Is Triple Pane Glass Worth the Cost?

If you’re shopping for new windows for your house the odds are good you’ll hear about triple pane glass. You’ll probably be wondering whether or not triple pane glass is worth the cost. The answer is, it depends, and we’ll look at the factors to consider right now.

You may hear some grizzled old timer say, “that triple pane isn’t worth it” or some other blanket statement that doesn’t make any sense. Note, that advice isn’t worth much. We have no idea what it’s based on and the person saying it probably doesn’t either.

To start to understand whether or not triple pane glass is worth the cost you need to understand two things. First, what is the cost difference? Second, what are the other benefits? We’ll look at some real life examples from my company to see how it works.

What is the cost difference?

This is a critical piece of information if you’re going to decide whether or not triple pane glass is worth the cost. Historically companies would play games with the pricing for triple pane glass. This is likely what has formed some of the opinions out there.

As of today (this will change over time) my company charges $89 additional in most situations to add triple pane glass. So, let’s use that in our example. Say you have 20 windows in your house. $89 x 20 = $1780. The additional cost of triple pane glass in a 20 window project would be $1780 as of today, April 28, 2021.

Now we know what it costs lets look at what you get in return

There are three main advantages to windows with triple pane glass.

  • Triple pane windows are more efficient. There are many double pane and triple pane packages out there so there isn’t one simple metric to illustrate the improvement in efficiency that you get in switching from double pane to triple pane, but it’s around 25% in most cases.

That means by spending the additional money you get windows that are around 25% more efficient for as long as you own the house. That’s a pretty measurable improvement. It’s also the sort of thing you only have one chance to buy. You can’t decide to add triple pane glass next year. Technically you can, but it would be much more expensive.

  • Triple pane windows are quieter. Despite the claims made by some of the door to door salesmen out there triple pane windows will not eliminate all outside noise, but they do make the house quieter.

Sound transmission is measured by the STC rating. This stands for Sound Transmission Coefficeint. We have other posts on STC ratings so I won’t get into all of the details here.

Since we’re using my company as an example, I can tell you the STC rating for a popular model we offer goes from 28 to 32 by switching from double pane to triple pane glass.

Whether or not that’s a huge deal will depend on your house and your neighborhood, but a good night sleep can be very valuable.

  • Triple pane windows carry more resale value. To be fair I’m sometimes a little skeptical when it comes to claims about resale value.

We had a reader of the site say that a Renewal by Andersen salesperson told her she wouldn’t be able to refinance her house if she didn’t have Andersen windows. Obviously that’s not true, but it’s a great example of the silly statements those commission salespeople will make to try to get a deal.

However, there is no doubt that triple pane glass is worth something to a buyer. It’s something that anyone can see and understand. There are many window upgrades that are virtually invisible to a future buyer of the house. Those will generally carry no resale value at all.

Triple pane glass is different. You can see it, a real estate agent can see it, everyone will know it’s there. You can also be confident that efficiency is only getting more important to buyers. If you think it’s important today it’ll be more important next year.

So, is triple pane glass worth the cost?

Well, now you know the price and you know the benefits. Only you can decide if it’s worth the cost. I tend to suggest that if it fits into the budget it’s a worthwhile option.

With triple pane glass you get a house that is more efficient and quieter and worth more money when it’s time to sell. In our example the cost difference for a 20 window project was $1780.

Triple pane glass is definitely not necessary for a perfectly nice result. If it stretches your budget and you want to skip it, skip it.

If it fits into your budget and you’re planning on being in the house a while I do suggest it. When my friends and family call me for new windows we often end up installing triple pane windows. It’s a great product and it provides for a great result.

My advice is to consider triple pane when you’re replacing your windows. Understand the cost difference and benefits and you can decide if it’s something you’d like to include in your replacement window project.

Other posts you might find helpful:

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12 thoughts on “Is Triple Pane Glass Worth the Cost?”

  1. I’ve read that triple-pane does not significantly decrease noise compared to dual-pane (one website says it could make it worse). I looked at Anderson STC specs, and Simonton, which confirm this. However, a different company said the compressed argon gas in the two gaps would reduce sound better than a dual-pane. But I’ve read that argon gas doesn’t effect sound at all, and that a bigger single gap between 2 panes would be better than 2 smaller gaps between 3 panes. Intuitively I would think three barriers would be better than two, except that glass can reverberate sound. Speaking of which, I’ve read that dissimilar pane thickness can reduce sound by breaking up some reverb; if the middle pane was thinner, then it should work as well as in dual-pane….Anyway, an entry about STC window options (dissimilar glass, laminated, triple-pane, double-strength) would be helpful.

