Experts say each type of replacement window has pros and cons, so choosing the best type for your home means juggling a number of considerations. For example, one of the cheapest types, vinyl replacement windows, provides good insulation and requires no maintenance. However, they can't be painted, so you're stuck with the original color, and they may become less airtight over time as the material weathers.
Wood replacement windows have the most aesthetic appeal, but they also require the most maintenance and are the most expensive. Clad-wood windows have a layer of vinyl or aluminum on the exterior, so they don't need to be painted or stained like wood-framed windows do. Fiberglass windows provide great insulation and need no maintenance, but they are only available in a limited number of sizes and styles. Aluminum replacement windows are inexpensive, lightweight and strong, but aluminum is not a good insulator and is not suited to all climates.
In the end, choosing the best replacement window depends on how much you want to spend, what type of look you want, how much maintenance you're willing to do -- or pay for -- and where you live. We cover the pros and cons of each type of replacement window in this ConsumerSearch buyer's guide.