Double Pane vs. Triple Pane Windows: How Much Do They Cost?

Kenneth Wilson

In installing new windows, two popular questions most homeowners take into careful consideration are as follows:

  • Should I go with double-pane or triple-pane windows?
  • How much will double-pane or triple-pane windows cost me?

Standard-sized, double-pane windows start at $443 to $977 per piece. Meanwhile, triple-pane window installation starts at $632 to $1,247.

You will also need to factor in the labor costs for the installation or replacement, which can average around $43 per hour. The total expenses may also greatly depend on your chosen brand, window framing materials, and the type of window. (Related: Sunroom Addition Cost & Consumer Guide)

To help you get the most energy-efficiency performance of your double pane or triple pane window installation project, let's compare and discuss the two window types in detail.

Double Pane vs. Triple Pane Windows: A Cost Overview

  • Average Cost of Double Pane Windows: $710
  • Low-end Double Pane Window Cost: $443
  • High-end Double Pane Window Cost: $977
  • Average Triple Pane Windows Cost: $940
  • Low-end Triple Pane Window Cost: $632
  • High-End Triple Pane Windows Cost: $1,247

On average, double-pane windows cost $710, with the low-end units starting at $443 and high-end options costing up to $977. The price of double-pane windows is mainly dependent on your chosen material. Aluminum double pane windows are the most cost-effective option, followed by fiberglass, vinyl, and wooden material.

In contrast, triple-pane windows may cost up to 10 to 15% more than their double-pane counterparts.  The average cost runs for $940, with the low-end option starting at $632 and may cost you as much as $1,247.

Although it's not that much of a substantial price difference when replacing a couple of windows– it may easily add several thousand dollars to your project when removing old windows in the entire house and opting for triple-pane replacements.

The expensive price tag is often why many homeowners in the country put off getting triple-pane windows. However, there's notably some Return on Investment (ROI) in choosing the latter.

What are Double Pane Windows?

First, let's discuss what a pane is all about. A windowpane, also known as glazing, refers to the glass sheet that separates the home's interior from the outside.

Double-pane windows, therefore, are made from two glass panes. These windows are separated by a spacer with dense trapped gas (usually argon or krypton gas fills). Don't worry. These gases are odorless and non-toxic. Should the argon gas leak in your home due to unforeseen circumstances, it will not put you or your family at risk.

This particular spacer holds the panes of glass in place, despite any outside pressure. Sealing prevents the gas from leaking between the layers, enabling the double-pane windows to insulate your home effectively.

Thanks to their design, these window units are considerably energy-efficient. Double-pane windows contain an R-value of 3 to 3.8, while their triple-paned counterparts have up to 7- 8. Nonetheless, double-pane windows are still effective in heat flow blocking.

Since they are good at insulating homes, installing double-pane windows can give you substantial savings in the long run. It serves as an efficient barrier that helps you ensure cost savings and other long-lasting benefits. Not to mention, double-pane windows will keep your home at a comfortable temperature all year round.

Lower Condensation Issues

If your property is located in cold climate environments, you may be already familiar with winter condensation issues.

The stark difference in temperature inside your home and the outer area causes water vapor to accumulate in the windows. Once it comes into contact with the window, it freezes due to the low temperature.

Dual-paned windows can help solve this problem for you by differentiating the warm interior pane and the cold exterior pane.

What are Triple Pane Windows?

Triple-pane windows are considered the most advanced windows available in the market today. True to their name, these are made with three glass panes.

Like double-paned windows, every pane has a spacer surrounding the edges, giving sufficient spacing between the layers.

A sealing in between the pane keeps the window airtight. It also allows for gas pockets to fill the space, giving better insulation and more energy efficiency.

More Energy Efficiency

Triple paned windows are designed to reach an R-value of up to 8, depending on your chosen type of window and glass packages. With that said, triple-glazed windows can be 50% more efficient than their double-pane counterparts.

However, the additional glass pane will add 10 to 15% more to the total project costs. Local contractors tend to charge more for complex construction and installation work.

Improved Noise Reduction

So, what makes triple-pane an ideal choice? Well, these windows give you improved noise reduction.

Although it's not as efficient as SSP glass, the extra pane in triple pane windows improves noise reduction features than double pane windows.

Are Triple-Pane Windows Better than Double-Pane Units?

Simply put, the additional pane in triple-pane windows serves as a better insulation barrier. If you compare double-pane windows vs. triple-pane units, the latter has less condensation, allows less heat to escape, and is more soundproof.

Another benefit of triple-pane windows (with its extra windowpane) is the use of additional low-E coatings.

To the naked eye, coatings with low emission resemble a film or window tint. However, this coating is usually applied in its manufacturing process. Most, if not all of the triple-pane windows in the market utilize low-emissivity layers. It improves the window's insulating properties, efficiency, and performance. As a result, the home becomes comfortable throughout the year.

Since triple-pane units give excellent insulation, homeowners looking to cut costs may benefit from lower energy bills per month.

Let's say you have a favorite spot near the window. In that case, installing triple-pane windows at home will make you feel cozy and warm in your area. It allows you to extend your stay in the space for as long as you'd like.

