We spoke to more than 3,000 people who bought double glazing in the past 10 years, and 45% of them said they used a local independent firm. We reveal why they didn't choose a household name and how the independent firms' service compares.
Our top-scoring big-brand double glazing company has an impressive customer score of 81%, while the lowest-ranked brand managed just 52%.
Independent and local double glazing firms offer a wealth of different service standards so we don't have customer scores for each one. But our survey did reveal that their customers are often very satisfied and happy to recommend them.
Which? members can to see how independent firms compare with the big double glazing brands, plus the pros and cons of choosing a small local firm. If you're not already a member, get instant access by
Independent and local double glazing firms encompass a wide range of different services, companies, traders and situations. Any single overall score won't be able to reflect these.
However, we found that, in general, customers of independent firms were more likely to be satisfied with them than those who chose big brands. They were also more likely to recommend them to others.
This is based on our analysis of the responses of the 1,470 people in our survey who bought from an independent double glazing firm.
That's not to say that no one has had a bad experience. But it gives you a good idea of the average experience people had, and how that compares to the service offered by the household names.
With 45% of customers opting for a local or independent trader to fit their double glazing, and another 29% buying from a fairly small firm, we asked them to tell us why.
Their reasons were different from those who chose big brands, including Anglian, Everest and Safestyle, whose top motivations included them selling windows or doors they liked, a good reputation and offering a discount.
If you’re keen to employ someone local to make and install your double-glazed windows and doors, rather than opting for a national chain, use our Which? Trusted Traders search tool below to find reliable traders near you.
Comments from some customers in our survey included:
They were recommended by Which? Trusted Traders and on other sites and I prefer to go local if I can as I think I will get better value and service.
We had word-of-mouth suggestions for local companies. One of them was a Which? Trusted Trader.
Every Which? Trusted Trader is independently vetted so you can be confident in their service. You don’t need to be a Which? member to contact traders using the service.
Before a double glazing company can use our logo, we carry out extensive checks. We look at:
These checks all help to protect you against rogue traders. All our assessors are ex-Trading Standards, so have years of experience in spotting reputable traders and discounting the dodgy ones.
All Which? Trusted Traders must also agree to our code of conduct, which means no cold calling, giving customers fair and appropriate contracts, and being signed up to an Alternate Dispute Resolution service in case there are any difficulties.
One person in our survey of 3,467 double glazing customers who bought it in the past 10 years said: 'I think local ones need to keep their reputation up, and the service feels more personal and they are easier to contact physically if problems arise.'
Our analysis reveals whether this is true across the hundreds of independent firms customers told us about.
A quarter of customers who bought their double glazing from an independent or local firm also considered both Anglian and Everest.
To help you find the best double glazing firm for your project, we asked customers to tell us how satisfied they were with the brand they chose, and how likely they would be to recommend it to others. We also found out about other aspects of companies' products and services including sales, delivery, customer service, installation, how well the double glazing has lasted, and value for money.
Independents mainly include:
It may also include local builders and joiners, which people are more likely to have used if they're having a home renovation, such as an extension.
Three quarters of customers of independent companies said that they had no problems with either buying, delivery or having their double glazing installed. It was a similar impressive result for a couple of bigger brands. But two firms had more than four in 10 customers experiencing problems.