If you’re in the market for new windows, you’ve probably come across Universal Windows Direct and Pella as two of the top options. Both companies make high-quality windows, but they have some key differences that may make one a better choice for your home than the other.
Keep reading for a detailed comparison of Universal Windows Direct and Pella windows in terms of performance, aesthetics, cost and more.
A Brief Comparison Table
|Comparison||Universal Windows Direct||Pella Windows|
|Main Materials||Vinyl, composite, aluminum||Vinyl, wood, fiberglass, aluminum|
|Warranties||Lifetime on glass, 10 yrs manufacturing, 1 yr labor||Lifetime on glass, 10 yrs manufacturing, 10 yrs installation|
|Energy Efficiency||Very good, meet or exceed Energy Star||Very good to excellent, especially with wood and fiberglass|
|Noise Reduction||Significant reduction||Significant reduction|
|Window Styles||All popular styles, moderate specialty options||All popular styles, abundant specialty options|
|Features||Wide range of convenience and security features||Wide range of convenience and security features|
|Window Quality||Very high quality and durability||Very high quality and durability|
|Cost||Mid-range affordable pricing||Premium pricing, especially for wood and fiberglass|
|Installation||By Universal’s trained professionals||By third-party Pella certified installers|
Overview of Universal Windows Direct
Universal Windows Direct is one of the largest manufacturers and installers of replacement windows in the United States.
The company makes a variety of different window types including double hung, sliding, casement, awning and specialty windows.
Some key things to know about Universal Windows Direct:
- They manufacture their own windows in the United States.
- Their windows come with solid warranties – lifetime on glass, 10 years on manufacturing materials and defects, and 1 year on labor.
- They use vinyl, composite and aluminum for their window frames. Vinyl is their most popular frame material.
- Universal offers lots of customization options like custom sizes, colors, interior and exterior finishes.
- They handle the entire installation process with their own installers.
- Universal Windows Direct tends to be competitively priced with frequent sales and promotions.
Overview of Pella Windows
Pella is another very large window and door manufacturer in the U.S. They are best known for their wood window options but also make vinyl and fiberglass choices.
Here are some key Pella window features:
- Pella manufactures their own windows and doors.
- They offer vinyl, wood, fiberglass and aluminum options. Their wood windows are a big selling point.
- Their windows come with excellent warranties – lifetime on glass, 10 years on manufacturing, and 10 years on installation.
- Lots of customization choices are available.
- Both do-it-yourself and professional installation options.
- Pella products are generally more expensive than competitors.
In-depth Differences Between Universal Windows Direct And Pella Windows
Now that we’ve covered the basics on each brand, let’s do a detailed comparison.
One of the biggest differences between these two brands is the window materials they offer.
Universal Windows Direct focuses on vinyl windows which are their most affordable and most popular product line. Vinyl is loved for its insulation, durability and maintenance-free qualities. Universal does offer some composite and aluminum windows as well.
Pella takes a broader approach with window materials. Their main options include:
- Vinyl – Pella vinyl windows are highly rated for performance and durability.
- Wood – Pella is especially known for its beautiful wood windows made from oak, maple, pine and more. Their wood choices give a traditional look.
- Fiberglass – For incredible strength and durability, Pella fiberglass windows are a great option. Very low maintenance.
- Aluminum – Pella’s aluminum-clad wood windows combine the beauty of wood on the interior with strong, low-maintenance aluminum on the exterior.
So in summary, Universal is focused on value with mostly vinyl, while Pella offers premium materials like wood and an overall greater variety.
A key factor when shopping for replacement windows is performance qualities like energy efficiency, weather resistance and noise reduction. Here is how Universal and Pella compare:
- Both brands offer windows with excellent insulation values, with options spanning basic to advanced efficiency levels.
- Top-tier vinyl options from Universal and Pella can have insulation R-values of around 3-5 which meets or exceeds Energy Star guidelines.
- With their wood and fiberglass products, Pella can achieve slightly better thermal performance in some cases. But both are very solid in this category.
- All Universal and Pella windows are built to be highly water and air resistant when properly installed.
- Advanced sealing techniques like double weatherstripping are used.
- Both brands offer windows rated to stand up to hurricane-force winds, driving rain, extreme temps and more.
- Overall the two brands are comparable for weather resistance. Vinyl and fiberglass may have a slight performance edge over wood.
- Multiple panes of glass and advanced glazing systems allow both Pella and Universal windows to effectively decrease outside noise.
- Higher visible light transmittance glass may insulate slightly less noise, but most options from both companies significantly cut down on noise infiltration.
So in terms of window performance qualities, Pella and Universal Windows Direct offer very comparable options that deliver excellence in energy efficiency, weather resistance and noise reduction.
The style of windows you prefer is also an important consideration. Let’s see how Pella vs Universal Windows Direct compare in their style offerings:
- Double Hung – Both offer very versatile and well-designed double hung windows which are the most popular style.
- Casement – Casement styles open out to the side and are made by both brands. Great for letting in breezes.
- Sliding – Sliding windows with horizontal opening are another shared option. Nice for smaller spaces.
