You usually start by thinking about color, frame, hardware, and overall appearance when shopping for new windows. But the type of window glass can significantly impact your home’s energy efficiency, protection, and views.
This guide details six different types of window glass, including the pros, cons, and cost of each, so that you can make the right choice for your home.
What Are the Different Types of Window Glass?
Whether you’re looking for replacement windows in your kitchen or want to update the ones in your living room, it’s essential to consider the different window glass options. The below chart breaks down the different types of window glass, complete with some key information to give you an introductory overview.
|Type of Window Glass||Pros||Cons||Cost Range per Window*||Best For|
|Annealed Glass||Less expensive, Good visibility||Weaker, breaks in big shards||$150 to $350||Homeowners on a budget|
|Laminated Glass||Strong material, shatter-resistant glass||Pricier||$255 to $600||Homes with skylights, roof glazing, balustrades, or curtain walls|
|Low-E Glass||Energy-efficient, thermal coating that lasts 10 to 15 years||Requires a large investment upfront||$350 to $840||Homeowners looking to increase energy efficiency|
|Tinted Glass||Promotes greater privacy, heat transfer resistant||Reduced visibility for homeowners||$250 to $750||Homeowners looking for privacy or a colorful aesthetic for the home|
|Tempered Glass||Durable enough to withstand storms, safety-conscious material||Can’t be repaired||$200 to $650||Houses in stormy or windy areas|
|Krypton or Argon Glass||Long-lasting, energy-efficient||Expensive||$250 to $1,100||Homeowners looking to invest in durable, energy-efficient windows|
*These average costs are only rough estimates of standard window installations; these figures are meant to provide a starting point for budgeting window costs, which vary significantly and depend on a variety of factors. Learn more about our Cost Analysis Methodology here.
Annealed Window Glass
Annealed glass is also known as standard glass, float glass, or strengthened glass. Annealed glass is formed through annealing, which is the process of heating glass to a very high temperature and then cooling it slowly to reduce the internal stress on the glass unit.
This heat-strengthened glass is usually less expensive than other types of glass since it often goes through less processing. However, it’s a weaker material, putting it at a higher risk of breaking (which it does in large, jagged shards).
Where To Use Annealed Window Glass
Annealed glass is more fragile than other types of glass, so it’s best used in low-traffic areas protected from wind and storms.
Annealed Window Glass Costs
Annealed glass is inexpensive and typically costs between $150 and $300 per window.
Annealed Window Glass Pros & Cons
- Low cost
- Good visibility
- Not as strong as other types of glass
- Leaves big, sharp pieces of glass when broken
Laminated Window Glass
Laminated glass, also known as safety glass, is an excellent choice if you want to fortify your home with a stronger type of glass.
This type of glass is created by fusing two panes around a layer of polyvinyl butyral with high heat and strong pressure. The result is a solid, shatter-resistant glass that’s often used in vehicles to minimize the risk of the window breaking from flying objects.
Where To Use Laminated Window Glass
Laminated glass is ideal for roof glazing, curtain walls, skylights, and balustrades because it’s less likely to break, reducing the risk of falling glass on residents in the home.
Laminated Window Glass Costs
Laminated glass costs $255 to $600 on average per window replacement.
Laminated Window Glass Pros & Cons
- Less prone to shattering and falling
- Noise-reducing due to thick glass
- More expensive than other choices
Low-E Window Glass
Low-E glass is a reliable type of window glass that will help improve your home’s energy efficiency. These windows have a special type of Low-E coating on the glass that reflects thermal radiation and UV rays. This coating reflects heat during summer and keeps heat from escaping during winter. Over time, Low-E glass can lead to lower energy bills.
Where To Use Low-E Window Glass
Low-E glass is ideal for windows that receive a lot of sunlight since it can keep your home cooler during summer and warmer during winter, thanks to its thermal coating.
Low-E Window Glass Costs
Low-E glass costs $350 to $840 per window replacement, putting it on the more expensive side when it comes to window glass.
