Soft-Lite Imperial LS Windows Reviews

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Update: While this Soft-Lite Imperial LS window review was originally written several years ago it’s been updated in 2022 as we continue to work to provide the best replacement window information on the entire internet in 2022 and beyond.  See info towards the bottom of this post for the most recommended window companies in 2022.  Be sure to post a comment or send us a message with any questions!

Here we’ll take a look at the Soft-Lite Imperial LS windows.  When comparing Soft-Lite windows you’ll notice that different dealers will often offer or recommend different models.  For some dealers the Imperial LS is the fanciest model they offer while other will push the Soft-Lite Elements model.  These two models are relatively similar except that the Imperial LS window is often offered at a lower price so it typically represents a better value.

As with most replacement windows these days there are many glass options to chose from.  These options will affect the ratings so it’s important to make sure you pick the one that is right for you.  Remember that lower is not always better.

Ratings for the Soft-Lite Imperial LS windows vary from a U-Factor of 0.28 down to 0.17.  The solar heat gain ranges from 0.28 to 0.24.

As you can see, these ratings are solid, but they’re not one of a kind.  For example the visible transmittance rating of 0.51 and lower for a double pane window is a little low.  That is due to the fact that the Imperial LS window uses a thicker frame than some other options.  If you’re going with double pane glass there are other windows that will give you more light at the same efficiency ratings.  The salesperson offering the Soft-Lite Imperial LS windows typically won’t point that out.

From a design standpoint, the Soft-Lite Imperial LS windows are available with two different types of locks that both look sharp.  The recessed hardware shown below has a very clean, simple look that many folks appreciate.

They also offer the Auto-Majik self locking lock.  Despite the horribly awkward name, it can be a convenient option.  I’ve never felt that locking windows myself was too much of a chore, but if you do this will save you a step.

One drawback to the Soft-Lite Imperial LS is the balance mechanism that they use.  The balance mechanism is the component that lets the window open and close and prevents it from falling.  It’s a little bit of a surprise that Soft-Lite still uses constant force balances even in their nicer offerings.  They’ll tell you why it’s great, but we’ve received a few Soft-Lite samples with coil balances and they both have issues.  We’ll be uploading some videos showing how they perform soon.

Typically higher end windows have moved away from these coil balances for several reasons including longevity.  Instead of switching the type, Soft-Lite opted to change the name.  They call it an Endura-Force balance.  These balance mechanisms do work ok, and they are easy enough to replace when they fail, but it would be a nice touch to do away with these balances.

How about the Soft-Lite Imperial LS warranty?

As is the case with all quality replacement windows they come with a “lifetime warranty”.  As always you need to really read the warranty to see what is actually covered.  In this case there are several important limitations:

  • Soft-Lite does not cover labor to fix a warranty problem
  • Soft-Lite does not cover shipping of replacement parts
  • Soft-Lite does not cover glass breakage

These limitations aren’t necessarily deal breakers they are more limited than what you’ll find from several other manufacturers.

 What’s the bottom line?

The Soft-Lite Imperial LS window is a fine option.  There’s nothing too remarkable about it and the pricing offered by local dealers can vary quite a bit.

When comparing options don’t be swayed by a salesperson who may tell you that this is the absolute greatest product ever produced by mankind.  It’s a good window, but you can find similar products from other manufacturers.  As always there are no vinyl double hung windows that are worth $800 per window.  If you’re buying this one in the $400-$500 range you’re probably getting a decent value.  If you’re getting quotes any higher than that for typical windows it would be wise to keep looking.

So, how should I decide who to work with?

The window business is challenging, that’s for sure. Every company says they’re the best and they all say that everyone else is horrible. It can feel difficult to navigate, but luckily it’s really not that hard.

I always suggest starting with a company with a good reputation and a solid track record. Then listed to what they have to suggest. Ask any questions about it, ask about options both more expensive and less expensive. When you feel like they’re offering a reasonable value that fits your needs you should buy it.

