The Simonton Reflections 5500 is at the higher end of the Simonton replacement windows. This model is distributed nationwide with several variations offered under various brand names including Prism or Prism Platinum.
Overall, as we’ve said before, Simonton makes a fine product, but this model is getting a little long in the tooth. It utilizes some older design elements and offers less than outstanding performance numbers.
The biggest drawback for me is the thickness of the vinyl. You certainly get less glass area with the Simonton Reflections 5500 than you would with some competing products. For example, in the NFRC sticker below you can see the window with a U-Factor of 0.29 a SHGC of 0.24 and a rather low visible transmittance rating of 0.45.
This window would block out too much light for my taste. There are other models that can achieve very similar ratings with a thinner vinyl frame resulting in more visible light and a higher VT rating.
As with most windows there are several glass options that can certainly affect the numbers, but the thick frame is here to stay.
In addition the Simonton Reflections 5500 also uses the inexpensive constant force balance mechanism which have several drawbacks. They also charge extra for features that many companies offer standard such as double strength glass, balance covers and heavy duty screens.
Here you can see a Simonton Reflections 5500 window with the constant force balance and no balance cover.
The last picture I’ll show you for now is of the sash stops this model utilizes. This block at the top of the frame prevents the sash from opening all the way. It’s not a very big deal on a large window and Simonton does a good job of making it as small as they can. On smaller windows you won’t be able to open the window as far as you’d expect. Why do they put it there? They have to because of the cheap constant force balance mechanism used in the jambs.
You might ask yourself if this balance mechanism or the lack of a balance cover or the sash stops are a huge deal and the answer is probably no. I mention them here to illustrate the idea that perhaps this product doesn’t represent a fantastic bang for your buck.
There are many old and outdated design elements in this product that just aren’t necessary anymore. The price of a Simonton Reflections 5500 window doesn’t typically reflect the fact that it’s a bit old fashioned.
As you’re considering your options remember that manufacturers will often offer the same or VERY similar products under many brand names. They do this to help contractors selling the products avoid competing directly on price. If you get 2 quotes from 2 companies offering the exact same product then the price becomes a relatively important point of differentiation. If one of the companies can tell you all about why their product is “better” then perhaps the price will become less of a factor.
If you think this is a little strange, you’re right, but it happens in every industry from mattresses to bowling balls.
To sum up this Simonton Reflections 5500 window review I’d say overall it’s a fine product from a reputable manufacturer (despite my nitpicking), but you can usually do better for a lower price.
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