    1. thewindowdog says:

      You’ll find window salespeople will tell you all sorts of stories that aren’t based in reality. Sometimes it seems like that must be part of their training. You can compare the STC ratings for different options to see for yourself. Whenever salespeople say anything in qualitative terms like “significantly decrease” you can be sure they’re speaking nonsense. What is significant to you could be insignificant to someone else. Rather than trying to make sense of that fantasy land, I’d strongly suggest just looking at the numbers.

      For example, there is not compressed argon gas in any window. I’m not at all surprised to hear a window salesman would say there way, they just love stories.

      The STC rating is just about always better in a triple pane window than a standard annealed glass double pane window. Laminated glass is a common double pane option that will often have an even better STC rating that triple pane. The downside to laminated glass is that it’s more expensive than triple pane and less energy efficient. So, it’s a bit of a balance.

      Good luck with the project and if our company can help we’ll be happy to send more info.

      1. I realized after posting that you have an STC section in the “Ratings” section, which is where I got some of my info. The only comment or question I should have asked here was why it says triple-pane are very good for noise reduction, but in the STC section, it says the opposite: “As a result, triple pane windows will sometimes be worse than a typical double pane unit and will almost never be better.”
        I will post my specific situation in the STC topic. I’m in Massachusetts so not within the area of your branches/franchises.

  2. Hi
    I have ordered single hung Triple pane windows and found out that “ Unfortunately, the manufacturer will not do triple pane glass in single hung windows, so if you want the triple pane we will need to bump up to the double hung windows. “
    What is your opinion please?

    1. thewindowdog says:

      Hi Vanessa, that’s pretty common. Double hung windows are much more popular for replacement projects because they add functionality and the price difference is pretty small. Usually builders use single hung windows because they want to save money and they don’t really care how the windows work. What is attractive to you about single hung windows? We see the vast majority of our customers picking double hung.

  3. What about condensation? Would triple pane windows perform better at reducing condensation buildup during the winter months? We live in Colorado where the winter humidity averages around 20% and we run humidifiers to bring the level up to about 40% indoors. I’ve lived in houses with good double pane windows (Milgard fiberglass) and they condensed. Currently have wood clad double pane windows (low quality) which also condensate so I’m thinking perhaps triple pane would be the way to go to replace these. I don’t want to spend my whole life wiping condensation off of windows and having to deal with mold issues!

    Also, who would be a good supplier for this mountainous area? We’re at about 7,000 feet and I understand there are issues with shipping windows over large elevation gains. That rules out anything but someone within a few hundred miles of us (Denver area).

    Thanks for your help!

    1. thewindowdog says:

      Hi Alex, yes triple pane windows will often have better Condensation Resistance ratings (also called CR Ratings) ratings. If condensation is a concern you’d want to look at that actual rating rather than just assuming triple pane is better. Every window will have a CR rating. The higher the rating the less likely it will be for condensation to form. Other factors can impact the CR rating like the type of spacer between the panes of glass and the type of low-e coatings on the glass.

      You can find recommendations for a great window company in Denver and all over the country on this page.

      Glad you’ve enjoyed the site. Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help out.

  4. Gloria Huss says:

    I was told by the company that is installing our windows that the single hung triple pane vinyl windows we ordered could not be manufactured because of the size, 11 1/2 “x 70”, 11 1/2”x 70”, 11 1/2”x 35”, 18”x 53”, and 11”x 58”. They drew up an addendum to the original contract removing these windows. The person doing the final measurements said it can be done. Who is lying, the salesman or the installer? The original contract called for 22 windows and 3 sliding doors. Totaling $76,000. The addendum was $72,000 removing the 5 fixed windows . I already know that I overpaid . Oh how I wished I had found your website before that company found me!

    1. thewindowdog says:

      An 11-1/2″ single hung window would probably look strange as the glass would only be like 6″ wide. I would think the salesman wants to sell it no matter what so he’d do anything he could to include it. They also get paid a percentage of the contract so the higher the contract the higher his paycheck. I would guess the installer has no idea what is available and what isn’t, he just installs windows, he doesn’t order them.

  5. Nobody has mentioned the loss of VT as a drawback, but it is one – Triple pane windows are darker. I recently had a few installed and the third pane also amplifies the green color cast of the lowE coating (more coated glass between you and the outside). I can deal with the light loss but I hate the green tint they give the room.

    1. thewindowdog says:

      Hi Mike, yes the VT ratings are lower on triple pane glass. There are different types of low-e coatings available so the color will depend on the type used, and the type needed for a certain climate. The type you’re describing is more commonly used in hotter climates. We sometimes see companies offering that type in the north or north-central regions, but it really doesn’t make any sense in those areas.

      Are you still looking at new windows or did you already have them installed?

      1. Already had them installed in NJ – ours were triple pane Okna 600s with Guardian 70/36 glass, which I think is their standard offering in the north. We’ll probably just live with them, maybe repaint the room in a shade of gray with more red tones to cancel out the green.

        Just wanted to send a heads up to people on the forum since I hadn’t heard this drawback mentioned in the post so far.

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