The value of a window in any space is evident: they let in natural light, provide ventilation outlets, and help add to the overall ambiance of a room.
But what goes into choosing the right window for a space? The short answer is it depends on what you’re looking for from a window, aside from an unobstructed view.
As energy-efficient windows, double- and triple-pane windows are the most popular choices for new window installations or replacements.
Choosing a double-pane vs. triple-pane window for your project isn’t an either/or decision. Both window types offer different benefits and are best suited for certain applications.
Let’s take a look at what both window types bring to the table.
Double-Pane Windows: Where Affordability Meets Function
Double-pane windows are the most popular window choice in America.
This comes as no surprise as double-pane windows combine affordability with performance.
Requiring less material to make coupled with shorter manufacturing times, double-pane windows are a budget-friendly option.
As the name implies, double-pane windows feature two panels of glass, which are usually separated by a spacer bar and seals. The space in between the two window panes is filled with gas, typically argon.
With two panes of glass and a layer of gas creating an extra layer of insulation, double-pane windows help lower heating and cooling bills. During the colder months, cold drafts are kept out. Conversely, cooler air is kept inside during the warmer months.
As an added bonus, this type of window style also helps with noise cancellation. In other words, double-pane windows offer a barrier from noises outside.
Double-pane windows aren’t immune to some issues.
If poorly constructed, it's not uncommon for seals to fail prematurely, negating their energy efficiency and noise reduction capabilities. However, partnering with a trusted glass fabricator and manufacturer can improve the quality of the windows for your project, and reduce defects.
Double-pane windows are a bit of an “all-or-nothing” deal. That is, the benefits of double-pane windows won't be realized unless all the windows in a facility or home are either double- or triple-pane.
Triple-Pane Windows for Optimal Energy Efficiency
A step up from a double-pane window, a triple-pane window features an additional pane of glass. Just like double-pane windows, the spaces in between the three glass panes are also filled with inert gas, such as argon or krypton. This kind of insulated glass unit is alternately referred to as “triple-glazed glass.”
The additional pane of glass allows triple-pane windows to perform better than double-pane windows in terms of insulation, noise reduction, and strength.
Triple-pane windows are often installed in spaces where energy efficiency is important, such as:
- Homes in regions where temperatures commonly dip below freezing
- Businesses that create or store temperature-sensitive products
Triple-pane windows do have a few drawbacks.
Most significantly, it’s challenging to find a window maker in the United States that manufactures them -- as they are more popular in Europe. At New Angle Beveling, we manufacture and distribute triple-glazed glass units.
Being that they require more material make and additional processing, triple-pane windows are more expensive, too.
Situational Considerations for Double-Pane vs Triple-Pane Windows
There are various applications where a triple-pane window is a better option than a double-pane one. Perhaps the biggest reason to opt for three panes over two is if energy costs and overall home comfort are becoming a concern.
Triple-pane windows are estimated to help home and business owners save up to 3 percent more in energy bills compared to double-pane windows. This is in addition to helping reduce drafts to keep a space as comfortable as possible.
Triple-pane windows also help create an optimum indoor environment via enhanced noise reduction, which can be especially helpful for consumers located near a populated city, or in close proximity to an airport or railroad track.
However, triple-pane windows are not available in every structure. Due to the weight of the extra piece of glass -- the balance can be inadequate for the window unit. If a house or business is built with a single or double-paned window in mind, oftentimes they are unable to accommodate a heavier and thicker window added in post-construction.
One option is to mix and match double-pane with triple-pane windows. Aside from a lower price, double-pane windows also let in more natural light, which can be appealing for many consumers depending on the placement in the house and the alignment with the architectural plans.
Double-Pane Vs. Triple-Pane Windows: A Winning Choice Either Way
Despite their differences, double- and triple-pane windows outperform standard single-pane windows without question.
With extra layers providing insulation and noise reduction, both types of windows are a proven investment in keeping a space comfortable.
Regardless of window type, insulated glass units manufactured by New Angle Beveling are protected with a 10-year, dual-seal warranty. Learn more:
(Editor's note: This article was originally published in January 2019 and was recently updated.)