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Soft-Lite Windows vs Pella - Which Brand Wins?

Soft-Lite Windows vs Pella – Which Brand Wins?

by Steven Wilson

Choosing between Soft-Lite Windows vs Pella for your home can be quite a task. Each brand brings a rich history and a distinct array of products to the table.

Soft-Lite, established in 1934 in Ohio, made its mark with storm doors and sashes, later pioneering in vinyl frames. In contrast, Pella, dating back to 1925 in Iowa, evolved from producing washable overalls to becoming a major window manufacturer.

Their offerings now range from the Architect Series to the Encompass by Pella. This article aims to dissect these two giants in the window industry.

We’ll delve into their backgrounds, products, and what sets them apart, providing you with the insights you need to make an informed choice.

Soft-Lite Windows vs Pella Corporation Comparison Table

FeatureSoft-Lite WindowsPella Corporation
Founded1934, Streetsboro, Ohio1925, Pella, Iowa
OriginStorm doors and sashesWashable overalls, then windows
SpecializationVinyl replacement windows and doorsWide range of windows and doors
DistributionMidwest and Eastern U.S.North America
Employee BaseNot specifiedOver 8,000
ManufacturingSingle facility in Ohio16 locations in U.S. and Canada
Product LinesWindows, Kingsroyal Glide patio doorsVarious windows and doors
MaterialsVinyl, aluminum-clad wood, fiberglassVinyl, aluminum-clad wood, fiberglass
Style & DesignCustomizable styles and colorsAttractive traditional, contemporary, colonial styles
Energy EfficiencyEnergy Star® rated, triple-pane glassEnergy Star® rated, specific features not detailed
Pricing$370 – $800 (most series)$350 – $1,000+
WarrantyTransferable, lifetimeLimited lifetime, 2 years labor
InstallationProfessional or DIYProfessional only
Customer ServiceSuperior customer serviceGood but fewer positive reviews
Brand ReputationHigh energy efficiency, durabilityAffordable, design versatility

Understanding Soft-Lite Windows

Soft-Lite Windows has been a prominent name in the window industry since its inception in 1934.

Let’s explore their journey, key products, and market focus.

From 1934 Onwards: The Growth Story

Founded in Streetsboro, Ohio, during the Great Depression, Soft-Lite started with the production of storm doors and sashes.

This period was challenging, yet it forged a path for innovation and resilience. By 1953, Soft-Lite had pioneered vinyl window frames, a significant leap in window technology.

This innovation was not just a product enhancement; it represented a shift in how windows were perceived – from mere home fixtures to essential components enhancing living spaces.

The evolution of Soft-Lite Windows mirrors the advancement in window technology.

Over the decades, the company has stayed at the forefront of the industry, continuously adapting and improving their products to meet changing consumer needs and environmental standards.

This commitment to innovation has solidified Soft-Lite’s reputation as a leader in the window manufacturing sector.

Read Also: Jeld Wen Windows vs Andersen – A Comparative Analysis

Key Products: Windows and Patio Doors

Soft-Lite’s product range is a testament to their dedication to quality and energy efficiency.

Their extensive lineup includes various types of windows such as bay & bow, casement, awning, sliding, and specialty windows.

Each type is designed with a specific purpose and aesthetic in mind, catering to diverse homeowner needs.

Notable Products:

  • Bay & Bow Windows: For expansive views and natural light.
  • Casement Windows: Combining functionality with modern design.
  • Kingsroyal Glide Patio Doors: A blend of style and durability.

Moreover, Soft-Lite’s focus on energy efficiency is evident in their use of triple-pane glass with low emissivity coatings and argon gas.

These features not only reduce energy costs but also contribute to a more comfortable home environment.

Focus Areas: Midwest and Eastern U.S. Market

Soft-Lite’s primary market encompasses the Midwest and Eastern regions of the United States.

