Vinyl Windows Reviews | The Best And Worst Window Brands

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Vinyl Windows Reviews | Best And Worst Window Brands

Explore vinyl windows reviews and find out both the best replacement windows out there, along with the worst window brands. Now this is a somewhat subjective. Window installers, contractors, and homeowners all have their own take on what constitutes the best and worst window brands. There are plenty of bad vinyl windows out there, so do make sure to collect four quality window bids before making your selection.

Dane - Site Editor - Updated In November, 2023

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Vinyl Windows Reviews 2023

Thank you for all of your help in the past! I saw on your website that you say that vinyl will be good for 90% of the situations. We are replacing some large windows. Will we be OK with a mid-range vinyl or do we need to look for something sturdier because the openings are so large? (More on large picture windows prices.)

Slider 93"w x 72"h (putting in a two slider)
TV room 125"w x 55"h (we're thinking a 3 lite slider, or two double hung and a picture)
Kitchen 85"w x 46.5"h (3 lite slider)

Harold - Homeowner - from 2023

[Site Editor's Answer]

Hard to say what you would need without seeing the opening in person. I think a good quality vinyl window would be sufficient. Vinyl has quite a bit of strength - only aluminum vs fiberglass windows are stronger, but aluminum isn't a very good option for many residential purposes.

I would get a few price bids and see what the companies say. If the opening is too large, they may recommend using two windows side by side. But I would think that a two or three lite slider would be the call here and yes those are more expensive, but they will provide some good structural support for that larger opening.

Collect your bids and then let's circle back and see what your have. We will find you a good deal, I'm sure of it!

Dane - Site Editor - from 2023

Newer Vinyl Windows Options

Hi Dane, just came across your site while trying to research replacement windows for our new home.

It's a 1930's home with a few newer vinyl windows of unknown make or quality. There are roughly 19 remaining originals and we plan on replacing during a to the studs interior renovation due to electric panel in bath of 1st floor porch conversion, live knob & tube, etc) Window sizes are kind of all over the place. The 2nd floor in back appears to be a converted sun porch and faces SW with a row of 6 windows across the 2 rear bedrooms.  

We plan on being in this home for quite a while but do have budgetary constraints. We are looking for bang for the buck and would love any suggestions you may have.

Thank you for any and all help.

Jeff - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Answers]

Jeff & Tawnya, thanks for your question. You should have lots of options in your area. collect a few bids and see how they match up to your budgetary constraints. Here is my list of good and great options.

[Email for his recommendations]

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

Vinyl Warping Over Time

I keep reading or hearing that vinyl windows warp over time to do the heating and cooling. It was also stated by RBA. I’m reading from various sites that it does and does not.

That a factor in deciding to go with fibrex vs vinyl or fiberglass like a Marvin window?

Nicholas - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Answers]

Nicholas, early vinyl did have that problem. Poorly made vinyl windows can have that problem -- see our worst vinyl windows list below for brands to avoid. High end vinyl will not…unless you live in very hot climates like South Texas. Then aluminum windows are really the call.

The Okna 800 DX is the best window on the market in my opinion. It blows RBA and Marvin out of the water in terms of energy efficiency.

The Okna 800 carries a lifetime warranty as do most well made vinyl windows. Marvin windows carry maybe a 25 to 30 year warranty. I don’t put much stock in warranties myself, but I do think they indicate how long manufacturers think their own products ought to last.

Go with a top tier vinyl window with a great glass package and you really won’t regret the price or the longevity.

Dane - Website Editor - from 2022

Worst Window Brands

I'd love to see a top ten worst window brands on the market???

John - Homeowner - from 2022

[Website Editor Answers]

John, here are my top ten worst window brands for vinyl on the market -- in no particular order, although if you are smart, you will avoid all of them for my best windows list.

American Craftsman
Crestline Windows
Jancor (no longer around thankfully)
Owens Corning
MI Windows
Jeld Wen Vinyl Windows (I like their doors though and I will say their wood clad windows are decent)

Here are my best window brands on the market.