Fortunately, major window brands offer triple-pane glass options for several styles and types of windows. If your budget permits, the triple-glazed window choice is strongly recommended as they are worth the extra cost.

Should I Get Double or Triple Pane Windows?

By all means, you may be under the impression that triple-pane windows are the perfect pick for every home in the country. However, thicker windows do not automatically prove to be the better option.

If you want to determine the best choice for your needs, you need to consider several factors for your home and situation:

Energy Efficiency

Both double and triple pane windows prove to be an excellent insulating material for your home as they help regulate the temperature.

The additional layers of glass, along with the trapped gas in between the layers, can keep heat inside during the winter season and out during scorching hot summer days. And while both choices can help you save on energy costs, triple-pane units prove to be the better choice if you want to get the most energy-efficient windows. It's also suitable for properties situated in extreme or fluctuating environments.

For the average homeowner, you can get by with just double-pane windows at home. These are sufficient for standard residences in the country.

Noise Reduction

Properties in high-traffic areas, urban zones, and busy roads can benefit from windows with great soundproofing features.

Fortunately, either new double-pane or triple-pane windows can assist you in your soundproofing needs.

Both types of windows have a similar sound transmission class (STC) rating of 26 to 32, keeping your home quiet. Ensure proper, professional installation for your windows to get the most of their soundproofing features.

Security Features

Windows add a layer of security to your residence. It can protect your interior from getting damaged by falling tree branches in a storm or prevent burglars from entering the inside of your home.

Installing double-pane windows means any object or person needs to break through two sheets of glass. In contrast, triple-pane windows will need more work for an intruder to enter your home successfully. Additionally, this window type is heavier than the other options and much more damage-resistant.

Keep in mind that the more glass panels in a window, the more its durability.

Ease of Installation

Standard windows in the US are designed to fit double-pane windows. Since triple-pane windows are more prominent, your contractor may need to make some adjustments since these units are pretty challenging to install.

The installation for both windows is different, with the key factors revolving around the size and weight of the paned units. With that in mind, it's essential to ensure your windows' proper fit and sealing so you can count on their maximum function.

Regardless of which window type you choose to go with, opt to hire an experienced and qualified local window contractor.

Natural Light

We all love naturally lit homes. The more windows you add to your residence, the more natural light you can enjoy during sunny days!

Double-pane windows, in particular, have that extra glass layer for the light to pass through. But of course, you may still let beautiful, natural lighting while protecting your home from energy loss.

In contrast, three panes of glass translate to a more challenging penetration for light to pass through. It makes a subtle difference between the two windows in terms of your natural lighting needs.

Don't worry. The number of your window's glass panes does not pose that much of a difference in the amount of natural light you get. Talk to your contractor to choose the best window frame to allow the most efficient lighting flow.

UV Considerations

If you have more glass panels in your window, this means you have excellent protection on your property from the sun's harsh UV rays. That said, triple-paned windows are better at safeguarding your property from the sun– compared to their double-paned counterparts.

Another option to consider is glass lamination, which may reflect away the unwanted UV rays and add an extra layer of protection to your home.

ROI Time

Installing triple-pane windows will cost you more, ranging between $632 and $1,247 per installed unit. Double-pane window units cost less at $443 to $977 per piece.

Homeowners looking for the best value can benefit from double-pane windows more– unless you plan to stay in your current residence for more than ten years or more.

Triple-pane window units effectively cut energy costs, but it may take around 10 to 20 years for your total energy savings to pay off entirely.

Chances are– you may still be on the fence about deciding between double or triple-pane windows at this point. To make the best choice, always consider your property's climate zone, budget, and other crucial factors to get the most savings and comfort from your new windows.

It's best to consult a window professional in your area to discuss what's best for your home needs.

How Much Can I Save in Switching from Double to Triple-Pane Windows?

According to a national estimate by property owners, upgrading from double-paned to triple-paned windows can save you 3% on heating and cooling costs.

The additional glass panel can reduce drafts further and prevent cool air from escaping during the summer season and warm air during winter.

Although a 3% efficiency increase may not seem like a significant improvement, adding up the heating and cooling costs can save each year sums up to a considerable amount. Furthermore, the more windows you have in your business, the more significant investment return in the long term. 

Can I Install Double or Triple-Pane Windows in the Winter?

Technically, yes. Most contractors in the country can install both types of windows (double or triple-pane) in the winter. They might need to follow specific steps and a more thorough procedure for the window installation, though. It includes closing all interior doors in the home and replacing a window unit one at a time.

Final Words

Deciding between investing in double or triple-pane windows requires you to understand the options you are presented with fully.

Do you plan to stay in your home for at least a decade (or more)? Is your property located in a cold climate? In that case, you may benefit from triple-pane windows the most. But if you plan to move homes after a couple of years or you live in a standard home without the need for much energy efficiency– double-pane windows are already enough.

Regardless, it’s best to talk to a local window professional to figure out the right window option for your needs.

Kenneth Wilson
October 25, 2021
Cost Guides, Window Replacement

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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