This geographical focus has allowed them to develop products tailored to the climatic conditions and architectural styles prevalent in these areas.

Important Note: Soft-Lite’s products are particularly suited for the varying weather conditions in the Midwest and Eastern U.S., offering enhanced durability and energy efficiency.

Their distribution network, predominantly located in these regions, ensures that customers have easy access to their products and services.

The company’s understanding of local market needs has been a key factor in its sustained success and customer satisfaction in these areas.

In summary, Soft-Lite Windows stands out for its historical resilience, innovative products, and focus on specific U.S. markets.

Their journey from humble beginnings to becoming a leader in vinyl window technology is a testament to their commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.

Exploring Pella Windows

Pella Corporation’s story is a rich tapestry of innovation and growth.

Let’s delve into their remarkable transformation, diverse product offerings, and impressive presence in North America.

Pella’s Growth: From Overalls to Windows

It’s fascinating how Pella evolved from producing washable overalls in 1925 to becoming a leading window manufacturer. Based in Pella, Iowa, the company initially capitalized on a niche market of washable overalls.

However, the post-Great Depression era saw them pivot to a different path – windows and doors. This shift was not just a change in product line but a bold move towards diversification and growth.

The transformation from overalls to windows symbolizes Pella’s adaptability and forward-thinking approach.

As they expanded, so did their reputation, transitioning from a company specializing in insect screens to a renowned name in the window manufacturing industry.

With 17 sites across the U.S. and Canada, Pella has established itself as a major player, reflecting its commitment to innovation and quality.

Variety in Offerings: Architect and Designer Series

Pella’s range of products is as diverse as it is sophisticated. They offer several lines, each with its unique features and design elements.

Key Product Lines:

  • Architect Series: These windows are known for their classic aesthetic and custom capabilities, ideal for traditional homes.
  • Designer Series: Featuring between-the-glass blinds and shades, this series is both stylish and functional.
  • Encompass by Pella: A budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on quality or style.

The variety in Pella’s offerings caters to a wide spectrum of customer needs, from those seeking luxury and customization to those looking for affordability without sacrificing quality.

Employee Strength and North American Presence

Pella’s growth is also evident in its expansive workforce. With over 8,000 employees, the company has a significant presence in North America.

This large employee base is not just a number; it represents Pella’s commitment to creating jobs and contributing to the economies of the regions they operate in.

Important Note: The vast employee base of Pella signifies its capacity to handle large-scale production and maintain a robust distribution network across North America.

Their manufacturing prowess, supported by 16 facilities in the U.S. and Canada, allows Pella to maintain high standards of quality and efficiency.

This extensive network ensures that their products are readily available to a broad customer base, reinforcing their position as a key player in the window industry.

In exploring Pella Windows, what stands out is their journey from humble beginnings to a dominant force in the window industry, their diverse and innovative product lines, and their significant footprint in North America.

This blend of history, innovation, and reach makes Pella a formidable name in the world of windows and doors.

Comparing Soft-Lite and Pella Windows

When it comes to Soft-Lite Windows vs Pella, each brand has unique strengths.

Let’s examine their manufacturing, material options, and design philosophies.

Factory Locations: One vs Many

Soft-Lite operates from a single manufacturing facility in Ohio, focusing on efficiency and centralized quality control. This singular location serves as the heart of their production, ensuring consistency in their product line.

It caters primarily to the Midwest and Eastern U.S., a strategy that allows them to tailor their products to specific regional needs.

In contrast, Pella boasts 16 manufacturing sites across the U.S. and Canada. This expansive network speaks volumes about their capacity to handle diverse market demands.

With approximately 7,000 employees in these facilities, Pella ensures a wide reach and the ability to quickly respond to market changes and customer needs across North America.

What’s Available: Materials and Designs

Both brands offer an array of materials, including vinyl, aluminum-clad wood, and fiberglass. Each material brings its own set of benefits, like energy efficiency, durability, and recyclability.

