23 Types of Windows For Your Home (Costs, Examples & Styles)

Wondering what type of window is right for your home or which is the most energy efficient? In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • All about the different window styles
  • Pros and cons of each
  • The cost to install and/or replace every style of window
  • The energy efficiency of each style
  • And more
Ecowatch Author Dan Simms

By Dan Simms

Updated 8/3/2022

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When it comes to choosing a window to install in your home, you have far more options than you might think. There are 23 different styles, all with varying functionality, aesthetics and, most importantly, levels of energy efficiency. Below, we’ll be explaining the differences between every window style, discussing the pros and cons of each and providing some insight into which are the most energy efficient.

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Replacement Window Types

1. Casement Windows

Casement WindowsYou’ll often see casement windows as a component of bay windows, but they can stand on their own as well. This type of window has hinges on one side, and the other side pivots out, away from your home’s exterior. Casement windows usually open and close using a crank located on the inside of the window.

Cost

The average cost to install a casement window is around $725. You could purchase an average casement window for around $450 if you plan to do the installation yourself as a DIY home improvement project.

Energy Efficiency

Casement windows are the most energy-efficient style among windows that open because the sash isn’t meant to slide freely in the window frame. Because of this, a tighter seal using compression is possible.

Pros

  • Highly energy efficient
  • Open to provide airflow
  • Single pane makes cleaning easy

Cons

  • Expensive
  • More prone to break-ins than other opening styles
  • Few sizes available

2. Transom Windows

Transom WindowsA transom window, sometimes called a lunette window, is the kind you typically see above exterior doors. They sit high enough to maintain privacy while allowing sunlight in, but they do not open.

Cost

The average cost to install a transom window varies quite a lot based on the quality, size, and shape of the window you need. They can range from around $200 up to over $1,750 in some cases such as curved options like fanlights.

Energy Efficiency

Transom windows are highly energy efficient because they don’t open. They provide natural light in your home without the limited efficiency of a breakable seal.

Pros

  • Highly energy efficient
  • Let sunlight in while maintaining privacy
  • Improves the appearance of your home’s exterior

Cons

  • No ventilation offered
  • Can be very expensive
  • Can be challenging to clean without a stepladder

3. Awning Windows

Awning WindowsAn awning window is typically wider than it is tall. It is hinged on the top and opens outward, creating an awning effect to protect your home’s interior from rain. Awning windows are more popular for below-grade basements, but they can be found in other areas of the home as well.

Cost

You can expect to pay around $600 to $700 for a new awning window installation, depending on the size and location.

Energy Efficiency

Like casement windows, awning windows create a tight compression seal when closed to provide the benefit of an openable window with maximum energy efficiency.

Pros

  • Very energy efficient
  • Protects your home’s interior from rain when opened
  • Provides ventilation

Cons

  • Expensive for the size
  • Not ideal for every room
  • Can impede on exterior space

4. Storm Windows

Storm WindowsA storm window is installed over a regular window. It can be made of tempered glass or fiberglass, and it provides protection from extreme weather. It’s more affordable to replace a storm window than the one it’s meant to shield. Storm windows also increase your home’s energy efficiency, so they’re a great option to maximize safety and reduce your carbon footprint.

Cost

Storm windows are very affordable and usually average around $150 each. They can save you from spending multiple hundreds of dollars on the windows they protect and save you money on your energy bills.

Energy Efficiency

Storm windows aren’t particularly energy efficient on their own (if your regular windows are open). However, when your regular windows are closed they add to your home’s energy efficiency by providing another pane for insulation.

Pros

  • Increase your home’s energy efficiency
  • Very affordable
  • Keep more costly windows safe from damage

Cons

  • No ventilation offered
  • Can detract from your home’s exterior appearance
  • Most homeowners remove them in seasons of non-threatening weather

5. Bay Windows

Bay WindowsA bay window consists of three different surfaces two that extend out from your exterior wall at an angle, and one that sits between the other two parallel to the wall. Bay windows add beauty and elegance to your home’s interior and exterior, and they can make your interior space feel much larger. They also provide plenty of natural sunlight. 