It is not a good idea to fall in love with a window brand before yo’ve found someone to install them. That said, you can find the best window reviews on the internet right here.

To try to help in that regard we’ve compiled a list of great companies all over the country. We may not know anyone in your neighborhood yet but it doesn’t’ hurt to ask. You can find our list of the best replacement window companies right here.

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.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Update: We now have more recommend LOCAL window companies than ever before.   Click here to see who we recommend in your town.  It's 100% free.  You'll thank me.  There is no better resource; you're going to love it.  See for yourself right here.  

57 thoughts on “Soft-Lite Imperial LS Windows Reviews”

  1. re: your comment that “there are other doublepane windows that will give you more light at the same efficiency ratings…” can you name some specific brands and products? what range is considered an “excellent” VT rating? thanks.

    1. Soft Lite Imperial LS windows have really thick frames. Just about any option will offer more glass area. A good rating is .50 or better with an Energy Star rating. The different types of low-e coatings will affect the ratings as they’ll have different levels of tint.

      1. You are very incorrect about the VT of the Softlite Imperial LS. The true rating is .51 for double pane according to NFRC. You have confused the double pane VT with the triple pane VT. I would hope you will correct this as you are misinforming people.

        I also find it somewhat interesting that your review leaves out that the sashes are reinforced with Kevlar and the Design Pressure is 60.

        1. Hi John, we based that info off of a picture of an NFRC label that was used in Soft-Lite marketing. We’ll be glad to double check. If they’re wrong we’ll let them know so they can update their info.

          A while back we were in touch with the Soft-Lite folks and asked them for any additional info they might want us to include. They declined to provide any so we’re posting the info we have. If you’d like to send over any verifiable info we’ll be glad to consider it.

          A DP 60 rating is very good. It may be overkill for most residential applications, but there’s no doubt it’s a high number.

          1. Hi again, we just double checked the nfrc site and you’re correct. They do offer an option with a 0.28 U-Factor and a 0.51 VT. That’s still a little darker than some other options, but not as dark as we had previously mentioned.

            Many of the options they offer are very low and I’d suggest people keep that rating in mind as they’re considering their options.

            Thanks for pointing that out and please let us know if there is any additional info you’d like to add.

  2. ” If you’re buying this one in the $400-$500 range you are probably getting a good deal”

    Is that price I what or without installation included?

    Nearly ready to sign a nearly $750 each with installation for 63 x 38 doublehungs

        1. There are a lot of factors that go into the pricing, but that is probably a little steep. What did you like about that model?

  3. Sorry for poor Grammer above, on a tablet.

    I am quoted $730 per window for 17 doublehung 63h x 38w windows including install

    This is in a newer home so basic install

    Is this reasonable

    1. Sounds pretty far on the high side. Have you received a couple of quotes? You can find nice windows in the $400-$500 range including installation all the time (often less than that). That would represent a savings of $3,000-4,000 or more on your project. That’s a ton of money. You’ll be well served to get an Angie’s List subscription (discount rates here) and get a couple more quotes from reputable local companies. If you don’t save at least $2k on your project we’ll buy you lunch!

      1. I’m sorry “dog” but you frankly don’t know what you’re talking about. The Imperial LS windows have a wholesale cost of almost $250.00 each, after factoring in installation materials, labor, workers comp, overhead and market costs selling that window for $400-500 would put you out of business quickly. The problem with the window business is that it has a low entrance barrier and there are too many people that know nothing about running a legitimate business and making a profit. I’m a certified master installer with 20 years experience in the business.

        1. Hi David, thanks for taking the time to write. It is hard to be a small window company these days. You want to remember that the customer is typically happy to pay for quality products and installation, but they’re usually not thrilled about paying for your overhead and marketing costs. A more efficient business will have significantly lower costs per window which allows them to offer windows at a more competitive price.

