Triple Pane vs Double Pane Windows

When deciding on triple pane vs double pane glass for your new windows there are several important factors to consider.  There are differences in sound transmission, weight, efficiency and cost.  Here we’ll take a look at all 5 factors to help you make the best decision for you and your home.

double pand vs triple pane windows, cost, prices, noise and sound
When comparing double pane vs triple pane windows there are many factors to consider.

How about noise through triple pane vs double pane windows?

It is VERY common for replacement window salespeople to tell folks that windows with triple pane glass will reduce noise in the home.  In fact, switching from double pane to triple pane has a very small impact on sound.  You’d be much better served by going with laminated glass.  We go into more depth on this in our sound transmission post.  The long and the short of it is if you’re buying triple pane windows to reduce noise you’re overspending.

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Are triple pane windows heavy?

Well, yes they are heavier, but it shouldn’t matter to you.  A high quality replacement windows will have a balance mechanism to counterbalance the weight of the sash.  Regardless of how heavy the glass is the window should slide up and down effortlessly.  If your new windows are hard to open it’s either because the balance mechanism is not working correctly, the windows don’t fit in the opening just right or something else is impeding their motion.  The weight of the glass or the sash shouldn’t have an impact.

Along these same lines, some folks think triple pane windows will have a higher failure rate because of the weight and the fact that they have 2 air chambers.  This stems either from the days of old or from a salesperson pushing an agenda.  All nice new windows come with a complete warranty that protects you against any future problems.

How beneficial are triple pane energy efficient windows?

There is certainly an improvement in efficiency when comparing triple pane vs double pane windows.  It’s important to compare the window ratings including u-factor, shgc and visible transmission when comparing the options in order to understand the differences.

Triple pane windows will typically have u-factors that are about 20-30% better than a similar double pane window.  That’s a pretty substantial improvement.  They will also have better SHGC ratings as they tend to have two surfaces coated with a low-e coating.  These coatings will leave you with a lower visible transmission rating meaning it will typically be darker in a home with triple pane windows.

Are these increases in efficiency worth the trade off of increased cost and decreased light?  Only you can decide that, but with the cost difference likely being lower than you might expect more folks are picking triple pane options.

single pane, double pane, triple pane
Some folks even compare single pane with double and triple pane options.

Cost of triple pane vs double pane windows:

In my experience, when the topic of triple pane glass comes up some homeowners immediately say “oh no, we don’t need that!”  I find they tend to say that because they’ve received a quote for windows with triple pane glass before and the pricing was HIGH.  This led them to believe that pricing for all triple pane windows will be high.

As with everything relating to prices of replacement windows there are many factors at play, but the cost difference doesn’t need to be too substantial.  Perhaps $100 per window is a decent estimate.  So if you can get a great vinyl replacement window installed for around $350 with double pane glass then switching to triple pane glass would put you in the $450 neighborhood.  Sure, it’s more expensive, but it’s nowhere near the $800 per window that some companies try to charge.

Why do some companies try to charge $800-$1000 per window for triple pane windows? 

We’ll be writing a whole series on the tricky practices of some window companies out there.  The short answer is because people pay it sometimes.  If nobody was buying they’d either change their ways or go out of business.  Congrats to you for not taking the bait, but you can be sure there was someone behind you snapping it up.

These companies will likely tend to continue to struggle due to the fact that people are much more informed than they were years ago.

Remember, when deciding between triple pane vs double pane think about how long you’ll be in the home and whether energy savings over time are worth spending money upfront today.  

If you haven’t taken a look yet, try out our window reviews pages to get a better idea of the options.

If you’re looking for a window company right now, the best advice we have is to join Angie’s List.  For just a couple bucks you can get a 1-month membership and it’ll be worth much more than a caramel macchiato in the long run.  You can find the best pricing for Angie’s List on the internet right here

If you’re already a member of Angie’s List or if you’re just not going to join (despite my ringing endorsement), you can find our suggestions for the best companies in your area right here.

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.  

58 thoughts on “Triple Pane vs Double Pane Windows”

    1. Karen, Double pane is a big improvement over single pane. I replaced some in my home and the difference in noise and drafts is incredible. You could hold your hand up to the old window and feel the cold radiating from it, not with the new ones. I’m going to replace the rest in my home now.

