We get asked about the differences between bow vs bay windows all the time. We finally decided it was time to whip up a post with the correct answer for all to see.
To put it simply the difference is in the layout of the windows. Both bow and bay windows stick out from the house, but they have a different look. Bow windows are made up of equal sized lites or panels while bay windows have a center section that is larger than the sides.
We may need a picture for this one. First we’ll start with a bay window.
Ok, so that’s a bay window. 3 panels, and the center is larger than the sides.
Is a bow window better than a bay window?
Nope, it is really just a style difference. Do you prefer the look of the larger picture window in the center or a bay window or would you rather have several symmetrical panels? One is not better than the other, they’re just different.
What is the price difference between a bow and a bay window?
The difference in cost is typically pretty small. Many manufacturers will charge more for a bigger window, but the difference between a bow and a bay is typically not a huge driver of the cost. A bow window with many panels (called lites) will typically cost more than a bay window with only 3 lites.
A cost difference of a few hundred dollars wouldn’t be unusual, but you shouldn’t see much more difference than that.
As you’re shopping for new windows be sure to check out our detailed window reviews here. If you’re looking for anything that you can’t find be sure to post a comment or send us an email. We read every single one and we’ll do our best to respond.