          We’ve been at this a while and we started out pretty small. It’s a very competitive business and it took us years and years to expand as much as we have. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Soft-Lite Imperial LS window, but if you’re trying to justify your price by telling customers about your overhead you’re going to have a tough time growing the business. Hopefully you have a master salesperson on the team to help with the pitch. I’d suggest focusing on the value you provide for the money rather than your overhead.

  4. Champion quoted us 14500 for the same 17 with their 365 line which also seemed high.

    Both companies knew we got multiple bids so not sure why they are so high.

    We tried to work down a local place but they only took off 300 too 12500. (Imperial LS)

    Window world came in at 9500 for the same thing with their 4000 series .

    Any ideas why these are all coming in so high? My house is 10 years old with build grade currently in place

    1. Well, shopping Champion against someone proposing Soft-Lite Imperial LS is going to result in high prices. We don’t specifically know of any great local companies in your area, but we can promise you that they’re there.

      Window World’s pricing is easy to compare since it’s so itemized. What are they including to get over $550 per window? Maybe there’s more to your project then we’re aware of. Remember that they advertise $189 per window installed. It’s good for folks to see that is typically not the case.

  5. Each company said my install would be pretty basic, basic cutout, so siding work now interior drywall fixes.

    I am somewhat handy and cannot tell myself.

    The winows came with the house and a very basic .

    Weather world stated the windows needed – custom exterior trim, interior and exterior stops as well as ‘metal winow extra labor’

    1. ‘Metal window extra labor’ is a funny way for them to write that. Removing metal frames can be more work. There is no doubt that most folks in your area are not paying $700+ per window for new windows. You’ll find a much better value out there. Perhaps someone else will chime in with a suggestion.

  6. I am in Maryland and have gotten similar numbers for 11 windows (63×32). One company came in with Okna 800 triple pane at $10,200 and double pane at $9,300. Second company is pitching Soft-Lite Imperial LE for $8,500.

  7. Hi windowdog,
    I live in MA. I am going to replace 15 windows of different sizes, it’s a bit of a complicated work as some windows are really hard to access. One company came back with a decent offer with Soft Lite Imperial LS.
    I am curious/worried about the frame thickness tough. Could you tell me which other double pane glass windows with similar efficiency ratings would give more light?

  8. One issue I love the Window Dog site but I am buying casement windows and every one needs more stats and pricing for casement windows as they cost more and do better usually than double hung as I read on this site. But it hard to get even close pricing from online on this site. So I am going to tell you the quote I got so far and probably will stay with! The quote is for a free upgrade to triple pane with Low e on two panes and argon gas in the LS Imperial version of Soft Lite windows line. Was told it is the same window when in casement style as the Elements Triple pane with Argon and both have by choice the Super Spacer which they claim is better than the Stainless Steel U type spacer. The cost per window including wood frame clad with aluminum to seal it, and 3 layers of seals when full frame. The quote including installation of primed for paint wood interior trim and stained for the bedroom area is 1140.00 per window. Another company quoted for the Elements for 1455.00 installed full frame also per window. Are these prices reasonable for Casement style windows. The current windows are Crestline 80s wood ones with the old style rectangular metal spacers so probably any thing would be an improvement nowadays over that method. Please advise me if this good information and the pricing for Casement vs Double Hung windows. We are in a large city that is about the size of Dallas Ft Worth but in a northern area that gets below 25 degrees temps pretty often in the winters.

    1. That pricing might be a little heavy, but it’s hard to tell without seeing the project. I misread your comment at first thinking you were in Dallas. I don’t know a great company to recommend in your town, but I would suggest checking out Angie’s List for a suggestion.

      I would bet you could see thousands in savings. Typically a casement window costs $50-$100 more than a double hung. Shouldn’t really be any more than that.

      Regarding the stats casements are typically slightly more efficient, but not a whole lot more efficient when compared to newly designed double hungs.

  9. Your review states that there are comparable windows to Soft-Lite imperial LS with better visible transmittance rating. Can you please provide some examples?

