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Which double glazing company to use: big brands vs local independents

83% of people we surveyed used an independent company, builder or joiner to supply and install their double glazing. But how did they rate the process?

Which double glazing company to use: big brands vs local independents

Let’s face it – double glazing isn’t cheap. Nor is having it installed by someone you know you can trust, and that’s before you’ve factored in budget for potential hiccups. It pays to choose a reliable company to do the work.

When we surveyed 2,155 Which? members about their latest double glazing purchase,* the majority had used an independent company, builder or joiner for the installation. But did they rate their experience as highly as that of people who’d used a national firm?

The analysis from our latest double glazing survey resulted in a customer score of 84% at the top of the table, while the bottom company got a much lower 54%.

Visit our double glazing reviews to find out who came out on top.

National double glazing companies vs independents

When it comes to buying double glazing, there are a few different options to choose from:

  • a well-known, national double glazing company;
  • an independent double glazing company in your local area;
  • an independent builder or joiner.

Whether you need double-glazed windows or doors, well-known players include Anglian, Everest and Safestyle, all of which we rated in our last survey. While the vast majority of our survey respondents used a local independent company, 5% used Anglian, 3% chose Everest and another 3% chose Safestyle.

Anglian, Everest and Safestyle logos

All three brands have a wide range of options to choose from, including uPVC, timber and aluminium windows – from basic casements to bay windows – and double-glazed doors, such as bi-fold, patio and French. Some independent companies might have a more limited selection, but this certainly isn’t always the case.

Our page on the types of double glazing takes you through the options. You’ll also find details of what each brand offers on each brand page.

Top tips for choosing a double glazing company

We were surprised to discover that a quarter of people in our survey only asked one company for a quote before signing on the dotted line. Whether you’re using a big brand or a local trader, we would always suggest getting at least three quotes, to make sure you know the price is right and you get a good impression from your glazier.

Double glazing being fitted

We’d also recommend:

  1. Having a good idea of what you want before you get prices. That way you’ll be better informed and more in control.
  2. Visiting the companies’ showrooms/warehouses to see the products and ask questions.
  3. Doing background research on the company. Ideally look for one that’s been around for 10 or more years and hasn’t ever liquidised – you can check this on at the website for Companies House.
  4. Taking a look at a company’s previous work and speaking to past customers if you can.
  5. Looking at warranties – some offer lifetime guarantees and others give 10 years – and checking exactly what they cover.
  6. Choosing someone registered with a competency scheme, such as BM Trada, Certass or Fensa – their work will be insurance backed and they can self-certify, removing the need to inform Building Control.

Read all our insider tips, including insights from people who have bought double glazing, by visiting our double glazing sales and quotes page.

Plus, make sure you’re protected when you hand over your cash by reading our guide to your double glazing rights before you begin.

Double glazing reviews

As well as asking the customers in our survey how satisfied they were with the brand they used and whether they would recommend it, we also asked them to rate 13 specific aspects of their buying journey, including:

  • knowledge of the salesperson
  • quality of products
  • value for money
  • mess during and after the installation
  • quality of installation
  • after sales support.

The bottom company got a measly two stars out of five in three areas – value for money, quality of installation and complaints handling. No other company got this many two-star ratings. In fact, the brand in the lead got four or five stars for all but one, for which it got three stars.

Visit our double glazing reviews to see exactly how each brand fared.

(*In September 2018, we asked Which? members about their experiences with the company from which they bought their double glazing, and the installation process, in the last 10 years.)

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