Cost

The major downside of bay windows is the cost. In general, you can expect to pay around $2,200 to install one, on average, or anywhere from $750 to $5,000, depending on the size and location.

Energy Efficiency

The different surfaces of bay windows can be configured to open completely or partially and have one or several panes. Those that open aren’t as energy efficient as those that don’t. Opening bay windows with casement-style panes are more energy-efficient than those with single-hung or double-hung windows. Given the large size of the glass panes, bay windows are among the least energy-efficient styles that open.

Pros

  • Add beauty to your home
  • Makes interior spaces feel larger
  • Can provide ventilation

Cons

  • Less energy-efficient than smaller options
  • Very expensive
  • Limited selection of sizes

6. Glass Block Windows

Glass Block WindowsGlass block windows consist of thick cubes of glass that often have a frosting on them to provide privacy. They’re decorative in nature, so they don’t open or provide fresh air. They do allow some sunlight in, and their thickness makes them the most energy-efficient fixed window style.

Cost

Glass block windows are a bit on the expensive side, at an average of around $750. The size of the window and the number of blocks you want can bring this price up or down significantly.

Energy Efficiency

Glass block windows are exceptionally thick, and they don’t open to allow ventilation. As such, they are the best windows for energy efficiency.

Pros

  • Allow natural light in while maintaining privacy
  • Add decorative flair to your home
  • The most energy-efficient style

Cons

  • Don’t allow ventilation
  • Relatively expensive for the size
  • Not to everyone’s taste

7. Jalousie Windows

Jalousie WindowsJalousie windows are quite rare in America. They act like blinds in that they have multiple horizontal panes of glass that tilt to open and close. These windows are among the most affordable but are the least energy-efficient of all window types.

Cost

Jalousie windows are very affordable, averaging around $350 each for the materials and installation. However, you might have difficulty finding them, as they are quite rare.

Energy Efficiency

Jalousie windows have multiple panes that seal against each other. As the seals are intrinsically loose, jalousies are the least energy-efficient windows out there.

Pros

  • Provide ventilation
  • Add a unique look to your home
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Low energy efficiency
  • Not ideal for extreme climates
  • Hard to find

8. Double-Hung Windows

Double-Hung WindowsA double-hung window is the most common type of window in America. It consists of two sashes — a top and bottom sash — that slide up and down in the window frame for ventilation and can extend outward to make cleaning easier. These windows are affordable, but they aren’t the most energy-efficient because of the sliding sashes.

Cost

Double-hung windows cost around $450 to replace, making them one of the more affordable options. They also come in a massive variety of sizes, making it easy to find new windows or replacement windows.

Energy Efficiency

Modern double-hung windows are relatively energy-efficient, but they lose some efficiency because the sashes need to slide and can’t be sealed too tightly.

Pros

  • Widely available
  • Provide ventilation
  • Affordable
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Lose some energy efficiency to sliding sashes
  • More costly than single-hung windows
  • Require more maintenance than many other opening styles

9. Single-Hung Windows

Single-Hung WindowsA single-hung window is very similar to a double-hung window, but it only has one movable sash; the other sash is fixed. The moving sash slides up and down in the frame to provide ventilation.

Cost

Single-hung windows are some of the most affordable window options available. The average cost to install one is around $300 for the labor and the materials.

Energy Efficiency

Single-hung windows are more energy-efficient than double-hung windows because of the upper sash that is fixed and permanently sealed. However, they still aren’t as efficient as casement windows because the bottom sash needs to slide and the seal can’t be as tight.

Pros

  • More energy efficient than double-hung windows
  • Very affordable
  • Provide ventilation

Cons

  • Can be challenging to clean
  • Offer less venting than double-hung options
  • Limited functionality

10. Picture Windows

Picture WindowsA picture window is the simplest kind of fixed window. It looks similar to a double-hung or single-hung window, but there are no movable sashes. Picture windows are more energy-efficient than all moving windows, but they don’t provide any ventilation.