[Email for his recommendations]

Tim - Site Editor - from 2022

Worst Window Brands To Avoid

I'm just curious, what in your opinion are the worst vinyl window brands to avoid when I'm out shopping for replacements?

Frannie - Homeowner - from 2021

[Site Editor's Answer]

Hi Frannie, thanks for the question. While I hate throwing manufacturers under the bus, there are some brands I would defintely avoid. Silverline is one brand that I would avoid at all (most) costs. American Craftsmen is another brand I would avoid -- it may be owned by Andersen windows, but it is a low end and poorly made vinyl window.

Others that I would be wary of (except for perhaps their premium models) include Amcraft, AMI, Crestline, Owens Corning, Atrium Windows, Tafco, and probably Window World. To my mind these are some of the worst window brands on the market.

At the end of the day, the worst vinyl window brands are anyone selling a low end window at a cut rate price. They aren't going to last very long and you will pay to have them uninstalled and reinstalled as they go out. Might as well buy a quality window at the get go and save yourself some money long term.

More on Tafco Windows reviews

Dane - Site Editor - from 2021

Quality Of Vinyl Windows

Dane, Florida building code was changed in 2015 and pretty much requires vinyl windows be used to meet the energy efficiency. I am concerned about the long term durability of using vinyl in such a high temperature and high UV environment. I am considering the Simonton Impressions 9800 window as a replacement for 14 Windows. Several of the Windows on on the southern side of the house get direct sunshine most of the day. See what Simonton windows cost here.

I have seen many articles not recommending vinyl in such an environment so am confused as to why the Florida building code now recommends them for efficiency. Some companies won't even offer aluminum framed Windows because of the efficiency requirement in the code. What are your thoughts?

John - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

John, vinyl windows are the most energy efficient on the market (fiberglass is very close behind). Aluminum is very bad in terms of energy efficiency, even the thermally broken options now available.

The articles not recommending vinyl either were written back when the industry did have problems with vinyl warping under intense heat, or are from people who advocate another material because they rely on that material for their livelihood. I will also say this, poorly made vinyl windows are still subject to long term issues with the vinyl warping, although this now tends to be with wide windows that can't support the weight across the span.

Well made vinyl windows are much better equipped to handle heat, salt and humidity than any other material with the exception of aluminum. Aluminum is incredibly strong, much stronger than vinyl, but the performance data on them is so bad that it makes no sense to use them.

The Simonton Impressions 9800 series is the company's best series in my opinion and quite a good window. It should have no problem holding up to the weather in Florida. It does carry a lifetime warranty in case something does go wrong. As always, make sure to stay in touch with whomever installs the window just in case you need them down the road.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2017

Vinyl Windows vs. Andersen 400 Series

Thanks for all the info as I have found you and the website to be very helpful. Last question I have is, have you heard or experienced any "leaks/drafts" with the 400 series? I've been looking at reviews on the 400 series and some have commented on them being drafty and not always having a good seal. To be fair, most of these reviews were from 2-3 years ago so not sure if they changed the window since then. The air infiltration rating is <.3 if I'm reading it correctly. Will a good Vinyl window have better air infiltration ratings then a good wood window like the Andersen 400 series? Explore Andersen 400 series cost?

Bill - Homeowner - from 2017

[Site Editor's Answer]

Bill, the AI of a good vinyl window will always beat out a good wood window. The Andersen 400 window is quite good, but if it were me, I would go with a good vinyl window any day. They are less expensive, achieve better performance, have a better warranty (i.e. will last longer), and they require less maintenance. They just don't look as nice, although some top vinyl window manufacturers have done a good job with their interior laminates that mimic the look of wood.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2017

Pella Windows vs CertainTeed

Dane, we just purchased a home which is about 19 years old with very bad Jeld-wen wood frame windows. The company has offered 50% off to replace just the window part. We are intrigued because our Pella 250 cost quote is around $30,000 just for the windows. We need around 30 double-hung, 6 cottage style. We are also close to a major highway and want to reduce the sound along with increasing energy efficiency.

