If you’re in the market for new replacement windows, RELIABILT and American Craftsman are two popular brands you may be considering. Both offer a range of vinyl window options at relatively affordable prices.
But how do you decide which is the better choice for your home?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare the pros, cons, features, cost, warranties, and other factors of RELIABILT and American Craftsman windows to help you make an informed decision.
A Brief Comparison Table
|Frame Material||Vinyl||Vinyl-clad wood|
|Glass Options||Double pane, Low-E||Double pane, Low-E, Triple pane|
|Exterior Colors||White, almond, wood laminates||Wide range matched to Andersen|
|Interior Options||White, faux wood laminates||Wood stain, paint|
|Energy Efficiency||Meet or exceed ENERGY STAR||Exceed ENERGY STAR|
|Cost Range||$150-300 per window||$250-600 per window|
|Warranties||Lifetime limited||Lifetime limited, transferable|
|Quality Reputation||Good for the price||Very good, premium brand|
Overview of RELIABILT Windows
RELIABILT windows are a house brand sold exclusively at Lowes home improvement stores. They are manufactured by JELD-WEN, one of the largest window and door manufacturers in the world.
Some key facts about RELIABILT windows:
- Offered in single-hung, double-hung, sliding, casement, awning, and picture window styles.
- Vinyl construction with fusion-welded corners for added strength.
- Multiple glass options available, including clear, tinted, and Low-E.
- Energy efficient with double pane insulated glass.
- Lifetime limited warranty on glass, vinyl, and components.
- Variety of interior and exterior color options.
- RELIABILT is typically the lowest priced vinyl window sold at Lowes.
Overview of American Craftsman Windows
American Craftsman windows are sold through local dealers and home improvement retailers like Home Depot. They are manufactured by AMI, which is owned by Andersen Windows.
Some key facts about American Craftsman:
- Offered in double-hung, single-hung, sliding, casement, awning, and picture styles.
- Vinyl-clad wood construction.
- Energy efficient glass options include Low-E and triple pane.
- Exterior color matched to Andersen Windows for consistency.
- Transferable limited lifetime warranty on glass, vinyl, and parts.
- More premium window with higher prices than RELIABILT.
Key Differences Between RELIABILT And American Craftsman Windows
Window Style Options
Both RELIABILT and American Craftsman offer all the most popular window styles:
- Double-hung – Ideal for allowing ventilation while also providing privacy. Both brands offer double-hung windows.
- Single-hung – A single lower sash slides up, while the top sash is stationary. Offered by both companies.
- Sliding – Side-to-side sliding sashes for breezy ventilation. Available from RELIABILT and American Craftsman.
- Casement – A side-hinged swinging sash window that’s easy to open with a hand crank. Offered by both brands.
- Awning – Outward swinging sash opens up for ventilation. Made by RELIABILT and American Craftsman.
- Picture – Stationary window with no operating sashes. Offered in both product lines.
So whether you need double-hung, sliding, or casement windows, both manufacturers can accommodate your project.
A key difference between RELIABILT and American Craftsman is the frame material used:
- RELIABILT – Vinyl frame construction, making the windows lightweight, insulating, and low-maintenance. The vinyl color goes all the way through the frame.
- American Craftsman – Vinyl-clad wood frame, with wood providing structural rigidity. The vinyl exterior requires less maintenance while interior exposed wood can be stained or painted.
Vinyl is the more affordable option, but some homeowners prefer the aesthetics and feel of real wood interiors. It comes down to your priorities and budget.
The types of glass used in replacement windows also affect energy efficiency, durability, and cost. Here’s how they compare:
- Double pane glass – Standard for both RELIABILT and American Craftsman. Two panes of glass with an insulated air gap reduces heat transfer.
- Low-E glass – Optional upgrade that includes a virtually invisible metallic coating to reflect heat. Offered by both brands.
- Tinted glass – Optional tinted glass to reduce glare. Available from RELIABILT.
- Triple pane – Three panes of glass with two air gaps to maximize insulation. Offered by American Craftsman.
So when it comes to glass features, both offer good energy efficient options, with triple pane as a premium upgrade for American Craftsman windows.
Exterior Color Options
How your new windows look from the outside is an important consideration. Here are the color choices offered:
- RELIABILT – White or almond are standard exterior colors. Optional woodgrain laminate finishes in black, bronze, driftwood blend, espresso blend, cherry, oak, dark oak, foxwood, or cordovan blend.
- American Craftsman – Exterior color matched to Andersen Windows, including white, sandtone, pebbletone, forest green, ebony, brown, black, and many more.
