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Double Pane vs Triple Pane Windows

Double Pane vs Triple Pane Windows

Explore the advantages, disadvantages, costs, and homeowner Q and A on double pane vs triple pane windows. Please note: almost no window sold today uses a single pane of glass.

DPW Basics: Double Pane Windows or DPWs contain two panes of glass in the IGU or insulated glass unit. This was developed decades ago as a more energy efficient window over a single pane window. The two panes are not only more energy efficient, they also help to block out more sound from the outside. Today, nearly 85% of all replacement windows are DPWs.

TPW Basics: Triple Pane Windows or TPWS contain an extra pane of glass in the insulated glass unit. Pretty small difference with DPWs to be honest. The triple pane option is even more energy efficient than DPWs and they block more sound. TPWs account for perhaps 15% of all replacement window sales in the United States.

Dane - Site Editor - Page Updated In January, 2024

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Double Pane vs Triple Pane Windows :: Advantages

The advantages of DPWs are both the cost and the depth of the window itself. The IGU on a DPW is not going to be as deep or heavy as with TPWs, which means the frame is less likely to bow over time. This is really only an issue with large openings that use a mediocre vinyl window that can't really handle the added weight. Check out our recommended list for the best brands and options. A well made DPW from a reputable company is usually all that is needed for most locations and homes within the United States.

The advantages of TPWs is the better energy efficiency and some degree of noise attenuation (less noise comes through the three panes of glass). TPWs make a lot of sense in very cold climates of the United States where energy efficiency is really important in the winters. Beyond this, I think it tends to be a bit of overkill. Check out the disadvantage section below for additional information on TPWs.


Double Pane vs Triple Pane Windows :: Disadvantages

The disadvantages of DPWs are, I suppose, that they aren't as energy efficient. However, I think a well made DPW is plenty energy efficient. Again, only in those really cold climates is where the TPWs are really called for in my opinions. And perhaps as a possibility for extra noise attenuation.

TPWs have two basic disadvantages: Cost and increased number of parts that can fail. The upgrade cost from DPWs to TPWs should be $125 to $175 - roughly. If the upgrade cost is higher than this then I think you are paying to much. (I have seen it as high as $300 per window, which is not a good value in my opinion.)

The extra pane of glass does require more parts and these can fail. Well made units shouldn't, but it does happen.


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Homeowner Questions And Answers

Below you will find all sorts of questions and answers regarding double pane vs triple pane windows from consumers and homeowners alike.

Dane - Site Editor


Double Pane vs Triple Pane vs Tempered

Hello Dane, I have a question for you, and I hope it doesn’t seem too naïve. We’ve had several bids on replacement windows, 23 in total, mostly double hungs and casements. These were for double pane windows, and they came out to - well the bids vary quite a bit, anywhere from $672 per window up to as high as $950 per window. One of the companies that gave us the bid offered us triple/pane glass or tempered glass. They were roughly the same amount of money. I believe the tempered glass was $125 per window over what they would charge us for the double hung oh sorry double pane.

The triple-pane glass was $150 more if we wanted to go this route. I had two questions for you. One what is the difference between tempered and triple pane? And to which would you opt for if you had to choose between them? Thank you so much for your valuable website. It is really helped in my search for new windows.

Clarissa - Homeowner - from 2024

[Site Editor's Answer]

Clarissa, thank you for your kind words. So the difference between tempered glass and triple pane glass is this: tempered glass is use more as a safety glass. It is what is used in impact or hurricane windows to protect the glass from objects striking it. Triple pane glass is simply three panes of glass as opposed to a standard dual pane insulated glass unit. The triple pane helps with the overall energy efficiency of a window, and can help with noise reduction. Most noise attenuation happens when the frequency gets trapped between the panes of glass, so this added glass will do some to kill noise from the outside.

For me, triple pane makes a lot of sense if you live in a cold climate and need really energy efficient windows. The tempered glass will help more on the safety side. So I think I would opt for the triple pane glass since energy efficiency is your big concern. Cost wise, I think both of those options are right on par with what most companies are charging these days. Or I should say that is a pretty standard price that they are providing you. Make sure that when you make your decision on who to go with that you select an installation company that has good to stellar online reviews.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2024


Triple Pane Windows vs Double Pane

Hey Dane, I have three bids for windows and the only reason we are looking at this is because we have very large 90x50 picture windows on our south side of the house that get the house extremely hot during the summer here in Kansas due to direct sunlight hitting them. The existing windows are double pane low E glass from the early 90’s.

