Cost can vary substantially depending on which windows you select and who installs them.

The table below indicates the price variation among installation companies when Checkbook’s undercover shoppers gave them exactly the same job specifications and let them decide which brand of windows to use. For each job, the highest-priced company’s quote was more than twice as high as the lowest quote.

You can’t get the same brands of windows from all companies, but even among companies offering the same brand company-to-company differences of $50 to $100 per window are common.

Our Ratings Tables reports our price comparison scores, which show how surveyed companies compared on price for the jobs we checked. The scores show how each company’s prices compared to the average price for all companies that quoted on the same jobs. We adjusted the price comparison scores so that the average for all the companies is $100. If a company’s score is $110, for example, this means that the company’s prices were, on average, 10 percent higher than the average prices for the same jobs.

To get a good price, take the following steps—

  • Have several installers come to your home, measure your windows, recommend a replacement method and a brand and model of window, explain the reasons for their recommendations, and quote prices.
  • Discuss these recommendations and ask about lower-priced alternatives. If substantially lower prices would be available for less energy-efficient windows, ask the companies to estimate the actual energy savings the more expensive windows will produce—and insist that they provide detailed information on how they calculate these estimates.
  • Decide on your final specifications. Call the companies that already provided estimates and others to get their prices for these final specifications. Get a final written proposal from each company.
  • If you are not confident that the quality of the windows themselves is comparable from company to company when the companies quote only on specifications, have the companies quote on a specific brand and model; several companies are likely to quote on some of the same brands and models.
  • If you are remodeling and will be putting windows into roughed-in openings, consider having your contractor purchase and install your windows. Window installation companies are primarily geared to installing replacement frames, not new construction.

Check whether there are local tax incentives or if your utility company offers rebates for installing energy-efficient windows. Until 2017, a federal tax credit was available, but that program expired and wasn’t renewed.

An excellent resource to find incentives for all types of energy-efficiency solutions is the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.