Cost

A picture window typically costs around $350 to install, making them very affordable options where you don’t need ventilation.

Energy Efficiency

Picture windows are fixed and have no movable sashes so they are more energy-efficient than all openable windows.

Pros

  • Highly energy efficient
  • Very affordable
  • Provide natural sunlight for your interior space

Cons

  • No ventilation
  • Can be challenging to clean the exterior
  • Not available in as many sizes as double-hung options

11. Sliding Windows

Sliding WindowsSliding windows are just what they sound like: they have sashes that run from the top to bottom of the window frame and slide left to right to provide ventilation. Most sliding windows have two panes that slide independently of each other.

Cost

Sliding windows average around $500 to install, making them moderately expensive. Larger sliding windows can increase significantly in price.

Energy Efficiency

Sliding windows are not very energy efficient. Not only do they have sliding sashes that reduce efficiency along the tops and bottoms of the sashes, but the individual sashes can only seal with each other where they meet, creating a weaker seal than with the frame.

Pros

  • Allow ventilation
  • High level of security in some cases
  • Don’t protrude into your yard

Cons

  • Track can accumulate debris and make sliding challenging
  • Not very energy efficient
  • Can be challenging to clean

12. Egress Windows

Egress WindowsEgress windows are designed for basements that sit underground and would otherwise only be suitable for smaller window options. These windows open out into a small egress outside of your basement wall. They provide more sunlight than most other basement windows, as well as the opportunity to exit the basement in case of an emergency.

Cost

Egress windows cost around $4,000 to install. The cost is so high because they are installed in your foundation wall, which might require reinforcing in some areas and getting through the concrete to install the window frame. The excavation outside of your window can also add to the cost.

Energy Efficiency

Egress windows can open in a variety of ways, and the energy efficiency depends somewhat on how your window opens. For example, casement egress windows are more energy-efficient than double-hung egress windows. None are as energy-efficient as fixed windows, though.

Pros

  • Provide sunlight in basement
  • Provide ventilation
  • Offer a means of escape in case of an emergency

Cons

  • Not as energy-efficient as fixed windows
  • Require a drainage area that can clog and cause issues like leaks
  • Very expensive to install

13. Garden Windows

Garden WindowsA garden window is a glass box that bumps out from your exterior wall, often over your kitchen sink. As the name suggests, it’s typically used to house plants, as the entire window acts as a small greenhouse. Garden windows typically don’t open, so they’re exclusively for sunlight and growing plants.

Cost

Garden windows are very expensive, averaging around $2,500 for a professional installation. Larger garden windows will naturally be more costly.

Energy Efficiency

These types of windows are fixed, so they are quite energy efficient. They aren’t as efficient as flat fixed windows like picture windows because they have more glass that transmits heat and cold, but they are more efficient than all opening windows.

Pros

  • Add beauty to your home
  • Provide a place to grow plants
  • Allow ample sunlight into your interior

Cons

  • Can be difficult to clean
  • Very costly to install
  • Not as efficient as other fixed window styles

14. Bow Windows

Bow WindowsA bow window is similar to a bay window in that it’s large and protrudes from your exterior wall. Rather than having three panes like a bay window, a bow window has many smaller panes that bow out in a smooth semicircle.

Cost

Bow windows are expensive, averaging around $5,000 to buy and install. Larger options or those with more panes can top $7,500 in some cases.

Energy Efficiency

Bow windows don’t open, so they’re more energy-efficient than styles that do. Given how much glass is exposed to the elements, though, they aren’t as efficient as other fixed options.

Pros

  • Add elegance and beauty to your home
  • Make your interior space look larger
  • Provide plenty of sunlight

Cons

  • One of the most expensive window styles
  • Not as energy-efficient as flat fixed windows
  • Challenging to clean

15. Arched Windows

Arched WindowsAn arched window is just a picture window with an arched top. These windows don’t open, making them a great energy-efficient option to add sunlight to your home’s interior.

Cost

Arched windows are more challenging to make and install than rectangular picture windows, so they naturally cost more. The average arched window will cost you around $400.

