Hurricane Impact Windows vs Hurricane Shutters: A Comprehensive Comparison

When it comes to protecting your home from the devastating effects of a hurricane, two popular options come to mind: hurricane impact windows and hurricane shutters. Both have their unique advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between the two depends on various factors such as cost, aesthetics, and level of protection. This comprehensive comparison will help you make an informed decision.

The Basics of Hurricane Impact Windows and Hurricane Shutters

Hurricane impact windows, also known as impact-resistant windows, are designed to withstand the high winds and flying debris associated with hurricanes. They consist of two layers of tempered glass bonded with a layer of plastic, usually polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). This design ensures that even if the glass breaks, the plastic layer holds the pieces together, preventing them from becoming dangerous projectiles.

Hurricane shutters, on the other hand, are protective coverings installed on the exterior of windows and doors. They come in various styles, including accordion, roll-down, Bahama, and colonial. These shutters are typically made of aluminum, steel, or polycarbonate and are designed to be deployed before a storm and removed or retracted afterward.

Comparing the Level of Protection

Both hurricane impact windows and hurricane shutters offer significant protection against hurricanes, but there are some differences to consider.

Impact windows provide constant protection without any action required from the homeowner. They are designed to resist high winds and flying debris, and they also offer additional benefits such as noise reduction, UV protection, and improved energy efficiency. However, they are not completely indestructible. In extreme conditions, the outer layer of glass can break, but the inner plastic layer will hold the shards together, maintaining the integrity of the window.

Hurricane shutters, when properly installed and deployed, can provide a high level of protection against wind and debris. However, they require manual deployment before a storm, which may not be possible if you are away from home or unable to physically handle the shutters. Some types of shutters, such as roll-down models, can be deployed with the push of a button, but these tend to be more expensive.

Cost Comparison

The cost of hurricane protection can vary greatly depending on the type of product and the specifics of your home.

Hurricane impact windows are generally more expensive than hurricane shutters. The cost includes the windows themselves, which are more expensive due to their specialized construction, and the installation, which can be complex and time-consuming. However, impact windows are a one-time investment that can increase the value of your home and may qualify for insurance discounts.

Hurricane shutters are typically less expensive upfront, but there may be ongoing costs for maintenance and replacement. The cost can also increase if you choose higher-end models or if you have a large number of windows to cover. However, shutters can be a more affordable option for homeowners on a tight budget.

Aesthetics and Convenience

When comparing hurricane impact windows and hurricane shutters, it’s also important to consider aesthetics and convenience.

Impact windows look and function like regular windows, maintaining the aesthetics of your home. They also offer the convenience of year-round protection without the need for deployment or storage. However, they may require replacement if the outer layer of glass is damaged, which can be expensive.

Hurricane shutters, while functional, can alter the appearance of your home. Some types, like Bahama and colonial shutters, can add to the aesthetic appeal, while others, like accordion and roll-down shutters, are more utilitarian. Shutters require deployment before a storm and storage afterward, which can be inconvenient, but they can be replaced or repaired individually if damaged.


In the battle of hurricane impact windows vs hurricane shutters, there is no clear winner. The best choice depends on your specific needs, budget, and preferences. Impact windows offer constant protection, improved energy efficiency, and a seamless look, but they come with a higher price tag. Hurricane shutters provide robust protection at a lower cost, but they require manual deployment and can alter the look of your home. Whichever option you choose, make sure it is properly installed and maintained to ensure maximum protection.

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