Single Hung vs. Double Hung Windows: A Complete Comparison Guide

King House University of Montevallo Montevallo, AL

Single hung and double hung windows are some of the most common window types you’ll find in homes across the country. Chosen for their widespread availability and affordability, these windows look quite similar at first glance. However, they are different types of windows. So, what’s the difference between single hung and double hung windows, and which one is right for your home?

This article covers:

Single Hung vs. Double Hung Windows: What’s the Difference?

Although single hung and double hung windows look virtually identical, they have one very important difference: Single hung windows only have one moveable sash, while double hung windows have two. They also have other differences that are best seen when they’re contrasted against each other. You can see these differences in the table below.

Single-hung vs Double-hung Window
Single-hung Window Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Double-hung Window Photo Credit: Andersen Windows / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0
FactorSingle Hung WindowsDouble Hung Windows
Window SashesTwo sashes, but only the bottom sash is moveableTwo tilt-in sashes that are both moveable
Cleaning and MaintenanceMore difficult to clean because most need to be cleaned from the inside and the outside of your homeEasier to clean, as their tilt-in sashes let homeowners clean the interior and exterior from inside their homes
VentilationWorse airflowBetter air circulation because  both sashes can be opened
Security and SafetyOnly one window sash needs to be lockedBoth window sashes need to be locked
Energy EfficiencyMore energy-efficient because the top sash is sealed, but not the most energy-efficient windowLess energy-efficient than a single hung window
Length of Life15-20 years, can be longer with very good maintenance and good quality windows15-20 years, can be longer with very good maintenance and good quality windows
Aesthetics• More common in craftsman and historic homes
• Customizable
• More common in colonial, traditional, Victorian-style homes
• More customizable than a single hung window
Installation Cost$245 – $635$250 – $975

What are Single Hung Windows?

The exterior corner of a vintage wooden building with a closed glass single hung window. The wall is covered in white shingles. There's a yellow wooden building in the background with white trim.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Also called single sash windows, single hung windows are windows with a moveable (or operable) bottom sash. This doesn’t mean that it only has one sash; it actually has two, but the upper sash is fixed, meaning it can’t be opened. The lower sash slides up and down to provide ventilation to your home. The bottom sash can sometimes tilt in, but not many single hung windows come with this feature.

These windows are commonly installed in areas of the home that don’t need much ventilation or ones that don’t have a lot of space for someone to maneuver two window sashes, such as above the kitchen sink. They’re also better installed on the first floor because of how difficult they are to clean.

Single hung windows are one of the most budget-friendly windows on the market. Homeowners typically spend an average of $440 to have a single hung window installed in their home.

Single Hung Window Pros and Cons

This window type is sought after for its affordability, but it also has other benefits. However, single hung windows also have some disadvantages that you should be aware of. The table below can help you weigh the pros and cons of a single hung window against each other.

ProsCons
✓ Very affordable✗ Worse for airflow because only the bottom sash opens
✓ Easy and cheap to install✗ Being lighter than a double hung window can mean that it’s easier for someone to break in
✓ Having fewer moving parts means that there’s less chance for air to seep through, as the top sash is sealed shut✗ Difficult to clean, especially if you don’t have a tilt-in sash, because you need to clean it from inside and outside your home
✓ Offers stunning views of your surroundings from the inside
✓ Having only one lock is better for security as you only need to remember to lock one sash

What are Double Hung Windows?

White double-hung window
Photo Credit: Tucker T / Wikimedia Commons / CC0

Double hung windows have become the most popular window type for new homes. Their key difference from a single hung window is that both the top and bottom sashes can be opened – even at the same time. Many double hung windows also come with tilt-in sashes, which you can unlatch and swing in toward your home for easier cleaning.

Also called double sash windows, they are perfect for rooms on upper floors and in areas of your home that need a lot of ventilation, like bathrooms and family rooms.

These windows are more expensive than a single hung window. The average installation cost for a double hung window is about $565, including the window and labor fees.

Types of Double Hung Windows

There are two window styles that differ from the traditional double hung window. They can be set apart by their sashes:

  • Cottage-style double window: Cottage windows are double hung windows with smaller upper sashes and bigger lower sashes.
  • Oriel-style double hung window: Oriel-style windows are double hung windows with bigger upper sashes and smaller bottom sashes.

Double Hung Window Pros and Cons

Double hung windows are pretty much the standard window type in new construction today. But why is that? Take a peek at their benefits – as well as their disadvantages – in the table below.

ProsCons
✓ Easy to find✗ Less energy-efficient than a single hung window because both sashes aren’t completely sealed
✓ Easy to install✗ More expensive than single hung windows
✓ Comes in many customizable options, including finish and window frame material✗ Can be less secure than a single hung window because you have to remember to lock both sashes
✓ Easier to clean with its tilt-in sashes✗ Heavier than a single hung window, so it’s more difficult to install
✓ Safer for small children and pets because you can leave the bottom sash closed and open the upper one that’s out of reach for ventilation
✓ Offer better ventilation than a single hung window, as cool air can come in through the lower sash and warm air can leave through the top sash

Find a Window Installation Pro Near You

Although single hung and double hung windows are similar, their key difference – the number of operable sashes – may be the deciding factor for which window type you ultimately end up getting for your home. They both have their strengths and weaknesses, but both could be excellent choices for your home.

Whether you need new windows or want replacement windows, LawnStarter can connect you with skilled window installation pros in your area. Get in touch with a window specialist near you today for quotes on your window needs and other home improvement projects.

Main Photo Credit: Rivers Langley; SaveRivers / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Janine Caayao

Janine Caayao

A writer by trade, Janine Caayao graduated from the University of the Philippines. She draws, plays video games, and snuggles with her cats during her free time.