Marvin vs Pella- Which is Better?

August 28, 2019

When you are in the research phase of your window buying journey, you have no doubt run into the names Marvin and Pella. They are leading window manufacturers and have brought exciting options onto the market for years. In a showdown between Marvin vs. Pella, which is better?

There’s no black or white answer. In fact, there is a wonderful world of gray to explore. In other words, it depends! On what? On what you need. On what you want. On what you’re trying to achieve with your new windows. On you.

Exploring Your OptionsIntegrity_Casement_3.eps

Both companies have a wide range of window types and materials from which to choose. Marvin offers several prominent lines:

  • Signature Ultimate With nearly limitless opportunities for customization, Ultimate wood and wood-clad windows and doors are available an extensive selection of shapes, styles, sizes and options.
  • Signature Modern Inspired by the needs of architects and builders, the Signature Modern product line emphasizes the simplicity and large expanses of glass that homeowners seek in a modern home. With innovative high-density fiberglass material, leading thermal performance and consistent narrow sightlines, it’s a smart and seamless approach to modern design.
  • Elevate. Warm wood interiors add timeless beauty, while resilient, long-lasting fiberglass stands up to the elements and stays strong in even the toughest conditions.
  • Essential. Streamlined design, quality, and performance. This line features Marvin’s proprietary, durable fiberglass to the interior and exterior and is virtually maintenance-free.
Pella has a slew of different window options, from vinyl replacement to aluminum clad windows with blinds between the glass panes (these are featured in their Design series). Their most popular collections include:

  • Impervia. This is Pella's fiberglass window option. encompass-product
  • Pella Vinyl Windows. The 350, 250 and Encompass series are Pella’s most budget-friendly options. They are easy to care for, durable, and energy efficient.
  • Lifestyle Series. These wood windows from Pella offer between-the-panes blinds or shades and “snap in” installation, making it a good choice for replacement windows.
  • Architect Series. The top of the line, the Architect Series has wood interiors and customizable shapes and sizes. They are available with traditional styling or the clean, smart lines of the contemporary collection.

As mentioned, Marvin offers one aluminum wood-clad window line, Signature Ultimate. You can select from different styles and options, but all windows are built the same way. They feature an extruded aluminum exterior (both sash and frame) and a wood interior. Clear pine is the standard option, but you can upgrade to other species, such as fir, oak, mahogany, and cherry.

Pella, on the other hand, has two clad wood lines, which are each built slightly differently. 

The high-end Architect Series has an extruded aluminum frame with a roll-form aluminum clad sash. For the wood interior, pine is standard but you can upgrade to other species. The Lifestyle Series also has an extruded frame and roll-form aluminum clad sash, but it comes standard with triple pane glass and the famous “blinds between the glass” panel.

Both Marvin and Pella have a number of options from which to choose, and they also offer the ability to customize your new windows to meet your own personal wants and needs.

With all of this information, you might be wondering, what do these differences mean?

Exterior Material:

Marvin-  Extruded Aluminum Cladding

Pella- Roll Form Aluminum Cladding

Quarter Pic.png                                                                             

Extruded Aluminum is about the thickness of a quarter. It is structural due to the thickness of the metal. 

  Soda Can.png                                                

Roll Form Aluminum is thinner like a soda can so it can be wrapped (formed) around the wood.  It is not structural because it is thin.

Marvin Corner  (1)

Marvin Cross Section showing Extruded Aluminum Cladding

Pella Proline

Pella Proline Cross Section showing Roll Form Aluminum Cladding

Exterior Appearance & Construction:

Marvin- Butt Joints in Corners

Pella- Mitered Corners

Marvin Butt Joint Corner

Marvin Butt Joint Corner


Pella Mitered Corner

Exterior Color Options:

Marvin- 19 exterior finished colors that meet American Architectural Manufactures Association (AAMA) 2605 Standard. Custom color matching is available.

Pella- EnduraClad for the Architect Series is available in 27 factory colors.

Interior Material:

Marvin- Wood (Black Walnut, Cherry, Mixed Grain Douglas Fir, Honduran Mahogany, Pine, Vertical Grain Douglas Fir, and White Oak.)

Pella- 3 wood options for standard windows: Mahogany, Douglas Fir, and Pine. White Oak, Cherry, Red Oak, or Maple are only available for custom windows.

Interior Finish Options:

Marvin-  Your choice of 7 factory stains & 3 painted wood finishes.

Pella- Pine can be pre-finished in your choice of 7 stains or 3 paint colors.

Available Window Types:

Marvin- Single Hung, Double Hung, Casement, Casement Swing, Awning, Glider, Bay & Bow, Round Top, European Style Tilt-Turn, Picture Frame, and Specialty & Customized Shapes. 

Pella- Double Hung, Casement, Awning, and Single Hung. Custom sizes and configurations are available for the Architect series. 

Glass Options:

Marvin- Standard Option:Dual Pane with Low E & Argon        

Additional Options Available: Additional Low E & Argon options, Triple Pane, Specialty Glass (Sound Abatement, etc.),

Tinted , Obscure & Decorative Glass

Pella- 4 different options are available. All with dual or triple pane glass with argon or krypton.

Marvin vs. Pella: Which is “Better”

It’s impossible to say! Both Marvin and Pella offer windows, details, options, and materials to meet different needs. For example, if you’re planning on selling your home in the next five years, you might prefer Pella’s budget-friendly Vinyl Windows. Pella’s name and reputation are great for resale value, and your upfront costs will be lower.
ZenBarn_Ext_SPD_DG_EB_16_MWOn the other hand, if this is your forever home and you prioritize quality, Marvin windows may cost a bit more initially, but your investment will be very well protected over time. The design and customization options available from each line of Marvin windows gives you more flexibility in the final look.

As you continue your search for new windows, consider what features and benefits are most important to you. This is how you determine which window is “better”!

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