  1. About 20 years ago I replaced all windows with triple pane ThermalGuard Windows. The windows were much insulative and quiet. They performed flawlessly. They averaged around $700 per window. Then the company became Appleby Windows. Anyone know what/who they are now? I need more windows on house in Maine.

    1. Not sure what you mean by “show” all 3 panes. You can definitely see all three panes when you look closely.

  2. Why do my triple pane, lowE 366 glass windows have a green tint? Is this from the silver oxide coating? It is so bad that it is turning everything in my living room green, and making me feel dizzy.

    1. Yes, the low-e 366 has more of a tint or greenish color than some other options. That’s one example of why we tell folks that a lower rating isn’t always better. We typically wouldn’t recommend an option like that unless you had a very unusual circumstance. What brand of windows are they?

      1. It really depends which type of low-e coating you have. A visible color will typically be more prominent on a triple pane window because you’ll have a low-e coating on 2 surfaces.

  3. I need to replace a garden window. The length is about 6 ft long. Do you have any recommendation from where can I buy one. The house is 20 years old.

    Thank you

    1. That’s a big garden window. The max width we offer is 72″ so as long as “about 6 ft” means no more than 6′ you should be fine. Just about any window company probably offers similar sizes.

      If you’re going bigger than that you’ll probably need to look at a bay or bow window. We talk about the differences here. They’re about the same as a garden window without the glass on the top. If you go that way the size will not be an issue.

  4. You’re 100% wrong saying the 600-800.00 a window companies are ripping people off. Have you seen the actual cost for some of these custom fitted windows? If you had you wouldn’t be spewing this nonsense. Just double hung windows with low e/argon come in around the 180-200.00 mark. If they’re not junk from Lowes that is. I’m talking glass packages with a U Factor below .30. Not even getting into tripe pane or krypton.

    Moving onto labor costs. 80-200.00 per window for installation. Add in more for metal and caulk.

    So what’s leftover for profit/insurance/the costs of running a business? I thought so. Maybe do some more research before you start badmouthing companies with very little to modest profit margins.

    1. I appreciate your thoughts. We install quite a few windows every month so I’m pretty familiar with the costs. You’re paying $200 per window for installation? That feels a little steep.

    2. I completely agree with window expert.
      Its not a blanketed price across the country. That’s like saying we all have the same gas prices or housing markets. People read this stuff and get a warped perception of what’s accurate in their markets. These prices may be true for illegal immigrant labor at $10 hour. I actually just read an article from remodeling magazine about how this Big50 company pays top dollar for installation and that’s why he is successful. That’s not done by selling a window at $450 and losing money.
      I’ve had two price increases to the tune of $50 in the last two years. How old are these blogs? Prices go up as do labor costs. These need to be updated or have an asterisk added to show what market you are referring to.

    3. I know this guy thinks he knows everything I have lost bid because of his dumb ass remarks on his window dog website. I agree he has no business determining how much the job should cost! They dog a window I use that tops many of the vinyl windows available.

        1. I offer a lot of the Vinyl Brands on the market. The trouble I see is you are not actually a windows installer. There’s a lot of probability’s that you miss with you describable how much a job should be installed for. I have many photos to help explain different styles of old openings that can make a window install a nightmare or those windows that are nearly impossible to reach/work-on but we get those ones done somehow against all odds, anyways I understand this may be your side business, and if you could ease up on the contractor’s and what we have to charge to stay in business. Unfortunately its not a perfect world and no two bids will ever be the same considering two companies may have different ways to install windows on the same house. The tougher tear outs with Lead, stucco or stone cut-backs may increase the window cost per window. When colors and grids get added into the equation. I’ve had vinyl replace cost as much as 450$.
          Also, You don’t have anything on your web about Parco Windows (#1) unless I missed it, Heartland makes good casements/windows, look into those companies. The only thing I really wanted to say is when your self employed and trying to maintain your trucks/trailer/Insurance and many-many other expenses. All the money we tie into tools, workman’s Comp and keeping up with all the states demands it all cost money and needs to be built into a fare budget when bidding a window job. I’ve been in the window business for 18 years. I can tell you for a fact you’ll be out of business in less than five years if your not charging at least a 40% of a market-up on your materiel.. Thanks for some of your info on this page your spot on. But you are off your rocker when you talk about the cost to do some of these jobs.

