Best Vinyl Windows
Here are six of our top picks when it comes to the best vinyl windows. Vinyl is the most popular material in the replacement market - over half of all residential projects go with a vinyl window. The material makes for a well insulated, cost effective solution that offers plenty of options, colors and finishes.
Gorell 5300 Series
The 5300 is considered by many to be Gorell's flagship product. It is more expensive than the 5100 and some people are turned off by the bulkier frame (occassionally reffered to as a "tank"). It offers a U-value from 0.29 to 0.18 (depending on which of the 6 glass packages you choose), an SHGC of 0.28 and can be upgraded to a fiberglass reinforcement in the sash and foam filled frames. This window would be comparable to the Okna 500 Series - more on Okna costs and prices.
Affinity Elite Series
The Energex Elite is the premium series from Affinity and a definite step up over the Advantage line. The window uses the high end vinyl extrusion from Deceuninck, widely regarded as a very good quality extruder. The Elite is well designed, regarded as one of the nicer looking vinyl windows on the market and incorporates nice upgrades such as a double lock mechanism, a solid glass package and high end hardware options. The Elite is comparable to the Soft-Lite Imperial LS or the Okna 800 Series.
Polaris UltraWeld Series
The Polaris UltraWeld is a well built window unit in both its design and energy efficiency. The company uses a stronger outer wall for the UltraWeld (with an optional foam fill in the main chamber) and has a U-value of around 0.29 and a very impressive AI number (.01). Compare this to a top performer like the Sunrise Restorations with a .28 U-value and an AI of .04 and you see why pros give this window its due. It has a number of very nice features and upgrades, including a stainless steel spacer called the UltraCept. The window gets great reviews for both their casements as well as their bays and bows (which come with an interior composite wood that can be stained or painted).
See more Sunrise windows prices.
Sunrise Restorations Series
The Restorations is the premium and most expensive window from Sunrise that comes standard with a fibercore reinforced sash (both on the vertical sash and the meeting rail), the Max Edge spacer, a clever tilt sash lock mechanism, foam filled chambers and a high transparency screen. The window has a relatively narrow frame and sash, which gives it quite a nice overall look. It is one of the only vinyl products on the market that many homeowners and installers think looks a lot like a real wood window. The Restorations has a fantastic U-value of .28 and an air infiltration number around .04. A fair number of contractors and installers put this window in the top five vinyl windows on the market.
Soft-Lite Elements Series
The Elements is the top of the line offering from Soft-Lite and fairly similar to the LS model. The two windows do have a few key differences. The Elements comes standard with a non-metal Super Spacer called the Edgetech which is an optional upgrade on the LS and costs about $20 (and well worth it). The Elements double hung also has a tilt and locking mechanism that work together so if you reverse the lock you are able to tilt the sashes. The frame uses a bead & cove design that most industry insiders think provide a better look when close up (although not noticeable at distance). It also comes standard with accidental glass breakage and the Better View Screen, whereas these are both optional upgrades on the LS. The Elements has excellent performance numbers with a U-factor of 0.19, an Air Infiltration of 0.02 and a DP70 rating. This window is one of out picks for the best vinyl window on the market.
Okna 800 EnviroStar Series
The Okna 800 EnviroStar is considered by many contractors to be the best vinyl windows out there - specifically the Okna 800 DX. It is quite a nice looking window with a .080 frame thickness which means tons of strength and durability. It comes in a number of nice looking interior and exterior finishes and colors and has some awesome brass hardware available. It has a U-factor of 0.26 and an Air Infiltration of 0.01. By no means is it a cheap vinyl window, in fact it is one of the most expensive vinyl windows on the market. But the best never comes cheap.