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Impact Windows vs. Shutters: How Do They Compare?

Impact Windows vs. Shutters: How Do They Compare?

September 30, 2021
Impact vs Shutters

Choosing the right hurricane protection for your home or business is crucial for keeping your property, and the people within, safe in areas prone to extreme weather and those considered “wind-borne debris regions.” For many homeowners, the decision comes down to hurricane impact windows versus shutters. From convenience to overall effectiveness, homeowners have many factors to consider when making the decision about which product is best for their lifestyle needs. 

Here are some top considerations:


Impact windows and hurricane shutters offer protection and peace of mind. Both can help shield your home or business from damage and reduce the risk of injuries.

Constructed with a durable interlayer, impact windows allow the glass to remain within the frame and continue to protect even if struck or cracked. Our PGT® WinGuard® line, for instance, is designed and tested to withstand repeated impact from a nine-pound 2×4 beam traveling at 34 miles per hour. This level of strength helps keep structures safe from flying debris, which can range from branches to patio furniture.  

Shutters are made from a variety of materials, including steel, wood, aluminum, or polycarbonate. When properly installed, they offer an affordable line of defense by covering your windows. They rely on the strength of those windows to keep objects from making impact, so if your windows are older or in disrepair, shattering and breakage can potentially occur. 

Preparation & Convenience

Preparing for a severe storm can be stressful. While readying your home and family in advance of dangerous weather conditions is always a good idea, there will always be last-minute precautions to attend to. If you use shutters that aren’t fixed, installing panels will be a necessary part of storm preparation, and you’ll be required to be present at your home or business to close them up. Conversely, impact windows are ready to go from day one. 

It’s important to practice setting up your shutters to make sure you are able to complete your install quickly when a storm is approaching. Having supplies like protective gloves and various tools handy can help you avoid major time delays and injury while minimizing panic and frustration. To prepare your impact windows, you will need to make certain that each one is shut and locked prior to the storm. 

Stay prepared. Download PGT’s 2021 Hurricane Guide today.

Comfort During the Storm

Being in your home while a hurricane rages outside is never fun. Both impact windows and shutters can provide a feeling of safety from dangerous outdoor elements. 

For some, the darkness that shutter-covered windows create, even during the day, is disconcerting—and this can be made worse in the likely event of a power outage. As with all windows, impact windows and doors allow for natural light, which can lend a bit of normalcy and comfort, especially for children in your home. However, no matter which hurricane-resistant product you use, it’s important to keep flashlights and plenty of batteries in your emergency supply kit.  

Due to their ability to absorb sound rather than transmit it, impact windows are the clear winner when it comes to noise reduction. The sounds of howling winds and pounding rain can be minimized by up to 65%* with impact windows. This is helpful for abating day-to-day noise disturbances, and during a storm, it can help add a bit of peace in the midst of nature’s chaos. 

Hear the difference that WinGuard® provides. Listen now

Everyday Benefits

While impact windows and shutters help keep homes and businesses safe during extreme weather, many people look for benefits beyond the storm. 

One great benefit of shutters is that they can help you get discounts on your homeowner’s insurance. If they are fixed and permanent, they can also be manually shut for extra security and privacy, and they can even be used as a shield from the sun to keep interiors cooler — though you will lose a significant amount of natural light when they are closed.  

Impact windows can also help lower your insurance rates, and they provide some surprising everyday benefits, including deterring would-be intruders, minimizing noise pollution, and the ability to filter out 99% of damaging UV rays. Vinyl impact windows have the added bonus of increasing your energy efficiency, which can lead to long-term savings. 

A Quick Comparison: Impact Windows vs. Shutters 

Learn more about the impact protection that PGT® WinGuard® impact windows and doors provide.  

*Sound reduction demonstrations are based upon the PGT Custom Windows + Doors WinGuard Aluminum Picture Window’s (PW7720A) OITC rating compared to a single-pane window with an OITC rating of 19. Actual results may vary.