Low-E Window Glass Pros & Cons
- Reflects thermal radiation
- Coating lasts 10 to 15 years
- Requires a significant investment upfront
Tinted Window Glass
Any type of glass with added color is considered tinted. Typically, the tinting process adds metal oxides to the window, creating colorful tints in shades like green, blue, gray, or bronze.
Tinted glass is an excellent option if you seek privacy from neighbors and traffic around the home. Some darker tints can also protect your home from heat transfer.
Where To Use Tinted Window Glass
Tinted glass windows are ideal for areas that receive a lot of sunlight or face high foot traffic because the tint protects from the sun and offers privacy. Skylights and decorative panels are just a couple of the places you can install this type of glass.
Tinted Window Glass Costs
Tinted glass costs $250 to $750 per window replacement.
Tinted Window Glass Pros & Cons
- Increases privacy
- Protects against harmful UV rays
- Aesthetically pleasing, colorful look
- Reduces homeowners’ ability to see outside, especially when it’s dark
Tempered Window Glass
Tempered glass is a type of safety glass that can be four times stronger than untreated glass types. This type of glass is ideal if you worry about broken glass, as tempered glass shatters into rounded pieces, which reduces the risk of injury. Additionally, some areas require tempered glass to meet building codes or specific safety standards.
Where To Use Tempered Window Glass
Tempered glass windows are durable options that are optimal for homes in climates with strong winds or big storms, as well as high-traffic areas of the house.
Tempered Window Glass Costs
Tempered glass is a strong safety glass that costs between $200 to $650 per window.
Tempered Window Glass Pros & Cons
- Extremely durable
- Strong enough to withstand high winds and big storms
- Thermal shock and heat resistant
- Can’t be repaired
Krypton or Argon Window Glass
Gas-filled glass types like argon or krypton glass are insulated windows with space between the panes. This space helps to minimize heat transfer because the krypton or argon gas in this gap is denser than the air surrounding the window, leading to better heat dissipation.
If possible, opt for a triple-pane, gas-filled glass over a double-pane option because this can minimize the risk of gas leaks. We also recommend looking for a no-leak guarantee when shopping for these types of windows.
Where To Use Krypton or Argon Window Glass
Homeowners usually opt for krypton or argon window glass when looking to improve their home’s energy efficiency, so anywhere that’s regularly hit by sunlight is a great location for these windows.
Krypton or Argon Window Glass Costs
Gas-filled glass costs between $250 to $1,100 per window.
Krypton/Argon Window Glass Pros & Cons
- Lasts up to 20 years before gas needs to be refilled
- Keeps the window’s temperature close to room temperature
- Failed seal could eventually lead to condensation
- One of the most expensive types of window glass
- Gas can leak from the window
What Type of Window Glass Is Best for Energy Efficiency?
The best type of energy-efficient window glass is a window with double or even triple-panes, argon or krypton gas filling, and a low emissivity glass coating. This combination helps reduce energy bills, making the initial higher price point worthwhile in the long run for many homeowners.
Is Window Glass Replacement Worth It?
Now that you know all about the most common window glass types, you can weigh your options by assessing your budget and needs. We recommend collecting quotes from multiple trusted window experts like Champion, Renewal by Anderson, and Window World before you commit to one window brand. These trusted window experts offer the best window selections and top-notch customer service.
Ready to buy home windows? Get a free estimate from one of the industry’s best window providers below:
FAQs About Different Types of Window Glass
What Is the Most Commonly Used Window Glass?
The most commonly used window glass is tempered glass. This is because it’s exceptionally durable, strong enough to withstand high winds, and is one of the more energy-efficient options.
What Kind of Glass Doesn’t Break?
Laminated glass, or safety glass, is one of the strongest types of glass that doesn’t break easily. It’s shatterproof and recommended for areas with strong winds or big storms because of its durability.
What Type of Glass Is Used for Residential Windows?
Annealed glass is the standard type of glass for residential windows. It’s created using the standard float glass process, including a heat treatment, and is more affordable than different types of glass. Unfortunately, it can break into sharp, dangerous shards of glass, making it a possible safety concern.