Single Pane Vs Double Pane Windows

Single Pane vs Double Pane Window

This comparison of single pane vs double pane windows breaks down the pros and cons, cost and how they differ for insulation & sound resistance. Windows installed in your home need more than just to add to the aesthetic value of your house but also to perform their function excellently.

More than just an element that can facilitate air and heat flow inside the home, windows also offer protection and allow natural light and warmth indoors. And more than just these basic functions, they can actually provide more benefits given that you choose the ideal type of window for your home.  

Installing the best type of window for your home means you need to weigh your options. The most common choices are single and double layered windows. These two types have their respective advantages and disadvantages you need to take into account.

What Are Single Pane Windows?

Casement window single pane

A single pane window, just like how it’s named, is made of one layer of glass with a possible additional removable pane that comes with it, depending on what you were able to purchase from the market.

Known as the storm window, this additional layer of glass is what can help a single pane window be at par with either a double or triple variant. 

For the sake of comparison though, a single type without a storm window does not offer much benefit in terms of insulation and noise. Since the window only has one layer of glass, it doesn’t keep out noise at all and doesn’t help with the home’s temperature.

This means that choosing a single layer  for your home will be okay if you live somewhere quiet and peaceful, as well as a place where the season remains consistently mild throughout the year.

It will be a horrible idea if you live somewhere cold or noisy like in the middle of a bustling city. This is why they can only be ideal for garages and sheds, where you won’t spend too much time in the space. 

A single pane window is also the most affordable choice in terms of initial cost so it will be a good option if you have a strict budget for its installation. 

Pros And Cons Of Single Pane Windows 

In order to get to know more about this type and find out if this is the best option for your home, here are the pros and cons you need to know about to make a more informed and educated decision. 

Pros Cons
Lighter in Weight Poor Insulation
Lower Initial/Upfront Cost Higher Operational Cost
Easy to Install Poor Noise Reduction

Since this type of window only has one layer of glass, it is relatively light, which is also the reason why it is easy to install compared to other types of windows. Despite being one of the most inexpensive choices, you can still lessen the cost through a DIY installation. If you don’t know how to install it, hiring a window pro is not a bad option. 

These windows are affordable upfront but they are not the most cost-effective. Upon initial installation, homeowners with a strict budget will find this option worth considering. In the long run, though, more expenses will be noticeable in terms of the electric bill.

With only one layer of glass, this option offers poor insulation and does not offer much protection from outdoor elements. Your home can only either be too warm or too drafty and cold, depending on the season, considering the windows easily let both the heat and the cold in.

What you can only do is have your AC constantly running just to be able to manage the temperature. As a result, this will lead to higher energy bills. 

One thing that can make single layered windows is the option of using storm windows whenever necessary. You can just set it up whenever you need to drown the noise outside or keep the heat away from your home.

However, would it be better to install a double layered window instead of having to take the effort of putting in and taking out a storm window every now and then?

What Are Double Pane Windows?

Double pane casement window

A double layered window consists of two layers of glass, with an organic gas installed between them. The gas can either be argon or krypton, depending on the manufacturer. The gas is able to trap the heat and cold in between the glass layers, protecting your home from being too cold or too hot. 

Double layered types are the go-to option for many homeowners, whether they’re thinking about upgrading from single type windows or are building their homes from scratch. While you can DIY the installation, you might need either a second hand to help you with it or professional touch to rely on for the installation.

One of the most important considerations is to check if your home will be able to take the added weight that this type will deliver to your home, especially if you are working on your home’s second floor.

Most manufacturers offer this type and actually recommend that homeowners use them. While some also offer triple-pane options, most will promote windows with two layers more and just introduce additional solutions and customization that can improve the window’s functionality. 

Pros And Cons Of Double Pane Windows 

Double pane windows are considered popular and the most recommended option of manufacturers for a reason and that’s because of the excellent benefits that they can provide homeowners.

Needless to say, there will always be drawbacks that will come as a package together with these benefits. These are the benefits and drawbacks you should know before installing one at home. 

Pros Cons
Durability Expensive
Excellent Insulation Capability Needs Full Coverage To Be Effective
Noise-reduction  More Complex Installation
More Energy Savings Possible Condensation


Double pane windows are durable and offer more protection against outdoor and weather elements precisely because of the two layers of glass.

They stand up to precipitation and high winds much better than single types in the event that one of the glass layers breaks, there is still the second one that can protect your home from total exposure to outside elements. 

Insulation is also one of the best features of this window type, which means that your home won’t be too drafty and cold during winter and won’t be too hot in the summer.

Having better insulation also means that you have better control over your home’s temperature so you won’t have to use your AC as often. Yes, this means more energy savings and fewer expenses that you have to spend on your monthly energy bill. In fact, you can save up to 30% of your energy bill every year. 

Casement window vanity

Noise reduction is another excellent feature that you can expect from double pane windows, where even if you live at the center of a busy and bustling city, you can still expect to have a good night’s sleep.

