a selection of double and triple pane windows

Double pane vs. triple pane: Which window type is better for your home?

Comparing double and triple pane windows based on cost, appearance, and more

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Key Facts

  • Double pane windows are two glass panes fitted in a single window frame. A gap, usually filled with gas, exists between the two glasses. This helps reduce energy costs by preventing the outside temperature from significantly affecting the home’s temperature. 
  • Triple pane windows are three panes of glass instead of two, with a gas-filled space separating each. These windows share similar benefits with double panes, except that they further improve the home’s energy efficiency and noise reduction.

Did you know you can lower energy costs, improve your property’s resale value, and still live comfortably year-round when upgrading old windows? We are talking about triple and double pane windows.

The additional pane of glass provides significant energy savings by blocking heat flow during cold weather. It also has noise reduction benefits, as it works as an extra sound barrier. Despite their similarities, triple and double pane windows differ in installation cost, durability, and thermal efficiency.

In the double pane vs. triple pane debate, which side should you be on? Which is better between the two? Get your answers in this guide. 

What are double pane windows?

a window sample with two glass panes

Also known as double glazing, double pane windows feature two panes fitted inside a window frame, often modified to accommodate the additional width. Between these glasses is a space filled with either argon or krypton gas. It also features a desiccant to manage moisture retention and a seal to keep the glass panes together and prevent heat leaks.

Because of its design, a double pane window is more cost-effective than a single pane one. In particular, it reduces energy costs in summer and winter, when electricity prices often spike. It keeps the heat in as the temperature drops.

The two panes also promote noise reduction, making double pane windows great for houses near busy streets or urban areas. 

What are triple pane windows?

a window sample with three glass panes

The features of triple pane windows are similar to those of double pane windows, so they look alike to the less-discerning eyes. They have three panes of glass, with each space filled with argon or krypton gas.

This also suggests that triple pane windows offer the same general benefits as double pane ones. However, they have higher energy efficiency.

Double or triple pane: Which is better for your needs?

How can you distinguish between double and triple pane windows if they share many similarities? You can do it by comparing it further based on several factors. Let’s break down double vs. triple pane windows below.

In terms of cost

When it comes to triple pane vs. double pane cost, which is more ideal for the budget-conscious? The average double pane window cost in the US is between $150 and $6,000. The huge range is due to multiple factors. These include:

  • Cost of labor

  • Difficulty in the installation process

  • Timeline

  • Actual project, whether it is fitting, repair, or replacement

  • Materials cost

  • Glass and window type

Overall, though, the cost of triple pane windows is often higher than that of double pane ones. In fact, their price can be 10% to 15% more. The extra panes of glass alone already make the unit expensive.

Recommendation: You can already enjoy increased energy efficiency with double pane windows without hurting your pocket. However, you can also reduce the triple pane windows cost by looking into your city’s or state’s energy incentive programs. You might be able to take advantage of discounts, affordable loans, and grants.

In terms of appearance

It is generally difficult to distinguish double pane windows from triple pane ones unless you look at them harder. That is when you will notice that the extra pane in triple pane windows results in slightly wider glazing units.

The types of glass used in these glazed windows also affect their appearance:

  • Float or annealed glass panes are the most popular. They are clear, thin, and lightweight with a slight greenish tint.

  • Another option is tempered or toughened glass. This one has smooth, rounded edges with a slight blue-green hue. 

  • Low-emissivity (low-E) glass has a thin coating that reflects heat to its source.

  • Laminated glass has two or more layers bonded together with a thin layer of plastic.

Thanks to technology, you can also customize the thickness of the gap triple or double pane windows to less than 100 mm wide. Doing this gives your windows a more streamlined look. You can also now pick different colors, so you can find two or three panes of glass that perfectly match your space’s theme.

Recommendation: Choose double pane windows if you want something less bulky to look at. If you want thicker-looking glass, triple pane windows are what you should be after. Either way, they are easier to customize nowadays. They are available in different frame finishes, glass types, and colors.

In terms of installation complexity

With double or triple pane windows, the latter is often more complicated and challenging to install than double pane units for the following reasons:

  • They are often heavier because of the extra glass panes. Depending on their thickness and size, they might require more people to carry and fit them into the window frames.

  • Some existing windows, especially those of old homes or historical buildings, cannot bear the extra weight.

  • Fitters often have to modify the frames of old double pane windows or cut some glass to accommodate triple pane windows.

Recommendation: When picking between double and triple pane windows, opt for the latter for new construction or full window replacements. This way, you can install new purpose-built frames to handle the weight from the start. It also enables precise measurement and fittings.

In terms of thermal insulation

a man opening a window

Does double pane glass keep heat out? Yes, but so do triple pane windows. In fact, they perform well in the following factors when compared with single pane units:

  • U-value, which measures how well the material conducts heat

  • Solar gain, which determines how much sunlight passes through the glass material

  • R-value, which determines a material’s resistance to heat transfer

Double pane windows generally have higher thermal insulation properties than single glazed ones, partly because you can fill them with inert gases. They are less conductive than air.

