Types of Glass for Windows

While ordinary clear glass has traditionally been the main type of glass for windows, numerous other options are available depending on the features desired. These features include better energy efficiency, heat blocking, security and strength. When it's time to choose new or replacement windows, a look at some of the more common types of glass for windows gives insight into the possibilities.

Single Pane and Double Pane

Single-pane and double-pane options are available. Single-pane windows provide very little insulation, while double-pane improves energy efficiency. In colder climates, some double-pane windows are sold with an argon gas between the panes for better energy-saving performance.


Tinted heat-absorbing glass is designed to reduce radiant heat entering through the window.


Reflective glass has the same purpose as tinted glass, but it is coated with a reflective film.


Low-emissivity, or low-e glass, is a higher-quality energy efficient product which can reflect up to 70 percent of the radiant heat back from the window. Unlike tinted or reflective glass, however, it does not diminish the amount of light passing through.


Tempered glass is very strong and is a common choice for patio doors and storm doors. If tempered glass breaks, it crumbles into tiny pellets rather than shattering into jagged shards.


Another type of glass for windows is security glass, which is opaque and available in several textures.

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