements and what I needed after talking to the owner on the phone, no response afterwards (Okna)

I know prices are inflated these days but we want to get the ancient aluminum Anderson's out before the worst of the winter come January. I can't stand drafts, weather sealing is a weird pet peeve of mine. And besides, with this being on the 3rd floor and a full frame replacement I doubt it'll get drastically cheaper next year.

Michael - Homeowner - from 2021

[Site Editor's Answer]

Wow, so the best rated company that offers the best windows by far offered you the best price! That's a win!! I agree that prices aren't going down (unfortunately). I think you are making a great call with the Soft-Lite.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2021

Soft-Lite Kingsroyal or Polaris UltraWeld Door

I am replacing my sliding patio doors and a sliding bedroom window. My choices are Ideal Majestic sliding windows and Polaris UltraWeld door or Soft Lite Kingsroyal patio door and Envision sliding window

Kevin - Homeowner - from 2020

[Website Editor Reply]

Kevin, both the Ideal Majestic and Soft-Lite Kingsroyal and Envision are very good products. I would say the Ideal door is not quite as good as the Soft-Lite and the Majestic window is a bit better than the Envision. Typically, Ideal is better priced than Soft-Lite so I would look at price (obviously), as well as the reputation of the company doing the install to make my decision.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2020

Kingsroyal Alternative

What about alternate patio doors to soft lite kingsroyal that run smooth (ease of operation), durable and well made and maximizes visibility?

Dotty - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Dotty, I would suggest looking at the Sunrise Restorations patio doors, Okna, ProVia, and Jeld Wen. All of these manufacturers makes a good patio door. I'm not exactly sure about frame width on the doors though, you'll have to get the measurements from the dealers and compare them.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2017

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Soft-Lite Elite Series

Soft-Lite Elite Series vs. Okna 700 Casement

I have gotten more quotes on our replacement project, seriously considering the Okna or Soft-lite. Both installers have good reviews (all prices are upgraded to wood-look interior.)

Okna 700 series casements, bay & 4 patio doors $44270 Installed by Meister windows & siding in Illinois which has good reviews. He did deter us from going with sliders in bedrooms due to a worse AR rating. We currently have all casements but were looking to save a bit; our house has a lot of glass exposure so the energy rating is super-important to us.

Soft-Lite elite series combo of casements in living areas & sliders in bedrooms & bathrooms, bay & 4 patios doors $42298. Installed by Terrys in Valparaiso IN, very good reviews Of these two, any insight into better option?

Also had out Window Nation, not impressed with the salesman or the price on combo casement & sliders $52166

Rebecca - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Rebecca, the Soft-Lite Elite is a very good window. I would say the Okna 700 is the best casement on the market -- or one of them for sure. This would be the product I would go with if both installers have good reviews. I love the wood interior look and I feel like you have a solid bid price as well. Congratulations on finding an excellent solution!

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

General Reviews

Casement Windows

Dane, love your site. I had picked out Okna and Soft-Lite based on your info for a high end vinyl casement windows. We need 31 plus 3 sliding doors. When I contacted each, I was told there are no dealers that service my area of Campobello SC 29322.

Could you give me a recommendation for windows I can actually get in my area? High end vinyl casements plus 12’ and 8’ sliding doors and a few fixed windows. We want Low E, argon gas with great ratings for South Carolina.

Thank you!

Jennifer - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Reply]

Jennifer, no problem, here is my list of good and great windows. Let me know if you have any additional questions!

Recommended Windows List
[Email for his recommendations]

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

Soft light In Kentucky And Okna & Kensington

Hi Tim! I have several appointments with Okna dealer, Kingston Quantum, Soft light, and Alside Mezzo. But I really like the large glass slim vinyl look of sunrise restorations. My problem is sunrise doesn’t have a dealer in the state of Kentucky. Do you know how I can purchase this window?

Brad - Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

Brad, unfortunately, if they don't have a dealer you can't buy the window. Okna and Soft-Lite though are excellent manufacturers and you should be well served by either one of these.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2018

Soft-Lite vs. Alside

We are replacing all window and sliding door. Alside vs soflite. The installer can do both. What window should I go with . We are on lake Erie. Shoud I go with triple pain? What should I ask? Alside has many different windows. Don’t want them selling me a crap window. What should I ask for?


