Picking windows for each of the rooms in your house is a process that should go beyond the look of the product. The direction the windows are facing, the kind of room, and even which way the windows should open, are all important contributing factors to the levels of comfort, light, and ventilation your in your home.

We’ve previously discussed the idea of picking windows for the each side of the house, and for specific areas like the kitchen or basement. If you have begun looking at products from different companies, you’ll quickly notice that there are windows that often look similar but don’t always function the same way.

There are often big reasons behind why similar windows should open or function differently. Nowhere is this most evident as in the difference between hopper windows and awning windows.

Awning windows open outward, away from the house.
Awning windows open outward, away from the house.
Hopper windows open inward, into the house.
Hopper windows open inward, into the house.

While these units look nearly identical when they’re closed, the way they function often makes them ideal for very different places around the home.

Operational Direction

The most obvious difference between these two types of windows is the direction in which they open. In awnings, the sash moves outward away from the house. In hopper windows, the sash moves inward. Depending on the company or the brand of the windows, the sash in a hopper may open at the bottom or the top. A big advantage of awning windows is that they can stay open in any weather, and keep the rain out of the house while letting fresh air in.


Energy Rating

Depending on the window manufacturer, there may be a very vast difference in the energy ratings, and therefore the performance of the two styles of windows. Like casement windows, awnings rely on a compression seal for maximum efficiency when the window is in the closed position. The seal eliminates the gap between the sash and frame, making it impenetrable to drafts and moisture.

Some hopper windows utilize the compression seal as well. In a lot of the cases, however, they rely on weatherstripping to fill up that space. Weatherstripping is a less efficient material, and therefore significantly reduces the energy rating of hopper windows. Awning windows are more energy-efficient than hoppers.



Awning windows usually feature a crank mechanism with a fold down handle that operates the window. This makes it much easier to access and operate these units.

Hopper windows don’t have the same mechanical components for ease of operation. When the window opens upward, there is an automatic latch that locks the window in at around ninety degrees to keep it from closing. These types of units are usually opened by hand. The weight of the sash is important when dealing with units that are operated manually. This is why hopper windows are usually only made in a double-pane option. Because of this, there is also a significantly smaller maximum size in which these kinds of windows can be made. As a result, they often end up being used in tight areas or basements, to provide extra ventilation.

Although both of these windows look similar, they function very differently and depending on the manufacturer may have very different energy and performance ratings. Awning windows are an ideal choice for bigger areas that require ventilation all year round. Kitchens, in particular, are a great spot for this kind of windows. Hopper windows are ideal for providing ventilation in small, or hard to access areas. Although they are not as efficient as triple-pane windows, they may be a perfect budget solution for an area where efficiency is not as big of a concern.


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