Energy Efficiency

Arched windows have no moving sashes, so they are pretty energy efficient. The only styles that provide more energy efficiency are glass block windows or another smaller fixed window option.

Pros

  • Highly energy efficient
  • Add sunlight to your interior space
  • Relatively affordable

Cons

  • Don’t offer ventilation
  • Can be challenging to clean
  • Not available in as many sizes as more popular styles

16. Hopper Windows

Hopper WindowsA hopper window is traditionally used for below-grade basements. They are similar to awning windows in that they’re hinged at the top, but they open inward. These windows offer sunlight where it is often scarce, and they don’t protrude into your yard when they’re opened.

Cost

Hopper windows are quite small and expensive for the size but affordable based on the price around $400 each.

Energy Efficiency

Hopper windows are more energy-efficient than styles with sliding sashes, but they aren’t quite as efficient as fixed windows.

Pros

  • Add sunlight and ventilation to basements
  • Don’t protrude into your yard or walkway
  • More energy efficient than sliding windows

Cons

  • Expensive for the size
  • Open into your living area and could be hazardous
  • Can allow rain into your living space

17. Skylight Windows

Skylight WindowsSkylight windows are installed in your roof, so they provide natural sunlight from above for your living spaces. Some open and are a bit less energy efficient than the ones that are fixed. Unfortunately, skylight windows are the most likely of all the window types to leak, given that they are situated horizontally.

Cost

Skylight windows cost around $1,000 to install, and a professional installation is required to limit the risk of leaking.

Energy Efficiency

Skylight windows can open or remain fixed. Those that are fixed are as efficient as picture or arched windows. Those that open are about as efficient as casement windows, which is the most efficient style of opening window.

Pros

  • Provide lots of natural sunlight
  • Low maintenance
  • Can provide some ventilation

Cons

  • Prone to leaking
  • Can be challenging to open and close
  • Expensive

18. Round or Circle Windows

Round or Circle WindowsA round, or circle, window is a fixed window that is purely for aesthetics. It’s perfectly circular and can be installed on any exterior wall. Installation costs are high because it can be challenging to frame a round window.

Cost

You can expect a round window to cost you around $800 to $1,000 to install, given the difficulty of framing this type of window.

Energy Efficiency

Circle windows are highly energy-efficient and will reduce heat transfer about as much as any other equal-sized fixed window. However, they tend to be smaller than other styles, so they’re often more energy-efficient than picture windows.

Pros

  • Provide a unique appearance
  • Allow sunlight into your living area
  • Highly energy efficient

Cons

  • Don’t provide ventilation
  • Challenging to install
  • Expensive

19. Oriel Windows

Oriel WindowsOriel windows look very similar to bay windows but are typically located on upper stories. Given the location, they are supported by corbels or similar supports. Oriel windows can have a variety of opening mechanisms or be fully fixed.

Cost

Oriel windows are heavy, which makes them challenging to install on upper stories. You can expect to pay around $1,500 to install one.

Energy Efficiency

Fixed oriel windows have more glass exposed to the exterior than picture windows, meaning they are less energy efficient. However, they are more efficient than opening styles. Oriel windows that open are not as energy efficient as fixed versions.

Pros

  • Add a unique look to your home
  • Provide abundant sunlight
  • Can sometimes offer ventilation

Cons

  • Not as energy-efficient as flat fixed windows
  • Expensive to install
  • Can be challenging to clean on second stories

20. Cottage Windows

Cottage WindowsA cottage window is just a single-hung window, but the upper, fixed window sash is much shorter than the lower one that opens.

Cost

Cottage windows are about the same price as a double-hung window, averaging around $475. They are less common than other styles and can be more challenging to find.

Energy Efficiency

Cottage windows are just slightly less energy efficient than single-hung windows, as the longer lower sash has a longer side that slides and creates an imperfect seal. They are also less energy efficient than all fixed windows.