Barry - Homeowner - from 2018

[Website Editor Reply]

Barry, Soft-Lite is a much better manufacturer than Alside. In fact, Soft-Lite is one of the best out there. I would recommend going with the Soft-Lite Classic or Pro models. If you are looking for a really solid premium window, you can always upgrade to the Soft-Lite Imperial LS or Elements series.

I don’t think you necessarily need triple pane, although it might be cold enough in your neck of the woods to necessitate triple pane. I would solicit various opinions from locals on this point.

Basically, the Soft-Lite models that I mentioned are very good products that will serve you well.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2018

Soft-Lite Windows vs. Apex Energy Systems

Hi Dane, I have really received great research thought from your platform. I live in the Denver area and was approached by Apex Energy Systems door-to-door. After receiving a bid of $25,000. For 25 double hung and slider windows (including a 3-pane 8 ft patio glass door), I began to research window manufacturers and dealerships.

I settled on Soft-Lite window manufacturing, and searched for dealer/installers.

I was sure I would be offered something considerably less, but received a $24,000. bid for the same 26 windows, but utilizing the Nirvana model (same as the Pro series by Soft-Lite).

Question 1: These bids seem high considering other bids submitted to your review site.

Question 2: Are variances of $24000 versus $11,000 to $13,000 possible between different parts of the country?

Thank you for your response.

Frank - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Frank, I don't think that the region of the country would affect the price in that way, although there are price discrepancies between rural and urban settings based on cost of living, rents, labor, etc.

There are however wild swings in price based on the project requirements and from one contractor/company to another.

My advise to you would be to get two more bids; one from an Amerimax dealer in your area on their mid range Craftsman Portrait Series. The other from a Milgard dealer on their Tuscany vinyl window.

Both of these windows ought to be available and I feel like these bids should be enough to give you a good sense of the true market price of your project. If you can, ask them to break down the labor/install portion of the project from the windows. This will help you see where the costs are.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2017

Soft-Lite In Indiana

We are building a 16' x 32' cabin. We want extra tight construction and energy efficiency. We are looking for quality windows (and a door) with a very low U-factor (possibly triple-pane) and very low air leakage. We would like the best quality for the price, but will consider a more expensive but higher quality option. What would you recommend?

Michael - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Response]

Michael, I assume you are in Indiana - try Soft-Lite, they should have reps/local dealers in your state, I believe Gorell had a plant in Indiana that Soft-Lite took over when they purchased their assets in 2012 so that would be a good bet. I believe Sunrise also services your state and they make some very high quality vinyl windows. Also call up Okna windows and see if they have anyone who services your area.

These are the three top vinyl window companies that manufacture great windows with excellent energy efficiency. Each company make a number of vinyl windows so the window model has a lot to do with the performance and overall durability. I would start out with their premium window model and work your way down until you find the model that is in your price range and offers the performance numbers that you want. I would stay away from the entry level window from each company since it sounds like you really want something that will provide the best long term value and results.

When it comes to working with top vinyl manufacturers like this, you will get what you pay for (but still get a few bids because some dealers charge more for the same window or they get a better deal because they do more volume on a particular model etc. ) Let me know if you have any additional questions.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2016

Soft-Lite vs Sunrise Windows

I like both Soft-Lite and Sunrise windows. Soft-Lites have fiberglass insulation stapled to the jambs and head, which I think is stupid. For an insane fee they'll give you a foam insulating wrap, which is better, or low-expansion foam, which is the best choice. Personally, if your openings are level and square I think you do better to order a window that fits nice and tight, with just enough room for some shims.

If your jambs are plumb and sills are level, you can usually get a good fit without doing anything too crazy. If you have really large openings, then you might need something a little more complex. Sunrise windows have a flat jamb and the foam tape they use sticks out a little. If you anchor them well, then spray foam insulation under the sills you can then seal the frame with silicone or something similar.

You also need to check out the extrusions and framing before ordering your windows. Some have a groove that they fit in, and I prefer leaving a little extra space and using spray foam to ensure a good fit. Foam rolls can help with a loose fit, they help get a tight seal and insulate too. I like have multiple lines of defense against water and air infiltration. A good seal, plenty of insulation, and a tight fit are all important. Ask your installer how they handle all of this, there are plenty of different ways to make sure a window is sealed and well installed.

Mike - Installer - from 2011

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