Here we have Great Lakes Eco Smart windows reviews to see if these are the best replacement windows for your home. For starters it’s important to note that Great Lakes windows are only sold through Great Lakes dealers in any given market.
This means that there will be only one or two companies offering these windows in your town. The downside to this is that if the dealer in your town isn’t a great company there may not be any alternative. This is one reason I tend to recommend finding a great retail company before you fall in love with any window model.
If the Great Lakes window dealer in your town isn’t great you can always find another window model to buy. There are plenty of fish in the sea.
What are the advantages of the Great Lakes EcoSmart windows?
You can tell that Great Lakes was really trying to make this Eco Smart window look like a great choice. The brochures are beautiful and there are lots of features listed.
As with most replacement windows, these are custom made so many of the features are options. You can get different types of insulation called SmartCore or EcoCore, you can get different energy efficient glass options, called EnergyGuard and SmartGuard and different colors as well.
All of this is great, but it’s important to keep the results in mind. Do you care if a window has super foam in the frame or quadruple pane glass? Not really. What you care about is the result. Is the window more energy efficient than another option? That’s much more relevant info.
Fortunately for the Great Lakes EcoSmart windows, they are very efficient. I would say the best feature is the overall efficiency. They advertise U-Factors as low as 0.14 with a 0.21 SHGC. That’s pretty efficient. Now, that also comes with a relatively substantial cost. The decision you’ll have to make is whether or not that great efficiency is worth the increase in cost.
Overall, I’d say the efficiency is the best advantage for this model.
What are the disadvantages?
One downside to this window model is the thickness of the frames. They were clearly going for max efficiency when they designed this window. That’s great, but one unfortunate result is that the glass area will be smaller than you might expect.
Other newly designed replacement windows are commonly designed with slimmer frames to maximize glass area. To me that’s pretty important as I’m a big sunlight person. You’ll need to decide if that’s important to you.
What about the Great Lakes EcoSmart windows warranty?
Great Lakes offers a lifetime warranty on the Eco Smart windows. Almost every company offers that these days and there are some important differences.
For example, the original purchaser of these windows does get a lifetime warranty that is good for as long as they own and live in the house. If the house is a rental or not the primary residence of the window purchaser the warranty is only 10 years.
The warranty is transferable, but when it transfers it gets much shorter. For example, the insulated glass is only covered for 50% after 10 years once the warranty is transferred. That percentage goes down with time.
Some aspects of the EcoSmart warranty are also more limited than you might expect. If you order internal blinds you get a 10 year warranty with only 1 year on the exterior blind operator or handle. What happens if that breaks in 13 months? It’s hard to say.
You also get 10 years of warranty on the exterior finish colors and there is no warranty on the installation from Great Lakes. If your salesperson makes claims about an installation warranty you’d want to get that in writing from them. A warranty like that would be from the installation company, not from Great Lakes.
Overall I’d say the Great Lakes window warranty is decent, but not the strongest we’ve seen. You’ll want to understand the limitations if you’re thinking of buying these windows. We have a complete Great Lakes windows warranty review post coming soon.
How about Great Lakes EcoSmart windows prices?
The prices for these windows will likely be one major drawback. Anytime a window manufacturer touts more extreme efficiency ratings (like a 0.14 U-Factor) then you know the prices will be on the high side.
My suggestion would be to compare these windows with another option or two from a different company to try to understand just how these prices compare. It’s also important to note that the package with the 0.14 U-Factor is optional and not always included.
If the prices from another reputable company are lower (I expect they will be), then you’ll want to weigh how much any improvement in efficiency is actually worth to you. Is a 0.02 improvement in U-Factor worth $200 per window? I might suggest it’s not, but that’s really up to you.
Since window prices have been relatively volatile lately we ask that you let us know what sort of prices you’ve seen for Great Lakes EcoSmart windows. If you’ve recently received a quote post a comment below to let us know. More info like that will help everyone.
What’s the bottom line?
Overall these are decent windows. In my opinion the higher prices and smaller glass area would make them less than ideal. In my house I would prefer a larger glass area with more visible light.
They do offer great efficiency ratings but those are not standard. In order to actually get those ratings you need to pick some of the more expensive glass packages and I don’t really think they represent a great value. The prices go up pretty fast as the efficiency improves.
This may still make sense for some buyers, but I don’t think these are the windows I would install in my house.
Other posts about Great Lakes windows that you might find helpful:
- Great Lakes windows complaints
- Great Lakes windows prices
- Why you should NEVER buy Great Lakes windows
- Great Lakes windows FAQ
- Great Lakes window warranty review
How can you find a great window company?
That part is easy. Check this section for recommendations of window companies all over the country. There’s no better way to get new windows.