- Awning – Universal and Pella awning windows are top-hinged and open out from the bottom. Ideal over other windows or doors.
- Specialty – Unique windows like bay, bow, and garden styles are available from both companies. Pella likely has a few more specialty choices.
- Custom – Universal Windows Direct and Pella both have custom capabilities to create just about any window style you need.
Overall the two brands are quite aligned when it comes to offering all the most popular window configurations. Pella may have a few more distinctive choices.
Replacement windows also come with lots of features that add convenience, security and aesthetic appeal. Here are some of the most popular features offered by Pella vs Universal:
- High visible light transmittance glass – Options from both to allow more natural light in.
- Low-E coatings – Helps increase efficiency and reduce UV damage. Offered by both brands.
- Triple pane – For even better thermal performance, triple pane is an option with either.
- Insect screens – Keep bugs out while letting the breeze in. Available from Universal and Pella.
- Security locks – Help keep your home safe. Offered on models from both brands.
- Tilt-in sashes – Allow convenient cleaning from inside. Offered by both companies.
- Integrated blinds – Built-in blinds between glass panes are offered by Pella and Universal. Super convenient.
- Custom grid patterns – Create a unique look with grid options from both brands.
As you can see, most modern window features are available in various options from both brands. This allows you to customize your windows exactly how you like.
A major consideration when purchasing windows is long-term quality and durability. Here’s an overview of what to expect:
- Craftsmanship – Both Pella and Universal Windows Direct are well-known for their meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail. You can expect excellent construction quality from either brand.
- Materials – As discussed previously, the materials each brand uses like vinyl, wood and fiberglass are all very durable and stand the test of time when properly cared for.
- Testing – Universal and Pella windows go through rigorous testing to ensure they can withstand weather, impacts, forced entry and more. This testing ensures longevity.
- Warranties – With strong warranties backing their products, both brands are confident in providing long-lasting windows. Pella may edge out Universal a bit with longer wood window warranties.
Overall, both Pella and Universal Windows Direct make very high-quality windows designed to last for decades with minimal maintenance.
Cost and Value Comparison
One of the biggest factors for most homeowners is cost. Here’s an overview of what to expect:
- Universal Windows Direct – As a mid-range vinyl window brand, Universal is known for affordable pricing with frequent sales. Their prices are competitive among vinyl brands with very good value.
- Pella Windows – With premium materials like wood and fiberglass, Pella sits at the higher end of the spectrum for window pricing. Their products come with an inherent value that matches the higher prices.
- Vinyl vs. Wood/Fiberglass – There is often a big price jump when comparing vinyl against Pella’s wood and fiberglass. So vinyl from Universal will be quite a bit less expensive than many Pella products.
- Customization – More customization like uncommon sizes, premium materials and special installation needs will raise costs for both brands.
- Sales – Universal Windows Direct tends to offer more frequent discounts and promotions which can provide great value if timed right.
Overall, Universal Windows Direct will provide the best value and pricing for many homeowners looking for quality vinyl windows. But Pella offers exceptional value with their premium product lines if the investment makes sense for your needs and budget.
Proper installation is crucial to getting the full benefits from quality windows. Here is how Pella and Universal compare when it comes to installation:
- Universal Windows Direct – Offers installation from their own highly trained employees. This allows them to control quality and provides added accountability.
- Pella – Uses third-party certified Pella installers. Quality can vary more than Universal installers, but overall still offers professional installation.
- DIY Option – Pella allows do-it-yourself installation more than Universal, but this is only recommended for experienced DIYers. Professional install is best.
- Process – Both use a thorough installation process to ensure windows are properly positioned, sealed, insulated and tested. Quality installation maximizes performance.
When going with professional install with either brand, you can expect an efficient, high-quality installation process. DIY is an option with Pella but brings added challenges.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Yes, Universal Windows Direct is one of the best vinyl replacement window brands available today. Their windows offer an ideal balance of affordability, aesthetics, features, performance, durability and value. Their excellent ratings from homeowners and professional reviewers make them a great option.
Universal Windows Direct manufactures their own brand of vinyl windows which are made in the USA. They also offer some composite and aluminum window options under their own branding. Overall, Universal is known for specializing in quality, affordable vinyl windows.
It depends on the factors most important to you, but some of the top window replacement brands available today include: Pella, Andersen, Marvin, JELD-WEN, Milgard, Simonton, Ply Gem, Universal Windows Direct.
Some of the most affordably priced options for quality replacement windows include: Universal Windows Direct, JELD-WEN, Ply Gem, MI Home Products, Milgard (varies by location), PGT Windows & Doors, Harvey Windows.
With this thorough comparison in mind, which window brand is better for your home remodeling or new construction project?
For many homeowners looking for affordable, low-maintenance vinyl windows, the quality and value offered by Universal Windows Direct makes them a top choice.
Pella Windows shine based on their variety of premium materials like wood, fiberglass and aluminum-clad wood. Their offerings are unparalleled for certain aesthetics and performance levels.
Ultimately the right brand comes does to your specific needs and priorities. Use this breakdown as a guide to pick the perfect windows when comparing these two top manufacturers.