However, triple pane windows offer better energy efficiency than double pane windows. They have a lower U value of 0.9, on average. Double pane windows have between 1.5 and 3.5. This means the former does not create as much heat loss, which is great if you want to spend less on the heating bill.

Additionally, the U value is usually directly proportional to the window’s solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). Triple pane windows also allow less heat to go through, which you need during the punishing summer months.

Lastly, with an R-value between 7 and 8, triple pane windows are more fantastic in managing heating and cooling loads than their double pane counterparts. Regardless of your choice, refer to the energy performance ratings to know the design’s energy efficiency.


Recommendation: When comparing double pane vs. triple pane energy savings, both can lower energy bills. The triple and double pane windows can keep you warmer during the winter and more comfortable in the summer than single pane ones. But you will save more energy in the long-term when you triple pane because of its lower U-value and higher R-value.

In terms of noise reduction

Does triple pane reduce noise? Yes, which makes it also ideal to fit when you live on a busy road. The additional layers and gas provide better energy efficiency and outdoor sound insulation.

However, the gap in the middle pane also creates “echo chambers,” causing the triple pane windows to vibrate or rattle. It can be both unsettling and irritating if it happens more frequently.

Recommendation: Considering double pane vs. triple pane windows noise reduction, the former is a better choice. If you still want triple pane windows, choose heavier, thicker, or laminated glass. Do not install them near high-traffic or loud areas.

In terms of privacy/security

One of the benefits of triple pane over double pane windows is better privacy and security. The three panes make it more difficult for outside noise to penetrate the glass, providing greater soundproofing.

Plus, an extra obstructing pane creates more distortion and reduces visibility. Intruders are less likely to see the inside better and faster. Even if they become bold, a triple pane window is still harder to break in, especially if it uses toughened glass in between.

Recommendation: Double and triple pane windows are more secure than single pane ones because of the extra glass. However, triple pane glass is safer from intruders and offers more privacy than double pane glass.


In terms of durability/maintenance

a man cleaning a window

One difference between double and triple pane is durability. Because triple pane windows have a third pane of glass installed, they can last 50 years compared to 20 years of a double pane unit. 

The added pane also means the unit is still usable even if one of the glasses cracks. Additionally, reinforcing the window frames to hold the additional weight of a triple pane window prevents slipping or distortion after decades of use.

But double pane windows are often easier to maintain because you have fewer glasses to deal with whether you are cleaning or replacing them.

Recommendation: If you value durability more than maintenance, get triple pane windows installed. Choosing a double pane window is sensible if you want to save money on maintenance. 

Achieve your dream home with Airtasker

a modern living room with big windows

Upgrading your home’s windows to triple pane can help make your space more comfortable and energy efficient. But is triple pane better than double all the time?

The three panes of glass provide substantially improved insulation over the standard double pane. This keeps your rooms warmer in winter and cooler in summer, saving on energy bills. Triple pane glass also reduces outside noise pollution coming into your home.

However, having triple pane windows installed can be trickier and more expensive upfront. You must ensure the frames of your existing or new windows can support the weight. Plus, building regulations may require professional installation.

Airtasker makes it easy to find an expert specializing in installing and replacing energy-efficient windows. Receive a free quote in only three steps:

  1. Create a free account.

  2. Post a task with complete job details. Include your budget, the number of windows that need fitting or modifications, and your preferred glazing type.

  3. Receive proposals or reach out to several local window professionals.

With Airtasker, you can relax knowing that skilled tradespeople are handling your windows. So sign up today to take the first step toward building your dream property.

Double pane vs. triple pane windows

Double Pane Window
Triple Pane Window
Cost Cheaper
More expensive
Customizable and thinner
Bulkier to look at but easy to customize
Installation Complexity Quicker and cheaper to install because it fits most window frames
More challenging to fit because of the extra weight and thickness
Thermal Insulation
More thermally efficient than single pane windows
Offers better energy efficiency than double pane units because of its higher U-value and lower solar gain 
Noise Reduction
Reduces indoor noise pollution more effectively than single pane windows
Insulates noise better than double pane units but is prone to “rattling” or “echo chambers”
Offers more privacy than windows with a single pane
More secure and less appealing to break-ins because of the added glass pane
Usually lasts up to 20 years, easier to maintain than triple pane units
Lasts up to 50 years but is more challenging to maintain because of the extra panes

FAQs on double and triple pane windows

Yes, you can replace double pane windows with triple pane ones. However, you might have to modify the window’s frame to accommodate the extra width or thickness.

Studies show that triple and double pane windows can increase home resale value from 2% to 8% of the premium. A 2015 research cited how ENERGY STAR properties in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington could be worth 8% more than less-energy-efficient homes.

Double and triple pane windows feature gas-filled gaps that help windows better manage the amount of heat and cold that occupies the space. Thus, in the summer, ENERGY STAR windows can still feel cooler even with reduced AC power.

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