Marvin & Pella Window Comparison
Marvin vs. Pella Windows, which brand is better?
If you’ve just got started with researching for your next window purchase, chances are you’re pretty confused by the vast amount of brands, product lines, and options that are out in the market.
To make things easier on you, we’re going to be comparing two of the cream-of-the-crop brands in the window market: Marvin and Pella.
Marvin and Pella both have many prominent product lines that are widely used, however, they have their differences.
We will be comparing several key points that will hopefully help you make a decision as to where to put your investment.
Marvin Product Lines:
- The Elevate Series: an Ultrex fiberglass exterior with a wood interior (previously known as the Marvin Integrity Series).
- The Essential Series: a full 100% Ultrex Fiberglass window. This includes the exterior and interior and is the most low maintenance option from Marvin (previously known as the Marvin Infinity Series).
- The Signature Series: an aluminum cladded exterior with a wood interior. This series has the most customization options out of the three. (previously known as Marvin Ultimate Series)
Pella Product Lines:
- Encompass Series: Competitively priced, easy-care vinyl windows
- Pella 250 Series: Exceptional vinyl performance and style
- Pella 350 Series: Distinctive vinyl windows with superior performance
- Impervia: a Duracast fiberglass interior and exterior window (low maintenance like vinyl, but more durable)
- Lifestyle Series: Offering the beauty and durability of wood combined with style flexibility, exceptional performance options and purposeful innovations like Integrated Blinds and Shades to deliver solutions for your life, room by room.
- Architect Series: For when the vision of your home calls for fine and thoughtful details
Aluminum Material Comparison between Marvin and Pella
One of the main things that causes many buyers to choose Marvin over Pella is the type of aluminum that Marvin uses in their Signature Series (aluminum exterior with a wood interior).
Marvin’s standard package uses a type of aluminum called “extruded” aluminum which is superior to the “roll-form” aluminum that is used in Pella’s counterpart.
Extruded aluminum is far more durable than roll-form aluminum due to the way each type is made.
Extruded aluminum refers to the process that is used to shape the aluminum pieces.
Blocks of aluminum are first heated to a malleable state and are then hydraulically pressed through a die that shapes them into the desired specifications. After correction and short aging processes, the “extrusions” are ready to be used in windows(source).
What is Roll Form Aluminum?
Roll-form aluminum, which Pella uses, starts out as aluminum sheets that are rolled out into the desired shape.
The key difference between the two is that the roll-form aluminum is a lot more malleable/bendable in its final state due to its minimal thickness.
If it were to be slightly thicker, the roller machines wouldn’t be able to shape the aluminum properly. Here is a picture that shows the difference between the two in the example of a window screen(Extruded aluminum on the left, roll-form aluminum on the right). Note the big difference in the thickness of the metal.
Beyond roll-form aluminum being weaker, it is also more susceptible to misshaping after installation due to its thinness, especially with increased sunlight heat, and cold exposure.
Fiberglass Material Comparison
Another point in which Marvin’s materials excel over Pella’s is in their fiberglass windows. When put side to side, Marvin’s Ultrex fiberglass is superior to Pella’s Duracast fiberglass.
The higher quality fiberglass used in Marvin’s windows allows for a cleaner and smoother finished surface, which are more appealing than Pella’s. Also as far as looks go, the fiberglass used in Pella’s windows is noticeably grainy when compared to Marvin’s counterpart. However, this is only visible from a close distance.
Marvin’s Standard Packages vs. Pella’s:
Most of Marvin’s standard packages include options that Pella charges additional money for. For example, Marvin meets AAMA 2605 specifications with its Signature Series windows ,while Pella only offers that as an upgrade.
Also when choosing an interior wood species, Marvin offers 6 different options.
However, the highest Pella wood package upgrade would only give you a choice between a maximum of 3 wood species.
The number of options, freedom of customization, and colors that are available in Marvin’s standard packages outnumber those of Pella by a high amount.
Low-E and Argon Gas Options
Both companies offer Low-E and Argon Gas options as a standard option, in order to improve energy efficiency requirements.
Low -E stands for low emissivity, and it is a type of glass coating that reduces the amount of infrared and ultraviolet light that penetrates the glass. This helps to keep the interior cool during the summer while also trapping in a significant amount of heat during the winter(source).
Alongside the Low E coating, argon gas is used to fill the space between the two panes of glass. Argon is an excellent insulating agent due to its high density and coupled with the Low E coating, it will effectively keep your house insulated no matter what the weather conditions are.
Marvin and Pella are two top-notch brands that have been rivals for decades, but as always, not all brands are created equally.
From our perspective as window experts, we recommend sticking to Marvin for the most part due to their higher quality materials and the options that are made free on their standard packages.
There are people out there who cite some advantages that Pella might have over Marvin, but when you look at things from a bigger perspective, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that Marvin is may be a better choice in terms of quality. However , also note that with higher quality comes a higher price tag.
In the future, we will be comparing Andersen and Marvin windows.