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Low-E Glass vs Gas Filled Glass: Which Is Better?

Key Takeaways

  • Low-E glass has a microscopic coating that reflects heat, keeping your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
  • Gas-filled glass units use inert gasses like argon or krypton between panes for better insulation than air-filled units.
  • While both options increase energy efficiency, Low-E glass generally offers better UV protection, and gas-filled glass provides superior insulation.
  • The best choice between Low-E and gas-filled glass depends on your climate, home design, and energy-saving goals.
  • Panda Windows & Doors can provide customized solutions to meet your specific needs, ensuring comfort and energy efficiency.

What is Low-E Glass

Low-E glass stands for low-emissivity glass and it works by having a super-thin coating, almost invisible to the naked eye, that reflects heat. In the summer, it bounces the sun’s heat away, keeping your home cooler. During winter, it does the opposite by reflecting your home’s heat back inside, keeping you warm. This coating provides comfort and cuts down energy bills.

Advantages of Low-E Glass

So, what’s in it for you with Low-E glass? A lot, actually. First off, you’re going to see a drop in your energy costs because your heating and cooling systems won’t have to work overtime. But there’s more:

  • It reduces the ultraviolet and infrared light that can fade your carpets, curtains, and furniture.
  • It provides better insulation compared to regular glass, which means a more consistent temperature in your home.
  • It’s available in various tints and levels of coating, so you can customize it to suit your needs.

Disadvantages of Low-E Glass

While Low-E glass is fantastic, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. If not selected carefully, the wrong type of Low-E coating might not be optimal for your specific climate, potentially affecting the indoor plant growth due to reduced sunlight. It’s also generally more expensive upfront than regular glass, but remember, it’s an investment that pays off in the long run with lower energy bills.

For example, a homeowner in a predominantly cold climate might choose a Low-E glass with a higher solar gain to capture more of the sun’s warmth in the winter, leading to significant savings on heating costs.

An image which shows how low-e glass works.

Here’s how low-e glass works (image courtesy of Energy Education).

    Established in 1991 in Las Vegas, Panda Windows & Doors crafts state-of-the-art custom, functional glass wall systems for both residential and commercial spaces. With over 30 years of innovation, we offer more than 80 unique high-quality systems including pivot doors, french doors, folding doors, lift & slides, multi-slides, horizontal sliding walls, and operable windows. 

    Our bespoke glass solutions feature the fastest industry lead times, delivering in just 6-10 weeks to customers all over the U.S. and the Caribbean. Trusted by architects globally, Panda transforms spaces with exceptional design and functionality.

    Explore Custom Solutions from Panda Windows & Doors Today

    What is Gas-Filled Glass

    Gas-filled glass units have a space between the panes that is sealed and filled with  inert gasses like argon or krypton. These gasses are denser than air, so they slow down the transfer of heat and insulate your home better. Think of it as a barrier that keeps your indoor picnic warm in winter and cool in the summer heat.

    Advantages of Gas-Filled Glass

    Choosing gas-filled glass comes with a bundle of perks. Here are some of the standout benefits:

    • Superior thermal performance compared to air-filled windows, meaning better energy savings.
    • They help reduce the amount of condensation that can build up on your windows, keeping your view clear.
    • Gas fills like argon are non-toxic, clear, and odorless, making them safe and invisible to the eye.

    Disadvantages of Gas-Filled Glass

    But gas-filled glass has its fair share of disadvantages. The gas can slowly leak out over time, reducing the insulating properties – although this process is typically slow and can take many years. Also, gas-filled windows can be more expensive than their air-filled counterparts, but like Low-E glass, they’re an investment in your home’s comfort and efficiency.

    An image which shows how gas-filled glass works.

    Here’s how gas-filled glass works (image courtesy of Cosyhomes Windows).

    Low-E Glass vs Gas-Filled Glass

    When you’re looking at making your home more energy-efficient, the debate often comes down to Low-E glass versus gas-filled glass. Both options offer significant benefits, but understanding how they work will help you make the best choice for your home.