We have had Certain Teed vinyl windows in our other house and I did not love the vinyl look. I see you are a big vinyl advocate. What is a high efficiency window that looks good (like wood) as well as a better sound barrier? Is it worth it to just replace the window with the 50% off Jeld-Wen?

Chris - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Answer]

Chris, I’m a fan of vinyl because I feel like quality vinyl windows can provide the best long term value for most consumers. If I had the money, I would go with a high quality fiberglass window myself, but they can be $1000 plus per window and that’s simply not in my budget ☺

I wouldn’t think that sash replacement kits on the Jeld Wen would provide you with significant sound improvement, but you need to get a few companies in there to get more opinions from “on the ground” as to the best sound proof options.

What’s the total cost to do the sash replacement with Jeld Wen?

Pella can be expensive so that’s another reason that I would advise getting some bids to see what’s out there.

I would suggest looking for local companies who carry the following: Okna, Sunrise, Polaris, Soft-Lite, Zen, HiMark, or even Vytex Windows or Kensington.

Get some bids on quality vinyl windows and ask to see their interior laminate options. The interior faux wood look has come a long way and you can get a nice looking vinyl window for like $500 to $600 per window and they will offer energy efficiency numbers that will blow away any wood product out there.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2016

Worst Vinyl Windows In Large Spans

Dane, can't thank you enough for taking the time to write. I am doing as you said and getting a Okna windows cost quote. One factor I forgot to mention and I don't know if it matters in your opinion but my window openings are very large, 3 light panels, that are around 86"x50." We have 6 of them to replace (along with all the other 16 windows in the house, all original aluminum). Is there a worry that Vinyl won't be able to support that large of a window opening appropriately? Or is that something the fiberglass salesman just says to make me nervous? He said if I walk around the neighborhood I would see vinyl windows were more wavy looking because the glass has shifted and is not smooth. Anything to that? Thanks so much!

Angela - Homeowner - from 2016

[Site Editor's Answer]

Angela, he is not wrong that vinyl windows can bow if the span is too large and the window cannot support the weight over time. However, there are all levels of vinyl windows, from poorly constructed ones to very well made ones like with Okna. So this is the question I would ask the Okna rep -- will his windows (I would imagine he would suggest upgrading to the DX package with the foam fills as extra support) support the span over time? I would also insist that he give me a reference to a past client who had large span windows and see if you can quickly contact them and ask how they have held up.

That opening isn't that large for a slider, however I would approach it from a "better to be safe than sorry" approach. Aluminum would be the way to go if the vinyl isn't going to support it, but aluminum windows will really suffer in the energy efficiency department. I would suggest getting a few opinions as well -- they're free and they should begin to form a consensus for you in terms of whether the vinyl is a viable option. But again, I would stick with a higher quality manufacturer if you do go with the vinyl.

Tim - Site Editor - from 2016

Vinyl Window Color Matching

Thank you for the opportunity to ask you these questions and for your honest opinion/expertise. I just purchased a fixer upper home (basically the brick exterior is ok, the rest needs to be changed) and it is a very expensive project, but i feel i am lucky enough that i can fix these efficiently as possible with proper homework. I have 30 very huge 40 by 50 inch double hung windows i need to change. I am on the East Coast D.C area.

I optimally would like to have 15 of them all vinyl (interior/exterior) for the bedrooms and 15 of them wood-vinyl clad for the guest areas purely to save money on not having them all wood clad in the bedrooms but enjoying the look of the guest areas having the wood interior. Is there a line of windows where i do not compromise quality i am not looking for cheap nor top of the line with all the bells and whistles ( I know i have to compromise somewhere its just a matter of me making the decision what to compromise), but i would like to have the exterior vinyl color match for all 30 windows so the house doesn't loose its curb appeal.

