As windows on older homes eventually start to give way to the elements, one will need to find some replacement for them. And as such, there are two brands in particular that homeowners, designers, and builders alike flock to: Pella and Andersen.
Both brands have been in the window making business for decades and make windows in all manner of shapes and sizes to fit the needs of similarly varied homes.
It should be no surprise, then, that we are putting these two brands head to head in this comparison to help you narrow down the windows you would want to have in your home.
The Pella window manufacturer was founded in 1925 bearing the name of Pella, Iowa, its home town and location of the company headquarters.
Like Andersen, Pella makes and sells multiple product lines with different features meant to target different budget levels; as such, doing a direct comparison of Pella windows to Renewal by Andersen is not exactly productive.
For a more accurate comparison, we will be using the Architect line of windows from Pella in this guide, which offer:
- Premium wood construction
- Variety of window shapes and finish options
- Historical and Contemporary design catalogs
Renewal by Andersen Overview
Renewal by Andersen (or RBA for short) is the sub-brand of Andersen that specializes in producing premium-quality replacement windows. Founded in Bayport, Minnesota at the turn of the 20th century, Andersen has been in the window and door business for well over 100 years at this point and has carried every single second of expertise through to the present day.
The Renewal by Andersen windows in particular are intended to provide window replacement options that appeal to those with more discerning tastes and requirements. These windows advertise:
- Durable Fibrex construction
- Various design options
- Made-to-order quality from design to installation
Pella vs. Renewal by Andersen: Design Options Comparison
When shopping for window replacements, design choices are arguably the most important consideration. After all, a larger design catalog would give you, the homeowner, a better chance at picking the specific styles that you want for your home.
Going from the catalogs in both product lines, we find that Pella windows and Renewal by Andersen offer just about every style and shape of window commonly available on the market, in addition to made-to-order designs made for very specific applications.
Both brands offer single-hung, double hung, bay, awning, sliding, casement, picture, and sliding window styles outside of their bespoke models.
Pella vs. Renewal by Andersen: Materials Comparison
Besides the general window shape and style, material choice is also very important for replacement windows, especially if they are meant to match the architectural style of the home.
In this regard, the catalog of Pella windows provides more options than that of Renewal by Andersen. While Pella windows can be bought in vinyl, wood, and fiberglass, windows from Renewal by Andersen are made out of Fibrex, an Andersen-exclusive material made of a composite of plastic resin and reclaimed wood fibers.
Pella vs. Renewal by Andersen: Customizability Comparison
When the default style options are not quite what you’re looking for, it comes down to the customization options to cover the last 20% or so of the details needed to make the window style just right.
Comparing the similarly-priced Renewal by Andersen and Pella Architect lines of replacement windows, the Pella windows are more flexible than the Andersen windows in terms of customizability, with more color and material options for interior and exterior cladding and accessories.
Pella vs. Renewal by Andersen: Durability Comparison
If you are spending the kind of money asked for by Renewal by Andersen or the Pella Architect line (which we will get into in the cost comparison), it is reasonable for you to expect these replacement windows to last.
And generally speaking, windows from both brands do, indeed, last—you can expect a lifespan for them to fall in the range of 20 to 30 years.
Pella vs. Renewal by Andersen: Sustainability Comparison
Another concern that arises when one enters the premium end of the price spectrum for replacement windows is that more idealistic qualities, like sustainability, start to be something that you care about.
In this regard, Renewal by Andersen is the more preferred choice thanks to its Fibrex construction. As mentioned previously, Fibrex is made up of around 40% recycled wood encased in resin (in a manner similar to fiberglass), making the material much more environmentally-friendly than the vinyl or choice wood that Pella uses.
Pella vs. Renewal by Andersen: Cost Comparison
All of this brings us to the bottom line of it all—the cost, which we have already hinted at the cost of these windows many times throughout this guide.
As tough of a pill as it can be to swallow, the fact of the matter is that windows from Renewal by Andersen tend to cost upwards of $1,000 per unit, with some models going past the $1,500 mark.
While Pella does have the Architect line that aims at the same price range as that of Renewal by Andersen, they also offer a variety of more affordable options that skimp out on certain features, like using fiberglass and vinyl instead of wood, making Pella windows more desirable for those on tighter budgets.
The cost of installing these windows is, like most other things, dependent on the contractor and his pricing for projects of certain scale or complexity. However, based on our sources and estimates, you can expect to pay about $800 to $1100 for the privilege.
Pella vs. Renewal by Andersen: Warranty Comparison
Another aspect that can affect the value proposition of these replacement windows is their warranty. Unfortunately, though, there’s not much that we can say here since the warranties from both Pella and Andersen are, for the most part, basically the same.
That’s not to say they are perfectly identical; for instance, Pella’s warranty says their windows have a limited lifetime warranty; however, the “lifetime” here actually refers to the lifespan of the window.
Meanwhile, Renewal by Andersen’s warranty “only” lasts up to 20 years, but since that falls within the expected lifespan of these replacement windows, the warranty is about as effective as Pella’s. The main difference in Andersen’s warranty is that it is transferable to the new owner should the original owner of the home sell their place.
Pella vs. Renewal by Andersen: Final Showdown
There should be no doubt in your mind that both Pella and Renewal by Andersen are generally excellent options for replacement windows. Standing on almost equal footing in terms of quality and durability, you won’t go wrong with either option if you want a properly premium window option.
That being said, each option does have its advantages over the other which will influence your final decision. Renewal by Andersen is generally considered to be the more premium option thanks to its durable and environmentally friendly Fibrex construction.
Of course, that’s not to say that Pella windows are of lower quality than their competitor—their premium product lines like Architect and Reserve are more than able to go toe to toe with Renewal by Andersen. Their broader catalog, however, does give Pella more flexibility in terms of budget.