    Energy Efficiency

    Energy efficiency is a top priority for most homeowners looking for custom glass doors and windows. Low-E glass is coated with a microscopic, nearly invisible layer that reflects heat, which means it keeps your home warmer in the winter by reflecting interior heat back inside, and cooler in the summer by reflecting the sun’s heat away. 

    Gas-filled glass, on the other hand, uses inert gasses like argon or krypton between the panes which act as a superior insulator compared to regular air. This gas layer reduces the heat transfer through the window, helping to maintain a consistent indoor temperature.

    Cost Considerations

    Both Low-E and gas-filled glasses are generally more expensive than traditional windows. However, they should be seen as an investment. 

    Low-E glass typically costs between 10-15% more than regular glass, but it can reduce energy bills by up to 30%, depending on your climate and home’s design. Gas-filled windows have a similar price increase but can save you even more on energy bills due to their superior insulating properties.

    Both glass types will offer significant energy savings that can offset the initial cost over time, not to mention the added value to your property’s market value.

    Installation and Maintenance

    Installation of both Low-E and gas-filled windows should be performed by professionals to ensure that they are sealed correctly. 

    At Panda Windows, we don’t provide installation services. We manufacture our products and ship them to job sites. But there are many third-party installers nationwide who specialize in installing products like ours.

    Maintenance for both types of windows is relatively straightforward. Low-E glass doesn’t require any additional upkeep compared to regular glass, while gas-filled windows might need occasional checks to ensure the seals are intact and the gas has not leaked.

    Aesthetic and Practical Considerations

    Both Low-E and gas-filled glasses can be customized to fit the aesthetic of your home. They come in various tints and finishes that enhance the look of your home and contribute to its energy efficiency. 

    Practically speaking, Low-E glass is often preferred in regions with significant temperature fluctuations, as it can handle the extremes well. Gas-filled glass is ideal for areas with cold winters, as it offers excellent insulation against the cold.

    Ideal Uses for Each Glass Type

    Choosing between Low-E and gas-filled glass depends on a variety of factors including your local climate, your home’s design, and your personal preferences. Let’s break down the ideal uses for each glass type.

    Best Situations for Low-E Glass

    Low-E glass is particularly beneficial in:

    • Areas with high temperature fluctuations, as it can help maintain a consistent indoor environment.
    • Homes where UV protection is important to prevent fading of fabrics and furniture.
    • Regions with a mix of hot and cold climates, as it offers both warming and cooling benefits.

    Sunlight on wall and furniture

    If your home gets plenty of sunlight, you should invest in Low-e glass to prevent fading of fabrics and furniture.

    Best Situations for Gas-Filled Glass

    Gas-filled glass, on the other hand, is ideal for:

    • Locations with predominantly cold weather, as the gas fill provides excellent insulation.
    • Homes where acoustic insulation is a priority, as the dense gas can help reduce noise transmission.
    • Areas where energy costs are particularly high, as the added insulation can lead to more significant savings.
    Comparison Low-E Glass Gas-Filled Glass
    Energy Efficiency
    • Reflects thermal energy back into the room in winter, bounces heat off in summer
    • Helps maintain consistent indoor temperatures
    • Blocks UVA and UVB rays, providing insulation and solar control
    • Reduces heat transfer and energy loss through the window
    • Denser gas (argon or krypton) lowers thermal conductivity, improving insulation
    • Minimizes convection currents within the window
    Cost Considerations
    • Can be cost-effective, especially with argon gas
    • Offers good thermal insulation properties and potential energy bill savings over time
    • May have higher upfront cost due to additional materials and manufacturing
    • Long-term energy savings and improved insulation can offset initial investment
    Installation and Maintenance
    • Installed like standard glass windows
    • Requires minimal additional maintenance
    • Low-E coating is durable and long-lasting
    • Requires proper installation to ensure gas remains sealed between panes
    • Can lose a small amount of gas over time but typically don’t need refilling for up to 20 years if well-sealed
    Aesthetic and Practical Considerations
    • Nearly invisible coating, does not significantly affect window appearance
    • Allows natural light to pass through while providing insulation, UV protection, and glare reduction
    • Can enhance comfort in both hot and cold climates
    • Improves thermal efficiency, reduces condensation, and enhances sound insulation
    • Maintains comfortable indoor environment year-round
    Best Situations to Use
    • Sunny climates to block heat
    • Fading protection for fabrics, carpets, and furniture
    • Suitable for both double and triple-pane windows
    • Cold climates to retain heat
    • Smaller spaces, especially triple-pane windows
    • Reducing condensation in colder climates

    Table comparing the characteristics of low-E glass and gas-filled glass.