          1. Hi Dave, thanks for taking the time to write. This isn’t my side business. My company installs thousands of windows every month all over the country. I appreciate that the work of a quality installer can be marginalized by some companies. We have many crews working every day and I know them well. Our guys always get paid fairly for their work and we’re also able to offer very fair prices to our customers. If you can run a more efficient business you can lower prices and make a great living. That’s what we do and it gets easier as we get larger. It’s not easy to get started and the consultants in the business certainly aren’t helping smaller companies.

            What makes you think Parco windows is number 1?

  5. I currently have a condo in Miami that has single pane sliding windows. The condo was built in 1996. Two of the sliding glass window panes have a spider crack in it. Luckily the windows are tinted so they haven’t become a disaster knock on wood. I have accordion hurricane shutters at every window. What kind of window replacement should I go for? I live close to a international airport and it does get loud. I have three window upstairs one decent size kitchen sliding window and a sliding glass door 79″.

  6. So most companies charge $800 total for the installation of one triple pane window (I assume that’s vinyl). What would the cost be for a standard size triple pane window in wood?

    1. The prices for wood on vinyl windows will vary quite a bit based on many factors including the company offering them. For a quick rule of thumb we find wood windows to be about 2-2.5x the cost of vinyl windows.

      1. Are wood windows that may cost 2 – 2.5x the cost of vinyl windows worth the extra cost as it pertains to quality, life, energy efficiency? Thanks.

        1. No. People pay the premium for wood windows because they are pretty. They typically are less energy efficient, have sorter warranties and they cost more. Paying more for something because you like the look is a perfectly reasonable thing to do, just be clear that the only thing you’re getting is the look.

  7. Only true for small American made thermos panes.

    Proper triple pane windows and doors that are manufactured in Europe ( such as Internorm ) are 3 times more efficient than Double glazed American made windows. With American double pane, we can obtain R 3.5 to 4.2 with our windows you can obtain R 11.4 value.

    Also they offer a HUGE difference in sound proofing.

    1. Thanks for posting. I’d love to learn more about the windows you have in Europe. Do you measure R-values of the entire window or is that a center of glass measurement? What sort of STC ratings do you see with these windows?

  8. In Europe they use a Metric U-Value system, but in fact the value is center glass. You can take a look at out our website to get more information about our products. We are based in Montreal, Canada and we distribute Internorm products throughout North America.

    our website is http://www.neufenster.com

    1. what is the name of the store in Montreal?
      I live in US and I would like to purchase European widows, is it possible to either ship them from Canada or go there and transport myself?
      Thank you

      1. Hello Mark,

        The windows are shipped from Austria directly to your site in a container, we can arrange all the transport logistics. The name of our business in Neu Fenster doors and Windows.

        Best Regards

  9. We have double paned glass windows in our bedroom. We are above a busy street. I have two questions if you could kindly help me with… 1. The window is 14 years old and it was expensive. It seems to be noisier now than in the past years. Is it possible for the window to have lost its tight seal and letting noise in? 2. Would buying a triple pane glass window help with reducing the noise? If yes then should they just replace the glass in the frame we have or buy a new window with a new frame? Sincerely thank you! I am confused and do not want to waste money!

    1. Hi Noel, a triple pane window will likely help a little. A window with laminated glass will likely help more. You can look at the STC rating of any new window to get a good idea of how it will help to reduce sound transmittance. Good luck with your project.

      1. Thanks so much! Will using the old window frame and reaplcing with the triple panel glass be the same as ordering an entirely new window in regards to th sound reduction? Thank you!

        1. That sounds like an unusual strategy. I suppose the results would depend on the existing frame and sash. The triple pane (or laminated) glass will be heavier than the old glass which will likely require the balances to be replaced in order for the window to operate correctly. You may be better off with new vinyl windows that seal well and come with STC ratings so you know what you’ll be getting. Be sure to let us know ho wit goes, I’m curious.

  10. when u say a window do u mean one panel? For example my living room has a window with three sections, middle part is picture window which can not move, both sides have casement windows. Do they count as one window or three window in installzation

    1. Great question. That is 3 windows. You have 2 double hung windows and 1 picture window. The fact that they’re all next to each other doesn’t really make any difference.

  11. Looking at Berkshire triple pane Windows for my home in Denver. Should I be concerned with the vinyl frames in such a heavy window? Other concerns with us being at 6000 ft altitude?

