With a price range varying between $50 – 500, it’s no wonder that the decision to buy single pane or double pane windows is a tough one. While you may be tempted to go with the cheapest option, the type of window you select can make a huge difference in efficiency, noise, and aesthetics. In fact, purchasing the wrong window can add hundreds of dollars in extra energy costs to your bill every year!

What is the Difference Between Single Pane vs. Double Pane Windows?

Single pane windows have one panel of glass. Single pane windows can be purchased in all the same materials (aluminum, vinyl, ect.) as double pane windows, but are not as energy efficient or sound resistant as their double pane counterpart. On the plus side, single pane windows cost less, which makes them a good choice if you’re on a very strict budget or aren’t concerned with energy efficiency or sound reduction.

double pane vs single pane windowsDouble pane windows have two panes of glass separated by a layer of gas or air. Argon or krypton gas is often used between the panes to enhance thermal performance. Double pane windows are more energy efficient than single pane windows and better at blocking out noise (especially important if you live in a city!). There are two types of double pane windows you might consider: Low-E windows or clear glass windows. Low-E windows will be a bit more expensive than standard clear glass double pane windows. Keep reading to learn why.

Which Type of Window is Better: Single or Double Pane?

In early 2016, we donated the windows for the Habitat for Humanity project on Cheryl Way in South Sacramento. For that project, we wanted to go with what we feel are the best windows in terms of cost and efficiency. We used Milgard Low-E Double Pane Windows, which are Energy Star certified. If you’re looking for a window that will act as a barrier to noise and offer excellent energy efficiency to keep your energy costs at bay, then Energy Star windows are a great chose.

Energy Star double pane windows can save you between $101-$583 annually on your energy bill when compared to single-pane windows. So if you’re trying to decide between single and double pane windows, you’re better off spending a bit more upfront to enjoy decades of savings on your energy bill. The double pane windows will pay for themselves when you consider energy savings over just 2-3 years.

What Are Features of Energy Star Windows?

Most typically, Energy Star windows have a Low-E coating and are filled with a gas between the panes.

Low-E is a clear window coating applied to one side of the glass in a dual-pane window. Low-E stands for low-emissivity, which is a measurement of a surface’s ability to absorb or reflect radiant energy. The lower the emissivity rating, the better the insulation effect in regard to heat loss.

Energy Star certified window also use a gas (typically argon or krypton) between the window panes to displace the air. The gas, in other words, reduces the transfer of heat across windows.

When purchasing windows for your home, we highly recommend investing in double pane windows. Our top choice is Energy Star rated double pane windows (Low-E and Gas Filled). The second best choice is a clear glass double pane window. If your budget is really tight or you aren’t concerned about efficiency, then single pane windows will work just fine.