The two layers of glass make this possible without needing additional soundproofing. And if you use good window blinds, you’ll be guaranteed privacy. 

One of the major drawbacks is that in order for the insulation and noise reduction to be effective, all windows need to have two layers of glass.

This means you can’t just settle with one double layered window with the rest being a single type and expect to benefit from the window’s disadvantages. And this can be extremely expensive, depending on how big your home is and how many windows you have. 

They are expensive in their upfront cost, which will be a major disadvantage if you have a tight budget allotted for these fixtures.

Despite the large initial cost though, they are actually more cost-effective and provide more savings in the long run because of the decrease you get from your energy bills. 

In the summer, you can expect an up to 18 percent decrease while during winter, you can get as much as 24 percent off your energy bill. You can save up to 30 to 50 percent of your annual energy bill, which is a good deal, especially for homeowners who prioritize energy efficiency. 

Condensation is a situation you will see with this option, specifically between the layers, but this is only if the windows are in need of replacement or repair.

This means that condensing is not part of the features, but is only a warning for the homeowners that there’s a leak and that the seal between the layers has been broken or has a crack.

So if you see condensation, make sure to check them for repairs or possible replacement before molds start growing. 

Single Pane Vs Double Pane Windows Cost 

Single pane windows are definitely more affordable but double layered variants are the most cost-effective. The former cost around $100 to $300 with their initial price while the latter are around $600 to $1,000 per window. And this includes both the window and its installation

If you have a strict budget for your window installation and would need to cut back on expenses and settle on the most affordable, single layer options are definitely ideal for you. However, if you want an investment through your windows and you’re willing to cough up money for it, double pane is the better option.

Despite the higher upfront cost, this option is efficient, delivering the most savings later on. It can save 24% of your energy bills during the winter and 18% during the summer.

Of course, since this type of window is expensive, it can take you a period of time just to get back your investment and actually get something more from it. And let’s face it, more than just the savings from energy and money, you also get to be a better influence on the environment since you get to reduce energy waste. 

Who’s the winner of this match in terms of cost? It can be single pane if you have a tight budget and it can be the double variant if you’re going for investment and the most energy savings.

Single Pane Vs Double Pane Windows Energy Savings 

Large fiberglass casement windows

The windows in your home are responsible for around 25 to 30 percent of the indoor heating and cooling system. And to be frank, a single layered window does not save any energy at all.

Its installation means you would need to constantly use AC for winter and summer, depending on the need. They can barely protect your home from the heat and wind. 

It’s an entirely different matter, though, when it comes to double layered windows. With two layers of glass, you can be sure that these windows can facilitate the transfer of heat inside your home more effectively with the argon or krypton gas trapped between these glass panes.

Not only are these gases organic but they also add extra insulation to the home. You only need to use your AC if the temperature is absolutely extreme. 

When it comes to energy efficiency, double pane windows are the clear winner against their single layered counterparts. According to Pella, double-pane windows can help lower a household’s carbon footprint by saving 1,006 to 6,072 pounds of CO2 for a typical home when replacing single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR certified windows.

Single Pane Vs Double Pane R Value 

Large room casement windows closet room resident pool

R-value measures a window’s insulation power, which may also point toward the window’s ability to be energy-efficient. So if you’re wondering about energy efficiency and you want numbers and clear hard facts, R-value can give you just that. 

A higher R-value indicates that the material, or in this case the mirror, offers better insulation and resistance to the flow of heat in your home. This means that if your windows have a higher R-value, the heat won’t penetrate your home through the windows during summer or get out of your home and leak outdoors during the winter.

One of the vital considerations for this value is the thickness of the glass, which is why double pane windows, with two layers of glass, understandably have a higher R-value than single layered windows.  

The thickness of the material is vital to the R-value. A ¼-inch thick single layered window has a .90 R-value, but it can increase if the pane is thicker. Meanwhile, a ¼-inch double layered window has an R-value of 1.7, which is considerably more and almost double. 

Double pane windows have a higher R-value than single layered windows, making them better and more energy-efficient.

Single Pane Vs Double Pane Sound Resistance

Sound resistance or noise reduction is one of the features you’d want for your windows, especially if you live inside a busy metro and if you want peace and quiet in your home.

Truth be told, single layered windows won’t have any effect on the possible noise that can reach your home. This is the reason why it’s not a recommended option for a residential home. 

And while they are not exactly soundproof, double layered windows have better insulation even when it comes to noises. The two layers of glass help in keeping noises out. 

When it comes to sound resistance, double pane windows win over their single layered counterparts. 

Can You Replace Single Pane Glass With Double Pane Windows?

Yes, you can replace a single pane glass with a double layered variant. This is especially worth noting for older homes that need updating. Double layered windows are a standard and most manufacturers recommend them rather than going for single layered glass again for replacement.

While you would need to spend more with a double pane, the benefits that come with it are worth the added cost, especially after some time when you enjoy its insulation and noise reduction features of it. 

Visit our vinyl vs aluminum windows comparison guide for more related content.

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