  10. I had a quote from the company that works through the Mass Save program in MA. Over $900 ea installed for these windows. No thanks.

  11. Please give your opinion of this offer. These fourteen double hung windows are Imperial LS with U-Value = .27; Solar Heat Gain = .28; VT = .51 and thewindows will be double pane w/ super spacer. $9997.00 for installed.
    6 @ 31 × 74
    4 @ 33 × 64
    2 @ 33 × 75
    1 @ 46 × 48; picture window in master bathroom. Will be doublehung window
    1@ 36× 64; double hung in foyer

    1. That comes to over $700/window, seems a little on the high side. There’s nothing too spectacular about those ratings. I expect you could save quite a bit and get the same type of ratings.

  12. I am in New York and have six large (6′ tall x 3′ wide”) windows that need to be replaced (right now they are just old picture windows). I’ve received quotes of $4,500 for Alside (which I didn’t get a good feeling about), $5900 for Soft-Lite LS and $5,250 for Soft-Lite Pros (from an installer that I trust, we’ve used him for other things) and $4,300 from a local company called Tri-State for double-pane, double-hung windows).

    All three companies said my job would be a pain in the arse because the frames sit behind wood pillars, so the windows will need to be removed from the outside and the entire back wall of windows will need to be reframed. That being said, is the $5,900 for LS windows reasonable? Can I do better? And do you have any experience with Tri-State?

    Thank you!


    1. We don’t have any experience with Tri-State, but maybe someone else can chime in. It’s hard to say what a reasonable price is as it sounds like there may be more involved than a typical project.

      How did he explain why the LS was worth over $100 per window more than the Pro, that seems like a bit of a leap. Maybe there are different options included.

      1. Thanks so much for writing back. I’m going to ask him to break out his materials cost versus labor cost so I can properly compare.

        What is the typical price difference between the two?

        1. Well, if the options are the same there isn’t a whole lot of difference in the results you’ll see. He might be including triple pane or something like that in the LS. If there isn’t a really clear reason why he thinks it’s better for your application it probably isn’t worth too much more for you. Hard to say what is typical as different companies charge a wide range of prices.

  13. I am in the Minneapolis area. I received a quote for 14 Imperial LS Soft-Lite windows installed for a total of about $20,000. The windows range from about 3 x 5 to about 3 x 4. Nothing special about the install. It is the only bid I have received, but seems very high, especially after reviewing your website and comments. Thoughts?

  14. I had 19 soft-lite windows installed prior to vinyl siding. The steel coils are constantly breaking and the installer has stopped answering my phone calls due to this problem. They’re not even an authorized installer anymore! The windows are 52-1/4″ wide and 64-1/2″ tall. Soft-lite’s comments before the windows were built was that if they were another 1/8″ wider they couldn’t have made them. They prob coils are breaking. I have a warranty but who is going to honor it?

  15. I am in Maryland. I received a quote of $14,375 for 25 windows installed from Window Nation. The windows are Soft-Lite double-pane with super spacer – 5 of the windows Soft-Lite Imperial LS and the remainder Soft-Lite Envision, which they said is a step down from Imperial LS. Please give your opinion on our quote – below are the window sizes.
    Soft-Lite Imperial LS double-hung:
    5 @ 32 × 88

    Soft-Lite Envision double-hung:
    1 @ 33 × 52
    2 @ 33 × 62
    5 @ 33 × 64
    6 @ 33 × 76
    2 @ 34 ×75
    1 @ 36 × 50

    1 half-circle window to go above the 36 × 50 window
    2 @ 59 × 48 sliders (this was suggested in master bathroom, where there are currently 4 windows – 2 windows each next to each other in the corner bathroom adjoining walls)

    Thank you!

