If you are looking for new windows or window replacements, both Pella and Andersen make good windows. The companies have long histories and good reputations. And as long as their products are installed properly, they should work well in your home.
Both Pella and Andersen windows also are usually worth it in terms of cost. While local, smaller window companies can often cut deals and might provide excellent service, they don't always get the best ratings. On the flip side, Pella and Andersen windows reviews tend to be relatively positive.
As of 2021, the window and door companies that had more than $1 billion in sales were:
- Andersen Windows & Doors
- Cornerstone Building Brands
- Marvin Windows and Doors
- Pella Corp.
- Velux USA
Even with their high amount of sales—which come with many consumers trying out their products, installation experience, and customer service—Pella and Andersen still rate well. But even though either company should give you a quality product, there are differences between the two.
Andersen Corporation was founded in 1903 by a Danish immigrant, Hans Andersen, in Hudson, Wisconsin. Today, it's located in Bayport, Minnesota, as an international company with more than 12,000 employees. As of 2021, it reported $3 billion in annual sales.
The company is organized into four brands: Andersen Windows, Renewal by Andersen, MQ Luxury Windows and Doors, and EMCO Storm and Screen Doors. The difference between Andersen and Andersen Renewal is the Renewal by Andersen brand is the start-to-finish window replacement division of Andersen. Consumers can buy window-plus-installation packages from authorized Andersen installers. Home Depot is the big-box outlet for Andersen, offering windows from both Andersen and its subsidiary, American Craftsman.
Pella Corporation is a privately held company based in Pella, Iowa. It employs around 7,000 people with an annual reported revenue of approximately $2.1 billion as of 2021.
It was founded in 1925 by Peter Kuyper, who invested in a company that manufactured and sold a particular kind of insect screen that rolled out of sight when not in use. The company soon merged with the Kuyper family's lumber business and began its evolution into one of America's largest window and door manufacturers. In addition to showrooms around the country, the company sponsors the Pella Design Centers in the Lowes Home Improvement chain.
One chief difference between Pella and Andersen is the choice of materials for their replacement windows.
The division making window replacements, Replacement By Pella, offers mostly all-vinyl windows. But it also offers window replacements with fiberglass and wood frames.
Andersen tends to steer clear of all-vinyl windows. Instead, it uses a proprietary wood composite material called Fibrex. Fibrex is composed of 40 percent recycled Ponderosa pine wood fibers and 60 percent polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Fibrex windows are better than vinyl in a few ways, including better insulting properties, less distortion, a more controlled thermal expansion rate, and higher compressive strength. Their recycled materials are also more eco-friendly.
This is not to say you can't purchase vinyl windows from the Andersen group. New-construction windows through the American Craftsman By Andersen unit are available in vinyl.
Types of Pella and Andersen Windows
Both Pella and Andersen offer several types of windows, including custom options to suit your needs.
Pella's lines include:
- Casement windows
- Double-hung windows
- Single-hung windows
- Awning windows
- Sliding windows
- Bay and bow windows
- Picture windows
- Custom and specialty windows
Andersen's lines include:
- Awning windows
- Bay and bow windows
- Casement windows
- Gliding windows
- Pass-through windows
- Picture windows
- Single- and double-hung windows
- Specialty shapes
Windows + Installation Package Costs
When you contract directly with Pella or Andersen to supply and install replacement windows, you are actually dealing with a qualified independent local company that has the power to adjust the total-package price. If you have ever bought a new vehicle, you know how two dealers can offer different prices on the same vehicle.
A similar model applies to the window industry. For this reason, homeowners might have different experiences when contracting directly with Andersen or Pella for replacement windows, based on variable factors such location, type and number of windows, and the homeowners' ability to negotiate and haggle.
Cost estimates below are taken from a wide sampling of replacement windows.
Pella windows cost between $650 and $1,000 on average per replacement window. This price includes installation, which averages $250 to $450 per window.
The prices swing widely based on the models. For instance, a Pella Encompass model vinyl single-hung window costs around $155 plus installation. A Impervia double-hung fiberglass window averages $365 plus installation. And a 850 Architect wood casement window averages $852 plus installation.
Andersen replacement windows range from around $250 to $1,000 on average per window, excluding installation. The installation cost can vary widely, but expect it to make up approximately 30% of your total window bill. Installers charge around $40 to $50 on average.
The average cost of a Fibrex Andersen 100 series window is around $238 plus installation. Meanwhile, an Andersen 400 series wood or vinyl window averages $375 without installation. And an Andersen Architectural E-series series aluminum or wood window averages $930 without installation. Installing a single-hung window averages $160 to $370 while installing a bow window averages $1,420 to $3,700.
Pella's windows tend to be cheaper than Andersen windows. But this can vary based on your window selection and installation cost factors.
Andersen offers various limited warranties on its window series, with one perk being that the warranty can be transferred to a new homeowner. Pella also offers limited warranties that differ based on window model. And in some cases, Pella will cover labor costs to fix windows within two years of the sale date.
Problems and Complaints
Complaints against Pella and Andersen are difficult to evaluate because many consumers are unable to articulate the difference between an inferior product and poor installation. In fact, it is not always easy to determine this, as product and installation can appear to merge. For example, if a customer complains about water infiltration around the window frame, it indicates an installation issue while a failed seal in the insulated glass panel is clearly product related.
Around 50 percent of consumer complaints center on claims of an inferior product. The majority of the other claims can be traced to poor service from the local Pella dealer.
- Product: 50 percent
- Local dealer: 45 percent
- Installation problems: 3 percent
- Sales: 2 percent
In 2006, Pella was served with a class-action lawsuit alleging that its ProLine Series of casement windows "had a design defect that allowed water to enter behind the window’s exterior aluminum cladding and cause damage to the window’s wooden frame and to the house itself." The case made news if only because of the inept handling of the suit by the plaintiffs' lawyers. In 2014, Judge Richard Posner found many improprieties in the case, including the fact that the class plaintiffs' attorney set up his father-in-law as the lead plaintiff.
The total number of Andersen complaints are far less than Pella complaints. Most complaints center on claims of rude or deceptive salespeople, with very few complaints related to an inferior product.
- Product: 15 percent
- Local dealer: 30 percent
- Installation problems: 15 percent
- Sales: 40 percent
In 2009, a homeowner attempted to bring a lawsuit against Andersen alleging that the capillary or breather tubes fitted into the windows' glass (a feature used to prevent windows installed at high altitudes from breaking) also resulted in a loss of insulating argon gas, which reduced the windows' efficiency.
Andersen countered that it expressly discloses the possibility of gas loss in its product guides. The plaintiff changed the theory behind his complaint several times, but the court eventually dismissed the case, citing those "shifting theories of liability," among other problems.
Andersen receives vastly fewer complaints than Pella across all complaint categories. That being said, Pella is a smaller company that focuses more on innovation rather than overall quality.
When should you replace windows?
Some signs that indicate you should consider replacing windows include having problems opening or closing the windows, feeling a breezy draft during the winter, and seeing the electric bill increasing exponentially.
How long do vinyl windows last?
The average lifespan of vinyl windows is 20 years or more. Vinyl windows are maintenance-free, as they do not fade, crack, or need to be painted.
How long do Andersen Fibrex windows last?
Fibrex windows are exclusive to Andersen Windows and will last around 35 years. They do not require maintenance, as they do not fade, peel, crack, or require painting.
Does replacing windows up the value of your home?
Absolutely! Replacing windows is considered one of the highest returns on investment (ROI) for upping your home's value.