Pros

  • Add to your home’s curb appeal
  • Provide ventilation
  • Allow ample sunlight into your home

Cons

  • Not as energy-efficient as fixed windows
  • Can be challenging to clean the exterior
  • More expensive than similar single-hung windows

21. Three-Panel Slider Windows

Three-Panel Slider WindowsThree-panel slider windows are just like sliding windows mentioned above, but they have three movable panes rather than two. They add a unique look to your home and allow for more ventilation than traditional sliding options.

Cost

Three-panel sliders are more costly than other types of sliding windows, as they are more complex and often larger. You will pay around $800 for a three-panel slider.

Energy Efficiency

Three-panel sliders are among the least energy-efficient windows. Each sliding sash creates an imperfect seal with the one next to it, and each also has an imperfect seal with the frame around it.

Pros

  • Unique and intriguing style
  • Offers plenty of ventilation
  • Provides abundant sunlight

Cons

  • More expensive than two-panel sliders
  • Lacks energy efficiency
  • Less secure than two-panel sliders

22. Other Shapes

Other ShapesWindows come in all different shapes and sizes. You can find other types of windows that are triangular, hexagonal, or pentagonal, or windows with unique bows and curves, like a swept-sash window or a semicircular window. Unique shapes will generally cost more than standard ones, but they add a decorative look to your home that can be very striking.

Cost

Windows of different shapes can range significantly in price, from around $300 to upwards of $2,000. The price depends largely on the size of the window and how challenging it is to frame it.

Energy Efficiency

Uniquely shaped windows are almost always fixed, which means they will tend to be more energy-efficient than all openable windows. The smaller the window, the more energy-efficient it will be, regardless of the shape.

Pros

  • Add a unique appearance to your home
  • Fully customizable
  • Usually quite energy efficient

Cons

  • Can be very expensive
  • Can be challenging to find
  • Can be challenging to clean the exterior

23. Specialty & Custom Windows

Specialty & Custom WindowsFinally, you can also buy specialty or custom windows to fit a particular need or your home style. Specialty windows can be just about any shape or size, but the cost is immense compared to standard options.

Cost

Specialty and custom windows tend to start around $1,000 for very small windows and can climb to well over $7,500, depending on the size and shape.

Energy Efficiency

Every custom window is different, so it’s impossible to say how energy efficient yours will be. Those that open will be less energy efficient than fixed options.

Pros

  • Perfectly suit your needs
  • Made to fit your home
  • Can add beauty and intrigue to your home’s exterior

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Often require a long lead time
  • Only window design companies offer them

Which Types of Windows Are the Most Energy Efficient?

With increasing concerns about carbon footprints, many homeowners are wondering about the efficiency of different types of windows. By choosing a window with a high efficiency rating, you can minimize your heating and cooling bills, make your home more comfortable, and reduce your contribution to global warming.

Fixed windows — those that don’t open — will always be more energy efficient than openable window styles. By their nature, moving sashes have imperfect seals that allow for some heat transfer. Sashes that slide are less efficient than those that pivot, making casement windows the most efficient opening style. Additionally, the smaller the window, the less heat transfer will take place through the glass, and the more energy efficient your window will be. 

The type of glass matters as well. Single-glazed windows are the least energy efficient but also the most affordable. Double-glazed windows add another layer of glass and an insulating gas — usually argon or krypton — sealed between the panes to improve efficiency. Triple-glazed windows have three panes of glass and two layers of gas for maximum efficiency.

Lastly, the frame material matters. Fiberglass and wood windows are among the most efficient, while vinyl windows are more affordable but also well-insulating.

Below are the top five most energy-efficient window types:

  • Glass block windows
  • Picture or arched windows
  • Other fixed styles (transom, circular, etc.)
  • Casement windows
  • Awning or hopper windows

FAQ: Window Types

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Dan Simms

Dan Simms is an experienced writer with a passion for renewable energy. As a solar and EV advocate, much of his work has focused on the potential of solar power and deregulated energy, but he also writes on related topics, like real estate and economics. In his free time — when he's not checking his own home's solar production — he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing and rock climbing.