    Making the Right Choice with Panda Windows & Doors

    At Panda Windows & Doors, we understand that every home is unique. That’s why we offer personalized consultations to help you choose the perfect glass for your windows and doors. Our experts will consider all aspects of your home, from the architectural style to the local climate, to ensure you get the most out of your investment.

    The Panda Process

    1. Design: We help you choose the right custom luxury glass doors and windows from our 80+ options. Tailor every detail, including glass types like Low-E or gas-filled glass. Review and approve your sales order to ensure all specifications are correct before manufacturing.

    2. Manufacturing: Our project manager confirms all necessary components and orders any unique materials. CNC machines precisely cut and mill extrusions. Extrusions are then thoroughly cleaned and powder-coated for a durable finish. Skilled technicians assemble your custom doors and windows, ensuring all components are perfectly installed.

    3. Quality Control: Each product undergoes rigorous inspection and testing on our Test Wall. We ensure smooth functionality and quality, providing you with photos and videos of your products before packaging.

    4. Packaging & Shipping: Products are wrapped in protective materials and placed in custom-built crates for safe transit. We ensure your order arrives intact, whether shipping domestically or internationally.

    5. Delivery & Warranty: Inspect your order upon arrival and register the product to activate the Limited Warranty. Apply a high-quality finish to wood surfaces within 7 days to prevent damage. Ensure proper installation and protection during construction.

    6. Care & Maintenance: Follow our care and maintenance guide to keep your Panda products in top condition. Regular cleaning and maintenance will ensure a lifetime of use and beauty.

    Contact us to learn more about our low-E and gas filled glass for your custom doors and windows.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Is gas-filled or Low-E glass better for noise reduction?

    Gas-filled glass is typically better for noise reduction. The denser inert gas layer between the panes acts as an excellent sound barrier. However, Low-E glass can also provide a level of noise reduction, especially if combined with laminated glass options. The best choice for you depends on the level of noise insulation you need and the other benefits you’re looking for in your windows.

    Can I customize the look of gas-filled and Low-E glass windows?

    Yes, customization is one of the key benefits of both Low-E and gas-filled glass windows. You can choose from a variety of tints, coatings, and finishes to match your home’s design and your personal style. 

    What is the lifetime of Low-E coating and gas-filled windows?

    Low-E coatings are incredibly durable and are designed to last as long as the window itself, which can be upwards of 20 years or more. Gas-filled windows also have a long lifespan, although the gas can slowly dissipate over time. However, if the window is well-made and the seals remain intact, you can expect them to maintain their insulating properties for many years.

    It’s important to note that both types of windows should be properly installed and maintained to maximize their lifespan. At Panda Windows & Doors, we ensure that our products meet the highest standards of quality and durability.

    With the right care, your investment in Low-E or gas-filled glass windows will provide comfort and savings for a very long time.

    Are there eco-friendly options for both Low-E and gas-filled glasses?

    Yes, eco-friendliness is a significant advantage of both Low-E and gas-filled glass. By improving thermal efficiency, they reduce the need for heating and cooling, which in turn lowers energy consumption and your carbon footprint. Additionally, the materials used in Low-E coatings and the inert gasses in gas-filled windows are not harmful to the environment.

    Choosing these energy-efficient windows is a step towards a greener home and a healthier planet.

    What is the difference in the installation process for Low-E vs gas-filled glass?

    The installation process for both Low-E and gas-filled glass is similar to that of standard windows, but with additional steps to ensure the energy-efficient properties are fully effective. This includes careful sealing to prevent moisture and gas leaks. Professional installation is key to maximizing the benefits of these advanced window technologies.

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