    1. No, they won’t make a window if they don’t expect it to hold up. The installer should be able to tell you if it’s high enough to require capillary tubes. I think they’ll still do a sealed unit at 6000 ft. Good luck with the project!

    1. You don’t see a whole lot of aluminum windows these days. Most people pick wood if they want a wood look and they pick vinyl if they don’t. New vinyl windows come with lifetime warranties so they should last a very long time. They’re also more cost effective than aluminum and look pretty similar. I think that’s why the industry has mostly moved away from aluminum windows.

  12. I have a window company who replaced 3 bedroom and the big living room windows/frames. But they forgot to put in my free triple pane upgrade so I have dual. They are suppose to come back to replace the panes. However they would rather give me a refund of $425. Not sure what to do. Help!

    1. Sounds like an easy one. Would you rather have $425 or triple pane glass? Depending on the specifics triple pane is roughly 25% more efficient. If you’re planning on being around for a while and that’s worth more than the cash then get the glass. If not, take the bucks.

      It is a good example of the idea that there is no free triple pane upgrade. Nothing is free in the world. If you’d wanted double pane in the beginning you could have saved a few bucks. If you wanted the more efficient windows you should get them. Don’t worry too much about what the company wants.

  13. I need to replace a skylite double Paine window. It has been in 23 years and did fine until 2 years ago. Condensation forms on the inside and drips water on my floor in the winter. It does not leak. I was going to put in a triple Paine window to stop the condensation from forming. I have 2 window, but only one is a problem. Would the light be different from the new window compared to the other. Does it make sense to go with the triple or stay with the double. We will probably only be here less ttan 10 years.

    1. The light may be different if they have different low-e coatings. Who knows what they would have used 23 years ago, if any coating at all.

      I just got 5 new skylights with my new roof and they look beautiful. They’re so much more clear than the old ones. I’d say if you can afford it you should replace both.

      If they’re the same age and one has failed the other will likely fail soon. Get it done and over with so you can enjoy the view!

  14. I bought triple pane with Krypton.

    I used to be freezing in the house when it was 72 degrees, but I have been so comfortable at 62 degrees 24/7 that I turned it down to 58 degrees yesterday to see if I was still comfortable. It was a little cooler, but not bad.

    I honestly think my oil bill dropped in more than half, because we used to keep the temperature at 71 or 72 24/7 and I used to sometimes want to turn it up even one more degree.

    Not having drafts. No cold spots. Being able to even touch the window and having it be at room temperature.

    I was a “warm blanket” and “warm sock” and “Warm sweater” hoarder, constantly buying anything at all to keep warm.

    A few weeks ago, I found myself walking around in a short sleeve t-shirt when it was icy and windy outside and I have seriously jumped up and down for joy, because my oil bills each month are so much less and my electric bills are so much less.

    I laugh, because for less than the price of a couch extra, I ended up with a house that is so comfortable that I feel like I am going to be permanently happy, even if it took 50 years to pay itself back.

    I have NEVER felt comfortable in the Winter before. NEVER.

    Being able to say that I do feel comfortable is the part of the equation, which is priceless.

    Can’t wait to see what the coming Summer will be like.

  15. I just sent a comment, but I have to say that I also insulated at the same time, so it might not be 100% my triple pane windows, but I will say that my thought process was toward wanting a comfortable house. My windows cost $7000 total and I would have saved at least a $1000 if I had gone double pane, but I reasoned, what is the price of real comfort.

    I had read that they take 20 years to pay themselves off, you say 35 years, but either way, mine have a 20 year warranty and every day of those 20 years will be more comfortable and I have paid a thousand dollars for a seriously comfortable couch, so it just seemed to fit my logic and I am so happy I did it.

  16. Last night, I tried turning the house down to 55 degrees last night and today and it really wasn’t bad.

    I am playing with it this year, but mostly realized that I have space heaters in every room and have only used the bathroom heater twice. I forgot things I used to do like using a heated throw and using electric mattress pads.

    I also haven’t had to use the humidifier, and I just realized that my skin isn’t itchy and dry. Is that because of the comfortable temperature or has 2017 been less drying? I usually use tons of moisturizer and humidifiers and it is February and I didn’t get the “itch” that reminds me to do those things.

    I don’t know if that part is related to the windows keeping the outdoor air out or what.

    This is my first Winter with triple pane, so I am more like a kid in a candy shop. I know that they might not have been fiscally worth it, but I really am seriously happy with them.

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