The windows that get direct sunlight are the main issue so my understanding is I would want a window with a low solar heat gain coefficient, but am wondering if the u factor makes much difference for keeping heat out if my main issue is the direct sunlights (sunlight almost burns your skin if you stand close to the window on a hot day)

Right now I have a bid for TPW that has ~.17u factor and ~.18 SHGC and DPW that is .25 u factor and .22 SHGC. From what I’ve heard the SHGC means that the TPW would keep 82% of the heat out that is coming from the sunlight hitting the window and the DPW would keep 78% of that heat out. To me it seems that I wouldn’t notice the difference between those and they both perform about the same.

My question is, if this heat gain is from direct sunlight is it a waste to get the TPW due to the lower U rating? The vendor pushing the TPW is saying it’s hard to guarantee that the DPW will make a difference. The other vendors showing me double pane are telling me that I will notice a big improvement just upgrading to a quality double one vs my early 90’s low e DPWs. Appreciate the help!

Marshall - Homeowner - from 2023

[Site Editor's Answer]

Marshall, I tend to believe that you will notice a big improvement upgrading to a quality double pane window from the ones you have from the 90s. You probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between .22 and .18 SHGC. The big question for me is how much are they charging you for the triple pane upgrade as to whether it's worth it or not.

If you summarize your bids for me I am happy to weigh in on what I think is your best option from a value perspective.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2023


Triple Pane vs Dual Pane Windows

Dane, thanks again for your expert advice on this! I've found your web site very helpful, as I've read several posts over the last week+. Would love your perspective on the estimates I have gotten. Note I'm still waiting on OKNA response to determine if there is a local provider here in the Detroit, MI Metro Area.

What I have gotten so far and under consideration:

1. ProVia Aspect Windows Cost at $15,900. Lifetime warranty for windows (transferable) + lifetime labor/service + accidental damage. This same installer (Windows Pro) can do the Endure for +$1000 for all 14. Quote is for pocket install, full frame install +~$3k.

2. Gentek Signature Elite at $14,500. Lifetime warranty (transferable) + lifetime labor/service + accidental damage. Quote to pocket install, full frame +~$4k

3. Sunrise Ultra U Plus at $18,000. Lifetime warranty (transferable) + 2 years labor/service only, no accidental damage. Quote for full frame install (did not recommend pocket)

4. Waiting on the Alside Mezzo price quote - $12,500. Lifetime warranty for windows (transferable) + 2 years labor/service, no accidental damage. The $ will be for pocket install.

I've tried to keep the efficiency ratings between the options pretty close - so around a 0.27 U-factor for an apples-to-apples comparison. What would you recommend on the above options?

Separately, would also love your feedback on below questions that have come up:

Noise attenuation with triple pane vs dual pane windows? We'd like quieter ones in our master bedroom, so I have opted for triple pane on those vs. dual. I've had few installers say yes, it's quieter with triple pane. But then I had one installer (for Sunrise) say that the triple pane actual does not help and could even be louder. So he included their Noise Reduction Glass (thicker) instead. Thoughts?

Pocket Install vs Full Frame Window Installation Cost? 3 of the quotes above are for pocket-install to keep costs lower, which I recognize will mean less glass area for us by ~1.5in along the perimeter. Cost up for full frame also noted above - we have 10 window openings. Any insight on the need to do full frame vs. pocket, in terms of look and installation quality/robustness? I need to decide if it's worth the extra costs. Note we currently have wood clads, with several of the frames are rotting.

Sorry for the long email, but I greatly value your opinion here with me being a new learner of windows information. Please let me know what you think.

My hope was to keep the project under $15k for reasonably good quality windows, but that may be ambitious based on what I've gotten so far. I do intend to do some negotiation after ultimately deciding on the windows. I'd like to see if I can get at least $1000 off the quotes. Thanks again for your help!

Nadir - Homeowner - from 2023

[Site Editor's Answer]

Nadir, I would go with the ProVia Aspect for $15,900 -- if I planned to stay in the home for say 12 years or more, I would upgrade to the Endure -- that's a fair upgrade cost.

I've never heard anyone say triple pane is louder, but I would prefer myself to go with a noise reduction glass. This is a nice option that is not always available.

