Pella, Jeld-Wen and Kolbe were the window brands that came out on top when Consumers Digest released its best Buys in Replacement Windows in its October 2010 issue.

The “Best Buy” rankings are based on performance ratings, quality of construction and materials, ease of operation and warranty. According to the article, the “Best Buy” selections were limited to vinyl and clad-wood units because they account for about 80 percent of the U.S. replacement-window market.  The magazine awarded a Best Buy rating in three categories: premium, midrange and economy.

In the vinyl windows category Kolbe’s Latitude Series was the winner in the premium category, followed by Jeld-Wen’s Ipex collection in the midrange and Thermastar by Pella 20 Series in economy.

For clad-wood windows, Jeld-Wen’s Custom Wood Series was the winner for Premium, Pella’s Architect Series Precision Fit for midrange and Jeld-Wen’s Builders series for economy.

Kolbe officials say the company’s Latitude Series provides a full line of premium quality, vinyl windows and patio doors for both commercial and residential new construction and renovation applications. These units offer 0.30 U-factor and 0.28 solar heat gain coefficient, qualifying for national home improvement tax credits.

“What sets this series apart from other models is that these windows have the best overall aesthetics and open, close and tilt better than all other vinyl models,” stated the article. “No other model’s interior surface has more seamless joint construction or does a better job of replicating the look of a wood-grain finish than this series does.”

The ThermaStar by Pella 20 Series windows – a repeat selection – were named a “Best Buy” because they are the least expensive replacement window that has low-emissivity, or low-E, glass as a standard glazing feature, according to the Consumers Digest article. 

For clad-wood windows, the article commended Jeld-Wen’s Custom Wood Series for its solar heat gain coefficient rating (SHGC). “You’d have to pay at least $90 more to find a series that has as goof of an SHGC rating,” said the article.

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