Consumer Reports released its May 2019 issue recently, including a ranking of suppliers for vinyl, wood and composite replacement (pocket style) windows. In addition to helping homeowners weigh the need for new windows, the annual guide provides consumers with advice on how to get started when shopping. Key insights include how they should make sense of product packaging, including Energy Star and NFRC labels, as well as potential returns on investment and more.

“For replacement windows, the options for customization can be overwhelming,” the author suggests. To help readers decide, the publication tested 14 replacement models, as well as interviewed manufacturers, dealers and installers, while evaluating returns. The best products, the publication suggests, range from $260 to $580 per three-foot by five-foot window. In the meantime, National Association of the Remodeling Industry estimates suggest the cost for total replacement to be around $19,000 for vinyl windows (installed) and $35,000 for wood (both for a 2,450-square-foot home and based on 2017 averages).

When discussing glass types, Enrique de Paz, Consumer Reports’ windows test engineer, describes double-pane glass as the remaining standard, adding that triple pane windows “are very expensive and may not be worth it unless you’re next to an airport or very close to a highway,” regarding gains over double pane in sound transmission, not energy performance. Windows were also tested for wind and rain resistance, among other factors.

The magazine ranked 10 vinyl replacement window suppliers, recommending six products. Those include:

  • Pella 350 Series: Number 1
  • Simonton Reflections 5500: Number 2
  • Jeld-Wen V-2500 Series: Number 3
  • Simonton Prism Platinum: Number 5
  • Pella ThermaStar: Number 6; and
  • Atrium 8700 Series: Number 7.

For wood windows, the company only made one recommendation and that was the Pella Lifestyle Series. Three rankings and recommendations were given for composite replacement windows including:

  1. Pella Impervia
  1. Andersen A-Series
  2. Andersen 400 Series Woodwright

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