So RELIABILT offers a decent range of basic vinyl colors and imitation wood options. American Craftsman has a much wider palette matched to Andersen that can complement most exterior color schemes.
Interior Color and Finish
On the interior side, you have these design options:
- RELIABILT – White vinyl is standard, with optional wood laminate finishes in oak, dark oak, cherry, maple, pine, raw pine, or painted colors in white, almond, or desert sand.
- American Craftsman – Wood interior can be stained in different custom colors or painted. Stain matching service available.
So for interior aesthetics, the real wood of American Craftsman windows gives you more ability to match your existing trim or desired style. RELIABILT vinyl does offer some nice faux wood options though.
With rising energy costs, insulation is increasingly important for replacement windows. Here’s how they compare:
- RELIABILT – Double pane glass, Low-E coatings, and vinyl framing make these windows energy efficient, with U-Factors as low as 0.27 and SHGC factor around 0.30. Meets or exceeds ENERGY STAR standards.
- American Craftsman – Double pane glass plus optional triple pane make these very energy efficient windows. U-factors from 0.27-0.18 and SHGC as low as 0.22. Exceed ENERGY STAR requirements.
So both brands are good options for maximizing insulation and minimizing heating and cooling costs. American Craftsman just edges out RELIABILT a bit if you opt for triple pane glass.
Costs and Value Comparison
As you would expect, RELIABILT vinyl windows are generally the more affordable option, while American Craftsman offers more premium features and quality for a higher price. Here’s an overview:
- RELIABILT – As Lowes’ lowest priced window series, these are a good value option starting at around $150-300 per window depending on size and features. Basic vinyl construction and good warranties make them a decent budget choice.
- American Craftsman – With real wood interior, wider selection of colors, and higher grade materials, these windows offer good value at a higher price point of $250-600 per window on average. The lifetime warranties provide peace of mind.
So RELIABILT will generally cost you less upfront, while American Craftsman offers long-term quality for the higher sticker price. Consider lifetime costs vs. budget.
The warranties offered by each brand are:
- RELIABILT – Lifetime limited warranties on all vinyl and component parts, including any manufacturer defects. Insulated glass has a lifetime limited warranty and 20-year warranty against seal failure.
- American Craftsman – Lifetime limited warranties on glass, vinyl, and parts that are transferable to new homeowners.
So both manufacturers back up their windows with similar excellent lifetime warranties against premature failure. This means your investment will be protected for years to come.
Looking at customer feedback for both brands shows:
- RELIABILT – Overall positive feedback for value, appearance, quality, and durability. Some issues with screens tearing. Good experiences with warranty support. Average 4/5 stars.
- American Craftsman – Very positive reviews praising appearance, ease of installation, quality construction, energy savings, and quiet operation. More limited feedback available. Also averages around 4/5 stars.
Both window lines receive good reviews that indicate customers are very satisfied overall with the quality, performance, and appearance they get vs. the price.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
American Craftsman windows are very good quality overall. They are made by a leading manufacturer of windows, have excellent warranties, good energy efficiency ratings, and quality vinyl-clad wood construction. The general consensus of customer reviews is that American Craftsman windows look beautiful, are highly functional, and provide great insulation for the price.
ReliaBilt vinyl windows are manufactured exclusively for Lowes under their house brand by JELD-WEN Windows and Doors. JELD-WEN is one of the largest window manufacturers globally. They use quality vinyl materials and components in ReliaBilt window construction.
American Craftsman windows are made by AMI, which is owned by Andersen Windows. Andersen is one of the most recognized and reputable window brands. AMI utilizes quality materials and construction methods honed from Andersen’s 100+ years in the industry.
ReliaBilt vinyl windows are manufactured in JELD-WEN’s company-owned plants based in the United States. So ReliaBilt windows are made domestically in America, not outsourced from overseas. Specific plant locations include Iowa, Oregon, Kentucky, Texas, North Carolina, Minnesota, and West Virginia.
The Bottom Line
When comparing RELIABILT and American Craftsman replacement windows, the choice generally comes down to budget vs. premium features.
For affordability, RELIABILT is the clear value winner. They offer reliable vinyl windows at Lowes’ lowest prices. Highly rated for performance and backed by great warranties.
If quality craftsmanship and wider style options matter more, then American Craftsman is worth the investment. You get premium materials and features at a moderate step up in price.
Either brand is likely to serve you well and be a significant upgrade over old drafty windows. Carefully measure your windows, consider aesthetics and price, and make an informed window choice you’ll be happy with for decades to come.