Here’s a quick look at their offerings:

MaterialSoft-Lite WindowsPella Corporation
VinylPioneers in vinyl framesAvailable
WoodNot specifiedAluminum-clad wood

Styles and Looks: Customization and Beauty

Soft-Lite shines in customization. They offer a variety of grids, colors, and styles, allowing homeowners to tailor their windows to their specific aesthetic desires.

Their range includes bay & bow, casement, awning, sliding, and specialty windows, each designed to enhance the beauty and functionality of a home.

Pella, on the other hand, is noted for its attractive designs. They may have fewer style options than Soft-Lite, but their focus is on delivering beautiful, well-crafted windows.

Their styles range from traditional to contemporary and colonial, offering a modern twist on classic designs. This approach appeals to those looking for both aesthetic and functional value in their windows.

In comparing Soft-Lite and Pella, it’s clear that each brand has carved out its own niche in the market.

Soft-Lite focuses on customization and efficiency from a single production hub, while Pella offers a wide range of attractive designs from multiple manufacturing locations.

This contrast highlights the diverse choices available to customers in today’s window market.

Deciding Which is Better for You

Choosing between Soft-Lite Windows vs Pella involves considering energy efficiency, cost, and services. Let’s break down these aspects to help you decide.

Energy Efficiency: Who Wins?

Both Soft-Lite and Pella windows are Energy Star® rated, but there are differences in their approaches to energy efficiency. Soft-Lite stands out with its triple-pane glass featuring low emissivity coatings and argon gas.

This combination is designed to maximize thermal efficiency, reducing heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer, leading to lower energy bills.

Pella, while also offering energy-efficient options, doesn’t detail its specific features as extensively as Soft-Lite. Their focus seems more on the overall aesthetic and functionality of their windows rather than solely on energy efficiency.

Cost Comparison: Affordable or Premium

Price is a significant factor in any home improvement decision.

Soft-Lite and Pella offer different pricing tiers to cater to various budgets:

  • Soft-Lite Windows: Prices range between $370 to $800 for most series, positioning them in the higher-end market.
  • Pella Corporation: Offers a wider pricing range. The Thermastar Series starts at about $350, with the Designer Series potentially exceeding $1,000 per window.

This pricing strategy reflects Soft-Lite’s focus on premium, energy-efficient windows, whereas Pella provides options from budget-friendly to high-end, catering to a broader customer base.

Services Offered: Warranty and Installation

Both brands offer comprehensive warranties and installation services, but there are subtle differences:

  • Soft-Lite Windows: They provide a transferable, lifetime warranty. Installation can be professionally done or DIY for those who prefer a hands-on approach.
  • Pella Corporation: Their warranty is limited lifetime with 2 years of skilled labor, extending to 10 years upon transfer. Pella emphasizes professional installation using specialized tools and techniques.

Important Note: The choice between DIY and professional installation can be a deciding factor for some homeowners. Soft-Lite offers flexibility, while Pella focuses on expert installation.

In summary, when deciding between Soft-Lite and Pella, consider what matters most to you: Is it the top-notch energy efficiency and premium pricing of Soft-Lite, or the broader range of options and styles with varying price points from Pella?

Your decision will also be influenced by the type of warranty and installation services you prefer.

Read Also: Sierra Pacific Windows vs Pella – Discover the Best Choice


In this comparison of Soft-Lite Windows vs Pella, we’ve seen distinct differences and unique strengths.

Soft-Lite excels in energy efficiency and premium offerings, while Pella provides a broader range of style options and price points. Reputation-wise, Soft-Lite is known for superior customer service, and Pella for its wide-reaching presence and innovation.

Choosing the best for your home depends on your specific needs – whether it’s the cutting-edge energy efficiency of Soft-Lite or the design versatility and wide range of Pella.

Ultimately, the decision lies in which brand aligns best with your personal preferences and home requirements.