Want to learn more about hurricane windows? Here is everything you need to know about the top brands and most popular features.
In this article, we’ll break down the pros, cons, and popularity of each to give you a clearer picture of what the average Floridian wants from their hurricane-impact windows.
Best Hurricane Window Brands
ES Windows, PGT Windows, CGI Windows, and ECO Windows are the biggest hurricane window brands. If you are in the market for impact-resistant windows, one of the salespeople you talk to will most likely offer at least one of these options. Let’s detail each brand’s offerings so you can be informed and prepared.
Some companies may offer other hurricane window brands, such as Lawson and Mr. Glass, more suited for builders and extreme-budget shoppers. However, they are generally not recommended for residential customers due to insufficient warranty, subpar quality, and design engineering.
ES Windows – Best Value Hurricane Windows
Recently, ES Windows has become one of the most popular (and most prominent) brands of hurricane windows in South Florida. TechnoGlas (ES Windows) is as large as the four major manufacturers combined by stock price alone.
During the beginning of COVID, many Floridians were looking to do work on their homes. Many major manufacturers at the time were hopelessly backed up due to worldwide aluminum shortages and shipping problems. ES Windows was one of the only brands of the time to deliver in 3-4 months, while the rest of the major manufacturers took 9-12 months to deliver impact windows.
ES Windows has been offering better products and better prices than anyone else in the space ever since and has become the #1 selling manufacturer of hurricane windows in Florida.
One of the more prominent companies in South Florida, PGT, has been in the business for decades. However, due to the total domination of ES Windows, PGT has been losing ground in Florida. However, they have announced the release of a new diamond-glass impact window that may, in the future, be much more competitive with ES Windows, although it will be a few months before this product is released and available for purchase.
One of the oldest hurricane window companies in the US, they were bought out by PGT in the 2010s. They offer a product with the same glass as PGT but a different, thicker frame. As an associated company, they face the same problems as PGT, needing help to offer competitive pricing and features within the market.
CGI also offers the Sparta line, their entry-level line most used by builders. Sparta is not worth it compared to ES Windows MultiMax offering, which has a larger frame (2 3/8″), a higher design pressure (avg. +80/-80), and comes with upgraded heat-strength glass. While in Sparta, the frame is smaller (2″), it has a lower design pressure (+55/-55), which is the minimum required by the building code.
Also owned by PGT, ECO offers entry-level hurricane windows and impact glass. These are the most common windows found in flipped homes and bulk-built projects such as large residential constructions, as they are cheap. ECO only offers a 5-year warranty.
Having a specialty in large architectural windows, EAS makes beautiful decorative impact windows for luxury homes. Although, their standard offering is not very competitive with the other brands.
Entry-Level Windows (Lawson & Mr. Glass)
The following brands are marked as entry-level due to the absence of a suitable warranty period and lack of design, research, and development resources. These brands use the glass and aluminum from ES Wwindows and assemble them with their own design.
Having the materials to make a great window doesn’t mean it is a great window. ES Windows has been making quality windows for over two decades and has $1.6 billion in resources for research and development. ES Windows offers a 10-year warranty, while Lawson & Mr. Glass only offers a 5-year warranty.
Lawson & Mr. Glass are commonly used by small contractors, customers not concerned with quality or warranty, and builders who want to say that their property has hurricane windows.
Best Hurricane Window Features
Most of the impact window features will have something to do with the strength or energy efficiency of the window. Check out our detailed guide on all of the most common features offered by the top manufacturers below.
Hurricane Window Tinting
Most hurricane window companies only offer a few options for tinting, the most common being gray and bronze. There are also some specialty tints available, such as turtle tint. Turtle tint is required by code on coastal properties facing the ocean. The manufacturer that typically offers the most tinting options is ES Windows. Check out their website here for more options.
Low-E Hurricane Windows
With Low-E, there are usually two types available: either two coats of silver or three coats. These may have other names, such as 272 or 366, representing the silver layers and how much heat the window blocks out. We typically recommend customers go for the 366 because the price difference is minimal, but the benefit is much more significant.
Tinted Low-E Hurricane Windows
It only makes sense to go with Tinted Low-E if you are working with ES Windows. ES Windows only charges an additional 2% to tint Low-E windows, while other manufacturers charge up to 10-15% more for a tinted Low-E window.
Also, manufacturers, except for ES Windows, tend to have a slight green tint to their Low-E-Tinted windows due to their manufacturing process. ES Windows is able to make their Tinted-Low E windows true-to-color.
Insulated Glass with Argon Gas
Due to the limited efficacy in high-temperature climates, we typically do not recommend Argon Gas insulation in impact windows in South Florida. Although, most major manufacturers will offer this feature for 10-17% extra.
Heat Strength Hurricane Windows
Heat-strength glass is twice as strong on paper as traditional annealed glass due to a much more robust manufacturing process. Heat-strength glass is created by heating the glass to much higher temperatures and then rapidly cooling it, similar to how steel is tempered. Coincidentally, this process also makes it far less likely that larger pieces of glass will have a wavy appearance.
All major manufacturers offer heat-strength glass. Although ES Windows provides it as a standard feature in all of ES’ hurricane windows, other manufacturers and resellers charge up to 20% more.
Impact Windows with SGP Interlayer
SGP Interlayer is typically only used on very large pieces of glass that cannot meet design pressure requirements without it. It is an interlayer of glass that is more rigid to provide extra stability and strength to huge windows to help them meet design pressure requirements. Although, it is rarely used because it is exorbitantly expensive (30-35% extra) and is only used when required. Some companies may use a storefront/commercial window instead of SGP Interlayer to reduce costs.
Reinforced Aluminum Hurricane Windows
For people who want the strongest window possible, reinforced aluminum can increase the strength of your impact window assembly. Hurricane window frames can be supported with an additional aluminum chamber to add rigidity to the window frame, add strength, and increase the pressure.
All prices are subject to change without notice.
This article is not kept up to date with current pricing.
Please contact us for the most up-to-date pricing.