  16. Hi Windowdog,I live in New Hampshire. We just got a quote yesterday for 13 double hung Softlite Imperial LS Windows and a full size patio slider. $13,496.00was the quote. The presentation was very informative and these windows are well constructed with foam insulation throughout the frame.This also included labor.We are seriously thinking of going with it but thought the price was a bit high. These look to be high end Windows. Any thoughts would be very helpfull. Thanks Steve

  17. Very imformative site.
    I am leaning toward the Soft-Lite Elements double pane Low E glass with Super Spacer. After speaking to the contractor this is his recomendation. I was originally leaning towards the Imperial LS. Replacing 13 cheap builder grade windows on 2 story colonial that are approx 15 years old. All windows face north and south with 70% facing south shaded 60-70% of day by 2 large trees 15 feet away from house. Replacement windows include 2 bays with one double hung on each side of the larger stationary center glass for dining and living rooms, 1 triple slider in family room, the rest are double sliders for kitchen, bathroom and 4 bedrooms. We replaced our patio slider with an Anderson 3 years ago. We are keeping window configuration the same that we currently have. We are using a construction company that has been in business in the same location for approx 30 years. They do not subcontract their work out. They have provided a copy of their insurance policy and builders license. Also provided a very detailed proposal.
    Price for installed Windows including tax is $8300. Sound reasonable? Should I be perusing The Imperials?

  18. I received a quote for 12 Imperial LS Soft-Lite windows @ $475/window which falls into the price range provided in another comment. Is there a better window choice for this price range and if so, can you provide those options? I live in MA. Thanks!!

  19. $10600 for 12 imperial ls windows including aluminum wrap on the outside ( didn’t have windows wrapped when house was sided). 1 of the 12 windows is a large picture window. Is this a reasonable price?

  20. Interesting, I just recieved a qoute for just over $12000 for 8 Solftlight Imperial LS windows. One is a 4′ x 8′ picture 3 panel with sliders on both side, two are 7′ x 2′, 2 are 3.5′ x 4′, 2 onm the smaller side. I get that the picture isnt going to be cheap, but I cant help but feel that it’s all a bit steep, every window was over $1000 (installed).

    1. That model is frequently (but maybe not always) sold at silly prices for no good reason. If you’re not sure it’s a great deal I’d say get another quote or two to see how it compares.

  21. I just had 11 (32 x 60) Soft-Lite Imperial LS windows installed today. My price also includes installation of a new back door and they didn’t break out the pricing between the two.

    I paid $8000 for all of it. I am in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, Dc.C.

    They had to remove the builder installed metal frame windows. Let me tell you, they earned every penny getting those puppies out.

  22. 10 Imperial LS slider windows for 5,800 full job. Is that a fair price for the windows or should I go with Window World for 6,000 ?

    1. You’re seeing Soft-Lite Imperial LS windows for less than Window World? That seems unusual. Normally the Soft Lite dealers really like those Imperial LS windows.

      What did you see as an advantage or disadvantage of either option?

  23. Hi I am getting 10 32×62 double hung, SoftLite Imperial LS, flat grids, magic lock windows for $6040 which about $604 a window. Is this a good price.

    Another quote i had is $595 a window for Thermal Park Avenue 9500 series.
    Alside Mezzo series for $721 a window

    I am more inclined towards LS window but want to ensure i am getting fair price.


    1. That pricing is probably not out of line for that model. What did you like about the Soft Lite option? The downside to that one in my opinion is the thick frames, it can sometimes look a little bulky.

  24. Hi window dog. I am in Rhode Island and I tell you it’s been tough trying to find good window dealer in my state. In Massachusetts I have found several
    dealers (sunrise, okna, zen windows) a bit far away from me, however I found a softlite dealer who sells the Imperial LS window and is selling it for 550 a window (double hung, grids ). This is a cash and carry sale and I already have a good contractor who I trust. The install is about 150 – 200 a window. I am wondering if you know any other quality window suppliers in my area,aside from Alside whom I found as well but don’t think it’s in the same tier as other brands mentioned. I am replacing 12 windows. Thank you for your time and help.

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