I would like cream exterior vinyl with clad don't care what wood type i will stain according to the room color scheme. Is this something i can potentially do? Because i asked a few suppliers and they told me i run the risk of not having the same exterior color on all the windows, that there maybe a discrepancy between the all vinyl vs wood windows? Is this true? have you heard of anyone else doing this? if can be done guiding me in the best direction. Thank you for your time and expertise

JZ - Homeowner - from 2015

[Site Editor's Response]

Fixer uppers are fun and frustrating at the same time! I don't think it's a problem to have the vinyl in the bedrooms and wood clad in the guest areas.

Cream colored vinyl is very popular and shouldn't be too difficult to match, although if you are going with two different companies, I would be sure to compare the windows side-by-side if possible to see if the colors are close enough for your tastes. If they are close, no one is going to notice, unless the windows are right next to one another, which it sounds like they aren't. The only one who might notice is you! Again, cream colored vinyl is popular and you may (or may not) be in luck.

There are a number of companies that offer interior wood laminates that look very similar to wood, but do not come with the same issues that wood has - they last longer, they carry a longer warranty, they do not require staining, etc. Stanek and Marvin Infinity come to mind. I know you said you want wood, but something to consider or at least check out to see how similar they will look (especially after you stain the real wood grain).

I would start out and get some bids from local companies to see what brands they recommend and to get a better guage on how the exterior vinyl colors match. In terms of wood windows, I would contact Andersen, Marvin and perhaps even Jeld Wen - they use an AuraLast wood that carries a limited lifetime warranty against wood rot. By the time the third company comes out, I think you will have a much clearer picture of what you are looking at in terms of price and also color matching.

Dane - Site Editor - from 2015

More on Jeld Wen windows reviews.

Pella Vinyl Windows

Pella definitely is not known as one of the best vinyl windows on the market, although they have made some definite strides in the past several years to improve the overall quality in the 250 and 350 series windows. Both of these windows use the pocket sill however, which I think most installers would agree is not a very good design feature. Most of the bigger players in the industry have seen the market share of vinyl windows grow over the last decade and obviously want to part of it. I'd still be hesitant to tell my customers to go with Pella vinyl windows, not because I think they are poor in quality, but instead that there are so many good vinyl options out there.

Vinyl Windows Reviews From Florida

Vinyl windows are getting more popular in Florida, but they aren't available in a lot of colors. They are pretty much white, beige, and tan. They tend to be either laminated or painted, and both have some drawbacks. There are only two manufacturers her in Floirda that have decent designs and color choices, Custom Window Systems and PGT. PGT makes a PremierVu series that isn't bad, and if that is too high as far as cost, look at their 500 series.

Ian - Contractor in Florida - from 2012

Window World

I'm getting some vinyl replacement windows, 28" x 62". I had a guy from Window World come out for a quote and I'm afraid there might be some trick. I was told that they were $189 each, but when he came here he said $336 and that I needed argon filling, low-e glazing, an extra warranty, and some other hurricane coverage. When I balked at that he said he could give me a special for $269. Is he trying to pull a fast one on me? It doesn't seem right.

Ida - Consumer - from 2011

Amerimax Windows vs Renewal

About 5 years ago I had Amerimax vinyl windows put in my Los Angeles home. They are still very nice and white. They work well, with a smooth movement and no leaks or drafts. When we were shopping for them we saw some really cheap junky vinyl windows. I'm sure if we had bought those we would have problems. We also looked at Renewal by Andersen, but those cost 5 times as much. He kept saying that we wouldn't be happy if we went with vinyl, but that's crazy. People have been using vinyl windows for years, and if they were horrible no one would buy them.

Kenneth - Homeowner in California - from 2008

Gerkin Vinyl Windows

I'm a Kansas home owner and I've been looking into Gerkin windows. They have a vinyl line that seems to be a mid to high end. They have some nice features, like Duraseal insulated glass and LowE glazing. They also produce aluminum clad windows, which most people aren't making these days. They have reinforced aluminum frames, which makes them fairly sturdy, and they seem pretty good. For the most part they seem to have pretty good products.

[Update - 6 months after install]

Six months ago I got them out in and they're really good. One screen was bent when they got here but they have good customer service. I like that a real person answers the phone when you call.

Casey - Homeowner in Kansas - from 2011

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