Pocket install is just fine...unless you have wood rot or water damage to the frames. Then you would have to do the full frame install in order for them to clean up that damage before putting in the new window. This is super tricky because you never know what you're going to find when you pull out old windows...if you don't find any damage, then you kind of wasted your money. I think I might make this call based on how long you see yourself living in this home...it's pretty much impossible for me to give you any definitive advice on this issue.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2023


Double Pane vs Triple Pane Windows Cost

Hi Dane, thank you very much for the wonderfully informative website that you put together. It has helped me a ton in the decision I’m about to make. We live in Ithaca, NY in a house that has an original side built in 1880 and an addition built in 2009. We are changing 15 windows from the original side of the house.

7 double hung TPW (32x64)
4 double hung TPW tempered bottom (low window) (32x58)
4 sliders double pane (65x50 on average)

Okna 500DX (DH) and 800DX (sliders) $12300
Home Depot/Simonton 6500 $14986
Home Depot/Andersen 100 $18358
Pella 250 $23000!!!!!!
Comfort Windows $21000 (all DPW!)

Quotes for windows only
Vytex Potomac HP $8700 all TPWs, $7100 all DPW
Polaris Ultraweld $7961 TPW on DHs
Soft Lite Imperial Elite $12415 all TPWs
Provia Endure $9168 all TPWs
Sunrise V4000 $8683 all TPWs

I will attach all the quotes I got for you to see but we are settling on a mix of Okna 500DX and 800DX (the smaller ones with the 500DX and the larger ones with the 800DX, just because I feel better about the DP).

I had gotten two Okna dealers to bid for our project but one of them withdrew after speaking to Okna saying we were too far away for them and to go through the other dealer.

The two questions I have are related to install.

First of all, both of these companies say they only use fiberglass as insulation around the window because spray foam breaks down and will have more air leakage a few years from now. They will install with spray foam if I desire but they don’t recommend it. What is your point of view on this??

Secondly, I am hesitating between double or triple pane everywhere. I already chose to do TPWs on the rooms close to the main road (both for sound dampening and energy efficiency because it’s the least efficient side of the house) but for the rooms giving on our backyard, I’m more worried about luminosity than sound. And I can’t make up my mind regarding the energy efficiency gains vs loss of visibility. Sun is a non issue almost anywhere because there are tall trees almost everywhere. Do you have any advice regarding this? Is triple paned better long term no matter what?

And please tell me if you’d choose any other quote for our project. I doubt it seeing how you consistently vouch for Okna haha.

Ben - Homeowner - from 2023

[Site Editor's Answer]

Ben, great price bids on the Okna. The "just window price quotes" are also all with excellent series!

Installers all have their own takes on how to properly insulate a window and honestly whatever they feel comfortable with is fine by me (as long as they have excellent reputations for quality work). Yes, after 20 years that foam insulation can begin to breakdown, but the foam sprays have gotten better over time. Let the installer use the fiberglass if that's what they know and feel comfortable using.

I tend to think triple pane is overkill in many cases, but I agree with you on the sound dampening qualities. Triple pane gane has some effect on visibility, but that also will depend on the low-e coatings you're using. I think you are right to do the triple pane on the front and go with double pane on the rooms in back. That's a nice compromise.

I like all of those window series -- but yes Okna is one of my favorites. I'd probably stick with the Okna, especially if I liked the installer! The installation company is the bigger issue for me over which of these amazing replacement windows am I going to go with...

Dane - Site Editor - from 2023


Double Pane vs Triple Pane Windows

Hello, just found your website.... lot of great info. Let me start with my info. Home built in 1983. 4 or 5 years ago had a company that replaced roofing, some cider siding replacement, deck door, and 3 windows ( can't remember brand). No using said company again for a few reasons.

4 windows to replace on back of house with cider siding are all standard double hung DPWs. Faces mostly North. 6 windows to replace on the front of the house with a fieldstone facade are full length casement windows. Faces mostly South.

We are both 67 and plan on being here for at least into our 80s if all goes well LOL.

I was thinking of selecting a company to do the back 4 windows first to see how we like the installation company and to see the quality of the windows that are installed. If all goes well then have the 6 remaining windows done maybe a year later.

Midrange or higher windows only, double paned vs triple if recommended, e-glass, argon etc., tilt in. Would like to stay with a clay exterior and white interior.

Thanks in advance for any information you are able to share.

Dan - Homeowner - from 2023

[Site Editor's Answer]

Dan, I’m not totally sure about which companies are available in Louisvlle, but I think a quick search should reveal who is…for your timeline you might want to stick with the “good” list — still all VERY good vinyl window options! Double pane should just fine for your neck of the woods - assuming it is a quality brand and model. Here are my good and great window recommendations…

Dane - Site Editor - from 2023







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