Hurricane Windows vs. Impact Windows

It’s common for people to use hurricane windows and high-impact windows interchangeably. While they know they want sturdier and more flexible glass than the average glass panes, the two phrases don’t mean the same thing.

So what exactly is the difference between hurricane windows and impact windows? Here, we’ll review the two products to help you understand what’s best for your Florida home.

What Are Hurricane Windows?

As the name suggests, these are windows built to resist extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes and storms. They consist of three layers of panes held together by two or more interlayers of laminate PVB. They can withstand winds of up to 200 miles per hour.

Breaks without Shattering

The lamination in these windows provides a small amount of impact resistance. That means they can still break. However, unlike regular panes, these ones break without spraying dangerous glass shreds.

Flexible and Wind-Resistant

The thin lamination layers provide an element of flexibility. When strong winds blow, the windows flex within the frames instead of shattering or cracking like regular glass-only panes.

Designed for Florida Weather

Florida state experiences tropical storms and hurricanes. Destructive winds often characterize this extreme weather. For this reason, the Building Code requires that all homes get hurricane windows installed to keep residents safe.

Affordable and Versatile

Hurricane windows have fewer layers of lamination and glass than impact windows. They also fit into standard frames. Those two factors make them relatively affordable for most homeowners.

Impact Windows

Impact windows got developed on the premise of hurricane windows. The difference is that they have a thicker overall pane made of multiple layers of lamination and glass. As a result, it’s heavier, less flexible, and can withstand more powerful impacts.

Thicker with Layers of Glass & Laminate

Impact windows feature multiple layers of PVB and PET laminated glass, making them thicker than hurricane panes. It also makes them heavier, with a higher glass-to-plastic ratio.

All this makes them superior to hurricane windows.

Wind and Impact Resistance

The plastic coating gives impact windows and hurricane windows high resistance to winds. They can protect you and your loved ones when the next storm blows through. However, the impact windows offer more resistance.

They can protect you from more than just winds. They can keep you safe from flying debris, such as the lawn chair in front of your neighbor’s patio. They can even prevent burglary.

Impact windows will flex and probably scuff upon a direct hit from a high-velocity object. But they won’t break like a hurricane window.

Energy Efficiency and Noise Reduction

Impact windows offer more energy efficiency and noise reduction than hurricane windows. The extra layers of glass and thicker laminate create an insulated space between the panes, allowing less heat to travel in and out of the house. As a result, your home stays cooler in summer and warmer in winter, reducing utility costs.

Basically, you get the benefits of a window but without the draft of a traditional one. The same goes for noise reduction.

Heavy-Duty Window Frames

Unlike hurricane windows, impact windows can’t fit into regular frames. Their heft requires a heavy-duty frame to handle the weight of the window. That means that when you’re getting your windows installed, you’ll also need to buy heavy-duty frames.

Cost and Installation

As expected, impact windows are more costly than hurricane windows. That’s primarily due to the increased material usage and sturdier frames. They also require expert installation that can also inflate the cost.


At Miller Window, we understand how devastating a hurricane can be. That’s why we provide a wide range of impact and hurricane windows to keep you and your family safe. Contact us today to request a free non-obligatory estimate.

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