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 products lines that are widely used, but only a few excel as durable, long-lasting products.
For Marvin, those are the Elevate, Essential and Signature series.
For Pella, those are the Impervia, Pro-line, Designer, and Architect series.
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 (low maintenance option, 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:
- Impervia: a Duracast fiberglass interior and exterior
- Pro-line, Designer, and Architect: aluminum exteriors with a wood interior; each line varies in terms of customizability
Marvin’s Material Quality vs. Pella’s:
One of the main things that causes many buyers to choose Marvin over Pella is the type of aluminum that Marvin uses in their Ultimate (aluminum exterior-wood interior) collection.
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).
Marvin’s Aluminum Pella’s Aluminum
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 (Extruded aluminum on the left, roll-form on the right):
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.
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 finish and seal that are cleaner than Pella’s. The fiberglass used in Pella’s windows is also noticeably grainy when compared to Marvin’s, and Marvin’s has a far smoother, clean-looking surface.
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 (wood interior) windows while Pella only offers that as an upgrade.
The standard Marvin Integrity package also gives you a choice between 6 interior wood species if you opt for a wood interior;
However, the highest Pella wood package upgrade only gives 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 magnitude.
Low-E and Argon Gas Options
Marvin’s standard Integrity (fiberglass) windows come with Low E + Argon glass panels, while Pella only offers that option as an upgrade as well.
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 ultimately a better option than Pella.
In the future, we will be comparing Andersen to Marvin windows.
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